Digging Out From Under the Pile

Book pile – September 2008
September 18, 2008, 11:22 pm
Filed under: book pile | Tags: ,

I still need to post which books I snagged at the American Library Association conference back at the end of June/beginning of July, but here are the books I’ve gotten in the last few weeks:

I got the top row as part of Grand Central Publishing’s advertisement of their Latino Books Program in conjunction with the start of Hispanic Heritage Month (The Gifted Gabaldon Sisters by Lorraine Lopez, Houston, We Have a Problema by Gwendolyn Zepeda, and Dream in Color by Congresswomen Linda and Loretta Sanchez). They all look interesting (Heather made some very wise selections), and I saw The Gifted Gabaldon Sisters received a very positive review in the latest issue of Library Journal. They’re not quite to my reading taste, but looking through them, I immediately thought of a couple of people to recommend them to.

As to how I got Book of Lies by Brad Meltzer, I e-mailed Heather and asked if she had any extra copies lying around her office and she did! I’m still trying to carve out the time to sit down and read this, but from the buzz I’m hearing from unexpected places, I think this is going to be a big book for Brad (who probably doesn’t remember that I met him at a couple of booksignings when his third book released).

Any Given Doomsday by Lori Handeland is a pretty darn readable entry in the urban fantasy genre so far. St. Martin’s offered up 1000 copies to the Library Thing Early Reviewers program from whence I snagged this copy. As part of the LTER non-binding contract, this has jumped to the top of my reading pile so I can get a review of it written and posted soon.


Testing Ubiquity
August 29, 2008, 7:43 pm
Filed under: libraryland | Tags: , , ,

I finally upgraded my work computer’s copy of Firefox to 3.01 just so I could testdrive this new extension called Ubiquity. Web 3.0 welcome to the real world! It’s got some growing up to do, but what newly birthed animal doesn’t?

Some things I’d like to see:
– insertion of command results into blog posts. Example: search for a book I want to feature in Amazon, LibraryThing or Worldcat and be able to put the resulting link/cover here so you can see what I’m planning to read this weekend or what I’m about to review. Currently, I think you can only do this with maps.
– Blog a page the way I can e-mail or Twitter something.

There’s a lot of growth opportunities for this service, and I’m definitely going to keep my eye on it.

California photos
June 27, 2008, 5:09 pm
Filed under: conferences, libraryland | Tags:

For those interested, my Flickr set for ALA is here: ALA Annual 2008.

ALA – Day One
June 27, 2008, 4:00 pm
Filed under: 3M/NMRT log, conferences, libraryland | Tags: , ,

Technically, this is my third day in California, but yesterday and Wednesday, I got  a wonderful tour of the area from a friend of mine who lives here.  We ended up in a few places she’s never been 🙂  We spent Wednesday in the Long Beach, I got to see the Aquarium of the Pacific and touch sharks.  Later, we went to the Queen Mary and took the Haunted Encounters tour.  I didn’t see or feel anything, but my friend did get a weird picture that we discovered later that night at dinner (had on the water of Alamitos Bay, nice!).  Yesterday, we visited the Getty Villa in Malibu.  As an anthropology major in undergrad, it was fun and interesting to see all of the classical art on display.  Checking my camera, I’ve taken 334 photos in the last two days and one video.

Last night was a great time, as after I got back from Malibu and said good-bye to my friend, I went out to dinner with some librarian friends who are part of my reader’s advisory circle of acquaintances.  We discussed what’s been happening in our lives since we last saw each other, what we plan on doing during the conference, and other issues related to our careers.  Situations like this is what makes going to conferences so valuable for me.  There some things that just cannot be replicated over the Internet, though it’s a wonderful supplement to the building of those relationships 🙂

On today’s docket is registration, touching base with a few friends, and hooking up with my parents when they get in to town.  I may go to a reception or two later tonight depending on how I’m feeling as I’m still dealing with jet lag.  Waking up on my own at 6 a.m. is definitely not something I normally do 🙂

ALA Annual 2008 T -2 days
June 23, 2008, 8:05 pm
Filed under: 3M/NMRT log, conferences, libraryland | Tags: , , ,

I received an e-mail earlier this morning from the lovely Kate Hahn reminding me of the need to keep a log of my ALA experiences as part of the requirements of the 3M/NMRT Leadership Award, of which I am a recipient this year. I’ll be posting my logs first to this blog and copy them to Young Librarian as a transition piece.

So, ALA. This is my third ALA Annual and fifth ALA conference: Annual 2005 in Chicago, Midwinter 2007 in Seattle, Annual 2007 in Washington, D.C., and Midwinter 2008 in Philadelphia. I also attended the Public Library Association National Conference in Minneapolis this past March. This is my first time in the state of California and I’m using it as a great excuse for me to finally visit a friend after telling her for almost 10 years “I’ll try to come out next year”. Planning for the conference has been very elastic, time-wise. Once I received word I had been named a recipient of this year’s award, I made my general travel plans, but let my specific conference planning slide a bit. I’ve been playing around with my schedule for probably the past month and got serious about it roughly two weeks ago. I did get a bit distracted as a number of libraries in the area my office serves are located in communities greatly affected by the flooding in eastern Iowa, though there was no damage to our libraries. (Side note: if you’re interested in helping the affected libraries, please visit the 2008 Flood Resource Center or the State Library of Iowa’s update from June 23rd.)

The joy for me about conferences is I get to see friends I pretty much only see at conferences.  However, that is also a bane for me.  I have a wide range of friends and it’s hard to visit with everyone for as long as I want to and still be able to go to programs, visit the exhibits and do other conference related things.  At this point, I’m about done with scheduling specific meetings with friends because I’m pretty booked and I’m tapped out with planning.

Right now, I’m simultaneously ready to leave for my vacation/conference time tonight and I’m in no way prepared.  I was up until 1 am last night packing and sorting through everything I wanted to bring home with me for vacation and the subset of what I wanted to take with me to California.  With all of the luggage restrictions, I’m only checking my one large suitcase and will have two carry-ons.  The large suitcase felt a bit heavy, so I think I’ll rearrange and cull through what I’ve packed when I’m at my parents’ tomorrow.  What’s the rule of thumb for packing for vacation? “Pack what you want to have with you and then take out half of it.”?  I realize I’m going to have little space for books and other promo items, but I learned the joy of shipping stuff at this past Midwinter and I’m really hoping there will be a USPS area for us in the Exhibit Hall.  At the Public Library Association Conference in Minneapolis this past March, there was only the FedEx/Kinko’s in the convention center and there was just not enough space and staff for the amount of people who wanted to ship.  Plus FedEx is typically more expensive than the USPS and I’m all about the saving of money 🙂

Overall, I’m really excited for this conference.  I’ll have a chance to cement relationships that I’ve been building since last year’s Annual and online over the last year.  I feel like this conference is both a culmination of projects and goals I’ve been working in my first five years of professional librarianship and a kick in the pants to the next level of leadership.

American Library Association Annual Conference
June 13, 2008, 6:20 pm
Filed under: conferences, libraryland | Tags: , ,

I’ll be attending the ALA Annual Conference in Anaheim in two weeks. I’ll be out a couple of days early as this is my big personal vacation for the year. If anyone’s interested, here’s the events I’m most likely to show up to at this point, but there is definitely room for fudging. Also, I’ll probably be checking Twitter through the day, my id there is younglibrarian. I do expect to pick up a number of books in the exhibit hall and a few other places, so look for a report here on those after the conference.

Because WordPress keeps stripping out the pretty version of the calendar, go here.

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull – Review

Production companies: Kerner Optical, Paramount Pictures, Lucasfilm, Amblin Entertainment, Santo Domingo Film & Music Video
Director: Steven Spielberg
Stars: Harrison Ford, Karen Allen, Shia LaBeouf, Cate Blanchette, John Hurt, Ray Winstone

Rating: 4

As I think I once mentioned, I go into movies with the only expectation being that I’ll be entertained. I was entertained by Indy 4, but it just didn’t seem quite…in tune. I think part of the reason why I’ve given it as high of a rating as I have is because of the good will that I have towards the franchise, and the movie certainly didn’t kill the good will. I’ll probably go see it again on Monday with family, and I’ll probably buy it when it comes out on video to keep my collection complete.

But getting back to the movie. Indy himself has aged fairly well. I think one of my favorite bits was when he was escaping the Soviets and ran straight into a nuclear testing site. The exposition of what he’s been up to since we last saw him fell in line with what I would have expected of the character. I think the hardest part for me was the loss of Denholm Elliott as Marcus Brody. I appreciated the acknowledgment of his loss, but when they had Jim Broadbent’s character entering Indy’s classroom the way Marcus used to, it felt wrong. There were other little things similar to this that just struck a wrong chord for me, but I’ll acknowledge it could very well be because I am such a long term fan of the series. Plus, I’m one of those people with a degree in anthropology thanks in part to Indiana Jones. There were bits in the movie I did greatly like, such as the scene with one of Indy’s students in the library as they’re trying to escape KGB men. I also loved seeing Karen Allen as Marion again. The banter between Marion and Indy in parts was pretty darn close to what it had been in Raiders.

Overall, and I can’t believe I’m agreeing with a professional movie critic (spoilers!) here, but I think the weakest part of the movie was Lucas’ script. It was uneven and missed a lot of what worked in the previous films. The actors and Spielberg definitely did their best with what they had to work with, but Blanchette’s character in particular seemed cartoonish. As an Indy villian, I found Amrish Puri’s Mola Ram so much more real. The more I think about this, I think the root of these issues is Lucas’ attempt to change the genre of Indy from world adventurer to science fiction, “the aliens are out to get us”. Yes, I get that pulp storyline’s more in keeping with the time period of Crystal Skull, but I’ve always been more a fan of the ’30’s adventurers, even with the paranormal elements. When Indy 4 was announced, I really feared Lucas would be the one to sink the ship after the way he screwed with Star Wars (Phantom Menace, ick). He hasn’t sunk the ship, but he sure as hell didn’t help it with the insistence on alien intervention. Probably the best part of the movie were the action scenes and Ford, Allen and Shia LaBeouf put on a great show.

Final analysis, if you’re a fan of the Indy series, go see it to catch up with favorite characters Indy and Marion. If you enjoy action adventures in your summer movies, this is a good bet. If movies with some cheese and ’50’s alien theories aren’t your thing, stay away.

One more thing I found hilarious, I stayed past the credits just in case there was an easter egg scene. Not the case, but I was there with a bunch of high schoolers waiting for the same thing, and I heard one kid say “that’s the end of the movie?” Interesting how we’ve been conditioned to expect an extra scene after the credits with “summer blockbusters”.