Friday, August 10, 2007

The Short Bus - Jonathan Mooney

this is a bit of a mash-up of several genres. is it an autobiography? is a travelogue? is it a treatise on special education in the united states? perhaps one could call it a treatobiographlogue? that's right, i made up a new genre! but perhaps that is part of the point. mooney, who is dyslexic and ADD, struggled through the public school system in the united states always being told he was stupid, and desperately trying to fit into the round holes society has so nicely laid out for us to pop into. but what if you're not a round peg? there's all sorts of labels that then get thrusted upon people, and for good or bad, they are expected to live in the world with this label of "other" constantly hanging over their head. well, maybe it shouldn't all be about labels. maybe we should all extend our middle right hand digits in the general direction of all of the labels that are forced upon us and upon others and turn around and walk away. who knows what we might find.

Queen of Babble in the Big City - Meg Cabot

yay! more chick lit! meg cabot's queen of babble may be my favourite chick lit book of all time. in close competition with sophie kinsella's "can you keep a secret?" and "undomestic goddess" titles. and lizzie nichols (the queen of babble herself) is at it again and in new york this time living with her prince charming (no, seriously, the guy is a prince, though because the french chopped off the heads of all of their monarchs a couple of centuries ago it's not a very useful title). this time she's really working on keeping her mouth shut about things, but how long will she be able to hold out as the drama builds up around her? i feel like there's a third title making its way down the pipeline. i hope it's soon though, because i honestly forgot most of what happened in "queen of babble" by the time this one came out. ah well, it's not like it's all that complicated.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

RSS in the Blogosphere

and so i sallied forth to investigate that which is the rss feed. much like the name implies, it was, in fact, really simple stuff. cut and paste, cut and paste. i can see how creating a newsreader account would be useful for informational blogs. for example, i signed up to several librarian blogs, notably jessamyn west's 2 blogs, and can envision checking stuff like that via the newsreader account. they are not heavy on the visuals and i am looking at them more to check out what's going on rather than to experience the blog. where i can't see the newsreader account being of much interest to me at all is with blogs that rely heavily on graphical content. i have several indie design blogs that i check regularly. it's like window shopping online, as i never buy stuff, i just gaze longingly. however, when i look at them via bloglines, the viewing screen alters the layout and design in a not so fabulous way.

as for using the various blog search tools, i can't say as i'm keen. i actually prefer google's blog search function to any of the ones listed for this project. i find that when i search via google i actually pull up blogs that are relevant to my search term as opposed to bringing up completely random blogs that just happened to use the word i'm looking for in a single post. using google to search librarian blogs the first blog on the list is jessamyn west's makes sense to me. the other blog search tools bring me to more commercial enterprises, and more often than not the first hit is amazon. sigh. and can somebody tell me what is with all of the cute and witty names for these blog search tools? feedster, technorati, syndic8... i get it, you're hip and 2.0 and stuff. seriously, i get it.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - J. K. Rowling

well, i've finally done it. i've read THE book. you know, THE biggest book of the year, perhaps the decade. who knows, maybe even the century. has a book ever generated such such media furor and public popularity/obsession? that would be something worth looking into. what i really wanted to say was that in the end of the latest and last harry potter book... ha! you thought i was going to include a spoiler didn't you? in fact, one young man that i work with gets an unhealthy kick out of reading the harry potter books as quickly as he can when they are released and then ruining the ending for people. i think he has an unnaturally well-developed sense of schadenfreude.

i really am amazed at the harry potter phenomena. the books are good, and the seventh title is certainly no exception. they have this ability to just suck you into the story and before you know it you've read a 607 page book. but there are lots of books out there that are equally well written and equally absorbing, but none of them produce the same level of cultural interest. you know what? i'm going to quit questioning this because in the end it's all really fabulous because it has kids and adults reading and being genuinely excited about the book they're holding in their hands. and that is nothing but good.