Saturday, March 26, 2011

regular reviews, plus added content

Rampant, by Diana Peterfreund.  A decent book, and one I think could easily be sold to 8th-9th grade girl readers (and boys targeted to sell "girl" books to-- plenty of fight scenes and blood in here).  It's definitely suspenseful and the main character was pretty well fleshed.  I did rather feel like some things weren't explained as well as they could have been; it felt like perhaps the author didn't herself have a firm idea and so just kind of glossed over areas.  I'll probably read the second one, though, and it's definitely in the very-nearly must-haves for public & school libraries.

The Man Who Tasted Shapes, by Richard E. Cytowic.  Made it almost all the way through-- to page 207.  This is interesting, but the writing could be better: I feel like the author makes up for feeling to science textbook-y by being too laid back and familiar in other sections. 

You Don't Look Like a Librarian: Shattering Stereotypes and Creating Positive New Image int he Internet Age, by Ruth Kneale.  I heard about this at a conference like 18 months ago and thought it sounded interesting.  I obviously liked the first little bit, because I read a whole 85 pages.  I haven't picked it up in like six months and I don't remember what I did read, so it mustn't have been very earth-shattering.

Blur (Wii), by Activision.    Played last week at Library Arcade-- big hit with a few guys, but not with the whole group, but I don't think that's the fault of the game: a significant portion of the group is using Library Arcade time to play something on their DSs.  And hey, that's mostly what this time is for, to hang out, meet kids who don't go to your school, and have a space and time away from high schoolers and little kids.

From a Distance, by Tamera Alexander.  I don't know why I picked this up.  Maybe I'm missing historical fiction in my life.  I got to page 20 before decisively slamming it closed.  Is there an audience for this book? Definitely.  Am I part of the audience?  Definitely not.

Grand Slam Tennis (Wii), EA Sports.  This week's game, again second in preference to The Game (Pokemon? I think so.  I thought that was so last century, but maybe I'm out of touch.)  4 player, decent graphics, but a couple new kids came this week and tried to play first, and they couldn't figure out the controls very quickly.

Last Exit to Normal, by Michael B. Harmon.  With books in the YA room getting "shelved" by the pages, i.e., stacking them on any flat surface within 5 feet of where they actually go, all other projects were put on hold yesterday so I could make a weeding list.  This book was on the list to consider axing, but it piqued my interest, so I put it in my office for safe keeping. 
A fantastic book, but definitely not for everyone.  I'm keeping it (and, since I read a significant portion of it on work time, I feel compelled to find a place to booktalk it or otherwise get it to be checked out).  I'd say it's for older readers-- last half of high school and early college kids-- who have the capability of being introspective.  This is a fast story, but it's not an action story.  A lot of parents might not like the content, so be aware if you have it in the collection.  I would say that the author doesn't "make a stand" on the topic, the hot-button issue; this isn't a story about being right or politically-correct-right, but about living with someone else's choices, and how to love someone when you don't like them or agree with them.

Ok, so here's the story, as short as possible: We had a potluck at work, and the challenge was to bring an original recipe, sticking to the Pillsbury Bake-Off official rules. My paternal Grandma entered said bake-off quite a few times (I have some of those recipes she entered) and if I'm not mistaken, she won a car one time.  Cool.  Anyway, pretty much everything I make is an original recipe, but I felt like I needed something special.  This is where books come in.  From the same Grandma, I have a copy of the book Panda Cake, from 1984.  I still have it, and my son loves the book.  It's really good, the rhymes are natural, not forced, and the story moves along.  There's a minimal amount of text on every page.  The illustrations are well-drawn, but they are black and white entirely, yet this book can capture the attention of my three-year-old for up to three or four readings in a row. 
This book says what's in a Panda Cake, but not exact proportions.  So I started with a few carrot cake recipes and worked from there.  It wasn't a huge fail; it actually tasted pretty good.  Here's what I'll do next time:

2 eggs
1.5c applesauce
1c sugar
2t vanilla extract
2.5-3c flour
2t baking soda
2t baking powder
1T cinnamon
.5t salt
2-2.5c grated carrots
1 can drained, finely diced bamboo
.25-.5c dried cranberries
.25-.5c dried cherries
.25c sunflower seeds
pour into a greased 10x13-ish pan; bake at 325 for about 35 minutes.  Let cool and top with honey.  Eat like a panda.

1 comment:

Ms. Yingling said...

*Sigh* I DO look like a librarian. I'll have to read the book, but it will make me even sadder. But that's okay-- I've got a tissue up my cardigan sleeve.