The Monthly Roundup: Feb. 2010

I decided that it would be a good idea to post a monthly round-up of the books I’ve read (because I’m an obsessive organizer).

So here they are for the month of February 2010. Titles link to the reviews.

The Secret Diaries of Charlotte Bronte by Syrie James

East by Edith Pattou

The Silent Governess by Julie Klassen

Ballet Shoes by Noel Streatfeild

The Mermaid Summer by Mollie Hunter

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work and play

School has ended for the semester, so I am taking advantage of the lull to work on my Book Drum profile and get back to writing. These holidays always pass very quickly, but it seems so different now that I’m not a traditional student. Just a year ago, I graduated with my MA, but starting a distance-learning program just six months after has led to a very different sort of learning experience. It’s interesting and I have to admit that I do enjoy the independance it allows me; in many ways, it seems like an independent study program.

In between all the writing and research (funny, I never thought I would return to a subject that I spent so many months working on for my thesis), I’ve been watching “Lark Rise to Candleford” and loving it almost as much as I loved “Cranford” last year. Small town dramas have always been especially charming to me and this one is no exception. My b-chan finds it amusing that I am so into period pieces and shojo anime, he’s never met anyone who is so into “girly” shows.

a tall order

I am in the mood for a good fantasy novel, but I have a few requirements that are making the search a bit difficult.

I want:

  • a strong female protagonist
  • a magical element featuring Fae/Sidhe, but not vampires/werewolves. I am not looking for another Twilight
  • High fantasy or urban dark fantasy
  • a love story is fine but I do not want a romance novel
  • general fantasy fiction or YA

I’m thinking something similar to Holly Black’s Tithe or the kind of strong female characters found in Robin McKinley and Tamora Pierce’s novels.

I will gladly take all recommendations ๐Ÿ™‚

class simplified

My textbooks have arrived, meaning that my return to grad school is becoming all the more real. Sometimes I wonder why I decided to do this all over again.

I do, however, have to return one of the books… I was worried I would not be prepared for my entry into one of the mighty Social Sciences (ooh ahh, practical applications), so I ordered all the books on the course list, including the ones that were merely “Recommended”. The result–I received a book on how to create webpages using html. It has a cartoon memory chip that guides you through the process. On EVERY PAGE. How to write a link? Little Cartoon Memory guy can show you how!

‘least I’ll get $25 back ๐Ÿ™‚ . Next semester, I won’t panic and buy everything on the off-chance that it might prove useful.

the time has come

I’m clearing out the book collection ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

I’ve come to realize that many of the books that I have been holding on to are books that I read once and enjoyed, but will probably never read again. I realize that I shouldn’t form such an attachment to some of these, when will I ever re-read that copy of To Kill a Mockingbird that I read when I was in ninth grade? I’m going to keep the ones I love best, and try to sell off the rest.

I’ve put some of the “bestsellers” up on Amazon, and sold three since last night. However, I’m looking into the used book buying programs offered by Powell’s and Abebooks. I’ve never tried them before, but I’ve heard of them. Whatever can’t be sold, I’ll donate to the public library. The books have been taking over for too long, and I’ve been relying on the library system more and more just to avoid buying books that I will only read once.

the scent of paper and ink

Found this post through LISnews

It’s about books lovers and those who put up with them (sort of).

I’m a book lover. My home is overrun by books. I try to get rid of them – sell them, donate them, give them away – but the collection just keeps growing. Is it any wonder my dream is to work in a bookstore or a library?

These two lines were particularly amusing to me ๐Ÿ™‚ because it describes my particular brand of bibliophilia very well…

A bona fide book lover is someone who loves the smell of paper. He or she loves the feel of the book as much as the look of the book.

Book lovers don’t care where the books are, just that they are close by. They don’t have to be orderly; sometimes a lack of order is preferred. Books can be piled horizontally or vertically, stacked in rows, squeezed together or layered in a pyramid.

I have to admit, even my mom thinks I’m a little nutty when I tell her I simply have to go to a bookstore to smell the books.

at the library

Yesterday, I was catching up on my google reader subscriptions when I noticed this short piece posted on librarian.net:

When the economy is bad people go to the library. We know this. Hereโ€™s two different media mentions:ย seriousย (Grand Rapids Press),ย funnyย (Colbert).

It got me thinking… as an avid reader dealing with the strain created by the economic crisis, I recently started to cut back on my book purchases. Let’s face it, I’m a bibliophile. I crave the scent of books. I can’t walk by a bookstore without going in an buying a new book. So, a few months back, I started avoiding bookstores.ย 

I’m not much of a TV person. Other than “Heroes” (my most recent tv obsession) and the morning weather forecast, I rarely watch television. Netflix has me covered as far as movies. And last.fm has me covered musically. What’s left… my bibliophilia.

When I evaluated my spendings, I realized that if I wanted to limit myself to the essentials, I would have to restrain my enthusiasm for book collecting.ย 

This is where the library comes in…ย 

You would think that for someone with such an obvious love of books, I would be a dedicated library patron. I love libraries. I just never particularly cared for checking out books. As a kid, I was limited to the selection at our local library, which was not very extensive and rarely had what I desired. As a result, I got in the habit of buying books, and created my own collection (a collection that has grown out of control in our tiny apartment…). I buy them. I stack them. I read them when the mood strikes. I always have a new text on hand.

However, the occasional $10, $12, $24 book purchase is no longer feasible for me. Unless it’s something I’ve been anxiously awaiting (like Inkdeath) or a fantastic bargain bin find, I am no longer adding to my collection. At least, until the crisis passes.

Instead, I’ve turned to the library.

And it seems I’m not the only one.

The Miami-Dade public library system has been expanding across the county, so a number of small, local branches have cropped up. Many of these are more like computer libraries and inter-library loan stations than traditional libraries, but they serve the community.

One of these outposts is located near my home, so I have been taking advantage of its proximity and using it as my preferred pick-up location. This afternoon, I popped over to pick up a text that arrived for me, and the place was packed. Packed with kids and tweens. This area is not known for its scholarship and we have many of the lowest ranked schools in the county, but it was a pleasant surprise to see that kids going to the library, if only to conduct research.