Archive for August, 2010

Meme: Reading Habits

I dug this out of my drafts folder on WordPress.  It’s a meme I found on the Joeyanne Libraryanne blog ages ago and it’s a bout time I answered these questions:

Do you snack while you read? If so, favorite reading snack?

Not really a habit of mine, although I usually read a book while eating lunch.

Do you tend to mark your books as you read, or does the idea of writing in books horrify you?

I’m not horrified by marking books but since almost all the books I read are from the library I generally don’t do so.  About the only time I write in a book is when it is for a class or research.

How do you keep your place while reading a book? Bookmark? Dog-ears? Laying the book flat open?

Bookmark.  Frequently lost, sometimes pulled out deliberately by my mischievous imp of a son.

Fiction, Non-fiction, or both?

Both, although I lean to non-fiction.

Hard copy or audiobooks?

I was hard copy snob for a long time but now I listen to audiobooks at work.

Are you a person who tends to read to the end of chapters, or are you able to put a book down at any point?

I try to read to the end of the chapters but I don’t always get there.

If you come across an unfamiliar word, do you stop to look it up right away?

No, but I should.

What are you currently reading?

The Law of Love by Laura Esquivel.

What is the last book you bought?

Bought?  I’m a librarian.  I read library books.  Probably bought something for my son.

Are you the type of person that only reads one book at a time or can you read more than one at a time?

Generally I have one print book and one audiobook going at the same time, sometimes more.

Do you have a favorite time of day and/or place to read?

I love to read on public transportation and in bed.  Any time of day is fine with me.

Do you prefer series books or stand alone books?

Stand alone books.

Is there a specific book or author that you find yourself recommending over and over?

I’ve recommended Jasper Fforde to a lot of people.

How do you organize your books? (By genre, title, author’s last name, etc.?)

Once upon a time I split my books into fiction and non-fiction.  Fiction was organized by author’s last name.  Non-fiction was grouped by subject matter.  With marriage, a move, and parenthood there is no order to my books except virtually.

Related Posts:

I swear I wasn’t looking (via Closed Stacks)

Interesting thoughts on patron privacy at the library.

I swear I wasn't looking “Hi, I’ve got something on hold.” “Sure, one second, let me grab it.” I turn slowly, saunter to the shelf, and begin scanning.  Hmm, where is it?   Oh, here we go.  Oh man!  I grab it. Don’t look down, don’t look down.  It’s probably not what you think.  Maybe you read it wrong.  Maybe not.  Just focus on getting it there.  Don’t let the patron know you saw.  Scan it, print the receipt. “Have a nice day.” Smile, nod.  Phew.  I don’t think they no … Read More

via Closed Stacks

Will we do the other things? (via The Edge of the American West)

“Not because they are easy, but because they are hard,” is one of my favorite Kennedy quotes.

As long as I'm having fun with YouTube's "start here" feature, note this standard-issue awesome impassioned Shatner speech by Captain Kirk in "Return to Tomorrow": Do you wish that the first Apollo mission hadn't reached the moon, or that we hadn't gone on to Mars, and then to the nearest star? As Torie Atkinson says, though, this is really quite cool, because the episode aired originally on February 9, 1968: Here is a fictional future starship c … Read More

via The Edge of the American West

Boston By Foot Tour of the Month – Chestnut Hill

Today I took the excellent Boston By Foot Tour of the Month of Chestnut Hill.  While the neighborhood straddles Newton, Brookline, and Boston, the tour covered the Newton portion viewing elegant houses along shady lanes.

My photos are online here, with some samples below.

The Church of the Redeemer

The official description of  the tour from the Boston By Foot website:

Chestnut Hill is a classic streetcar suburb which developed as the railroad and streetcar network expanded around Boston. By the early twentieth century, Chestnut Hill was considered to be “suburban living at its best”.

This walking tour explores the Newton portion of the Chestnut Hill neighborhood where you will walk among large Victorian mansions while learning its evolution from rural farmland to a modern suburb.

Chestnut Hill also features the campus of Boston College and the historic Chestnut Hill Reservoir with a finish at the new Metropolitan WaterWorks Museum.

Hammond House

If you missed the tour today, don’t worry it will be offered again next year.  Become a Boston By Foot Member today and receive a discount on Tours of the Month plus special members only tours.

The Metropolitan Water Works

Beer Review: Cisco Brewers Bailey’s Blonde Ale

Beer: Bailey’s Blonde Ale
Brewer: Cisco Brewers
Source: 12 fl. oz. bottle
Rating: ** (6.3 of 10)

Comments:

Look – Cloudy, golden, carbonated, thin head

Aroma – Musty, earthy, floral

Taste -  good balance of malts and hops, bitter aftertaste

2nd look – no head, no lace,  still bubbly

Overall – a tasty, complex ale that leaves me with a good buzz.


Book Review: Coop by Michael Perry

Author: Michael Perry
Title: Coop : a year of poultry, pigs, and parenting
Publication Info: New York : Harper, c2009.
ISBN: 9780061240430

Summary/Review:  As the title implies this is a book about a man taking up running a family farm with pigs and chickens while also raising a family.  There is his wife, a step-daughter, and a brand new baby and it’s touching how he tries to do right by all of them.  This book is also very much a memoir as Perry reflects back to growing up on his parents’ farm.  He grew up a member of a small and nameless Christian denomination and while no longer practicing the faith appreciates the sincere devotion of his parents that lead him to grow up in a household with dozens of adopted and foster children.  This is a touching, insightful, and quiet peak at one man’s attempts at the country life in the modern age.

Recommended books: Pilgrim at Tinker Creek by Annie Dillard and Blue Like Jazz by Donald Miller.
Rating: ****

Photopost: Providence

Today I took my toddler son Peter on a day trip to Providence, RI.  The main appeal of the outing was for Peter to finally get a chance to ride the double-decker commuter rail trains but I’ve been wanting to explore Providence for some time.  Despite living a combined 27-years in the neighboring states of Connecticut and Massachusetts I’ve not given much attention to Rhode Island.  I’ve driven through Providence past the giant termite, I went to a basketball camp at Providence College 20 years ago when I was in high school, I’ve been to a couple of Providence Bruins games, and … and that’s about it.

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The Providence railroad station is centrally located right next to the Rhode Island State House.  For the smallest state, Rhode Island really has an enormous capitol complete with gleaming white marble, neoclassical facades, and a looming hilltop presence.  I didn’t have any destination in mind, just wanted to get out and  explore. Peter & I strolled through Waterplace Park an attractive urban development of recent vintage which apparently replaced railroad tracks that once covered the river.  Then we visited City Hall Park where Peter chased after many, many pigeons.

While I would be content to study the attractive architecture of Providence, Peter wanted a playground and not being able to find one, we made our way to the Providence Children’s Museum.  The museum is located in the Jewelery District which actually looked like a district of unoccupied industrial buildings which was a little creepy.  The area around the museum was friendly and the museum itself was great – smaller but also less intimidating than the Boston Children’s Museum.   On our way back to the railroad station we walked through another part of downtown.  It feels someone how more urban than Boston and very different architecturally.  I will have to return to explore more when my attention is not so focused on a toddler.

Soccer in Excess

I watched a lot of soccer the past few days while visiting my in-laws where I had two things I don’t usually have at home: 1) an abundance of free time and 2) the Fox Soccer Channel.  I crave having FSC in my own home but it’s probably for the best that I don’t.  Lest it seem that I did nothing but watch tv, I also spent a lot of time running around with my son and nephew, including kicking around a soccer ball.

Wigan Athletic v Chelsea (21 Aug 2010) – I watched the second half of this game which demonstrated the lack of competitive balance in the English Premier League.  Chelsea scored 5 of their 6 goals in this half shutting out Latics.  On the same day Arsenal defeated Blackpool by the same score.   Not much fun at all.  Match report.

Fulham vs. Manchester United (22 Aug 2010) – This was a very entertaining game, but first off I must mention how charmed I was by Fulham’s very old school grounds at Craven Cottage.  If I ever get to see an EPL game in person this is where I’d like to watch it from.  I also enjoyed the humbling of a football superpower who should have gone away with a win but had to settle for a 2-2 tie.  Fulham’s Brede Hangeland could have been the goat when his own-goal put Man U ahead with 7 minutes to go, but became the hero by scoring the equalizer in the 89th minute.  In between those two goals Fulham goalkeeper David Stockdale also heroically saved a penalty kick.  Other things I like about Fulham is that they have on their roster US MNT star (and former Rev) Clint Dempsey and Irish international Damien Duff.  I think I’ll add them to my list of teams to follow. Match report.

Manchester City vs. Liverpool (23 Aug 2010) – All I know about Manchester City is that they are very Mets-like in how they under-perform compared to the their cross-town derby rivals Manchester United.  I also know that the club’s owners have spent a ton of money in the offseason.  Whether they will end up reversing their fortunes or being Met-ly big spenders/big losers remains to be seen.  This game was a good start as they crushed a traditional football power in Liverpool.  Match report.

RSC Anderlecht vs. FK Partizan Belgrade (24 Aug 2010) – I probably wouldn’t have watched this UEFA Champions League qualifier  if not for my brother-in-law who became a Anderlecht supporter during his youth in Belgium.  It was a pretty exciting game as Anderlecht game back from being down 2-nil in the second half  and it looked like they had a third goal but the offside flag was up.  Since the teams were tied on aggregate goals and away goals, the game went to extra time and then a penalty shootout where things got really embarrasing for Anderlecht.   Goalkeeper Sivio Proto earned a raise by blocking two shots but three Anderlecht penalty takers sent their shots over the crossbars! They tried to blame a divot on the field but that didn’t stop Partizan from netting three penalties from the same spot for the win. Match report.

FC Barcelona vs. AC Milan (25 Aug 2010) – With 7 members of Spain’s World Cup Champion squad and Argentina’s Lionel Messi, I feel a little guilty throwing my lot behind an obvious superpower like Barça as a team I support.  I  like the team because they are supporter-owned and don’t wear a corporate logo on their jerseys and in fact donate money to UNICEF. Today’s game was a friendly Joan Gamper Trophy match against the equally illustrious AC Milan.  The  game served as an excuse to welcome back former Barça player Ronahildino and welcome new acquisition David Silva (the latter scored a goal).  As these friendly tournaments go, this one ended in a 1-1 tie with Barcelona winning on penalty kicks.  Match report.

Related Posts:

Book Review: On Deep History and the Brain by Daniel Lord Smail

Author: Daniel Lord Smail
Title: On Deep History and The Brain
Publication Info: University of California Press (2008)
ISBN: 0520258126

Summary/Review:  Smail’s concept is that there is an artificial divide between pre-history (what he calls deep history) and history and that the biological and evolutionary history of humanity can be better understood by bridging the gap.  At least that’s what I think it was about because unfortunately my brain was too small to grasp much of this book.  For a slender book, Smail did an exhaustive amount of work detailing the idea of when history began through the ages and the time when history “begins” has remained steady even as the reasoning as moved from sacred to scientific. In place of the current paradigm, Smail proposes a neuro-history or a study of the evolution of the human brain.  Interesting stuff even if most of it went over my head.

Rating: **

Book Review: A Slight Trick of the Mind by Mitch Cullin

Author: Mitch Cullin
Title: A Slight Trick of the Mind
Publication Info: New York : Nan A. Talese, 2005.
ISBN: 0385513283

Summary/Review: Mitch Cullin takes the very familiar literary character of Sherlock Holmes and puts him in the seemingly unlikely setting of 1947 post-war England.  The aged Holmes is long-retired from detective work, tending to bees, writing his memoirs, and beginning to lose his mental faculties.  His only companions are his housekeeper and her bright son Roger of whom Holmes begins to take on as a protegé with even some paternal feelings.  Three stories are intertwined – Holmes life at his rural cottage and growing mentor ship to Roger, flashbacks to a  recent trip to Japan after the atomic bomb attacks where he went to collect botanical specimens, and a his own written account of a case and a woman who continue to haunt him.  This is a very different Holmes than ever presented by Conan Doyle yet fitting seamlessly into the oeuvre.  It’s a sad account of a very human side of Sherlock Holmes that is reminiscent of The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro.

Recommended books: The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro and Sherlock Holmes and the Red Demon by Larry Millett.
Rating: ****1/2

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