Friday, July 29, 2016

Library GrabBag: Get Inspired Programming Calendar

Cool news! I've had the pleasure of working with DEMCO over the last couple of months on their Ideas & Inspiration blog.  It's a great resource for articles written by professionals on programming, classroom/curriculum tie-ins, and library services.

My contribution is a series of monthly programming calendars geared specifically toward librarians working with teens in public and school libraries, and the first one is coming out today!  There are passive program suggestions, book and board game pairings, special events for national holidays, and special days in history to highlight in your library.  It has been super fun to work on, and while I'm a bit flabbergasted that DEMCO got in touch with me for this particular project, it has been an absolute pleasure working with them.

So you should check it out.  Really.  We can say our goodbyes here, and you can click on this very nifty link ( that will take you directly to the blog that is currently featuring the programming calendar.
If you're reading this line, you've missed your cue.  Go.  Enjoy, and I'll see you next week.

Happy reading!!

Wednesday, July 27, 2016


Magonia (Magonia, #1)Author: Maria Dahvana Headley
Info: HarperCollins, copyright 2015, 309 pages

Aza Ray is drowning in thin air.

Since she was a baby, Aza has suffered from a mysterious lung disease that makes it ever harder for her to breathe, to speak, to live.

So when Aza catches a glimpse of a ship in the sky, her family chalks it up to a cruel side effect of her medication.  But Aza doesn't think this is a hallucination.  She can her someone on the ship calling her name.

Only her best friend, Jason, listens.  Jason, who's always been there.  Jason, for whom she might have more-than-friendly feelings.  But before Aza can consider that thrilling idea, something goes terribly wrong.  Aza is lost to our world - and found, by another.  Magonia.

Above the clouds, in a land of trading ships, Aza is not the weak and dying thing she was.  In Magnolia, she can breathe for the first time.  Better, she has immense power - and as she navigates her new life, she discovers that war is coming.  Magonia and Earth are on the cusp of a reckoning.  And in Aza's hands lies the fate of the whole of humanity - including the boy who loves her.  Where do her loyalties lie?

~Goodreads Description

This one stressed me out.  It was so very close to a will-not-finish, but I'm a stubborn girl, and I was determined to see it through to the end.

My dislike had nothing to do with the writing.  It was decently put together.  It was the story.  I just couldn't get into the story or care for any of the characters.  Mostly because I had NO idea what was going on or why it mattered.  And there were airships in it!  And pirates!  I love airships and pirates!  I tried to imagine them as pirate ships with hand quilted sails, for some reason, floating through the clouds, but even that didn't help.

Quick summary - When we meet Aza, she's dying, and she's doing it with flare, as only Aza can apparently do things.  She's quick to joke, to illicit reactions through sarcastic wit, and to spin a tale using her illness as a crutch.  But it's a bit of a cry-wolf situation.  One day in class, looking out the window, she sees a ship in the sky and a voice is calling her name.  Before she's ready, the illness has taken her life in a bizarre, bird-frenzy occurrence, and she wakes up on a ship, surrounded by people who claim she is kind of like a changeling...not human, but in fact from Magonia and the daughter of a Captain with the ability to use a bird living in her chest to sing and control the elements.

And then I was lost.  She wants to make it home.  She can't.  But this bird thing.  Not sure about this bird thing.

As I was reading, I felt myself constantly questioning who Aza really was.  I felt like I got a picture of her (and it wasn't necessarily a pretty picture), but never really met the real thing.  The same with her best friend, Jason, who strangely never really believed she was gone.  Aza is rough around the edges, and while not angsty, was very irritating.  She was almost too abrasive.

The idea of Magonia is very unique and original, but the execution was a bit all over the place.  I can only imagine how difficult it is to world build something living solely in your head and not in legend somewhere to pull ideas and details from.

The cover designers knocked it out of the park though.  Beautiful.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

10 Things Books Have Made Me Want to Do/Learn

Ten Things Books Have Made Me Want to Do/Learn
(Feature hosted by The Broke and the Bookish)

I thought and pondered all last evening trying to think of something I read about in a book that I had the strong desire to do or try.  I came up with nothing.  Well, that's not entirely true.  I came up with a lot of things, but nothing legit.  Nothing like "that character was a glass blower and now I really want to learn to create beautiful pieces of art using glass and fire."  That does sound intriguing, but it also sounds very dangerous.  And for a girl who is a self-proclaimed (and often observed) walking and fire is a very bad life choice.

So here are some less legit things that I would like to do having reading about them in a book (or 10 things that sent my imagination into a whirlwind of possibility):

1) Receive 13 letters from a dearly departed aunt who sends me on an adventure in Europe
13 Litle Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson

2) See a flash mob, outdoor performance of a Shakespeare play in Stratford, England
Just One Day by Gayle Forman

Amy & Roger's Epic Detour
3) Create well-curated playlists for a road trip across the United States
Amy & Roger's Epic Detour by Morgan Matson

The Book of Blood and Shadow
4) Get caught up in a conspiracy theory with a secret society that takes me to Prague
The Book of Blood and Shadow by Robin Wasserman

5) Turn into an animal (hopefully something adorable like a pygmy goat or elephant)
My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Jodi Meadows, and Brodi Ashton

6) Play World of Warcraft and find myself a crazy guild that becomes my game loving 
dysfunctional family
You're Never Weird on the Internet by Felicia Day

7) Explore a circus that arrives without warning while wearing a red scarf and a fancy Victorian dress
The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

8) Live in Colby, North Carolina
The Moon and More by Sarah Dessen

The Raven Boys (The Raven Cycle, #1)
9) Have my fortune told at 300 Fox Way
The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

10) Attend a class at Mademoiselle Geraldine's Finishing Academy for Young Ladies of Quality
Etiquette and Espionage by Gail Carriger

I also want to meet an alien rock band (The Prom Goer's Interstellar Excursion by Chris McCoy), visit the planet Goondocks (Ready Player One by Ernest Cline), sit down for a meal made by Claire Waverly (Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen), and have a conversation with Mrs. Whatsit (A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle).

And that's why I love to read.  I read to escape.  To travel to new places and participate in new adventures.  To dream. To love.  To imagine.

What's on your list?  Happy reading!
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