Thursday, February 28, 2013

8 Unintentionally Hilarious Book Titles I Came Across While Shelving A-I Adult Fiction.

I come across some pretty weird books.

What it is actually about : "This stylish novella tells the tale of Jocelyn Guenevere Marchantiere Jones, whose Scarsdale life comes to an abrupt end when her husband goes in search of a bit of "fresh flesh." Soon she is fending for herself in New York City, where finding a clean restroom will prove to be the least of her concerns."

What my first impression was : The restrooms in New York are disgusting and nobody there cares. Then a chick comes along and cleans it??? What the hell is wrong with this world???

What it is actually about : "Eloise, with umlaut, is a self-hating woman of private means who loathes leaving the house. Speaking to the mailman causes her hours of trauma, as do basic phone or street interactions, particularly those with negative outcomes. She curls up with her cats making lists when she isn’t fretting about washing her hair. George, her ex, is an American poet composing an epic on ice hockey whose chauvinism is coming to an end with an acute case of writer’s block. After a hundred pages of existential cramp, the action switches to Connemara, Ireland, where a slew of oddities muscle into the narrative for a deeply disappointing murder mystery weekend experience."

What my first impression was : A lament where a lady must decide between her husband or her unhealthy obsession with mangos, or a deep philosophical piece about an islander with a identity crisis who cannot discern whether he is a man or a mango.

What it is actually about : "An interesting insight to the New York art scene. A wonderful story with realistic characters and a story that you want to find out how it all turns out. A good look at the underbelly of the art galleries and the workings of art auctions and the people who buy art. Educational with a great story."

"I thought this was going to be a coming of age story about a girl making it in the gallery world, or perhaps a satire of the New York art scene. But instead, I discovered that it was chick lit -- and that realization highlighted for me what it is I don't like about chick lit. The characters were caricatures, most of the big moments felt unearned, and the plot was propelled by obvious misunderstandings and weighed down by little scenes where the main character decides which dress to wear "


What it is actually about : "Beverly Hills cop Charlie Willis trades in his real badge for a fake one . . . and so begins an uproarious but deadly romp through the wonderful world of TV make-believe . . . with real bullets."

What my first impression was : Good for you, and HOW DOES THIS MAKE ANY SENSE???

What it is actually about : "This hilarious, fast-paced novel about musicians, love, and family is the literary debut of Kathi Kamen Goldmark, founder of the Rock Bottom Remainders, the publishing industrys hottest band. The tale follows sexy Sarah Jean Pixlie as she catapults from struggling back-up singer to blazing star on the country music scene. Along the way, she pours out her irreverent, savvy soul in the delicious, humorous lyrics to more than a dozen original songs, including "Put Me on the Guest List (To Your Heart)," "Hell on Heels," and "My Baby Used to Hold Me (Now He's Putting Me on Hold)." Witty and fresh, this romp is a great performance on stage and on the page."

What my first impression was : OH SHIT, HAUNTED SHOES!

What it is actually about : "Finley, an investigator of indiscernible origins and prowess who is assigned to a mysterious Professor Uppal and his puppets. The nature of the investigation isn’t clear, but Finley nonetheless forges ahead, with occasional assistance from her colleagues Murphy, The Lamb, and Binelli, as well as the professor’s beautiful daughter and her sinister boyfriend. The investigation circles in on itself until Finley realizes that she may be close to discovering the truth about her forgotten life."

What my first impression was : Orion, you jerk! A coming of age story about a girl who keeps getting her marbles stole by a bully who loves her.

What is is actually about : "The mother of two young boys, Mary knows how to get them to behave the way she wants. Now she's designing the spousal equivalent of a star chart and every little thing her husband does wrong will go on it. Though Mary knows you're supposed to reward the good behavior rather than punish the bad, the rules for those in middle age are different than the rules for those not even in middle school...
In THE PILE OF STUFF AT THE BOTTOM OF THE STAIRS, Hopkinson pens a hilarious and acutely-observed novel about marriage, motherhood, children, and work. Readers everywhere will find Mary's trials hilariously familiar as they cheer her on in her efforts to balance home, work, children, and a clean bottom stair"

What my first impression was : The next thrilling installment in R.L. Stine's best-selling series GOOSEBUMPS

What it is actually about : "Life isn’t easy for twenty-two year old Easter and her teenage sister Anneth, who were left parentless as young children. While Easter, a devout Pentecostal, finds solace in the powerful music of her church, Anneth seeks comfort in the rougher edges of life found in dancing, drinking, and fast living. Easter believes in tradition and is intent on rearing her wild young sister properly, but it’s only a matter of time before a wedge is driven between them–and threatens to undo their bond forever. . . "

What my first impression was : WORST. TATTOO. EVER. Never get that drunk ever again.

Friday, February 22, 2013

A Game to Unleash the Creative in Me

I have a new game I like to play.... Pokemon Sprite Making!

It's a popular form of fan-art in the Pokemon community where you make your own Pokemon sprites or mash your favorite Pokemon together to create new bizarre Pokemon :)

Let me show you what I mean. This is a Pokemon mash-up that I did.

Cloyster + Piplup + Marowak =  Piwakster?

I like to use this Pokemon Sprite Generator to decide which Pokemon I should use in my mash-up.
Although sometimes, the end result isn't always very desirable, haha, I try to use everything it generates.

Spinarak + Clefable + Drifloon = Spiabloon?

.... and then some of them are not very original at all, LOL.

Manaphy + Raticate + Hitmonlee = Mancatlee?

But it sure is a lot of fun : )

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Reflecting on my FIRST Storytime!

I feel a little guilty for not posting something every other day like I promised and intended to. I have no good excuse for it either.

Well, I performed my first official children's storytime the other day, and I think I did a pretty good job of it. It was sprung on me all of a sudden, but no one else was going to be there to do it (schedule changes and adjusting and events in the evening). So, I got a few tips from our Youth Programs Coordinator the day before and the next morning, I was introduced to it trial by fire style. Just the way I like it, haha.

She told me it was a good idea to have a theme in your books whenever you read to kids, but it isn't necessary. It is just good for tying everything together. She also said not to pick too many. Two or three stories is enough for the kids I was going to read stories to.

I wanted to do one book about cats, one book about hats, and one book about bats at first. Since they all rhymed, I thought I was being pretty clever. But I couldn't find a very good book with a story about bats in it, so I abandoned that idea and ended up going with cats. I read a bunch of picture books with cats in them, so I thought it would put me at ease reading some books that I had read before.

I chose ....

Red Cat, Blue Cat by Jenni Desmond

Clarence the Copy Cat by Patricia Lakin

The Secret Life of Walter Kitty by Barbara Jean Hicks

Some of my favorite kitty books :) - I tried to be clever and add another underlying theme with the books too. All of the cats in all of the books learn the value of being themselves and staying true to themselves while appreciating another's way of doing things. I'm not sure that the kids understood the underlying theme, but they seemed to enjoy the books a lot.

Our Youth Programs Coordinator told me that the best storytimes engage kids as they read, so I asked them questions about the books as we were reading like "Where is Clarence at?" and "What do all the things Red Cat ate have in common?" .... the kids were pretty bright for their age. For my first storytime, I only stumped them once or twice. I was afraid the questions I was going to ask would be too hard.

I stumbled across the words a couple of times and the pages got stuck together in some spots, but I just laughed it off like it was no big deal. It's all you can do, right? The show must go on!
She also said that they normally ask if the kids liked the stories at the end, but since this was my first one, not to because kids can be brutally honest and she didn't want to have me scared to do more storytimes. But I asked them, and I was happy a lot of them said "yes!" they liked the stories very much.

I know I'm only a youth assistant, but I had a lot of fun and I hope they will let me do storytime again so I can get better and better :)

Friday, February 15, 2013

Dreams Become Reality?

Where do I begin? I'm so very excited because I've discovered that there IS an official Pokemon League near Amarillo TX! - they do the trading card game AND the handheld game! It's like both of my birthdays came at once. Their next meeting is in a couple weeks and I plan to drive down there and get myself officially registered so I can take part in all of the cool Play!Pokemon activities! I feel like such a big kid, but then again, feeling like a kid keeps you young, right? So I have nothing to worry about :)

I'm pretty solid in my handheld game. I've got a pretty killer team that with a few modifications may be great at the official meeting.

The above is my Pokemon White 2 team     : D

Pretty neat, huh?

As for my card deck though, I'm not sure what I want to use. I'm definitely not as experienced as some of the more competitive Pokemon TCG players. In fact, I'm rather new to the game itself. I mainly collect Pokemon cards, and I have quite a mature collection if I do say so myself. But the cards have never seen a real duel. I have a couple ideas of what I want to use. The only problem is making sure I have the appropriate cards to make it happen.

I'm really glad that my girlfriend Felicia is supportive of me going down there. She just got through a major surgery and can't drive herself for the next six weeks or so. She's really cool about both of us going down there, and while she's not as big a Pokemon fan as I am, she thinks it would be neat to see how it all works. I really hope to go down there so that I can get some information about creating our own Pokemon League here in Amarillo so we can hold a major tournament at AMA-CON 2013 this summer. I ran the idea by the higher-ups and they think it would be fun and good for all ages. I hope that if I do manage to get a Pokemon Tournament set up that people will want to participate in it. I told myself to build up a good team on my White 2 cartridge in case there was only one... that way they could at least battle me. Of course, I'd let them win, but boy, I would make them fight for it!

I'm doing a lot of this for my job and to make AMA-CON 2013 a great event! ... but truthfully, it's a little bit for me too. I love Pokemon; it's so much fun! I love the game, the characters, the artwork, the lore, the strategy, and I love sharing and getting involved with other people in it. A lot of people kind of laugh at my hobby but really I can't think of something I love more (friends and family aside, of course. I'd give up Pokemon to save any one of them, and that's saying A LOT) .... part of the whole setting up our own league and tournament thing means that I would have to take the Pokemon Professor Exam to prove that I know the game and the characters inside and out. If I pass, I get to be called Pokemon Professor Summer!

Professor-ship is a big thing though. If the tournament does take off and we are able to create a Pokemon League, I'm going to have to devote my time to Pokemon: make sure my league gets all the goods and events, stay on top of all the rules, and try to make sure that everyone has fun. I don't know how much of a leader I am, but this is something I'm really excited about, and I think would be good for socially awkward little ol' me.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Cheaters Never Read... or Win

So, our library is doing a super cool event called 'Blind Date with a Book' for Valentine's Day.

We've taken books that staff recommend from our 'staff picks' and wrap them in plain brown wrapping with an image of the barcode on the back. The idea is that patrons will select a book at random, take it home, unwrap it, and read the surprise book. The point of the exercise is to expose yourself to new literature that at first you might not have read. The bonus is that inside each one of the books there is an entry form patrons can fill out, tell us about their reading experience, and possibly win a dinner for two on Valentine's Day.

I, for one, am so jealous that the staff cannot participate because I think it sounds like so much fun!

.... I was ruffling through the entries just looking at what people wrote; I wanted to see if anybody had read any of the books I had picked out.

I was more than disappointed when I saw a few slips in there that simply said 'Wasn't interested; didn't read'

.... I think they should be disqualified because they missed the point of the exercise entirely and didn't even give the contest a chance. Thankfully, the librarians are on my side. If you didn't really participate in the contest, then honestly we really aren't interested in awarding you the prize.

It's okay if you didn't like the book you read. I found a slip for a graphic novel I had written a staff pick about. An elderly lady checked it out and ended up saying "I wasn't sure how to read this book since there were no words. I liked the pictures, but I don't think I'll try to read another book like this" ... and I gave her total props. It was COMPLETELY out of her league but she gave it her best shot anyway.

The day the drawing comes, I hope she wins it :)

Friday, February 8, 2013

Birthday Post

Woohoo, it's my birthday. I'm 25 years old. I'm not dead. The zombie apocalypse hasn't happened yet. Not a librarian yet but...

That's about it. I might eat some cake later, but I'll probably just sit with Felicia and play Pokemon White 2.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Personal Update and First World Worries

My birthday is coming up. I'm going to be 25 years, 1/4 a century old. Honestly, I don't feel any different since the day I turned 16. I can't decide if it's a good thing or bad thing. There's that famous saying that "You don't stop laughing because you're old. You're old because you stopped laughing" - or some sort of variation on that. And while I understand what this quote is trying to say, I can't help but wonder sometimes if you really have to stop laughing at things to prove to others that you are mature and responsible and should be taken seriously... like I should really stop laughing at the title of this book ---

I don't think I need to grow up any time soon. I did just become a youth assistant librarian and I'm really enjoying my job and I'm really enjoying the kids' stuff. I do get a little insecure whenever I have friends look at me like an alien and say 'Dude, why are you wearing a Skylanders Giant dogtag around your neck?' like I shouldn't be into Skylanders at all. But Skylanders are so cool! I can't help what I like and at least I'm not creepy about it or hurting anyone by it.

Anyway, that whole rant was regarding --- I have no idea what I want for my birthday. All my family members keep asking and honestly, I don't really need anything, but the things I like ( such as Pokemon cards, anime, and comic books) I hesitate to ask for because a) they don't know what it is and b) my siblings tease me. I'll likely ask for book money  which is nice too :)

I shouldn't be so sensitive about this issue. I mean, I did write this journal entry to counter everyone who gives me funny looks about it.

My darling Felicia was in surgery yesterday for a rib removal to help her thorastic outlet syndrome. She is awake and on a morphine drip so I honestly can't tell whether or not she's really feeling better. I hear that any kind of chest surgery hurts a lot so I imagine she's going to be in some more pain for a couple weeks, but hopefully now that the rib isn't pressing on that artery and nerve, she will get to feeling good again and won't have to rely on those awful painkillers and narcotics. I love her regardless but I always worry so much about her health. I'm really happy we can count on the V.A. even if it takes a little poking and prodding to get the ball rolling.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Why I Should Never Be In Charge Of Children's Skits....

So, lately at the youth desk we've been having to come up with some skits to perform for school groups. Most of them are based on children's picture books that we adapt into miniature plays (only about 10 to 15 mins long). I'm relatively new to the youth scene so I'm not down on how exactly you build plays that children are excited to watch and easy to follow.... Here was my attempt whenever one day we discussed word problems...

( Juan has 100 apples, and Marcos wants to buy 1/2 of them. Unfortunately 8% of the apples are rotten and can't be sold. How many apples can Marcos buy from Juan?"


....but then, Marcos gets greedy and whips out his baretta. )

Marcos : Gimme all your apples, pendejo! Load them into the back of my truck.

 ( Juan fears for his life so he complies with Marcos's request. The second Marcos takes off out of the driveway, Juan calls the police. )

Juan: Help! Marcos had me at gunpoint and stole all of my apples!

Police: We are on the scene.

( The police catch up with Marcos's truck and attempt to pull him over. Marcos reaches out the window with his baretta and fires 3 shots finally puncturing one of the police car's tires. )

Police: Firing at an officer is a federal offense! We need backup. Set up a police baracade at 27th and Parker. Vamanos!

( Marcos spots the police line but he can't afford to get caught. He steps on the gas and tries to smash through with his truck.


With no success, Marcos leaps out of the truck and tries to get away with the apples on foot, but he's no match for the police's canine unit. They sniff him out and tackle him to the ground. The police put Marcos in handcuffs and recover the stolen apple. There's some peculiar white powder leaking out of one. The canine unit recognizes it as an illegal substance. They take the apples back to Juan and question --

Police: Sir, were you aware that these apples had vials of cocaine in them?

Juan: No, sir. I had no idea.

Marcos: You liar! You son of a bitch! You knew it. You sell your 'special' apples to me and my compadres all the time.

Police: Have you sold this man your apples before?

Juan: No, sir. I have never seen him.

( Marcos gets thrown into prison. Upon further investigation, Juan is an illegal immigrant and he is deported back to Mexico City. A representative from the Drug Cartel tracks him down and tells him that El Patron is not pleased that Juan messed up on the delivery. Juan pleads for his life, but El Patron makes an example of him and puts a bullet in his head.

Back at the prison, Marcos's wife Esperanza visits her husband in jail -

Esperanza: You selfish pig! You got thrown into prison and now I am left alone to care for our five children all on my own. Why, Marcos, why?

Marcos: Baby, I only wanted to make us rich, and give you everything you ever wanted.

Esperanza: Oh, you stupid man, I was already the richest woman in the world because I was rich with your love. All I ever wanted was you.

Marcos: Oh, Esperanza, what have I done?! I'm so sorry!

........ that's when I got cut off and told that my story might not work ._.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

5 'Classic' Novels That Are Just Cleverly Disguised Steaming Piles of Shit

Just because a lot of people have read it and a lot of people like it doesn't always make it a great novel. This should be your first and foremost rule whenever you hear or read reviews on books, and something I take to heart before I pick novels up. This is even true in the case of so-called 'classics' - a lot of people are bound to disagree with me for their own reasons, but here I have provided 5 excellent examples of books that are considered classics (widely read and widely talked about) but in all due respect are complete and utter bullshit.

In order from least hated to most hated.....

5 ) The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger

I get that Holden is supposed to be sullen, moody, and genuinely unpleasant, and he is ultimately the person that he hates. But what does it mean? Nothing.

But if I wanted to read about people like this, I'd just sign up as a substitute teacher at a high school.
Either that, or go paw through the copious amounts of horrible YA literature or fanfiction spread all across the interent. The only 'remarkable' thing about this book is that it is the first horrible YA book.
Other than that, Holden says nothing, does nothing, and wastes 300 pages of my time.

4 ) Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare

Two teenager OMG INSTANTLY FALL IN LOVE FOREVARS!!!!!1one!1 and four days later seven people are dead. Meanwhile the world swoon over bullshit ideas like 'love at first sight' 'true love' and 'devotion' when Romeo is a stalking scumbag, and Juliet is a hopeless, brainless whore. This is ye old Twilight minus vampires add wealthy gangsters... and not even the cool kind in West Side Story. Everyone feels like this is the epitome of love and the best love story ever told.... the truth of the matter is that it is a bunch of selfish teenage angst that teaches our young people what bad relationships look like, and if you can't get what you want in life, kill yourself rather than talk it out like reasonable adults.

3 ) A Passage to India by  E.M. Forster

Imagine a travel guide to India with some nice historical snippets of India / England relations back when India was considered a colony. Now throw yourself in ye old justice hall and listen to the babblings of a young adult girl who may or may not have been raped by cave echoes.

No, this is seriously what the book is about.

2 ) Sybil by Benjamin Disraeli

A novel telling the troubles of social and financial Victorian England as told by a politician, full of crappy propaganda, and there's a soap-operatic romance that thinly veils Disraeli's social criticism. Would have been LOADS better if he had just written some political essays. My favorite part is when one of the main characters gets stoned to death (and not with 'the good weed')

Seriously, man? Great politician, that Disraeli, but he can't write a decent storyline to save his life.

1 ) The Return of the Native by Thomas Hardy