TBR Challenge: More Than One

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So, it is now August, and I can’t help but noticed that I have not blogged the TBR Challenge in quite some time. I read a book for May but never blogged about it. Still, it seemed a shame just to skip three months! So, in May the criteria was something for which you had multiple books by the same author in your TBR pile. I couldn’t really find anything except Cassandra Clare, which only sort of counts because the additional books are all part of the same series. Still, I’ve been meaning to start the Mortal Instruments series for some time now, so this seemed like as a good a selection as any.

I have to say that I really enjoyed this, certainly enough to want to keep reading. It has some similarities to other YA series, but I am very interested in what happens to the characters. Also, while the ending leaves enough open to want to keep reading, it also answers enough questions that as a reader, I didn’t feel cheated or like I was just being teased into reading a series. I just picked up the audio version of the second book from the library, and I’m looking forward to getting started on it soon.

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TBR Challenge: New to you author

The TBR challenge for last month was a new-to-you author. I finished reading this book on time, but I neglected to finish the blog about it.

I decided to read Dead End in Norvelt by Jack Gantos. I’ve never read anything by Gantos, but I’ve heard him interviewed on NPR and thought he was really funny. I also heard really great things about his Newbery Award acceptance speech last year. There are a couple of his books that I’ve been interested in reading, and I bought a copy of this one at the ALA conference last June in Anaheim.

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I have to say, that I was a little bit disappointed in this book. I really wanted to like it, but I just had a hard time getting into it. It was a little bit slow for me, and I didn’t find it as funny as I thought that I would.

Frankly, it’s taken me much longer than I planned to write this blog post, and I’m having trouble remembering exactly what I didn’t like about it. I’d like to be able to at least recommend it for boys in the target age range, but I’m not sure that I would do that either. Maybe if you know a 10-ish year old boy who also is really interested in history? For every book its reader, right? I’m just not sure that I’d recommend this broadly.

Anyway, I’m not letting this deter me from the other Jack Gantos books on my TBR shelf. I still hear great things about his memoir.

TBR Challenge: Series Catch-Up

I’m still making my way through the TBR challenge, which has been a fun way to try to get some books off of my ever increasing to-be-read pile. The theme for this month was series catch-up, and I decided to read the last two volumes of Transmetropolitan by Warren Ellis. I got these last two volumes (one as a gift, one purchased) around Christmas 2011. This image is from the cover of Volume 9:

Transmetropolitan Cover

Two items of business before we move forward:

  • Disclaimer: it has been several years since I first started reading this series, so I am at the mercy of time and my deteriorating memory.
  • Official warning: reader discretion is advised before beginning this series. It is graphic and sometimes disturbing. Personally, I’m okay with it. It’s done to make a point, and it works. Other people might not be able to move past that.

Official business complete! On with the reviewing.

Transmetropolitan is a delightfully bizarre, often deeply disturbing series. The series main character, Spider Jerusalem is a journalist. He has “filthy assistants”. Together, they have adventures and report the news. At the beginning of the series, I enjoyed it but didn’t really see where it was going. A few volumes in, Spider begins to uncover a story that is bigger than he had originally anticipated. This plot line slowly increases in importance, becoming the central arc of the series.

Another interesting development as the series progressed was that I started to really care about the characters. Initially, I just sort of saw them as some sort of deeply disturbed part of Warren Ellis’s brain that had come loose. By the last volume, I was so invested that some sort of water came out of my eyes a little while I was reading. It was strange.

All in all, I strongly recommend this series for lovers of: Warren Ellis, strange cyberpunk dystopian comics, or weirdly profound commentary on new media/technology and its effects on journalism, politics, and society as a whole.

Reading Genre Fiction

This quarter, I have been taking a class called Literacy, Readers, and Reading, which emphasizes reading research and questions like why people read and what happens to people when they read.

Some of our assigned readings have been from a book called Reading Matters, and I highly recommend it.

Reading Matters

One of the suggestions in the book is to read five books from a genre that you are unfamiliar with each year. As a soon-to-be librarian interested in outreach and access (and having been thinking about library catalogs a lot lately for my portfolio), I have been thinking about ways to encourage reading of all types. Through this, I’ve found myself wanting to be more familiar with genres that I have not really read before. Also, as a person who loves anything that involves to-do lists, this sounds generally fantastic.

I suppose this may seem to be strange, considering that public libraries have never been my focus. but I just think it seems really interesting as a project. So, I’m trying to decide which will be my first new genre to tackle, probably in a few months. The strongest possibilities are romance or westerns, since neither is an area in which I have any real familiarity. I’m going to be looking at Genreflecting by Diana Tixier Herald and The Readers’ Advisory Guide to Genre Fiction by Joyce Saricks for inspiration, but any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!

HLS Day in the Life – Friday!

I am always so, so exhausted by Fridays. They are probably my lightest day of the week though. I went to my internship in the morning. It also rained today, which was nice. (Rain in Los Angeles is really rare, so I always cherish when it happens.)

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Today, I gave an informal presentation to the UCLA Library Social Media Learning Group on the work I’ve been doing this quarter. I talked mostly about my desire to highlight the library’s “pleasure reading” collections like graphic novels and recent fiction. Then, I talked about my analytics evaluation and showed some screenshots from Twitonomy, which I think is a pretty cool free Twitter analytics tool.

After my presentation, the Writing Librarian at Powell (who is also a UCLA MLIS alum!) told me that after I posted a picture of the recent fiction new arrivals display on Instagram, 3 of the books from the display were removed (and presumably checked out)! I have decided to assume that this is due to my outreach efforts, in spite of having only circumstantial evidence to that effect.

After I left work, I headed up to the Information Studies building to finish hanging up flyers for Dodgers Night (which, if you are from UCLA and reading this, you should absolutely attend!). While I was there, I managed to reserve an even better room than the room I had before for the SLA Spring Career Panel, and I ran into my awesome friend Vanessa!

Usually when I get home on Fridays, I intend to do a lot, but I actually do absolutely nothing. Today, I got home around 3:00 and got through quite a few emails! Then I did a lot of nothing and fixed a frozen pizza for dinner. Tonight, I’ll probably watch TV and do some reading for classes, as per usual.

It’ll be a busy few months from now through the spring – both of my final projects are due the week of March 18th. We have the last week of March off, and then Spring quarter (my last one…) starts the 1st of April. Our portfolios for the UCLA MLIS program are due on April 12th, so that is certainly what I’ll be spending almost all of spare time on between now and then. After portfolios are turned in, we have to present them in May. Then in June, I’m headed to the SLA annual conference, and I’ll be graduating! It seems like so little when I just type it all out like it’s no big deal…

Anyway, this whole HLSDITL thing has really been fantastic! I’m excited to have new blogs and twitter accounts to follow and to have started to get to know so many awesome people. Hopefully, I’ll keep blogging more than my normal once a month (although it absolutely will NOT be daily – this is hard!)

HLS Day in the Life – Thursday evening

So, it’s Hack Library School’s Student Day in the Life project: Day 4.

Thursday is usually not a day that I do much for class, since both of my classes were the day before and I have another week before they happen again. I am at my job in Library Special Collections from 9-1 and my Social Media Internship from 1:30-5:30.

Both my job and my internship are in this building, the Powell Library Building, which houses the UCLA Undergraduate Library. It also houses a small special collections processing facility on the ground level, which is where I work part-time. It’s quite nice to have my internship at the Undergraduate Library and my job just two floors down, especially because it was supposed to rain today.

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It’s a gorgeous building, and I can tell you that it is incredibly popular to post photos of the building (both interior and exterior) on social media.

Work was good this morning. I’m nearly finished with a collection, so there was a lot of going through the tricky parts with my supervisor. We had some really good conversations about arrangement and things like that. I find the work really interesting, even though my general career focus has shifted towards librarianship. I had intended to work on the front matter for another collection today, but then I got caught up putting folders in alphabetical order and transferring them to manuscript boxes. It was maybe not as intellectually stimulating, but I found it very satisfying.

Then, I went to my internship. There was a lot to do today, because as I mentioned on Tuesday, we have a lot of Stressbusters events to promote for tenth week (next week) and finals. The events include meditation workshops, therapy dogs, gaming, and origami. Wait a minute, did I just throw therapy dogs in the middle there? Yes, I did. This photo was taken by the library last year when the dogs were there. Isn’t she adorable??

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Anyway, it’s a lot of fun to promote. I’ve been using Hootsuite to schedule out posts for the next two weeks. I don’t always think of myself as an especially creative person, in spite of the fact that my mother always insists that I am (hi, Mom!), so I’ve been pleased with my ability to come up with content ideas for all of our social media channels. I love using social media as a form of outreach, especially when we get people interacting with and talking about the library and the content we post. And honestly, it’s also really, really fun. Tomorrow I’m giving a presentation to the UCLA Library Social Media Learning Group about what I’ve been doing this quarter, so I spent a little bit of time today thinking about that and putting a few images together.

Tonight, I hope to send some emails about SLA events. It’s not that it takes a huge amount of time to plan events, it’s just that I don’t always get to it as frequently as I should. I also plan to read a bit more of Reading Lolita in Tehran. I’m actually re-reading it, because I read it sometime around 2008, and I really remember very little about it. Then, I need to read the last chapter of Collection Management Basics. I’d love to say that I’ll get more than that done tonight, but it’s highly unlikely. I’ll probably watch a small amount of TV with the boyfriend, then try to get some sleep.

HLS Day in the Life – Thursday morning!

Today is another long day, in which I’ll be at work for four hours and at my internship for four hours. I’m currently coffee-ing up (with my Wicked mug, which means I’ll be humming Defying Gravity for a while today).

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I’ll need to get ready for an informal presentation that I’ll be giving at my tomorrow about the work I’ve done at my internship site this quarter. It should be a lot of fun, and I’m hoping to meet new people from the UCLA library.

It’s probably also time for me to check on the survey results from our UCLA SLA chapter about the career panel that I’m organizing for next quarter. I sent out a survey over the weekend to get an idea of the types of special libraries that our members are most interested in. Then, i can start inviting professionals to see who is willing to come talk to us next month! I’m hoping we’ll get a good turnout and that it will be really helpful to other students in the Information Studies program.