Thursday, September 27, 2007

Storytime starts on Monday and the theme of our first "organized" storytime is Building Blocks. I love building blocks and I remembered two of the best Christmas presents I ever got.
I was in college and besides all of the college-y things a person can get my Mom and Dad bought me a box of wooden building blocks and a set of plastic blocks called "Cubes and Tubes". The Cubes and Tubes made tunnels that a plastic ball rolled through and the trick was to create a structure that would take the ball down and then back up again using just gravity. My set came with a little motor so the motion could be kept up but wow! in the days before video games - years before Pong, even - my dorm room was the place to be when coursework was just too much.
The wooden blocks were especially appealing to friends who had been, um, under the influence of herbal supplements so to speak. The game Janga! (spelling?) had not been created yet but my friends created their own version of the game building precarious towers and carefully and slowly de-constructing them one block at a time. Toys! I love them.
I kept the Cubes and Tubes for years. Remnants might even be in my attic as I type this.
I'd love to read about the memories other people have of building with building blocks or of their favorite building toys. So submit a comment and I'll post it! Thanks.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Me again. How lucky you are!! Two posts in one day.

1. On my Shelf Awareness e-newsletter, they interviewed Gregory Maguire, author of Wicked - the novel from which the musical was derived - and many other books. They always ask the same questions - it's in a segment called "Book Brahmins". Here is the answer to the last question.

Gregory Maguire
Books you most want to read again for the first time: "Hop on Pop, because that would mean that all of my reading life was still magnificently ahead of me."

Isn't that a cool response? Think about all the books you love. Now, think about being able to read them all over for the first time. Wow!

2. On PW Children's e-newsletter (you have to pay to subscribe to it so I'm not linking to it) there's an article about readergirlz and their "31 Flavorite Authors for Teens" project. They are going to interview authors who write for teens every day in October. Get excited!! Meg Cabot is October 1st which is very exciting BUT Stephanie Meyer is on October 31st!!! Jump up and down! Jump up and down! Now shriek! Get a grip, really. So click on the link and take a trip to their MySpace for the interviews. And I think the interviews are live and I think that if you join readergirlz you can actually ask them questions. So all you reader girls should join. At least, check out their website.

See, anon comes sooner than you think.
Hey! I recently wrote a column for the little weekly about craft books. Do you know that there is a two book mystery series about soapmaking? That didn't get into my column but I was tickled to go on Amazon and find soapmaking fiction. The reason I looked is that a friend and library patron, Peg Bruno, stopped by so I could photograph her for the column. (I get extra $$$ - make that $ - if I include a photo.) Peg is a soapmaker who got her start after borrowing a book from the library!!! Check out her website at

Anyway, I already found the quilting, knitting and scrapbooking fiction and mentioned some of the authors in my column but soapmaking??? Yep. Tim Myers is the author and the second title is "A Pour Way to Dye" (eeewwww, a punster.) I haven't read it. I'm just here to tell you about my book related discoveries.

I'm planning a crafts fair - did I already tell you that? And it has taken over my life. My house, normally dishevelled in a charmingly disarming way, is scary. (I did have a marathon outpouring of cleaning energy on Tuesday which means I'm done for the rest of the month.) I am making ornaments from lightbulbs - high art here everyone - and I am disappointed with my efforts. Oh well, this crafts fair is for the OTHER crafters and artists and luckily some of them actually are artists. More about that as the date approaches.

I attended a very cool workshop on making libraries warm and welcoming to teens. Kim Bolan was the presenter. I've linked to her blog there. She goes around the country interviewing teens for libraries to help plan building renovations and new construction. She had so much energy that I think THAT was why I cleaned so much on Tuesday. (I saw Kim on Monday.) So now, with all these great ideas, I will be able to transform the small, dusty, dark, tucked away, out of sight area in this library known as YA (yayayayayaya) into a vibrant, pulsing with energy, beacon of teen-ness. YES!!! Well,, I am not sure exactly how... Nevertheless, Kim Bolan is a certified CLP (Cool Library Person) and the world can always use another one of those.

Enough! I will return anon.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Oh for gosh sakes! I forgot to mention that I read Wynne-Jones' "The Pinhoe Egg". So, of course, only a few of you are going to get the oh-so-humorous reference to it in my last post.

"The Pinhoe Egg" is a Chrestomanci novel starring Cat Chant from "The Charmed Life' and introducing Marianne and Joe Pinhoe, two dwimmer magical kids from a nearby village. Marianne gives Cat an egg that she finds in her Gammar's attic after her Gammar goes "senile" and that egg helps to unleash all kinds of previously imprisoned magic.

At the end of the book there are six children involved with the Castle, Julia and Roger, Chrestomanci's children, Janet, stranded by the awful Gwendolyn in "Charmed Life", Cat, Gwendolyn's brother and the future Chrestomanci, and now Marianne and Joe Pinhoe. It's not exactly a school but this set up leaves the door open for some very cool magical adventures. Cool. Well, my lightbulbs are waiting.
For those who actually read this blog, here are a few corrections. e. lockhart's new book, out in the Spring, is "The disreputable history of Frankie Landau-Banks" NOT "The outrageous..." as earlier noted. I'll fix it in that post but if you are looking for that book, it's good to get the title correct.
And "Charlie Bone and the Beast" is exactly that NOT "Charlie AND the Bone..." Oh well, I am a lousy proof-reader.

Reading is addictive and the more I read, the more I want to read. Last week I read three of Carola Dunn's "Daisy Dalrymple" books. This series takes place after the Great War. Since Daisy's only brother is killed in the War, the entire estate is passed on to the next male heir in the family and Daisy has to earn an actual living. I haven't read the first book, so I don't know how she meets up with her Scotland Yard Detective fiance-eventual-husband but her mother is horrified with Daisy's behavior. Work for a living, indeed!!
The books have lots of country estates and landed gentry and all the social changes of the 1920s. Lots of fun.

I also re-read "The Lives of Christopher Chant" for the 19th time and followed that with a re-reading of "Charmed Life", both by Diana Wynne-Jones. I like the novels that take place in Chrestomanci Castle. It's sort of Hogwarts-ish. OR is Hogwarts sort of Chrestomanci Castle-ish? Which came first the griffin or the Pinhoe egg?

I also decided that I want to run a crafts fair. I love to make stuff but I have a limited distribution outlet. SO, voila, a crafts fair. There you go. So I am reading a lot of books on selling crafts and looking for crafts to sell. And that reminds me, I have to go paint lightbulbs.

See you soon.