Monday, May 25, 2009

The Dragons of Babel The Dragons of Babel by Michael Swanwick

My review

rating: 5 of 5 stars
I just shut the book of this delightful gem of a dark fantasy, steampunk novel. What a kicker of an ending. It appeared on the Alex Award winner list and sounded like something I would like as the Starlog likened it to Neil Gaiman's Neverwhere and Mirrormask. Mention Gaiman's name and I am your girl, so it was a no brainer to grab this one up off the YALSA picks display.

Recommend this book for any of your older teens who like dark fantasy. It definitely has a steampunk sensibility, but I wouldn't necessarily reference Gaiman. Swanwick is his own man and this book has its own very lively and gritty reality. There are ethnicities of faerie that one just has to read over and imagine as nothing is explained. The set up of the world is not explained and you are just along for the ride. It is a wild ride, but so very enjoyable. The plot is twisty and the road is long and dark, but swift is the journey. I gobbled down this book in a weekend. Best of all is the tricky ending. I won't say more lest I spoil it.

Highly recommended

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Sunday, May 24, 2009

The Name of the Wind (The Kingkiller Chronicle: Day One) The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss

My review

rating: 5 of 5 stars
Yeeee-haw! This is epic fantasy at its best. This book is a very clever piece of writing. It is the real story of Kvothe, Kingkiller and hero of the realm, who is living now as a humble innkeeper under an assumed name. He is found out by the Chronicler, who finagles Kvothe into telling his story and this book is only day one of the tale.

What a day. It takes us into Kvothe's childhood, describes the tragic event that leaves him an orphan and introduces the Chandrian into the tale. From there we hear of Kvothe's journey to the city, life as a beggar and then year later his finding his way to university.

The Name of the Wind is amazingly broad in scope and yet the reader is drawn into the action at every turn. Sort of like Harry Potter has Voldemort as the ultimate evil, but has Draco Malfoy as a more closer at hand evil, so Kvothe has Ambrose to dog his every step at school, but the Chandrian loom over all as the ultimate evil. There are triumphs at school, setbacks, love found, lost, friendships made and broken. The story goes back and forth in time between the inn where present day Kvothe is telling his story and the tale of his childhood. And yet, there is great suspense in the present day story as well. There is something looming. Kvothe has had a horrible setback and we don't yet know what. We're going to need him at full strength if the world will survive, so while the background story is gripping, there is the very real and happy hope that once the three days of the story telling are over (and the three books have been written), that the story will continue in the present day.

Highly recommended.

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Thursday, May 21, 2009

New Meds for Migraines

I've switched to a new neurologist who specializes in migraines and he seems to be quite good. He's got me on a couple of new medications, which also seem to be working. No headache/migrain on Thursday, Friday or Saturday. Slight headache today, but took an NSAID and it seems to be mostly taken care of.

I'll be keeping a headache diary. He said that he wanted to try these meds first before progressing to other options, which is fine with me. I just want the migraines to stop.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009


I have a pretty cool post on the visit by her excellency, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, the president of the Republic of Liberia. But it is on my laptop. And my laptop is at home. So I will post it later.

For now. I will have to talk about something else. I am thinking about starting a separate blog on getting the guide dog puppy. Since I will have it at school, I was thinking it would be kind of cool to have the students write in and have info about the puppy there. Then they can follow what he did during the day. That might be totally sweet.

What else is going on? Well, school is almost over! Thank the sweet lord. I swear this has been the hardest year ever. We started the year with a flood on the mezzanine, which threw everything out of whack and then we had such a huge enrollment (good for the school, but bad for the library classroom) that the library classroom had to be used as a regular classroom, which threw off all of our library classes. But Dave and Katie and I soldiered on and managed to have quite a fine year in spite of the changes. We were able to go into the classrooms and teach there and also on the floor of the library. It was a year of required FLEXIBILITY and we all did wonderfully.

But I am anxious to get my summer started, start reading books and crocheting. I will be having a stitch n bitch session at my house every Friday (except for those Fridays when Mom and Dad will be in town, as they don't crochet haha!). I also plan to teach Beth how to crochet. I need to find something to do with Jaime as well. I don't want him to feel left out if I take Beth off to crochet.

I had a great day of finding books for students today. Wonderful day. I found dystopian books, "ah, the humanity" books, thick tomes of Ayn Rand, tragic romances, and fun happy books. And I still have students and teachers coming in with requests. Woohoo! It's my most favorite thing to do. Imani checked out 12 books! Yea, pat me on the back! Go books!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Nate Redux

So we take Nate to the monthly guide-dog in training meeting at the Symphony Under the Stars. Nate has not been trained very well and proceeds to show out.

Here is Fred trying to get Nate to sit down. He didn't want to sit down or lie down. He wanted to walk around. All the other dogs are being very quiet. Not Nate. He was the only barking dog. Sigh. And he isn't our dog. But they don't know that, so we look like the puppy raisers from hell.

Then he proceeds to expose himself, but he was lying down, so I didn't really care.

Finally, he fell asleep. He's a very sweet dog, but a knucklehead. He doesn't know the stay command, or the down command. And he only sits about 50% of the time. He's a nut.

Speaking of Nuts. There was this lady at the symphony in front of us. Too bad for her! They really got shafted when we sat down with Nate the Wonder dog. Anyway, Nate starts shifting around and wagging his tail, and his tail is just barely touching her hand.

So she gets up and moves her stuff way far forward to get away from him. I felt a bit bad, but then I though, jeez, have a sense of humor lady. We've got guide dogs in training. Lighten up. I put my bag in front of her so Nate wouldn't get near her again.

Turns out that Nate is a good dog at restaurants. Here he is sleeping on the ground next to our table. He was excellent at the restaurant. Final verdict is I am glad to see him go, but he was sweet and I will miss him just an eentsy bit.


This guide dog puppy in training is from hell. He is sweet, don't get me wrong, but he is certainly fromt he nether regions sent to test my patience. He is a stealth ninja dog and his job is to steal yarn and ruin it. He is so quiet he can lift a ball of yarn out of my basket when it is right next to me and I don't even notice. Then he sits in front of me and starts to chew. I managed to get 4 balls of yarn out of his mouth, but one of my yarn leaves has bit the dust. Grrrr.

This is a shot of Amy and Nate. More on that later.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Thirteen Reasons Why Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

My review

rating: 4 of 5 stars
On March 10, 2009 in the New York Times, there was an article titles: A Story of a Teenager's Suicide Quietly Becomes a Best Seller. I checked our catalog to see if we had a copy. We was checked out. So I went and bought another copy and began to read and was enthralled. This book by Jay Asher is mesmerizing. It is about a boy, Clay Jensen, who comes home to discover a package with no return address on his porch. In side are audio tapes. Tapes with the haunting voice of Hannah Baker, a classmate of Clay's who just recently committed suidice.

On the tapes, Hannah says she will reveal the thirteen people who played a part in her deciding to kill herself. She tells of being the new freshman, of bullying, gossip and sexual harrassment. She sets the scene so descriptively that you are there. You are there with Clay as he tries to figure out why he is on the list, what he did to bring Hannah to that point. You are concerned for Hannah even knowing the outcome and you are very concerned for Clay.

The book doesn't pull any punches and as a high school librarian, I can say that it seems pretty realistic and I will be recommending it to our school counselor for an all school read and author visit. The only reason that it doesn't get five stars is the ending is a bit hokey and screams at you. Not the overall resolution, which is superbly done, but the little hook at the end. That is a bit cheesy and unnecessary.

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