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JL's Bibliomania

Also on GoodReads as J L's Bibliomania:


and Litsy @jlsbibliomania


While my first love was SF, I read widely in YA, urban fantasy, police procedurals,  middle-grade, and non-fiction. 




Currently reading

C.J. Cherryh
The Scorpio Races
Maggie Stiefvater, Fiona Hardingham, Steve West, Scholastic Audio
Progress: 46/727 minutes
Ingathering: The Complete People Stories of Zenna Henderson
Elizabeth Rhys Finney, Priscilla Olson, Zenna Henderson
Progress: 250/577 pages

DNF: The Brain That Changes Itself

The Brain That Changes Itself: Stories of Personal Triumph from the Frontiers of Brain Science - Norman Doidge

While the concept of Neuroplasticity - the ability of brains to continue to change even in adulthood - is fascinating, this book is less so.  I felt like the author was trying to emulate Oliver Sacks to use case studies as a way to tell the history of the change in paradigm from a localized adult brain to the possibility of change, but not quite getting there.



I skidded out in Chapter 4 Acquiring Tastes and Loves - what Neuroplasticity Teaches us about Sexual Attraction and Love.  And since the book is due back at the library, I'm going to officially DNF and move on to more interesting (fiction) and my next Booklikes-opoly read.



Midnight Blue-Light Special & Booklikes-opoly Roll 15

I managed to pick up a tedious case of poison ivy from volunteering to help maintain a local biking trail, so when I woke at 4:30 am itching and unable to sleep, I decided to finish my book.  


Midnight Blue-Light Special - Seanan McGuire  


I read Midnight Blue-Light Special - Seanan McGuire, which is set in NYC, for Roll #13 Square 29:  The Monorail - Read a Book that has travel by air, has an airplane on the cover, or is set in a city with a subway.  Well NYC has a subway, but unless you count Verity Price's predilection for free running (aka taking the roof route) as travel by air, this book almost fits my new roll better than the square I read it for because the subway only appears in the story as a method of transportation to disdain.  It's a nicely done Urban Fantasy with an intriguing non-human ecosystem.  I did find the temporary shift of viewpoint partway through a bit jarring. The Aeslin mice, while somewhat quieter than in Discount Armageddon - Seanan McGuire, are well worth the price of admission for comedic relief

I was thoroughly amused by the High Priest of Goddammit Eat Something Already!

(show spoiler)

I'll probably read the next book in the series relatively soon, which focuses on the up-till-now-offscreen Cousin Alex, though I will miss Very's spunk.


Roll # 13 was doubles, but I'd finished my Roll #14 book first.


Bank Balance $56

Roll #15



Lands me on 



I have two possibilities in mind:

Precursor - C.J. Cherryh , which continues my re-read of the Foreigner Series by CJ Cherryh or a random non-fiction that was a library click-through while looking for books for my elder son.   


Precursor - C.J. Cherryh  or Blue on Blue: An Insider’s Story of Good Cops Catching Bad Cops - Charles Campisi,Gordon Dillow  


I'm planning to start Blue on Blue: An Insider’s Story of Good Cops Catching Bad Cops - Charles Campisi,Gordon Dillow  and see if it grabs me, since the Cherryh is likely to be a slow read.


Save Me a Seat

Save Me a Seat - Gita Varadarajan, Sarah Weeks

Save Me a Seat is a recent middle grade book co-authored by veteran Sarah Weeks and newcomer Gita Varadarajan.  While not explicitly discussed in the interviews, I believe the two authors met at a Teachers College Writing Workshop directed by Lucy Calkins and that the collaborative project may have been born during the workshop. 


The book features alternating chapters of the first week of 5th grade from two viewpoints, Joe (written by Ms. Weeks) and Ravi (written by Ms. Varadarajan).  Joe has lived in the same small town in central NJ all his life.  Ravi has just moved to the US from India.  Taking place over the course of a single week, the boys find common cause and the seed of a friendship as they are both targets of their class bully, an Indian-American kid named Dillon Samreen.


There were many moments of humor and realistic tween emotions throughout Save Me a Seat. I also liked the clever way the book used food as a framing.  However, I didn’t fall in love with the story or the characters. While seeing yourself represented in books is important, I thought it was just too convenient that Joe’s defining characteristic is a learning disability.  And there were times that the moral lessons of looking beyond the surface to find potential friends were just a bit too blatant for my adult eyes.  As I read, I kept wondering if this is a book kids would really be attracted to on their own or if it was written to be a parable and the basis of lesson plans and won’t find many readers outside that context.


Read for Tomorrowland 34 in Booklikes-opoly


Hidden Figures - The Movie


Our number came up on the hold list for the movie Hidden Figures. I don't watch a lot of movies (since I'm too busy reading instead) but I'd been curious how they were going to condense 20+ years into a movie that wasn’t a documentary.  There were quite a number of changes because of the limitations of creating a reasonable length movie.  Primarily, the movie only covering a few years in the early 1960's, years which occur in the middle of the story told by the book, and by creating several composite characters.


I generally think the movie was well done. I liked how the coffee pot in Katherine Goble/Johnson's lab stood in for the repeated tensions about the sign on the colored tables in the lunchroom. While a bit overdramatic, I think the bathroom “runs” to the other side of the campus – work in hand – were a nice touch to show both inconvenience and dedication. I liked the visual of how the "girls" in their brightly colored dresses popped out of the sea of caucasian engineers in white shirts.  And while a stock Hollywood trope, I liked the march of the former West Computers to their new lives in the IBM mainframe lab.


I didn't like how the movie turned Katherine's checking the numbers for John Glenn's Freedom 7 trajectory into a last minute nail-biter. While the time shifting of the true request to have a human check the numbers generated by the IBM computer, for the sake of the movie they felt the need to raise the stakes and add a false crisis. 


In the book, the focus was clearly on the women and their accomplishments and while the sexism and racism of the day was ever present, I felt like it wasn't the focus of the story.  In the movie format, with the need to center the composite characters played by big stars Kevin Costner and Jim Parsons, I almost felt like the movie was too much about racism and sexism and not enough about how the women developed and what they accomplished.  But some of that may just be the time limitations of a movie.


In closing, I'm glad I took the time to watch Hidden Figures soon after I read the book, but I'm also glad that I waited to watch it at home for the cost of a trip to the library to pick up the DVD rather than paying theater prices. 

Free Friday Read

The Scorpio Races - Maggie Stiefvater, Fiona Hardingham, Steve West, Scholastic Audio

The Booklikes-opoly shake-up came in just the nick of time!  I was ready for a new audiobook, but a couple of days from finishing my current print selections and being able to roll again.  


So I'm picking The Scorpio Races as my first Free Friday read.


Reading progress update: I've listened 46 out of 727 minutes.

Booklikes-opoly Rolls 13 & 14

June 12th

Bank Balance: $47 (well back in the pack)


At last meeting, I was sitting in jail, waiting for the bail bondsman to spring me.  I haven't seen confirmation, but know that the banker is furiously busy and am going to assume that the request to use pages from the jail bank was honored. I am donating the 49 pages I read in The Brain That Changes Itself: Stories of Personal Triumph from the Frontiers of Brain Science - Norman Doidge back to the jail bank fund.  I'm finding The Brain That Changes Itself fascinating, but as with most non-fiction, that it's going slowly.



Roll #13



Uh-oh!  Isn't this what I started with last time?


Roll #14





Starting from Jail, this lands me on:




YAY!  Softballs. 


For the Monorail, I'm going to read Midnight Blue-Light Special - Seanan McGuire  since I'm trying to have read at least a few of Ms. McGuire's books before Philcon in the fall (she's scheduled to be the Featured Guest). 


 Midnight Blue-Light Special - Seanan McGuire  


For Buzz Lightyear, I have too many choices.  All of these are due back to the library before the end of June.  


Save Me a Seat - Gita Varadarajan,Sarah Weeks  Every Falling Star: The True Story of How I Survived and Escaped North Korea - Susan Elizabeth McClelland,Sungju Lee  All American Boys - Brendan Kiely,Jason Reynolds  Ghost (Track) - Jason Reynolds  


Any thoughts on which one to try first?

Slice of Life



I didn't get a lot of reading time this weekend, in part because my younger son and I participated at the in-house tournament at our Kempo school.  I placed 3rd in "Moves" (short set-pieces that are designed to be turned into take-downs with a partner) and 2nd in Kata (forms).  While there are a few adult-only classes, because of scheduling, I typically train in a mixed class of folks from age 13 on up, (including my son).  


I'm proud of my placement in forms, where I was completing against 2 High School level black belts (in fact they had just tested for their 2nd degree black  belt) and another mid-rank adult student.  Because this is an in-house tournament, winning isn't simply a matter of rank because we were being scored, in part, based on what is expected of your belt level.  I'm very proud that despite my simpler form, my better stances beat the teen black belt who is a powerful, canny opponent when sparring, but thinks of Kata as an after-thought and tends to be a bit sloppy.





I do feel a bit funny about my 3rd placement in Moves. They included the Middle School student in the category, so there were 6 of us.  I agree that the 1st place (one of the High School Students) clearly earned it. The other adult came in 2nd, and I came in 3rd.  None of the 7th or 8th graders placed.  I'm not sure that it was fair to compare the body control of a mature adult against youngsters who are in the awkward figuring out a new body stage (My son has grown 8 inches in 2.5 years). I made an obvious mistake (forgot a kick in something that was relatively new to me) and hope the other students use their loss to drive them to train harder rather than being so upset that they didn't win that they lose the love of martial arts.



Hi ho, Hi ho...It's off to Jail I go

At the end of Memorial Day Weekend, I was sitting on Main Street 13 – Read a book about a (real or fictional) American Lawyer or politician, or that is set during the American Civil War.  My husband recommended that I read The Devil and Daniel Webster - Stephen Vincent Benét for this square, but at only 40 pages for the story, I wanted something else. 


The Devil and Daniel Webster - Stephen Vincent Benét 


My other thoughts - A Civil Action - Jonathan Harr, and Manhunt: The 12-Day Chase for Lincoln's Killer - James L. Swanson came in from the library earlier this week.  But neither grabbed my attention, and after getting ready to DNF A Civil Action at less than 100 pages, I decided to go ahead and count the short story.  


I’m about halfway through 206 Bones - Kathy Reichs, the audiobook I chose after my first Memorial Day Weekend roll, landed me on Square 8 – Read a book that is tagged mystery or has a title that begins with any of the letters in the word “Clue.” 


206 Bones - Kathy Reichs  


So a bit earlier tonight I used the audiobook exemption to (try to) roll for my weekend reading. (The snips below have a 2017-06-10 date, but you’ll have to trust that it’s actually late evening 2017-06-09 for me).


Roll #10


Roll #11


Roll #12




Hi ho, hi ho, it’s off to jail I go…..





I’m hoping to take advantage of the jail library we all built over Memorial Day weekend to get free and then donate back whatever I read between now and when I can roll again on Sunday.



The Raven King (The Raven Cycle, Book 4) - Maggie Stiefvater

I had a great time tonight at the Maggie Stiefvater book signing hosted by the Ocean City Public Library!  Rather than taking the time to write a detailed report, I'm just going to post a few pictures while basking in the afterglow. 












I knew I was in the right place when I saw this in the parking lot:




Maggie is an entertaining storyteller in person. I highly recommend trying to go to a signing if she is anywhere in your vicinity.





I ended up spending more money than I intended, and in addition to bringing home a signed copy of The Raven King, as I planned, I brought home a Tarot deck that I may or may not ever use.





I'm looking forward to reading All the Crooked Saints when it comes out in the fall.  I'm cautiously optimistic about the promise of more books about Ronan and the Lynch family, and a bit apprehensive about the idea of The Raven Boys as a TV series (it's been optioned, but who knows where it will go from there).


Is anyone going?

I know that there are other BL folks in Greater NY-NJ.  Is anyone planning to go to the event with Maggie Stiefvater at the Ocean City Free Public Library tonight?

Thinking of my Mom on the day that might have been her 72nd Birthday

Disability on the Shelf - MLA 2017

I had the opportunity to present at the 2017 Mass Library Association with two other librarians, looking at disability representation in library collections and libraries themselves.  I originally put out a call for co-panelists mid-206 looking for others interested in the same topic to the statewide mailing list and got very little response.   Fortunately, the two that replied were fantastic and I took their areas of interest and experience, combined them with my own, and was able to construct a proposal to submit.

Disability on the Shelf: Going beyond Large Print
When providing library services how often do we think about accessibility beyond the physical?  When looking at our collections with an eye to diversity do we remember disability? 
Let's explore the challenges and opportunities in finding positive representation, and take a look at tropes and stereotypes, controversy over lauded titles, ableism in the library, and helping patrons of all ages and abilities find characters and stories they can connect to.

Presenting at professional conferences is a completely different creature than conventions.  There's a seriousness and formality that often makes it hard to tell how the audience feels about the subject, as well as a lack of organic discussion between panelists.  Not to knock the fantastic courtesy of the audience, but I like to evoke a reaction, even if it's a crack about hoping it's too soon to spoil that Luke loses a hand in The Empire Strikes Back.  I like making a connection with the audience, and it makes it fun.

Once we opened up the floor to questions the audience continued to be wonderful, bringing up insightful comments and questions, even if sadly we didn't have the answer for all of them.  What really stood out was that the audience clearly took something from the presentation and wanted to continue the dialog, which was one of our goals.

If you're interested, copies of our presentation documents are hosted as PDFs on the MLA website:

As of today I still have a few resources I need to add to my own Resources page, but life and work keep me rather busy.

I also want to share the feedback emailed to me that caused me to happy cry at work.

"I really found your presentation on Tuesday to be meaningful. Of all the programs at conference I attended I've found myself returning to yours most frequently as I think about lasting impact"

I'm still bowled over by that.  When I told my boss she said "That's amazing, you should put it on your resume.  Wait, no.  You're not allowed to update your resume."  It looks like I may also be doing staff workshops in the new fiscal year on this topic.

Source: http://libromancersapprentice.blogspot.com/2017/06/disability-on-shelf-mla-2017.html
Reblogged from Libromancer's Apprentice

More Pie

Art of the Pie: A Practical Guide to Homemade Crusts, Fillings, and Life - Kate McDermott, Andrew Scrivani

Younger son is not a big fan of most fruits, but he likes pumpkin pie and has been asking to make one for a while.  So over the Memorial Day weekend, younger son and I made up a full batch of butter:Crisco pie crust following The Art of Pie.  


On Saturday, we measured out the flour into a metal bowl and put it into the freezer while we went and caught up on overdue yard work.  During one of our breaks, we made up the crust and then refrigerated overnight.


Sunday, We followed the recipe for pumpkin pie (using condensed milk rather than the non-dairy variant). It definitely was far less labor intensive than the pumpkin chiffon pie that is my husband's default (no fussing with separating eggs and whipping egg whites).  The resulting pie was quite nice and not too dense, though I would add a bit more cinnamon and ginger the next time I make it.


Monday,I took the other half of the crust and turned it into an asparagus tomato quiche.  It looks pretty, and the crust was very nice, but the custard/filling didn't quite set. Either I goofed on the custard proportions, or the long delay between prepping the veggies and actually making quiche which allowed the filling to come all the way to room temperature affected it more than I expected.




Memorial Day Rolls! Updated with books


I last rolled exactly a month ago during Dewey's Readathon, with my 7th roll bringing me back to the start square and a free choice of book.


I had hoped to finish Etched in Bone today, finishing up the quartet of books I picked during Dewey's but as of 9:30 pm my time it's looking highly unlikely (over 100 pages left and tomorrow is a work day).   So I'm going to go ahead with the Memorial Day rolls.


Memorial Day Roll #1 (Overall Roll #8)





I've requested two audiobooks that would fit this square, both later volumes in series from my unfinished series list:  206 Bones - Kathy Reichs and Gun Games: A Decker/Lazarus Novel - Faye Kellerman  We'll see which one comes in first


 206 Bones - Kathy Reichs  Gun Games: A Decker/Lazarus Novel - Faye Kellerman  





Memorial Day Roll #2 (Overall Roll #9)



My husband recommended that I just read The Devil and Daniel Webster - Stephen Vincent Benét for this square, but I was also intrigued by A Civil Action - Jonathan Harr, and Manhunt: The 12-Day Chase for Lincoln's Killer - James L. Swanson  


  The Devil and Daniel Webster - Stephen Vincent Benét  A Civil Action - Jonathan Harr   Manhunt: The 12-Day Chase for Lincoln's Killer - James L. Swanson      


Now to see what the library elves bring me in time.


Reading progress update: I've read 201 out of 397 pages.

Etched in Bone  - Anne Bishop

Loving this!!! Nothing's really happening (or at least time's not passing quickly), but I'm getting all the feels for the interplay between the characters


Goliath - Scott Westerfeld, Keith Thompson

One of my goals for this year is to go back and finish out some of the many series that I started and then got distracted before finishing.  I’d read Leviathan  and Behemoth by Scott Westerfeld a while ago, so when I landed on  Paradise Pier I thought it might be a good time to go back and finish out the trilogy. 



As I read, the song Handsome Cabin Boy kept running through my head:

'Tis of a handsome female , As you may understand.

Her mind being bent on rambling unto some foreign land,

She dressed herself in sailor's clothes,  Or so it does appear,

And she hired on with a captain, to serve him for a year….


Well the adventures of Miss  Deryn Sharp aka Mr. Dylan Sharp turn out somewhat better than that of the “cabin boy” in the song, but I think you can understand why the story of a young woman disguised as a midshipman brought the song to mind.


I still like Scott Westerfeld’s clever re-imagining of World War I as a contest between the Darwinists who use bioengineering and the Clankers who create mechanical creatures and still love how Keith Thompson’s interior art enriches the story. However, I found the third volume in the trilogy less enthralling than the first two, and the ending not satisfying at all.  Perhaps I would have felt differently if I had read the last volume sooner when the series still had a magical glow and I had momentum (the magic of BL says that I read Leviathan  in December 2012 and Behemoth in February 2013, even longer ago than I had thought). 


Goliath (543 pages) finished May 27th brings my bank balance to $43