Thursday, April 28, 2011

PrE-views! Patrick Ness' A Monster Calls

Oh, fine, ENGLAND.  Have yourselves a merry little holiday tomorrow while America wakes up early at ungodly hours and fantasizes about spiking our tea as we watch the royal wedding.  But we can't! Because we're a workaholic nation of workaholics! That's cold.  But you know what really hurts? 

A Monster Calls drops on Cinco de Mayo across the pond.

It doesn't drop here until SEPTEMBER.  Single tear.


But you know what slightly, kind of, maybe, not really but whatever, makes up for it?

The Guardian has a preview of a few pages up!  Yay!  Delight in the magic of Patrick Ness!
But seriously, SEPTEMBER?  England, I will glower over my margarita in your general direction on 5/5/2011!

PrE-views! Ally Carter's Uncommon Criminals

Confession:  I am an Art History dropout.  It is a sad but true fact of my life.  I love it, truly, madly, deeply.  I geek out indecently over old paintings and museums.  But apparently at 18 I thought that majoring in Spanish would be much more viable career path.  And now I am a high school librarian.  GO FIGURE! 

Um...but really my wild fantasy dream job was never art historian extraordinare.  It was, is (if this library thing doesn't work out!), top shelf art thief.  You can't really avoid this thought if you are say, an art-luvr living in a city where the Gardner Heist, the greatest unsolved art theft in all the lands  occurred (debatable, but I'm always right, so you lose!).  Thusly, when Heist Society dropped I was stoked!  And now that the second one (Uncommon Criminals) is imminent, I am doubly stoked! Unfortunately for all of us, it does not drop until June 21.  BUT.  BUT.

Join me in tiding ourselves over by reading the first two chapters online!  I salute you for inspiring my criminal mind to dream big, Ally Carter! 

Thusly, when it DOES drop, I promise to release my dream art theft hit list in its honor.  Check your security systems, museums of the world!  Thomas Crowne PaperblogPrincess is coming for you!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Books I want to have at already! Spring(ish) 2011

I already raved about all the awesome things Candlewick has coming out in the next few months, but there are plenty more books for kids and teens that I want to have at already.  Here is my list, in no particular order:

  • Blackout, by John Rocco
    Hyperion Books CH (5/24/11)  32p.

    Remember how I talked about how excited I am to have at Candlewicks The Flint Heart, and how much I loved the Percy Jackon covers?  Well, check out this cover.  How pretty does that look?  It makes me want a summer blackout, just to read this book by flashlight with my imaginary children (who, incidentally, perfectly well behaved). 

  • The Wikkeling, by Steven Arntson
    Running Press Kids (6/14/11)  224p.

    Um.  Look at how disconcerting the cover on this book is.  It's straight up terrifying.  The description doesn't really clear that up.  Check it out:
    Young Henrietta is about to uncover a mystery she was never supposed to solve. In the new-age world she lives in, everything is ruled by computers, and every person's movements and actions are watched and analyzed. Henrietta feels suffocated by technology's rule and questions a world she's expected to blindly accept. She and her two newfound friends believe that there is more to life than what's expected of them--they just haven't found it yet. That all changes when Henrietta finds a wounded Wild House Cat in the attic above her bedroom. This discovery sets off a chain of events that begin to poke holes in the secrets left behind by the well-hidden past. It also awakens a mysterious creature called The Wikkeling . . .
    Is that thing with the creeptastic hands the Wikkeling?  Or is that the Wild House Cat?  I need to know these things!  Regardless, that thing can definitely poke holes in secrets with those digits.  More importantly, does it remind anyone else of Hush, the Buffy episode that continues to give me nightmares to this very day?

    Please join me in leaving on a night light tonight!

  • Beauty QueensBeauty Queens, by Libba Bray
    Scholastic Press (5/24/11) 400p.

    This book sounds like Drop Dead Gorgeous and Ms. Congeniality go to a bar and meet the Lord of the Flies.  Obviously, I want in.

  • The Penderwicks at Point Mouette, by Jeanne BirdsallThe Penderwicks at Point Mouette
    Knopf (5/10/11) 304p.

    Hello, series of books for children ages 9-12 that consistently makes me sob from joy as an adult.  That's right.  Sob. from. JOY.  These books are sososo lovely.  Obviously, the Penderwicks are the imaginary children I referenced earlier.  I am so excited to read more about the newly expanded clan! 

Friday, April 22, 2011

The Royal Overload: Knit One, Hurl Twice!

Unless you happen to live under a bridge because you are a troll in a Jan Brett book, it is likely that you are fully aware that a certain English prince is getting married to a (GASP) common broad in a week.  But let's be honest, I bet even trolls know about it.  Their faces are (if I may use an Englishism) bloody everywhere!  However, I found perhaps my favorite Case of the (Royal Wedding) Terribles while browsing at my local bookstore over the weekend.  

Knit Your Own Royal Wedding

Yes, guys.  
Your eyes do not lie.
You too can knit your very own royal wedding dolls (and corgis!)!
Play along with your voodoo royal dolls as the real wedding unfolds!
Nobody will think you are creepy at all!

No way this isn't going to wind up on Regretsy

PS.  Dibs on Prince Harry.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Kindle for libraries: Amazon announces partnership with Overdrive

This guy pretty much sums it all up right here:
"This is a me too move," said Martin Hoscik, who runs the website eBook Magazine.  "There is no innovation here. It is like congratulating Channel 5 for broadcasting their pictures in colour when everyone else has been doing it for years."  (Kindle gets library book lending, BBC News, April 21, 2011)

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Lost in Translation: The Invisible, by Mats Wahl

The Invisible
by Mats Wahl
New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2007.
ISBN: 0-374-33609-1

     A Swedish Law and Order without the Law part of the show, the point of this book may be lost in a cultural shuffle.  A case of a violent crime leaves a teenage boy missing with no trace and a detective weeding through the thinly veiled racism and anti-immigrant sentiment in the town to find him.  But the detective is not alone; in a plot device surely lost in translation, the boy is an invisible party following, almost haunting the unwitting detective, but ultimately more haunted by what has happened to him and his invisibility.  The narrative is very matter of fact, the description is stark, the ending frankly a little cheesy, and though some of the characters are developed more may be archetypes.  The book does hold a certain charm for mystery and crime lovers, or fans of Swedish writing, and has even been made into a movie.  It is recommended for libraries with large collections that contain the movie.

I will chill out on the Hunger Games posts, I promise.  But help a sister out first.  I finally got around to reading the April 10th New York Sunday Times Magazine article profiling Suzanne Collins that everyone has been telling me I would like.  It is a good read, check it out!  However, I am infinitely more fascinated by Ryan Graber's artwork that accompanies the article. 


There was a goat in the Hunger Games?  I have no recollection of this.  Is it a sacred lamb allegory that I'm too dense to get?  Is that Peeta and Katniss, hugging at dead center?  If so, pretty sure he's supposed to be blond...  Irregardless, it's a pretty great cool piece of art that does the article justice. 

Monday, April 18, 2011

Hunger Games Tribute Board

Oh hai, Hunger Games Tribute Board on Facebook.  It's kind of exactly what I imagined it like in my  head when reading the books, which is almost creepy.  They'll presumably be adding the other tributes district by district as they are cast in a sort of reverse Hunger Gamesesque move (as in adding them in as opposed to, say, killing them off and removing them from the board).  Plus, Rue has been cast and is straight-up snatcher adorable.  Perfect! Check it out! 

PS.  Can I get an AMEN that they didn't whitewash the African-American characters?

Sunday, April 17, 2011


A few newsy items for your critical eyes, fair readers:
  1. I dare you not to at least internally squeal at this heinously adorable video of a tiny penguin being tickled. I want one!
  2. Curiouser and curiouser:  Neil Gaiman's American Gods adapted for an HBO series?  Not sure how I feel about this.  On the one hand, I loved how various world mythologies were the backbone of this book; it was truly a cool book.  On the other, I felt it kind of dragged a little and almost felt forced, perhaps because I didn't always like the protagonist.  On the other (yes, I have three hands), this is the exact kind of thing HBO would do a fantasticly magical job of adapting.  See why I am torn?
  3. Remember the flash mob happening in support of National Library Week happening at the Holyoke, MA mall that I mentioned in my last Tidbits post?  It happened and it looked like fun in a sculpture garden o'booklovers!  Well done, Team Library.  I'm impressed by those that held their arms up to hold up books and banners for five minutes straight.   But then again, books weigh a lot.  No doubt, librarians have tickets to the gun show!
  4. Are you in Boston or nearby?  Are you interested in YA lit?  Then save the date for this really cool event, punks:  (via the MASSYAC listserv)
    The Cambridge Public Library is proud to be Boston's only stop on the "Diversity in YA Fiction" national author tour!

    Don't miss this amazing opportunity to meet these best-selling, award-winning teen authors:

    Holly Black (Modern Faerie series; Good Neighbors series; White Cat; Red Glove)
    Sarah Rees Brennan (The Demon's Lexicon; The Demon's Covenant; The Demon's Surrender)
    Deva Fagan (Fortune's Folly; The Magical Misadventures of Prunella Bogthistle)
    Malinda Lo (Ash; Huntress),
    Cindy Pon (Silver Phoenix; Fury of the Phoenix)
    Francisco X. Stork (Marcelo in the Real World; The Last Summer of the Death Warriors).

    Come early to be sure to get a seat!  Porter Square Books will have books available for purchase and autographing.

    Thursday, May 12, 7:00 p.m.
    Cambridge Public Library
    Lecture Hall
    449 Broadway
    Cambridge, MA 02138
    For more information, call 617-349-4027.

    Created by Malinda Lo and Cindy Pon, Diversity in YA Fiction is a website ( and book tour which celebrate diverse stories in YA.  DIYA is a positive, friendly gathering of readers and writers who want to see diversity in their fiction, encourage an attitude of openness and curiosity, and welcome questions and discussion.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Hey Carl Sommer: If You're Scared of the Truth, Don't Read This!

You know what happens when you work in a library?  Occasionally, publishers will send books your way, usually in the hopes that you will put it on your shelf and then buy more.  Today, the Gods of Snail Mail sent me something truly...jaw dropping.  Behold:

Initially, I was moste amused.   Because you know?  This book is ridiculous.  Absolutely ludicrous, and unfortunately exactly what you'd expect a free book promoting (nay, trumpeting) abstinence to be like.  It has a chapter titled 'Why Men Won't Buy the Cow," and the jacket promises to tell me all about "Why today's youth aren't animals."  The section on porn?  Let me just feed you a quotation:

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

FreE-book alert!: 13 Little Blue Envelopes

Once upon a time, I thought "self, you will never enjoy reading anything on a kindle."  But then I tried it, and it wasn't so bad.  I didn't like it enough to own one, but hey, I learned my lesson in absolutes.  Never say never!  But when I got my schmancy new phone and noticed there was a Kindle for Droid app, I clearly forgot all about the lesson.  "Self," said I, "fat chance you'll ever read a book on this big-screen TV for Barbies."

But, but!  Then, thanks to the magic of the internets, I learned that Maureen Johnson had a present for me.  For you too, if you are cool enough to want to get in on this!  As a promo for her new book/sequel, The Last Little Blue Envelope, dropping April 26th, she's done something rather awesome.  Her earlier book, 13 Little Blue Envelopes, has been made available for free download from Amazon from April 12th to April 25th, when it will magically disappear to wherever e-Books disappear off to.  I pre-ordered mine, but I think that you can still get in on the action by going through the link she provides on her blog.

Thusly, I am doing what I said I would never do: reading a book on my phone.  I'm three chapters in, and my only complaint?  My battery got too low (from reading it) to read it on the way home.  Considering I thought it would be a pretty lousy experience to read a book one paragraph at a time, consistently having to flick my finger oh-so-delicately across the screen, I've been a little surprised. So far, so good.   So good that I might have missed my bus stop yesterday...

Monday, April 11, 2011

Out of Print, but not out of awesome!

Confession: I have an online store I like to visit while occasionally lounging luxuriously around my apartment, usually wrapped in some sort of blanket apparatus filled with feathers.  Ahhh, online window shopping, how I love thee.  And how much do I love, and will you bibliophiles love Out of Print clothing?  SO MUCH!

My lovely lady friends joined forces and surprised me in November for my birthday with the Catcher in the Rye sweatshirt when my secret online window shopping lusting habits were revealed.   I retaliated by spearheading the efforts to give the oh-so-cozy looking Pride and Prejudice sweatshirt to Mrs. Collins!  Teehee, FACT: that is indeed her married name! How awesome is it in this context?

It seems like the men's shirts have more variety, but whatevs.  There's great lady stuff too, especially the new blue original Great Gatsby cover.  And the kid stuff?  Totally makes me squee.  Sidebar: how awesome would an Outsiders onesie be?  I would absolutely fight the urge to snatch a baby wearing that.  Plus, the company donates a book to kids in Africa for every item sold.  Snaps for international literacy!  However, I have one niggling, major, burning question.

Out of Print, where's your Jane Eyre shirt already?!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Recipe 45: Syrian Chickpea Soup with Lemon and Tahini

New England Soup Factory Cookbook: More Than 100 Recipes from the Nation's Best Purveyor of Fine SoupMaybe you heard about it, but I just got back from Egypt.  When faced with the prospect of cooking for a potluck last week, all I could think about fantasize about (honesty is the best policy, guys) was Middle Eastern flavor and food. Originally I had planned to make pita to go along with this recipe, but seeing as it was a week night and apparently pita making requires some measure of preemptive strategery, it just didn't happen.  The soup did happen, and my mouth and yours will thank you.  I used the recipe from my pretty pretty New England Soup Factory Cookbook (my favorite place to get a cheap dinner when I worked at the Public Library of Brookline and somewhere I still visit when I'm over there for Shelf Respect, speaking of food fantasies...).  It was delish!   

Every self respecting soupluvr should do themselves a favor and buy this cookbook along with the requisite Le Creuset, dutch oven, or giant stock pot.  Because allow me help you out with one thing:  the recipes in this book?  They are generous, and that is a vast understatement.  You can feed a small army.  This is the only recipe where I've been worried about Blue's volume capabilites.  Seriously, the soup came within a centimeter of the top!  Assess the biggest, and I mean biggest pot in your kitchen, and then find one a size bigger if you have any doubts.  

The cookbook suggests serving this with pita chips and even provides a recipe.  We served it with nan, and it was delish.  I think any sort of flatbread would accompany this soup well and would delight in being dipped in to both the soup and your drooling mouth.  Though I preferred it hot, this soup seems to taste good both hot and cold, and what with all the brightness of the lemon and scallions, it is a really nice spring soup.  I should also warn you that by virtue of being a huge recipe this soup takes a long time to cook and does require some planning ahead of time due to the need to soak the dried chickpeas.  If you are pressed for time, I would imagine using a pound of canned, drained, rinsed chickpeas would be a find substitute.

One other thing.  Dear NE Soup Factory Cookbook: WHERE DOES ONE FIND DRIED MINT?  I assure you it does not exist in the constraints of a grocery store.  Maybe it does in a specialty spice shop, where I bet those jerks are holed up with their stash of dried mint, laughing at me.  I went to three grocery stores; three including a super super market,  a Whole Foods, and a posh but little grocery store specializing in weird overpriced posh food.  None of them had any!  I settled on using some full stalks of regular mint and removing the stems later before blending.

On to the recipe! 

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Angel Burn, by L.A. Weatherly: The Girl's Guide to Road Trips with Angels and Assassains

Angel BurnAngel Burn
by L.A. Weatherly
Somerville, MA: Candlewick, 2011.

Release date 5/24/2011, ARC reviewed.
        Willow is just an ordinary 16 year-old girl, if the definition of ordinary includes psychic powers.  Her most recent reading of a classmate leaves her with an impeding feeling of doom associated with a vision of a glorious, gorgeous man.  When the girl runs away to join the Church of Angels, Willow decides to try to bring her back.  Alex, on the other hand, is anything but an average 17 year-old boy.  Alex is an assassin working for the CIA on a secret project, Project Angel.  As it turns out, Angels are not beneficent beings, but rather creatures who feed off of the essence of our souls, leaving humans drained and sickly, but addicted and devoted to them.   Alex doesn’t kill people; he is an Angel Killer, and his newest hit is Willow.   When he senses that there is something completely unique about this her, he hesitates and decides to follow her.   They are reluctantly catapulted into each other’s company in their high adrenaline, high speed escape across the country, and forced to rely on each other and fight their growing romantic feelings to survive.  This action packed, supernatural romantic thriller is taut with excitement, anxiety, romance, and fun.  It is strongly recommended for girls in grades 7-10, and for all public libraries in time for summer!
Book Talk Hook: Honestly, the bare plot points kind of do the dirty for you on this one, especially with avid and excited readers of a certain age; all you have to do is build the tension with your performance!  I mean…heck.  The simple book talk the Candlewick people gave at a preview geared towards adults got me, hook, line AND sinker, and I was OH so skeptical.
My less than professional thoughts after the jump:

Friday, April 8, 2011

Thursday, April 7, 2011


Two tidbits for you today:
  • Having spent a goodly amount of time in airports over the past month, I would really have appreciated the free library services Taiwan International Airport is offering!  How cool is that?
  • I am as yet still undecided about flash mobs.  As in, whether or not I want to witness one or partake in one.  Sadly, this one is probably too far away, but sounds like it'll be really fun if you happen to be in Western MA this Sunday... (from an email via the MASSYAC list-serv):
    Listen up crazy librarians and library supporters -
    The time has come to commit to our unorthodox,  effective and fun PR event for
    National Library Week!

    Holyoke Mall @ 4:15pm

    We will be meeting at 3:40pm in the parking lot next to Pier 1 (before you get to the mall parking)

    Bring your friends, neighbors, staff, kids, students and anyone else that can stand still for 5 minutes. Forward this to anyone you think might be interested
    Also bring:
    1. a library book
    2. a great idea for your frozen reading pose
    3. If you have one, a cell phone with an alarm

    Still wondering what it looks like? See: and picture it with books

    If you are planning on joining us – reply to this email or email and let us know how many you are bringing.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Candlewick Fall-Winter 2011 Preview!

Last week I was invited to and attended the Candlewick Press Fall-Winter 2011 Preview.  Candlewick's team members were, as always, the most gracious and welcoming hosts book-lovers could hope to encounter at 8:30am on a rainy Friday morning!  As you can see in the photo below, the swag was great; I am particularly excited by the grown up sized hot pink Judy Mood sunglasses.  I'm going to rock those in public at all possible opportunities! 

Forthcoming items that I am particularly excited to see come out include:

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Sayonara Cairo!

Sadly, this is my last Egypt post for the time being!  I will return to the land of soup and teen lit with vigor asap with some exciting new recipes and tasty books.  I arrived back in Cairo bright and early in the morning, just in time for rush hour!  Thusly, my epic Egyptian adventure had to come to an end.  But not before I did a few things.  Here are the things I did, followed by a few traveling to Egypt tips.

Thing 1:  I got my shoes (Dansko's) shined!  It was fabulous; they now gleam like the blackest onyx in all the lands.  I may have to start calling them my Black Beauties. We carried our own shoes there because it probably would have been really weird for the guy to shine our shoes with them actually attached to our ladylegs.  It was already taboo enough; he apparently got heckled while shining our shoes.  We gave him a large tip!  If you live in Egypt, the nameless faceless shoeshiner of Dokki is the best shoe shiner ever.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Hungry boys

Thanks to the eagle eyes of one Ms. Hawes, I was made aware of the casting decision for Peeta and Gale in the Hunger Games movie.  I am surprised and actually delighted by the choice - as Ms. Hawes pointed out, the natural coloring for these two is in reverse.  I never even thought of Josh Hutcherson in that role, but I'll be darned if his delightfully rosy and soft cheeks are not the ones I picture on the Peeta in my minds eye.  And you know what?  Gale is fine too.  He's all angular and tall and chiseled.  With some hair dye, why not? 
Remember when I claimed that Hayley Steinfeld was the Katniss of my wildest dreams?  Well, initially I was displeased and also out of the country when it was announced, thus why you never got my two cents on this moste importante of castinge decisionse.  But then I remembered I'd seen Winter's Bone.  And pretty much...yeah.  What with the squirrel eating, poverty, tenacity, Appalachia, and kickassness of her character, I'm calling it for what it sort of was: Modern Day Katniss.  I feel pretty good about the adaptation of the Hunger Games not sucking now. 
Unless they hire the costume designer of The Fifth Element.  Then we're in for it.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Deluxe Luxor, Day the second

Hatshepsut's Temple
On my second and final day in Luxor, I opted to take a tour through my hotel to see the Valley of the Kings, Valley of the Queens, Hatshepsut's Temple, and other things.  It was a wise choice, barring the fact that our guide, though lovely, kept trying to sell us things, like necklaces of our names in Ancient Egyptian script.  That whole area is HUGE!  You can spend all day there and not see it all; we just did the alleged highlights.  By us, I mean myself and the only other person on the tour, a truly lovely Nicaraguan woman from, get this, my mom's hometown: Coral Gables, FL!  Photography is not allowed at all in the Valley of the Kings, which is for the best.  All the tombs there still have the original, beautiful, full color paintings decorating the walls.  I assure you, they are gorgeous to behold.  Our guide didn't go into the tombs with us; I kind of wish I had done a little preparing on my own to refresh myself on Ancient Egyptian mythology and art.  I later discovered that there is a whole section in the Lonely Planet Guide...oops.  I encourage you to check out the super cool Theban Mapping Project website if you are curious about the Valley of the Kings.  Of course, we could not spend all day at the Valley of the Kings, so off we went to Hatshepsut's Temple, where photography is allowed!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Deluxe Luxor, Day the First

I arrived in the AM fresh off the overnight train, checked into my hotel, had a bite to eat that was not pure butter and sugar, and promptly started touring!  My photo essay begins now. 
Welcome to Luxor Temple, a fairly awesome and well preserved temple that is not by any estimation, small in size. 

Overnight Training

 Okay team, I'm going to power through the next few posts photo blog style, simply because I want to get the Egypt posts done and return to the fun land of regular blog life.  Thusly, I give you the photos for my overnight train ride experience to Luxor and back!  It was definitely an good experience, and I'm glad I tried it.  It's not the most quick, nor is it entirely 100% comfortable or restful, but it sure beats a regular 10 hour train ride!

Plus, it made me feel a little bit like a character in an Agatha Christie novel.  Except for the lack of murder mystery, of course.  And it was nowhere near as elegant as the Express Train of my wildest romantic dreams.  But is the hallway on the left not capable of inducing thoughts like that? (Of Agatha Christie, not murder.)

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