So this is the new year…

I have a number of random things to throw out there, so this post will be in numbered list form.

1. An awesome time was had by all at the Lowest of the Low New Year’s Eve show at Town Ballroom. See Jen’s post. Many thanks to Jen and Chuck for dragging us out! If you haven’t already seen it on Facebook, lookit this cute pic:



During the show, I tweeted that “Salesmen Cheats and Liars” just wasn’t the same without Lawrence, and he responded by calling me a “doll.” Teehee.

Most awesome exchange between Jen and me during this concert, while the band is playing the song “Winter Sleepers” from Sordid Fiction:

Jen: I don’t like this song.

Me: (shrug) It reminds me of…

Jen: X (code for my ex-bf)! I KNOW! I read something on the Internet today that reminded me of him…Oh, I know…it was a Yahoo article about how not to break up with someone.

Me: *laughs for 10 minutes*

2. I am back to school. I have a ginormous pile of grading to do that I did not do over break that I am procrastinating doing by writing this blog post.

3. I went to the GYM today.

4. In case you haven’t noticed, I don’t spend a lot of time here these days. Here’s a list of other places, complete with links, I can be found online:

Please feel free to follow/friend/whatever me in those places… 🙂

5. I tend to not make resolutions as such, but I’ve been making an effort to be a healthier/happier/less stressed me, and plan to step that up in the coming year. There may be more on this later, unless I get too busy, which is highly likely.

6. I read 47 books in 2011, which is just short of my usual 50 or so…I started reading a 48th, but am not yet finished with it. I was feeling some mild guilt about this, but then I said, “Wait a minute…this is silly.” So I’ve decided that my only reading “goal” for 2012 is to enjoy as many books as I can and not allow myself to feel one second of stress over something I do for fun.  See #5.

7. I think I posted here something like…8 times in 2011? While there’s a part of me that would like to post more, well, see #5 and #6.

8. On that note, I should find something productive to do…happy 2012!

Book sales = Love

book sale

No matter how many books I have, I cannot resist a good book sale. For the past several years, I have attended the AAUW Book Sale, which is just fantastic. I went twice…once early in the sale, when the selection was still pretty good, and then back for the bag sale on Sunday.

Bag sales are the best. $3 to fill up a paper grocery bag.

book sale

I also keep my eyes open for the local library sales. The Buffalo & Erie County Public Library has made this a lot easier, by adding this calendar to their website. (The libraries also usually have bag days on the last day of the sale!)

book sale

As an English teacher, these sales have been SUCH a huge help in building up a classroom library. I’m probably going to run out of room soon, but I can’t stop! There’s another sale at a nearby library this week, and you can bet I’m going to be there…

2010 books read

I started to update my book post, but then I realized that there were a good 20 books I hadn’t put on the list. Instead, here is the link to my Goodreads “read in 2010” shelf.

(If you’re not yet my friend on Goodreads, go ahead and add me!)

Books read in 2010

It’s been a while since I posted a book update. I’ve been pretty good about keeping up on Goodreads, but not so much with the post. I’m too lazy to go into detail right now, so if you have any specific questions, please ask!

1. The Enchantment Emporium–Tanya Huff
2. Stitches–David Small
3. When You Reach Me–Rebecca Stead
4. The Lightning Thief (Percy Jackson and the Olympians book 1)–Rick Riordan
5. To Kill a Mockingbird–Harper Lee**
6. Macbeth–William Shakespeare**
7. Memoir of an Occasional Superheroine–Valerie D’Orazio
8. A Local Habitation–Seanan McGuire
9. A Few Good Men–Aaron Sorkin
10. Planetary–Warren Ellis (vol. 1-3)
11. Romeo & Juliet–William Shakespeare
12. Pygmalion–George Bernard Shaw
13. Rats Saw God–Rob Thomas
14. The Losers–Andy Diggle
15. I Read It, But I Dont’ Get It–Cris Tovani
16. Understanding and Engaging Adolescents–Jeffrey A. Miller
17. Feed–Mira Grant
18. Airhead–Meg Cabot
19. Being Nikki–Meg Cabot
20. Odd Thomas–Dean Koontz
21. The Walking Dead
22. Ex Machina (v. 9)–Brian K. Vaughan
23. The Hunger Games–Suzanne Collins
24. Club Dead–Charlaine Harris
25. Scott Pilgrim (1)
26. Scott Pilgrm (2)
27. Scott Pilgrim (3)–Bryan Lee O’Malley
28. Juliet, Naked–Nick Hornby
29. Only the Good Spy Young–Ally Carter
30. Thirteen Reasons Why–Jay Asher

30 Day Challenge-Day 4

Favorite book

wrinkle in time

While there are literally hundreds of books that I love, there is only one answer to this question. My favorite book of all time is A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle.

A short list of other books I love:

  • To Kill a Mockingbird
  • The Velveteen Rabbit
  • Speak
  • The Handmaid’s Tale
  • Girlfriend in a Coma
  • The Shining

Why I <3 my Kindle


I have to admit, I feel sort of guilty about loving my Kindle after Amazonfail part deux, but I do love it so. I see a lot of hate directed toward the e-book reader out there on the internet…and while it’s not my goal to change anyone’s mind, I thought I’d write about a few of the reasons why I like mine.

1. Instant gratification

Last week, I decided that I wanted to read the Newbery-winning When You Reach Me. I mean, I knew I wanted to read it, but I decided that I wanted to read it right now. I went to Amazon, downloaded the free sample, and was happily reading away within minutes. When I got to the end of the sample, I clicked on “buy,” and had the whole novel at my fingertips.

2. Portability

I love being able to carry around a whole library of books anywhere I want. Now, I don’t carry my Kindle with me *everywhere*, but I always take it with me when I have an appointment, or when I’m traveling. (Any reader knows the dilemma of choosing which books to bring with you on vacation, or even on a weekend away. Now I can bring as many books as I want!)

3. Buying more books, taking up less space

I am an English teacher married to a librarian. Needless to say, we have a lot of books. I don’t even have room for all of my books…I have books in boxes. I have books in my classroom. I have stacks of books in random corners all over the house. And Rand? Has more books than I do. With our Kindles, we can continue buying new books that we don’t have to find shelf (or floor) space for. (Please note…this has not stopped either of us from buying books in their regular  form.)

4. Electronic Paper Technology

I know lots of people read e-books on their iPhones and other portable devices. I know (also) that lots of people are excited about the iPad and its e-book reader. What I love about the Kindle that those devices don’t offer is the way it mimics actual paper. (Yes, other e-readers have this technology, but I don’t own those. If I did, I’d be writing about them…) There’s no backlighting–some people have complained about this, but backlighting is what makes looking at a computer screen for extended periods hard on your eyes.

5. The sample option

I mentioned this above, but I love being able to sample a book before deciding if I want to buy it. It’s the electronic equivalent of browsing in a bookstore (something I also enjoy doing). It’s also a good way for me to keep track of things I might want to read.

Now, is the Kindle perfect? Of course not. One thing, for example, that I hope Amazon offers in the future is the ability to share books within a household. Rand and I both have Kindles, but we have no way of sharing reading material. So if Rand buys a book for his Kindle and he thinks I might enjoy it, the only way for him to share it with me is to give me HIS Kindle. Or for me to buy another copy of the book–something we would never have to do with an ink-and-paper book. (a quick google search lets me know that there are ways of sharing, but they’re not *good* ways.)

And then, of course, there’s the DRM problem (which is sort of the same issue as above). I occasionally think I should be more upset about it, but I haven’t been able to get worked up over it.

Anyway, that’s what I like about my Kindle. Now that the iPad is out there, do you think the Kindle is a dead technology? Will people still want a dedicated e-book reader when there is a device out there that can do a bunch of other things as well? Will the latest Amazon debacle over pricing of e-books drive potential customers away? (I have no idea…that’s why I’m asking you!)

Book swap

Hey everyone!

I need six people who would be interested in participating in a book swap–it’s chain letter style. You mail one book (it only costs about $3 to mail most books), get six people to participate, and hopefully get a whole bunch of books in the mail in return.

Leave me a comment or send a message if interested, and I will email you with all the details. Thanks!

Books read in 2009

I’m not sure this list is 100% accurate. I always seem to forget a few things. I also didn’t count a couple of things I started but didn’t get around to finishing (mostly school-related).

I just started The Enchantment Emporium by Tanya Huff, so that will likely be the first on my list for 2010.

The actual last book I finished last year was Liar by Justine Larbalestier, which I thought was fantastic, and I am dying to talk about it. If you’ve read it (or plan to) please let me know!!

1. Cross My Heart and Hope to Spy–Ally Carter
2. Dead Until Dark–Charlaine Harris
3. Sweethearts–Sara Zarr
4. Rise and Shine–Anna Quindlen
5. The War at Ellsmere–Faith Erin Hicks
6. Life as We Knew It–Susan Beth Pfeffer
7. The Walking Dead–Robert Kirkman
8. Don’t Judge a Girl by her Cover–Ally Carter (ARC)
9. Paper Towns–John Green
10. Ironside: A Modern Faery’s Tale–Holly Black
11. Jinx–Meg Cabot
12. Persepolis–Marjane Satrapi
13. Persepolis II–Marjane Satrapi
14. Pants on Fire–Meg Cabot
15. Hitman–Garth Ennis
16. The Little Prince
17. Heart-Shaped Box–Joe Hill
18. Romeo & Juliet*
19. Julius Caesar*
20. Alis–Naomi Rich
21. Flashforward–Robert J. Sawyer
22. Living Dead in Dallas–Charlaine Harris
23. To Kill a Mockingbird–Harper Lee*
24. The Fantastic Four–Mark Waid (ongoing–I think I’ve read 3 collections))
25. DMZ–Brian Wood (ongoing)
26. Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist–Rachel Cohn and David Levithan
27. Lord of the Flies–William Golding*
28. Jessica’s Guide to Dating on the Dark Side–Beth Fantaskey
29. Summon the Keeper–Tanya Huff
30. The Second Summoning–Tanya Huff
31. Long Hot Summoning–Tanya Huff
32. WWW: Wake–Robert J. Sawyer
33. The Other Side of the Island–Allegra Goodman
34. The Geek Girl’s Guide to Cheerleading–Charity Tahmaseb and Darcy Vance
35. Transmetropolitan–Warren Ellis
36. Just After Sunset–Stephen King
37. Wintergirls–Laurie Halse Anderson
38. Rosemary and Rue–Seanan McGuire
39. Geektastic–Holly Black and Cecil Castellucci (editors)
40. The Mediator Book 2: The Ninth Key–Meg Cabot
41. Liar–Justine Larbalestier
42. A Christmas Carol–Charles Dickens**
43. The Year of the Flood–Margaret Atwood
44. The Odyssey (abridged version)–Homer (translated by Robert Fitzgerald)**
45. An Abundance of Katherines–John Green

*Books read/reading for school

Rosemary and Rue–a review

Rosemary and Rue, by Seanan McGuire
DAW Books
September 1, 2009

Full disclosure: Seanan is a friend, but I consider that more the reason that I knew about this book than the reason that I liked it. 😉

Short version: I love, love, loved this book.

Longer version: Seanan McGuire’s first novel, Rosemary and Rue, is for anyone who has ever believed in faeries, for anyone who has ever wished to step into a wardrobe and out into a world that is magical and every bit as real as our own.

October (Toby) Daye is a changeling–half human and half faerie, caught between two worlds and never quite fitting in to either. Toby is a private investigator–I picture her as sort of a grown-up version of Veronica Mars, but with magic. This book calls itself “faerie noir,” and that’s an apt description. It’s dark, it’s gritty, and it’s not always easy to read, but it is always compelling reading.

In the book’s prologue, we learn that Toby had fallen in love (and had a child) with a human man. She was off working a case one night when she walked into a trap and disappeared. For seventeen years.

When she returns, her family has moved on, having believed her to be dead. She isolates herself from everyone she knew, not wanting to be a part of either of the worlds she inhabits. That is, until the murder of a friend (if you can call her that) pulls her back in and forces her to interact with the people (and fae) she tried so hard to walk away from. Toby will solve the case, or die trying.

McGuire’s voice is influenced by modern-day writers like Warren Ellis, Stephen King, and Joss Whedon, yet it is completely her own. The world she creates is at once fantastic and utterly real. The book is set in present-day San Francisco, and the city lives and breaths and inhabits the book as much as the characters do.

Toby is a fantastic example of a flawed heroine–she hurts, she bleeds, she screws up, and you will alternately want to hug her and slap her silly. In short, Toby is real, as real as the world she inhabits. She’ll make you feel her pain, and you’ll cry the tears that Toby won’t let herself cry.

Rosemary and Rue is the first book in a series, and it does exactly what a good series novel should do–it makes you want more, but stands on its own as a complete story at the same time. I’ll be anxiously awaiting the release of book 2, A Local Habitation, in March 2010.

If you like paranormal fiction, grown-up fairie tales, urban fantasy, tight prose, well-drawn worlds and characters, sarcasm, murder mysteries, or any combination thereof, pick up Rosemary and Rue. You won’t be disappointed.

BufBloPoFo 09 Topic for Day 12

Lisa, Maeve, Addie and I had Unkie BAStart and Auntie Outgrabes over for some vino and pastries last night. The girls, happy to have an audience, but happier to have cookies, took their time heading for bed. Parental wherewithal can come from years of childrearing, or it can apparently be pulled from a bag of goodies bought at Starbucks. That kind of knowledge doesn’t come automatically for parents, so for day 12 (three more days!) I want to hear your best advice for those of us raising kids.

So, I was all set to say, “I’ve got nothin’.” After all, I don’t have kids. I certainly don’t know anything about raising them.

But then, I thought…wait a minute. I’m a teacher. I should have a thing or two to say about this topic, right? Granted, I don’t get the little darlings until they’ve reached puberty, and that’s a whole different ballgame than raising little ones. 😉

So yeah, here’s my advice, for whatever it’s worth:

Read. Read to your kids. Read with your kids. Let your kids see you reading. Take them to the library. Surround them with books. If reading is a normal part of their life from the start, they’ll be less likely to hate it later on. Also, there is no end to the benefits kids get from reading. Their vocabulary skills will be stronger. They’ll be better writers. They’ll be better thinkers, better communicators, better equipped for the future. They’ll be more curious about the world, and they’ll know where to turn when they have questions.

But hey, you’re bloggers…I don’t really have to tell you any of this, do I? 😉

Oh, and when they’re teenagers? Don’t let them wear flip-flops to school in the middle of winter. Seriously.