Thursday, August 31, 2006

I just had a great librarian moment. I was able to suggest some books to someone who LOVES Kate DiCamillo. It is a problem when you find an author whose works you like immensely. Those authors can never write fast enough to please the rest of us. Whenever I finish a book in a series I enjoy, I have a few days withdrawal and every book I pick up is NOT the right book.

I'm there right now. I want to read something fun, but with a little meat on its bones - no fluffy chick lit, or series mystery, right now. That's summer reading - for when I'm too frazzled to concentrate. I'm not sure I want fantasy. Maybe a complex mystery would suit. Everything I pick up is NOT the right title.

There is a cool database which is available to Pennsylvania library card holders called Novelist (There's a Novelist K-8, too). When you enter your favorite book's title, right under the entry that comes up is a button that says "Find similar books" or something like that. Then you just have to check off some themes that appeal to you and voila! a list of possible suspects appears. This database may be available to people in other states but in PA, you can get to Novelist through your library's website and PowerLibrary. So when you are searching for a good read similar to your last good read, Novelist and Novelist K-8 are both good sites to look at.

What have I read recently? Well, we're on a Meg Cabot kick this summer so I picked up her new 20-something novel "Size 12 is Not Fat". You got that right, Meg! It's a mystery and it is the first of three, so far. Heather (Last name forgotten) left school in her teens to be a pop singer and was successful to a degree until she wanted to write her own songs. Now she's the assistant residential director in a "residence hall" (college dorm) in New York City. Her ex-fiance is a still successful pop singer who did NOT demand to write his own songs. He shows up a couple of times in this book. And her landlord (she doesn't get to live in the residence hall) is her ex-fiance's big brother, who lets her live rent-free because Heather does his billing. He's a PI and he's hunky. Anyway, if Heather keeps the job for six months, she can take classes tuition free. This is her new plan for survival.

When a girl with no enemies or serious problems is found dead at the bottom of the residence hall elevator shaft, Heather begins to wonder - but when another shy freshman is also found dead (same elevator shaft), she thinks she has a killer in her dorm. Her landlord, Cooper, has to save her butt a couple of times and her ex shows up at inopportune moments. He is such a - what's a polite word for jerk that also insinuates that he's a wimp and a...well, he's that.

I also read "The Tale of Holly How" by Susan Wittig Albert. This is a mystery for adults but it has all these talking animals in it so that was a little weird. I enjoyed it though. One of the main adult characters is Beatrix Potter. Albert has a series of mysteries starring Potter (Beatrix) and since Potter was famous for anthropomorphizing the fauna of England's Cotswalds (or is it the Lake District, I forget) I guess talking animals are not out of place. Nice sense of place.

And I have been reading my brother's book - a self-help book - on how to be happy. It's good. I hope he finds a publisher. Then I will write about it here and everybody else can be happy, too.

November is National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) and a friend has already challenged me to sign up for the event. The challenge is to write 50,000 words in 30 days. I have trouble writing 500 words in a week. But I just might do it this year. The website for this event is if any of you want to try it.

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