Books: 2011

  1. Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett
  2. The Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness D’Orczy
  3. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
  4. Blackout by Connie Willis
  5. The Swan Thieves by Elizabeth Kostova
  6. Carolina Moon by Nora Roberts
  7. Vision in White by Nora Roberts
  8. If I Stay by Gayle Forman
  9. Three Fates by Nora Roberts
  10. Room by Emma Donoghue
  11. All Clear by Connie Willis
  12. Bed of Roses by Nora Roberts
  13. I Am Number Four by Pittacus Lore
  14. Across the Universe by Beth Revis
  15. Lock and Key by Sarah Dessen
  16. The Pioneer Woman: Black Heels to Tractor Wheels by Ree Drummond
  17. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
  18. The Cinderella Deal by Jennifer Crusie
  19. Incarceron by Catherine Fisher
  20. The Lost Hero by Rick Riordan
  21. Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver
  22. Savor the Moment by Nora Roberts
  23. Little Bee by Chris Cleave
  24. The Giver by Lois Lowry
  25. One Day by David Nicholls
  26. Gathering Blue by Lois Lowry
  27. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
  28. A Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
  29. Fallen by Lauren Kate
  30. Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin
  31. Happy Ever After by Nora Roberts
  32. Dead Reckoning by Charlaine Harris
  33. Where She Went by Gayle Forman
  34. Clash of Kings by George R. R. Martin
  35. Storm of Swords by George R. R. Martin
  36. A Feast For Crows by George R. R. Martin
  37. A Dance with Dragons by George R. R. Martin
  38. Wicked by Gregory Maguire
  39. Bumped by Megan McCafferty
  40. Drought by Pam Bachorz
  41. Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
  42. Pretty Little Liars by Sara Shepard
  43. Ape House by Sara Gruen
  44. Delirium by Lauren Oliver
  45. Bossypants by Tina Fey
  46. Gossamer by Lois Lowry
  47. The Red Pyramid by Rick Riordan
  48. Moneyball by Michael Lewis
  49. The Ordinary Princess by M. M. Kaye
  50. A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray
  51. Forever by Maggie Stiefvater
  52. The Doorbell Rang by Rex Stout

Well I certainly came down to the wire with my books this year. Looking back at 2010’s list, I really didn’t remember that I read so much last year. 52 books as a goal was a perfectly reasonable one for me, until my new-job-related exhaustion meant I pretty much didn’t read at all from the middle of September through the beginning of November. When I started my new job, I was 18 books ahead of schedule, and by early October, I was already behind. I rounded out the year with a lot of audiobooks, which both helped me feel like I was reading again, and also helped my progress toward my goal. The funny thing is that I don’t really think not being a librarian or being in a library every day really affected my reading progress, more getting used to a new routine, and not reading at lunch made a pretty big impact.

But what were my favorite books of the year? I was SO excited for A Dance with Dragons, and even though I was afraid to keep reading for fear of my favorite characters meeting untimely ends, the book was fantastic and although it was a bit slow at times, it lived up to my (high) expectations. The Bosspyants audiobook was amazing. I read a lot of YA as predicted, but my far and away favorites were Across the Universe and If I Stay and Where She Went by Gayle Forman. Gossamer was also so charming that I still think about it a few months after finishing it.

Another part of my goal (that I admittedly forgot about until I re-read last year’s post just now) was to read two classics that I hadn’t read before. And imagine that, I actually accomplished it despite forgetting about it. I read Pride and Prejudice for the first time this year (… I know. Especially since Jane Eyre is my very favorite, so it’s not like I’m afraid of books from that era.) and loved it so much more than I expected to. And I also read A Brave New World, which was only one of two books I was assigned to read in high school but didn’t actually read (the other being Crime and Punishment, which I started but just didn’t finish), a big deal for this book-loving rule-follower. I still think there are way, way too many classics that I haven’t read, and I’d really like to fix that.

So what will my 2012 reading goal be? I toyed with not having a goal at all, but I don’t know if that’s really in me. I should probably make my goal a bit lower, just because I haven’t been reading as much as I used to… but I don’t LIKE not reading as much. So my official 2012 reading goal is to read 45 books, with the full intention to completely crush that goal. I will also read at least three more classics that are new to me, including another by Jane Austen.

In Previous Years…
Books Read in 2010
Books Read in 2009
Books Read in 2008
Books Read in 2007
Books Read in 2006
Books Read in 2005

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Summer Postcards!

My friend Jodi hosted a summer postcard swap this month, and after Cynthia posted her creations, I knew I wanted to do the same.

I keep a few old paperbacks with my craft supplies, because the book pages make such a great background. All I used otherwise were moo cards (some of my own business cards, and some of the older small ones), some stamps, a few summery magazine pages, and LOTS of washi tape for some stripeitude. I coated them all with a light coat of Mod Podge, because I was afraid they’d fall apart in the mail. (They didn’t, so it worked!) We always send cards to wish friends and family happiness in the winter, but why not wish everyone a happy summer? It’s my favorite time of the year! I made my required postcards, but also a few extras for my out of town friends, and sending an unexpected surprise in the mail is one of my favorite things to do.

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Week 17: Nook Case

So as y’all know, I have now had my Nook for a few months, and am really loving it. I have been using a cover that Dan bought me for Christmas, and it is hot pink and folds open like a regular book, except it has a handy dandy notepad in it, too. And it’s a great cover, but I discovered that (for me, at least) the kind of cover that opens like a book and folds back on itself is really awkward and unbalanced to hold while reading. It started to drive me crazy.

So I started shopping online for a new case, thinking a flip-top case or just a simple cozy that just stores the Nook when you’re not reading it would be the best. I didn’t really find anything I liked, but I resigned myself to choosing a really basic neoprene zip-top case and was moments from clicking “submit order” when I saw that Marianne had just posted a photo of the cozy she had just knitted for HER Nook. (What? I multitask. Always.)

And I said DUH. Why did it not EVER occur to me to make one for myself? With all the freaking MAKING OF THINGS that I have been doing since 2011 started??

I started on Ravelry, but was too drawn to the cable-knitted cozies (and I don’t know how to knit cables yet), so I turned to a basic Google search. It didn’t necessarily have to be a pattern for a Nook-specific case, but if I could find one where someone had already figured out the measurements, I was all for that. I found this pattern from Little Birdie Secrets and loved it.

nook case

I decided to crochet stripes because I was so in love with the colors I used for Thea’s hat, and had a really fantastic time choosing buttons at the local fabric store. (Okay, fine, I bought way more sets of buttons than I needed for this project.) I actually also bought white rick-rack because my brother said this would look like a kind of adorable monster if I added some teeth.

handmade52.17 nook case

As I was starting, I had a feeling that it wouldn’t be quite wide enough, but decided to just go with the pattern’s measurements. Of course, in the end, it’s a little too snug, but I’m hoping the yarn will stretch a bit. This is also the first time I’ve ever used (or, hell, heard of) moss stitch, which works up amazingly fast and looks really great. I’m not happy with the not-perfect job I did stitching up the sides, or the fact that I probably should have blocked this with pins and all that jazz so the edges stop curling… but it’s just so cute! And stripey. I will probably make another one in other colors, because it’s not like I don’t already have the buttons. Or extra yarn.

Old and Busted vs. the New Hotness

I’m a librarian. I read a lot. And I have now had my Nook for a little more than three months, and since people keep asking me about ebooks vs. “real books”, I thought it would be worthwhile to write a bit about how I feel about the whole situation.

I never wanted an ereader. I have been a book lover as long as I can remember. And then the Borders year happened, and I was briefly a book snob, too. (I still haven’t read the Da Vinci Code, and I won’t. Period.) I go through phases with reading, but for the last two years, it has been a very heavy “reading a lot” time for me. And I love it. And ever since the Kindle first became big, I was pretty adamantly against it, and ebooks, too. Books were made to be displayed on shelves. (Rainbow order, optional, of course.) They were meant to have texture and a smell and a pretty cover. Who needs portability? Books are portable, too. I don’t need to carry around my entire library with me. Perhaps it was the preventative cost, but I wasn’t interested.

"real"

I read a lot of articles about ebooks, and I couldn’t argue how much easier traveling would be with an ereader. (Every single time I go away, even for a weekend, I pack a significantly larger number of books than I could ever read. Because the idea of running out of things to read? Is unimaginable.) And they did look kind of cool. But I didn’t want one.

Things changed a little this past fall, when we hosted an ereader expo at the library, and I spent an evening explaining the different models to the library customers, seeing them in person, reading a few pages, imagining what it would be like to have one. And realizing that reading on a screen wasn’t anywhere near as jarring or unnatural as I had always thought. And I guess I started talking about them a LOT, because although I gave Dan a few different ideas for a Christmas present, he knew he wanted to get me a Nook because I wouldn’t stop talking about it.

new hotness

And, well, I never expected to like it this much. The e-ink display feels as natural as reading on paper, and although there is a subtle flash as you turn the page, I stopped noticing that very quickly. I have the black and white (classic) Nook, and although I suppose a color display like the Nook Color or the iPad is where technology is headed, I didn’t want that. I find that even my smartphone’s vivid display hurts my eyes after a while, and I mean, I read real books with the light on, so needing to have the light on while reading my Nook is not exactly a hardship. Plus, I just like the black and white e-ink. (It was a close race between the Kindle and the classic Nook; the tipping point was the ability to download free ebooks from the library – which do not work on the Kindle at all. And since I’m, you know, a librarian, I felt like I should be able to use our services.)

I have read both “real books” and ebooks since owning the Nook, and there’s a big difference. Perhaps it’s because most of my reading is on my lunch hour or in bed, but holding and turning Nook pages while eating or curled up is a lot easier than doing so with a hardcover book. (Those 900 page monstrosities I’ve been reading are not so cuddly, let’s be honest. I have dropped them on my face before.) And what I noticed this week is that having the time displayed on the screen while I’m reading the Nook is kind of convenient, as it means I never get so lost in the story that I’m late going back to work. (First world problems, I’m sure.)

I really do love it.

The issue I don’t know that I’ll ever get past is needing to buy (almost all of) the books I read. I’m inside a library every day. Where the books are free. All of them. Yes, I can get some free ebooks through ListenNJ. (Why do you think I’ve been reading so many Nora Roberts books lately? They have a big selection! And no one can see the cover. Except everyone on the internet. Ahem.) And I can download free classics from Project Gutenberg. But at the rate I go through books, it would get really expensive to have to buy every one. Yes, it’s convenient. Yes, it’s fast. Yes, I still have gift cards from Christmas, and will ask for more at every holiday from now until forever. But. I haven’t ever been and won’t become the type to pay for every book I read.

Nor will I ever stop buying books. I cannot imagine living in a house without a LOT of books inside it.

I guess what I realized (and what changed my mind) was that I can read ebooks, but that doesn’t mean I have to stop being a “real book” lover, either. I can love the technology and still be a book purist. And I love that.

PS. The post’s title is, of course, tongue in cheek. But it is alarming how we have to retrofit our vocabulary to apply to things that have been around for hundreds of years. “Paper” books. “Real” books. As opposed to ebooks. They’re still just books.

Books: 2010

  1. A Storm of Swords by George R. R. Martin
  2. A Feast for Crows by George R. R. Martin
  3. The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan
  4. Key of Light by Nora Roberts
  5. The Sea of Monsters by Rick Riordan
  6. Key of Knowledge by Nora Roberts
  7. Key of Valor by Nora Roberts
  8. The Story Girl by L.M. Montgomery
  9. The Titan’s Curse by Rick Riordan
  10. Sea Swept by Nora Roberts
  11. Rising Tides by Nora Roberts
  12. Inner Harbor by Nora Roberts
  13. The Battle of the Labyrinth by Rick Riordan
  14. Chesapeake Blue by Nora Roberts
  15. Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
  16. Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen
  17. The Last Olympian by Rick Riordan
  18. Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
  19. Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater
  20. Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan
  21. Bite Me: A Love Story by Christopher Moore
  22. Jewels of the Sun by Nora Roberts
  23. Tears of the Moon by Nora Roberts
  24. Dead in the Family by Charlaine Harris
  25. Heart of the Sea by Nora Roberts
  26. Linger by Maggie Stiefvater
  27. The Lonely Hearts Club by Elizabeth Eulberg
  28. A Trip to the Stars by Nicholas Christopher
  29. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson
  30. The Umpire Strikes Back by Ron Luciano
  31. Graceling by Kristin Cashore
  32. The Passage by Justin Cronin
  33. Fire by Kristin Cashore
  34. This World We Live In by Susan Beth Pfeffer
  35. The Girl Who Played with Fire by Stieg Larsson
  36. The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest Stieg Larsson
  37. Insatiable by Meg Cabot
  38. Unwind by Neal Shusterman
  39. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows
  40. The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary E. Pearson
  41. The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan
  42. Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins
  43. Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert
  44. Practical Demonkeeping by Christopher Moore
  45. Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
  46. The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen
  47. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
  48. The Memory Keeper’s Daughter by Kim Edwards
  49. And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie
  50. Night World Book 1 (Secret Vampire, Daughters of Darkness, Enchantress) by L.J. Smith
  51. The Other Queen by Philippa Gregory
  52. Sisters Red by Jackson Pearce
  53. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by JK Rowling
  54. Matched by Ally Condie
  55. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by JK Rowling
  56. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by JK Rowling
  57. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by JK Rowling

Last year, I resolved to read more than 40 books, and I think it’s safe to say that I definitely managed to do that. 2010 was a year of reading like a maniac, the likes of which I haven’t seen in a while. (In fact, the last year I read more than 50 books was the 2007, the year I took that YA lit class in library school, which had me reading 33 books over one semester.) I seem to normally hover around 40 books in a good-reading year, 25 in a bad-reading year, so this year feels really good.

The highs in books this year were of course the last two books in the Martin series, the Percy Jackson series, Maggie Stiefvater’s two YA novels, the Passage, the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society (seriously, read it), the Millennium trilogy, and of course the Hunger Games series, which totally rocked my socks. I also read a whole lot of books I’m not exactly embarrassed to have on my list, but… it’s not like I’m going to brag about exactly how many Nora Roberts books I read this year. (Although I will stand behind my assertion that there’s a time and a place for a purely predictable story with an absurdly happy ending. I have never been one who thinks that everything one reads needs to be literary, smart, or educational.)

And considering the fact that I’m currently re-reading the Harry Potter series from the beginning (spurred by the first half of the Deathly Hallows movie, naturally), it’s interesting that I haven’t actually read books 1-4 since before I started keeping track of my reading (so, 2004 or earlier). I read books 5 and 6 in 2005, 6 and 7 in 2007, and in 2009, I read book 6 once and book 7 twice. Not that anyone cares about that other than me, but it explains why it has been so enjoyable to re-read the series from the beginning.

Anyway! So what will by book resolution for 2011 be? I want to stick with the read-like-a-maniac thing, so my goal will be to read 52 books in 2011, and to read at least two classics that I haven’t read before. So I’ll leave this post with a question: what’s your favorite classic book? Mine is Jane Eyre; I collect copies and re-read it every few years and just love it. (Interesting too, since I haven’t yet been able to get through a Jane Austen novel.)

In Previous Years…
Books Read in 2009
Books Read in 2008
Books Read in 2007
Books Read in 2006
Books Read in 2005

GOventure day two: Invisible

The inspiration for day two of GOventure week is invisible, and I had a lot of ideas, most of them for photos. And then I was at work today, and the perfect thing hit me. See, being a librarian is pretty awesome, most of the time. My job is helping people find what they’re looking for, helping them figure out HOW to do what they need to do, and I love the scavenger hunt aspect of it. Most of the time.

Except some days I almost wish I WAS invisible. That I could hide (really hide) in the stacks of books and just quietly make sure they’re in order. And read a few inside flaps while I’m there. And that people couldn’t, you know, see me in order to find me and ask me questions. The best I could manage was hiding in the bathroom for a few extra moments. It helped. It doesn’t happen all the time, true. But the stereotype of a quiet librarian stamping, shelving, and shhh-ing isn’t really very accurate AT ALL.

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Books Read in 2009

Books Read in 2009:

  1. Paper Towns by John Green
  2. The Stupidest Angel: A Tale of Christmas Terror by Christopher Moore
  3. Double Whammy by Carl Hiaasen
  4. Voyager by Diana Gabaldon
  5. Sloppy Firsts by Megan McCafferty
  6. Second Helpings by Megan McCafferty
  7. Charmed Thirds by Megan McCafferty
  8. Fourth Comings by Megan McCafferty
  9. What I Saw and How I Lied by Judy Blundell
  10. Wake by Lisa McCann
  11. Fool by Christopher Moore
  12. The Great Train Robbery by Michael Crichton
  13. The Ladies of Grace Adieu by Susanna Clarke
  14. Perfect Fifths by Megan McCafferty
  15. Fade by Lisa McCann
  16. Life as We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer
  17. The Dead and the Gone by Susan Beth Pfeffer
  18. It Sucked and Then I Cried by Heather B. Armstrong
  19. The Ticking by Renee French
  20. The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation, Volume 1: The Pox Party by M.T. Anderson
  21. Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris
  22. Deadline by Chris Crutcher
  23. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling
  24. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling
  25. Living Dead in Dallas by Charlaine Harris
  26. The Angel’s Game by Carlos Ruiz Zafon
  27. The Frog Princess by E. D. Baker
  28. Airborn by Kenneth Oppel
  29. Club Dead by Charlaine Harris
  30. The Amulet of Samarkand by Jonathan Stroud
  31. The Shadow in the North by Philip Pullman
  32. Dead to the World by Charlaine Harris
  33. Dead as a Doornail by Charlaine Harris
  34. Definitely Dead by Charlaine Harris
  35. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling (again)
  36. All Together Dead by Charlaine Harris
  37. From Dead to Worse by Charlaine Harris
  38. Dead and Gone by Charlaine Harris
  39. A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin
  40. A Clash of Kings by George R. R. Martin

So apparently, last year, I resolved to read 52 books this year. I might have come closer if I didn’t read so many giant, hulking books (see: the Martin series, and Harry Potter #7). But I suppose that’s not much of an excuse. Looking back, it seems I powered through (or re-powered through) several entire series. There were some books in there that I enjoyed in spite of them (Charlaine Harris’s books), some that took effort to get through (Octavian Nothing, the Amulet of Samarkand, and the Angel’s Game), and a few stunners I’d recommend in a heartbeat (the Martin series, and Life As We Knew It). Honestly, this list doesn’t look like much to me now that I’m looking back at it. Maybe my resolution for 2010 should be to read more than 40 books, and to read some of those books that everyone recommends but that I haven’t gotten to yet. But really? Just to keep reading. Always just that.

In Previous Years…
Books Read in 2008
Books Read in 2007
Books Read in 2006
Books Read in 2005