Sunday, April 25, 2010

Gun Show? Or Book Sale? You Decide!

Why did my iPhone fail me? No reminder alarm went off Thursday, to let me know that the Houston Public Library Annual Book Sale was this weekend.

I completely forgot until my husband showed me an article in the paper about it yesterday. My schedule allowed me to either go for an hour on Saturday or a half hour on Sunday. I decided to zip up to George R. Brown Convention Center yesterday for a whole hour of the book sale.

Here's what struck me:  You know those enormous electronic billboards they have installed on the freeways to alert us when hurricanes are in the Gulf or when there are kidnapped children or bad guys on the lam? Well, guess what all three electronic billboards said yesterday as I passed them: "Gun Show at George R. Brown. Take 59 North and exit on Gray."

The Gun Show? At the George R. Brown, too? Same weekend as my book sale?

So, why the three huge electronic billboards about the gun show? And no mention of the book sale in the adjacent exhibit hall? Are we running free ads for a gun show over a library book sale now? At taxpayer expense?

Before I get any further enraged, let me tell you how surreal it was to traverse the length of George R. Brown, searching for the entrance to the book sale, while streams of (mostly) scary looking men exit the convention center, toting rifles and handguns and other sorts of weaponry. One small young Asian American woman sighed in relief when she saw me, saying, "Oh, you're going to the book sale, aren't you?" Obviously. No bazookas on me.

Long story short: I made mad dashes to the travel books, children's books, and literature and managed to find a small box of children's board books for a basket in the entrance to the school for parents waiting to drop off pre-Kers and a handful of France-related books. My favorite finds were Sara Midda's South of France: A Sketchbook and a book of photographs and short essays called Tour de Provence. I also came away with a half dozen copies of books from 1001 Children's Books You Must Read that I plan to bookcross for my 1001KidsLibrary.

So, please vote now:


What I Read This Week:

Sunday, April 18, 2010

TLA 2010: A Photoblog Post

TLA 2010

Read among the Texas Wildflowers on the way to San Antonio...

Met some celebrities at the Davidson dinner...

Heard Scott Simon speak at the opening session...

Visited with some amazing children's authors...Eric Kimmel...

...Pat Mora, creator of
El día de los niños/El día de los libros (Children's Day/Book Day), known as Día...

Went to my first TLA committee meeting for El día de los niños... 

Won a medal in the librarian fun run...

Lots of dancing...

Can't be in San Antonio without going to the Alamo and taking the Riverwalk...

Had an opportunity to read with a new friend...

Ate some incredible bbq, though, fortunately, not on Bike Night...

Found a great new chicken puppet...

And brought home a few books for my library!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Sunday Salon: Readathon: Lecture des Pensées

C'est le temps pour jeter un coup d'œil au Readathon.

1. Which hour was most daunting for you?
At midnight, I fell asleep. Ironically, I was reading Jean Rhys' Good Morning, Midnight.

2. Could you list a few high-interest books that you think could keep a Reader engaged for next year? The French theme kept me reading...well, at least until midnight.

3. Do you have any suggestions for how to improve the Read-a-thon next year?
An activity to keep one awake those last few hours...Jumping jacks? A run around the block?

4. What do you think worked really well in this year’s Read-a-thon?
Everything. The cheerleaders. The organizers. The mini-challenges. Everything.

5. How many books did you read?

6. What were the names of the books you read?
M.F.K. Fisher's Serve It Forth
Hemingway's A Moveable Feast
Bemelmans' Madeline
De Brunhoff's The Story of Babar

7. Which book did you enjoy most?
Serve It Forth

8. Which did you enjoy least?
They were all bad reads!

9. If you were a Cheerleader, do you have any advice for next year’s Cheerleaders?

10. How likely are you to participate in the Read-a-thon again? What role would you be likely to take next time? I definitely will participate and I will probably be a reader again.

I have to list ten facts about myself
and then pass the award on to ten more bloggers, so here goes:

1. I'm going to Paris this summer.
2. I am a primary school librarian.
3. I've been reading since I was two.
4. I'm trying to read all 1001 Children's Books You Must Read Before You Grow Up.
5. I'm learning Spanish and French.
6. I love to trade books at BookCrossing.
7. Coffee...any kind...any place...any time.
8. I'm a good walker, but I'm going to start running. Slowly.
9. I always visit bookstores and libraries on vacation.
10. I love to connect with other readers...
So befriend me at Facebook...GoodReads...Twitter...and become a follower here on my blog.

I'll pass these awards on to ten other book bloggers:

Photo by JohnCohen

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Readathon: Hour 14, 15, 16, 17...24: Trying to Stay...Awake...Zzzzzz....

Sûrement Je Peux Veiller Cela Longtemps
(Surely I Can Stay Awake This Long!)

Mid-Event Survey (Abridged):

What are you reading right now? A Moveable Feast and a M.F.K. Fisher book

How many books have you read so far? 2 children's picture books: Madeline and Babar

Are you getting tired yet? Oddly, no.

Do you have any tips for other Readers or Cheerleaders, something you think is working well for you that others may not have discovered? Two words: Readathon Lite...

A few MiniChallenges:

Once Upon a Reading MiniChallenge

That Weekend in Paris, it had to be Swann’s Way or no way. Life was Les Miserables for Madeline. Then she became determined to Serve It Forth. “Good Morning, Midnight!” she screamed as she began her trek From the Fifteenth District that would be known as The Moveable Feast. Time Was Soft There; Tender is the Night.

Update: Hour 18 did me in. I got in a few pages of Time Was Soft There and fell asleep....But I'm back for the last thirty minutes. I've got my coffee going and I'm determined to read to the finish line.

Most Hated MiniChallenge
I try not to hate any people I meet, including those in a book. That's the wonder of a book; you can see that even the most difficult people clearly...why they are the way they are...their weaknesses, but also their strengths. And you see, over and over, the power of love to transform people.

Reading Sanctuary MiniChallenge
Were you able to escape the hustle and bustle of life? Where did you do the majority of your reading? Did you leave the house (or wherever you were) at any time during the challenge?

This was my favorite Readathon. I only left the house once, to go to a wedding shower (that I discovered is actually for today, but that's another story!) I had the fun French music husband zipped out and surprised me with croissants and gelato for snacks...and I finished four French-ish books! Happy Day!

Cliffhanger MiniChallenge

"You didn't ask to be born, you didn't make the world as it is, you didn't make yourself as you are. Why torment yourself? Why not take life just as it comes?"

from Good Morning, Midnight by Jean Rhys
Photo by Kimdokhac

Readathon: Hour 10, 11, 12, 13: La Lecture est Fondamentale

This has to be my favorite picture of all time. I'm the "Deborah" in the chair. This was published in our town's newspaper when I was in first grade. Happily, I grew up to be a librarian working in the same town!

I'm posting this in response to Joystory's Reading is Fundamental MiniChallenge.

Readathon: Hour 6, 7, 8, 9: Lumières, Caméra... Lisez!

I'm off to a wedding shower for a few hours. Oddly, I had a wedding shower to attend during last year's Readathon. We had a terrible rainstorm and all our streets were flooded. I could not return home for many hours.

I got a bit nervous when I heard thunder this morning. Rain, too. Let's keep our fingers crossed that I am able to return to reading!

Update:  I'm back. Mmm...the shower is actually tomorrow!  Okay, back to the books!

Readathon: Hour 5: Nourrissez-moi Seymour

Nourrissez-moi Seymour

This is a challenge that is designed for moi! I'm reading Serve It Forth, M.F.K. Fisher's book, and it is all about food.

Here's a bite:
"Central heating, French rubber goods, and cookbooks are three amazing proofs of man's ingenuity in transforming necessity into art, and, of these, cookbooks are perhaps most lastingly delightful. Many an old belly has been warmed by the reading of them, and for one secret from them, steaming ruddy brown on plate, how many youthful pleasures have been counted well lost!

However, cooking in itself is, for most women, a question less of vocation than of necessity. They are not called to the kitchen by the divine inner voice of a Vatel or an Escoffier. Rather are they lured there, willy-nilly, by the piping of their husbands' empty stomachs."

In two paragraphs Fisher has managed to explain why I have never become a gourmet husband's empty stomach.

Photo by laverrue

Readathon: Hour 4: Sentence de Titre de Livre MiniChallenge

I've completed one book (okay, it was the children's picture book, Madeline!) and a few chapters from M.F.K. Fisher's Serve It Forth. That's okay with me. I'm trying to visit a few blogs every hour and do a few challenges and read a few pages. Readathon Lite.

Here's my response to Bart's MiniChallenge:

It reads: Good morning, midnight, tender is the night, a moveable feast, from the fifteenth district, weekend in Paris; Paris, time was soft there, les miserables.

Yes, deep thoughts there in that sentence.

Translated: Bonjour, l'offre de minuit est la nuit, un festin mobile, du quinzième district, le week-end à Paris; Paris, le temps était mou là, les miserables.

Readathon: Hour 3: Et les candidats agréés sont...

Here is a fun challenge for hour 3:
Mini-Challenge from 'Til We Read Again:

Favorite Female Character in a book: Anne of Green Gables' Anne

Favorite Male Character in a book: To Kill a Mockingbird's Atticus Finch

Favorite Side Kick in a book: Drover in the Hank the Cowdog series

Favorite Couple in a Book: Scarlet and Rhett in Gone With the Wind

Favorite Book Series: Janet Evanovich

Favorite Author: New favorite is M.F.K, Fisher

Favorite Book Cover: Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

Favorite Book of 2009: Catching Fire comes to mind
Agree? Disagree?

Readathon: Hour 2: Une Visite à la Salle de Lecture

Readathon: Hour 1: Permettez à la lecture de commencer!

It's Readathon time! And here I am in...Paris!

Okay, not really. But I have French music playing. I'm dressed all in black (oh-so-French). And, most importantly, I have French books to read.


Where are you reading from today? 

I'm in Paris. (In my dreams, anyway.)
3 facts about me …
I'm a primary school librarian.
I read literary fiction and creative nonfiction and children's picture books.
I am learning French and all things French for a trip to France this summer.

How many books do you have in your TBR pile for the next 24 hours?
Twenty or so possibilities.

Do you have any goals for the read-a-thon?
I hope to read a book or two and visit lots of blogs.

If you’re a veteran read-a-thoner, Any advice for people doing this for the first time?
Don't worry too much about pages read. It's fun to read, but it's lots of fun to visit other blogs.

Photo by Al lanni

Friday, April 9, 2010

Read-a-Thon or Read-a-Thon Lite?

It's tomorrow! The Read-a-Thon is tomorrow!

I'm not the organizer and I'm just a baby Readathoner, but I loved it so much the five times I participated that I wanted to encourage you to try it, even if it's just to put your toe into the water.

Want to do that? To take a quick dip?

Here's the way to do a Readathon Lite:

Readathon: The challenge is to try to read and blog for twenty-four straight hours.
Readathon Lite: Read and blog until you are tired. Go to sleep. Wake up. Read some more.

Readathon: Read continually. Eschew all invitations, including those of your loved ones for meals. Take a book with you into the bathtub. Avoid all human contact, including the cries of your offspring and pleads of your spouse. Be strong. Read.
Readathon Lite: Read. Take a break. Walk. Go eat with your family. Read some more. Take another break. Eat a few Hershey Kisses. Play with your dog. Read a little more.

Readathon: Read War and Peace. Have Moby Dick as backup. In case you finish W&P.
Readathon Lite: Have a nice stack of funny books, chick lit, ya fiction, a book of poetry, graphic novels, some magazines, even some children's picture books. Read in little bursts. Read whatever strikes your fancy. Stop when you want. Read something else.

Readathon: Visit every blogger that signed up for the readathon. Write long blog posts about the readathon. Enter every hourly competition. Spend so much time blogging that you do not actually read anything.
Readathon Lite: Update your blog. Visit a blog or two every hour and leave a comment. Enter a few competitions. JMHO, but these are the most fun part of the readathon.

Readathon: Stay up all twenty-four hours. Go to bed as soon as the readathon is over. Sleep all the next day and find you can't go to sleep that night. Wake for work on Monday cranky and irritable. Explain to everyone that you spent all weekend in a twenty-four hour readathon. Wait for appropriate responses of admiration and envy. Instead, hear comments like, "Why would anyone try to read for twenty-four hours? Who would do that?" accompanied by hoots of laughter.
Readathon Lite: Sleep when you need to. Wake up on Monday refreshed and happy. Tell your best reading buddy about the readathon and share your favorite reads with her.

So how do you signup for Readathon Lite? Same place as Readathon. Hope to see you there!

I'm ready!

My wonderful reading room is waiting.

I've read the tips for readers. Helpful.

I'm signed up.

I've seen all the prizes.

I've bookmarked feeds for participants.

I'm planning to read and review an enormous stack of Books About Paris.

Whew! That should do it!

Ready to go!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

French Obsession

French Obsession: A Week in Which I Find I Have Acquired 22 Books on France and Read 0 Real Books

When I do something, I do it.

I'm doing France right now. I'm listening in the car to CDs that teach children French songs. I'm practicing French using apps on my iPhone. I'm requesting books from the library on France. I'm ordering books on Amazon on France. I'm listening to French music at home. I'm stockpiling French novels and children's books for next weekend's Readathon. I made a wiki for our trip and have been copying and pasting ideas there. Obsessed.

Don't laugh, but here is my French TBR:

Okay. I'm stopping here and not including all the where-to-go books and CDs and software and iPhone apps. Trust me. My French TBR is HUGE.

Now, here's what I actually read last week:

Three books in a week looks good, right?
But, looking more closely, I find that actually completed just two small children's picture books and one thin book, a book that's really a chapter in the M. F. K. Fisher collection, The Art of Eating.

And, I'm contemplating later this afternoon going through my 1001 Children's Books to Read and requesting all the French children's books I can find from the library. More books? Eek.

The problem is clear.

But, before I go, what do you think? What should I read first?
 Anything (Oh, please don't tell me!) that I missed?