Tolkien's Two Towers

Sun., Oct. 15
Recently I wrote on this blog about re-reading Tolkien's Fellowship of the Ring. I enjoyed getting back into that book so much that I moved on to the next in the Lord of the Rings trilogy, The Two Towers. I was again struck by how re-reading a book like this allows one to experience different things each time. The intensity of some of the characters (specifically…

A Cozy for All Seasons!

Wed., Sep. 13
I love a good cozy mystery. From the early inventors of the sub-genre (think Agatha Christie and Ngaio Marsh) to contemporary writers (like Jenn McKinlay and Parnell Hall) a good cozy mystery is clever, thought provoking and entertaining. If you are familiar with Joanne Fluke, you might know that her “Hannah Swensen” mysteries have been adapted to a wildly successful cable TV show. One of…

Makin' Bread!

Wed., Sep. 13
Recently, however, I’ve felt the urge to get back to making things myself…especially bread. I wasn’t 100% sure where to start getting back into it, but after a few questions to some friends who know their way around a kitchen, I became aware of the remarkable book by Ken Forkish called Flour Water Salt Yeast: The Fundamentals of Artisan Bread and Pizza.

On Tolkien's Fellowship, and Re-Reading

Tue., Aug. 15
Some folks I talk to hate re-reading books, and never want repeats. We gladly accommodate that request! There are lots of books out there to read! Others, however, love re-reading, and want to revisit books they read years ago, or even just last year. [caption id="attachment_72900" align="alignnone" width="860"] The iconic Brothers Hildebrant illustration of the Fellowship[/caption] I’m a pretty big Tolkien fan and have been…

People's History

Fri., Jul. 21
The saying goes that “history is written by the winners.” Indeed, most history books are still written by the winners. Howard Zinn, the son of immigrant workers in New York, realized this. Growing up in a working class family, Zinn saw the world from that perspective and, after a stint in the Army Air Force fighting fascism in the Second World War, he attended New…

Madison Ave. via the Library

Fri., Jun. 30
I've mentioned before how one of the perks of working in a library is being exposed to all kinds of different books. Every day books cross my desk and I get to see what people get to read. Even if the books aren't about anything I'm necessarily obsessed about, I keep a pile of book cards on my desk of noteworthy titles. From that file…

Cozy Not Cozy

Fri., Jun. 16
I'm a sucker for cozy mysteries. I love them. I like other mysteries, too, but the more limited and more specific realm of the cozy appeals to me. I also love when writers are clever enough to successfully mix genre effectively. One such book is The Case of the Missing Books by Ian Sansom. This is a mystery, but it doesn’t really fit into the accepted…

Early Summer Solstice Reads

Tue., May. 30
I recently finished up a course of study, and I am really excited to get back into reading some books that weren’t assigned to me by someone. I’m also excited that we’re getting toward the summer. With summer comes the Summer Solstice right around the corner. The longest day of the year is a holiday for some, an astronomical point of reference for others, but a noteworthy occurrence.

Of Beanie Babies & "the Dark Side of Cute"

Thu., May. 18
I stumbled on Zac Bissonnette’s book The Great Beanie Baby Bubble shortly after it was published and I was blown away by it for a few reasons. I wasn’t a Beanie Baby collector in the 90s, and I never really understood the whole thing. I remember one particular instance that really crystallized the whole Beanie Mania thing for me. In probably 1997 or 1998 (which…

Library Books

Sat., Apr. 22
Libraries, and the study of libraries, are near and dear to me. In fact, I’ve spent the last two years going back to school for a Master of Library and Information Science degree. It’s been a busy and crazy time, but it’s also been very rewarding. One of the perks of the program is that I’ve gotten to read a lot of very cool books…