The Actress and The Bishop

Thoughts and Ramblings from a Student Librarian.

Location: Illinois

I act. Lately, I've been acting like a Librarian-in-training

08 June 2007

Seven Weird Things

Some time ago, I was told by my sister that I have to post Seven Weird Things About Me. Since I'm new to blogging, I decided I should follow the rules and not argue too much. So what follows are seven weird things. If you don't find them weird, please let me know and I will feel slightly relieved. Now, I know that some of these things I find weird can be explained by modern medicine/science/Psychology 101 class, but since I've never been good in any of those topics, I will still consider them weird.

1) I can watch CSI (my favourite show) while eating dinner, which is how my schedule usually plays out, and not be sickened by the bugs, blood, bullets, or broken bones that pop up all over the place on that show. However, if anyone (especially my sisters) start to tell a story about what either of them learned while studying to be a nurse or midwife, I will become lightheaded, nauseated, and need to leave the room. Which leads me to #2 . . .

2) When I was young, perhaps 6 or 7 years old, my mother took all us girls (I have two sisters, for those of you who've forgotten) to have our check-ups at the same time. My younger sister, 3 or 4 at the time, had to have blood drawn. She was just as quiet and calm as can be, sitting on my mother's lap and not crying at all. I, however, was on the other side of the room, pacing up and down and feeling very nauseated as I watched the blood being drawn. And the next thing I remember is the nurse waking me up (for I had fainted), and giving me orange juice. Which leads me to #3 . . .

3) Just a few months ago, I had to go into my doctor's office for a check-up, and I was told I would have blood drawn. Now, I had long since calmed down when it came to blood being drawn. I still become a little apprehensive because, unfortunately, I have horribly weak and small veins and nurses have a difficult time sticking needles in me (please see #4). That morning the nurse just couldn't find a strong vein and asked me to come back next week, after drinking lots of water beforehand, as that might plump up the veins. I walked out to the main desk to schedule an appointment for blood drawn, took out my Day Planner, and nearly fainted. The reception nurse took me into a room and had my lie down and fetched the nurse and a student doctor. The nurse was asked how much blood she drew and she looked at me oddly and said, "None."

4) I would like to give blood. I think it's a polite and selfless act. However, I have never been able to donate, since my veins are too weak (please see #3). The one and only time I attempted to do so, the nurse couldn't find a vein big enough, gave me cookies anyway, and sent me on my way.

5) I think one of the best love songs of all time involves a vegetable singing about cheeseburgers.

6) I think (and I know I am joined by Jayne in this opinion) that Jason Issacs is a great actor. No, that's not the weird part. The weird part is that Jayne and I will just swoon when we see him with long hair. Any other role, he's just fine; but put him in a long wig (see below) and he's devine! Below, and on the left, is J.I. in Peter Pan, and on the right, he is Lucius Malfoy in the upcoming Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.

7) I am allergic to apples. And bananas, but from what I understand, the itchy and/or dry mouth after eating a banana is fairly common. I have yet to meet anyone else who is allergic to apples.

So now you (all out there in the blogosphere) know the weird things about me. I can't think of anyone to tag, since I don't think many people read this blog. However, if RickLibrarian would like to take up the suggestion, I would be happy to learn more about him.

06 June 2007

Done with Reader's Advisory

As you have most likely noticed, there has been a lull in my posts. That is because, as I mentioned earlier this year, I had been posting book reviews because of an assignment for my Reader's Advisory class. The class has now ended (yes, I did pass) and unfortunately I do not have the drive to write and post reviews on a regular basis. If you are wanting such a blog, I suggest you check out RickLibrarian, who is much more coherent than I.

Today I would like to leave you with my lingering thoughts on Reader's Advisory.

1) This is what I envision when I think of Reader's Advisory in a random Public Library.

Not only is it true to life, it's wonderfully acted by Fry & Laurie.

2) No matter what you suggest, the patron will always find some tiny thing not to their liking.

3) The real goal of the Librarian, I have always thought, is to teach the patron how to search for and find books on their own. Therefore I highly recommend Librarian's Booklist Search, created by RickLibrarian, which can be useful, as well as easy-to-use (keeping in mind the helpless patron).

4) Unshelved brilliantly depicts public library life. A few months ago, there was a run of strips regarding RA, and I've included the best here. For more, please travel here, here, here, and also here.

23 May 2007

More Fun with Librarian Movies

I do indeed love books. Don't you?

10 May 2007

The Fellowship of the Ring by Tolkien

The first thing that struck me while reading this was that it is truly part of a whole book; there was a reason why Tolkien wrote (what we know as) The Lord of the Rings (Trilogy) as one book – the stories seem to flow and ebb together nicely. The second thing that struck me is that there is no religion in these stories. Really. If you really root around in the books, you could argue that the characters (especially the Men of Gondor and the Elves) have a kind of ancestor-worship. In his introduction (I believe it was written for the 196? edition), Tolkien explains that he never intended for his books to be viewed at as or made into allegory (I am reminded of Twain’s similar attempt to forbid anyone to take his Adventures of Huckleberry Finn seriously : “Persons attempting to find a motive in this narrative will be prosecuted; persons attempting to find a moral in it will be banished; persons attempting to find a plot in it will be shot.”). Tolkien seemed to describe Middle Earth and the people in it so effortlessly that the reader believes that there is so much more to Middle Earth than this small (in comparison) story about a ring and some Hobbits. As we discovered after this Trilogy’s original publication, there were many other stories to be told from Middle Earth.

Other than the fact that this book is excellent in its dialogue, pacing, plot, and descriptions, Tolkien did not write very strong female characters (which Peter Jackson tried to achieve in his fantastic movies). I also especially like Tolkien’s way of juxtaposing plot and setting – of going against what is usual and expected in literature. For example, Frodo and Gandalf discuss the ring at length for the first time in the morning, with the sun shining and Sam outside the window, whistling.

Overall, I am very happy I’ve finally read this book, and I look forward to completing the trilogy.

If you enjoyed this book, please consider one of the following :
Fiction Recommendation : The Two Towers by Tolkien. The adventure continues in the second book of the trilogy.
Fiction Recommendation : The Hobbit by Tolkien. Here is where Gandalf and Bilbo’s adventures begin.
Nonfiction Recommendation : The Languages of Tolkien's Middle-Earth by Ruth S. Noel and J.R.R. Tolkien. This is the book on all of Tolkien's invented languages, spoken by hobbits, elves, and men of Middle-earth -- a dictionary of fourteen languages, an English-Elvish glossary, all the runes and alphabets, and material on Tolkien the linguist.

09 May 2007

Attempting to be a Student Librarian

I'm sure most of you will forgive the lack of posts. This one isn't long, but is rather important. I would like to share with you a wonderful movie which I first learned about almost two years ago when I started my MLS and read this article. When I heard that the world Premiere of this wonderful documentary, Hollywood Librarian, would be this summer at ALA, I was very tempted to attend. In the end, I've decided to put my meager funds towards Rare Book School, but I wait eagerly for my chance to see it. Please take the time to view the trailer for this film (added below), and also read the director's (Ann M. Seidl's) blog. Please share your thoughts and comments, and pass this information on to your other Librarian friends. (And here is some fun footage of behind-the-scenes). Thank you for stopping by.

03 May 2007

Twilight by Stephenie Meyer

This book is deep, intense, and teetering so close to the edge of melodrama that it can only involve High School Students (with all their intense, dramatic, and misunderstood issues in life). Isabella Swan (Bella, please) is just the average American teenager. She was living in Phoenix but when her mother remarries and moves to Florida, Bella goes to live in Forks, Washington with her father, Charlie. Bella is absolutely miserable. Trying to not stick out in the tiny town of Forks with its even smaller High School, she soon finds herself the object of attention by one of the most beautiful human beings creatures she’s ever met, Edward Cullen. There are five Cullens in the school, and their history is shrouded in mystery. After Edward saves her life but is uninjured himself, Bella begins to wonder about what he could possibly be. After a talk with a member of the Native American tribe of Forks she comes to realize what The Cullens are. Vampires.

This wonderful book is a twist on a centuries-old theme, but it only adds to the powerful characters and passionate emotions that fly (yes, indeedy) through the air. I eagerly await the third book in this series. One of the most fascinating anecdotes about this book is how the idea came to Ms. Meyer. According to her website, she saw scenes between Edward and Bella, complete with dialogue, in her dreams. Upon waking, she wrote down everything she remembered, but it took her months to figure out what it all meant.

If you enjoyed this book, please consider one of the following :
Fiction Recommendation : New Moon by Stephenie Meyer. In this sequel to Twilight, Bella and Edward’s adventures continue and relationship deepens.

Nonfiction Recommendation : The Vampire Encyclopedia by Matthew Bunson. With over 2,000 entries in A-to-Z format, this book is a one-stop reference for everything and anything to do with vampires, from books and films to the history of the vampire legend and ways to ward off these creatures.

02 May 2007

The Pooh Perplex by Frederick C. Crews

In 1963, this light and amusing book gave the Literary Criticism world a much-needed jab in the ribs. This wonderful satire on conventional criticism is so cleverly written that I can believe that academics actually wrote this dribble (for dribble it is, if taken seriously). (Or perhaps I have simply spent too much time with Literary Critics.) In this collection of twelve essays, Crews rips poor Winnie-the-Pooh to shreds with his theories including Freudians, Aristotelians, and New Critics. In addition, he compares these works by Milne to Shakespeare and Dante. As a final act of hilarity, Crews twice looks at Pooh from a Religious angle, with different results each time (at one point, Eeyore is the embodiment of Christ, at another time, Christopher Robin is). This slim volume comes complete with ridiculous footnotes, tongue-in-cheek "questions and study projects," and hilarious biographical notes on the contributors.

If you enjoyed this book, please consider one of the following :

Fiction Recommendation : Winnie-The-Pooh by A.A. Milne. These delightful stories are wonderful in their childlike simplicity and playfulness. And the original illustrations by Shepard convey more emotion in their simplicity than Disney ever accomplished.
Nonfiction Recommendation : Pride and Promiscuity : The Lost Sex Scenes of Jane Austen by Arielle Eckstut. In 1999, two amateur Jane Austen scholars staying at an English state stumbled upon a hidden cache of manuscript pages and made the literary discovery of the century -- the lost sex scenes from Jane Austen's novels. Published here for the first time, the lost pages display Emma taking self-satisfaction to a whole new level, and reveal Henry Crawford's thorough exploration of "brotherly love" at Mansfield Park.
Nonfiction Recommendation : Postmodern Pooh by Frederick C. Crews. This sequel is, if possible, more trenchant and hilarious than the original. This is partly circumstantial, as the English Lit profession has become more self-parodying than ever. In 11 sham essays (complete with footnotes of brilliantly chosen actual texts), Crews takes on deconstruction, queer theory, gender/body studies, post colonial studies, chaos theory, etc.