library

“If Librarians Were Honest…”

alphabooksIn honor of Banned Books Week, I have been thinking a lot about books mean to me and what it would be like to not be able to ever read certain ones again. A book is a powerful thing, it can offer new ideas, allow empathy to bloom, and shed light in inner emotions and connections. Which leads me back to a poem that I’ve been meaning to publish on here for awhile.

It describes exactly the way I feel about a book, any book, all books. How they change and impact you, how they can alter your perceptions and expand your world. There are few things in this world that have that capability, to have such a profound ability to kill you where you stand and raise you from the depths of your personal hell. They can make you laugh, cry, cringe, dissolve, reform, rave, rant, become more determined and understanding, waste an entire day, drink three cups of tea, fall off your chair, ignore the world around you.


If Librarians Were Honest – Joe Mills

If librarians were honest,

they wouldn’t smile, or act

welcoming. They would say,

You need to be careful. Here

be monsters. They would say,

These rooms house heathens

and heretics, murderers and

maniacs, the deluded, desperate,

and dissolute. They would say,

These books contain knowledge

of death, desire, and decay,

betrayal, blood, and more blood;

each is a Pandora’s box, so why

would you want to open one.

They would post danger

signs warning that contact

might result in mood swings,

severe changes in vision,

and mind-altering effects.

If librarians were honest

they would admit the stacks

can be more seductive and

shocking than porn. After all,

once you’ve seen a few

breasts, vaginas, and penises,

more is simply more,

a comforting banality,

but the shelves of a library

contain sensational novelties,

a scandalous, permissive mingling

of Malcolm X, Marx, Melville,

Merwin, Millay, Milton, Morrison,

and anyone can check them out,

taking them home or to some corner

where they can be debauched

and impregnated with ideas.

If librarians were honest,

they would say, No one

spends time here without being

changed. Maybe you should

go home. While you still can. 

(Source: http://www.libraryasincubatorproject.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/Mills_If_Librarians_Were_Honest.pdf)

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Book Review: Emma

emma

Alexander McCall Smith was selected to rewrite the great stories of Jane Austen, however his execution left something to be desired.

There was very little about this version of Emma that was different from the original. Some of the language had been updated and the accompaniments such as a Mini Cooper, however, these slight changes were not enough to convince me that Austen’s tale had been updated or improved upon at all.

Emma is still the same self-absorbed rich girl that we all know who befriends simple Harriet Smith and proceeds to set about match-making everyone in sight except for herself. There are many of the same events and personalities as the original including the drawing of Harriet, the picnic with Miss Bates, the elusive Mr. Churchill, and the anxious Mr. Woodhouse. However these similarities made the story fall flat rather than stand up by itself.

While McCall Smith did an admirable job of sticking to the original story, it was done in such a way that was too strict. Not to mention the overly verbose paragraphs about the background of Mr. Woodhouse and the internal monologue of Miss Taylor.

The plot itself, having not changed all that much was still interesting, a slow love story mixed in with other love stories, misdirection, misguided help, and a rather harsh protagonist. Austen might approve of how little the story was altered, but I, however was not that impressed.

Overall, it was not as new as I had anticipated and hoped it to be, having just finished Pemberly Digital’s “Emma Approved”, so I reluctantly gave it a solid three stars and called it a day. There wasn’t really much “modern” in Emma: A Modern Retelling.

Goodreads rating: 3 stars

My personal rating: 61

  • Writing style – 6
  • Plot – 8
  • Dialogue – 7
  • Personality of Main Character(s) – 7
  • Love story – 6
  • Invokes emotion – 3
  • Synopsis accuracy – 8
  • Consistent level of interest – 6
  • Stays on topic – 6
  • Accuracy of genre/genre blending – 4

Jan 31st

Welcome to the last day of the month of the new year!

What have you accomplished so far? What are you planning to do better? What hasn’t turned out like you expected?

As for me, I have officially begun the second semester of my first year of grad school and it has so far been rather uneventful. Sure, I have lots of things to read and I got to see my friends (although I sadly do not have any classes with many of them), but since I changed my courses to taking mostly online classes, I have more free time than I would like. Not that I’m complaining exactly, but I find it harder to concentrate with more open areas than I do with tight spaces of hours.

But that could just be the procrastination talking.

EXIF_JPEG_T422The first week of classes is behind me and I’m already looking ahead to all the projects I need to do and figuring out the best way to complete them. I have more time to do that now which is nice but it also means more hours stuck in my bedrooms, trying to avoid technology for fear that it will consume me and I won’t get the necessary work done.

But other than that, I’ve started working out on a more regular basis now that I have time to do that, and the alone time in the house to sweat in private. My energy is up, my sleep levels are good, and I’ve been able to invent new recipes to try out for lunches at work.

I also have a few books that I’ve managed to read so far and a couple of others that I am currently wading through. Lately, I think I’ve been reading too much heavy materials so I’m making the decision to switch to some lighter reading while I’m in classes. After all, my hours between homework are precious and books should be an escape, not a chore. Well, the ones I’m reading for pleasure at least.

Overall, it’s been a quiet, and slightly boring, first month, but things are about to pick up pace so I can really get back into the groove of schoolwork and planning out every minute of the day for maximum efficiency!

Okay, maybe not that extreme, but you get the idea.

Make It Count

Make It Count.

Dear John Boehner,

As Speaker of the House, I’m hoping that this message reaches you in good health, a peaceful state of mind, and that you choose to share it with those who reside in the chamber with you.

I’m not going to introduce myself beyond what is the readily available information. Simply, my name is Kat Webber, I am a master of library science student, and I am not registered to vote.

That being said, I would like to explain why I have made this important choice. It used to be because I didn’t care much about voting or government or politics but over the years as I have followed the politics, I realized that it is much more than that. My reason remains that I believe there is no one worth voting for in our government. There is no real change happening. People posture and make pretty speeches and say there will be change but the truth of the matter is is that there is a sickness that has crept in the hallowed halls of our federal city.

When was the last time you sat down and had lunch with someone who voted for you? Talked to one of them for more than five minutes at a time? When was the last time you spent a significant portion of your day in your home state doing nothing but living life? When was the last time you went hungry? When was the last time you lived paycheck to paycheck? When was the last time you had to make a choice between feeding your kids or paying the electric bill? When was the last time you were waiting on a pension payment that never arrived? When was the last time you had a medication you couldn’t afford? When was the last time you were without a job? When was the last time you had to make a payment on a student loan? When was the last time you remembered to represent the state of Ohio and its citizens?

I ask these questions not to place blame or to complain about your wealth. But because these are issues that your voters, your fellow citizens face consistently. You were elected to your office. And as such, you have a responsibility to uphold the agreement you made with your constituents. That you would support the issues that matter to them. Not the ones that line your pockets or do a favor for someone else.

It is my belief that our great country is on the verge of falling into disrepair. We are broken. We are in debt. We are filled with unhappy Americans. And it’s not just about the money. And it’s not just about the laws. It’s about the general lack of leadership.

People are so concerned with their own party, or even a small sect of their party, that they completely overlook the voters screaming at them about the choices they are making. Dividing the country into two parties isn’t working anymore. With the rising of diversity, shouldn’t there be a rise in parties to choose from? Shouldn’t the lesser parties have a chance to be heard? Shouldn’t people be able to vote for the person they want elected not just the party ideals? Take the money and the campaigning out of the picture. Let everyone make a short and sweet speech and let the nation cast their ballots.

There is a book that I’m reading for a class of mine. It’s called The Trusted Leader and I think you should read it. It discusses how to be a leader, a proper one, and the difference between being that and being a manager. I think it could go a long way into helping you and many of your coworkers to understand why you are no longer leaders. It also touches upon inter-agency communication and how to improve that because that’s definitely impacting the way this country is being ineffectually run. So many things can slip through the cracks because there isn’t a system in place to catch them.

The United States is being treated like a poorly run business. And it’s “too big to fail”. It is supposed to be managed by the few people who are making choices for the greater good but lately it doesn’t feel that way. It feels like every time I look to the news, I am bombarded with another way that we have overstepped our boundaries or our reach. We have issues within our own borders and yet we are more concerned with overseas affairs. Isn’t it time we brought the fight back here?

Are you aware, Mr. Boehner, that we have mission groups from other countries that come here to help our poor and unfortunate? That we have people suffering in this country who don’t have a voice to stand up for them? What about the fact that Social Security was intended to be a temporary system? Or that the rising cost of college education (and loans) continues to increase because now jobs are demanding advanced degrees beyond undergraduate studies?

So don’t take it personally that I didn’t vote for you. And not voting may not give me the right to complain about any particular person but these are flaws in the general system that need to be fixed. We need to focus on making people in this country happier, healthier, and safer before we worry about what the rest of the world is doing.

Now I’m asking you to stand up for me. For everyone who agrees with even one thing in this letter. Hand out copies of this on the street if you have to. Slip it under your fellow Representatives doors. And if you like, I can even send you a copy of The Trusted Leader so you can get a jump start on making some improvements. Be a leader. Lead the way to change. Lead the way to a better way of life. Lead the way for your fellow leaders to stop being so selfish and party-minded and do what they were elected to do: make choices that will positively impact those who voted for them.

Sincerely,

Kat Webber

Concerned Citizen of the United States of America

My Impossible Task

alphabooksIt’s Wednesday. Goodreads informs me that I have read 73 books so far this year and am thus 8 books ahead of schedule. Go me!! However, I still have a stack of them sitting on my desk beckoning to be read. And my goal was to read 75 before my grad classes start but I have since challenged myself to read 80 by then. The idea being that I will then only have 20 books to read in the remaining 16 weeks of the year, over a handful of which I’m sure will be read over my lusciously long and festive Christmas vacation.

So here’s My Impossible Task. I have to finish 7 books (well really 6 since I am almost 80% done with one of them) and only 6 days in which to read them. Not to mention that I have plans to be in D.C. all day on Saturday to explore the National Book Festival AND see the D-Day movie at the Air & Space museum. It boils down to 6-ish books in 5-ish days.

Do you think I can do it? Can I read basically a book every day? I guess we’ll find out!

Top Ten Tuesday

top ten tuesday

The blog “The Broke and the Bookish” posted this topic as this week’s Top Ten Tuesday: top ten authors that we own the most books of. So I’m doing my own version.

16-Sherrilyn Kenyon I own all except for the newest Chronicles of Nick book and over half of the Dark-Hunter series (I have read all except for Styxx, which is next on my list)

9-Patricia Briggs Mercy Thompson and Alpha and Omega series here, both of which are amazing. I can’t wait for the next Anna/Charles book to erupt onto the scene and I really need to buy the latest two Mercy books.

8-Rick Riordan Percy Jackson and the Olympians (all), Heroes of Olympus (first one but I’ve read the others), The Kane Chronicles (read the first, own the second too), love the mix of myth and reality.

7-C.S. Lewis All Chronicles of Narnia. Nuff said.

7-Anne Bishop If you haven’t read the Black Jewels trilogy, get off your computer and go buy it. Or at least log onto Amazon and download it. The realm is spectacular with BAMFs all over the place.

5-Heather Killough-Walden Sexy werewolves that give in to their nature (not just fight it like superficial d-bags? Uh, yes, please!

4-George R.R. Martin A Song of Fire and Ice, obviously. Have yet to buy the latest one, but I did read the library version!

4-Cinda Williams Chima The Seven Realms series is amazing. I think I read the entire thing in the span of a week, ordered them all from Amazon and devoured. If I ever have the chance to reread them, I will!

3-Suzanne Collins The Hunger Games series. One is paperback…it really bothers me.

3-Quinteria Ramey An interesting set called The Forever Trilogy, don’t really remember what it was about except that it sort of involved an angels/devils theme.

I’ve come to the sad realization that there are so many books that I don’t own but want to, mostly Harry Potter. Yea, I definitely need to buy my own set of Harry Potter books. And there are lots of series that are partially finished, I also need to fix that.

Harry Potter

After an entire weekend dedicated to Harry Potter (Thank you, ABCFamily!), I decided it was time to get back to the grind and read some books. I did manage to finish “Lost In Babylon” by Peter Lerangis while waiting for the 6th movie to come on but I need to get ahead if I plan on finishing my goal of 100 new books for the year! I’m at 56 so far but with grad school looming on the horizon, I really need to get a move on.

So, I went to the library (Hermione Granger style) and checked out some great new finds that weren’t on my radar. Libraries really are wonderful inventions. I went home with “Hyde” by Daniel Levine, “The Secret Diaries of Lizzie Bennet” by Bernie Su and Kate Rorick, and “Reviver” by Seth Patrick. I still have a couple of books at home to finish as well and about 300 books on my to-read Goodreads list but it’s good to expand your reading horizons every now and then. And I can’t wait to get started!

Plus I think I now have to reread all the Harry Potter books because the movies just don’t do them justice. Especially the final installment. Put ’em on my tab, er, list.