Friday, January 28, 2011

Philip Pullman defends public libraries

I found this article through one of the library groups I belong to on Facebook, which was the Guardian's attempt to praise and highlight Philip Pullman's speech done on Jan 20, 2011 about defending Oxfordshire libraries and how many people read it (around 20K in two days). While I thought it was a well-done article, I wanted to see the real speech as I had read in the Guardian article that it was stellar, plus I'm a huge Philip Pullman fan, especially of the His Dark Materials trilogy. Thankfully, they have posted it online here for all to view and I must say it is excellent. I particularly like the following points: 

  • Where he points out that it is Mr. Keith Mitchell's job (as leader of the county council) to "protect the library services"
  • "Nor do I think we should respond to the fatuous idea that libraries can stay open if they’re staffed by volunteers. What patronising nonsense. Does he think the job of a librarian is so simple, so empty of content, that anyone can step up and do it for a thank-you and a cup of tea? Does he think that all a librarian does is to tidy the shelves?" - amen, you need a Master's Degree to be a public librarian
  • "What I personally hate about this bidding culture is that it sets one community, one group, one school, against another. If one wins, the other loses." - i.e. that all these community organizations have to bid on 600K pounds as that is all the county council is providing; and with 20 libraries set to close, they probably won't get more than 10K pounds as he points out earlier
  • "The human joy and pleasure goes out of it; books are published not because they’re good books but because they’re just like the books that are in the bestseller lists now, because the only measure is profit." - Sad but true
  • "Apparently Mr Mitchell thinks that we authors who defend libraries are only doing it because we have a vested interest – because we’re in it for the money...No, Mr Mitchell, it isn’t for the money. I’m doing it for love." - yay!
  • "But what a gift to give a child, this chance to discover that you can love a book and the characters in it, you can become their friend and share their adventures in your own imagination." - what I'm hoping every librarian wishes for their patrons
  • "I love it because its presence in a town or a city reminds us that there are things above profit, things that profit knows nothing about, things that have the power to baffle the greedy ghost of market fundamentalism, things that stand for civic decency and public respect for imagination and knowledge and the value of simple delight."
  • "Leave the libraries alone. You don’t know the value of what you’re looking after. It is too precious to destroy." - This should go out to all city, county and state governments that even consider cutting library budgets!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Children & YA Book Reviews and Recommendations

So I am in a relatively good mood as I just paid one of our overdue bills and am glad to not worry about that for a few more weeks. Now if my body would just cooperate and stop being so stiff and uncomfortable. I slept funny last night and woke up with a painful upper back, probably I slept on my back when I'm not really supposed to now that I'm pregnant. So the plan for today is to go to work and work 3 hours, which I know doesn't sound like a lot, but when you feel exhausted all the time, it's more than it seems. Despite this, I've been on a reading kick lately and have been gobbling up any Children/YA books I can get my hands on. Luckily there was a book sale this weekend and I got some good books for cheap. I also got to finally listen to the latest Bloody Jack book on audiobook and I must say that Katherine Kellgren has done amazingly well on this book. She does all the voices for the book, but this was by far my favorite. I also got the chance to read a few banned books. I am also excited for being able to go to the library and pick up at least 2 new Children/YA books.

**Spoilers below**

Bring Me Some Apples and I'll Make You A Pie: A Story About Edna Lewis
by: Robbin Gourley  
I loved this picture book about chef Edna Lewis, who I had heard of but never read anything about, so I figured this book would give me a headstart on knowing about her. I thought it was very well done, mixing the different harvests from spring to fall with "rhymes and sayings taken from American folk tradition (Gourley, 40)." I especially liked how everytime she and her family would pick the produce, she would say something cooking-related like "Honey on hot biscuits sweetens the morning," or when they are collecting strawberries she says "There'll be strawberry shortcake for dessert tonight!". She is a girl after my own heart. Sure you eat the berries as you pick them, but you also save some for pie. The Author's note in the back was particularly useful and included a bibliography of Edna's cookbooks. It also included 5 recipes from the kind of things mentioned in the picture book. Highly recommended and I gave it 5 stars. 

And Tango Makes Three
by: Justin Richardson
Very cute and true story about two male penguins, named Roy and Silo, at the Central Park Zoo who hatched and raised a female penguin named Tango and became a family. It's hard to believe this book is banned as it is so well-done and sweet, and not up in your face about the homosexuality of the two male characters as some would suggest that it does. 4 stars. 

Bridge to Terabithia
by: Katherine Paterson 
I had never read this book and after having picked it up at a book sale this past weekend, I thought I would give it a try. I really enjoyed the story of a young boy growing up in Virginia and trying to find his place in the world. I liked that he befriended another lonely child, a tomboy, and that they became best friends. I like that she made him a better person and able to face anything, even sadly enough, her death. My favorite quote from the book, page 126:
"It was Leslie who had taken him from the cow pasture into Terabithia and turned him into a king...Now it occurred to him that perhaps Terabithia was like a castle where you came to be knighted. After you stayed for a while and grew strong you had to move on. For hadn't Leslie, even in Terabithia, tried to push back the walls of his mind and make him see beyond to the shining world - huge and terrible and beautiful and very fragile?...Now it was time for him to move out. She wasn't there, so he must go for both of them. It was up to him to pay back to the world in beauty and caring what Leslie had loaned him in vision and strength."

I knew it was one of the most banned books, apparently #8 on the 100 Most Frequently Challenged Books from 1990-1999. That being said, it did win the Newberry Award for 1978, I'm guessing for dealing with the sensitive subject of death, especially in and dealing with children. On the Scholastic website, I found this quote from the author on why she disagrees with death being an inappropriate topic for children: "Bridge is not considered appropriate for children,because death is not an appropriate topic for children—which I find very sad, because two of my children lost friends by the time they were eight years old. . . . Death was not appropriate for my children, but somehow, as their parents, we had to help them face death.” Yes the book does have swear words in it, but they are way tamer than more recent banned books that I have read. As the author again says, "Jess and his father talk like the people I knew who lived in that area,” she has said. “I believe it is my responsibility to create characters who are real, not models of good behavior. If Jess and his dad are to be real, they must speak and act like real people." 5 stars.

The Search for Wondla
by: Tony DiTerlizzi
I knew next to nothing about this book when it came out, other than it was the new DiTerlizzi book, and since I've liked his other books, I figured I would eventually give this one a shot. The story is basically this: a 12 year old girl named Eva Nine lives underground but is never allowed to go to the surface until her robot, named Muthr, allows her to. Someone attacks the compound and Eva is forced to the surface, but nothing could have prepared her for what she discovers on top. She can identify none of the plant or animal species in her Omnipod (handheld computer) and then she is captured by a mysterious animal who seems to be looking for her. She escapes with another creature called Rovender, who she nicknames Rovee, and they eventually rescue Muthr. They decide to journey to the capital city to see if they can find more humans and figure out why this creature is pursuing them. Wondla is something Eva found as a child but can't figure out what it is. You must read to discover its secret and what happens next.

Overall, I really enjoyed the book once I got into it, which pretty much coincided with Eva reaching the surface. Once she begins her travels, her time in the compound begins to make more sense than it does when you are initially reading it. The illustrations were amazing and really helped to place the story as the author creates an entirely new world and culture, even going so far as to include an alphabet and commonly used phrases in the back of the book. My favorite character was Otto and I hope we are seeing more of him. The ending was a little frustrating, but I loved it when the reader found out what Wondla is. I give it 4 1/2 stars.  
The Wake of the Lorelei Lee: Being an Account of the Adventures of Jacky Faber, on her Way to Botany Bay
by: L.A. Meyer, read by: Katherine Kellgren 
This one is my favorite of Jacky's adventures so far, though I really thought this was to be Meyer's last book (as frankly the story has been going on long enough). Just let her be with Jamie for Pete's sake!! Sadly, he has dragged it out for at least one more book.

In this adventurous tale, Jacky sails to England to be with Jamie only to be captured by the British Government. You really think she is going to be hanged this time, only to be saved at the last moment and being put aboard a prison ship on her way to New South Wales (Australia). Higgins ends up joining her on the ship and so starts her new adventures. The story was particularly exciting and I liked that she went to so many interesting Eastern ports and met so many fascinating people, I especially liked the Chinese pirate queen. When she finally meets up with Jamie, I am so happy for her, though as usual that excitement is so short-lived for a variety of reasons. I will note that a good number of her former beaus end up in this book, which was entertaining to say the least. The ending was super frustrating as I'm sure I will have to wait another year for the book to come out so I can find out what happens to the Lorelai Lee and her crew.  Highly recommended for 15+ due to graphic use of language/violence, 5 stars. 

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Italian Wedding Soup

This past week I had a can of Campbell's all-Natural Italian Wedding Soup for lunch and while it was edible, I decided that surely I could make it better from scratch. I happened to have a pound of ground beef, so I gave it a try this week. Now I will say that I wouldn't make this unless you had a fair amount of time to make it as the individual parts don't take that long, but putting all together does. I based it off this recipe I found on the internet, and tweaked it a bit to suit my purposes. I've always been a "follow the recipe exactly" devotee, so branching out was new for me, but it ended up working. I judged a lot of ingredients by eye, what looked good to me when it went in, so please adjust according to taste. Pretty much all of the ingredients except for the meatballs can be made ahead of time, if you want. The original recipe called for making the pasta and meatballs in the broth, but I did everything separately and the mixed together at the end.

Italian Wedding Soup

1 pound lean ground beef
2 eggs
1/4 cup seasoned dried bread crumbs, plus more if your meatballs are too wet
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
1 tsp Italian seasoning
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
7-8 cups chicken broth
1/3 - 1/2 bag frozen spinach (you can also use fresh spinach) 
1/3 bag dry DaVinci twists pasta (can use any kind of pasta: seashells, gemelli, acino di pepe, orzo etc)

Defrost spinach and set aside. Make broth, put in a large pot, and set aside. Make meatballs by combining beef, eggs, bread crumbs, Parmesan, and seasonings in a bowl and mix. I found it easier for me to mix by hand but you can use a spatula or mixer as well. Separate meatball mixture into small meatballs, about half the size of regular meatballs. Remember that the smaller they are, the quicker they cook. Put a little oil in a pan and pan fry them until they are cooked, and put in paper towels to get rid of excess oil and set aside. Cook pasta, drain and set aside. Get pot with broth and put in spinach and pasta and set to medium-low heat to warm it up. Add meatballs when finished cooking and make sure everything is warmed through, about 15 minutes or until you think it is done. Soup can be served with extra Parmesan on top. Entire soup takes at least 1.5 hrs. 

Saturday, January 22, 2011

101 Picture Books No Child Should Miss

A friend of mine at the State Library posted this on Facebook this week, and I thought it was great. Here's the link if you are interested, but I thought I would post the list here. The ones highlighted are the ones I've read, which I'm sorry to say isn't that many. I have read versions of some of them, but not the specific ones they listed. I did not read Crichtor by Tomi Ungere, though I have read The Beast of Monsieur Racine and enjoyed that.

1. Aardema, Verna.  Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People's Ears: A West African tale. 1975.  
2. Allard, Harry.  Miss Nelson Is Missing! 1977.   
3. Asbjørnsen, Peter Christen.  The Three Billy Goats Gruff. 1957.   
4. Baker, Keith.  Big Fat Hen. 1994.  
5. Bang, Molly.  Ten, Nine, Eight.  1983.  
6. Barton, Byron.  Machines At Work. 1987.   
7. Bemelmans, Ludwig.  Madeline. 1939.  
8. Bennett, Jill.  Teeny Tiny. 1985.  
9. Brown, Margaret Wise.  Goodnight Moon. 1947.  
10. Brown, Marcia.   Stone Soup, 1947. 
11. Brunhoff, Jean de.  The Story of Babar, The Little Elephant. 1960.   
12. Burningham, John. Mr. Gumpy's Outing. 1970.  
13. Burton, Virginia Lee.  Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel. 1939.  
14. Carle, Eric.  The Very Hungry Caterpillar. 1987.  
15. Conover, Chris.  Six little ducks. 1976.  
16. Crews, Donald.  Freight Train. 1978.  
17. Cronin, Doreen. Click, Clack, Moo: Cows That Type. 2000.   
18. Dallas-Conte, Juliet. Cock-A-Moo-Moo. 2001.  
19. Daugherty, James Henry.  Andy and the Lion. 1938.  
20. Degen, Bruce. Jamberry. 1983.   
21. DePaola, Tomie.  Strega Nona: An Old Tale. 1975.  
22. Dorros, Arthur.  Abuela.  1991.   
23. Dunrea, Olivier. Gossie & Gertie. 2002.   
24. Emberley, Ed. Go Away, Big Green Monster! 1992.  
25. Eric A., Kimmel. Anansi and The Moss-Covered Rock. 1988.  
26. Falconer, Ian. Olivia. 2000.  
27. Feiffer, Jules. Bark, George. 1999.  
28. Flack, Marjorie. Ask Mr. Bear. 1932.  
29. Fleming, Denise. Lunch. 1992.  
30. Freeman, Don. Corduroy. 1968.  
31. Gag, Wanda. Millions of Cats. 1928.  
32. Ginsburg, Mirra.  Mushroom In the Rain. 1974.  
33. Galdone, Paul. The Three Bears. 1972.   
34. Henkes, Kevin.  Owen. 1993.   
35. Herron, Carolivia.  Nappy Hair. 1997.  
36. Heyward, DuBose, The country bunny and the little gold shoes: as told to Jenifer. 1967.
37. Hill, Eric.  Where's Spot? 1980.  
38. Hoban, Russell.  Bread and Jam for Frances. 1964.  
39. Hort, Lenny. The Seals On the Bus. 2000.   
40. Hutchins, Pat.  Rosie's Walk. 1967.   
41. Jonas, Ann. Two Bear Cubs. 1982.  
42. Johnson, Crockett,   Harold and the Purple Crayon. 1983.  
43. Kasza, Keiko.  The Wolf's Chicken Stew. 1987.   
44. Keats, Ezra Jack.  The Snowy Day. 1962.   
45. Kipling, Rudyard,   Rikki-tikki-tavi. 1992.  
46. Kimmel, Eric. Anansi and the Moss-Covered Rock. 1988.
47. Krauss, Ruth. The Carrot Seed. 1945.   
48. Kraus, Robert. Whose Mouse Are You? 1970.   
49. Krosoczka, Jarrett. Punk Farm.  2005.  
50. Langstaff, John M. Over In the Meadow.  1957.   
51. Leaf, Munro. The Story of Ferdinand.  1936.   
52. Lester, Helen.  Tacky the Penguin. 1988.  
53. Lewis, Kevin. Chugga-Chugga Choo-Choo. 1999.  
54. Lionni, Leo.  Swimmy.   Pantheon, 1968.   
55. Lobel, Arnold. Frog and Toad Are Friends. 1970.   
56. Luenn, Nancy.  Nessa’s Fish. 1990.   
57. Marshall, James,  George and Marshall. 1972.
58. Martin, Bill.  Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? 1983.  
59. Martin, Bill.  Chicka Chicka Boom Boom. 1989.
60. Mayer, Mercer. There's A Nightmare In My Closet. 1968.  
61. McCloskey, Robert.  Make Way For Ducklings. 1941.  
62. McMullan, Kate.  I Stink. 2002.   
63. Mosel, Arlene.  Tikki Tikki Tembo. 1968.  
64. Noble, Trinka Hakes. The Day Jimmy's Boa Ate the Wash. 1980.  
65. Numeroff, Laura. If You Give A Mouse A Cookie. 1985.  
66. Pinkney, Gloria.  The Sunday Outing. 1994.  
67. Piper, Watty.   The Little Engine That Could. 1930.  
68. Polacco, Patricia. Chicken Sunday. 1992.  
69. Potter, Beatrix.  The Tale of Peter Rabbit.  1991.  
70. Rathmann, Peggy.  Officer Buckle and Gloria.  1995.
71. Real Mother Goose, The.  Checkerboard. 1944.   
72. Rey, H. A.  Curious George. 1969.  
73. Rockwell, Anne F.  The Toolbox. 1971.  
74. Rosen, Michael. We're Going On A Bear Hunt.  1989.  
75. Scieszka, Jon. The Stinky Cheese Man and other fairly stupid tales.  1992.  
76. Scieszka, Jon. The True Story of the 3 Little Pigs. 1989.  
77. Sendak, Maurice. Where the Wild Things Are. 1963.  
78. Seuss, Dr.  Green Eggs and Ham. 1960.  
79. Shannon, David.  Duck On A Bike. 2002.  
80. Shannon, David.  No, David! 1998.  
81. Shaw, Charles. It Looked Like Spilt Milk. 1947.  
82. Simmons, Jane. Come Along, Daisy! 1997.  
83. Sis, Peter.  Fire Truck. 1998.  
84. Slobodkina, Esphyr.  Caps for Sale.  1947.  
85. Smalls, Irene. Because You’re Lucky. 1997.  
86. Steig, William.  Sylvester and the Magic Pebble. 1988.  
87. Stickland, Paul. Dinosaur Roar! 1997.  
88. Stroud, Bettye.  The Patchwork Path. 2005.  
89. Taback, Simms.  There Was An Old Lady Who Swallowed A Fly.  1997.  
90. Tafuri, Nancy.  Spots, Feathers, and Curly Tails. 1988.
91. Tresselt, Alvin R. The Mitten. 1966.  
92. Ungerer, Tomi.  Crictor.  Harper, 1958.  
93. Van Allsburg,  Chris. The Polar Express. 1985.  
94. Viorst, Judith.  Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day. 1972.  
95. Waber, Bernard.  Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile. 1965.  
96. Walsh, Ellen.  Mouse Paint. 1989.  
97. Westcott, Nadine. The Lady With the Alligator Purse. 1988.  
98. Williams, Vera B. A Chair For My Mother. 1992.  
99. Wood, Audrey. The Napping House. 1984.  
100. Yolen, Jane.  How Do Dinosaurs Say Good Night. 2000.  
101. Zion, Gene.  Harry the Dirty Dog. 1956.   

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Freak out and Book Awards

So I have been writing this blog since last fall and the purpose is mostly so I have something else to do, as I was unemployed during the time and had a lot of free time. I also like to post about libraries, books and what it is like for a library school student/graduate trying to find a job. True, I have not been as diligent in the last month or so as I have been rather distracted with finishing up school and real life in general. I am hoping to correct that in the future. I was just psyched when I came on my blog to figure out which episode of Kekkaishi anime I am on, and instead I noticed I had a comment on my last YA book review from Mary Hoffman herself, the author of the Stravaganza series and many other wonderful books that I discovered in 2010!! Needless to say, that is way cool, so I commented on her blog after a nice post about saving libraries in the UK from funding cuts.

I know this list has been out for over a week and I apologize for not posting it earlier. The ALA released the awards list for youth books, videos, and audiobooks. I'm sorry to say that I've not read any of the books yet, with the exception of Will Grayson, Will Grayon which won the Stonewall Children & Young Adult Literature Award, but I will amend that as I continue to work in the children's room and have time to pick up more books.

Monday, January 10, 2011

YA Book Reviews and Recommendations

I've read my first two YA books of the year, with at least 3 more on the way in the next month or two. I've been waiting to read the following two for a couple months now as they have been on order for my local public library and/or I've just been too busy with school to read them.  Included below are the reviews for those books. I rate them on a scale of 1-5 stars. I would also like to include reviews for the first 3 books of The Chronicles of Narnia, which are in my 7-volume book.

C.S. Lewis The Chronicles of Narnia (The Magician's Nephew, The Lion The Witch and The Wardrobe, and The Horse and His Boy)

I read the books in the order that they are according to C.S. Lewis's suggestion, so the The Magician's Nephew is first. It reminded me of L. Frank Baum's stories a bit; Diggory and his neighbor Polly find out that Diggory's uncle is a Magician of sorts who has magical rings to take you to other lands. They come upon a magical wood while wearing the rings and meet the Witch (Empress Jadis) and she forces them to go back to England so she can take over their world like she did hers. Polly and Diggory manage to get the Witch and Diggory's Uncle into the magical woods and then end up in Narnia as it is being formed by Aslan. Essentially a son of Adam has brought the witch into the world and must help to get her out, which Diggory sort of does by bringing a magic apple to Aslan which he plants and is supposed to protect Narnia. As you've probably guessed by now, the Witch will later become the White Witch, who is in the next book "The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe." The interesting part is that the Diggory is the professor who houses Lucy, Peter, Susan and Edmund and that other magical apple that he brought back for his mother (so she could be healed from a horrible illness) is planted in his aunt's back garden and when it falls down, he uses the wood to make the wardrobe that Lucy first discovers to get into Narnia. I thought that was an interesting twist and why the books should be read in this order. 5 stars.

I had never actually read "The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe" until now, though I had grown up with the 1970s BBC cartoon. The story is magical and if you combine the cartoon with the recent Disney movie, you pretty much have the story, although reading it is so much better than watching it. 4 stars.

"The Horse and His Boy" was the next book in the series, and this one I liked the least. It was kind of like Oz meets the Arabian Nights, but also incredibly long-winded. It just isn't as well-written as the other two books in the series. The addition of Aslan almost seems like an afterthought. It is set during the reign of the 4 High Kings and Queens of Cair Paravel. The book is the story of a young boy named Shasta who lives in a fishing village in the South (which is basically supposed to be an Arabic country), who discovers that his father isn't really his father and that he most likely is a Northerner because of his blond hair. So he and a talking horse he discovers named Bree decide to set off on a journey to Narnia, far to the north. Along the way, they meet Aravis, a nobleman's daughter and her horse Hwin, who is also a talking horse. In the capital city of the South, Shasta runs into the royal Narnians, King Edmund and Queen Susan, who is being offered in marriage to the Southerner's prince Rabadash, but who she does not want to marry. They escape and it is from them that Shasta learns the secret way into Archenland, the kingdom just south of Narnia. Aravis, meanwhile, learns that Prince Rabadash is mad at the Narnians escape and wants to capture them and force Queen Susan into marriage. Will Shasta get to Archenland in time to warn the king? Will they ever make it to Narnia? 3 stars.

Mary Hoffman's Stravaganza: City of Ships
The only thing I was annoyed with in this book was the fact that they promised a wedding between Arianna and Luciano in the last book and it still hasn't happened at the end of this book, although there was another wedding. I love this series, but I'm not sure how much more the author can drag it out, apparently for at least one more book. That being said, I loved the story.

This book was about Isabel, a twin who is ignored by her twin brother and most of the rest of people in general. She always feels second best, and as those who read the Stravaganti series now, the talismans always pick troubled teens. Isabel is interested in art, specifically mosaics and ends up in Talia's version of Ravenna called Classe. She quickly discovers the other Stravaganti teens at her school and soon they are working together to figure out why she has been called there. She is supposed to save the Talian cities of Classe and Belleza from the dreaded Gate people (who seem to be Eastern European/Arabic). The ending battle was spectacular and I loved the interactions between Isabel and the Talians/other Stravaganti. 

Cassandra Clare's Clockwork Angel: The Infernal Devices Book 1
 Good first book to the series, but so slow to get into the storyline. As others have said, it is very similar to Mortal Instruments series (see Josie's Goodreads review from March 23, 2010 for more info: "I enjoyed this a lot, but there were things that were too similar to the MI series to make it completely original. For instance: the beautiful, wise-cracking shadow-hunter the protagonist falls in love with pretty much straight away; the three shadow-hunter teenagers (two boys, one girl) living at the institute; the love triangle ; the female protagonist who thinks she's merely 'ok' to look at, yet has two Adonis-like males in love with her who think she's beautiful.") Despite that, I liked the book and was fascinated by Tessa's ability and wished they would've shared more information in this book about her background. No doubt they will in the next two books. The ending was a big cliffhanger as it took me forever to figure out who was actually the bad guy and also what Will is going to seek Magnus Bane's help for, for Jem or for Tessa or something else entirely? Very excited to read the next book!

First post of the year!

Ok not sure that I will be carrying on traditions I started last fall through this year, but we'll see. It is only the 10th day of the year so plenty of time to decide. I wanted something interesting to comment on before I posted. We got home from Arizona on Wednesday and it was freezing. I picked up 3 books from the library, plus a cookbook The Gourmet Cookie Book, so that ought to keep me busy for a bit. I've finished the first book, Mary Hoffman's Stravaganza: City of Ships, the fifth book in the series and it looks like there will be at least a sixth book after that. I'm still reading Chronicles of Narnia, and am on Prince Caspian, which is my second favorite book in the series so far after The Magician's Nephew. That book is currently on the back burner (as I own it) while I get some books I've been trying to read for several months out of the way. I also just finished Cassandra Clare's The Clockwork Angel: The Infernal Devices Book 1 and I have to go pick up another cookbook from the library tomorrow. 

Last night and today it has snowed/sleeted 4 inches, an unheard of amount for South Carolina, and I am off work/stuck in the house again as a result. It wasn't all bad though, as I did get to catch up on my sleep/reading, which has been nice. The only book I have left to read from the library is a biography on Augustus, which seemed fitting given I watched both seasons of HBO's Rome and was fascinated by Octavian's role in it all. For those not up on Roman history, Octavian was the adopted son of Julius Caesar and was actually his great nephew. He later went on to become Augustus, the first Roman emperor. I have read a book on his later life, in I, Claudius but not on his early start before he became emperor, which seems to be fascinating.