Friday, February 29, 2008

End of an Era

I just finished the most wonderful book:
Twilight at Monticello: The Final Years of Thomas Jefferson by Alan Pell Crawford.
At just 264 pages, it is a quick but moving read.
My favorite section is Chapter 38, "Is It the Fourth?" which details the final day of both Thomas Jefferson and John Adams, who both died on the 4th of July 1826, the 50th anniversary of America's founding. Two leaders of the Revolution were gone.

Thursday, February 28, 2008


of Ireland this summer...

Here is a music video from my favorite Irish musician, Luka Bloom.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Travel on my mind

So I booked a trip to Ireland this morning. It was such a great deal, and surprisingly in the SUMMER, I just couldn't pass it up. Tom and I were in Ireland in October of 2006 and traveled throughout the East coast of the island so this time we are flying into Shannon and focusing on the West coast from the Dingle Peninsula to the Aran Islands and Galway. The best part, Tom and I are traveling with my son, my parents and 2 other couples for their first trip to the Emerald Isle. It's time to refresh the delights of Ireland's West coast so I am happily reading some of my favorite travel books.
DK's Ireland

Lonely Planet Ireland

Let's Go Ireland

I love travel books and am happily researching Ireland as well as Germany for my September trip to Octoberfest.
I'm flying to Punta Gorda Florida next week for a girls week with my mom, we're going to plan our Ireland trip, swim in her pool, hit the beach and bring flowers to my Grandparent's graves in my hometown of Gulfport. I can't wait to walk the streets and the beach of one of my favorite places in the world. Hopefully I can also play in my step dad's new RV, just like the Griswald's!

Friday, February 22, 2008

Artists' Books

I had a class at the School of the Art Institute in Chicago last night which was a great opportunity to poke around an academic library. We were admitted to the Joan Flasch Artists' Book collection, the 16 mm film collection as well as the 6th floor John Flaxman Library in the Wabash building. The Artists' Book collection was an extremely unusual library of books in as many styles and materials as you can imagine. I read one book made and contained in a man's dress shoe, another made of leaves, another was a music box, and my favorite a pop up book about Brooklyn done by the Brooklyn Public Library. Besides the access to the one of a kind books last night, it was entertaining to be in a Chicago college to watch the flow of students entering and leaving the building. I finished my undergrad degree at another popular "arts" school in Chicago, (Columbia College) and standing in the library of SAIC last night made me feel nostalgic. The students were so young and so unique, dressed in a combination of clothing that was resale and funky as only college kids can. I stood in the lobby and watched a veritable parade of colors and styles go buy, young Asian women who looked more like manga characters than students, and young men in tight black jeans, combat boots and clothes from a generation they weren't born into. It made me feel old especially thinking that my own son will be off to college in 3 short years. It also made me giggle, thinking that no matter how much my own life may change including my happiness to have left the days of rammen noodles, thrift store shopping and "artsy" boys behind, the college student ideals remain the same.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Looking for Holden Caulfield

On of my great joys is my son's love of reading. He enjoys series, especially the Cirque de Freak books by Darren Shan and the Harry Potter 7. Yesterday he requested that I bring home from work the J.D. Salinger teen angst classic The Catcher in the Rye. Interesting choice I was thinking to myself, but then again he is approaching the age of the character Holden Caulfield. Apparently he found a copy in study hall, picked it up, started reading and was hooked. I believe he will finish the book today which might make for some good "book talk" over dinner this week.
If you haven't read The Catcher in the Rye, you should. The character of Holden Caulfield has long been the poster boy for teen rebellion and anger, most famously to John Lennon's killer Mark David Chapman who was carrying a copy of the book when he shot Lennon. A friend of mine was in a relationship for too long with a guy who was a complete slacker, his line, "My hero is Holden Caulfield". I kept asking her, "Is that the attraction...good lord WHY?"
I read in an interview once that J.D. Salinger has famously denied ALL attempts at acquiring the rights to turn the book into a film, even from Harvey Weinstein and Steven Spielberg. Personally I think the long dead River Phoenix or the recently deceased Heath Ledger would have been great as Holden. As long as Salinger is alive,and he is 89, there won't be a movie made.
However, once my boy finishes the book, we will have some great discussion about unforgettable characters. Maybe we should discuss on a carousel?

Monday, February 18, 2008

When Librarians Get Creative

This short YouTube clip was created by 2 librarians in Kansas. It is a 90 second review of one of my favorite books, Austenland by Shannon Hale. It's silly but a creative way to think outside the typical written book review.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Got Book?

So after years of sporadic writing on my first book, I joined a writing group that meets twice a month. My first meeting was Wednesday night and I think the group will be helpful with my procrastination on getting my ideas down on paper. My book is a young adult novel that I started a few years ago when the main character literally popped fully formed into my mind. I wrote the first couple of chapters with ease, setting up my main characters, the location and the conflict she will wrestle with. I have a general outline as well as ideas for additional adventures featuring my main characters that I plan to incorporate into a series of books. After my first writing group meeting, I am confident that with the opportunities to read my work to the other members, as well as receiving feedback and criticisms, they will help keep me on track. While I didn't read my first 2 chapters on Wednesday, I plan on reading at our next meeting. One of the authors involved recommended the book Hooked: Write Fiction That Grabs Readers at Page One & Never Lets Them Go by Les Edgerton which I just started reading.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Love Day

Silly Hallmark holiday, but it means something. My husband proposed for the 2nd time on Valentine's Day, 2 proposals, 2 rings, can't beat that!
My youngest Valentine woke me with a chocolate chip pancake breakfast in bed this morning. My husband woke me with lovely gifts before he left for a business trip at 6 am. It's been a good day.
Love and be loved today.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Beagles Rule the World!

Uno wins Westminster and makes history!
Beagles rule!

Monday, February 11, 2008

Beagle Wins Best of Breed!

For those familiar with my beloved beagle Eloise are also probably familiar with the first website I ever created
I created the site 4 years ago and while I don't update it as often as I should, it is still the website most of our friends and family remember.
This morning when in dire need of a giggle, my beagle once again came to the rescue. While I wasn't happy with the mess she made, it's nice to know in the midst of a bad day, some things can still make me laugh.

Today, a lively little beagle named Uno won Best of Breed at the Westminster Kennel Club, the first Beagle to win in the Hound group since 1939. He is the favorite to win Best of Show tomorrow night. If he wins, he will be the first Beagle to win EVER and will finally show the judges why beagles are one of the most popular dogs in the world. Uno is stealing all the press and the attention from the more traditional show dogs and I hope he wins!
Check out the Westminster website for results.

Friday, February 8, 2008

When Blogging Makes a Difference

I love reading blogs, especially ones that inspire. Check out these personal blogs that are really making a difference to those who read them:
Kris Carr's Crazy Sexy Cancer Blog
Lynn's Weight Loss Journey

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Paper is Not Dead

In the world of books there is the often hotly debated topic of the future of print. With so many newspapers online and many books going straight to electronic readers such as the Kindle, authors, buyers, publishers and readers love to debate on the future of the written word. Just for the record, from someone in the business of books, print is not dead. Readers are deeply attached to their books and always will be. Even I prefer to read certain print electronically, especially international newspapers, blogs, gossip rags and national news. The accessibility and technology of publishing is changing and so is the way we read. I enjoy my light reading in the form of paper or hard cover books but am particulary attached to magazines in their traditional print format. Maybe it's the glossy covers, the artwork style ads or the simplicity of rolling a mag up and tossing it in my bag, whatever it is, I love my magazines. I have weeded out the subscriptions I receive to just those whose monthly issues I prefer to keep. Magazines I file away and refer back to for travel, recipes or just the art and photographs. Here are my subcriptions for 2008:

Budget Travel

Conde Nast Traveler

Cooking Light

Fine Gardening

Travel & Leisure

And those that I buy regularly from the newstand:
OK UK edition

Real Simple

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Super Tuesday

Super Tuesday is here finally! As soon as I left the house this morning I went directly to my polling place and voted. I LOVE to vote. I love the entire process, giving the judge your name, signing your voter card etc. I'll admit with the new electronic voting booths, it's not nearly as fun as voting in the 80's or 90's when you got to step inside the little booth with the curtain. But I still get a rush by the simple fact that I CAN vote and I take every opportunity to do so. With the choice of voting with a paper ballot or electronically I chose the touch screen and it's nice to see you still get a paper ballot to check your selections. If you are not registered to vote, I am a Deputy Voter Registrar (since I am a librarian) so contact me and if I can't register you, I'll find someone who can.
Tonight I will be at my friend Jessica's house, who should be working on someone's campaign (she knows everything about politics) to watch the results roll in. It's run to share in the election excitement with someone who is passionate about politics.
In my opinion, if you don't vote, I won't discuss the state of our country with you, not taxes, not the War, health care, nada. I don't care what party you're in just exercise your right to vote and thank your country men and women that you have the opportunity.
P.S. I love the sticker you get after you vote!

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Great Place in the Neighborhood

There is an American Legion Hall a few blocks from my home and it's one of the best places to hang out in the area. Don't get me wrong....I live within walking distance of the quaint downtown area of my village which is full of fantastic restaurants, bars, movies and live theater, but the Legion is really a great surprise. Friday nights are "Open Mic" nights and I've seen some fantastic talent there, full orchestras, local bands, Elton John and Billy Joel style entertainers and just truly talented musicians. Besides the great variety of live music, the beers are cold and CHEAP, like $1.50 a beer! And on a hot summer Friday night it's great to be able to walk to the Hall, catch some great music, drink cold tap and walk home. Another great event, various Sundays are "Pancake Breakfast" mornings with hot pancakes and other great buffet items, all served up by Legion members and served with spicy fresh bloody mary's and eaten on wooden tables outside near the park or inside while a full orchestra plays.
Coming home this afternoon I passed the Hall and it looked like the place was in full swing for their Super Bowl party, I might have to stop by for a beer inbetween the other parties I am heading too.