Wednesday, April 24, 2019

The Texas Library Association Conference: Books, Authors, and So Much More!

The Texas Library Association is the largest state library association in the US, with over 6,000 members. It was founded in 1902 to promote, support, and improve library services in Texas.

I went to the TLA Conference in Austin last week.

Here are some of my favorite parts.


There are oodles of wonderful sessions at the conference. My favorite was hearing Texas authors and illustrators speak about their forthcoming books.




There was a Relaxation Station at the conference, with stations for jigsaw puzzles, coloring, origami, and bookmarks. I relaxed and made this corner bunny bookmark.



I spent most of my time in the Exhibit Hall, browsing the new books and visiting with booksellers and authors.



There were lots of opportunities to get books signed. But, beware, as the lines were long. You have to think carefully about which books you are willing to wait for. The line for Laurie Halse Anderson, for example, was huge. Most of the books, however, are free.



There is nothing like finding and obtaining a wonderful book at the conference that you can't wait to read. On the left is librarian Barbie Love, delighted in finding the latest book in Anne Bishop's World of the Others series. On the right is a group of happy students from a local school who were bussed to the event and were given autographed copies of the latest in the Beatrice Zinker series.


The best thing about the TLA conference is talking books with booksellers, librarians, authors, and fellow readers. I loved meeting all the wonderful authors, and I was happy to bring home over a hundred books from the conference.

Here's a little collage of some of the authors I met this year. I promise to post a little more about them later.



Here is a little collage of some of the books I took home.


I wanted to share more about the books I brought home, so I made this one-minute video of some of my favorites.




Can you tell that I had a marvelous time?





For more wordless photos, go to Wordless Wednesday.

Saturday Snapshot is hosted by A Web of StoriesTo participate in Saturday Snapshot: post a photo that you (or a friend or family member) have taken and then leave a direct link to your post in the Mister Linky at A Web of Stories.



Tuesday, April 23, 2019

The First Books I Reviewed: The Haiku Review Years

Do you remember book reports?

Book reports were big when I was growing up in the sixties. 

In first grade, we were asked to write a sentence about each book we read. For that, we got a star on our reading chart. I had more stars than anyone else in first grade. I was proud of that. I read lots and lots of books about Dick and Jane and Sally, I remember. I have no record of what I wrote about those books. I liked them, though.

In sixth grade, we were asked to read a book a week and to write a one-page summary of the book. Were we allowed to read anything we wanted? Oh no, this was 1967, and we were required to read fifteen history books and fifteen biographies as well as fifteen books about science and nature. We were not allowed to read fiction; fiction was considered too easy, something we would be doing anyway. I plugged away through books about Genghis Khan and the Silk Road and Alexander the Great. After a steady diet of fiction in my early elementary years, I found to my surprise that I loved nonfiction.

There was more required reading in high school and college, but again I have no record of those books. I remember some I loved (Don Quixote, Tom Sawyer, The Odyssey, The Metamorphosis), some I liked (Jane Eyre), and some I hated (Heart of Darkness). 

It wasn't until I joined the Book-a-Week online club back in the late 1990's that I started writing reviews of every book I read. I apparently thought I was writing some sort of clever haiku-ish reviews in those years. 

Read and grimace....



The first book review I wrote for which I have a record was for a fiction novel I read in January of 1998 called West of Venus by Judy Troy. Here is my complete review: "Holly Parker learns to love." No rating. 

Later in January of that year I read Catcher in the Rye. Here are my wise words about that novel: "Very true. Lots to think about." 4/5 stars.

The Magician's Assistant by Ann Patchett, which I also read in January of 1998, I reviewed by writing: "Magic and tricks." 4/5 stars.

In February, I reviewed Animal Husbandry by Laura Zigman: "Old cow, new cow!" 3/5 stars. At least these words are evocative of the book.

The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks got "Sweet. Sad." with a generous 3/5 stars.

Visitors by Anita Brookner: "Old lady is lonely...." 3/5 stars.

Bridget Jones's Diary by Helen Fielding, which I read in July, was a 4/5 star read for me. "Love it! Calories: 0"

I read several Barbara Kingsolver books that year including Animal Dreams in November. I could have probably put the same review for all the Kingsolver books: "A very wise book."

I seem to have read mostly forgettable fiction and light mysteries that first year of reviewing. But I did read a nonfiction book, Civility: Manners, Morals, and the Etiquette of Democracy by Stephen L. Carter, that has always stayed with me. 5/5 stars. "The best book of the year." A better review of this book might have led to it being more widely read, and goodness knows, we could use that.





What are the first books you reviewed?
When did you start reviewing books?
Have you always written brilliant reviews?






Top Ten Tuesday was created by 
The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together. Each Tuesday That Artsy Reader Girl assigns a topic and then post her top ten list that fits that topic. You’re more than welcome to join her and create your own top ten (or 2, 5, 20, etc.) list as well. Feel free to put a unique spin on the topic to make it work for you! Please link back to That Artsy Reader Girl in your own post so that others know where to find more information.

Saturday, April 20, 2019

Weekly Wrap-Up: The Flavor Thesaurus, the Texas Library Association Conference, and A Lemon Bread Disaster





  

Circe by Madeline Miller is about the world's most famous witch. I can't remember when I felt so much compassion for a character. Those gods are horrible parents and siblings and friends. Olympus is not a place you'd want to grow up. Or live. The complete review is here.

Turtles All the Way Down by John Green is a brand new, yet classic John Green novel about a teen and her friend who try to find a missing person for the reward money. Of course, both teens have mental health issues and both meet boys who have a few issues of their own; it's a John Green novel, folks. The complete review is here.

Lost and Wanted: A Novel by Nell Freudenberger is science fiction and mystery and romance, but it's really the story of highly-esteemed physicist Helen Clapp and the clueless way she handles relationships. The complete review is here.

Please don't tell me you have no interest in reading The Flavor Thesaurus by Niki Segnit. I honestly don't have words for how much you need to read this book. It's for those of us who love to cook and bake, of course, but it's for you, too, even if all you do is order in restaurants. It is absolutely mesmerizing. The complete review is here.








The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton (for which Wharton was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, making her the first woman to receive this award)
Alienated America: Why Some Places Thrive While Others Collapse by Timothy P. Carney (a book I brought home from the Texas Library Association Conference)









The Texas Library Association Conference was last week. I will be sharing my wonderful experience at the conference on Wednesday's post here.




Woo hoo! I've finished all ten books in My Own Books Reading Challenge set by Anne of My Head is Full of Books. Are you doing this challenge? How are you doing? The challenge ends on May 15th. 


I posted a list of Books for a Rainy Day on Tuesday. Like books about rain? Storms? Take a look at my lis here.








The lemon bread I made last week was not Instagram-worthy, I'm afraid. I have made several successful loaves of lemon bread over the last few months, and I decided to make some modifications to my recipe. Let's just say I may need to rethink substituting lemon yogurt for milk and adding lemon juice to the batter. I will not let this discourage me from my baking adventures.







The Sunday Salon 

I hope each of you will stop by Readerbuzz each weekend and post a link to your blog. I would encourage you to visit other blogs and share your thought with others. The Sunday Salon was created twelve years ago to spark conversations. My dream is to host a Sunday Salon each week with opportunities for conversations about books and book-ish things.

Other places where you may like to link up are below. Click on the picture to visit the site.



My linkup for Sunday Salon is below. If you wish to also post a link at Facebook, you can also do that. 







Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Visitor to My Little Free Library







For more wordless photos, go to Wordless Wednesday.

Saturday Snapshot is hosted by A Web of StoriesTo participate in Saturday Snapshot: post a photo that you (or a friend or family member) have taken and then leave a direct link to your post in the Mister Linky at A Web of Stories.

Rainy Day Reads

It rains a lot here. We get many hurricanes. A town that was once a major seaport a few miles from me was wiped out completely by a hurricane. We average over 57 inches of rain a year.

I love rainy day reads. Here are some of the best.






"It was a dark and stormy night. In her attic bedroom Margaret Murry, wrapped in an old patchwork quilt, sat on the foot of her bed and watched the trees tossing in the frenzied lashing of the wind."




“A soft fall rain slips down through the trees and the smell of ocean is so strong that it can almost be licked off the air.” 





“There is no faith like the faith of a builder of homes in coastal Louisiana.” 



“Those who did better were those who didn't wait idly for help to arrive. In the end, with systems crashing and failing, what mattered most and had the greatest immediate effects were the actions and decisions made in the midst of a crisis by individuals.” 



It’s the first day of school. A group of children are walking to school, excited about the start of classes. They walk and walk and finally they arrive. There are no books. There are no desks. There is no school building. The teacher is there. ‘’We will build our school,” she says. “This is the first lesson.”



“This is the story of Isaac and his time in America, the last turning of the centuries, when the hubris of men led them to believe they could disregard even nature itself.”




"The storm destroyed every measuring instrument then available. It not only tore leaves from trees but sucked the juice from them."





Subtitled Hurricanes, Tornadoes, and the Worst Weather in the World




"The wind came back with triple fury and put out the light for the last time. They sat in company with the others in other shanties, their eyes straining against crude walls and their souls asking if He meant to measure their puny might against His. They seemed to be staring at the dark, but their eyes were watching God."




"It was very dark, and the wind howled horribly around her, but Dorothy found she was riding quite easily. After the first few whirls around, and one other time when the house tipped badly, she felt as if she were being rocked gently, like a baby in a cradle."





Top Ten Tuesday was created by 
The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together. Each Tuesday That Artsy Reader Girl assigns a topic and then post her top ten list that fits that topic. You’re more than welcome to join her and create your own top ten (or 2, 5, 20, etc.) list as well. Feel free to put a unique spin on the topic to make it work for you! Please link back to That Artsy Reader Girl in your own post so that others know where to find more information.

Saturday, April 13, 2019

Weekly Wrap-up: Salt to the Sea, Dewey's 24-Hour Readathon, and Kolaches

Read...



Tales from Shakespeare by Charles and Mary Lamb is a 1001 Children's Book. I've had a copy of it for a long time, and I'd originally planned to read the chapter from this book at the same time I read the play. I did this for two chapters before I realized it would take me an eternity to get through this book if I continued to read at that pace. I decided, instead, to read it during Dewey's 24-Hour Readathon; children's books are usually perfect for a readathon. Let me say, before I go any further, that this book is easier to read than Shakespeare's plays, but just barely. My full review is here.

I simultaneously read, in Italian and English, and listened, in Italian, to the Puccini opera, La Boheme, during the readathon last week. It was one of my favorite parts of the readathon. Yes, I lost my place a couple of times, but it was a fun experience. My full review is here.

Salt to the Sea is the story of four teens who are headed to the coast with thousands of other refugees, fleeing the Soviets during the winter of 1945, hoping to get passage on the Wilhelm Gustloff and get to safety. All four travel with secrets that could destroy them all. My complete review is here. 





I also read and reviewed these children's picture books. Click the links to go to the full reviews.
Bloom Boom! by April Pulley Sayre
Hop by Jorey Hurley
A Piglet Named Mercy by Kate DiCamillo




Reading...


Circe by Madeline Miller
Turtles All the Way Down by John Green




Book-ish...




I'm terribly excited to be going to the Texas Library Association Conference in Austin this week! Woo hoo! Authors! Books! Book friends! Let me know if you are coming and maybe we can meet up.





I've finished eight of ten books in My Own Books Reading Challenge set by Anne of My Head is Full of Books. Two books to go! The challenge ends on May 15th. 





 

I joined in Dewey's 24-Hour Readathon last Saturday. I had plenty of wonderful snacks, and  I was pleased to read for twenty hours and finish six books.






One of my favorite weekly memes is Top Ten Tuesday, a list meme. Last week, we were asked to post a list of the top ten outrageous things we have done for love of books. I had no trouble with that list. I ended up posting 25 Outrageous Things I Have Done for Love of Books.



Baking, photography, drawing, happiness, and other projects...



Kolaches! It's the first time I've ever made these yeasty Czech treats. I got recipes from two Czech families I know, and I used one that was very similar to this recipe.







The Sunday Salon 

I would encourage you to stop by my blog, Readerbuzz, here and post a link to your blog each week. I hope you can visit other blogs and share your thoughts with others. The Sunday Salon was created twelve years ago to spark conversations, and I hope to do the same by sharing links and visiting others’ blogs. I will keep also the Facebook group for Sunday Salon for the same purpose.


I thank all of you who have spread the word about the Sunday Salon, encouraged others to post here and/or on Facebook, and posted the graphic on social media. 


Other places where you may like to link up are below. Click on the picture to visit the site.





My linkup for Sunday Salon is below. If you wish to also post a link at Facebook, you can also do that. My hope is that you will post here and/or at FB and then visit other bloggers. Sunday Salon is to encourage conversations about books and book-ish things.