Tuesday, March 18, 2008

What books are now?

Besides the most current releases, the books that tend to interests us the most are the books that are 'now'. The books that relate to current events, or interests. So what are some now books of march, 2008?

Thanks to the new HBO series, John Adams, the book by the same name written by popular historical author David McCullough has become very 'now', along with some of his other related works.

John Adams by David McCullough
1776 by David McCullough

As always, new movies are breathing new life into older books.

Horton Hears a Who by Dr. Seuss
The Spiderwick Chronicles by Holly Black ( http://www.spiderwick.com/)
The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory
(movie: http://www.sonypictures.com/movies/theotherboleyngirl/)

The continued consternation over the Democratic Party's presidential nominee has books about and by Hillary Clinton, and Barack Obama flying off the shelves.
Check out:

Dreams from my Father
The Audacity of Hope
By Barack Obama


Living History by Hillary Clinton
A Woman in Charge by Carl Bernstein

Whats coming around the bend? Without a crystal ball, I couldn't tell you much, but look out for books about the economy and capitalism with all the buzz about an economic recession, everyone is going to be watching their bottom line.

Renewed trouble in Tibet could have the Dali Lama's books back on the public's mind.

But we will see whats 'now' next time.


Tuesday, December 4, 2007

A Responce to 'A Whole New Mind'

For my LATI program I have read the first three chapters of Daniel H. Pink's book A Whole New Mind.

To briefly summarize:
The book is a statement by Pink that the days of valuing strictly Left-brained, or highly technical, skills is over. He postulates that because of economic changes, Americans today must excessive creativity, empathy, and other more creative thinking processes to be competitive in the job market today.

Pinks book also includes fun creativity challenges that illustrate what kind of creative thinking he believes will be important in the new Right brained economy. I just might try a few of his suggestions like browsing magazines I would not normally look at to get a different perspective of what someone with very different interests from my own might be reading/thinking/buying etc.

Three questions I would ask Pink about the first three chapters of his book are:

1. Right Brain Rising: I am not sure about some of the technical aspects of Pinks 'right brain / left brain' dichotomy. He himself states that it is more of a label than the fact that creative and empathetic tasks/thoughts come just from the right Brian but I wonder if Pink would consider a different label for this concept of creativity and synthesis vs. more logic and numbers based thinking and what would such labels be?

2. Automation, Abundance and Asia: I wonder if Pink has taken into account in this chapter the growing government positions in Homeland Security, and defence. Chemists are in as much demand in this country today as ever, and their demand in government and defence contracting cannot be shipped over seas for security reasons. I may be overly sensitive to this issue because of the proximity of a prominent government testing and research base in my area, but I believe that there are many highly technical 'L-brained' jobs that will never be farmed out to the A's. My question to Pink is, do you think we produce enough graduates with a high enough technical skill set to fulfill these positions now? I don't and I wonder if we do not already tend to prize 'R-brained skills over L in many instances of education in the US.

3. High Concept, High Touch: As for this chapter, I wonder how Pink proposes we should teach something like creativity and humor. While it is possible to nurture artistic and other such abilities it is generally considered that they are in-born. How would Pink challenge that assumption and suggest we teach R-brained skills to those who are highly L-brained and seek to gain some of the skills that be believes are becoming more essential in today's economy.

As for the impact of Automation, Abundance and Asia on libraries, I believe that these changes increase the need and use of libraries as apposed to decreasing them. As LATI has taught me, one of the most important jobs a librarian has is finding out what question the patron REALLY needs to ask. Sometimes a person does not even know themselves. That kind of work requires empathy and creativity. Our positions are local community positions so they cannot be affected by Asia, and no mater how abundant resources are, the library will always be able to provide a greater selection and set of resources than a person would be able to buy on their own, or would use enough to warrant buying. While the way we deliver this information/entertainment may shift and change, libraries seem to be the kind of place the new right mindedness Pink champions can flourish.


Saturday, November 24, 2007

A decided lack of mystery in the mystery section

I have read mystery books. Certainly mystery tv shows (although you'd never turn a tv on these days without catching part of one mystery show or another). But I've never been a big fan. I think it's because I'm fairly good at reading foreshadowing. It's often obvious to me when an author is purposefully leading me along to a certain character while holding several other less likely suspects in the wings to side slam me with. I see it, and like those overly sentimental books like Daniele Steel, I don't like it. I don't want to be toyed with. So, other than Janet Evanovich novels which I love for their humor, eccentric sociology of the state of New Jersey, and the charming romance, I generally dislike mysteries.

So I gave mysteries another shot as one of my less read generas for LATI. I read a book titled 'Whisky Sour' a Jack Daniels mystery by somebody who's name I forget at the moment but I will look up and add later.

I liked the book enough that it was no big fight to make my self slug thorough it but I wouldn't read another part of the series. I liked the again slightly sassy female lead named Jack Daniels (my affinity for the drink is, I admit the reason I picked up the book) and I liked the humor in the book. Not as sassy as Evanovich but still it's own quality of fun.

The murder element whoever was a bit over the top even for me. The victims in this book are tortured by this crazy serial killer before they are killed. The perverted sicko who rapes the massive stab wounds he makes in his victims. This gruesome element would make me hesitate to recommend it to many patrons. The main character is also 40ish, and I find readers often relate best to main characters in their same peer group. So finding someone in their 40s who isn't upset by raped stab wounds...that puts the book in a difficult category. I am sure some of my patrons would be fine reading it like me but there is nothing special to redeem the book.

I am somewhat familiar with mystery titles as my mother is an avid reader but this book has not swayed me to the genre. I think I'll stick to my TV shows like 'Bones' and 'Pushing up Daisies' for my mystery fix.


Monday, November 5, 2007

My 1st YA book for LATI

For LATI I am required to read 2 books outside a genre I normally read as well as 2 young adult books. I am a slow and fickle reader, so as soon as I found out about this project I began to get started, trying to find books I might be interested in and starting to read them. I am actually very bad about reading books I am not interested in. I quickly loose interest and often leave books (even the ones I chose to read for fun) in the middle and never come back. I am not that excited about reading 2 books outside my usual genres. I do read from a wide variety of books (although I do have my somewhat unique criteria for what I chose to read. I tend to read things that are a bit on the eccentric side). And the genres I do not read in (like inspirational books especially) I am strongly disinterested in. But I was looking forward to the YA part of the assignment. I have actually read several YA books throughout the past year on my own even though it is not a section I am particularly responsible for. I still enjoy YA books and I was glad to have an excuse to read a few.

The first YA book I chose to read Is tittled "Bloody Jack: being an account of the curious adventures of Mary 'Jacky' Faber, Ship's Boy" By L.A. Meyer.

I LOVED the book. I always enjoy a sassy female lead and this book has a wonderfully spunky young female lead character. The humor in the book also kept my attention, and the plot was high paced and full of action.

The book did have that YA/J children's book quality of letting every bad situation be a near miss that every important character, including the main character, comes out of alright in the end.

I would recommend this book to young readers, and to librarians leading books for young readers because it is an engaging book and it lends it's self to discussion of current and historic gender roles and class distinction. It is also the first book in a longer series that would encourage readers to keep on reading.

In fact, I enjoyed the book so much, I intend to read the rest of the series myself.

I have a few other YA books checked out to read for my second book but I will try to get one of the 2 adult books outside my normal genre's under my belt so I'm off to read "Hard Core Zen: Punk Rock, Monster Movies, and the Truth About Reality" by Brad Warner a Non-Fiction book.


Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Thing # 21 Podcasts


Podcast.net and podcastalley.com both yielded interesting podcasts, but I have to admit I'm not a big fan of podcasts for the same reason I dislike audio books. I just cannot concentrate on a recorded voice the way I can on a person speaking or on a page of text. I would almost always prefer to read a blog than listen to a pod cast. However, I think I would be better at keeping up with creating pod casts than I would with writing my own personal blog.

When searching a place like podcast.net I found tags to be very effective ways of finding relevant podcasts. Searches were just not as useful for some reason. I find i-tunes to be the most useful way of keeping up with, and finding podcasts I am most interested in, but bloglines offers a nice alternative that is accessible from any computer.


Friday, September 14, 2007

Thing # 20 You Tube

About You Tube.

This video is a funny little skit about libraries. Its the kind of thing that kids spend their time looking at. Random, humorous little bits of visual, audio and video information that make up so much of what they consume in a day. As such I think it just might be a very good way to communicate with teens. Although they are not so likely to search for the key word 'library' as I am but 'Ninja' might get their notice.

As for features that the Youtube site uses libraries could use, feature videos/ most viewed/ favorite could be replaced by feature new books/videos etc. feature book reviews, most checked out books, etc. This site offers many ways to see what other people are viewing, and libraries could incorporate these features as a way to provide readers with a way to learn about new books they might be interested in. It's like readers advisory without the staff. Sites like amazon.com use this kind of linking of liked materials or popular materials to help customers find new and different products and libraries could make their websites serve this function for our patrons as well.


Thing #14 tagging in technorati

The Terrible Truth about Tagging on Technorati

I get it. Tagging a post is different than tagging a blog. A blog with a tagg is going to have posts about the subject on a regular basis. Just searching a post only gives you recent examples of when anyone discussed a subject. This is useful if you are looking for info or opinions on a particular event or product, (say you want to know more about the new I-phone) you would be best served to search posts. Searching for the blog tagg will help you find a blog that is going to be consistently (at least partially) about the topic you are interested in (Japanese poetry, economics in Uganda, whatever). So think of the blogg taggs as searching for the title of a journal, and the post taggs as searching for a specific article in said journal. What is better? Depends on what your looking for. For the purpose of learning 2.0, I found that the blogg tagg results were more relevant and useful.

As for the top searches...why would you search for a blog about myspace? I guess there is a great deal of varying opinion and argument over the issue but I mean really? Popularity doesn't = credibility so you can keep the top 100.

On a side bar, what is this authority stuff on technorati? I suppose I should find out but my guess is it's like seller ratings on e-bay and what does that really tell you about someones actual authority on an issue? I think not so much.