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I am alive, although awash in summer reading busy-ness and laziness at home. I wish “summer reading busy-ness” meant I’ve been reading in record quantities, but alas I’m just busy at work. We’ve been down a librarian for five weeks (sob) – two weeks longer than expected – and those of us holding down the fort are feeling the effects. We really do need three children’s librarians during the summer.

But the work is oh-so-satisfying, which helps make up for the occasional insanity. It’s endlessly entertaining to hand out prizes to kids and free books when they finish summer reading. It’s a relief to see some of the shelves empty off, and circulation go up, as people stock up for all that free time that summer brings. I suspect that parents are less likely to limit their school-age kids on how much they check out at once. As a librarian, I want to pile them up with books until they can’t see to walk upstairs!

Storytime is always a delight (except when all the background noise is coming from the parents, not the kids…) Three years into librarianship, I definitely feel like I have storytime down pat – I can throw it together quickly if I need to, and I feel confident in all my usual routines. I can’t decide if this means I should shake things up or leave them be.

Last summer I experimented with a teen craft program – teens have totally been the neglected group in my library for a long time – and it was poorly but faithfully attended (the same three girls came each week). This year I switched from evenings to afternoons and lowered the minimum age from 12 to 10. I think that combination worked, at least for now. I think most of the attendees have been between 10 and 13, but I’ve had much larger groups and they’re focused and enthusiastic. Last week we did duct tape wallets and roses (the wallets in particular required a lot of step-by-step instruction from me) and this week we did ‘make your own postcard.’ Next week we have someone lined up to come in and teach origami. I am calling it a success.

In terms of my personal reading, I’ve definitely slacked off on reviews (I gave myself permission to do that, but I didn’t expect to get this lazy…maybe there was a reason I became a perfectionist about it). Hopefully, after a little break, I’ll get back into the swing of things.

…And my husband was right. I almost hate to admit it, but I’m becoming a ebook reader. Not exclusively, not even for a significant percentage of my reading, but as a supplement. Kind of like how I listen to audiobooks – a few a month, because they take longer to get through with my short commute. With ebooks, I’ve been reading them in two main ways – as my gym book, because I don’t have to worry about the book not laying flat, and as my emergency, always-in-my-purse book.

Here’s how it all started. Mark had a smartphone that he didn’t want anymore (he goes through phones like nobody’s business) and he talked me into giving it a trial run. I was perfectly happy with a regular old cell phone that had two functions – phone calls and text messages. But one of the things that appealed to me about it was that I could try out ebooks.

We get tons of questions about getting ebooks from the library – there was a big surge after Christmas, in particular. I can walk people through using Overdrive, but I’d never really gone through the experience myself. Even if I didn’t end up reading ebooks, I wanted to know what the process was like as a library patron. So I got the Overdrive app and the Kindle app on my phone and tested them both out (each has its own frustrations, but that’s another story).

I’m completely not interested in purchasing ebooks – if I spend money on a book, I want to be able to see it on my shelf, loan it to a friend, read it anywhere regardless of technology or whether my phone is charged. But since I do the majority of my reading from library books, borrowing ebooks is perfect for me. So I browsed through Overdrive’s selection (we’re part of the Oregon Digital Library Consortium) and put a few things on hold. One annoying aspect of this was that I knew the very same books were available in print on the library shelves, but the waiting list for ebooks was several weeks. The other annoying this is the way Overdrive is laid out as a website – not particularly well-suited to browsing, especially by genre in the children’s and YA categories. You can either browse alphabetically or search for a particular author, title or keyword.

Once my books starting coming in on hold, and I managed to get them onto my phone (if I remember correctly, the Kindle books had to be downloaded from a computer, while the others can be accessed directly through a mobile device), I found reading them surprisingly pleasant. Sure, the small screen size on a phone means you’re turning pages a lot, and I had to learn to resist the impulse to start turning the page before I’d quite finished with it (with print books, I realized I often have the page partly turned when I’m nearing the end of a page, so that I’m moving smoothly to the next one; with ebooks, this doesn’t work so well and I kept having to flip back and finished the last sentence).

The first book, The Aviary by Kathleen O’Dell, I read almost exclusively at the gym. The second book, The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson, had me so hooked that I was picking it up at home, as well. That was the point when Mark said, “I was right, wasn’t I?” and I had to tear myself away from the screen to stick out my tongue at him. We’re very mature at our house.

Shortly after that, I read somewhere that NetGalley had partnered with ALA (the American Library Association) to give members quicker approval of galleys. I’d heard of NetGalley before, but never tried to use it since I didn’t have an e-reader – and really, who wants to sit in front of the computer to read a book? But I was inspired and signed up and added my ALA member number and told them I’m a librarian and presto, I was getting approvals from publishers immediately!

My first request was for Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein, which I’d been dying to read even since I heard of its existence (it comes out in May). It took a little hair-tearing to figure out how to read it on a Kindle app and not an actual Kindle, but before long I was in business. The formatting can be a bit wonky on the galley versions, compared to the library books, but not enough to stop me from going back for more. Plus, this is a great way to make myself read more new books since they’re generally only available until their publication date – with print books, I feel like I’m still playing catch-up from last year (and the year before, and the hundred years before that…)

So, here I am, reading ebooks. It’s definitely come in handy when I’m coaching a library patron through the process, plus the galley versions are helping me make more informed ordering decisions for the library and giving me a sneak peak at upcoming releases. I’m finally feeling like the fancier phone is worth the bigger phone bill (well, almost).

I’m curious about other experiences with ebooks and library downloads – love, hate, indifferent?

When I was in library school, if someone had asked me what my dream job would be, I’d have answered “being a children’s librarian in the Portland area.” If pressed to be more specific, I would’ve said “being a children’s librarian at the library where I grew up, ordering fiction and doing storytime and recommending books to kids.” The miracle, the insane-that-it-would-ever-come-true miracle, is that this is exactly the job I have now. While I was still in school, I basically despaired of ever getting a job in the metro area, let alone one that was my preferred field, let alone one at my favorite library. So that all came true and I’ve been merrily working along for the past two and a half years doing exactly that.

Two weeks ago, if someone had asked “is there some task you’re not doing now that you would enthusiastically take on?” I’m pretty sure my answer would’ve been “order young adult books.” And then, out of the blue, I was asked if I wanted to take over ordering YA. I pretended to think about it for about half a second before saying yes.

Ever since then, I’ve had this feeling that I’m taking over the world…

The coworker who passed off the task didn’t quite share my enthusiasm, so there’s a lot of ways to make my enthusiasm productive. I’ve already made several read-alike and genre lists and making lists of what I need to buy to fill gaps in the collection. The budget it okay but doesn’t feel as generous as my children’s fiction budget. I placed my first order on Tuesday and am impatiently tapping my toes till it comes in. I found myself wanting to place another order on Thursday, but resisted. I typically order once a month in each category (children’s fiction and audiobooks) but I might take a page from my coworker who orders adult fiction and non-fiction and switch to weekly orders – as long as I manage not to blow the budget in one week. I like the idea of meeting demand more quickly, and having a constant steady trickle of books into the collection.

The best part (apart from world domination!) is that I feel like I finally have a tangible way to use all stored up knowledge about YA. Sure, I’d occasionally field a request for recommendations, but now I feel a great sense of ownership over that part of the library. And pleasantly industrious. I want to weed! Make read-alike lists! Create displays! Add more YA-related content to the library website! Spend some quality time just rearranging things and seeing what’s on the shelves.

It is upon us – the season of Summer Reading.  Not to be confused with the actual season of summer, which doesn’t hit Portland until after July 4th.  Summer Reading – the three months of the library year where the days slip away in a whirl of explaining the reading logs, handing out sign-up bags, asking families if they’ve signed up yet, handing out prizes, restocking the prizes, and wondering where the time went.

Yesterday was the first day of the summer reading program, and I we had around 90 sign-ups by the time I left work.  The first kid to sign-up must have been waiting for the library doors to open, because I swear she was standing at my desk at 10 am sharp.  The after-school rush saw a line of kids.  If it’s like this while school’s in session, it’s going to be a madhouse in a week when the year ends early thanks to furlough days.

For some reason, I keep thinking summer = more free time.  Not at work, obviously, but at least the evenings are longer and that means more time for after-dinner walks (the irises are out all over the neighborhood) and an increased desire to take road trips.

I haven’t made any plans for my own summer reading – no goals or lists to make and abandon – but my library shelf is awfully full these days and I’m going through audiobooks like nobody’s business.  I listened to seven in May, up from four in April and one in March.  As always, I keep track of what I’m reading on the annual lists – links just under the header.  Although my “read these” list is sadly in need of updating – apparently I’m not as bossy as I used to be.

As always, there’s catch-up to do on my book reviews and what I’ve been cooking for Long Distance Kitchen.  More to come.

I went to the Scholastic warehouse sale today – basically it’s like Costco but with books.  Enormous shelves piled with children’s books, presumably leftover from all the book sales at schools and such, and teachers and librarians and other bookish types wandering the aisles with shopping carts.  Fortunately, it’s not as crowded as Costco, or as overstimulating.  It’s possible, for instance, to push two – TWO – full shopping carts of books to the checkout area.

Yeah, I bought 456 books – paid for by the Friends of the Library, to be given away to kids and teens who finish the summer reading program.  The two other children’s librarians are going later this week – we still need all the picture books, board books, beginning readers, and dozens more chapter books.  I figured two full carts was a good time to call it quits, even if I hadn’t checked everything off my list (drat those fat, fat chapter books).

I’m tired just thinking back on it, but it’s a lot of fun – only my second trip to one of the warehouse sales, and I’m developing my technique.  Although I think I slipped somewhere because I should’ve ended up with multiples of 5…oh well.  Time to go crawl into bed with a book.

I’m not sure why I never listened to audiobooks as a kid, but I’m sure a fan now.  Nothing makes the drive to work better than a little time spent in the company of an excellent narrator.   Last year I wrote about how I listen to audiobooks, and it’s something I’ve been thinking about again, now that I’m the audiobook selector for the children’s library.  It’s hard to decide what to order, for a few reasons.  The budget doesn’t stretch as far – audiobooks cost way more than the print versions, so I have to choose more carefully.  And the shelf space is very limited, even if the budget were limitless.

Thinking about what to order, and looking at what I’ve been listening to recently, I’ve realized that the combination of audio and a series is pretty perfect.   Maybe it’s a little bit like when you’re becoming a confident reader and you latch onto series fiction – you’ve already gotten to know the world of the books, there’s an element of predictability that makes for a comfortable read, and you are pretty sure you’ll enjoy the next installment (it’s also like what a lot of adults read – just look at the bestseller lists).

Since audiobooks require more of a time investment (for quick readers, that it – audio is also good for struggling readers who want the story without getting bogged down) a lot of the same appeal factors come into play.  You want to know you’ll like it.  There are lots of distractions on the road, so that element of predictability can be handy.  A story that requires too much processing of new information sometimes doesn’t work as well under those circumstances.

So what have I been listening to?  Series.  Adult series, kids’ series.  Mysteries, fantasy, historical fiction, humor.  Lloyd Alexander’s Prydain Chronicles, Jacqueline Winspear’s Maisie Dobbs series, L.A. Meyer’s Bloody Jack adventures, Lenore Look’s Alvin Ho books.  Throw in a few rereads and that’s most of my listening so far this year.

Now I’ve just got to catch up on writing reviews of what I’ve listened to – to look at my Goodreads list, you’d think I was listening to four books at once.

Sometimes people ask what I did at work today, or what my job involves, or questions along those lines, and some days I end up doing so many different things that it’s hard to remember.  So I thought I’d try to reconstruct my day while it’s fresh in my mind.

  • Arrive at work at 8:30.  Help check in stuff from the bookdrop, get the newspapers from outside, put them out, put away yesterday’s papers.
  • Head downstairs to the children’s department.  Drink coffee.  Make sure all the displays are full – new books, young teen, holiday (St. Patrick’s Day and Easter), graphic novels, picture books (duck and rabbit books to go with the Amy Krouse Rosenthal Duck! Rabbit! wall display).  Check to see the results of today’s round of the Battle of the Kids’ Books, then congratulate self on being two for two on my brackets!  Discuss preschool storytime craft with the coworker doing the morning storytime.  Turn on public computers.
  • Start unpacking the unusually large number of boxes that arrived this morning.  Check against packing lists, put each order on the right person’s shelf.  A few standing orders, a straggler from my February order, a big non-fiction order, some DVDs, and most of my March order – whee!  Check to make sure they all have bib records in the catalog.  Send the ones that don’t to our network office.  Start deciding where to put the ones I ordered – j fiction, scifi/fantasy, mystery, young teen, or graphic novels.
  • 10:00 am – library opens.  Sit at the main desk so I can answer questions while still working on my piles.A few people start trickling in for storytime.  Keep working on the unpacking.  Preschool storytime starts at 10:30.  Put all the extra stools around the craft tables.  Count the number of people at storytime, put out craft supplies.  Stand around looking helpful.  Answer questions about spring break programs.  Keep working on the order that arrived.
  • 12-1:00 – lunch.  Devour The Queen of Attolia along with my food.
  • 1-2:00 – cover adult reference desk so the reference librarian can go to lunch.  Tell people how to get on the internet stations, how to use the internet stations, to please turn down the sound on their headphones because other people can hear it.  Put a few things on hold for people.  Try to find the new Value Line (fail).  Read my work email.
  • Go back to the children’s department.  Sit at the back desk  and double-check the processing that’s been done – right labels, linked to the correct bib record, etc.  Leave out to be covered by aides or volunteers.  Finish up the last of the morning’s new arrivals.  Admire next week’s craft brought in by one of the other librarians.  Discuss upcoming Head Start visits.  Answer a question about How to Train Your Dragon (they had the title messed up).
  • Get ready for bookgroup, which meets at 4:15.  Pencils, paper, lottery drawing for copies of next month’s book, snacks, cups and napkins, table from the storage room, chairs, white board and markers for tallying votes, ballots and bookmarks for the Young Reader’s Choice Award in case any of the kids read enough titles to vote.
  • Bookgroup meets to discuss Code Orange by Caroline Cooney – most late, as usual.  Two finished the book, one more started it, two didn’t read it, and one is new.  Eat cookies and popcorn.  Discuss.  I booktalk three titles for next month – Half-Moon Investigations, Fever 1793, and The True Meaning of Smekday.  The kids get to suggest a few more – they suggest Pendragon, Mister Monday, and Chicken Soup for the Kid’s Soul.  They vote on slips of paper – #1 gets 3 points, #2 gets 2 points, and #3 gets 1 point.  They take turns tallying the results as I read them aloud.  Thanks to a huge amount of enthusiasm from the one boy who’d already read Smekday (and perhaps the 10 Reasons to Read The True Meaning of Smekday), it won by a relative landslide.  I distribute copies and most of the kids immediately bury their heads in the book.  I rejoice.
  • Clean up, vacuum popcorn from the carpet, check in the extra copies of my other suggestions, put away the table and chairs.  Gather belongings, head home by 5:40.  A pretty tame day, although time tends to fly when there are programs.

So, it’s been a week since the ALA Youth Media Awards were announced (you know – Newbery, Caldecott, Printz, etc.) and it’s been a week of discussing and reading opinions on blogs and listserves and the like.   I haven’t actually done any reading of the award winners (cough), but my holds have started rolling in and I’m looking forward to getting started, once I clear one or two things off my shelf (things that absolutely cannot be renewed one more time).

All of the blog reading and discussing has got me thinking about the books that I never get around to reading – the ones that win the not-as-famous awards, the books that are getting some attention but not as much, the awards that get overlooked.  Liz has a post about the Schneider medal, which I noticed (and ordered) this year, but would I have noticed as much if I hadn’t already been familiar with the teen winner, Marcelo in the Real World? And if I hadn’t heard buzz about the middle-school winner, Anything But Typical? I dunno.

Then, oh boy, there are the recent cover controversies – the ongoing issue of characters being depicted as white when they are in fact not.  It’s bad enough when you don’t feel like the cover illustration/photo suits the book or matches the character’s personality, but whitewashing?  Ugh.  Again, Liz has a good overview of the cover issue, and Colleen has passionate summary with plenty of links and some great discussion in the comments.

After toying around with the idea for a while (am I really organized enough?) I thought I’d join the POC Reading Challenge.  While I’d like to think I read books with characters from a variety of racial backgrounds already, this will be a way to make sure.  Plus, as a librarian – as someone who’s ordering books and putting them into the hands of children – I feel some responsibility to make sure there’s access to quality and variety in my collection.  I need to know what’s out there, be able to talk it up, and do my little part to show publishers that variety is needed.

A slightly unrelated goal is to read all of the award winners from this year (I took off the life-time acheivement awards and the Arbuthnot lecture – I’ve read books by all of the winners, so I figure that counts – Walter Dean Myers, Jim Murphy, and Lois Lowry).  Yikes.  Did I just say that?  Let’s see what that list would look like (taking off the ones I’ve already read):

  • “The Mostly True Adventures of Homer P. Figg” by Rodman Philbrick
  • “Going Bovine,” written by Libba Bray
  • “The Monstrumologist” by Rick Yancey
  • “Punkzilla” by Adam Rapp
  • “Bad News for Outlaws: The Remarkable Life of Bass Reeves, Deputy U.S. Marshal,” written by Vaunda Micheaux Nelson
  • “My People,” illustrated by Charles R. Smith Jr.
  • “The Negro Speaks of Rivers,” illustrated by E. B. Lewis, written by Langston Hughes
  • “The Rock and the River,” written by kekla magoon
  • “Book Fiesta!: Celebrate Children’s Day/Book Day; Celebremos El día de los niños/El día de los libros,” illustrated by Rafael López
  • “Diego: Bigger Than Life,” illustrated by David Diaz, written by Carmen T. Bernier-Grand
  • “My Abuelita,” illustrated by Yuyi Morales, written by Tony Johnston
  • “Gracias Thanks,” illustrated by John Parra, written by Pat Mora
  • “Return to Sender,” written by Julia Alvarez
  • “Federico García Lorca,” written by Georgina Lázaro, illustrated by Enrique S. Moreiro (is this in Spanish?  I might have to cross it off my list – we’ll see when our copy arrives)
  • “Django” written and illustrated by Bonnie Christensen
  • “Anything but Typical” written by Nora Raleigh Baskin
  • “Louise, the Adventures of a Chicken”  written by Kate DiCamillo and narrated by Barbara Rosenblat (audio)
  • “In the Belly of the Bloodhound: Being an Account of a Particularly Peculiar Adventure in the Life of Jacky Faber,” written by L. A. Meyer and narrated by Katherine Kellgren (audio)
  • “Peace, Locomotion,” written by Jacqueline Woodson and narrated by Dion Graham (audio)
  • “We Are the Ship: The Story of Negro League Baseball,” written by Kadir Nelson and narrated by Dion Graham (audio – I’ve already read the print version)
  • “I Spy Fly Guy!” written and illustrated by Tedd Arnold
  • “Little Mouse Gets Ready,” written and illustrated by Jeff Smith
  • “Mouse and Mole: Fine Feathered Friends,” written and illustrated by Wong Herbert Yee
  • “Pearl and Wagner: One Funny Day,” written by Kate McMullan, illustrated by R. W. Alley
  • “The Day-Glo Brothers: The True Story of Bob and Joe Switzer’s Bright Ideas and Brand-New Colors,” written by Chris Barton, illustrated by Tony Persiani
  • “Moonshot: The Flight of Apollo 11,” written and illustrated by Brian Floca
  • “A Faraway Island”  written by Annika Thor, translated by Linda Schenck
  • “Eidi,” written by Bodil Bredsdorff, translated by Kathryn Mahaffy
  • “Moribito II: Guardian of the Darkness,” written by Nahoko Uehashi, illustrated by Yuko Shimizu, translated by Cathy Hirano

A mere 29 books!  And several of them are early readers or picture books.  Totally possible.  The question is how long it will take to cross them all off my list.  Also, several will fit into the POC Reading Challenge.

I’m not sure if I’ll attempt the Alex Awards, but that would be a good list to familiarize myself with – and it never hurts to have some adult titles to recommend to adults, too.  So much harder than recommending to kids!  You can tell where I belong.  Here’s the Alex list, in case I’m feeling even crazier:

Alex Awards for the 10 best adult books that appeal to teen audiences

“The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind: Creating Currents of Electricity and Hope” by William Kamkwamba and Bryan Mealer, published by William Morrow, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers
“The Bride’s Farewell” by Meg Rosoff, published by Viking Penguin, a member of Penguin Group
“Everything Matters!” by Ron Currie, Jr., published by Viking Penguin, a member of Penguin Group
“The Good Soldiers” by David Finkel, published by Sarah Crichton Books, an imprint of Farrar, Straus and Giroux
“The Kids Are All Right: A Memoir” by Diana Welch and Liz Welch with Amanda Welch and Dan Welch, published by Harmony Books, an imprint of the Crown Publishing Group, a division of Random House
“The Magicians,” by Lev Grossman, published by Viking Penguin, a member of Penguin Group
“My Abandonment” by Peter Rock, published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
“Soulless: An Alexia Tarabotti Novel,” by Gail Carriger, published by Orbit, an imprint of Hachette Book Group
“Stitches: A Memoir” by David Small, published by W.W. Norton & Company
“Tunneling to the Center of the Earth” by Kevin Wilson, published by Harper Perennial, an imprint of HarperCollins

Here’s the deal: I have this compulsion to be in the know.  Wendy at Six Boxes of Books was just talking about this, and while she talks about buzz, I think that extends to awards, too.  I want to have read all the Morris Award finalists so that I am ready to express an opinion when the winner is announced.  As soon as the Newbery and Printz are announced, I want to get my hands on any titles I haven’t already read.  So unless I’m oddly psychic, January 18 will mean my reading list gets longer.

Also, I’d like to expand my reading to more of the less-buzzed awards, because that only seems fair.  Lots of them fall outside my area for ordering, but it’s always good to be up on these things, to have a familiarity with at least a few fantastic titles in each category.  And a lot of those awards, embarassingly, often go to books I’d never pick up for fun.  Just from ALSC, check out this list of awards (other awards are mentioned at the bottom of the page – CSK, Printz, Schneider, Alex, Morris…)  You see the problem?  THERE ARE SO MANY.  No wonder most people (and the non-librarian public) mostly focuses on the Newbery and Caldecott.  I’d like to get my hands on at least the winners of each award, but even that is a tall order.  I’m not committing to it, but I’d feel like a good, well-rounded librarian if I did.

In the meantime, though – yikes!  I’d better clear some space on my library shelf.  It’s manageable right now, but some things have been there for an embarrasing length of time.  At the moment, I’m reading Maggie Stiefvater’s Ballad (sequel to Lament) and enjoying her snarktastic yet spooky take on fairies.  This puppy has holds on it, so I can’t let it sit too long.  Then, my next priority is the Mock Printz list, since the workshop is the 16th.  I’ve still got to read The Eternal Smile and All the Broken Pieces, both of which should be fairly quick reads (graphic novel and novel in verse, respectively).

THEN, there are heaps of finalists for the Morris Award and YALSA’s non-fiction award (which really needs a one-word name).  The only Morris finalist I’ve read is The Everafter, but I’ve got Flash Burnout and Hold Still on my shelf – the other two are still on hold.  For the non-fiction award, I’ve read three – Almost Astronauts (also a Mock Newbery), Charles and Emma (also a NBA finalist), and Claudette Colvin (NBA winner).  Written in Bone and The Great and Only Barnum are both on my shelf.  Chances of me starting and finishing 6 books in a week?  Slim, but crazier things have happened.  Probably more likely than me being up and on the awards announcement webcast at 4:45 am next Monday.

As usual, I’m having a lazy Thursday morning, finishing up my Christmas cards and thinking that I really ought to get started on that whole buying Christmas presents thing.  I should also plan out some post-Christmas baking.  In the meantime, though, I’m admiring my tree (an impulse buy as I passed dozens of tree farms on my way to pick up milk last week) and enjoying the quiet morning and contemplating a slice of pumpkin bread (the King Arthur Flour recipe, with chocolate chips and pecans but absolutely egg and dairy free).

I’ve become overwhelmed by the number of library books that I keep renewing and renewing, so I’m trying to cut back on checking out new ones (except Mock Printz and Mock Newbery titles) until I clear off my shelf a bit.  I managed to get through three that have been lingering – What Was Lost, The Children of Green Knowe, and Half-Moon Investigations.  I definitely recommend What Was Lost, and I’m glad I gave it a chance before I ran out of renewals.  Green Knowe was one I hadn’t read since I was a kid, when I went through the whole series and was captivated.  I’d like to keep rereading the series, but it’s that old-fashioned, gentler kind of series that doesn’t leave you gasping for breath until you get your hands on the next installment.  Half-Moon was me giving Eoin Colfer a second chance – I didn’t really care for Artemis Fowl – and I enjoyed it although it wasn’t quite my thing.

Next up on my “had it out too long” list is Alone in the Kitchen with an Eggplant, a collection of essays about eating alone.  I might browse through it, rather than reading straight through, but I’m really craving something fun and moderately fluffy, which means I might skip ahead to the Georgette Heyer that I haven’t even had to renew once yet – Devil’s Cub.  Kind of like eating dessert before dinner, which I can do because I’m a grown up.

Speaking of being a grown up, my library’s fall storytime session is over, and now we take a break until February.  It’s nice to have the planning time, but I’ll miss it.  We were really getting into the swing of things, with me being more comfortable and confident, and the kids getting to know my regular songs and rhymes (and me getting to have regular songs and rhymes!) and I’ll miss seeing my regulars every week.  But, announcing that we’re taking a break and hearing the groans of disappointment from the adults?  That’s a nice confirmation that you’re doing something well.

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Dinner success - the rare occasion when we eat exactly the same thing (except no hot salsa on his rice & beans).

Trucks, always trucks (and the water tables).

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