Thursday, April 29, 2010

Lively Librarian's 3rd Contest!

Hello Readers

It's time for another contest on Lively Librarian!

For a chance to win a $25 Amazon gift card just answer the following question by leaving your answer in the comments.

What is your favorite book to film adaption?

The winner will be chosen by comment number at random and is not based on your answer. If you are a blogger or have a URL please feel free to share that info! Deadline to enter is 8:00 am 5/7/10.

I will post the winner's name by noon on Friday, May 7 on Lively Librarian and the winner must contact me at livelylibrarian at with an email address to claim your prize.

Good luck and thanks for reading!

P.S. The picture above is my favorite book to film adaption. I'm sure that doesn't shock any of my readers.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Home Views

Here is a little secret... I am the daughter and sister of 2 women who like myself, are home spys. (Oh and cemetery lovers, but that is another post.) To summarize a trip with my mom and sister, we shop, eat, wander through cemeteries and tour homes. During our trip to Charleston last month we toured a number of historic homes and gardens organized by the Historic Charleston Foundation. Here is what I found interesting about Charleston homes.
  • The kitchen is not the heart of the house. In the Old South, kitchens were often separate buildings in the yard due to residents fears about fire. As kitchens were moved inside the homes they were almost an afterthought. In the dozen or so homes we toured, we never saw large kitchens or open concept living. There were no kitchen islands or great rooms, but small rooms which flowed into one another. The kitchens are often small and in the middle of the house, surrounded by cozy libraries, formal dining rooms, expansive entry ways and almost always surrounded by large verandas and porches. I found it fascinating that the hostess wants to be out of the kitchen, mingling with her guests outdoors or enjoying formal dining. A very, very different style from the Midwest and one I really liked. It created a much cozier atmosphere, but also one of formal living, where guests still dress up for parties and enjoy a cocktail in a library not standing around a kitchen island and the hostess mingles with her guests throughout her home and garden.

Last year during the weeks I spent at Oxford (my mom was my companion for the trip) we had a nightly ritual. First we enjoyed a delicious meal with friends at our college dining hall and then we walked. We wandered through the streets of Oxford, often at dusk, just as people were arriving home from work, sitting down for dinner or relaxing in their gardens. Dusk...just as the lights come on but it's not quite the perfect time to glimpse the way people live.

However because I don't want to get arrested for being a "Peeping Tom", and a glimpse into a house when walking by is a quick fix, I feed my home/real estate addiction through films, TV and the Internet. It should come as no surprise that I religiously watch HGTV's House Hunters and House Hunters International. And then there are my 2 favorite websites dedicated to all things home spying. I've been reading The Real Estalker for a couple of years and love it. Hysterically written and always full of big, beautiful usually celebrity homes. Recently I found the site Hooked on Houses, the perfect mix of regular homes, before and after pictures, featured celebrity homes and the houses, brownstones, vacation getaways etc we love from our favorite movies. There are dozens of your favorite film homes listed on the site (Father of the Bride, The Holiday, Notting Hill, An Affair to Remember, Twilight) but my favorite movie house of all time, is Diane Keaton's beach house in Something's Gotta Give. You'll find a few movie homes adapted from novels such as Atonement, Brideshead Revisited, Chocolat and Gone with the Wind. Enjoy the tours!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Treasures at the Library Book Sale

My local public library held a book sale over the weekend and I stopped by on Sunday afternoon to browse. After a relaxing morning spent listening to Jamie Cullum's latest jazz album, browsing used books on a rainy afternoon was really the perfect way to spend the day. Here are the treasures I purchased, total cost: $12.

Chief Modern Poets of England and America 1960
Shakespeare's Major Plays and Sonnets 1948
Victorian Household Hints
Picnic: 125 Recipes with 29 seasonal Menus
Clambakes & Fish Fries: 23 All American Seafood Celebrations
Fine Art Reproductions: Old and Modern Masters
Watercolor Techniques
Painting Country Gardens in Watercolor, Pen & Ink
Private View: Inside Baryshnikov's American Ballet Theatre
The Kennedy Style: Magical Evenings in the White House
Once Upon a Time in Great Britain: A Travel Guide to the Sights and Settings of Your Favorite Children's Stories

I've already read through Once Upon a Time in Great Britain and have tons of ideas for my next trip to the UK. I'm now happily devouring the pictures in Baryshnikov's American Ballet which is really the most gorgeous coffee table art book. Find out when your local library sale might find some treasures while supporting libraries.

Friday, April 23, 2010

How Much Do You Haggle for a Bargain?

A few years ago after I had Lasik eye surgery I bought my first pair of Maui Jim sunglasses. I liked the light weight and wrap around style of the glasses I chose and they provided good protection for my light blue eyes. What I didn't like was the rather cheap plastic they were made of. After a few hot months in my car the frames got a bit loose until finally last year one of the lens fell out. I know, I know, don't leave your sunglasses on the dashboard. But alas, I often forgot. Regardless of my carelessness, the sunglasses lasted a couple of years without major scratches.

One of the perks of buying a pair of Maui Jim sunglasses is the warranty. For $10 you can send your glasses back for repair, and if past your 2 year warranty, they call you will a quote for repair or replacement. Last week I dug the glasses out of the glove compartment of my car and shipped them back to Maui Jim with a check for $10. Within a few days I got a call from a guy with a quote for repair. Since the glasses were in such bad shape the quote was $120 for an entirely new pair. Not bad really considering I paid twice that for the glasses. Well I wasn't interested in paying that so I told the guy no thanks. Well that's when the pressure started. I got the "Well I'm trying to work with you here, I want you to be a satisfied customer..." and the "Well how about I make it $60, I'll charge you just for the cost of the lens replacement." Ya, still wasn't working on me and at that point, him slashing the price to half the original quote merely pissed me off. He continued for awhile about having to ship them back to me un-repaired instead of recycling them as I suggested and finally I just said goodbye and hung up. (I had already replaced them with a nice pair of sturdy Ray-Bans) That got me to thinking, do you have a limit for a bargain?

I'm a bargain shopper but I'm not a negotiator. Funny since my father's side of the family are hagglers extraordinaire. The only place I'll bargain is abroad with street or market vendors or in Little India in Chicago. If they expect you to haggle, I usually will give it a try. But I hate wheedling with a seller for a better price. Drives me crazy the people who try and get a better deal at a garage sale, like they offer 50 cents for a 75 cent piece of crap. Oh and don't even get me started on the deal makers at flea markets. Now I love a bargain, but if a glass serving bowl is $1.00 at a yard sale, I'll pay the $1.00. No negotiation needed.

What is the price of a bargain? And who pays the final price? Pride or Pocketbook?

Interested in books on bargaining? Check these out:

Bargaining for Advantage: Negotiation Strategies for Reasonable People

Bargaining with the Devil: When to Negotiate, When to Fight

Garage Sale America

The Pocket Idiot's Guide to Garage and Yard Sales

Thursday, April 22, 2010

RLA CE Program on Screencasting

This morning I co-presented a program at the North Suburban Library System on Screencasting. The program was organized by RLA CE (Reference Librarians Association Continuing Education) and sponsored by HW Wilson. For more information on the program visit the RLA webpage.

I had a great time presenting with Mick Jacobsen, a friend from library school, fellow Synergist and my go-to tech guy. I also had the opportunity to meet and present with Stephanie Kerns, a librarian at Northwestern University's Galter Library who did an interesting presentation on using screencasting tools in academic libraries.

For those of you visiting my blog who were in attendance, here are the links to training tools I mentioned.

PHPL 23 Things
PHPL Computer Group

Ideas for Earth Day

Happy Earth Day readers!

Here are a few interesting websites with information and ideas about Going Green.
What are you doing to make a difference today?

Earth Day website

A 20 minute film on consumer waste and the consequences of "stuff"
The Story of Stuff

Book on Cutting Your Household Budget
Be Centsable by Chrissy Pate and Kristin McKee

An alternative to plastic serving ware and storage by ThinkBaby Feeding System

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Find a Cure

On Thursday I posted A Friend Online.
On Friday her battle against breast cancer ended.
On Saturday I attended a fundraiser to support Susan G. Komen for the Cure.
Tomorrow I drive to Michigan to pay my respects to an amazing young woman. Her story will not end just because her life did.

For her. For my Mom (a breast cancer survivor). My Grandma. And the other half a dozen women in my family who have fought breast cancer. Support screenings, research, treatment and a cure.

Here are resources for women in the Chicago area from

Buy a Mom a Mammogram (312) 345-1322
Free mammograms and diagnostic testing

Breast Health Outreach (866) 88-ACCESS
Screenings and treatment to low income and medically underserved women

Bright Pink Outreach Program for High Risk Women (312) 519-9509
Breast cancer education for high risk young women

Breast Cancer Screening Program (630) 682-7400
Breast cancer screenings for low income uninsured minority women

Breast Care for Low-Income Women (847) 316-1000
Free mammogram screenings for low income uninsured Hispanic and African American women in Northern Chicago and Evanston

Breast Care for Low Income Women Program (773) 278-2000
Breast cancer education and outreach to low income uninsured and underinsured African American and Hispanic women of the Near West Chicago.

Hispanic Breast Awareness Campaign (312) 482-6301
Education to low income Hispanic women

VNA Breast Cancer Screening for Underserved (630) 978-2532
Free mammogram screening for low income uninsured Hispanic and African American women in the Aurora and Elgin area

Breast Cancer Prevention for Asian Women (630) 355-4322
Breast cancer screening and outreach for Asian community in DuPage, Will and Cook counties

ENCOREplus (847) 662-4247
Provides low income and under/uninsured minority women in Lake County with outreach, breast cancer education and mammography services

Breast & Cervical Cancer Screening Program (312) 666-3494
Breast health education, clinical breast exams, and screenings for women in Albany Park

Project Access (815) 334-8987
No cost/low cost clinic for low income and medically underserved Hispanic women in McHenry County

Save Our Sisters (630) 835-1430
Health education and outreach to South Asian and Middle Eastern communities

State of the Art Breast Cancer Risk & Prevention Program for Underserved Women
(312) 864-4457
Breast cancer risk assessment and genetic counseling for minority women

Breast Health Awareness Peer Education Project (773) 572-6981
Healthcare and wellness programs for gay, lesbian, bi-sexual and transgender persons

Breast Cancer Early Detection Project for Korean Women (773) 583-5501
Outreach services to increase breast cancer awareness in the Korean American Community

Whole Women, Whole Health (312) 567-6724
Complementary alternative care, massage, acupuncture, yoga, counseling and meditation to breast cancer patients

Su Salud/Su Vida (Your Heath/Tour Life) (708)597-2000
Breast cancer education and early detection workshops for low income uninsured Chinese women in Chicago's South Side

Thursday, April 15, 2010

A Friend Online

A few years ago I stumbled across a blog written by a young woman who was battling breast cancer. I don't remember when exactly I found her blog or when I first started reading her regular updates, but I do remember adding her to my list of favorites and checking in on her life regularly. I eventually connected with her on the social networking site Crazy, Sexy, Life and on Facebook which allowed for more real time updates.

She was diagnosed with breast cancer at 25 and during the years I've read her blog she has had good news and bad news, been married and moved to the Midwest and tried treatment after treatment. She's never shied away from sharing her test results, her hopes and fears or pictures of herself losing her hair or sitting in a hospital bed. Quite simply she's invited her readers along with her every step of the way and I'm amazed at her bravery. I also admire her tenacity and spunk as she fights the cancer, at the humor she manages to find during her grueling treatments and her positive outlook in the face of a devastating diagnosis. She has always maintained that she was going to beat the disease and I've always believed she would.

But I think my friend is dying. Her blog entries still display her spunky personality and her tenacity but I know...from her words...her health is declining. I check her blog for updates every day. I post on her Facebook page to let her know that I am thinking of her and hope...and hope...that she is just on another vacation to see the sea and lay in the sun as she so loves to do. But I've had a bad feeling lately and I can tell from the comments and posts of others, they are praying.

She is my friend even though I've never met her and likely never will. I know she dreams of a long life with her husband. I know she wants to snowboard again. I know that she has a cat named Chloe who likes to take naps on her. It doesn't matter that I've never shared a meal with her or introduced her to my family or friends. What matters is that I've been there after she has written her words and sent them out into cyberspace. I've cried over her latest diagnosis, laughed at pictures of her vacations and marveled at her bravery when she went skydiving. I see the world differently through her eyes. She inspires me and I'm so thankful she's shared her journey.

I just can't imagine a world without her in it.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Favorite Reference Book

As part of my collection development duties at the library where I work, I order all print reference materials as well as large print, science fiction and fantasy. After new books are processed they are carted out to the reference desk so we can familiarize ourselves with the new titles. I love when the new books arrive, it's like Christmas morning. I uhhh and ahhh over the art books, drool over the cook books and always add a few titles to my list of "to-read" books on Goodreads.

My favorite reference book of the year arrived recently and I couldn't get my hands on it fast enough. Miller's Antiques Handbook & Price Guide 2010-2011 is an excellent resource for the antique collector on any budget. Miller's is well organized by section such as Textiles, Jewelry or Furniture with each item photographed in full color. Sections have special features with tips on value and pricing as well as bios on manufacturers, designers and time periods. The book is a visible treat whether you are a hard core collector or just interested in browsing.

I don't have the budget to seriously collect larger antique furniture or art work but in the past few years I've started small collections of rare books, jewelry and a few pieces of art. Thanks to my Grandmother who dragged me resale shopping when I was a teenager I am a lover of vintage clothing and jewelry and have supplemented my wardrobe for years with finds from resale shops around the US and Europe. Years ago I started buying on eBay and can often find some real treasures. Miller's has been an invaluable resource as I estimate what I can afford to pay and what an item might be worth. Highly recommended for any library and reader's interested in antiques and collectibles.

You can supplement your reading of Miller's Antiques handbook and Price Guide by visiting the website at:

Friday, April 9, 2010

Monday, April 5, 2010

It's Monday so how about some album cover art?

The first song I heard this morning was Escape (aka The Pina Colada song) by Rubert Holmes. Or as my Kid calls it "That song from Shrek".

I think the album cover that shows up on my iPod for this song is perfect for the 70's era. Makes me smile every time.

This got me to thinking about album cover art and I started to flip through my music, here is a selection of the stranger ones in my collection.

Pina Colado Song from an album of number 1 hits from the 1970's:

I'm a little in love with Kate Bush. Why you ask...a haunting voice, amazing lyrics and then you have an album cover like this...enough said.

Those Wilson sisters can rock. I love Heart, especially the Renaissance Faire cover from the album Little Queen. This album is so fantastic I had to include the front and back. I love that they are primping in front of a goat. Makes perfect sense.

One of my favorite songs of all time, Don't Fear the Reaper by Blue Oyster Cult. Perfect album art work obviously:

Throwing Copper by Live. Weird, like some of the art hanging in the Art Institute that I just don't get:

Diana Ross, the woman was an original. Pearls, fake tiger. Cool.

If you have any suggestions for great, odd or just plain wrong album cover art work, leave a comment.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Walking in Southern Literature

I recently spent 5 days vacationing in Charleston South Carolina, a city straight from the history books. I walked the same streets as Civil War soldiers, sat on the same porches as Southern belles and climbed the same stairs as plantation slaves. I've visited many a Southern city but exploring Charleston was a completely unique experience.

Where New Orleans haunts me and Savannah appeals to my European sensibilities, Charleston was full of charm and beauty like a city trapped in a snow globe. I toured half a dozen historic homes, spent a day at one of the South's last operating plantations and listened to hours of stories from tour guides. Charlestonians hold on to their history more than almost anywhere else I've been in the world. They actively talk about "The War of Northern Aggression", can recite 200 years of family marriages and burials and live in homes where they still fly the flag of South Carolina secession. On my final morning in Charleston I visited the Aiken-Rhett House a mansion built in 1820 that a historic foundation decided to preserve instead of restore. The drawing room wall paper, crystal chandeliers and paintings on the walls have been hanging in the same rooms for 150 years. I wandered through the slave quarters, viewed the family's carriages and sat under the same magnolia trees that have bloomed for centuries. Visiting Charleston was like stepping back in time or at least into Southern literature.

Charleston has inspired authors for generations including Margaret Mitchell, Pat Conroy, Nathalie Dupree, Jack Bass, Alexandra Ripley and John Jakes. Margaret Mitchell's knowledge of the city's more famous residents featured considerably in her creation of one of her most beloved characters. A real Charleston blockade runner named George Trenholm is considered the inspiration for Rhett Butler and guides at the Aiken-Rhett house will tell you that Mitchell was familiar with the real Rhett family descendants. For today's authors Pat Conroy is probably the most famous writer of Charlestonians. His latest book South of Broad is a New York Times bestseller about a group of friends in Charleston between 1969 and 1989. The title refers to an area in Charleston south of Broad Street, (see picture above) a wealthy historic district that stretches from Broad to the Battery, a waterfront park. The neighborhood is full of grand old homes with secret gardens, Spanish moss draped oak trees, stunning architecture and breezy piazzas where residents watched the start of the Civil War with the firing on Fort Sumter. As you visit these locations, you can't help but be inspired by the living history as so many writers have been.

Now that I am home in the Midwest I am already missing the smell of magnolias, the slower pace of life and the glimpse of history in every home, on every street, in every garden and graveyard. I'm also interested in reading more about Low Country history and not the romanticized view of the privileged plantation generations built on slave labor, but the Gullah history and heritage. I purchased my first Jonathan Green artwork and tasted delicious South Carolina recipes, beers and wines and am looking forward to reading more about the things I experienced.