Friday, December 30, 2011

30 Days of Book Discussion: Day 22

Favorite book you own

Well that's just silly.  All the books I've already been talking about I own.  Anything that you see that was a favorite of mine I probably own.  Except Michael loaned Mistborn to someone a couple of years ago and we can't remember who.

Anyway, working at the library gives me VERY little reason to purchase books.  So if I do purchase a book, it's because I really, really loved it and must have a copy on hand for future reference and nostalgic reading whims.  My Favorite Book I even buy different editions of, because I like the different look of the fonts and feel of the different papers - it's like a collection.

Michael, on the other hand, used to have dreams about owning every book he's ever read, and having an extensive library where he could gaze across the shelves and see all these things he's read.

So what's your preference?  Do you like having copies of the books you've read on hand, or do you like to borrow from friends or the library?

Just as a note: if you are trying to clean house and have lots of books that you don't really want to keep around anymore, donate them to the library!  Your library will be grateful for the donation, and even if they don't add your book to their collection, they can probably put it in a book sale where the proceeds will aid the library - and then your book won't lie at the bottom of a landfill! (Call your library first to ask about donation info).  Also - you can get a tax deduction donation slip.  Libraries can't give you a receipt showing you the value of what you donated, but they can give you a slip saying you donated something at all.  I'm not sure how much it helps at tax time, but it's something, right?

So what book do you absolutely have to own?

Thursday, December 29, 2011

30 days of Book Discussion: Day 21

I think I've recovered from Christmas enough to get this going again. So, day 21:

Favorite book from your childhood

I think I might alter this slightly to Favorite children's book.  I had some favorite books from childhood, but it's a bit hard to remember what they were, so I'd like to talk about a more recent experience.

I graduated with my bachelor's in December of 2006. Afterward in January and February, even though I was working, I was still trying to figure out what to do with myself without school hanging over my head and permeating my life. I hadn't read anything for recreational purposes since my freshman year when I blew through the Lord of the Rings series instead of doing my English homework. In the years since then, all my reading consisted of textbooks and dissertations and scholarly journals and academese.

So in those cold winter months I picked up a copy of Anne of Green Gables from my shelf and started to read. It was like the sun shining into my life. Anne's character is so enraptured with the world around her, so excited to be alive and full of imagination. When I had to put the book down to go to work, colors seemed brighter and sounds sweeter. She filled my life with color in a season of grey and I felt like I was becoming myself again. The easy language and lightness of the story lifted me out of my university funk and reminded me that reading could be frivolously pleasurable.  Even if it wasn't peer-reviewed.

About a year later, I was working at the library and a girl came up to me and said, "I just graduated and all I've read are textbooks for the past few years.  Now I want something fun to read."  After some questions we settled on a Shannon Hale book for her and I could see her excitement as she headed to check it out.

I was excited for her, too.

Did you have a similar experience after college?  What's your favorite children's book?

Friday, December 16, 2011

30 days of Book Discussion: Day 20

Um, woops, was I supposed to be updating this?  I'm sure you're all very busy, too, with Christmas coming up.  So I'll back-date a few of these posts and we'll get caught up.  So here's day 20:

Favorite romance book

I'm having a hard time remembering, but I think I liked the romance in Graceling a lot.  I liked Katniss and Peeta's relationship in The Hunger Games.  I can't mention my Favorite Book yet, but that's another one.  I think the romance in Outlander by Diana Gabaldon is pretty epic.


Honestly, all I can think of are movies for this one.  Is that cheating?  Yes.
Am I going to do it anyway?  Yes.

Let's just get right to the point and admit that we all loved The Young Victoria to pieces, okay?  Good.  That movie rocks.

So what about you?  Do you have more success than me when you try to think of a book with a good romance?  What about films?  What's your favorite filmed literary romance?

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

30 Days of Book Discussion: Day 19

Favorite movie made from a book

Actually, I think the last Harry Potter was really well done.  It was kind of a sad, beautiful, chaotic thing.  I thought the music was really well done, also.  It was more or less how I envisioned the book and that is always satisfying.

Other than that, there are lots of literary adaptations that I like.  It's too hard to choose between them.  Maybe I'll have to do a blog post when this is all over about my favorite Sumptuous Literary Adaptations, to borrow a phrase from Miss Nemesis.

What about you?  What are your favorite movies that were made from books?

Monday, December 12, 2011

30 Days of Book Discussion: Day 18

A book that disappointed you

It could be really easy to go on and on about this, but I'm going to try to keep it simple.

I read Life As We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer in 2008.  It is a really great book, written as a journal of a 16 year old girl.  An asteroid hits the moon and knocks it closer to earth, and all sorts of crazy things happen like tsunamis and volcanos erupting and it's pretty apocalyptic.  So this girl has to basically survive inside of her own home with her family.

She has to go from a self-absorbed teen to someone who finds slivers of hope in a tragedy, and learns to quit taking her family for granted and instead be thankful that they're even alive.  It's honestly beautiful character progression, and as an added bonus this book will make you so paranoid that you will stock up on canned food and potable water.

This book is not the one that disappointed me.  There is a second book that's not technically a sequel, it's just the same events told from the perspective of a boy in NYC.  It's okay.

But there is a third book where the girl in book 1 and the boy in book 2 get together and their families try to survive together.  It is awful.  Because you desperately want to know what happens to Miranda after the closing scenes of book 1, and you are SO relieved when this "sequel" comes out because finally you get to know!

But... this is going to sound really critical and I'm sorry to Susan Beth Pfeffer.  It's like she got such a huge reaction from how good the first book was that she was like - I better make a sequel.  But she just threw it together.  All of the beautiful character progression and growth that Miranda and her family had gone through in the first book is gone, and in some ways they have regressed into selfish whining idiots.  The setting might be cool - what is the world like now? Are there people anymore? But we're given a disappointingly small amount of information on what is happening in the world and what we are given is lacking in detail.  "They drive to a house.  There are people there.  The people give them some food."  Perhaps the most disappointing thing is that a "romance" arises between Miranda and the boy from Book 2, a romance that will baffle anyone who reads the book.  Why are they interested in each other?  There is no reason.  What actually takes place in their relationship?  Nothing.  I think they kiss once.  I don't think there was a reason.  They just arbitrarily become a couple that don't really act all that into each other or interact much.  One review I read on Goodreads says, "for all we know they fell in love because they weren't related."

After how awesome the first book was, the let-down of this "sequel" was crushing.  I recommend Life As We Knew It to patrons all the time, but I tell them to not bother with either of the other books.

P.S. - I just looked ahead and there aren't really any more "negative" book discussions like this one.  I'm a little tired of complaining about stuff.  From here on we get to talk about cool stuff, yeah!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

30 days of Book Discussion: Day 17

Favorite quote(s) from your favorite book(s)

Well, my favorite book is for day 30.  And I can't really think of a favorite quote from it.  But I have LOTS of other favorite quotes, not necessarily from favorite books, but from some good ones.  I'll choose from five books and put them here in descending order of length.

So that means I'm going to do the longest for my first one, and then we'll have it out of the way, okay? It's a passage from Bel Canto by Ann Patchett.

In Paris, Simon Thibault had loved his wife, though not always faithfully or with a great deal of attention. They had been married for twenty-five years. There had been two children, a summer month spent every year at the sea with friends, various jobs, various family dogs, large family Christmases that included many elderly relatives. Edith Thibault was an elegant woman in a city of so many thousands of elegant women that often over the course of years he forgot about her. Entire days would pass when she never once crossed his mind. He did not stop to think what she might be doing or wonder if she was happy, at least not Edith by herself, Edith as his wife.

Then, in a wave of government promises made and retracted, they were sent to this country, which, between the two of them was always referred to as ce pays maudit, "this godforsaken country." Both of them faced the appointment with dread and stoic practicality, but within a matter of days after their arrival a most remarkable thing happened: he found her again, like something he never knew was missing, like a song he had memorized in his youth and had then forgotten. Suddenly, clearly, he could see her, the way he had been able to see her at twenty, not her physical self at twenty, because in every sense she was more beautiful to him now, but he felt that old sensation, the leaping of his heart, the reckless flush of desire. He would find her in the house, cutting fresh paper to line the shelves or lying across their bed on her stomach writing letters to their daughters who were attending university in Paris, and he was breathless. Had she always been like this, had he never known? Had he known and then somehow, carelessly, forgotten? In this country with its dirt roads and yellow rice he discovered he loved her, he was her. Perhaps this would not have been true if he had been the ambassador to Spain. Without these particular circumstances, this specific and horrible place, he might never have realized that the only true love of his life was his wife.

2. The next one comes from Keturah and Lord Death by Martine Leavitt.  This is a story about a girl who is confronted by Death, who wants to take her to the afterlife.  She buys time by telling him a story and then leaving it unfinished until the next day when she tells him a little more, but still isn't finished, etc.  The interesting thing is that she's telling Death a story about... Death.  Anyway, here's the passage that I like, it starts with her telling him part of the story:
"Though he was Death, and beyond all wanting, yet he wanted something, yearned and mourned and raged in his heart for something as only an immortal being can."
Lord Death had become very still.
"And what was it that Lord Death wanted and wept in his heart for?" I continued. "A love of his own, a consort to adorn his endless and hallowed halls, a companion who would comfort his heart when it broke from the sadness of his errands, who would weep with him when he carried home little ones in his arms, who would greet him with a joy equal to the terror with which mortals greeted him.  Above all, he wished for a wife into whom he might pour his passion--"
"Hush. You try my patience," he said coldly.
"But who would love such a one? What maid wished for gold coins to shut her eyes, or a satin-lined coffin for her marriage bed?  What maid would come willingly?  For he would have it be willingly.
"And so he did his endless work, without feeling, without pity, without rest... He waited without waiting, and dreamed of what he could not imagine."
3. This one is from The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams.  'Nuff said.
“So this is it," said Arthur, "We are going to die."
"Yes," said Ford, "except... no! Wait a minute!" He suddenly lunged across the chamber at something behind Arthur's line of vision. "What's this switch?" he cried.
"What? Where?" cried Arthur, twisting round.
"No, I was only fooling," said Ford, "we are going to die after all.”
4. There are lots and lots of good quotes from Brandon Sanderson.  Unfortunately, I only took notes when I read the second book of the Mistborn series, The Well of Ascension.  Here are two of my favorites from the book (they aren't adjacent to each other in the book, by the way):
"You, Elend Venture, are a good man. A truly good man."
"Good men don't become legends," he said quietly.
"Good men don't need to become legends." She opened her eyes, looking up at him. "They just do what's right anyway."

"It's easy to believe in something when you win all the time, Jastes," Elend said, opening his eyes. "The losses are what define a man's faith."

By the way, I think it is really funny that a few people told me they were buying the Mistborn series after my review of it the other day.  I hope you're not disappointed!  I didn't really think you'd believe me when I said it was the perfect book!  But it is. =D

5. My last favorite quote is from The Book Thief by Markus Zusak.
"Happiness would continue for summer's duration and into autumn. It would then be brought abruptly to an end, for the brightness had shown suffering the way."
Most of the book is like that.  Breathtaking and sad.  Have the tissues ready.

So there you go.  I think each of those give you a little taste of each book, or at least of the best of each book.  You don't even have to read the books now, you can just tell people, "Nah, I got the jist of it."  Good work!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

30 Days of Book Discussion: Day 16

Favorite female character

Ay, carumba.  Seriously?  Because all I read are books from a female POV (point of view).

I really like female characters that kick butt.  Um, literally.  Favorite characters that would fit into this category are:

Claudia from Incarceron by Catherine Fisher (can you say wedding dress snowstorm?)
Saba from Blood Red Road by Moira Young (a pile of red hot whoop ass!)
Katsa from Graceling by Kristin Cashore (kind of the ultimate butt-kicker)
Vin from Mistborn (Wait, no, she's the ultimate butt-kicker)
Wait, I'm forgetting about the ultimate ultimate butt-kicker:
Katniss from The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, of course.

I'm not really talking about The Hunger Games much in this 30 day book discussion, because I just assume by now that every other person on the planet has read this and loved it and we all just understand that it's now the standard to which we hold all other works of young adult dystopian fiction, to their very certain detriment.  If you haven't read it yet, you should probably start looking for a rock to live under.

But seriously, I really do love Katniss.  Reading this book from Katniss's POV is like reading thoughts coming from my own head, she's THAT readable and sympathetic and natural.

Alright.  Well apart from kick-butt young adult heroines, there are a few other female characters that I have come to love over the years:

Minnie from The Help by Kathryn Stockett.  Skeeter is great and Aibileen I adored, but I really connected with Minnie.  It's probably the humor that she brought to this story, but also her strong personality and no-nonsense way of working with the world.  Also the way this story slowly transformed her and ultimately the strength that she gained.

Rosie Winter from The Rosie Winter Mysteries by Kathryn Miller Haines.  I will be talking more about these books on day 24, but I absolutely love Rosie and her sassy, witty, caring, unpretentious personality.

Anne of Anne of Green Gables by L. M. Montgomery.  Again, more on this on day 21, but I will just say that having Anne in my life for a few months made my heart lighter and life sweeter.

And because I have to talk about Brandon Sanderson in every blog post now (it's NOT Mistborn this time!) I must definitely include Sarene from Elantris.  Here's how it goes down: girl is engaged, girl shows up to the new country she's moving to for this guy and finds out he's DEAD, but she's still legally obligated to stay there.  So what does she do?  Makes freaking lemonade, that's what!

Really, she comes back from this blow by throwing herself into this new country and tries to make it better and help the people there.  All the while unaware that her betrothed is really not dead.  Poor thing. But this girl really impressed me.  When I read that she got to this country and found out her fiance was dead I was like - great, now I get to watch her mope for half the book (that's SO Bella).

But Sarene completely surprised me and in the wake of her dashed hopes she rises up and kicks butt (metaphorically this time) by doing good and becoming a force to be reckoned with among powerful men. I guess I just love a strong woman.
*wolf whistle*

By the way, click on the picture to the right if you haven't seen this meme yet.

Friday, December 9, 2011

30 days of Book Discussion: Day 15

Favorite male character

Uh.  This is a hard one.  There are a few, I don't think I could pick one.  Here are some favorites:

A couple of Brandon Sanderson characters that I like a lot are Breeze from Mistborn, and Wayne from The Alloy of Law.  Both are funny characters and good men, which is usually a sure-fire way to get me to like a character.  I really love it when someone is a good man but it's not readily apparent.  (Not gonna talk about the ultimate icon of this magic formula.  Ladies, you know who I'm talking about.)

Bartimaeus from The Amulet of Samarkand is an awesome character.  The only problem is that in order to read about him, you have to hear about Nathaniel, the other character in that book, who is painfully obnoxious.

I really do like Peeta from The Hunger Games.  I mostly want to give him a big hug.

Probably my favorite male characters are Fred and George from Harry Potter.  I need more Freds and Georges in my life.

And, um, I didn't read the book, but can we all just agree that John Thornton (aka Richard Armitage) from the North and South adaptation is super dreamy?

Thought so.

Okay, now leave a comment and tell me who I'm forgetting!  Who's your favorite male character?

Thursday, December 8, 2011

30 days of Book Discussion: Day 14

Favorite book by your favorite writer

Oh, so easy.  In fact, sometimes I refer to this as my Favorite Book, depending on what circles I'm traveling in.

Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson.  This is actually the first in a trilogy, but to me this is the perfect book.  The whole arc of the plot is perfection.

I explained this to a co-worker the other day like this:
The first Star Wars movie that came out is now technically 4th movie, right?  A New Hope.  And to me, that is the most perfectly plotted story of the six.  I watched a documentary about Star Wars that talked about how George Lucas originally wrote Star Wars as a trilogy of movies, but he didn't think that any company would pick up three movies, so he re-wrote it and pushed the big climax into the first movie (you know, where they take out the death star?).  Remember how huge and intimidating the death star is?  And they take it out in the first movie.  And then the big threat in the next two movies is... they're building another death star.  Lol. When you think about it that way it's obvious that some plot re-arranging has taken place, isn't it?

Anyway, so the first movie (or the 4th, whatever) is the most beautiful plot arc to me.  You have your hero who goes through some character progression,  you have your insurmountable feat (the death star), and they take it out - pow!  Cue the dancing in the streets.

So Mistborn is kind of the same way.  I feel like Sanderson built up the Insurmountable Object in this book so much that the stuff that happened in the other books just seemed like dealing with the aftermath.  Of course, the next two books are fabulous and epic, but they're just not as perfect as the first book.  The Insurmountable Objects of those books are more vague and ambiguous, whereas the first book you have a solid goal that everyone is working towards.

But it's not just the big finish, it's the whole journey there, the varied and endearing cast of characters, the progression of our heroine, and just for the ladies: there are even balls with fancy dresses.  To me, every perfect book needs some fancy dresses!  Take note, authors.  Even The Hunger Games had fancy dresses.  Very key element.  Probably why more people don't like Twilight - she just wears jeans the whole time!

Okay, I am really kidding, but my point is that I feel like there is a little something for everyone.  Action, romance, great characters, a coming-of-age story with smart writing and an epic ending.  It's just the perfect book!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

30 days of Book Discussion: Day 13

Your favorite writer

Well, there are lots of good writers out there.  But usually when I get asked this question, my answer is Brandon Sanderson.

If you read my blog this may come as no surprise considering the time I spied on him at Borders but was too nervous to speak to him, and then a week later when my sister maneuvered my visit to Barnes and Noble to speak to him (yes, you did).  And I always embarrass myself when I speak to the poor guy.

Because his books are AWESOME!  Brandon Sanderson is a fantastic writer.  He's got solid stories built on interesting, personable characters, with insightful writing to boot.  And the guy works like a maniac.  It seems like the past few years he's had two or more books out per year, and I'm not talking a couple of 250 page teen reads, I mean like 1000 page long opuses.  And the sad thing is that it's still not enough for me.  The poor guy can't write fast enough for his voracious readers.

The last book I read by him was The Alloy of Law which just came out last month (and, okay, it was a shorter one).  When I picked it up I had just finished a slew of disappointing books, each one with some kind of major flaw.  And then I pick up this book by Brandon Sanderson and just get the sense of, "Ahhhh.  This must be a Brandon Sanderson book."  Solid story, solid characters, solid writing.  The guy has nailed how books should be written and he's just churning them out.  In my eyes, he's got a great talent and it's a pleasure to have so many new works by this guy on a yearly basis.

I just hope I can tell him that someday without making a fool of myself.  =)

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

30 Days of Book Discussion: Day 12

A book you used to love but don't anymore

This is a hard one.  Well, there are a lot of books that I really liked when I read them, like The Inferno by Dante, and now I'm kind of -meh- about them.  There are books that I enjoyed reading and now I enjoy the movie a lot more, like Jane Eyre.  There are books that I liked, but then after hearing a LOT of criticism from others I sort of changed my mind about them, like Twilight.

Okay, here's one.  When I was young I read a lot of James Herriot books, you know, he's the country vet with all the cute stories?  I ate that stuff up.  But I can't really imagine myself reading cute animal stories these days.  Or - can I?  Now I have to go find the book and see if I'm still disinterested.

Talk to you later.

P.S. - what about you?  Do you have an easier time than I do thinking of something you used to love but don't anymore?

Monday, December 5, 2011

Christopher Paolini came to my library!

In the last couple of years we've had some amazing events at my library, in large part due to our new PR person who has been getting some great authors to come visit us.  On Friday night we had Christopher Paolini, author of the Eragon books, which are hugely popular, especially in my community.  I think I can safely say it was our largest event so far.  From what I remember, we had about 650 people come, not including the 100 or 150 we had to turn away because we had reached capacity (we were really sad about that).  We've never been unable to seat everyone before, so maybe we'll have some contingency plans for next time, even though we had an overflow room for this event.

Our PR person usually asks the staff to come dressed in costumes for events like this, so that we can show a little extra effort and excitement to the authors and publishers who come.  And I'd have to say that she works the hardest out of anyone to make her costume absolutely amazing.  Here is a grainy photo I took of her:

Unfortunately, you can't see the extra details: the scales of blue-ish green glitter she patterned over her shoulders and arms, and the blue sequins she added to her face and skin.  Maybe someone will have taken a better photo and I can post it later.  By the way, if you've read the books, you get that she's Saphira, right?

Anyway, she had some people come over from the sword and quill club at BYU who played flutes and recorders while walking around the ballroom before Paolini spoke.  I'll admit I thought that would be kind of dorky, but it was actually kind of amazing.  The patrons attending were all so crazy excited about this event, and I think it really added to the atmosphere.

When Christopher Paolini entered the ballroom, he did so under a sword salute with all the staff lined up behind him.  I think they were playing a fanfare, too.  I snapped this photo as he ran through:

I enjoyed the address he gave.  It was cute and charming and funny and the patrons!  My goodness, they were SO excited and gave him a lot of feedback as he spoke.

You can see a little over half of the people in the room in this photo (500 people)

We also had a costume contest for the patrons, and a bunch of people showed up in amazing costumes.  You can vote on Facebook for your favorite, and the winner gets a full set of the Inheritance series books, all signed by Christopher Paolini.

After he spoke, Christopher Paolini signed hundreds and hundreds of books, and went at an amazingly fast pace, he was done in about 2 hours!  We had Markus Zusak last year, who was really friendly and chatted a lot with the patrons as he signed the books, but it ended up being about 1 in the morning before my co-workers were done for the night.  C. Paolini is also very friendly, but he was a bit more streamlined as he signed.  I think he did a good job, actually, he was really personable and managed to get a few exchanges in with people before they left him, but he did it quickly enough that everyone else wasn't waiting for a long time.  It's a fine line to walk, I think, but I know he did a good job because everyone who walked away from their chat with him was glowing and excited and smiling like crazy.  

At the end of the night the staff who had worked the event lined up for a picture with the author.

OMG!  That's Christopher Paolini standing next to me!!  WOO!

Do you want a better look at my costume?  I was going for kind of a dark assasin/shade-y type thing.  My skirt is actually really cool, made of a dark fabric that glistens silvery when I walk.  Michael said it reminded him of dementors from Harry Potter, which it actually reminded me of, too.  I found the belt at DI and painted it silver (it was black originally).  The vest was the hardest part, because believe it or not, there aren't too many leather vests out there these days.  After two DIs, a costume shop, and much pestering of my co-workers for their opinions, I finally found this vest at Savers for $4.  I took it home and cut slits down the front so I could lace it up like a bodice.  Oh, and my co-worker noticed a rubber dagger in the library's lost and found the day before, so I "borrowed" it for a couple of hours for this event.  Here's how everything looked:

I probably should have had someone take a picture with a better camera because the lacing turned out kind of cool.  Oh well.

Anyway, it was a really cool night.  I really enjoyed the Eragon books, even though I read most of them before I started working at the library and it's hard to remember a lot of the details now.  But it's also cool to meet a big author and be a part of a big night that people are excited about.  So many of the patrons were thrilled to be there and to meet Christopher Paolini, and their excitement was infectious.  Lots of fun!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

30 Days of Book Discussion: Day 11

A book you hated

This one is easy.  Tess of the D'Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy.  100%.  And the real cruelty is that I had to read it twice.  I read it my sophomore year in English, and then I moved to Utah and my junior English teacher wanted our class to read it.  Ugh.  Maybe I didn't read every page the second time, but I still had to go through all of the agonizing analysis in class.

This "classic" was written in 1891.  Let me break it down for you:

- Girl gets raped and is no longer "clean"
- Everyone shuns girl
- Girl moves away and falls madly in love
- Her love proposes and they marry, and she tells him about the rape
- He shuns her and they go separate ways
- The cad who raped her finds her and wants her to be his mistress
- After about a million years of him asking she finally accepts
- Her love comes back and wants to take her back
- She kills the guy who raped her
- She escapes with her love and they spend five days together before she's captured and executed.

And I had to read that twice.
Yup.  I hate Tess of the D'Urbervilles.  One day a lady came into the library, looking for "unfair" books. She was writing some sort of English paper.  "Tess of the D'Urbervilles" was out of my mouth before she finished her sentence.  Seriously, Tess can't catch a break.  If I never read that book again it will be too soon.

Do you have a "most hated" book?

Friday, December 2, 2011

30 days of book Discussion: Day 10

Favorite classic

I can't actually talk about this one, because it's also my Favorite Book, and I'm saving that for Day 30.  So instead I'm changing this category to:

A book you know is good, but still can't like

That would have to be Unwind by Neal Shusterman. This book basically takes the debate over abortion and takes it to extremes to play with the idea. So it's some future date after a civil war over abortion, and after the war the laws they decided on were: from the moment you conceive to the age of thirteen, a child's life may not be terminated. But once the children are between the ages of 13 and 18, "unwanted" children (or pregnancies, if you think about it) can be "unwound," meaning they harvest body parts from the teen so that parts of them live on but essentially their life as they know it is over.

Right. So basically if you don't want to be pregnant, you have to have the baby anyway and then when they are a teen you can have them unwound. Another option is: if your teen is a big troublemaker and you want a convenient way to get rid of them, you can send them to be unwound, all the while rationalizing to yourself that you're not really killing them, because they'll "live on" in other forms.

Can you guess what my problem is with this book? Okay, I have a lot of friends that love this book, and honestly, it was kind of thrilling and kept me turning pages and staying up late to see what happened. So I can totally understand why they like it and I don't mind that they do.

I think that it's just that my personal experiences have made it so this sounds completely ridiculous to me. Especially because I read this 4 months after I miscarried a baby and I was still devastated. It's just... I don't think any parent would EVER do this. Well, maybe like the fringes of society, freak-show-type-people. Like the guy who hid his daughter in his basement for 15 years or however long. I think, even if your teen is a troublemaker and obnoxious, you still spent 15 or so years raising them! All the effort, all the work, daily, taking care and feeding and teaching and whatever. I wouldn't throw that away,  I don't think the majority of people would.  Not to say anything about loving your kids, the bond parents have with their children that makes this sort of idea unpalatable and for me, unconscionable. I can't express enough my frustration with this concept.

So while the book was good, any time I gave more than a passing thought to WHY all of this was happening... I wanted to throw the book at the wall. Because it's just so silly. It's like writing a book based in a society that stabs themselves in the eye, except two teens in the society don't WANT to stab themselves in the eye, so they start trying to get away from all the eye-stabbers and will they ever make it?!!? It might be exciting, but it's also ridiculous.

Wow, I feel like I'm doing what I discouraged people from a few days ago with "Most overrated book." Well, I'm trying to qualify it by saying that I feel this way because of what I experienced personally, especially right before reading the book.  And I don't really mind that other people like this book.

I just kind of want to stab Neal Shusterman in the eye.

What about you?  Has a personal issue ever stopped you from liking a book?

Thursday, December 1, 2011

30 days of book Discussion: Day 9

A book you thought you wouldn’t like but ended up loving

I'm going to have to pick The Help by Kathryn Stockett for this one.   I didn't think I would like it for two reasons:
1. There was so much hype I wasn't sure it could live up to the expectations.  2. I read light, adventurous young adult books.  I'm not really a beautiful, meaningful-book kind of girl.  There are beautiful, meaningful books that I love, but it's generally not what I'm searching out when looking for my next read.  They're kind of exhausting.  I'm in "meaning" up to my neck most of the time - honestly, in my family, life is one big exploration of how we feel about stuff.  Give me a little battle to the death, please.

But.  The Help was just awesome.  I listened to the audiobook because I thought it would help me to focus better.  This is my trick for reading books that I secretly don't want to read, because the reader forces me to keep moving through the sentences whether I like it or not!  Ha!  But I needed absolutely no help with this one.  In fact I loaded it on my iPod, and carried the iPod around with me all day and night, laying in bed in the dark to listen to half an hour more... well, okay, an hour.  The audiobook totals about 15 hours, and I finished them all in six days.  Yup.  One thing that helped were the performers - three women who did a breathtaking job.  I was captivated from the first chapter.  And, of course, it had all sorts of meanings and messages and I enjoyed every last one of them.

So basically, it was a nice surprise!  And I don't have to feel quite so silly about my reading preferences being only kid books.  Whew!

What about you? Did you have a book you loved even though you didn't think you would?

Monday, November 28, 2011

30 days of book Discussion: Day 8

Most overrated book

Huh boy. I think books that could fall into this category are: any book that someone read and hated but has a lot of hype. So this is probably just a breeding ground for ranting. But I think we should have more respect for books that other people liked and we didn't. I agree that it's really irking to find so much fault in something and then see other people adoring it, and I understand that, but can't we all just be a little nicer and less condescending about something someone loved?

Okay. Rant off. And here's my turn to call out the book I think is overrated, so let's see if I can do it without all the disdain I just mentioned.

The first book I thought of for this category was Mockingjay. I was disappointed with this book. I think Suzanne Collins had two options for this story: 1. She could have made Katniss into a glorious revenge underdog who wreaks havoc on the Capitol's society and ultimately changes the world for the better in a stunning finale, after which she finally recedes from the limelight to a peaceful end. 2. She could have shown that the scenario I just mentioned is hardly ever the actual situation we see in real life, she could have underlined the fact that any kind of rebellion will involve tragedy of some sort, and she will ultimately have written a commentary on the fact that no one is really the winner in that kind of situation, that war has a cost no matter what you're fighting for.

She did the latter.

And... that's okay, I guess. Obviously, I was hoping for the former. Give me glorious vengeance and a happy ending. Your comment on the true nature of war and revolution is okay. But for me, what could have been the most ultimate dystopian series ever turned out to be a pretty good dystopian series in which I like the first two books more than the last.

Didn't I say rant off? Oh well.

BUT! I'm not picking Mockingjay for this category. Because really, it was a cool book. Lots of people like it and I don't really fault them for liking it. The book that I'm picking for this category is A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray.

Because: that cover is just plain false advertising. Lol, okay, the cover doesn't really tell you anything about the story, but it is sumptuous, coupled with a stunning title, and you think you're in for something cool and maybe mysterious. And instead it's just... ugh.

My biggest problem with this book is the relationships. Sometimes I hear that and I think, "But wasn't the story cool, didn't you like that?" Sometimes it seems like a sort of "wet blanket" comment when someone says, "I just didn't believe that a woman would really find that attractive in a man. And that ruined the whole book for me." Or, "I don't think any young person should act like that to their parents. And that ruined the book for me."  Etc.

But I'm about to make that same kind of comment: There are four girls in this story who go on and on about how important and strong their friendship is, and the whole time they lie and back-bite and occasionally out someone from the group only to grudgingly take them back, and they're fake and insincere with each other.  In the end they act like they're fighting for their awesome bond which completely confused me because they were all disingenuous frenemies.  And that ruined the book for me.

Still, this has a decent enough plot, and the ending is exciting.  I'm just one of those people who couldn't see past these relationship problems which were supposed to be motivating the action of the book.  If that didn't bother other people: more power to you.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

30 days of book Discussion: Day 7

Most underrated book

Hmm.  I'm going to choose Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine for this category.  It's not that this book gets a bad rap from anyone, I think it's more that it's overshadowed by the movie of the same name.  The movie that was loosely based on this book.  As in: they took the premise and then built a whole new movie around it.

So sometimes when I recommend this book at the library, they're like, "Yeah, I've seen the movie.  It was funny but kinda hokey."  Yes.  The book is neither funny nor hokey.  It's a serious fairy tale, and it has to be my very favorite version of the Cinderella story that's out there.

Basically, the premise is: the fairy Lucinda gives Ella the "gift" of obedience - what really becomes a curse, where Ella MUST do whatever anyone asks of her.  This clears up one of the most confusing points of the traditional Cinderella tale for me - why was Cinderella acting like a slave for her step-family?  Her father was nobility, which means that even though her mother died and her father remarried, she still has the same Dad and there wasn't really ever a clear reason why Cinderella became a servant.  I guess you could argue that after her father died, the cruelty of her step mother and sisters would have forced her to servitude, but that still is a bit weak to me.  I mean, didn't they have neighbors?  People who knew who Cinderella's Dad was?  I don't think society would have accepted what her step family had done.  In reality, I think Cinderella would have become an annoying burden to them, and probably they would have shipped her off to a boarding school to be rid of her.  Think Jane Eyre.

Anyway, that always seemed weak.  So the fact that Ella has this "curse" is something that her unkind step sisters exploit until Ella is practically a servant in this book.  This is so much easier for me to understand.  So now that the premise is more believable, Ella manages to have a few adventures, meet a prince, and the bulk of their relationship takes place before the ball.  That was another thing that I appreciated about this book, it wasn't just she meets the prince and -bam!- love fest.

So this is a great story and my personal favorite version of Cinderella.  I always think it's a shame when I try to recommend it to some Shannon-Hale-loving person, and they pass on it because the movie was kind of silly and weird.  Oh well.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

30 days of book Discussion: Day 6

A book that made you sad

I'd have to say that The Time Traveler's Wife made me pretty sad.  The first half of the book is amazing and exhilarating.  Then the second half of the book takes you slowly down this path of sorrow until you're finally submerged in the depression because things get SO SAD.  The book does take a slight turn for the better by the end, but I think by that point I was so weary with sadness I barely noticed.  I actually think the movie handles things a bit better, I wasn't quite as depressed by all of the sad stuff, and then the happy parts in the ending really left you feeling better.

Still, I really liked this book.  It's hard to recommend to friends, though, because there are quite a few love scenes.  It's actually easier to recommend the movie because of the not-quite-as-bad depression, I liked the way they did the ending better, and the PG-13 rating makes sure that my friends won't be too scandalized.  =)

Friday, November 25, 2011

30 days of Book Discussion: Day 5

A book that makes you happy.

Well, funny you should mention it.  I just finished Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? by Mindy Kaling and I loved it, it just made me walk around with a smile on my face.  You know who Mindy Kaling is, right?  She plays Kelly Kapoor on The Office?  She has also written a bunch of the episodes among other notable accolades.

I listened to the audiobook, which is kind of a win/lose, because her book has a bunch of photos that I missed out on, but her voice is So fun to listen to!  She has kind of an, "Oh my god, right?" voice which is fun and funny and made me feel like I was hanging out with a cool friend rather than listening to an audiobook.  She talks about important episodes from her life, interspersed with funny essays on things she has observed.  Basically, it was kind of like a girl's night out (even though I think guys could enjoy this, too), and I was a little sad to part ways with her when we came to the end.  That's life I guess. =)

Monday, November 21, 2011

30 Days of Book Discussion: Day 4

Favorite book of your favorite series

Well, if we're talking about The Books of Pellinor, I'd have to say that the second book named The Riddle stands out the most to me.

I like all of the books in the series, but this one has a scene toward the end where Maerad (that's our protagonist girl's name) is trapped in this ice palace by this evil ice king.  I remember it because they sort of have a "thing" going on... does he offer her a place with him as his evil ice lady/queen?  I can't remember but I seem to think that happened.

I totally have a thing for the "evil guy offers a chick his hand" scenario, because I am definitely a girl that would say yes to that situation.  Heck yeah.  If it was me in The Labyrinth and David Bowie was saying to me, "Just fear me, love me, do as I say, and I will be your slave!"  I'd be like, "Hellz, yeah, David Bowie.  I'll take you and your tight leggings any day of the week, thank you very much."

Anyway, I love that part of The Riddle, even though Maerad turns him down (idiot girl, being all noble).
Oh yeah: And she turns into a wolf.  I know, these books are so badass.

Honestly, I'm not sure I'm remembering all that correctly.  Maybe that ice king guy doesn't even find her remotely attractive.  Maybe it was just me being like, "Take me, evil ice guy."  Isn't it weird that I married one of the most noble, kindest, gentlest guys out there when I obviously have this weird fetish?  I have to go watch some scenes from The Labyrinth now...

Sunday, November 20, 2011

30 Days of Book Discussion: Day 3

Your favorite series

Well that's a tricky one.  There's always Harry Potter, which is kind of like the ultimate series.  There's The Hunger Games which I loved except for the third book (yes, I fell into the 50% that didn't like the finale).  There's the Mistborn series, but I will have more opportunity to talk about that later.

I think the series that has captivated me the most recently is The Books of Pellinor, starting with The Naming, by Alison Croggon.  This is a lesser-known series that I discovered when I randomly pulled The Naming off of the shelf one day, and I ended up giving all four books in the series 5 star reviews on Goodreads.  That is the only series that has gotten 5 star reviews from me on every book.  I loved it.

I've described it as sort of the innocence of Harry Potter meets the epic world and back-story of Lord of the Rings.  Remember how Tolkein wrote whole books on the ancient history of Middle Earth and even invented his own language for the Elves?  I mean, if that's not back-story I don't know what is.  The amount of effort Croggon has put into her world-building reminds me of Tolkein: there are whole societies and cultures and peoples for whom she has back story that may or may not really even come up, but it's there!  You get hints and snatches of it throughout the books but never a full view.

Anyway, Harry Potter (sort of) meets Lord of the Rings.  It's about a young girl who is rescued from a prison and in her subsequent travels realizes that she has vast abilities that could possibly have catastrophic consequences if she doesn't control them well enough.  Yeah, she's badass.

Basically, if you like fantasy for Young Adults, chances are you will love this series.

Has anyone else heard of this series? What's your favorite series?

Saturday, November 19, 2011

30 Days of Book Discussion: Day 2

A book you've read more than 3 times

As a librarian, re-reading books doesn't happen often at all.  You are usually so inundated with new material on a weekly basis that taking time to re-read something means sacrificing something else that you haven't read before and could possibly love.

It's rare.

The last time I re-read a book was when I was on maternity leave last year.  I was feeling happy and nostalgic and so I re-read two books: my Favorite Book (that's day 30), and Bridget Jones's Diary.  BJD was a gift from my best friend several years ago during college (when I read it twice) and reminds me of my friendship with her and is also a guilty indulgence into frivolous, hilarious, irreverent chick lit.

Since then, I've actually checked out the audiobook versions of books that I have read: The Hunger Games and Life As We Knew It.  The audiobook versions were every bit as amazing as the actual books, and kept me sitting in the car long after I had gotten home just to hear what happened next (even though I already knew).  I will probably read both of those again so they also sort of count as 3.

So what about you?  Do you have a favorite book that you like to re-read every now and then?  What times of the year do you find yourself wanting to re-read books?

Friday, November 18, 2011

30 Days of Book Discussion: Day 1

I saw a great idea on a local book blogger's blog about doing a 30 day book discussion.  I'd like to do it because I think a lot of the questions look like fun and to try to be a little more active on my blog this month (I might combine a couple of the days now and then).
The questions are as follows:

  • Day 1: The best book you read last year
  • Day 2: A book that you’ve read more than 3 times
  • Day 3: Your favorite series
  • Day 4: Favorite book of your favorite series
  • Day 5: A book that makes you happy
  • Day 6: A book that makes you sad
  • Day 7: Most underrated book
  • Day 8: Most overrated book
  • Day 9: A book you thought you wouldn’t like but ended up loving
  • Day 10: Favorite classic
  • Day 11: A book you hated
  • Day 12: A book you used to love but don’t anymore
  • Day 13: Your favorite writer
  • Day 14: Favorite book of your favorite writer
  • Day 15: Favorite male character
  • Day 16: Favorite female character
  • Day 17: Favorite quote(s) from your favorite book(s)
  • Day 18: A book that disappointed you
  • Day 19: Favorite book turned into a movie
  • Day 20: Favorite romance book
  • Day 21: Favorite book from your childhood
  • Day 22: Favorite book you own
  • Day 23: A book you wanted to read for a long time but still haven’t
  • Day 24: A book that you wish more people would’ve read
  • Day 25: A character who you can relate to the most
  • Day 26: A book that changed your opinion about something
  • Day 27: The most surprising plot twist or ending
  • Day 28: Favorite title(s)
  • Day 29: A book everyone hated but you liked
  • Day 30: Your favorite book of all time

So here we go:
Day 1: The best book I read last year.

Thanks to Goodreads, I actually know what I read last year!  I love sifting through that website and seeing books that I've devoured.  They have really fun stats where you can compare years as far as number of books read, number of pages read, etc.  Right now I'm trying to beat 2008's 46 books (I'm currently at 40 for 2011!).

So my favorite book of 2010?  I think that would have to be Incarceron by Catherine Fisher.  It's about a living prison that's aware of the inmates inside it.  One of the prisoners finds a way to communicate with someone on the outside - the daughter of the Warden.  But not everything is as it seems and this one keeps you guessing until the end.  This is sort of like Hunger Games meets Graceling.  There's a sequel that came out this year that I enjoyed, but not quite as much as the opening novel.  Why does that always happen?

So what about you?  What was your favorite book that you read last year?

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Motherhood Crack

Before you have kids, you inevitably hear about what it's like.  In my case, I heard a lot of negatives.  Sometimes it was a bit hard to grasp why people kept having kids.  I didn't really understand the positives.  I assumed they were there, and I assumed they were big, and I assumed (more like hoped) that someday I would understand.

So then I had Jane, and we were sitting in the hospital room and she was three hours old and Michael and I were just looking at her like - You are the coolest person ever.  And I wanted to do it all over again, right there, and have a million more, and right then I couldn't understand the negatives.  There were negatives?

They inevitably came.  Days when I was really tired and was unsure how to keep chugging.  There are tough things about being a mommy.  But I thought it would be long periods of the negatives... like long periods of depression and fatigue and feeling like crap.  Instead, what it turned out to be was more like being bipolar.  I called it Motherhood Bipolarism.  Because I could be crying from fatigue or whatever, and then 20 minutes later I'd be holding Jane and be like, "Ohmigod, I'm so happee!"

Months passed.  Jane started walking, started having little emotions, started to toddle around the house.  And she would fall down and bump her toe or her knee or her head, and she would lift herself up and come running into my arms and would cuddle her little head into my neck and stop crying and that's when it hit me: the Motherhood Crack.

Because it's so much more than just a bipolar disorder now, it's a full-fledged heroin addiction.  When it's good, it's Soooo, Soooo, sooooo good.  Jane throws her little arms around my neck and snuggles into me and my whole body floods with endorphins or something like them.  I wonder sometimes - maybe I shouldn't coddle her?  But then I'm like "what the heck" and I just let her snuggle and cuddle and then she smiles at me and oh my gosh! it is so good.

I'm shaking just thinking about it.  But then, you have the inevitable lows.  You're tired and the baby is fussy and won't eat her food and instead just throws it on the floor, and you're starting to go through withdrawals, feeling lethargic, wondering where you can get your next fix, feeling frustrated and irritable and generally mad.  Why did I sign up for this again?  How long do I have to do this again?

And then your baby gives you a kiss for the first time.  A real, puckered-lip, kiss.  And then she smiles and laughs.  And you think, "Ohmigod, I'm so happeeeeee.  Everyone should be doing this, why aren't more people doing this?"  Or maybe it's not a kiss.  Maybe it's watching her dance for the first time, picking up her little feet and then throwing out her arms and spinning with a big smile.  Maybe it's seeing her reach out her little hand and touch your face for the first time.  Maybe it's the first time she calls you "Mama."  Maybe it is all of those and more, all the firsts and every time after and each one is like an injection of pure joy.

So there it is: for me, being a mommy is like being addicted to Motherhood Crack.  The highest highs you've ever felt, with occasional crying.  I'm a total addict.  

That's how it is for me, but I'm not sure this is a general rule.  I know some people who didn't feel happy for the first few months of being a parent, or who felt good at first but then had pretty bad depression several months after becoming a parent.  If you have kids, what was it like for you?  Is it still that way or has it changed?

Friday, September 30, 2011

The end is coming

At the moment it is 84 degrees, but it won't be so next Thursday!  Goodbye, Summer.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

What do I think about polygamy?

Wow, I know.  I bet you weren't expecting a serious discussion from me today.  But I've got a few things that I have been thinking about a lot and I want to put them down so that I can move on.

Recently a friend and I were discussing polygamy, specifically with interest to the history of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, or the Mormons, of which we are both members.  Historically, members of the church practiced polygamy from the 1840's to the turn of the century when the church decided to discontinue plural marriages (resisted by a few members and even some groups which splintered off).

But, it's there, in our history.  And a few echoes of that past are still present with us today.  It's mentioned in our scripture (Doctrine and Covenants, 131, 132, I'm looking at you).  Also, if a man and woman are married in the temple, and his wife dies, that man can marry another woman in the temple later on.  But if a man and woman are married in the temple and her husband dies, that woman cannot remarry in the temple unless she secures a "temple divorce" from her first husband.

These things, and the church's history of polygamy which was heartily supported by original church founders who we hold in very high esteem, lead many members today to try to understand divine purpose in polygamy.  Many times I have heard the explanation that in the early days of the church, many men were either being killed or dying (especially on the pioneer trek west), and in order to protect and provide for their widows, men needed to take on these extra wives and children.  That is the most rational explanation I have heard.  I'm sure there are others and please put them in the comments.

Anyway, in my conversation with my good friend, she was wondering if maybe polygamy takes a bad rap.  She frankly admitted that she wouldn't mind having help from additional women in the home in tasks such as child-rearing and cleaning.  She mentioned tribes in Africa where polygamy is openly practiced and how there isn't any psychological damage to those women because it is a culturally accepted normality that you share your husband with other women.  Also there are plenty examples from the bible of advantageous marriages between one husband and several wives, where the "work of the Lord" and "multiplying and replenishing the earth" was being accomplished by such a situation.  Please note, my good friend wasn't telling me she wanted to practice polygamy, but rather just exploring what the positives of it could be.

So at one point she asked me, "What do you think about polygamy?"

My answer to her is what I wanted to put here, to share with you.  It's something that I had already been thinking about, and it takes the form of two main points and a third thought:

Point #1: You need one man and one woman to make a baby.
Not one man and two women, three women, etc.  Physically, biologically, it just takes one man and one woman to reproduce.  That's just basic, simple, scientific fact.  This does bring up some questions about whether reproduction is the point of marriage or not (you may or may not agree) but within our church it is believed to be one of the most important things that a married couple can do: to bring new life into the world and "multiply and replenish the earth."  Biologically, you don't need multiple partners to do that.  If we're looking at this strictly logically, all of nature bears witness to the fact that there is no relationship on earth, no animal or living thing that needs anything more than one boy part and one girl part to create new life.  The earth was created this way.

Point #2: In all nations, countries, and lands of the earth, there are about 50% boys and 50% girls being born, everywhere.  Sure, the ratio flexes a bit, but only one or two percentage points in either direction.  It's called "sex ratio." Following this link will take you to the wikipedia article about it, but basically it is the ratio of males to females in a population, and it shows that we are almost completely equal, and there are actually just a few more boys than girls in the world's population!  For every 100 girls out there, there are about 105 boys (referred to as "a ratio of 105").  This article will show you the sex ratio for every country in the world, which almost all hover around 1 boy for every 1 girl, except in a few countries where the ratio is skewed (In Kuwait the ratio is 1.54 while Latvia is at .86).  Skewing usually occurs in countries where mortality rates differ due to things like war casualties and deliberate gender control (as explained in this article on gender imbalance in the human sex ratio).  But even if you even out all of those countries with the entire world population, you still get an almost perfect 1 to 1 ratio.

What this tells me is that there isn't a natural, logical need for men to take on multiple partners.  There's no reason, even in polygamist societies today.  Babies are still being born about 50/50, and I have heard about many boys being turned out from polygamist societies as teenagers, although I don't have any sources to back me up.  I've only heard about it via word of mouth, so if anyone has a known source on that feel free to put it in the comments.

For both of the points I've made, I'm strictly using logic.  Just what basic human reason and some simple math tell me.  I can hear arguments in my mind saying, "Well, you're being strictly logical and scientific, but the Lord's ways don't always make logical sense to man."  That's very true, except when they do.

An important and defining belief of Mormons is that we have both a Heavenly Father and a Heavenly Mother.  Church member Eliza R. Snow wrote a poem in 1845 titled "Invocation, or the Eternal Father and Mother" which includes these lines: "In the heav'ns are parents single? No, the thought makes reason stare! Truth is reason; truth eternal Tells me I've a mother there."  The 4th president of the church, Wilford Woodruff, has called this revelation (Woodruff, Wilford. The Discourses of Wilford Woodruff, ed. G. Homer Durham. Salt Lake City, 1968. Pg 62).

The line that sticks out to me the most is: "Truth is reason, truth eternal."  Eliza R. Snow reasoned that if we have a Heavenly Father - doesn't it just make sense that we have a Heavenly Mother?  And if she can use logic and reason to discover something that is actually "revelation," then why can't I?  Can God reveal things to us through logic?  Yes, he has done so already if we believe this story about Eliza R. Snow.

I had a third thought to make, which is more rational than logical and it has to do with Adam and Eve.  If you are a Christian, this is perhaps the most important couple in all of history for you.  In Mormon temples, our worship is structured by the examples set by Adam and Eve, and I would just like to kindly point out: it wasn't Adam and Eve and her sister Judith.  If it had been, certainly all of human history would look quite a bit different.  And sure, there are other marriages in the bible, important ones, taking place between a man and more than one women.  But this is the first, the ultimate relationship, Adam and Eve, one man and one woman, all that it takes to have a child and begin to "multiply and replenish the earth."  Father and Mother of all mankind on earth, and we never needed more than one of each.

So... what does this all mean for our church history?  What does it mean if the point I'm making is that polygamy basically flies in the face of all nature and reason?  What does it mean if the most important men to our church, the ones who founded and organized it, participated in such a thing?  Obviously, I don't have an answer.  Honestly I don't even want to make such an accusation, but she asked how I felt about polygamy and in that moment I realized what I truly thought and I felt it so strongly that I haven't been able to stop thinking about it since.  Maybe there were purposes to it in that time of our church's history.  Maybe it was the wisdom of God that such a thing should happen.  Maybe it was a misguided and heavily consequenced mistake.  But I would like to add that not all men that bring good things to pass are perfect or without blemish.  Look at the founders of our country, the amazing ideals and principles to which they held and fought for to establish this country.  How many of them were slave owners?  You could argue that the church founders are supposed to be men of God, whereas the founders of our country maybe shouldn't be held up to quite the same caliber.  So my question is:  Can you be led by God and still make mistakes?

Post script:  I'm sure that not all of my arguments here are complete, I'm sure there are points I'm missing or not taking into consideration, so I invite you to comment and open my mind further, help me to understand this more.  I welcome open discussion on this topic but please try to remain respectful of other's opinions.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Growing pains

A patron came up to me yesterday, a girl who was maybe sixteen or seventeen years old.  The first thing I noticed about her was her glaringly white shorter-than-hot-pants.  Startled, and trying to avert my eyes, I asked her what she needed.

Girl: "There's a book that came in on hold for me."

Me: "Oh, did you get an email or an automated message about it?"

Girl, now glaring at me: "An automated message."

This meant that her book was on our hold wall, and we will usually walk first-time patrons over and show them where it is and how to find their book.  That is, patrons that are nice.  Not sassy patrons who glare at me, especially when wearing underwear-for-pants.

Me: "Great! All you need to do is just head right over there and the books are shelved alphabetically by your last name." (friendly smile)

The girl then jutted one hip out and let her head drop to one side while saying, "Ugh.  I hate doing that.  Can't you get it for me?"

(I'm not exaggerating.  If I was exaggerating I would tell you.  I just wanted to make that clear.)

After weighing some options (telling her she has to grow up and do it herself, giving in and teaching her that she IS entitled and can make people do anything she wants, or punching her in the face), I said, "Okay, why don't you come with me?" and headed over to the shelf.

On the way there I tried to gain some perspective.  "So, what's the problem?  Do you feel overwhelmed by how many books there are and having to look through all of them?"

Girl: "Yeah, well, every time I look myself I can never find it and I end up having to come ask you guys for help anyway."

Alright.  That's understandable... she's frustrated from that, I can get that.  So I found her book (took approx. 4 seconds), and as I hand it to her I'm noticing that she's... rather energetically eating some candy.  Candy that looks an awful lot like the kind we give out to people who turn in Summer Reading reviews.  I decided to turn a blind eye until she said, "Oh, by the way, can I get some more candy from you guys?"

Me: "Sorry, we can only give you candy for turning in book reviews."

Girl, looking at me incredulously: "What reviews?"

Me: "Book reviews for the Summer Reading Program..."  - blank stare from girl - "Did you sign up for the Summer Reading Program?"

Girl: "No."

Me: "Then I can't give you any candy, sorry."

Maybe that sounds stingy?  Grabbling over candy?  But we librarians are a bit protective of our dwindling candy resources... it's a public library for pete's sake.  We're not made of skittles and kit kats.  And it's not just me, each summer we usually get a threatening "keep your grubby hands out of the patron's candy bucket" email (AJ, I'm saying 'threatening' in the nicest, most sweetest possible way *friendly smile*).  We've countered this problem by having staff members bring in their own candy which we keep in a separate bucket to avoid temptation.  And we have a large, ill-tempered woman standing nearby with a firm ruler in hand in case there are any wandering eyes.

Anyway, the girl relented and went on her way, and after I got back to the desk I asked my co-worker if that was, indeed, our book review candy.  She said, "Yes, actually, I had just given a patron their piece of candy for turning in a review, and before I could take it off the desk that girl came up and grabbed a whole handful, even as I was sliding it back across the desk towards me."


Dear teen patrons: Learn from this cautionary tale.  There will be people in your life that want to help you, but we won't if you act like you're entitled to it.  Earn the things you want.  Be gracious for the things you get.  Try to keep the glares to a minimum.

All other patrons: I know it's summer and it's hot, but could you keep your shoes on?