Wednesday, December 31, 2008
Tuesday, December 30, 2008
There are a lot of people who come into our library to use the wireless internet access. Many of them are accountants, (numbers people) or computer people, (system administrators, web designers or programmers). I try and talk to them to see what they want in our computer books section. Because of this I have ordered books on Ubuntu linux, Suse Linux and Oracle for the systems side, and Crystal Reports, Dreamweaver, and web design for the design side.
They usually come in and sit in a quiet corner. A lot of them want an outlet so they don't have to rely on batteries. I like when professionals come into the library to work. They are usually quiet and don't ask a huge amount of questions unless the wireless internet goes down. Also, I think they make an excellent constituency for keeping the library open. It is a place to work.
I spent a bit more placing orders in different carts for January in Baker and Taylor. I think I have my initial orders in for mass market paperbacks (all categories), Job Information Center, 650s (Business management and accounting), computers, graphic novels and manga, and 300s mainly social science.
These are some beautiful pictures of the inside of a refurbished convent library. I found the link on the Kimbooktu, blog. http://www.fotoreport.at/galerie/stifte/admont/
On another note, I have the new list for low circulation items from the cental computer office. This has already speeded up the weeding somewhat for the 300s.
I also finished reading The January Dancer by Michael Flynn. It has a rather nice surprise ending. The book might take me a little bit of time to write up properly as there are some interesting aspects to the story I have not seen in a while in current science fiction.
Monday, December 29, 2008
I have just started reading The January Dancer a science fiction novel by Michael Flynn.
I found another social networking site for books. This one looks fairly interesting. I am hoping that it does not fold like the other sites which I joined earlier. It is in alpha right now, so it should improve considerably. Lit Minds http://home.litminds.org/index.html It is also a .org which makes a slight difference in how its funded.
I am getting the hang of using the Baker and Taylor order system. It is speeding up my ordering process for new books. I am readying next years orders.
I also had a chance to go through letters sent to us from various performers for library programs. They all want you to spend $200-400 for an hour or an hour and half program. Mostly it is musicians, mainly jazz and ragtime music. There are several Brazilian jazz musicians offering to do programs. There is also a lady who wants to teach tarot and a watercolor artist. Sistah Souljah wants $5000 to do a short program at our library.
Sunday, December 28, 2008
Getting Things Done The Art of Stress Free Productivity by David Allen.
This book is about how to be more organized. It describes how to use organization to become more productive towards reaching your goals. The methods are focused on a combination of workflows, peak productivity, and translating your goals into immediate actions.
I have very mixed reactions to this book. I rather like the idea of a to do list being a list of actions instead of goals. This makes sense for me. I believe in the principle of actions leading towards finishing goals. This is very similar to the idea of MBO (Management by Objectives).
One of the things I don't like is the work flow charts he uses to show how to accomplish goals. They seem much too complicated in my eyes. They look like something a consultant might cook up to get extra billable hours.
I also didn't like the idea of creating daily folders 1-31, and monthly folders, January-December. It seemed like this would work if you had an executive assistant to help you, but not if you were on your own. They system is called a tickler file system.
I also don't like the long process he uses before you decide to act: 1. Ask why you are doing this. 2. Look at the principles behind the goal. 3. Envision a clear outcome. 4. Brainstorm about the outcome. 5. Organize your brainstorming. 6. Perform the action. It is much too long in my opinion.
He claims that if you process all your stuff until you can do things one at a time, you will enter a zen like state of peak performance. This seems a little unreal to me. There is nothing about the meditative practices to do this. To do this you must go through absolutely everything you are doing and write it down.
Parts of his organizational ideas make sense. Keep the systems you need to organize your office simple and straightforward, use manila folders, staplers, a labeling machine, paperclips, a calendar, in box trays, pens, and a wastebasket. Have a few filing cabinets and a clear workspace. Do this for both your home and your business. It is imperative to be organized in both places.
Another idea that makes sense is to always keep a noteboook and pen with you so you can write down ideas that come to you when you least expect them. I have started carrying a small notebook and pen with me.
I also like the way he envisions things. What is immediately in front of you is on a horizontal plane, what is to be done in the future is on a vertical plane going higher and higher like an airplane. In the airplane idea, you start on the runway with immediate goals then rise into the air finally reaching life goals.
It reminds me that I have to focus a little more on future goals; learning microsoft office products, attending conferences, and longer career goals. I am going to pay my Westchester Library Association dues because the book reminded me about it. Because the airplane starts on the
He reminds us that we should keep a file for future ideas in our drawers, things which we cannot do immediately. Also a file for important documents that you might need to reference in the future.
This book is such a mix of good and bad ideas that I think you will probably learn a few things as well ask yourself why is he suggesting that? David Allen's suggestions can be a real puzzler sometimes. I think it could have been simplified and clarified more in a few parts.
The writing is typical of most business writing. I would call it simple and practical, but not that entertaining. The quotes in the margins are interesting-- "We must strive to reach that simplicity that lies beyond sophistication."-- John Gardner. There was an index in the back of the book, but no bibliography or notes.
Getting Things Done is a bestseller on the New York Times Bestseller business list.
Saturday, December 27, 2008
This is the classic exercise I had to do for penmanship and for learning typing. The sentence, The Quick Brown Fox Jumps Over The Lazy Dog, contains all of the letters in the english language. It familiarizes you with the letters on the keyboard as well as cursive script.
This morning I walked up the block to my local library and dropped off my books and picked up a new one, The January Dancer by Michael Flynn, a science fiction novel. I did not feel inclined to stay long. I simply was not in the mood to sit at the computers, I wanted to get home quickly. Still the walk was pleasant, even though it was a bit chilly outside. I even picked up two cups of coffee from the local deli.
I have started reading Getting Things Done The Art of Stress Free Productivity by Dave Allen. It is a national bestselling business book. One of the things I like about the book is that he has put numerous short quotes in the margins of the book, "The hurrier I go, the behinder I get."-- Anonymous or "What lies in our power to do, lies in our power not to do." -- Aristotle. The book has inspired me to putter about the house a bit and put small things away...
I tried to watch Healing Yoga for Common Conditions, but found the instructor was more attractive than the content of the video. The workout did not seem any better than the one I am currently doing every day. Also the explanation of the workout did not have very much depth. I'll probably continue looking for other videos.
This book is about how to put fire into your words. Change them from common things like blue and building to cerulean and tower. Make the castle a monstrous edifice and the suit concrete specked gray.
It invites you to change your language, sound less ordinary, and add some bite. Speak with the diction of a street hustler or Generation Y.
Pay attention to your language; maybe use a thesaurus to find new words apart from the ordinary; or use a visual dictionary to learn all the parts of that boat you are writing about.
Maybe you need a little onomatopoeia to give your character some squishiness, bang, or explosiveness. Make your novel sound the like the world around you. No dull sentences filled with the ordinary every day grey.
Arthur Plotnik gives you permission to use sentence fragments when it adds spice: to use foreign terms like udon or caramba: and even shows you how to create your own words. Isn't that just swish.
He wants you to use less common adverbs, burble and bubble with neologisms, and write with force and character.
Use of language allows you to rise out of the common slush pile and onto the editors desk. Break the rules of grammar if you need to sound interesting. Use non-standard formatting for dialogue. Make your language flow with feng shui; all the pieces opening and closing properly.
The only parts that didn't flow too well for me were the sections on grammar; what is the point of the colon and semicolon. I don't know, the sections on words were much better. Also, I found his writing on sentence structure to be a bit tedious. Read this book to learn about words and how to use them.
This is a book about language and making writing come alive. The book is quite lively and readable. You might even call it entertaining. I think it might help the writer who needs to add some color and vividness to their writing. Read it if you want to add a little Spunk & Bite to your writing.
Arthur Plotnik is the author of The Elements of Editing
Friday, December 26, 2008
I am writing my thoughts freehand right now. I am thinking about the last year I have been blogging. It has been an interesting and useful experience. I learned a lot about myself and my own inclinations.
I rather enjoy writing. This blog has probably improved my writing considerably. I try to write every single day of the week for at least a short time. I also try and read every day.
This blog reflects what I have been reading; these are most, but not all of the authors I have written about.
Business: Chris Andersen, Paul Hawken, Gary Hirshberg, Jonathan Pond, Jack Welch, and Muhammad Yunus
Children's Literature: Lewis Carroll, Beatrix Potter, Dr. Seuss
Classic illustration and comics: Hokusai, Lynd Ward, Winsor McKay
Comics: Sergio Aragones, Will Eisner, Neil Gaiman, Hideyuki Kikuchi, Tony Millionaire, Alan Moore, Osamu Tezuka, Marjane Satrapi, Joann Sfar, Craig Thomson, Bill Willingham
Fantasy: Toby Barlow, Michael Chabon, Steven Erikson, Robert E. Howard, Diana Wynn Jones, Ellen Kushner, Ursula Le Guin, Martin Millar, Patricia McKillip, Robin McKinley, Ekaterina Sedia, Sherri S. Tepper, Terri Windling, Jane Yolen
Horror: H.P. Lovecraft, Brian Lumley, Edgar Allen Poe
Internet/Computer: Paul Krug, Don Tapscott, Jonathan Zittrain
Poetry: Charles Bukowski, Kahlil Gibran, Mary Oliver, Rumi, Diane Wakoski
Science Fiction: Paolo Bacigalupi, Iain Banks, Tobias Buckell, Peter David, Cory Doctorow, David Drake, Joe Haldeman, Charles Stross, Ann and Jeff Vandermeer.
I had a nice holiday at the relatives. No reading yesterday and a little bit too much to eat. I watched Happy Feet on dvd yesterday which was light entertainment. It was pleasant fun. I also got lost on the freeway home for an hour. Google Maps didn't turn out too well for me. The last time we used Mapquest and were only lost for fifteen minutes. I think I prefer Mapquest online for finding directions.
I am heading in to work this morning. I have to spend some time learning how to use the Baker & Taylor ordering system a little better. I think my day is going to be rather busy. I am finding it very easy to use. The entry of orders is quite fast.
On the train in to work, I read some more of Spunk and Bite. The book is about how to use words much more effectively. Sound effects (bang! zoom!) , using foreign words (umami), and even creating new words were covered in separate chapters (bloggerific you blogerati).
I especially liked this quote, "something will stimulate you if you continue reading." Surprisingly, I found a few moments of reverie where I closed the book and looked at the ceiling pondering the meaning of what was written.
Two books which I had on hold came in through interchange, James P. Blaylock, The Knights of the Cornerstone and A New And Expanded Woe Is I, The Gramarphobes Guide To Better English In Plain English, Plus A Word To The Wired-- A Whole New Chapter On Language In the Age of Email by Patricia T. O'Conner.
New Years Resolutions
- Get organized, much more organized in all three aspects of organization: tidiness, time management, and planning for results both in my professional and personal life.
- Write every single day in my blog if possible. Improve my writing skills in both nonfiction and poetry in the process.
- Lose weight and get in shape. This is per my doctors orders. I have to take off the weight. Specifically lose 5 lbs ever two weeks, 10 pounds a month for the next six months. Do yoga and walk a bit every single day.
- Enjoy the coming year. Make sure I spend enough time with family and friends.
- Keep my finances in better order. Keep better records, and try to be more frugal. I still have not gotten my hands around the coupons concept very well.
- Attend a number of professional conferences. Make new contacts, learn something new at the conferences.
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
Today was another half day. I read a bunch of magazines, Publishers Weekly, Booklist, and Library Journal. It was mostly typical material. I also prepared some more orders to go out for different kinds of books. It went fairly smoothly. On P.19, December 22, 2008 in Publishers Weekly, there is an article about Sony ebooks. Apparently, they sold 300,000 Sony ebook readers this year. The e-ink technology is changing the way ebooks are being read. There are still no figures for the Amazon Kindle ebook reader that have come out. But, this means there are going to be a lot more ebooks produced. Apparently Oprah Winfrey has come out in support of the Kindle ebook reader.
We have the new agreement for film permisions to show movies during the next year. There will be Sunday matinees coming up for family films. There also will probably be young adult films as well. Also, everything is in place in the calendar for January- February. I am still wondering about the new brochure being produced.
I had a chance to read some more of Spunk & Bite. The book is about how to improve your expressiveness and descriptive phrases so far. For example, you might say cerulean blue, or create a surprising phrase like tiny hamhanded man, or chocolate brown notebook, or savage hamster. There are reminders about style and diction. I try to keep my diction my own, not high handed or high minded in the least.
I find something particularly annoying about thesauri. It reminds me of teenage vocabularly building books. I often think it is more important to make your children read the classics to improve vocabulary than rely on pedantic lists of prosaic words. The best way to improve ones vocabulary is to read constantly. I read the advertisements on the subways, the contents of food packages (one of the main ingredients in many brands of bread these days is high fructose corn syrup), newspapers, the internet, community bulletin boards, and many other things.
The Society of Midnight Wanderers is no more. Psalms From The Wilderness http://jdrbeaudoin.wordpress.com/ told me it had gone defunct. It is one of the first places that I had posted a book review outside of my blog.
I am thinking of putting a list of links to favorite authors on my blog in the sidebar. Could you tell me if you would like this? It is something I have been thinking of for a while.
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
This morning on the way to work, I finished reading Copyediting and Proofreading For Dummies by Suzanne Gilad. The last section was about working as a copyrighter or proofreader. It is not something which I plan on doing anytime soon. However, they had an excellent example of a freelancers invoice which I might use somewhere else. Also, they gave some good tips on how to build clientele if you are working on your own.
I found the book quite interesting. There is of course a reminder to not eat while you are editing a document, no one likes food stains on their work. At the library we find a variety of things in books; food stains, dollar bills, old photographs, bookmarks, credit cards, and bus passes. I am going to add to the not eating part. Please don't read a library book in the bathtub. Soaked books are no fun.
If you want to get a better understanding of what an editor or proofreader does this book is quite good. I can recommend it highly.
I spent a little bit of time this morning compiling patron requests for items at our library. I also filled in for someone at the morning reference desk.
On the train home, I plan on reading Spunk & Bite A writer's guide to punchier, more engaging language & style by Arthur Plotnik.
I have read the opening of chapter of Spunk & Bite. It starts with the argument of the descriptivists versus the proscriptivists. Descriptives believe that language gains its relevancy from actual use. Grammar and structure should reflect how people currently use language. Proscriptivists believe grammar should follow proscribed fixed rules of use.
I tend towards the descriptivist side; maybe this is because I am good at describing things clearly, but am prone to make mistakes according to proscribed rules. This might also be the story of my life. If I follow what I think is right, I often succeed better than if I follow the "letter of the law."
Monday, December 22, 2008
Today was another very busy day. I put in my requests for conferences with my boss and am negotiating with him and the director about them. I will have to see exactly how it goes.
I spent some more time weeding the social science section. I contacted the system office to get a circulation list to check for items with low circulation to speed up the process. I am hoping I will get it soon.
I also had a meeting with reference staff and the library director discussing collection development and weeding. We are going to rearrange the layout of the library soon. It should be an interesting challenge.
I also spent a bunch more time ordering from the Baker & Taylor Paperclips catalog. I finished doing it today. I've gone through a years worth of mass market paperback titles and selected the ones which I think we should have. This covers fantasy, fiction, historical fiction, horror, mystery, religious fiction, romance, street lit (urban fiction), suspense, and a few nonfiction titles. There were also some computer titles as well.
This morning I read some of Copyediting & Proofreading for Dummies on the train. The book gives descriptions of the job duties of a copyeditor and a proofreader. It also explains the process and gives examples of copyediting and proofreading. There is a complete listing of all the major proofreaders marks with examples of how they are used. I am finding this very helpful in understanding how to make a document presentable to an editor. The book recommends, Woe Is I, a book on grammar which I have put on hold.
The book had a few interesting things which I had not seen before. There was a section with four different stylesheets from editors which was interesting to look at. The stylesheets set down rules on grammar and design for a particular publisher. I have seen proofreading tests, but not stylesheets.
The book also covers an interesting phenomenon. Most books are edited and proofread completely electronically. Manuscripts are forwarded back and forth by email between the editor, publisher, and author. A lot of proofreaders work from home. Reducing the amount of paper used in making books reduces costs and saves time. Yet, the physical book itself is still mostly a printed object.
Occassionally, you come across an interesting tidbit of information. Google has a define: command which allows you to look up information like a dictionary. I don't use dictionaries that often, unless I am looking up words for someone else. Then I tend to use The American Heritage Dictionary and Merriam Websters 11th Edition. The last dictionary I used was http://www.dictionary.com
A few style manuals are suggested. I have the Chicago Manual of Style at home. It is currently in storage in the attic. I tried to read it from front to back, but found it was very boring and hard to read. It was something which you would use as a reference not something to read for entertainment. In contrast, I have Words Into Type, a now long out of print style manual which I found quite enjoyable to read.
Sunday, December 21, 2008
Thinking About Style
I am reading Copyediting and Proofreading for Dummies by Suzanne Gilad. I enjoy reading this kind of book. It is for my own entertainment. Writersinthesky mentioned it on Twitter. http://twitter.com/writersinthesky . Words fascinate me, especially written words.
Reading Copyediting and Proofreading For Dummies has made me think of some of the stylistic choices I make in writing this blog. I sometimes write my posts out longhand then type them up in Wordpad before posting them. I want to keep the process as simple as possible, so I don't use Wordperfect which has a grammar and spellchecker built in. This probably leads to more grammar and spelling mistakes. But, it also makes the style much more personal. There is a certain charm in not being quite perfect.
I realize that my grammar is not perfect. I try and focus on using grammar to provide clear statements about what I am writing about. I am not as much concerned about the finer technical points of grammar and structure. Like most bloggers, I don't have an assistant or editor to check what I am writing.
There are a few stylistic points which I would like to make. I don't indent paragraphs, instead, I put in a line break between paragraphs. I also break my posts into sections with headings that are bolded. I think this makes it easier for people to read my blog. I put in my own paragraph and line breaks using html.
I also write out the full url of any links which I put in. This is because of a style of web searching which called stripping. I like to see the whole url when I am going to a blog or website. This allows me to parse the url into sections; I can then use pieces of the url to go to different parts of a website. I also can use various search commands to find information about a website; the url command allows me to find all the pieces of a website, the link command allows me to find who is linking to a web site, and the document type at the end of the url allows me to search for specific types of documents attached to a specific website.
I try to include an image with each post I write. This is usually of something writing, publishing, or library related. I often use Wikimedia http://www.wikimedia.org/ ; or public domain image websites listed in Wikipedia. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Public_domain_image_resources . I try to use public domain images as much as possible.
Somtimes, I will include a Youtube video. This is usually something which is directly related to the post which I am writing about. For example if I am writing a review of a Neil Gaiman book, I might try and find a Youtube video of Neil Gaiman reading from the book which I am reviewing.
My writing is also not formal. I am not writing to have my work published in magazines. Although recently, I have submitted a book review to The Society of Midnight Wanderers, book reviews to the Book Review Blogcarnival, and to some of the Blogcatalog threads: http://www.blogcatalog.com/group/book-readers/discuss/entry/the-book-review-thread
I have also been picked up with links from several different authors for the reviews I have written. This is a link from Slow Train To Arcturus by Dave Freer and Eric Flint. http://davefreer.livejournal.com/#entry_82576
I may have to reconsider the formality of my writing style. David Henderson who wrote The Media Savvy Leader Visibility, Influence, and Results in a Competitive World sent me a copy of his book for reviewing purposes. I was very surprised and pleased with this. I also enjoyed the book a lot. http://twitter.com/davidhenderson
I am constantly trying to improve the quality of my writing. I don't mind if people criticize me for the content that I am writing. I want to improve considerably. This is one of the reasons I am reading Copyrighting & Proofreading for Dummies. I have read numerous other books on writing and reviewed a few of them here. One of my favorites was Writing Begins With The Breath by Laraine Herring. http://bookcalendar.blogspot.com/2008/10/writing-begins-with-breath-laraine.html
Style is of course a matter of personal taste.
Saturday, December 20, 2008
This is a very straightforward book. It is about how to organize your life and get results using simple, straightforward principles.
Mark H. McCormack uses a legal pad, a pen, and a plan to organize his life. He carries his legal pads wherever he goes. The book tells you to find a simple place to write things down which you can always have with you. Technology does not always work.
Using the example of Arnold Palmer, he tells you that being organized is not uptight nor does it create a deficit to creativity. Leonardo Da Vinci was quite organized.
Once you have your notebook, you have to write everything down which you plan to do, prioritize by number, then approximate the time it takes to do what needs to be done. Give yourself extra time to finish what you are supposed to do. "A schedule is a list with an established time frame."
Having a priority list is not enough for a week, you need to plan for a month, a year, five years. This leads to long term objectives. According to Mark H. McCormack, writing everything down and managing your time is part of the philosophy of Management by Objective (MBO). I personally find this idea rather appealing. Management by objective is an accepted business practice.
The chapters in this book go over many other subjects in addition to schedules and objectives. He describes how to declutter, organize your finances, store your goods, manage email and phones, organize your money, and plan.
There are numerous tips throughout the book: A pile on a desk is a sign of disorganization, write everything down don't rely on memory, television is a waste of time, and don't be afraid to say no.
The style of this book is rather interesting; examples come from various sports figures; Tiger Woods, Arnold Palmer, Se Ri Pak, Martina Navratilova, and Michael Jordan are described as being very results driven. Mark H. McCormack runs International Management Group, the worlds largest sports marketing organization. The author understands what it takes to win. He also wrote the bestselling book, What They Don't Teach You at Harvard Business School: Notes From A Street Smart Executive.
On the train in to work this Saturday, I read some more Getting Results for Dummies. It had a few very nice tips, "A schedule is a list with an established time frame." He reminds the reader to include the amount of time they are going to give each item on your daily to do list. He also gives the truism that I believe wholeheartedly television is a waste of time.
The author, Mark H. McCormack also ties in a daily to do list and time schedule to the management practice of management by objectives or (MBO), showing how organization and time management combine to make for successful planning and goal setting. He reminds us that to become truly effective we must schedule both our home and business life, include time to rest in a schedule, as well as allow for interruptions and emergencies. This book looks like something I might read again.
I spent some more time this morning weeding the social science books. Right now, I am in the law section of our library. We have a lot of Nolo self help law books, Nutshell Books, Sphinx Legal, and Legal Almanac books. These four series are books which explain the law for the layman. They are summaries of different kinds of legal practice; everything from neighbor law, music law, criminal law, business law, patent law to school law is covered in these three series. Of the four publishers, I find the Nolo books are the easiest to read. Nolo has several different blogs on a variety of legal subjects. http://www.nolo.com/blogs.cfm
I am doing more ordering from Baker and Taylor, from the Paperclips catalog as well. Basically, I am trying to fill in some of the gaps in our mass market ordering so the collection is a little more complete.
Once again, I am placing books to read on hold. The first one is Razor Girl by Marianne Mancusi. It is billed as a postapocalyptic zombie romance novel. The heroine is seeking the Magic Kingdom in disneyland. Sounds over the top.
The next one is James Blaylock, The Knights of the Cornerstone. This is supposed to be a modern fantasy novel like Jonathan Carroll, Neil Gaiman, or John Crowley's books. I am hoping it will be entertaining.
Frank Miller is directing the film Buck Rogers. I think it might be interesting to see. I actually haven't seen 300 or Sin City. I might see them one day, but not now. The Spirit is also coming out soon directed by Frank Miller. I want to see Buck Rogers more than the other films he has done. http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/hr/content_display/news/e3i8cb71d29182efee693ef8a7f2501824a
I regularly read Library Journal online to see some recent news about libraries. http://www.libraryjournal.com/ . There are also two news aggregators for libraries that are kind of interesting.
Library Information Science News
Library Information Science Wire-- This is mainly press releases.
Friday, December 19, 2008
Thursday, December 18, 2008
This is a science fiction novel. The main character, Jeff Vaughan is a telepath who scans incoming ships for contraband from alien worlds. His job is to watch for the thoughts and feelings that are out of place on the incoming ships. Jeff Vaughan discovers a strange problem, the station director is hiding something, but the director kills himself before Vaughan can scan him. Thus begins a story of intrigue involving a strange alien drug which leads to a feeling of unity, and a cult that is connected to alien beings. The setting is very interesting. Bengal Station is a bustling space port situated on the ocean. It is a mix of Thai and Hindi culture which enlivens the setting. The setting is mainly the bustling streets, except for a visit to an offworld colony. This is the first time I have ever read this author. I was pleasantly surprised. Even though I read science fiction novels regularly, I had not seen this author before despite him having won two British Science Fiction Awards. His writing is very gritty and dark, but at the same time fulfilling. There is quite a bit of the darker side of life in this novel, prostitution, begging, police corruption, and dark secrets. Despite, this there is still a sense of hope in this novel. It looks like the publisher of this novel, Solar Books is also relatively new. I see titles going back to 2007, but nothing before that. This means, I may get a chance to find a whole new set of authors. This book was published in October of 2008. http://www.solarisbooks.com/science-fiction.asp
Although, I finished reading Guerrilla Negotiating, I don't think I am going to review it. I'm beginning to realize some of the material I am reading lately is a bit off topic for most people who are reading the blong. I'm going to bring it back to the library with the other book on negotiating I read.
I had the day off this morning, so I had a chance to watch The Dark Knight Returns. It took about a month of waiting for me to get it from my library. I really enjoyed the DVD. Keith Ledger did an excellent job as the joker. Christian Bale also did an excellent job as batman. It was probably the best batman I have ever seen so far. I really liked how they presented the story of Harvey Dent as well. It had a nice surprise ending. I also likd that two of the main characters died. This made it a much darker film than most superhero films.
It was also a chance to do my yoga exercises while watching the movie, then eat my lunch. This is one of the reasons I like watching films at home. It gives me a chance to do light exercise, maybe have a snack and relax.
I am walking up to my local library to drop off some books in a few minutes. Here I am, I've dropped off my books, now I am sitting at the computer typing away here. I picked up three books, The Merchant of Dennis The Autobiography of Hank Ketcham, c2005 Fantagraphic Books. This looks very good. It has lots and lots of cartoons and photographs in the book. The next book is Spunk and Bite A Writer's Guide to Punchier More Engaging Language & Style by Arthur Plotnick. He was a publishing executive and wrote The Elements of Editing. The third book is another practical business oriented book, Getting Results For Dummies by Mark H. McCormack. Mark H. McCormack is the founder of the largest international sports marketing organization, International Management Group.
I admit, I have a few too many books to read right now. I have them on my desk at work and at home in piles ready to go. I will eventually catch up with them. You get a brief lull then something happens and you have something interesting to do. I enjoy looking at and examining books.
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
Today has been another extremely busy day. I spent time preparing to show a Tyler Perry film at the library. I really enjoyed it. We had seven people who sat through the whole film and a few others who came in and out. It seems that I am doing much better with the poetry readings than the films. They are moving the films to a Sunday matinee for families once a week. I think this will work bettter.
Right now, they are showing an anime film, Claymore, in the fiction room. There is an anime club at our library which brings in the teenagers. They also play Magic the Gathering card game at the club as well. It looks like the attendance is decent.
I also spent some time talking to an artist who did papercrafts in the childrens room. She also teaches tissue paper watercolors, as well as illustration. About a year ago, she started doing manga classes. The manga classes are what interest me most. I was thinking we could do a program that would be for teens and adults to draw manga.
Of course, I did the regular activities as well, more weeding in the social science section, and maintaining the central display.
On the way home, I tried to read How To Do Everything With Your Web 2.0 Blog by Todd Stauffer, but found I had already done everything that I wanted to do listed in the book. I am not going to start a wiki, or do podcasts, start a forum, or do video blogging, at least not yet. I am not that fond of Technorati, and I already have Sitemeter. This book would be a good introduction to blogging, but I have found I am past the introductory stage at this point. It did, however remind me to ping my blog with pingomatic.
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Today, I did everything I usually do; weed some books, arrange the central display, and sit at the reference desk. It was a pretty good day.
I also went through January through Marches Paperclips catalog to order mass market paperbacks for the library. I am going to go through three months worth of the catalog at a time. It is the kind of work which requires patience and focus.
Me and my colleague handed in the first draft of the new brochure describing services at our library. It is a simple two page brochure. I am trying to get the brochure so it will fit on a single piece of paper front and back. It is really designed so we will have something to give people on January 8, 2009 when the local nonprofit agencies come to visit us to show what we can offer them.
I sat with a colleague at the local corner restaurant. I have been trying to watch my weight lately. I try to eat a little better. I had a greek salad and two cups of coffee. Tonight, I am going to do my yoga exercises.
I am sorry if this blog seems a bit slow. I am still reading Guerrilla Negotiating Unconventional Weapons and Tactics to Get What You Want. It is a substantial book, not because the contest is particularly good, but because it is very varied. A lot of the content is suggestion lists, hints, and tips. It is very easy to pick out suggestions that can help you negotiate from long lists of ways to prepare for negotiating.
There is a lot of material. Most of it is useless. But among the suggestions are a few truly useful gems. The gems may be different for different people because there is so much covered. It is taking me quite a bit of time to read the book. The content is very dense. They are trying to make all of their suggestions count. If you have patience, you will probably learn something from reading this book. I will probably finish reading it tomorrow.
It looks like there is going to be more consolidation in the publishing industry after Black Wednesday, December 3, 2008. MacMillan laid off people and is consolidating its childrens division. http://www.libraryjournal.com/article/CA6622740.html
I noticed there was a new collection called Mammoth Book of Best Horror Comics. It looks like something worth getting. Nobody in our library system has it. I reviewed The Mammoth Book of Best Crime Comics earlier. I really liked it. The early horror comics are a major inspiration for the Comics Code Authority. I think it would be interesting to see what inspired people to change the conduct of an entire industry in the 1950s.
While wandering through blogland, I found a book which I probably should read. I might want to write a book some day and get it published. A lot of the battle is making it ready for the editors desk. Copyediting and Proofreading For Dummies by Suzanne Gilad looks kind of interesting to me. But, then I am book obsessed and like to read books on grammar and structure. I am hoping understanding the process will improve my grammar enough so I can become a better writer. I even requested it from my library.
Monday, December 15, 2008
There are monsters over here
Today started well. I had some red zinger tea with lemon instead of coffee this morning. This morning, I did some more weeding of books, put the display on the main floor in order, and cracked open the new address book I bought for work. Things are becoming a little bit more organized.
We had a demonstration session at noon for a newspaper database, Newsbank which has our local newspaper on it, The Journal News. It was much better than the last time they came to the library; the last time the search engine attached to the Newsbank database did not work very well. This time it did. We did the session remotely in the computer lab, with the salesman talking over the speaker phone and demonstrating the product on the computer screen.
There are a few more films about authors which I might want to see, Naked Lunch about William S. Burroughs, Sylvia about Sylvia Plath, and The Hours about Virginia Woolf.
I ordered another yoga book to see if I can improve the short yoga routine I have been doing every night. It helps me sleep and reduces stress. I think I am losing a little bit more weight.
Today is both a quiet day and a quiet night.
Sunday, December 14, 2008
This is a collection of novellas sent in the world of H.P. Lovecraft. Lovecraft was a master of macabre horror. His writing is often called "cosmic horror." H.P. Lovecraft was influenced by Arthur Machen a writer of macabre stories.
The stories in the novellas for the most part follow the pattern of the stories in Lovecraft's works. This collection is focused on the Cthulhu mythos, stories about strange and terrible beings from other dimensions and the far stars. The elements of fear to the point of madness, monstrous slimy octopoid things, forbidden occult tomes, shadowy places at the edges of this world, and places too horrible to imagine are in these stories.
There is a real sense of nameless dread. Brian Lumley does this well. He has written a wide variety of horror books. His main hero is the occultist Titus Crow who prevents dark things from entering our world from the dreamlands and the Cthulhu mythos. Lumley has a website at
The first story is a story about the god of the winds who bears a son in the frozen north. The story is called Born of the Winds. This is a story where everyone even the hero dies in the chill.
The Fairground Horror is a story of greed and folly. Hamilton Thorpe acquires a collection of terrifying antiquities from his mad brother. His greed blinds him to the increasingly terrible things happening around him. He is warned but does not listen and succumbs to a gruesome death.
In many of the stories, the protagonists are given chances to quit what they are doing, but they do not due to their own personal failings or curiosities.
The opening story, The Horror at Oakdeene is about a man studying strange psychological cases in an insane asylum. He himself becomes drawn into the madness of the patients and eventually after experiencing something unspeakable becomes a patient himself.
All of these stories have the terrible guttural language of things that came before man. There are short dark poems and reminders to not name the things which dwell in the dark.
The Taint is the feature story of the volume. The Deep Ones who themselves are often fishlike monstrosities have acquired the science of genetic engineering and have learned to pass themselves off as normal men. One of their number leaves Innsmouth and has two children, one human looking and one deformed and piscine. The story is excellent.
Lord of the Worms is the story of how Titus Crow, Brian Lumley's main hero becomes a master magician and defeats a maggot infested, evil, ancient wizard.
Rising With Surtsey is the story of a man who becomes obsessed with books about old ones. He reads fiction and occult books about Cthulhu and slowly turns into one of their priests. He ends up killed by his own brother.
The final story is The House of the Temple. It is the story of an accursed family, The McGilchrist's. An inheritor goes back to destroy his old ancestral home and goes mad in the process.
This is an excellent collection of novellas. If you like horror, especially cosmic horror you will enjoy this collection. Cthulhu, an octopoid alien monstrosity features in the background of many of these stories sitting in the bottom of the ocean in sunken R'lyeh. These stories have a strong suspense element to them, they are not just go and fight the monster. They are reminders that there are things which we should not see and places and knowledge best left alone.
Bob Eggleton did the cover art for the book. He also did several small internal illustrations; most of these are about an inch and a half acros, a skull with tentactles, a winged octopuss, and a monsters eye. Bob Eggleton has an art blog here: http://bobsartdujour.blogspot.com/ / (Bob's Art of the Day)
Last night, I tried to read Teach Yourself Negotiating by Phil Baguley. I honestly tried to read it, but the writing was very tepid. It was thick and boring. The content itself wasn't bad. It probably was very good advice, but it had a soporific effect on me. I had to put the book down about halfway through it.
I am starting on reading Guerrilla Negotiating Unconventional Weapons and Tactics to Get What You Want by Jay Conrad Levinson. This book so far has caught my attention and held it. The writing is gripping. The book describes you as a guerrilla who is fighting an unconventional war to win in business. Strategies are described as you being a maverick out to change your business into a winning position. It is quite appealing. The content might not be that different than the first book, but the style certainly is.
There really is no excuse for when people write poorly, no matter what the subject is. A good writer can make almost any subject interesting. At least, this is what I believe. Writing should hold peoples attention with a little bit of wit, even if it is a textbook on plumbing. All it takes is a little bit of extra effort on the writers part.
I also watched Ultimate Avengers 2, Rise of the Panther an animated Marvel comics feature. I really enjoyed it. It was fun seeing the classic Marvel characters of Thor, Ironman, Black Panther, Giant Man, Black Widow, Wasp, Captain America and Nick Fury in action. The interaction of the superheroes was the best part of the film. The villains were cookie cutter evil aliens.
The imaginary African kingdom of Wakanda was also quite interesting. Black Panther is the king of Wakanda. The theme of isolationism and refusal to let outsiders into Wakanda added to the back story. Of course the heros win, but one of them dies which adds to the melodrama. Captain America is especially well done in this animation. He is not just portrayed as a superhero, but as a supersoldier in the service of the American government. Also Thor casts runes and speaks to Odin revealing his connection to Asgard.
The film had a lot of action in it. Most of the film was fighting the evil aliens. One of the aliens is a shapechanger who fought Captain America during World War II. There is also the evil alien superscience with the weird metal vibranium. Vibranium is something which might have come out of Flash Gordon or Buckaroo Banzai.
The animation special feature includes a clip on the making of the animated movie. The talent used in the film is all top notch, Joe Quesada, Mark Millar, Stan Lee, Greg Johnson, and many others made the film possible. If you like superhero comics this is a very good set of animation. It also is a standalone film. The authors specifically wrote the film so you would not have to have read the comic books to understand what was happening.
The Ultimates comics are a revamping of the older comics like X-Men and Spiderman for a new audience. We bought the Ultimate X-Men and the Ultimate Spiderman graphic novels for our library for the young adult collection because they are a rewrite of the old storyline for a more modern audience.
I just started two threads on Blogcatalog discussing Films based on Graphic Novels, and Films Based on Authors lives. I am looking to get a new list of films to watch. So far people have suggested Barfly about Charles Bukowski and A Mighty Heart about the Wall Street Journal Reporter Danny Pearl. Both are probably films I might want to watch.
Two other films were mentioned, Capote and Shakespeare In Love. Both sound like very interesting films.
Saturday, December 13, 2008
There is a new collection of H. P. Lovecraft's fiction , H.P. Lovecraft: The Fiction. The tome
collects all 68 of H.P. Lovecraft's Stories. I think it is something which we should definitely get. Jonathan Carroll also has a new book, The Ghost In Love. I rather enjoy Jonathan Carroll's writing.
To start the day, I am getting a poem:
Where Once Poe Walked by H. P. Lovecraft
Eternal brood the shadows on this ground,
Dreaming of centuries that have gone before;
Great elms rise solemnly by slab and mound,
Arched high above a hidden world of yore.
Round all the scene a light of memory plays,
And dead leaves whisper of departed days,
Longing for sights and sounds that are no more.
Lonely and sad, a specter glides along
Aisles where of old his living footsteps fell;
No common glance discerns him, though his song
Peals down through time with a mysterious spell.
Only the few who sorcery's secret know,
Espy amidst these tombs the shade of Poe.
Right now, I am sitting at the computer at my local library. I took a short walk up the hill to the library. It was very cold outside. Still, I need to walk every day if I am going to lose more weight. I returned the single book I took out last time.
Today I picked up a few more books to read. The first book is a mass market paperback, Necropath, A Bengal Station Novel by Eric Brown. The book intrigued me because it on the blurb it said there is an evil alien cult. Evil alien cults in science fiction are very campy and often entertaining.
I also picked up two book on negotiating. Things have been a little sticky here and there when talking to people at work. I have to be careful. I picked up, Guerrilla Negotiating Unconventional Weapons and Tactics to Get What You Want by Jay Conrad Levinson, Mark S.A. Smith, and Orvel Ray Wilson. The Guerrilla Marketing series is very popular at our library in the business section. I also picked up Teach Yourself Negotiating by Phil Baguley. Teach Yourself Negotiating looks like a basic outline of the process of negotiating.
It is comfortable and warm in here, while it is very cold outside.
I am back this afternoon. I have finished reading The Taint and Other Novellas by Brian Lumley. One of the most interesting aspects of Lovecraft's Cthulhu mythos are the occult books which drive men mad. A lot of them are purely fantastic creations with malevolent intent. This is a chart of what is real and what is false in the mythos chronicles. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cthulhu_Mythos_miscellaneous_books
Some people actually believe that some of H.P. Lovecraft's fictional horror books are true. People are quite gullible with these kinds of things. It is easy to cook up nonsense and sell it as something truly nasty. It is not particularly benevolent. A few of his fake horror books are being sold as real occult works. This is a nice article from The Straight Dope debunking the truth of his made up books. http://www.straightdope.com/columns/read/1934/was-h-p-lovecrafts-necronomicon-for-real
There is also a Miskatonic University Library in H.P. Lovecraft's books. Being a librarian, I find it rather fascinating. It is in the fictional town of Arkham in Massachusetts. It is headed by the heroic librarian, Dr. Henry Armitage who defeats the Dunwich Horror, a short story by Lovecraft.
Friday, December 12, 2008
One of the friends of the library is a storyteller. She did a trial run for a program of reading stories for adults. She read the short story, A Christmas Memory by Truman Capote. It has a ghostly quality to it which I found quite applealing. She read for about an hour. She mostly reads to elders, often in the nursing home setting. http://www.geocities.com/cyber_explorer99/capotechristmas.html
This morning, I spent a bit of time with a colleague designing a brochure on services available at our library. It will take up quite a bit of time to do it right.
I also spent some time going through Baker and Taylor's Paperclips which is a catalog of mass market paperbacks available through the distributor. It is going to be rolled into Forecast in the future which is the monthly list of forthcoming titles from Baker and Taylor.
The reorder list of titles which were damaged is done as well. Today was a productive, but very predictable day again. I did not get any chance to do any weeding today.
On the way home, I read some more of The Taint and Other Novellas by Brian Lumley. It is a collection of Lovecraftian stories. I don't want to spoil it by commenting on the stories until I have finished reading all of them. There is the constant reminder of "cosmic horror", or that we are mere tiny things in the immense darkness of the universe. H.P. Lovecraft considered himself to be primarily a poet. The Fungi From Yuggoth is his long work. It is a long, strange, and frightening poem.
Lovecraft was supposed to have gotten his idea for Cthulhu from Alfred Lord Tennyson's poem, The Kraken:
Below the thunders of the upper deep;
Far far beneath in the abysmal sea,
His ancient, dreamless, uninvaded sleep
The Kraken sleepeth: faintest sunlights flee
About his shadowy sides; above him swell
Huge sponges of millennial growth and height;
And far away into the sickly light,
From many a wondrous grot and secret cell
Unnumber'd and enormous polypi
Winnow with giant arms the slumbering green.
There hath he lain for ages, and will lie
Battening upon huge seaworms in his sleep,
Until the latter fire shall heat the deep;
Then once by man and angels to be seen,
In roaring he shall rise and on the surface die.
-- Alfred, Lord Tennyson
Thursday, December 11, 2008
Two books came in for me to read yesterday, The Taint and Other Novellas by Brian Lumley. This book is printed by Subterranean Press which is a specialty horror publisher. They print nice affordable copies of quality horror, science fiction, and fantasy titles. http://www.subterraneanpress.com/ . The other book is a mass market paperback, Dead To Me by Anton Strout.
I was a bit tired on the train this morning, so I did not do any reading. Last night, I tried to take a break from doing my short yoga session and my body rebelled. I did it so I could get to sleep.
This morning is not too bad, I did some more work on my reorder list. I am discarding the books as I compile the list. Things are fairly smooth right now.
Today was very typical. I weeded a lot more books today. I also made several phone calls. I am trying to get a local organization to do a presentation on protecting your home from foreclosure for local homeowners. I think I might have a local agency lined up.
You might call today rather inane. I had one of those absolutely normal conversations that say absolutely nothing. I was talking about the merits of having a little black address book. It was uttlerly typical. I'll probably pick up a new one for work tomorrow.
Manga Sixty Years of Jpanese Comics by Paul Gravett
On the way home, I read more of Manga Sixty Years of Japanese Comics by Paul Gravett. This book definitely is for adults. There are some pictures which aren't for children. I could never really understand the idea of Shonen Ai, books for teenage girls about pretty gay guys in high school. Just as odd to me is the lolita style of manga with highly sexualized young girls. These are not things which we can buy for our public library in America that readily.
A while ago we had some problems with men looking at Sailor Moon on the internet. There is something a bit creepy about it. It is not typical for Americans. There are some cultural differences which make some of what would be fairly innocent in Japan to be rather odd in the United States. A comic like Princess Knight by Osamu Tezuka which features a girl who dresses as a boy to pass as a knight wouldn't be that readily accepted in the childrens room which is what it is written for.
Although, The Rose Of Versailles looks like something we might get for the adult room. It is about a cross dressing woman in the time of Marie Antoinette. We keep Ranma 1/2 in the adult section, although it is really for teens because of the comic story of water turning the character from a boy into a girl then back.
There is a decent section on sports manga, something which I could never really get into. The boxing manga, Tomorrow's Joe is featured prominently in the section on sports manga. I really haven't read that much sports manga. Although, we did buy a few issues of Harlem Beat, a basketball manga.
There are a number of manga which are shown which we already have, Maison Ikkoku, Nausicaa and the Valley of the Wind, Akira, Vagabond, Lone Wolf and Cub, and Black and White which we already have in our library. I think I want to read Parasyte. I have not read many horror manga.
In a way this book was a trip down memory lane. It reminded me of the anime cartoon I used to watch with my friends when I was a teenager, Robotech, as well as the classic anime , Space Cruiser Yamato.
The illustrations are beautiful, full of action and color. Look through this book just for the illustrations. Although, there are some sexy comics in the book, there are no tentacle monsters.
I think the book is a nice survey of quality titles from the beginning of manga. If you want to learn the basics of what manga is, this title would be a good title to read. The copyright on the book is 2004, so manga is much more popular and varied now. The cover has a picture of Astroboy on it.
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
I am reading Manga Sixty Years of Japanese Comics by Paul Gravett. I am enjoying it. It is the history of manga. It mentions a few excellent books. I can highly recommend The four Immigrants Manga : a Japanese experience in San Francisco, 1904-1924 by Henry Yoshitaka Kiyama. It is highly reflective of the historical experience of the times. It also talks about the "God of Manga", Osamu Tezuka who was incredible prolific having produced over 600 different works. He is responsible for writing "Jungle Emperor" which many consider to be the basis of The Lion King.
I read a bit more on the train home. There was a very nostalgic moment for me while reading the book. It had pictures of Barefoot Gen by Keiji Nakazawa. This is the first manga that I ever read. It was in San Francisco at the public library when I was a teenager. It wasn't just the first manga I had read, Barefoot Gen predates all of the other large format comics which had come out. The book was about surviving the atomic bombing of Hiroshima. It is a very striking book with some very stark images. It shows what happens with radiation poisoning, and fallout. Gen is a young boy who survived and his pregnant mother also survives. It is the day after the Hiroshima bomb falls. Most large library systems I have been to have this manga.
Today was another impossibly busy day. We had the Bridges Out of Poverty meeting today. There are definitely going to be enough local organizations coming to have an open forum on how we can serve them. I am looking forward to the meeting.
I also ran another poetry program this afternoon. We had seven people who stayed through most of the program, and eight people who came in and out of the program for a total of fifteen people. I rather enjoyed it. This time, I did not have to read as many poems. A lot of the attendees had their own poetry to read. We had a new microphone and refreshments. Next time, I will try for hot coffee.
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
Charles Lutwidge Dogson (“Lewis Carroll”). Alice In Wonderland, I think may have been the best fantasy book ever written.
This morning was rather pleasant. Right now, I am reading Time Management Increase Your Personal Productivity and Effective Harvard Business Essentials Your Mentor And Guide To Doing Business Effectively. I read it on the train in to work. The author is Harvard Business School, a corporate author. I even finished it on the way back home. The book is kind of boring. It would not make for a very interesting book review. However, it is quite practical so I will say a few things about it.
The book reminds me you should keep work life balance and when you are at home not do things from work. I don't follow this a whole lot. I read which is completely work related, but I like it anyway. It also suggests I keep to do lists. I actually don't like writing things down. This goes counter to my philosophy in some ways, I like to think I know a little bit about the Method of Eidos and the Roman rhetoric of memory. Memory techniques are often location specific, not paper specific. Although building a memory castle out of paper would be interesting.
I also find these lists cluttersome, hey a new word. The one thing I liked about this book was its instructions on how to delegate to people, unfortunately, I only have one person who reports to me, and she does whatever I ask of her with little question.
Another thing which will be most helpful with is unmentionable here. So, it will help me a lot, but I really can't tell you about it. It is something I have been putting off for quite a bite of time (oops I mean bit). There, there is my opinion of this book on time management.
To be fair there are some excellent tips on removing clutter and how to deal effectively with personal time. I might even use a few of them.
I did a number of minor things when I came in to work. I changed the display from globalism to crime, law, and policing. I am showing books where these things come together; broken windows, death penalty cases, neighborhood policing, and similar material.
I've also been reordering a whole bunch of titles that I pulled out from when I was weeding different books from social science, graphic novels, and business. There were a number of books that were falling apart, but had very high circulation. I guess people really like Dick Tracy here.
There was a staff meeting today. It included a very heavy lunch. I like the fruit punch, they mix punch with gingerale and add ice. It has a very nice flavor to it. They also had eggplant and mozzarella cheese sandwiches, cake, and coffee. It has made me a tiny bit sleepy.
I spent a little bit of time calling Baker & Taylor about their catalogs for mass market paperbacks.
Finally, I do the task which is moving along about halfway through, weeding the regular size social science books. I am about halfway through. There it is a day for you to read about.
Monday, December 8, 2008
Brian Lumley has a new mass market paperback, The Taint and Other Novellas. It is set in the Cthulhu mythos of H.P. Lovecraft. I sometimes like to read about crawling horrors and Innsmouth. Brian Lumley is a very good horror writer in the adventurous style.
The Dangerous Alphabet, a children's book by Neil Gaiman came in. I read it. It was short and enjoyable. The pictures are more silly and grumpy than scary. There are monsters, ghosts, pirates, and critters chasing the two adventurous children seeking after treasure. The illustrations are by Gris Grimly. The book is a set of thirteen illustrated couplets that are not quite right. The couplets are alphabetical in nature.
It was fun to read in a kind of oddball way. It reminds me a bit of Mercer Mayer's There's A Nightmare In My Closet. It has that go away monsters kind of feel to it. The artwork feels a little bit similar also.
Right now, I am holding The Day I Swapped My Dad For Two Goldfish written by Neil Gaiman and illustrated by Dave McKean. I have not read it. I am not sure that I want to even read it yet. There is a cd with Neil Gaiman reading the story in the back of the book. I think it will be fun to listen to Neil Gaiman reading a children's book on the stereo.
I read the story on the train home. It was short and entertaining. It is a swapping tale, where one person swaps an item from one person to another. In this case it is the child's dad who other children find boring and keep swapping away for different things like an electric guitar or a gorilla mask. The child with his sister must retrieve their dad back because mom said so. I rather like the idea. The dad does little except read the paper. The artwork is very different for a children's book. Dave McKean creates an almost surreal style of drawing.
Then I listened to the CD in the back of the book. Neil Gaiman has a very pleasant reassuring voice which made the reading quite entertaining. He also has good rhythm and is not too fast so it is easy to follow what he is saying. I enjoyed it in both the audio and print versions.