Wednesday, May 25, 2016

The Season of Binge Watching

The last of my spring shows is now on hiatus, and for some reason, I always feel like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders.  Sounds ridiculous, I know, but I'm no longer held hostage by my television in the evening.  Sure, I could cut back at my viewing, but when you like a show, you like a show.  During the summer I often find myself sitting outside in the evenings, listening to more audiobooks, or listening to music.  The TV isn't turned on near as much.

But that doesn't mean I don't tackle a binge watching plan, because there are always days when it's just too hot or a just need to veg out.

Here's my summer binging plan:

Peaky Blinders season 3
People - I. Love. This. Show.  So so much.  A historical gangster tale set in Birmingham, England.  It's just so good, and I can't wait for season 3 to magically appear on my Netflix account.

I started.  And then I stopped.  So I shall start over and watch the whole thing.  Especially since I'm tired of my teens at work hassling me that I haven't finished yet.

House of Cards
Not sure why I haven't watched this yet, but I figure now's as good a time as any.

Because my mother said so.

Do you have any summer binging plans?  There will, of course, be more books than TV, because, well, librarian.  But in an attempt to learn how to relax, I'm hoping the more I plan for my relaxing, the more likely that will happen.

Happy Wednesday!

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

6 Books I Feel Differently About After Time Has Passed

 Top "Ten" Books I Feel Differently About 
After Time Has Passed
(Feature hosted by The Broke and the Bookish)

Only going with 6 titles on this Top Ten Tuesday.  It's just one of those kind of days.  Apparently I don't have excess brain power to spare.

Some of the following titles grew on me with the passing of time and the opportunity to ponder over the stories.  Others didn't fare so well.  They were reads that I loved initially, but after absorbing other titles came to realize they weren't really worth the obsessive hype.  Not to say they shouldn't be read, but read knowing there are other amazing titles in similar genres out there.

1) I'll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson
I was initially very put off.  And then I thought it was okay.  And while I still have issues with some of the characters, I've come to really appreciate the quality of writing and storytelling.  This is a unique story that should be read.

Twilight (Twilight, #1)
2) Twilight by Stephanie Meyer
I read them all.  I enjoyed them all.  And now I really want to move on and never have to talk about them again.  This librarian is really Twilight-ed out.

The Hunger Games (The Hunger Games, #1)
3) The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
Another series I initially loved, and might still have the same affection for had the movies not run the story into the ground.  They were decent, but four movies and that many plus years talking about them is enough.  I've read several other dystopias that stand up much better than the series as a whole.

4) Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling

It might be blasphemous to speak ill of the series.  This was a plot-driven story.  Well written but not exceptionally written.  And while the hype was overwhelming, what Harry Potter did for the book publishing world, for librarians and teachers, is truly spectacular.  In my humble opinion, without this seven book series about a boy wizard facing unbelievable odds, we would not be experiencing the amazing resurgence of book nerdom we are today.  At The Book Con, Harry Potter shirts, by far, were the most popular fashion...including on this girl, proudly sporting her Gryffindor Quidditch t-shirt.  Harry Potter is king.  Always.  And my appreciation grows with each passing year as my Teen Room is filled with new, exciting titles.

5) Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson

Contemporary teen fiction is all about the angst, usually centered around a death, and often times maddeningly melodramatic.  On the surface, Matson's book isn't much different, but this one is special.  The drama builds slowly, happening around the main character instead of too her.  You know at the onset what is going to happen.  It's no secret.  But she takes her time, showing the struggles, and heartache that happen gradual as loss eats away you.  So good.  And so much better than a lot of similar titles out there.

6) Ask the Passengers by A.S. King
I've read my fair share of LGBT titles over the last couple of years.  To be honest, I've only really liked a handful.  Ask the Passengers stands out, and it's one I recommend often.  King has written a character driven story that isn't a soap-box, topic-driven story.  It's just about a girl, falling in love for the first time, and trying to find out what that means.  It's kind of beautiful.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore

Author: Robin Sloan
Info:  Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, copyright 2016, 288 pages

The Great Recession has shuffled Clay Jannon away from life as a San Francisco web-design drone and into the aisles of Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore. But after a few days on the job, Clay discovers that the store is more curious than either its name or its gnomic owner might suggest. The bookstore’s secrets extend far beyond its walls.

~Goodreads Description

I was in need of a new audiobook, so I decided to visit my ever-growing to-be read list on Goodreads for some suggestions.  Highly recommended by my boss, I sampled Robin Sloan's Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore, liked the reader, and decided to give it a whirl.  I'm not sure I LOVED it as much as she did, but it was definitely a thoroughly enjoyable read.

Clay Jannon has a tech background, web design to be exact, and finding himself unemployed, he wanders into Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore.  The customers are scarce, and his employer is eccentric to put it mildly, but there is something about the small space filled floor to ceiling with books that intrigues young Clay.  And then he discovers that Mr. Penumbra's bookstore isn't quite what it seems.  Coded messages in books.  A secret society.  And the clash between the digital age, the power of google, and the importance of the written word hold high stakes for the little bookstore.

This book felt familiar.  You should read it.  And that's my review :)

But seriously, it really did feel familiar.  Not that the story was a formulaic retelling of something I had read before.  And not that the characters seemed like stock individuals you see in any book.  It was familiar in the good way...that feeling you get when you discover a story that seems to fit you, your reading tastes, your humor.  It was a little bit of Ready Player One, a little bit of The Da Vinci Code, and maybe a little bit of some heroic fantasy novel with a hero, a wise counselor, and a mage.

Both Clay and Penumbra are likable characters.  Clay could be any guy you meet on the street.  He's smart but not too smart.  He's curious but lacks a bit of common sense which makes him endearing.  And Penumbra reminded me of a grandpa.  Soft spoken and supportive.  A grandpa that would go around talking about "the youths" and all that they get up too.  There wasn't a lot of character development.  The characters weren't really the main focus of the story, but the lacking didn't hurt the story either.  It was fast paced and interesting, keeping you in it until the last page.  Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore is an adventure novel and sort of a love letter to both getting immersed in books (the seeking of knowledge) and the power at our fingertips with each computer stroke.  It never came off as a cautionary tale about the evils of technology.  Thank goodness.

The narrator is fantastic.  The book is fun.  And the world could definitely use a 24-hour bookstore run by a sweet, curious, mysterious old man.

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