Monday, May 31, 2010

Under Heaven by Guy Gavriel Kay

Under Heaven by Guy Gavriel Kay

Under Heaven is a historical fantasy based on the 8th century Tang dynasty in China. Shen Tai, the hero of the story calls his country Kitai. Kitai is the Russian word for China. This story draws from asian and eurasian history. Sardia where Shen Tai receives a gift of Sardian horses is a medieval historical country along the Silk Road.

The historical elements make this novel beautiful to read. Guy Gavriel Kay uses traditional eight line Chinese verse throughout the book. He acknowledges Li Po, the Chinese poet as his inspiration. One of the secondary characters, Sima Zian is called an Immortal because of the beautiful poetry he writes.

The story itself has a diverse variety of elements. It is much more than just sword fighting and magical battles. In fact, the magic described here is different, the bogu tribesmen have shamans who communicate with animals, there is forbidden astrology called the "School of Night", warrior monks practice martial arts, and the Emperor of Kitai drinks alchemical potions to increase his potency.

There are beautiful descriptions of bejeweled courtesans playing the Pipa, dancing, and wiling away the evenings. There is decpetion, intrigue, wine (peach, pepper, grape, and spiced), sex, assassination attempts, battles, and history. The setting is in the countryside of Kitai, at the imperial court, and beyond The Long Wall, and in the grasslands of the Bogu. The characters are soldiers, poets, noblemen, noblewomen, warrior monks, tribesmen, imperial bureaucrats, and concubines.

The hero, Shen Tai is propelled through the story by forces greater than himself. He starts with a great action, burying the dead on a battlefield as part of mourning the death of his father, the General Shen. He survives many intrigues and battles and does not seek what is given to him. The characters make terrible mistakes which lead to tragedies and civil war. This makes the story compelling.

This is an interesting fantasy written in a literary style with both an epilogue and acknowledgements for the historical and literary research put into writing this book. Guy Gavriel Kay is a Canadian writer who won the World Fantasy Award in 2008 for his book Ysabel. His official website is Bright Weavings.

Daily Thoughts 5/31/2010

Baroness Emma Orczy de Orczi (1865–1947), a British novelist, playwright and artist of Hungarian noble origin.Taken 10 June 1920 by Alexander Bassano. The Baroness of Orczy is famous for writing The Scarlett Pimpernel.

Daily Thoughts 5/31/2010

Happy Memorial Day. There is a parade outside with the local politicians, the veterans, scouts, and automobile club. It is very nice outside. Pleasant enough to take a nice long walk.

My to be read list is in front of me. I am planning to read Daniel H. Pink, Drive The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us, Tobias Buckell mentioned it on Facebook, Seth Godin, Linchpin Are You Indispensable mentioned by Ron Hogan during his speech at the Book Blogger Convention, Laurence Cosse, A Novel Bookstore an advanced reading copy I got at Book Expo America, Gail Carriger, Changeless, I just like her books and Rex Riders by J.P. Carlson, another advanced reading copy I got at Book Expo America.

Barbara Genco who is the Editor for Collection Development for Library Journal twittered this, it is a set of summer picks for books from NPR.

Occassionally, I prune my side bar when book blogs become inactive and replace them with other book blogs that are linking to me. I usually wait until a blog has been inactive for one to two months. People stop blogging after a while and try something else. Alabama Bookworm is active again , I am not sure about Book Bound, they mainly review paranormal romance and young adult which is interesting, but not quite in the same category as the books which I review or read. , TNBBC's The Next Best Book Blog which was represented at the Book Bloggers Convention has a link to my site. Sometimes, a blog will stop posting for a while, but still visit other blogs. If I'm still getting visits, but no posts, I'll hope they'll post at a later date.

I am adding Neil Gaiman's Journal to the authors that I read. I read this on occassion. I am also adding Jonathan Carroll's Website. I think Jonathan Carroll's site is one of the most beautifully designed author websites I have ever seen. . It includes an introduction by Neil Gaiman. Their writing style is very sympathetic with each other.

I also like Linnea Sinclair who writes science fiction romance; more specifically, science fiction space opera in my opinion.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Daily Thoughts 5/30/2010

Victor Hugo, c1875, taken by Comte Stanisław Julian Ostroróg dit WALERY (1830-1890), French Ministry of Culture, from Wikimedia

Daily Thoughts 5/30/2010

Have been reading the uncomfortable dead (what's missing is missing) a novel by four hands. The chapters are written alternately, first Subcomandate Marcos will write one chapter, then Paco Ignacio Taibo II will write the next chapter. This creates a slowly interweaving setting where the characters in the book move closer and closer together.

There is a lot of politics in this book, an odd mix of left wing libertarianism and anarchism that often has an absurd and ridiculous quality to it mixed with ironic humor. The main characters are detectives in that they are trying to solve a crime, but it is often hard to tell what the crime is exactly, and it is often more of a conversation about the vagaries of life in the mixed up setting of a corrupt, greedy Mexico city. I am enjoying the book because of its unique iconoclastic style.

The characters are interesting personalities; a progressive politician with a pet dog with a broken leg, a gay revolutionary, an inspector for the Zapatistas, a Chinese revolutionary in Mexico city, a Mexican porn star who looks like Bin Laden, a corrupt business man, a sweet old grandmother who hacks computers, and others.

The characters all chain smoke, drink, often swear, and tell jokes. The book is not that clean, it might make some people uncomfortable. However, there is very little gratuitious sex or violence, the characters mainly talk about it. The book is very well written and was recommended by Library Journal and the Los Angeles Times. Paco Ignacio Taibo II has won numerous awards for his writing; he is a professor of history at Metropolitan University of Mexico City. It is odd reading a mystery cowritten by a revolutionary, Subcomandante Marcos, but then Marcos has also written a childrens book, The Story of the Colors. There is even a short interview with Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Robert Pombo, and Subcomandante Marcos called The Punchcard and The Hourglass at the back of this edition of the book.

I am about half way through reading the book. This was a free copy given out by Akashic books at Book Expo America. It is not an advanced reading copy, so I will definitely add it to the library collection. We have several other books by Paco Ignacio Taibo II featuring the detective Hector Belascaron Shayne.

Right now I am a bit tired. It was a very long week at the convention.

Thoughts On Reviews

There is a very different goal for librarians reading reviews than many people think. We can't read every book, but we need to know about many books out there in case people ask about them. This means there is no such thing as spoilers for us in reviews. If we read a review, it is nice to know the genre, plot, characters, style, setting, and framework of the book. A review that is longer than what is in a review magazine, about a page and a half is ideal for me.

I want to know how you feel about a book, your personal opinions matter. Reviewers in the literary criticism often can't give their personal feelings or emotions in their reviews. Your personal style counts a lot. Stars don't mean a lot to me. Specifics about what you like and dislike are what matters. Please tell me what is bad about a book. You may not know this but a bad book review can increase sales. People become aware of an item if it generates controversy.

I like it when I see both good and bad reviews on books. This indicates that the author had a specific opinion and was writing for a specific audience. There are a lot of books which will not appeal to many people or have content that has a strong, often offensive set of opinions that is not for every audience.

I have to consider books with a full spectrum of religious, philosophical, and political viewpoints. We don't have to agree with Ann Coulter or Al Franken, but we do need to know if the material is well written, entertaining, and has some degree of accuracy.

Tell me when you don't like a book, you don't have to write a full review, but saying I put this book down because it bored me or it was confusing helps me make decisions about books.

I want to see your personal style in your writing of a review. This may help me gauge whether it is right for another person. Knowing a little bit about you helps as well. Let me know in your blog if you review christian fiction, books about serial killers, fantasy, urban fantasy, science fiction, world literature, chick lit, travel writing, or whatever else you might like.

Include things which we don't normally see in a book review. Describe the layout of the text, talk about the illustrator or photographer in a nonfiction book, compare it to several other books. There are no constraints in a blog. There is no stylesheet for a personal blog like in a magazine.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Daily Thoughts 5/29/2010

New York Sunday journal. May 3... Digital ID: 1541093. New York Public Library

New York Sunday Journal, May 3, 1896. Why did I post this on Saturday, to protest the idea of having to collect all my thoughts on Sunday and post them all at once as a Salon post.

Daily Thoughts 5/29/2010

Anyways, the big book convention is over. I had a chance to go through and look at the blog list of the Book Bloggers Convention. I never did put up a button for them. These are a few of the blogs which I liked from the list. I visited all of them to see what they looked like. Sometimes, it is a chance to just see what people are doing. I probably should have gone through this before I went to the reception. But, then I am not very good at should have.

I really like the Rasco from RIF (Reading Is Fundamental) blog. It has a very clear design and excellent message. Reading Is Fundamental is part of the Summer Reading programs at most public libraries in the United States. I also liked Jeff's, The Reading Ape Blog His summary of Book Expo America is quite good. I joined the Book Bloggers Hop on Crazy For Books, I am #175, I sometimes twitter with Marie from The Boston Bibliophile which is a quite nice blog. She is also a librarian blogger. . Maw Books by Natasha is of course wonderful, she was the primary arranger of the Book Blogger Convention. . There is also The Book Publicity Blog which I find fascinating. I have never seen so many book publicists in one place...

I also looked through the industry bloggers. The AMACom Blog looks quite interesting, it is often hard to find decent reviews for business books. I think I will get Investing In A Sustainable World Why Green Is The New Color of Money On Wall Street by Matthew J. Kiernan, Ph.D. . Another industry blog which looks very nice is Online Publicist. I liked the design of Authors on the Web, they left us a gift in the goody bag yesterday, a reading light. I was surprised to have missed Quirk Books, They are famous for Seth Grahame-Smith, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. We also purchased Queen Victoria Demon Hunter from them as well as Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter for our library. Pride and Prejudice and Zombies was recently turned into a graphic novel.

Some Final Thoughts on Book Expo and the Book Blogging Convention.

One of the underlying conversations at the Book Expo was about reviewing. Although, it was not said out loud, the publishers were giving out a lot less review copies to attendees. Some were also limiting their copies to "reviewers." They were also trying to switch away from physical copies to either codes which allowed downloads to books or egalleys. This was a way to lower costs and improve distribution. While I was following the Ning Book Blog group there were questions about how international readers could get galleys. I would imagine that shipping a physical galley overseas via airmail would be cost prohibitive.

During Ron Hogan's talk he said that blogs had won out against review sites. He told us that places like the Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and others were creating their own blogs to review books. The specific blog that Ron Hogan mentioned was Jacket Copy of the Los Angeles Times. Ron Hogan made a statement that Bloggers have won. I read the Books section of the New York Times on occassion looking at Paper Cuts one of the New York Times blogs.

I am not 100% sure about this, but I can tell you that blogs do have some advantages. They do not have to follow a formula or editorial policies created in review periodicals. They can innovate in their style. I often find myself when reading library review material wondering if they copied the dust jacket copy practically word for word to create the review. I think this is one of the reasons that Kirkus Reviews survived; they were willing to include more negative reviews and more florid language.

Bloggers can put an original voice and style into reviews. They can also add new conventions to describing books like adding descriptions of layout, style, and photography in books. There are no rules right now. Also, with nonstandard language it is much easier to prove you have read a book. A blogger can use much more original language. Hopefully, reviewers at the professional journals will adapt some of the better conventions from blogs as they are tried.

While I was at the Book Bloggers Convention, there was another group conversation about bloggers and reviewers. Bloggers do not have to write negative reviews. If someone gives you a book and you write a negative review, you might not get another free galley from them. It is often difficult to write a negative review. A blogger is not getting paid to write a review. Often, they are reading for pleasure. There is no requirement for them to finish reading a book which they do not like. A reviewer is being paid. The blogger can simply stop reading. I still think it is best to have at least a mention that they stopped reading a book and why.

There is an unacknowledged tension between the style of "readers advisory" and "literary criticism." The style of literary criticism appears to be fading a bit for popular titles. During the Librarians 2nd Annual Shout and Share, which is a book talking panel by collection development librarians, at around 3:45 p.m. Miriam Tuliao cofounder of mentioned a new trifecta for bestsellers. If a book is prominently featured in USA Today, People, and Entertainment Weekly it will most likely appear on the bestseller lists. I hope, I will not have to read these magazines to measure some of the popular titles to get.

This is a bit stunning. I like many of the print publications like the New York Review of Books which is on Facebook and hope they are quick and adaptable in meeting the challenges facing them. My hope is that purely popular institutions will not have too much impact on our reading habits.

The final question which I faced directly, is "Is a blogger a reviewer?" Many people both write literary reviews and blogs. How do you approach a company and ask them for books who want their books reviewed, but are a little shy of giving a blogger a book. Luckily, because I work around a constant flow of books, I don't have to hunt for new books to read and review. Others do. I still really want certain titles on occassion. At the Book Blogger Convention, we were given contact sheets for Harper Collins to request review copies if we wanted them for blogs.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Daily Thoughts 5/28/2010 (Book Bloggers Convention at Book Expo America)

Stack of books in Gould's Book Arcade, Newtown, New South Wales (NSW), Australia, 21 October 2009, taken by Toby Hudson, Creative Commons Attribution- Share Alike 3.0 Unported, Wikimedia. This came from the Quality Images for Household Items section of Wikimedia.

Daily Thoughts 5/28/2010 (Book Bloggers Convention at Book Expo America)

I am going to the Book Bloggers Convention in a little while. I don't think I'll make the breakfast, but I will get to the other parts of the convention.

I slept in a little bit and got the Book Bloggers Convention at 9:00 a.m.. The keynote speaker was Maureen Johnson who writes young adult novels. I had never read her blog, but she was quite entertaining to hear speak. In the goody bags which came with the blogs, Brilliance Audio included a cd audiobook of Sweet Scarlett her new novel.

She had some interesting things to say. She blogs every single day, ending up with about 2,000 words. She also encourages people to comment on her blog. She also reminds us to blog about what we like. Sometimes, I am not quite sure what I like, so I just write about what I am experiencing.

Maureen Johnson talked about how she liked an unnamed blogger and reminded us that there are really no ground rules for twitter or blogger, you can do whatever you want. It is up to us to decide how much privacy we want. I won't go into every detail of what she said, but I can say she smiled a lot and made us laugh and was an original speaker.

The next person to speak was Ron Hogan. I remember when he wrote for Galleycat of Media Bistro. He hasn't been doing this for a while. I didn't even know he left. He outlined some of his ideas from Seth Godin's book, Linchpin Are You Indispensable. I liked Purple Cow a lot also by Seth Godin. The speech inspired me to read Seth Godin's books more than anything else.

The question about how do you get your books puzzled me a little bit. I get them from the library where I work, because I or my colleagues have ordered the book. We haven't specifically been requesting galleys or review copies lately. We could do this, but I am not really sure about this. One of my colleagues orders forthcoming titles. If I can't get what I want immediately, I may turn to Netgalley, but have not been reading many galleys. Galleys are not supposed to be added to libraries, they are not the complete corrected copies. We can't sell them in the book sale. The library county I work at is a cooperative so each library has its own budget and we share resources. There is no central ordering, so galleys often don't make sense for us because we are not doing large scale ordering of multiple copies. Galleys make sense for individual reviewers.

In this blog, I have relationships with Amazon Associates unlike Ron Hogan who has relationships with Powells for his blog. I don't think about it a huge amount because there is not a lot of money involved. I do it mainly for the little pictures of the books.

I asked Ron Hogan about getting comped as a journalist. On the badge issued to the Book Bloggers Convention, there is the word Press. I used it to sit down in the press room on the convention floor on Thursday and write a bit on this blog. Also, when I was on the floor of the convention, when I was at one of the booths, I was asked if I was a reviewer, only a reviewer could have the galley I wanted. I would have had to contact the publicist.

The goodie bag which came with the convention was excellent. I was surprised at the number of gifts, a book light, a secret decoder pen, a notebook from Harper One, a little mirror, a t-shirt, a stamp which said fail, a button whch said Zombies vs. Unicorns, a pen with the words Book Blogger Convention and various bookmarks. It was nice swag, better than the swag on the convention floor.

The books were also nice. They were mainly aimed at women. A few of the titles were The Perfect 10 Diet by Michael Aziz, M.D., Summer at Tiffany A Memoir by Marjorie Hart (this book included review questions for book clubs), Deb Caletti, The Nature of Jade which was a teen romance novel, and Jill Dawson, The Great Lover which was recommended by one of the attendees as an excellent book. Jill Dawson is a British writer.

We had lunch which was rather tasty, a wrap, chips, and soda. I talked with two people at one table, John Grace from Brilliance Audio who worked with science fiction and fantasy audiobooks, and Joy Strazza who was a publicist for Joan Schulhafer Publishing and Media Consulting. This is the first time I have spent time around publicists. Most of my experience has been around writers, booksellers, librarians, and editors so talking to publicists and book marketers was a new experience for me. Netgalley which makes egalleys was talked about briefly,

After the main presenters, there were several panels. I had trouble remembering who was who because there were so many presenters at once. Each presenter had their own blog. It was a bit confusing. Maybe, I was just a bit tired from first going to Day of Dialog, then walking the floor, then doing more panels on Thursday.

Like so many panels, I find it easier if I pick only a few things to think about when I am listening to a panel. Paying attention to everything is a little too diffuse. I am mainly going to comment on one or two people from each panel.

There were a few blogs and people which caught my attention. I rather liked the idea of the Book Publicity Blog , it has a different layout and feel to it than many other blogs I have looked at. Again, I am not that familiar with book publicity.

I was surprised at the number of bloggers who were librarians. I was thinking, Vampire Librarian, that is kind of interesting for a blog, . Also, there were some interesting comments about the difference between reviewing for Kirkus Reviews and reviewing on a blog.

When you have not seen the blog before someone comes to speak, it makes it hard to picture what people were talking about. I really should have looked at each blog individually so I could place what the speakers were talking about. Because I had previously seen, The Booksmuggler Blog I could understand what Thea was talking about when she talked about statistics and traffic. I had recognized the blog from

Also, because of the reception, I got a sense of Stacked, so I could understand what Christina was talking about. Christina had talked about blogging Space Camp at the reception before she spoke on the podium about it. Her pitch and message were very clear.

I wish the reception was a little bit earlier. I was looking to see if there were any book bloggers when I came in on Tuesday morning for the Library Journal Day of Dialog at Book Expo America. I asked at the check in desk. The only blogger I directly recognized was Ellen Datlow on the floor, who has a live journal page and was at the Horror Writers of America booth.

Some of the panels were quite interesting. I am used to hearing about technology around books. I read Joe Wikert's Publishing 2020 Blog. You might call it a kind of book blog. I also recognized Maw Books who has an excellent book blog.

I had never really thought that much about social responsibility when they did the panel on Blogging With Social Responsibility. It was interesting hearing about whitewashing in book covers from Zetta of the Fledgling blog, also it was interesting hearing about blogging gay books from Stephen Bottum of Band of Thebes.

The talk on the Impact of the Relationship between Author and Blogger felt like it was from the perspective of a publicist or marketer, not an editor. I find it fairly easy to talk to editors and writers. I often don't think of interviewing writers, because it somehow crosses into territory which limits how much you can review a book. When talking to editors there seems to be less worry about whether or not you should correct someone; it is their job to criticize works. When you talk to a reviewer or marketer, it seems to be much less acceptable to be critical, there is more of an emphasis on selling the book.

I liked how Amy of the blog, My Friend Amy talked about her relationship with authors. I also liked the decision which was made by Bethanne of the Book Studio to insist on either interviewing an author or writing a book review on their book, but not both.

I like messaging authors on Facebook, but not really interviewing them. Interviewing requires you to review things being said if they are written down, to make sure your writing did not misinterpret something. I'm probably not following the reminder to not talk about yourself too much in a blog, but focus on your interests. Hopefully, what I am writing is correct. Let me know if it is not.

I am not sure that I have the same kind of relationship with authors. It has been such a long time since I have gone to author events. I am not sure that author events are really like blog interviews. Most of the authors which I message are on Facebook; Tobias Buckell, John Ordover, and Ellen Datlow mainly. Occassionally, Jeff Vandermeer.

The event was very well done. I felt a little out of place, but people were very nice. They also made sure that people got a chance to ask questions to the panelists. This was the first time The Book Blogger Convention was held. It was very well executed and well attended for a first time event. I think there were over 200 people in attendance. I don't have the full statistics. It will be something worth attending again. The price for admission was included in attendance to Book Expo America.

I liked talking to Kelly Leonard, Executive Director of Marketing for Online Marketing for Hachette. Hachette has a very large presence on the Ning Book Bloggers Network. It was very gracious.

To get a sense of the attendees. This is a list of blogs with the first name next to them. In addition to the regular attendees, there were a number of publicists, marketers, and people from publishing companies like Hachette, Random House, Harper Collins, Orbit, Brilliance Audio, and others.


I am thinking about some things about followers. I currently have 77 Google Followers, 109 RSS (Realtime Simple Syndication) Feed Followers, and about 60 hits a day. This is not a lot of hits. However, something I have noticed is that people who visit usually don't come every day. They may come once a week and read for several minutes go to a link, then come back.

There are other indicators than the main site about who is reading my writing. I also post on Ning Bookblogs. Ning is going to start charging for this service. It would be a nice to see a sponsor to keep the section going. .

I also have 2435 twitter followers I guess this indicates I am good at making short, pithy statements in 140 characters or less. In addition, most of these followers are focused into the book, librarian, and publishing world, hopefully.

I am running a thread on Blogcatalog called What are you reading now? It is up to the 507th post. Sometimes, it is an interesting to try and create long running threads.

There are other indicators which are not about reading. I have been in the top spot for books on Fuelmyblog on many occassions. I am on the front page of the books section in Blogcatalog

I also have a Goldview Award from the View From Here Magazine

Maybe, I am self promoting too much. I still do not get a huge amount of traffic. Traffic is not everything.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Daily Thoughts 5/27/2010 (Book Expo America)

Burgundian scribe (portrait of Jean Miélot, secretary, copyist and translator to Duke Philip the Good of Burgundy, from a copy of his compilation of the Miracles de Notre Dame, 15th Century

Daily Thoughts 5/27/2010 (Book Expo America)

I took a short break in the morning and finished reading Under Heaven by Guy Gavriel Kay. It is an excellent fantasy novel set in ancient China. I'll probably write a review later this week.

I found out to my amusement that I have been comped as a journalist because I write this blog. This is the second time that I have been comped as a journalist with a byline. The first time was at O'Reilly Tools of Change for Publishing in 2009. It is a very different experience. Right now, I am sitting in the Press Office writing on this blog. I did not expect this. I have two badges, one as a librarian, and one as a journalist because of this blog. I paid for the librarian badge. Right now, I am carrying both.

The Bookcalender badge will be of use for tomorrow for the Book Bloggers Convention at the Jacob Javits Center in room 1E15. It is the kind of thing which I have to just "go with the flow."

I spent a little time walking the floor of the convention. I did find Fantagraphics at a booth. I didn't think they were at the convention earlier. They had an interesting portion of a galley of a short story prose collection, What Is This All? Uncollected Stories by Peter Dixon. This was surprising because Fantagraphics is known mainly for its graphic novels. However, I have seen other novels being published recently by comic book publishers. DC published Peter and Max, A Fable by Bill Willingham.

Dalkey Archive was right next to Fantagraphics. Dalkey Archive is one of my favorite presses. I am familiar with them because at one time, I used to visit Small Press Distributors in Berkeley, California, . They have a new line of english translations of literature from Catalan, Slovenian, and Hebrew. Dalkey Archive prints very high quality literary works.

I also picked up a practical book for our Job Information Center, Military Education Benefits for College by David A. Renza, M.A. and Edmund J. Lizotte, Lt. Col. Ret. published by Savas Beatie.

While I was walking around, I saw that Housing Works was at the convention. They have a very nice used bookstore in Manhattan which supports providing shelter for homeless people who are HIV positive or have AIDS. They are a social enterprise.

After finishing walking around, I went the Fall Hot Graphic Novels For Libraries in the conference area from 2:00- 3:30 p.m. I especially liked the title Archie Marries... which has two stories, one where he marries Bettie, and one where he marries Veronica. The other graphic novel which intrigued me which they talked about was Ghostopolis by Doug Ten Napel. I plan on giving the list to our young adult librarian to look over. There are also a few childrens graphic novels.

The final librarian session was the 2nd Annual Librarians Shout and Share from 3:30-5:00 p.m. in room 1E16. It was a panel of eight collection development librarians sharing their picks from the show. They basically showed forthcoming books which they had collected. It was interesting hearing which books they liked. Certain books were repeated several times. The titles which I remember that more one collection development librarian mentioned were The Passage by Justin Cronin, Cleopatra: A Biography by Stacy Schiff, Packing for Mars by Mary Roach, The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake by Nora Rawlinson, The Sleepwalkers by Paul Grossman, and The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating by Elisabeth Bailey.

It was quite interesting hearing the librarians book talk their choices in very short presentations. Barbara Genco announced that they would have a complete list of all the books mentioned published in Library Journal. I look forward to seeing this.

After the collection development book talk, I went to the opening reception for the Book Bloggers convention. They served cookies and coffee and met in a large meeting room. There were over a hundred people in the room. I recognized Natasha of Maw Books who has a very nicely designed book blog. Also, I had a chance to chat with a couple different different people. Christopher Herz told me about his book, Last Block In Harlem. He is an interesting website on the book It is being picked up by Amazon Encore which is the new publishing house attached to Amazon.

I thought one of the attendees was the librarians blog Stacked, but it turned out to be a different blog, Stacked Attractively Well Read run by Christina R. Oppold. It has a different style.

I had a brief conversation with a gentleman named Simon Van Booy from Harper Collins. It was interesting.

The day was a very productive day. I did get a similar question thrown at me to the one about bloggers being journalists. Am I a reviewer? I am really not sure how to answer this in a traditional sense. I do review books regularly and recommend books, however I am not being paid to do it for a magazine like Library Journal or Choice. This would beg the question of are bloggers really reviewers. Do I need to be a reviewer to ask for a review copy. I know that librarians regularly get review copies as selectors of materials. In a way this makes me both a reviewer and a selector of materials.

It adds to another question. Are bloggers writers? Do I get paid for this. Maybe, I don't get paid in dollars, but I get some social capital (look up whuffie if you want to be a bit science fiction oriented) or if you are old fashioned brownie points, as well as free stuff, or comps to events occassionally. I enjoy it anyways. I still haven't figured out quite where it will lead, good or bad. What seems to be the best thing to do is if someone decides I am a reviewer is to go with the flow. Maybe I don't need to decide that I am a journalist, reviewer, or writer, someone else will just say yes. What I do know is that I am a librarian and a blogger.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Daily Thoughts 5/26/2010 (Book Expo America)

Emile Friant, Self Portrait, Oil on Panel, 1885

Daily Thoughts 5/26/2010 Book Expo America.

I am going to concentrate on walking the show floor of Book Expo America today. It should be interesting. I already printed up a list of booths which I plan on looking at. I also will probably stop by the Librarians Lounge and get coffee. I think I am ready for today.

I walked the show floor today. There were less publishers than the last time I went. In a way, this was better because the childrens books were on the main floor, and it was easier to talk to them. I also noticed that many of the publishers were not exhibiting they were doing business in private meeting rooms. Disney, Rodale, Macmillan and a few others had meeting rooms like this.

The printers and distributors had a very strong presence this year. There was also a very large booth for Overdrive which is the leading supplier for ebooks to libraries. In addition, ebook makers and electronic books were featured during the show. Diamond Comic Distributors was at the convention as well as BWI (Book Wholesalers Inc.), Baker and Taylor and Ingram. There were a lot less small presses on the exhibition floor than the last time I went.

There was a very nice comic book section with Marvel, Diamond Comic Book Distributors, Image, and other publishers. I picked up a lot of Marvel bookmarks for the Graphic Novels club for my library. There were still the big publishers out in force, Penguin, Harper Collins, Random House, Hachette Book Group and others. They were giving a lot of galleys out as well as original books.

I ended up shipping 72 pounds of books back to my library. This did not include galleys. I put a number of galleys aside and wrote down some of the titles. Yale University Press has a very nice biography on Joe Louis by Randy Roberts. There were a lot of university presses at the show. I also saw a lot of christian publishers, and politically oriented publishers.

I picked up a copy of Muhammad Yunus, Building Social Business The New Kind of Capitalism That Serves Humanities Most Pressing Needs published by Public Affairs. The Cato Institute which is a libertarian press was giving out a free booklet which contained the United States Constitution and the Declaration of Independence. They also had an interesting title called Terrorizing Ourselves Why U.S. Counterterrorism Policy is Failing and How To Fix It by Benjamin H. Friedman, Ed. For those of an even more conservative bent, there is a book published by Strang Communications, The Faith and Values of Sarah Palin, What She Believes and What It Means for America by Stephen Mansfield and David A. Holland

There was a lot of very interesting material. A title called The Bearded Gentleman The Style Guide to Shaving Face by Allan Peterkin & Nick Burns caught my attention. There are very few titles on this subject. There was also a title called Shamrock Alley by Ronald Damien Malfi about infiltrating the Westies, an Irish gang in New York.

Europa which is an international publisher recommended a book called A Novel Bookstore by Laurence Cosse. They compared it to The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery which was a bestseller. Another literary book which might be of interest is Dear Sandy Hello Letters from Ted to Sandy Berrigan by Ted Berrigan. This book is edited by Sandy Berrigan and Ron Padgett and published by Coffee House Press. Black Sparrow Press recommended a poetry book called Well Then There Now by Julia Spahr which is coming in Fall 2010. They had a chapbook of a poem in the book called Gentle Now, Don't Add Heartache.

Akashic Books is publishing a series of noir books based in specific cities. These are very popular at our library; Mexico City Noir, Indian Country Noir, San Francisco Noir, Orange County Noir, and Los Angeles Noir are some of the title in the series. In November, they are releasing Haiti Noir. Akashic books had a very interesting mystery written by Subcommandante Marcos of the Zapatistas and Paco Ignacio Taibo II who is a famous Mexican mystery writer titled The Uncomfortable Dead (What's Missing Is Missing) a novel by four hands.

Juan Gomez-Jurado a writer from Spain is coming out with a thriller called The Moses Expedition which looks quite good in August. He did a reading and book signing at New York Public Library on May 26, at 6:00 p.m.

The amount of novels being given out was tremendous. The Romance Writers of America had a very nice selection of titles that they were giving away which they had collected from their membership. Also, The Mystery Writers of America had lots of people signing books. Ellen Datlow was at the Horror Writers of America booth.

2000 A.D., the English comic book writers who do Judge Dredd are coming back. There is a new Judge Dredd movie coming out done by the same people who did the film District 9. The film is being shot in South Africa. It appears that 2000 A.D. is going to have an American publisher other than DC or Marvel which understands their work. I also picked up a "weird western", called Rex Riders by J.P. Carlson, illustrated by J. Calafiore. There are not very many people who write this kind of book. I like the name of the publisher, Monstrosities Books. It is their first book. There was very little manga at this years show which surprised me.

The people at the show were very nice. Playaway has redesigned its cases for its electronic audiobooks. They are much more attractive. They also have a whole new set of marketing material to use with their audiobooks. They are calling it Circulation Station

There were not a lot of pens or giveaways floating around the show. I saw some bookmarks. Also many more vendors were keeping their books as display copies or selling them at a discount rather than giving away copies. I did like the free bookmark given to me by Bookamajigs, LLC. It was quite pretty.

Another thing which I liked was the American Girls Crafts booth. They had a lot of crafts designed to tie in directly with the American Girls books series which is a series of historical young adult novels based on different characters in American history. It is a very clean, well done popular series. I can see librarians using the crafts as part of a program with the books.

Learning Express was at the conference. They run a database for civil service tests which our library subscribes to as well as print a number of titles for civil service exams. I hope they expand their coverage of civil service books. Their database is excellent and is used a lot. Also, Nolo Books which does self help legal titles was there. Their books are excellent.

On the way out, I picked up the book for the 6th annual new title showcase. I won't get a chance to look at it until tomorrow. I did not get to go to any conference sessions today. It was a quite busy day. Lots and lots of walking. I only took a few minutes to sit in the Librarians Lounge at the end of the day. It was relaxing and empty.

There was so much at the show, it is quite hard to even describe a fraction of it. Tomorrow, I am going to focus on going to a few panels and talking to a couple more publishers this time without the purpose of collecting books.

This is a summation of the Editors Pick panel from Day of Dialog between Librarians Publishers which I went to from Library Journal Online.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Daily Thoughts 5/25/2010 (Day of Dialog Between Publishers and LIbrarians)

Luc Lafnet, Still Life, 1927, Oil On Canvas

Daily Thoughts 5/25/2010 (Day of Dialog Between Librarians and Publishers at Book Expo America)

Ready to go to the Jacob Javits Center this morning. I have a folder for all my papers, pens, business cards, a notebook, so I think I should be ready. It should be excellent.

I was surprised to only find conference sessions on the first day of Book Expo America. I went to the Library Journal Day of Dialog at the Jacob Javits Center, directly across from us was the School Library Journal Day of Dialog. It was nice to see some of my old colleagues among the attendees as well as a few people that I recognized. I had a very interesting talk with one of my colleagues about purchasing foreign language materials.

I also picked up a lot of free books and audiobooks. I was surprised at the amount of free audiobooks. I am going to list a few free books and audiobooks that stood out; Churchill A History of the English Speaking Peoples as a cd audiobook put out by BBC Audio, Niall Ferguson The Ascent of Money by Tantor Audio. There were also a number of cards which had the cover of a book and a free code to download an audiobook; My Spirtual Journey by The Dalai Lama and Sena Jeter Naslund, Adam & Eve A Novel were two downloads that were free on postcards.

I also had a chance to slip across the hall to pick up some books from School Library Journal. They were giving away some Kimani Tru titles which are African American romance titles aimed at teenagers. The imprint is very popular at our library.

The first session was Editors Picks. Among the books which were recommended that most stood out were The Burn by Nevada Barr coming in August, Barrier Dead by Louise Penny which is a mystery coming in September, and Stephen Hawking's new book The Grand Design. There were a lot of excellent suggestions of titles.

The next session was on ebooks. It was about two new ebook platforms, Blio and Copia. It is hard to describe what these are without looking at them. is a social network platform for reading, it allows a variety of features including annotation, video, audio, sharing reading, and other functions. Blio was an ereading platform designed to include a variety of media formats worked on by Baker and Taylor. It was also interesting to look at.

This was followed by another session on ebooks. Mostly this was about the coming changes we should expect in how ebooks and other media are going to be introduced to the library. Overdrive was the most interesting presenter. They talked about the process of how we we have to tell industry what we want. There was a statement that ebooks would be 22-30% of the market five years from now. Electronic books and media are growing extremely fast. I find this to be a little exuberant.

There was an interesting point that many of the changes in the introduction of electronic material to libraries had already been tested out in academic libraries. It seemed a little bit too up front. Academic libraries and public libraries are very different in their mission and content.

Some of the statements very much surprised me. They talked about how there were going to be no hardcover books, more paperbacks, mass market and ebooks. This was a bit strange. I am seeing a dropoff in mainstream publishers hardcover books, but not in specialty hardcover titles from small presses. There has been growth in presses like Subterranean, Nightshade Books, Pyr and other specialty hardcover presses for science fiction. I see more titles with higher prices and more limited runs coming out from these presses. I also see many more oversize hardcover books that are heavily illustrated coming out at more affordable prices.

They talked about how content is going to integrate with your catalog. This reminds me of Bookletters which we recently got to show recommendation lists, widgets, newsletters, and events for our library system. It is additional content to market books integrated with the library catalog. Bookletters is a product of Ingram. Baker and Taylor said their product Blio is designed to integrate with library catalogs. Baker and Taylor says they have already done this with academic libraries with the system called Content Cafe.

The sessions were quite interesting. Some of it took on the older idea of the "library without walls." This is the idea that the library will eventually extend beyond the physical building to manage all the content which is sent outside the building electronically.

There is very much the flavor of the old internet boom days where lots of people were making very wild predictions about what would be happening. There is a constant emphasis on better, faster, cheaper while the backend systems have not changed that much. There are still writers, agents, and publishers. This has not changed that much.

There was a gadget gallery with a variety of devices, the Nook, the Kindle, the Ipad, the Sony Ereader, Blackberry, Android smart phone, and other devices. I got to play with the Ipad and read a bit of the original Winnie the Pooh by A.A. Milne as an Ipad book. I found the Ipad quite pleasing and easy to read. The pictures were clear, the text was very well defined and easy to manipulate. In comparison, the Kindle was not so easy to read, nor was the Sony Ereader. If it was not so expensive, it would be something that I could easily see having.

I decided to skip the session on international thrillers. I then took some time to wander around through the different conference areas. I found a session called Leading Latino Authors are Representative of a Vibrant Market in room 1B 01 from 3:15-4:15 p.m. , I went there at about three o'clock and I heard a panel of bestselling latin authors; Camillo Cruz, Ph.D., Dr. Ana Nogales, Juan Gomez-Jurado, Matt De La Pena, and Daisy Maria Martinez. It was a refreshing break from library stories. One book that looked quite good was a cookbook, Daisy's Fiesta by Daisy Maria Martinez which is coming out in November.

The final hour was looking around and gabbing with wine, cheese, and appetizers. It was a nice way to spend a late afternoon.

There was enough happening in that one day to decide to skip going to the evening events. I also asked registration about the Book Blogging convention. I have to check on it tomorrow. I am going to relax for the long walk around the exhibitor convention floor tomorrow. Jacob Javits convention floor is bigger than a football field. There will be thousands of books.

This time, I have permission to ship back boxes of books which I find on the convention floor. I have also been asked to take a look at the childrens and young adult books too. I plan on picking up a lot of material to send back.

I handed out a few business cards and did get to pick up one thing for myself. Sterling publishers was giving away free blank journals made from 100% recycled materials. They have a nice feel to them.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Daily Thoughts 5/24/2010

High life java & mocha coffee. Digital ID: 1541668. New York Public Library

High life java & mocha coffee. ([1895-1917])

Daily Thoughts 5/24/2010

Sometimes you find the little things; Linked In Group Ebooks, Ebook Readers, Digital Books and Digital Content (Has over 6100 members.). Some of us are getting together for drinks on Tuesday (May 25th) night from 5:30-about 7pm at the Landmark Tavern which is located fairly close to Javits (about 8 blocks). Here’s the address: 626 11th Avenue (on 46th Street) New York, NY 10036 I might go, this is the real purpose of social media; to make contacts.

I have been reading some more of Under Heaven. There is plenty of intrigue. I like how Guy Gavriel Kay describes the inns, red light districts, and concubines of the imperial palace. There is more than just sex; he also includes the intrigues of the court, poetry, assassins, and plenty of intricate language.

Busy Mom's Who Love To Read Blog is hosting the 44th Book Review Blog Carnival where blogs share their reviews to a specific host blog.

I am looking over the Day of Dialog schedule tomorrow. It should be quite entertaining.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Daily Thoughts 5/23/2010

A magnificent reading room in the Vilnius University Library.5, October 2007, taken by Thomas Guignard, Lausanne, Switzerland, Creative Commons Share Alike Attribution 2.0 From Wikimedia.

Daily Thoughts 5/23/2010

The American Library Association has a new Awards, Grants, and Scholarships page, released on May 22, 2010.,%20Grants%20and%20Scholarships&rtype=ALL

Sent out two postcards for the Postcard Campaign to save New York City libraries.

A satirical article from the Huffington Post, Is Print Dead?

I am reading Under Heaven by Guy Gavriel Kay. There are some very interesting things about the novel. The main character, Shen Tai, calls his kingdom Kitai which is the Russian word for China. He also describes Sardian horses. Sardia was a kingdom along the Silk Route. This is a very different style of fantasy drawing from a mix of Eurasian and Chinese history.

There is a feeling that the author has been drawing from readings of both imperial China, and the more eastern tribal peoples. There are pieces of the book that remind me of the Book of Dede Korkut. The story is not just heroic, there is court intrigue, poetry, wine, and love. It is an intriguing read so far.

I just found out that the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund of which I am a member is having a fundraiser at Book Expo America sponsored by Image and DC comics. It should be very interesting.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Daily Thoughts 5/22/2010

Portrait of Edmund Maitre, Frédéric Bazille, 1869

Daily Thoughts 5/22/2010

I have started reading Steamed by Kate MacAlister. It is a steampunk romance. The writing is very lighthearted. There seems to be a touch of romance in many of the steampunk novels lately. Many of the newer steampunk novels seem to draw from both historical romance and science fiction.

Lena Horne died recently. We updated the jazz display to include a few books on her and movies she starred in. Under Heaven by Guy Gavriel Kay came in for me to read. I also put Much Fall of Blood by Mercedes Lackey, Eric Flint, and Dave Freer on request. Baen Books does a good job of creating novels with more than one author.

I spent some time getting myself ready for the Book Expo America conference next week. I have all my registration and confirmation for events together, plus a list of all the events I am attending.

On the way home, I stopped reading Steamed. I found it became a little too silly for my tastes. I put it down and tried out Under Heaven by Guy Gavriel Kay. The story is much more to my taste. Guy Gavriel Kay in 2008 won the World Fantasy Award for his novel Ysabel.

Ship Breaker a Novel By Paolo Bacigalupi

Ship Breaker a Novel By Paolo Bacigalupi

Paolo Bacigalupi just won the Nebula award for his novel, The Windup Girl. This is his second novel. He also wrote an excellent collection of short stories, Pump Six and Other Stories. This novel is a young adult novel, but after reading it, I think it will appeal to all ages.

The writing is extremly fast paced and suspenseful. I was glued to the book and finished it in a single sitting. There is a lot of swearing, violence, and some drug references. However, these do not detract from the story. The violence is not sensationalized, it is portrayed as being a necessity to survive, or as a form of hardness.

The setting is fascinating. It is a near future where the age of oil has ended. Empty oil tankers line the coastlines, there are massive hurricanes, and New Orleans is a drowned city. In this setting is Nailer, a teenage scavenger of shipwrecks who makes his living collecting copper wire, tin, and other light metals.

Nailer contrasts well with Nita a rich girl who he rescues from a shipwreck. This brings a life changing adventure. We travel by bullet train and solar clipper ship to escape the bad guys.

I like the technology, it is completely believable. Paolo Bacigalupi even makes reference to a Buckell cannon designed to shoot sails into the upper atmosphere where they will catch strong winds to pull a ship quickly. At the end of the book, he acknowledges Tobias Buckell, another one of my favorite science fiction writers for technical help.

This is a superb, fast paced, adventure novel set in a dystopic near future. Read it, enjoy it, tell others about it.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Daily Thoughts 5/21/2010

A photograph of a daguerreotype of Edgar Allan Poe 1848, first published 1880. Taken by W.S. Hartshorn, Providence, Rhode Island, on November 9th, 1848 Photograph taken in 1904 by C.T. Tatman.

Daily Thoughts 5/21/2010

Today, I finished reading Readers Advisory Service in the Public Library, 3rd Edition by Joyce G. Saricks. The author focused on the concept of appeal with books. Appeal is different than interpretation, it is the things which hold the readers attention, plot, frame, style, pacing, storyline, and characterization. It is not the same as academic criticism. It is the points that are used to catch the readers attention and sell the book by the author which the bookseller or librarian can capitalize on.

There were a number of ideas which caught my attention; the read alike bookmark, the annotated book list, and the idea of sure bets in different genres of books. This book focused advising on casual fiction and nonfiction. Casual fiction would include genres like romance, historical fiction, science fiction, mystery, noire and other leisure reading. Casual nonfiction would include travel stories, survival stories, contemporary issues, crime, popular culture, humor, popular science, memoirs, and other leisurely reading.

I am very much looking forward to taking the Readers Advisory 101 course that goes with this book.

I worked on my ordering this morning and read a bit more of Booklist. I also am working on getting the on order status up in the catalog properly for books on order at our library.

I had a chance to do a little desk clean up before I go to Book Expo America next week. I also cut some scrap and cleared out my to do box. Check the gifts for books to add. Remind people about activities like putting up the Bookletters page, shifting books in the mezzanine, and making sure the events flyer for the poetry club is up on the website. Checking for business cards to bring to the conference. The little rituals you do before you go on vacation or to a conference.

I am enjoying reading Ship Breaker by Paolo Bacigalupi. It is a very fast paced adventure story set in the near future. I like the setting a lot; the coastlines littered with the wrecks of oil tankers and the drowned city of New Orleans are quite intriguing. Paolo Bacigalupi just won the Nebula Award for The Windup Girl. I think the writing in Ship Breaker is even better.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

War At The Wall Street Journal Inside the Struggle to Control An American Business Empire by Sarah Ellison

War At The Wall Street Journal Inside the Struggle to Control An American Business Empire by Sarah Ellison

Sarah Ellison used to work for the Wall Street Journal before News Corp's takeover of the journal. She wrote this book using a compilation of interviews and newspaper stories. The book feels like you are at many of the reconstructed conversations and deals inside the book. It also describes the people very well; the Bancroft family, the Hill Family, Rupert Murdoch, Peter Kann, Marty Lipton, and others.

This book is a story of deal making and business politics. Sarah Ellison is describing conversations in board rooms, corporate jets, on cell phones, in restaurants, and in private conference rooms. There are no complex charts, managerial theories, or financial figures. We get to read the good and bad characteristics of the people involved; hatreds, rivalries, obsequiousness, personal habits, and fallibilities of some of the most powerful people in the news business.

Sarah Ellison describes the internal workings of the merger between Newscorp and Dow Jones. The focus is on the changes in editorial control and style in the Wall Street Journal. We get to read about how Rupert Murdoch fires and hires people to remake the paper into a different kind of newspaper. Rupert Murdoch's goal is to counter the New York Times by remaking the paper from a conservative business paper into a more national right wing paper which covers politics and culture in addition to business.

She also tells the story of a family in conflict, the Bancroft family who had owned the Dow Jones company for 105 years. It describes how the rise of Google and Yahoo and other new media companies drove down the price of newspaper stocks and caused consolidation in the industry. Rupert Murdoch basically offered more than any other company to take control of Dow Jones.

The story is intriguing. If you want to understand how the news is becoming more polarized between left and right, this book shows how Rupert Murdoch works. It describes a very antagonistic style of news and politics. I found the focus on people and deal making to be different than most business books. There is a very extensive index and notes at the end of the book. The implications of this story are still unfolding.

Daily Thoughts 5/20/2010

Illustration of the Converse Memorial Library, Malden, Massachusetts, USA. Architect H. H. Richardson. This figure is contemporary with the building's dedication, 3 October 1885, American Architect Building News

Daily Thoughts 5/20/2010

Queens Library,, New York Public Library, and Brooklyn Public Library in New York all face very large budget cuts. This will not just affect libraries, it will have a strong effect on the publishing industry which relies on libraries for their backlist of older titles which often are not in bookstores. If you want to keep many of the classics and older books alive, it is important to keep libraries alive. Libraries are centers of cultural memory. Bookstores are more focused on the immediate and current and often are not as deeply focused on the past.

Also closing libraries will have a ripple effect on so many publishing institutions in New York. New York Public Library is a symbol for the book in the whole United States. Diminishing its effect will have a negative impact on the publishing industry in the area. It could have a stronger effect on the media industry than most people realize. Librarians are often writers or supporters of book culture. The immediate cuts will carry into business in the surrounding area. Big publishing houses like Scholastic, MacMillan, Random House, and others will be strongly affected. It is not just books that will be affected, the magazine industry could take a serious hit as well. It is short sighted.

I understand the need for cuts across the city, but the cuts are not even. A 30% cut in budget is a little bit too much for libraries. I don't see the city taking the time to analyze and take apart spending with audits or austerity programs for every department in Manhattan. It will eventually come to this.

There is also a postcard campaign for New York City Libraries. It adds a more personal element to the campaign.

It is not just Manhattan that is being effected, other large municipal library systems in the United States are under scrutiny by city councils. There is also a save Boston Public Library Los Angeles Public Library campaign. Many cities do not see libraries as being essential services.

If you read The State of America's Libraries 2010 , the American Library Association describes increased usage of libraries combined with less funding. Some of the services described are critical. In many communities, the library is the only source of free computers and internet access. It helps bridge the digital divide. Also, these computers are often used to search for jobs and government information which would not be readily available to many people in the community who do not have a computer.

On a more personal note, students at UCSC where I got my undergraduate degree in anthropology are protesting library cuts. They staged a "study-in".

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Daily Thoughts 5/19/2010

Bust of Honoré de Balzac by Auguste Rodin, bronze (1891 – 1892), in the Victoria and Albert Museum., Taken by Andrew Dunn, 3, December 2004, Public Domain

Daily Thoughts 5/19/2010

An excellent article from Harvard Magazine on the changing role of libraries in the digital world.

Did my graphic novels club today. It did decently. We have a regular group of teenagers who come every Wednesday to play trading card games who usually take some of the material being presented. They also come to the anime club later in the week. One of our attendees mentioned a self publishing service for comics called I also checked out the movie, Coraline which is also a book and graphic novel.

One of our clerks is working on a web page for a bestsellers, awards, and staff picks page using Bookletters widgets. It is coming together.

I focused on getting my ordering together before I go to Book Expo America next week. I read Publishers Weekly, Library Journal, and Booklist.

Several books came in for me to read, Changeless, An Alexia Tarabotti Novel by Gail Carriger, Steamed A Steampunk Romance by Kate McAlister, and Ship Breaker A Novel by Paolo Bacigalupi. I am looking forward to reading all three of them.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Daily Thoughts 5/18/2010

Jan Baptist Weenix Portrait of Rene Descartes, Circa 1647-1649

Daily Thoughts 5/18/2010

I spent some time in the morning changing the layout and background of my blog. I am using Blogger in Draft which allows a variety of new features and upcoming templates to be used for blogs. It is a kind of beta testing tool for new features. . I am hoping that it makes my blog look better.

I also spent some time going over Bookletters with the childrens room so we could have some book widgets for the childrens area. Also, there are two new biography signs in the biography area. I am going to work with a colleague on creating a few dewey decimal banners to put up.

We are working on shifting in the storage area and I have started weeding in the short story collection. Things are moving along smoothly. Things are starting to look a little more organized. Tomorrow, I have the graphic novels club.

Guy Gavriel Kay has a new novel coming out Under Heaven which is a fantasy set in ancient China during the Tang dynasty. It should be quite intriguing.

Looking forward to going to the Book Blogger Convention on May 28, 2010 after the Book Expo America convention.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Daily Thoughts 5/17/2010

Charles Dickens, William Powell Frith, 1859

Daily Thoughts 5/17/2010

William Gibson has a near future thriller coming out called Zero History. His last book Spook Country also fits in this genre of suspense. It is borderline science fiction. Also, China Mieville is coming out with a new novel, Kraken which should be interesting.

Today has been quiet, it has been a lot of meetings. First a meeting on the law collection, then a meeting on public service, then some ordering, then some reference work. A solid, steady day.

I finished reading War at the Wall Street Journal. The final section is a description of the transformation under Rupert Murdoch and News Corp from a rather staid conservative business journal to a right leaning national paper with more coverage of national news and less coverage of business. It is hard to call The Wall Street Journal a pure business paper anymore. It is the newspaper which combines with Fox 5 News to make a right leaning media conglomerate. I find the Wall Street Journal to be much more sensationalized.

Right now, I am reading Readers' Advisory Service in the Public Library, Third Edition by Joyce G. Saricks. The book reminded me of the reference book Genreflecting which is one of my favorite reference books. It led me to this blog for readers advisory.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Daily Thoughts 5/16/2010

pen and ink drawing of the royal library in Königsberg, circa 1815

Daily Thoughts 5/16/2010

Last night, I read some more of War At The Wall Street Journal. It is different than most business books I have read. The focus is on deal making, who talked to whom, when they met, who are the parties discussing business transactions, and why they would meet. There is no dry theory. It is about phone calls, exchanging papers, talking to lawyers, being obsequious, fawning, or demanding, and sizing up the competition.

Television and Books

I have a television, but it is hooked up to a dvd and video player. The only way to get regular reception where I am is to buy cable. This means I watch television once a week at the laundromat while I am folding clothes. It is hard to read and fold clothes at the same time.

A lot of the television shows are now on computer. I watched the Roughnecks Starship Troopers on Youtube as well as a variety of clips from the news. A lot of the news websites will have video clips as well. It is easy enough to get any video coverage you might want to see of events on television on a computer these days. It is also very easy to read the news on Yahoo news, so you see and hear the same news everyone else is getting even if you are not watching television.

Also, I sometimes check out entire series of television shows from my library. I checked out the first season of Star Trek out, I Claudius from the BBC, and a variety of different PBS dvds. This is less bothersome than watching the shows each day. It allows me to watch what I want, when I want to.

This does not mean that television is not connected to the book world. There is even a Book TV, I have never watched it, but it is there. Also, many library websites have Books on the Air which which contains a listing of when various authors are presenting each week. You sometimes question whether Youtube is really a separate thing from regular television these days. Almost all television shows are now born digital like books are increasingly becoming born digital.

It is important to think of a book as a package. For example, I read Star Trek novels, but I also watch the shows, and read the comic books. I haven't played the video games. I also have not played the video games for Halo. However, I recently purchased Halo Helljumper written by Peter David which is a graphic novel, as well as the book, Halo: The Cole Protocol by Tobias Buckell. Halo will eventually come out as a movie and after the movie, I can easily imagine it as a Saturday morning cartoon. I read it because I like Peter David's and Tobias Buckell's writing.

This is true for more than just fiction. Ken Burns Civil War is a PBS documentary and a book. So is the Julia Child cookbook. If they can turn a cookbook into a movie starring Meryl Streep, Julie & Julia, they can find out how to package most books.

Think of media packages being born digital as a document, maybe something like an ebook. First they get turned into an ebook, then a physical book, then other products are spun off from them; audiobooks, films, music, posters, website skins, and other things. This can be true of anything from books on horses to horror novels. It does not have to happen this way. Sometimes the movie will be produced first, or the music, or even art work. What matters is that everything is now open to multiple formats of our choice.

This choice will lead to options when we purchase items, we will have a choice, ebook, book, audiobook, and then maybe related films, television, and music.

The line is also becoming blurred between what exactly is a television show, if it is a show you can watch on television or a computer, is it a television show. I don't see programs like authors @ google, being that different from watching television. Nor do I see online conference videos like the TED conference being that differenct from watching television . The lines between the different types of media are blurring.

Other Thoughts

I put Steamed by Katie Macalister on hold, it is a steampunk romance novel. I also put Ship Breaker on hold by Paolo Bacigalupi. This is a young adult novel. Paolo Bacigalupi just won the Nebula Award for The Windup Girl, yesterday. He is a fantastic writer. I was pleasantly surprised, Paulo Bacigalupi's novels are very inclusive and international in flavor and have a strong environmental and political message.

I read some more of War at the Wall Street Journal. The author is describing the merger between News Corp owned by Rupert Murdoch and Dow Jones owned by the Bancroft family. Dow Jones owns the Wall Street Journal which is one of the two most influential newspapers in the United States, the other being the New York Times. Rupert Murdoch is often criticized for his biased reporting to the right, much like Arthur Sulzberger Jr. is criticized for his reporting to the left with the New York Times. Rupert Murdoch's takeover of the Wall Street Journal essentially polarized news reporting in the remaining newspapers.

I also started reading a bit of Readers Advisory Service in the Public Library. The author describes how to do book lists, bookmarks, and other readers advisory tools in this book. I am hoping the book will give me some ideas on how to improve our bibliographies and bookmarks. I just subscribed to Fiction_L which is a readers advisory listserv listed in this book.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Soulless An Alexia Tarabotti Novel by Gail Carriger

Soulless An Alexia Tarabotti Novel by Gail Carriger

The main character of this novel is a proper english lady and a spinster. She carries a silver tipped parasol, likes, tea, and reads a lot about science and the supernatural. Alexia Tarabotti has an original personality which is quite charming to read in this novel. Her proper manners and headstrong character create a nice juxtaposition to the humor in the novel.

The book is quite lighthearted. It jumps around many genres and constantly spins out new takes on old ideas. Where can you read about a comedy of manners in courting a Scottish werewolf lord in London? How about talk to fashionable vampire fop, or be chased by a bloodthirsty golem.

I could call this book a victorian steampunk, supernatural, romance, comedic thriller. A surprising mix and mash which comes up with exuberant new ideas in each chapter. There are also elements of alternate history, Queen Victoria even makes a brief appearance.

Soulless is the first book in a series. I put the second one, Changeless on reserve at my library and am waiting for the third book to come out. Her writing is fun to read. I also like Gail Carriger's website It has a nice mix of Victorian fashion, funny pictures, and lists of steampunk novels and films.

Daily Thoughts 5/15/2010

Horned Toad, sculpture at the public library, Prescott AZ, Tom Check, 31, July 2008, 12:10, Creative Commons Attribution- Share Alike 2.0 Generic, from Wikimedia

Daily Thoughts 5/15/2010

Friday, May 14, 2010

Daily Thoughts 5/14/2010

Bibliothèque nationale et universitaire (BNU) National University and Library Strasbourg, France, Room 4, Main Reading Room, Image listed as public domain on Wikimedia

Daily Thoughts 5/14/2010

I was looking at the Book Expo America exhibitor list and I noticed that Powell's book which is the largest bookstore in the world in Portland, Oregon has also become a distributor Powell's Books Wholesale . I find this rather interesting, because Strand Bookstore is also distributing books to libraries . It seems as the giant independents grow in the United States, they are also expanding into the wholesaling books. I like looking at Powell's and the Strand because they have many titles which I cannot find in Amazon, Baker and Taylor, and many other companies. They stock a lot of obscure and academic titles.

Today has been pretty quiet. I have been working a bit on signage and shifting books in the storage area. There is an African American Books festival this Saturday so I had some more bookmarks printed, printed up some flyers for the graphic novels club and the poetry club for promotion. We are working on putting together a Bookletters page as well.

A few graphic novels came in today that look interesting; Halo Helljumper, Stephenie Meyer's Twilight graphic novel, and Penny Century by Jaime Hermandez. I am cutting bookmarks printed from card stock right now. I have three bookmarks I am looking at one for inspirational Fiction, another on graphic novels, and another on writing books.

I started reading War At The Wall Street Journal Inside The Struggle to Control An American Business Empire by Sarah Ellison. The book focuses on the people and families in the story. It is character driven. The characters are people like Rupert Murdoch, Peter Kann, the Bancroft family, and Arthur Sulzberger. The names are of the people who run the big media conglomerates.

My book for the Readers Advisory 101 class was delivered today, Readers Advisory Service in the Public Library, Third Edition by Joyce G. Saricks.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Daily Thoughts 5/13/2010

Bismark the man and the states... Digital ID: 1543279. New York Public Library

Book Poster for Bismarck The Man And The Statesman, Autobiography, 1911.

Daily Thoughts 5/13/2010

Today has been a quiet day. I have been looking at signage for different things in the library including dvds and biography. I also have been looking at the shelving to see how everything is. There also has been some work on creating a sample page for Bookletters widgets and links.

The book War At The Wall Street Journal Inside The Struggle To Control An American Business Empire by Sarah Ellison is on my desk.

I am also looking at Book Expo America events. I like a few of them; The AAP (American Associationof Publishers) Annual Librarians Book Buzz from 2- 3:30 p.m. on Wednesday, May 26, 2010 in Room 1 CO 3-4; The Community Social Networking: A Guide For Retailers and Librarians on May 26, 2010 from 3:30-4:30 p.m. in Room 1E03; Nancy Pearl Unshelved on May 27, 2010 from 2-3:00 p.m., and the 2nd Annual Librarian Shout and Share on Thursday May 27, 2010 from 3:30-5:00 p.m. (Barbara Genco will be one of the panelists on this session.) There are other events. Hopefully, I will get a chance to get a signed book from both Cheri Priest and David Weber from the autographing areas. I will be going to the Day of the Dialog on May 25, 2010 which should be very interesting.

I am also working on which booths I will visit at the conference. I usually make a list of all the booths I will look at before I go.

I finished reading Dan Roam, The Back of the Napkin. It was interesting reading. It was a methodology to visualize and simplify business goals. I did one of the exercises with identifying customers and found it to be very interesting. I found it useful because it helped me understand basic charts, graphs, maps, and diagrams better. It also has a very nice framework for problem solving.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Daily Thoughts 5/12/2010

French poet, writer and dandy, Robert de Montesquiou (1855-1921) in 1897. Portrait by Giovanni Boldini (1842-1931).

Daily Thoughts 5/12/2010

Today has been another quiet day. We had our ordering meeting. There is a biography which sounds quite interesting, The Publisher: Henry Luce and His American Century by Alan Brinkley. It went quite smoothly.

I also worked a bit more with the shelf signage. It is starting to look a little better. This evening, I spent some more time with Bookletters. So far, I have figured out how to get hyperlinks and book widgets. It is a steady process. It is going to take some time to begin to get used to the system.

This morning, I read some more of The Back of the Napkin. There is a lot on how to look at things visually so that they are easy to understand and translate basic images into questions that can be easily interpreted. It is a system of visualization and imagery for business. The main focus is problem solving.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Daily Thoughts 5/11/2010

All Over the World Library. Digital ID: 1259098. New York Public Library

All Over the World Library, Clifton Johnson

Daily Thoughts 5/11/2010

I printed some more signage for the shelves, and checked for duplicates in the storage area. I have another big shifting to project to work on as well. I am also getting ready for my ordering meeting tomorrow.

I am getting ready for a webinar this afternoon from Bookletters. They create widgets for library websites. It is not that hard to get the code done. A lot of it is bestseller lists and award lists. The New York Times Bestseller List and the Indienext Bestseller list are available as widgets as well as numerous awards like the Pulitzer Prize, the Pen/Falkner Awards, the Caldecott awards and others.

The webinar on Bookletters was quite interesting. Their images for books are used on many different libraries. The two libraries which were most interesting to look at were which uses Drupal as its system for managing content and . I am probably going to have to do some work with the content management system which is a new thing for me to try.

I also took some time to look for books for the Book Mobile tomorrow which is going to the senior citizens center.