thenerdreports

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Archive for the tag “Library”

Weekend Recap: the one where I am late posting again…

I’ll be honest: I seriously considered writing this post Saturday night so I would remember. But that didn’t happen, and so, I am of course posting it Wednesday instead of Monday. Blogger fail.

Moving on…this past weekend was mostly about rest. I would up heading home early on Friday from work, feeling mostly awful and knowing part of the solution was a good long nap. The nap certainly helped, but I also knew I would need to function a notch down this weekend in order to be ready for Sunday and Monday.

Saturday I didn’t manage to sleep it. It was my great hope to be able to do so, but I woke up at 6:30 amazingly ready for the day. After sending out some emails, reading, and a few cups of coffee, I headed down for brunch at my favorite french patissere. Why would a gluten free girl enter a french patissere? Well, they have some pretty amazing coffee…and gluten free crepes. There is no concern of cross contamination with the crepes because all of their crepes are gluten free. So I had my favorite crepe filled with Banana Nutella with an iced decaf coffee. It was lovely to sit and read and enjoy a breakfast that I did not prepare…a rather rare treat.

After breakfast I went to the library. It seems like every time I am in the library lately I am in a hurry, and need to get in and drop off books, grab my reserve items, and head out. There has been very little time for browsing or just appreciating the quiet and cool of the library. This changed on Saturday, when I opted to just wonder. I looked through the new books, I browsed the biographies, and I picked out a few movies. It was lovely and quiet and relaxed, and I spent the afternoon reading.

Sunday was busier to start, but not the usual full tilt of meetings. J. is in town visiting, and Sunday was one of the days we were slated to hang out. After a mad dash of muffin baking, printing very necessary paperwork, and preparing to head out the door, J. and caught up for breakfast before heading to church. After church, there was sushi, a bit of time to just chill, and then dinner prep and baking. When J. lived in the area, we would spend Sunday afternoons cooking lunches for the week, and it was fun to momentarily re-establish our old routine, especially in my spacious kitchen.

Overall the weekend was relaxing and enjoyable…which made it much easier when I came to Monday morning. 🙂

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Mailbox Madness: July 22-28

These past two weeks I haven’t been posting my usual Library Loot because, I haven’t actually been to the local library. <Insert looks of shock and horror here> But my mailbox has been surprisingly full of new reads. Here’s the madness:

Sarah’s Key by Tatiana de Rosnay”. fictionalizes the 1942 Paris roundups and deportations, in which thousands of Jewish families were arrested, held at the VĂ©lodrome d’Hiver outside the city, then transported to Auschwitz. Forty-five-year-old Julia Jarmond, American by birth, moved to Paris when she was 20 and is married to the arrogant, unfaithful Bertrand TĂ©zac, with whom she has an 11-year-old daughter. Julia writes for an American magazine and her editor assigns her to cover the 60th anniversary of the VĂ©l’ d’Hiv’ roundups. Julia soon learns that the apartment she and Bertrand plan to move into was acquired by Bertrand’s family when its Jewish occupants were dispossessed and deported 60 years before. She resolves to find out what happened to the former occupants: Wladyslaw and Rywka Starzynski, parents of 10-year-old Sarah and four-year-old Michel. The more Julia discovers—especially about Sarah, the only member of the Starzynski family to survive—the more she uncovers about Bertrand’s family, about France and, finally, herself. ” from Amazon.com

This one has been recommended to me several times, and I have picked it up, looked at in the bookstore, and put it back down at least half a dozen times. When it was recommended again more recently, I decided to take a chance and order a copy on Paperbackswap.com.

Tears of the Giraffe (No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency, Bk. 2) by Alexander McCall Smith. This series came out while I was in grad school, and was wildly popular…but I was just too knee deep in required reading to take a look. My roommate saw the television series developed, and loved it, and wondered what the books were like. Enter the nerdy roommate who will always read the book before watching the movie (me, just in case that’s not obvious), who then decided to read her way through the series. Fortunately, their is Paperbackswap.com.

Reality Check by Karen Tuft is a book I received from a book blog giveaway. It was fun receiving a signed copy shipped directly from the author. The book, a fictional spin on the Bachelor, is about Lucy Kendrick, who finds herself signed up to be a contestant on the reality television show Soulmates, the result of some friends matchmaking mischief. What she doesn’t anticipate is being pursued by millionaire bachelor Ethan Glass. Thanks for the copy Karen, I can’t wait to read it!

The End by Mark Hitchcock was sent to me by the Tyndale Media Network for review. Addressing the Biblical prophecies and the end of days, The End intends to be a comprehensive look at the topic. I will admit, I tend to be rather put off by end times literature. To often, it has been a make or break topic in the theological discussions, and to me, that seems slightly over the top. There are a variety of views on the matter, but its not a make or break issue for the Christian faith.

So why am I reading this? Because I think it will be challenging for me, and possibly for those that read this blog. As its a topic I generally avoid, I don’t actually read much about the subject, nor do I really consider my own theological view on the matter. Hopefully, I’ll learn some things and have a chance for reflection.

My final book is A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court by Mark Twain. I love Mark Twain. His writing is witty and insightful, and I’ve had just a taste of this book. Just enough of a taste that I can’t wait to finish it. I was thrilled when I was able to get a copy off of Paperbackswap.com, as I am pretty convinced this is one I want to own.

Wow. That’s alot of books. No guarantees on the timetable for completion, but know that I will be posting reviews as I finish them.

Ode to a Library (or the value of not owning every book you read)

I always admire pictures of these massive in-home libraries that I come across on pinterest. Visions of first editions and beautiful rows of leather bound books dance in my head as I gaze longingly at the photos. But alas, my reality check comes as my eyes settled on my own home library- a strange collection of paperbacks acquired from library book sales, used from half.com, and friends stacked haphazardly at best on mismatched Ikea bookshelves. While I would like the custom built-ins chock full of beautiful first editions, who would dust them, and really, would I read them or just admire how pretty they are?

I am also realizing as time passes that there is value in not owning every single book I read- collecting more intentionally instead of so haphazardly. Some of it is simply a matter of practicality- if I am being honest, I cannot afford to purchase every book which I desire to read. But even if I could afford them all, would I want them all? Not every book I read is a home run for me. I find at times I will get half way through a book and need to quit reading for varying reasons. Then I am left with a book taking up valuable space on my shelves that I have no intention of finishing which I don’t want to pawn off on someone else for fear they will think I actually recommend it. Thus, the incredible value of the public library.

When I think it through a little, I realize that it is easier and much less expensive to be a faithful patron of the local public library, where I can pick up a book, get a half –way through it, and simply return it and be on my merry way without thought of my own shelf space. I can read a wide variety of books from all genres, and really, there are endless choices. I even have the ability to request a book from another library if my library doesn’t have it.

Yes, at times I have to wait for a best seller. And yes, the book I will read will have been through the hands of many by the time it reaches me, but for two weeks, it is mine to read and enjoy and interact with before I deposit it back at the local library, and I am finding that that is enough.

Library Loot June 27-July 3

Library Loot is a weekly event co-hosted by Claire from The Captive Reader and Marg from The Adventures of an Intrepid Reader that encourages bloggers to share the books they’ve checked out from the library. If you’d like to participate, just write up your post-feel free to steal the button-and link it using the Mr. Linky (located this week at The Adventures of an Intrepid reader) any time during the week. And of course check out what other participants are getting from their libraries!

Last night after my walk around the local high school track with a friend, I moved onto my errands, one of which was a stop at the library to return a few things and to pick up a reserve item. I am trying to minimize what I take out from the library right now- not because I don’t love the services of my local library, but because my Summer Reading List and Summer Reading Challenge Lists are primarily composed of books that I own, and if I hope to finish both lists by Labor Day, I need to read mainly off the lists. But…because reading is also fun, and because I just love finding new books, I find myself in the library once a week to either browse the incoming books or pick up a reserve item.

Here’s this weeks loot:

On the Outside Looking Indian: How my Second Childhood Changed My Life by Rupinder Gill

“Rupinder Gill was raised under the strict rules of her parents’ Indian upbringing. While her friends were practicing their pliĂ©s, having slumber parties, and spending their summers at camp, Rupinder was cleaning, babysitting her siblings, and watching hours on end of American television. But at age 30, Rupinder realized how much she regretted her lack of childhood adventure.

Stepping away from an orderly life of tradition, Rupinder set put to finally experience the things she missed out on. From learning to swim and taking dance lessons, to going to Disney World, her growing to-do list soon became the ultimate trip down non-memory lane. What began as a desire to experience all that had been denied to her leads to a discovery of what it means to be happy, and the important lessons that are learned when we are at play.” From Amazon.com 

Admittedly, I tend toward true life tales like this one, but I am interested in how Gill chooses to form her second childhood and the impact it has.

My second book was actually one a friend recommended- Death Comes to Pemberley by P.D. James. By all accounts, P.D. James is an amazing mystery writer, and this particular work, incorporating some of my favorite Jane Austen characters displays a rare genius. I’m looking forward to this interesting spin on Elizabeth and Darcy’s story.

 

The weekend recap: Family, flowers, birthdays, books, and belly laughs.

This past weekend was wonderful. Although I can’t say it was particularly literary, I had the chance to spend loads of time with family, as my parents visited and we attended my nephew’s first birthday party. My mom and stepfather brought flowers for the pots that sit in the window boxes outside the house, which my stepfather planted Saturday evening. I love it- the house looks so much prettier as you are walking up the steps with that small addition. 🙂

Little Man (my nickname for my nephew) turned one this week, and we celebrated in grand style on Saturday with a Thomas the Tank engine themed party. There was a ton of food (I am pretty sure my stepsisters only know how to cook in massive quantities) and a huge Thomas cake, as well as a little marshmallow fondant Thomas cake just for Little Man. He entertained us all as he showed off his new walking skills, pushing a chair all over the clubhouse, and just being cute and giggly. How can anyone resist a smiling little boy with blond curls and bright blue eyes (which look exactly like my stepsister and my stepdad’s eyes, for the record)?

Sunday we went out to lunch with my stepsister and nephew, having a chance to visit them without all the others. Little Man entertained us with deep belly laughs and lots of playfulness. My stepdad fed him vanilla ice-cream, proudly sporting his Super Granddad t-shirt. I love seeing him and Little Man interact. Its clear they enjoy each others company.

Well…now that we’ve chatted about my weekend, down to business. About the books. I went to the library late Friday afternoon and had the chance to pick up a few books that were being held on reserve for me:

Arranged by Catherine McKenzie

I found a review of Arranged http://www.5minutesformom.com/57195/arranged/  and found myself intrigued enough to queue up for it at the local library. I started this one Sunday night, and so far, I am hooked.

The 4 Hour Workweek by Timothy Ferris

I was intrigued by the concept. I will probably skim, and fully read only vignettes. Mind you, I don’t think its something I can, or want to attempt to pull off.
The Calligrapher’s Daughterby Eugenia Kim

I seem to be slightly obsessed with Asian literature, and I found this book on a list of must reads. Its about a daughter caught between life in Korea before and after the Japanese occupation.

I also received my copy of Walt Whitman: Poetry & Prose for my Summer Reading Challenge (www.thenerdreports.wordpress.com). Although I am accustomed to my used books being filled with strange notes and markings, the math equations scattered throughout the title pages threw me. Math equations and Whitman….really? It’s a much larger volume, including the entire canon of Whitman’s published work, than I was originally anticipating, so I think I am going to have to plan my reading a bit more strategically. Since I will be participating in the Anna Karenina Read-Along in July, I think my plan is to read Whitman in August.

Sunday, after my parents departure I had some much needed downtime, so I had the chance to finish AJ Jacobs Drop Dead Healthy (see my review tomorrow) and plan out my reading schedule for Anna Karenina. The weekend was full of fun and family…but don’t worry. There’s always time for books. 🙂

Sometimes, you just need to quit a book…

In the past few days, I have found myself reading a book I really wasn’t enjoying. I picked it up because it looked interesting and was readily available from my local public library but I found the content to be rather dry. The book was a memoir, and while those can be intriguing reads, this particular author seemed to be writing about a part of her life she’d sooner forget. It may have been more interesting if it was an expose of life in service, kind of a contrast to the Downton Abbey’esque picture we all see of life in service, but sadly, it wasn’t. It was boring. So, after several days of forcing my self through it, I quit.

I used to have mixed feelings about the idea of quitting a book half way through reading. I felt like in order to really truly evaluate the work, to give the author the full chance to tell the story, I needed to push through to the end. I needed to persevere through. But after 6.5 years of grad school, 4 years of college, a full time job and a full life outside of my day job, I’ve realized something important- my time is valuable. My time is in fact too valuable to spend reading books I don’t like when they have no purpose. And I have had enough required reading over the years that I forced myself through, I don’t need to do it now that I have the option of reading for fun.

The other reason I tend to find myself quitting a book is when I come across something that I find is impacting me negatively or offensively.  Everybody has something they find offensive, or that they just choose not to put in their mind- whether that is language, imagery, or just a harshly negative tone. At times, I have stopped reading things because the content is just not something I want hanging out in my mind, or I notice the content has begun to impact my mood in a negative way. I find for me that there are certain lines I can’t cross with things that are going in me, and I have to stop reading.

Ultimately, I choose to read because to me, reading is fun. So to me, its worth quitting a book if its not teaching me something valuable, making me think, or just plain fun.

What about you? Have you ever found yourself needing to quit a book?

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