Thursday, August 28, 2014

No Crystal Stair

A review in 10 words (or thereabouts): “Black is beautiful . Black isn’t power. Knowledge is power. You can be black as a crow or white as snow but if you don’t know and you ain’t got no dough, you can’t go and that’s for sho’.” ~Lewis Micheaux

Author: Vaunda Micheaux Nelson, R. Gregory Christie
Info: Carolrhoda Books, copyright 2012, 188 pages

Coretta Scott King award-winning author Vaunda Micheaux Nelsons great uncle was Lewis Micheaux, owner of the famous National Memorial African Bookstore. Located in the heart of Harlem, New York, from 1939 to 1975, Micheauxs bookstore became the epicenter of black literary life and a rallying point for the Black Nationalist movement. Some of its famous and most loyal patrons include Malcolm X, Muhammad Ali, Langston Hughes, and W.E.B. DuBois. In this inspiring work of historical fiction, Nelson tells the true story of a man with a passion for knowledge and of a bookstore whose influence has become legendary.

~Goodreads Description

No Crystal Stair reads like a nonfiction book but is the fictionalized history of Lewis Micheaux, the owner of an African American bookstore in Harlem.  Micheaux believed in the power of education and the importance of reading to expand the mind and discover one's heritage.  This man, from a meager background, found himself as a figure in history, counseling voices like Malcom X, Langston Hughes, and Nikki Giovanni.  Through real photographs and newspaper articles, the life of Lewis Micheaux develops on the page.  It's the story of perseverance, faith, and the belief that life is for the taking.

No Crystal Stair is just different.  It's a bit preachy, but it's well written and offers a fresh perspective on a time period not normally visited in young adult literature.  The story is fast paced, with alternating voices and shifting media, all of which lends itself to creating a mood that fits the time period and expounding on the "documentary" format.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Top 10 Books I Really Want To Read But Don't Own Yet

Top Ten Books I Really Want To Read But Don't Own Yet
(Feature hosted by The Broke and the Bookish)

Changing the topic up a bit!  I don't really buy books any more.  Okay.  That's not entirely true.  But as a librarian, I like to utilize my public library.  So I check out a book and read it first...and then, after I'm madly and completely in love, I go and buy the book because I just MUST have it!

That's why I've decided to split the list between 1) books I've checked out and now will probably buy so that I can love them forever and 2) books I anticipate wanting to buy because I'll probably love them forever.

Books I know I want to buy:
(And I haven't even started buy I'm already cheating...there are series involved...but in my defense, like 95% of teen books being published are series titles.  No idea if that statistic is correct.  Just feels like A LOT.  Most really.  But then there's some of my favorite lady authors who just rock my world.  E. Lockhart, Sarah Dessen, and Morgan Matson, I'm looking at you.  Don't worry.  I'm getting on with the list.)

1) Throne of Glass Series by Sarah J. Maas

  2) Shadow and Bone Series by Leigh Bardugo

 3) Woodcutter Sisters Series by Alethea Kontis

 4)  Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins
(Even though it won't match the hardback beautifulness of Anna and Lola :(

5) The Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater

6) The Winner's Curse by  Marie Rutkoski

Books I'll probably want to buy:

 7) Nantucket Blue by Leila Howland

8) Five Summers by Una LaMarche

9) On the Fence by Kasie West

 10)  Salt & Storm by Kendall Kulper

Monday, August 25, 2014

Q & A: The Librarian Way - Ch-ch-ch-changes in Librarianship

No.  We're not channeling our inner David Bowie (but for a dose of Bowie, take a break with Changes).  The library world is an ever-evolving conundrum that leaves those passionate about the field both inspired and terrified.  Personally, I like change.  I like figuring out what could be and putting together a crazy scheme that might just get my department, my community, and my library as a whole to this new a bright future.  But I often look back at my seven years of professional librarianship and am speechless by 1) what no one bothered to teach me and 2) how crazy different my job looks now.

So that's what we tackled in this week's The Librarian Way.  How has your position changed?  What are you doing differently? What's now on your priority list?  And what didn't library school prepare you for?

We'd love to hear your thoughts, tips, encouragements, and struggles!  Please leave a comment below or head over to our YouTube channel and join the conversation.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Adventure Is Out There and the big 500

Pinterest, with a mix of my Disney vacation, and an attempt to make my house a home set me on a crafting adventure last weekend.  I wanted something new for my wall.  Something a little more me.  I really liked the quote prints I had created, but they didn't bring much to my living room...which is also my family room, and dining room, and in a way my kitchen.  I wanted some color and some personality.

So I created this, my ode to Pixar's Up and little something that feeds into my wanderlust.  When I get my map pins, I can't wait to fill the map with markers of where I've been and where I can't wait to go.  Because I will go.  The world is out there.  Adventure is out there.  And I've only got myself to blame if I don't go out find it!

On a random note...this is my 500th post!  Crazy!  I've said it before, and let's be honest, I'll probably say it again, but I NEVER thought I'd keep this here blog going for 500 posts.  For those that stop by occasionally, I thank you, especially for your kind and interesting comments.

Happy Friday everyone!  Now go find an adventure!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Dead to You

A review in 10 words (or thereabouts): How science solves the mystery, and genetics comes back to bite a boy in the butt.

Author: Lisa McMann
Info: Simon Pulse, copyright 2012, 243 pages

Ethan was abducted from his front yard when he was just seven years old. Now, at sixteen, he has returned to his family.

It's a miracle... at first.

Then the tensions start to build. His reintroduction to his old life isn't going smoothly, and his family is tearing apart all over again. If only Ethan could remember something, anything, about his life before, he'd be able to put the pieces back together.

But there's something that's keeping his memory blocked.

Something unspeakable...

~Goodreads Description~

I wasn't going to write this review.  It's not that it was really poorly written.  I just found it to be completely implausible. 

The Breakdown
Ethan was kidnapped as a small boy, but he's back.  He doesn't remember much about his abduction, and his memories of his childhood are basically non-existent, but he's happy to be off the streets back with the family he once knew.  But things aren't going as smoothly as he had hoped.  His parents are extremely overprotective, his brother hates him, and there's a replacement child that's just as stubborn as he is.  The small town is overjoyed to have the lost boy returned, but the memories of his past keep coming back to haunt him, and Ethan is about to find out that the past can destroy you.

So I can buy a lost boy returned.  And I can buy a loss of memories suffered by trauma and possibly stockholm syndrome.  But I refuse to believe that a family would meet a lost child and immediately take him home without any initial counseling or visitations.  I also can't believe that that same child, who has been gone for NINE years, would be sent to school two days later without having first learned the type of abuse, mental or physical, he might have endured.  And would a family really bring a stranger, who has knowingly been living on the streets, into their home when they have two other children at home, one of which has no idea she had a brother that disappeared in the first place?

Again, not poorly written, Lisa McMann has some talent, just not a great plot.  I never really sympathized with Ethan and his difficulties.  I never actually sympathized with anyone in the family, and I really felt like I should after everything they endured.  It was, however, fast paced and easy to read, with clues revealed pretty quickly while still building tension and intensity.

Sadly, there are many of these kinds of stories in the news.  And if you're fascinated with the consequences of captivity, loss, and neglect, this might be the book for you.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Top 10 Books People Have Been Telling Me I MUST Read

 Top Ten Books People Have Been Telling Me I MUST Read
 (Feature hosted by The Broke and the Bookish)

Here's a few that the teens have insisted I read...a few that fellow librarians have suggested I enjoy...and a couple that my wonderful hairdresser thinks I might fall in love with.  Now all I have to do is find the time :)

What's on your list?  Any suggestions you think I should add?

1) Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles

2) Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver

3) Delirium by Lauren Oliver

4) Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia

5) The Magicians by Lev Grossman

6) Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry

7) Landline by Rainbow Rowell

8) The Ghost Bride by Yangsze Choo

9) The Archived by Victoria Schwab

10) The 100 by Kass Morgan

Happy Reading!

Monday, August 18, 2014

A Long Awaited Librarian Way

Hey there you!  It's been a long time!  Julia and I are back for some more Librarian Way fun.  We'll be posting new videos every Monday (fingers crossed :) so keep an eye out.  We'll be talking books, programs, and general librarian awesomness.  And as always, we would love to get your feedback!  Leave a comment, question, topic idea below or on YouTube, and we'll do our best to follow through.

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