Monday, January 25, 2010

New book on my shelf...

I don't know if I'll really get any crocheting in this spring, but this book is full of tantalizing possibilities!

Beyond-the-Square Crochet Motifs Beyond-the-Square Crochet Motifs by Edie Eckman

A new book that I got with a Christmas gift card--so excited to have some quick/small crochet projects to try! Astra, this is all because of you!

Advanced Twitter

I am hoping to teach a workshop on using Twitter later this semester--which means I need to learn more about Twitter myself (my ulterior motive!).

I have a Twitter account and I have TwitterFox installed on the computer I use most at work so I can see pop-up updates throughout the evening. We just got a new computer at home, and I will be using Safari there (my husband and I have learned that one thing we can not share amicably is a web browser--I don't like that he never signs out of e-mail and he doesn't like my bookmarks!), so I will find a plug-in to install with Safari. I know how to tweet in the technical sense, although I certainly don't have the art of tweeting effectively down. I also tweet rarely, so I linked my GoodReads account up to make automatic updates when I review books.

I know how to find and follow people, and I've done a few trials with looking up a topic and reading tweets on it.

Here are some facets of Twitter that I'd love advice on, if you have it:
  • Lists--I have not explored these at all.
  • The art of tweeting--I've seen some tips on this that I will rely on, but feel free to give me more!
  • Monitoring Twitter in a way that's useful to you.
  • Using all those mobile/texting options. This is one area where I am sure to be behind the times for awhile--I don't think our (family) cell phone has a texting plan, and I'm too cheap to invest in one, especially since I don't see using it a lot except to play around with!
Your own experiences or great resources you've come across are all welcome!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010


For a librarian, I read remarkably slowly, especially if the book doesn't jump up and grab me. This may be why I spend so much leisure time on kids' and YA books.

I also love to reread, which significantly limits the number of new books I read at any given time. Still, I think if a good book is a good friend, you need to keep up the relationship! I have favorites from elementary and middle school that I still go back and reread. In the interests of including pictures (because I like them!), here are my GoodReads links to a few:

Many Waters (Time, Book 4) Many Waters by Madeleine L'Engle

My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Possibly my favorite book of all time.

The Witch of Blackbird Pond
The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Wonderful book about a young woman who moves from Barbados to Puritan Connecticut after her Grandfather's death, the adjustments she has to make, the lessons she learns, and the friendships she creates. Includes themes of intolerance and understanding.

Beauty: A Retelling of the Story of Beauty and the Beast
Beauty: A Retelling of the Story of Beauty and the Beast by Robin McKinley

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
LOVED this book growing up and still love to reread it.

I've been doing a fair amount of rereading this fall, including:

Till We Have Faces: A Myth Retold Till We Have Faces: A Myth Retold by C.S. Lewis

My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This was one of my three assigned books for my Jan Term course, junior year of college, called "Fantasy, Myth, and Spirit," about the Inklings. Probably most fun I've had in a college course. Reread several times, most recently December, 2009.

Miles in Love (Vorkosigan Omnibus, #6) Miles in Love by Lois McMaster Bujold

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Rereading some favs from the Vorkosigan series (Komarr, A Civil Campaign, and a novella). A Civil Campaign was the first one I read, back in June, 2004.

Just as much fun as the first time around!

and the Alice series, by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor--I read many of these as a kid, but never straight through, as I'm trying to do now. The one I most recently finished is:

The Grooming of Alice The Grooming of Alice by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Over the summer, Alice and her friends try to get in shape, Elizabeth takes losing weight a little too far, Lester gets a new girlfriend, Pamela has more trouble with her parents, and Alice's dad goes to visit Miss Summers in Englad. A bit more issue-packed than some previous, but still very enjoyable.

Do you like to reread (or rewatch movies--that could be another post, including the story of why Lilo and Stitch is now banned from our household), or do prefer something new each time? What type of book do you like to reread?

Friday, January 8, 2010

Effective Blog Reading

In December, I had a 2 week break from work (hooray!) which also meant a 2 week break from blogging (not that I am the most regular of bloggers during regular work days...). It also largely meant a break in blog reading. I checked up on some of my favorites, but I didn't read any professional blogs, and I didn't read most blogs that take longer than 5 minutes to read an entry. When I did dash online for a few minutes, I started thinking about being a good blog reader, which I think might be a prerequisite for being a good blog writer.

I'm not the most effective user of RSS or other blog feeds, because I get a little bit obsessed with "checking off" feeds as "already read" whether I read them or not. Also, most of my favorite blogs include pictures, which the feeds don't show, so I'd just as soon check the actual blog as read a feed. Still, I think a blog reader needs to be able to dip into and out of conversations, unless they are only going to focus on one or two blogs. Like the news, blogs change frequently, and it's not always worthwhile to go back and catch up on all missed entries (although sometimes it is; Doug Johnson published an excellent series on library budgeting that I missed during December).

What really baffles me is how to comment effectively. I often think of comments as I read a blog entry, but the best comments I've read are those that take part in the conversation of other commenters--which means you have to take the time to read those comments instead of just throwing your idea up on the wall and leaving. This significantly increases time needed to participate in a blog community, especially if there's a lot of conversation around a post.

Do any of you have suggestions on how you managing your blog reading and commenting time? How does it affect your own blogging?