Song of Ice and Fire - George R R Martin

So, I'm just settling in to read Martin's Song of Ice and Fire series. I'm really looking forward to it. It's been on my TBR list for some time now and I'm already hooked after the first twenty pages.

It really surprizes me that I haven't read any Martin yet, as I visit his website occasionally to check out his "what I'm reading section." I've found some great new authors there. Visiting his site and taking his reccomendations without having read any of his work made me feel a little guilty. Sort of like using a restaurant bathroom without bying anything. So now my guilt can be assuaged and I can get new book ideas with impunity!

Thanks George!


Lullabies for Little Criminals - Heather O'Neill

Well, for a depressing story about child prostitution and heroin use, Lullabies for Little Criminals left me feeling pretty good. I read this one in two sittings.

O'Neill does an excellent job of capturing the voice of her child narrator, Baby. It's all about consistency. I often find that when I'm reading a novel narrated by a child and written by an adult, that the child's perspective is sometimes lost, especially during more descriptive sections. While reading this novel however, I felt I was listening to a twelve year old throughout. From dialogue, to inner feelings, to descriptive paragraphs, Baby's personality dominated the story.

I really enjoyed O'Neill's writing overall. There are tons of great lines and, of course, my favourite ones are about libraries and reading.

In this scene, Baby is sending self defense vibes to her unfortunate friend, Linus, who is about to get beat up.

"I knew that the trick to save yourself from this type of situation was to act totally crazy; to act fearless, like you would try to poke one of their eyes our with a library card if they came any closer." (O'Neill 36)

I'll have to remember this tip myself; I have three different library cards in my wallet, who knew I could use them as protection!

Here Baby describes the one thing she knows about her mother:

"All I knew was that sometimes she went to the library when she wanted to cry." (O'Neill 44)

Sometimes the library is so quiet that I feel like I'm all alone surrounded my many people.

Finally, I loved this passage about how reading makes Baby feel.

"I had always like reading, but lately I had started reading in a different kind of way. When I opened a book now, I was seized with desperation. I felt as if I was madly in love. It was as if I were in a confession booth and the characters in the book were on the other side telling me their most intimate secrets. When I read, I was a philosopher and it was up to me to figure out the meaning of things. Reading made me feel as if I were the center of the universe." (O'Neill 195)


I would definitely pick this one up!


The Hollowing - Robert Holdstock

As much as I enjoy the comforts and luxuries that living in a city offers, I would much prefer to leave all of life's trappings behind and escape into the forest. I spent my summers barefoot in the woods around our cottage, truly believing that there were fairies and gnomes everywhere. I spoke to them and they spoke to me; I felt I was their official protectress. To me a forest is a very magical place that is not only alive with plant and animal life, but that also contains a secret hidden world that you just have to believe in to experience.

Ryhope Wood, in Holdstock's The Hollowing, takes my belief to a whole different level. This forest is inhabited by mythagos; all of human kind's mythical creations from Jason and the Argonauts to Gawain and the Green Knight, from celtic heroes to every variation of Jack the Giant Killer. Although the wood seems like a magical place, it is also one of great danger to the characters exploring there. Time runs differently and mythical monsters stalk through the trees.

The story follows Richard Bradley on a search through Ryhope Wood for his lost son, Alex. A series of strange events occur, beginning when Richard discovers a mysterious letter that leaves him in confusion. When James Keeton, missing for a year after entering the Wood in search of his daughter Tallis, appears in the headlights of Richard's car, life becomes stranger still. James, clutching a wooden mask and unresponsive, only seems to find comfort in his daughter's friend, twelve year old Alex.

Alex spends most of his time with James, trying to help his lost friend's father. When, in a moment of rare lucidity James claims he can see his daughter through the wooden mask, Alex places his face to the mask to see for himself. As soon as Alex looks in the mask he is propelled across the room with great strength. James falls dead and upon awakening, Alex has reverted to an unresponsive state, much like James.

After about a year, Alex disappears and his body is later discovered. Alex's death is too much for his parent's marriage and Richard moves to London to wallow in his grief. But, on a trip home, Richard meets Helen Silverlock and discovers that his son is indeed alive, but is hidding somewhere in Ryhope Wood. It is here that Richard's adventures begin, while he searches through a truly magical and terrible forest to reunite with his lost son.

An entertaining story. I will definitely read the other books belonging to the Mythago Cycle. I loved meeting my favourite characters from mythology and only wish that I could walk into the forest and be transported to a different world.


Jail time for overdue fines...Who would have thought?

I came across a VERY interesting, yet shocking, piece of library news.

A woman in Beloit, Wisconsin was arrested for failing to return her library books. Good lord, very Draconian if I do say so myself.

If this law was in place at my library, half the students on campus would be facing extended jail sentences!

Click here to read the rest of the article.


Publish or Perish?

My friend Meagan just published her first article and I'm writing a post to celebrate!

Meagan, along with my other colleagues Kristin, Vivian and Fred, conducted research to assess the research skills needed by graduate students at the University of Western Ontario. They used their findings to improve the Graduate Student Workshops offered at the Taylor Library.

Check out their article here in the new issue of Science and Technology Librarianship (Open Access!):

Library Research Skills: A Needs Assessment for Graduate Student Workshops



Water for Elephants - Sara Gruen

This book made me want to run away with the circus. Set in the US of the Great Depression, the story follows the wonderful, and not so wonderful characters that make up the Benzini Brothers Most Spectacular Show on Earth as they travel by train entertaining many along the way.

The story is narrated by Jacob Jankowski, both as he takes part in events surrounding the circus, as well as reminiscing as a ninety-something year old man. The good guys are easy to love and the bad guys are easy to hate. It is perfectly impossible not to fall in love with Rosie. I’ve always had a soft spot in my heart for elephants and Rosie doesn’t disappoint.

This story has a little for everyone. A love story, circus freaks, lions, tigers and bears (oh my!), and even a little bit of adventure and intrigue. I personally loved the scenes in which Jacob must carefully traverse the roof of the train, jumping between cars, all the way to his destination – any more information will spoil the story!

Water for Elephants is a perfect summer read with an excellent story and an ending that leaves you feeling great.

Oh, how I long for an elephant of my own!


Officially the Library Lady.

I've never thought of myself as the typical librarian. I'm new to the profession, just starting to get my feet wet and I obviously consider myself young at 27. Even during library school I was told by a fellow classmate that I was, "too cool for library school." I took great offense to this. I really really wanted to be a librarian and couldn't believe that because I liked social events and chose my outfits very carefully, I was considered a an unlikely choice for a librarian.

But, this weekend, I had a defining moment when I realized that no matter the nose piercing and large visible tattoos, I am still viewed by my students as a stereotypical librarian.

I LOVE to dance so Friday night me and the girls (two of us are librarians) danced the night away at the new club in town. When, what to my wondering eyes should appear, but a student pointing right at me saying, "oohhh look, it's the library lady." Well, as these words left her mouth I was instantly transformed. Gone was the pretty dress and high heels. Banished was the carefully applied makeup and straightened hair. In their place instantly appeared the bun, the granny chain, the tweed suit with elbow patches and a big loud SHHH!

I am redeemed. I am the Library Lady.


Mister B. Gone - Clive Barker

Definitely not my favourite Clive Barker. I had previously only read his works of fantasy, and loved them. So, I thought I would try his newest horror creation.

I was intrigued at first. As the narrator draws you in, speaking directed to you, he demands that you burn the book before reading further. Well, this made me want to read immediately on; what could be so bad, I thought?

Reading on, it became harder and harder for me to turn each page without wincing in disgust. I finally realized that I cannot relate to a protagonist - or, antagonist in my view - who takes great pleasure in causing people pain. Of course, all of this is described simply but in the most gruesome fashion.

It was obvious to me that my weak stomach could not read on. I think I will stick to his fantasy selections!


This is a work of great genius, and I don't say this lightly. It definitely left a lasting impression. Other reviews describe this book as very depressing; and, while it definitely isn't a feel good read, I feel that at the end, there is a little light at the end of the tunnel. The relationship between father and son moved me greatly and I'm having a very hard time articulating my feelings about this book.

McCarthy tells his tale using a very simply writing style, but incredibly beautiful language. That the author can create such a stunning mood without embellishment or fancy devices, is one of the main reasons this book had such an impact.

I think that each person who reads The Road will take with them something a little different.

This is definitely a MUST read.


This is so cool! Finally a documentary about librarians.

Check out screening times and other tidbits about the film here:

The Hollywood Librarian