random thoughts on this & that

Sorry, not a very descriptive title, is it?

I’m feeling slightly less ambivalent about getting involved with ALA than I did a year ago. Mainly, that is because if the awesome LITA people I meet at Annual in June. Despite that, it still took me until yesterday to remember that I needed to renew my lapsed membership. Whoops.

I ended up deciding to join LITA, and since my professional focus currently resides with the Serials Section of ALCTS, I ended up dropping ACRL. Even so, my membership cost more than $200. For one year. Yeouch. The sad thing is that I’m not sure I’ll have much energy left to get my $200 worth out of it. We’ll see.

This leads me to a question I have been pondering for a bit. I’ve been thinking about my career and where I’d like to eventually end up, and I’m thinking more and more that I want to be in a smaller university or college library where the emphasis is on being librarians and less on being tenure-track faculty. The pros are that I would be able to stop worrying so much about publications and be able to focus on my strengths like being a (freakin’ awesome*) serials & electronic resources librarian and serving in various professional organizations as well as campus committees. The cons are that I probably won’t have as much support for attending conferences and likely the salary scale would be lower.

So, the question I’m pondering is whether ALA is worth being a member of if one cannot participate on committees because one cannot afford to attend all of the conferences?

* Sorry. I don’t know where that came from. Must be the result of reading two years of Questionable Content strips over the past few days.

indie rock hipster

I’ve discovered that the side effect of reading so many QC strips in one sitting is that I now have an odd desire to become an indie rock hipster.

I went on a Questionable Content binge last night and spent two hours reading the archives and trying to get to the point where I became a daily reader almost a year ago. I still have a couple hundred more to go, I think.

I’ve discovered that the side effect of reading so many QC strips in one sitting is that I now have an odd desire to become an indie rock hipster. This is all I have to say to that.

#18

A fun romp through alternate history.

The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde

I hadn’t planned on reading another book on my trip, so I had nothing for the return flight. In fact, I have a pile of podcast episodes to catch up on, so I figured I’d listen to them on the way home. However, after my time warp experience with reading on the flight out, I decided to find a book while in the Atlanta airport. Anything that will make the four hour flight to Seattle more tolerable is worth seeking out.

I had almost given up in my search when I spotted a Penguin paperback edition of The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde. I have a copy of this in hardcover, but I haven’t read it yet. I decided that buying a second copy was better than the torture of sitting bored out of my mind in a cramped space for four hours. After reading it, my only complaint is that it was too short. By the time I finished, I still had an hour and a half to go before we landed. Maybe next time I won’t start reading a half an hour before the boarding process begins.

As for the book itself, I felt a bit ignorant at times. I’ve read Jane Eyre and a handful of the other classics referenced in the story, but often I felt as though something would have more significance if I knew the other works better than I do. Still, quite a fun romp through alternate history!

#17

This fantasy novel with a twist is a great beginning for a new author.

My review of Pat Nelson Childs’ book Orphan’s Quest has been published on Blogcritics.org. This was the first book I have read on a plane in longer than I can remember. For several years, I would drag a book or two along with me when I traveled, but for some reason I was always too distracted to read them. However, this time I was compelled by a deadline, so even before my plane backed out from the gate, I had cracked it open to the first page. Thanks to the 4+ hour flight to Atlanta and the delayed arrival of my connecting flight, I was able to finish it before I arrived at my destination.

I was surprised to realize that as I closed the book, I was wishing that I had waited to read it until the other two were published so that I would not have to wait so long to find out what happens next.

I think I’m going to have to do this reading on the plane thing again. It made the time fly by much faster than anything else I’ve been doing lately. Or maybe it was because I had such a compelling book to read….

#16

This young adult science fiction novel is a delightful read for anyone who enjoys tales of personal growth.

My review of the revised edition of Sylvia Louise Engdahl’s book Journey Between Worlds has been published on Blogcritics.org. I have been meaning to read the book and write the review for some time, but eventually it became one of those things that was easy to procrastinate on. But, this weekend I had other more significant things to procrastinate over, so I read the book instead. Not the best reason to read a book, but as it turns out, I’m very glad I finally read it, because it’s something I think most everyone would find interesting.

The author dwells less on the technology and shiny gadgetry of space travel and planetary colonization, and more on the human aspect thereof. This results in a very accessible story for readers who are interested in space colonization as well as readers who enjoy stories about personal growth and relationships.

blogcritics

You all may have noticed that I’m not cross-posting the full content of the reviews I write for Blogcritics. There are many reasons, not the least of which I am trying to keep this from becoming solely a review blog. What you might not know is that reviews aren’t my only gig with Blogcritics.

I hooked up with Blogcritics in the fall of 2004, not long after I had moved to Washington state. For the first year and a half, my only participation was in occasionally reviewing things that interested me. At some point in the winter of 2006, I convinced someone that I would like to help out more, and I found myself facing the slightly daunting task of assisting with inputing the contents of some 800 email messages into a database.

The way the review materials process works at Blogcritics is that publicists send Eric press releases, which he passes on to the writer’s group. Then, whomever is interested in reviewing the items offered will indicate their interest, and after they’re approved, they contact the publicist. Meanwhile, each review item is added to a database that includes information like the publicist’s contact info, who is reviewing it, and the date the item will be released. As you can imagine, this takes a lot of time to do. I estimate that when Eric is working full speed at forwarding press releases, I can spend anywhere from 10-15 hours per week on the database.

Mind you, I’m also trying to write at least one decent review per week, as well as my regular job and life, but apparently that wasn’t enough for me. Sometime last fall, I started taking all of the streaming audio, video, movie stills, and other digital paraphernalia sent to us by the publicists and mashing them together into a daily round-up column. This eventually morphed into its own site within the Blogcritics network, called the BC Goodie Bag. So, in addition to the database work and the reviews, I am now spending another 10-12 hours per week putting that together.

When I have a few spare moments, I’ll also pitch in and help edit some articles that are in the pending queue. Nothing is published on Blogcritics without first being looked over by a member of the volunteer editorial team. It helps keep the quality from sliding down towards naval-gazing, what-I-ate-for-breakfast blogging, which is fine for personal blogs but not so good for an online magazine.

You might be wondering when I find time for things like sleeping. I’m wondering that myself.

listen closely

This is an album that demands your full attention to be appropriately appreciated.


by Patty Griffin

My review of Patty Griffin’s new-ish album Children Running Through has been published on Blogcritics. I’ve had this album in my hands since slightly before it was released in February, but every time I sat down to write about it, something inside said, “Wait. Not yet.” So, I waited. Tonight, the words flowed out, so there you have it.

This is not an album to play in the background. This is an album that demands your full attention to be appropriately appreciated.


FRBR

FRBR is so cuddly and soft!

From the Library Society of the World Meebo room:

p: FRBR
p: I want a tickle me FRBR
n: it is awfully fun to say
p: with five different expressions…
p: nerd pun!
me: p, I am totally saying that to the next serials cataloger I meet.

* Screen names have been altered to provide anonymity.
** I don’t need anonymity in this case.
*** It isn’t funny unless you’re a librarian who knows what FRBR is and has a sense of humor.

hard and easy

Great Big Sea shares some of their favorites from the vast collection of traditional tunes from Newfoundland.


by Great Big Sea

My review of Great Big Sea’s album The Hard and the Easy has been published on Blogcritics. Originally, I was supposed to be reviewing their live CD/DVD that came out last fall, but the publicist sent me that one instead. Unfortunately, that was last November and in the mean time I had misplaced it. Recently retrieved, I sat down this evening and wrote the review. It’s a good album of traditional songs — highly recommended for folk fans.

Newfoundland-based folk trio Great Big Sea (Alan Doyle, Bob Hallett, and Séan McCann) have been performing together for nearly fifteen years, and in that time they have recorded eight albums that feature a mix of original compositions and traditional songs from the Newfoundland area. The variety of oral and musical cultures that make up modern Newfoundland is a source for thousands of songs, and for their ninth album, The Hard and the Easy, the band decided to display some of the gems.

In addition to the exquisite recording and production work fans have come to expect from the group, the album includes a DVD that features each of the songs introduced by a member of the band and then performed in a casual setting, either on the back deck of a house, or in a living room party with friends and family.