Monthly Archives:: January 2012

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January 30, 2012 Monday Musings 1

This morning, I finished the last book from the Percy Jackson series, and I must say, I loved the ending!  Although I expected a twist, I wasn’t able to anticipate what actually happened, which was nice.   As Jen at The Introverted Reader pointed out, character development was a strong point of these books and it was a lot of fun to see where everyone ended up.  So, having finished the series, I would still highly recommend them :)

Looking forward, I’ve gotten my next few books for reading through the Dewey Decimal system from the library and I’m pretty excited about them!  I’ve also decided to participate in my first meme, Musing Mondays, where book bloggers ponder thoughtful questions from Should Be Reading, the meme’s host.  Today’s question is: How far along are you in your current read before you start thinking about what you’ll read next?  As you can see from this post, I usually know what I’m reading pretty far in advance, just because I can’t help picking up large stacks of books every time I go to the library.  Fortunately, I don’t usually bring a tote bag, so I’m limited by the number I can carry!  But I typically still pick out my next fiction series and a chunk of non-fiction on the same or similar topics to read next.  So, without further ado, the next few books in my Dewey Decimal Challenge:

638 – A Spring Without Bees – According to wikipedia, a section on “insect culture”, which at my library meant a section on bees.  Since I don’t think I’m up to the challenge of raising my own bees, I chose this environmental novel over a how-to book.  It seems a little over-dramatic but also gives an interesting view of the ways our food industry depends on bees.

639  – This section was something of a hodge-podge, with books on owning a variety of non-mammalian pets to books on conservation and home gardening.  I was tempted to get one of the books on pets, since I’ve always liked animals, but I’m pretty sure if I did I’d be tempted to get a fish, turtle, or bearded dragon – for science.  So to avoid the temptation, I instead picked up two books about environmental activists: Nature’s Second Chance: Restoring the Ecology of Stone Prairie Farm and The Eye of the Elephant: An Epic Adventure in the African Wilderness.  The subtitles summarize them pretty well :)  And finally, I picked up a book called Welcoming Wildlife To the Garden: Creating Backyard and Balcony Habitats for Wildlife.  Although I don’t have a backyard, the section on tips for attracting wildlife to a balcony sold me on this one.  I’m sure my cat and I would both love to watch birds and butterflies if I can make a suitable habitat on my balcony.

So here’s to a week of good reading!  Feel free to post your own thoughts on the Monday Musings question in the comments or on your own blog.

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Bookends: Percy Jackson and More Percy Jackson

January 28, 2012 Fiction 11

In what is definitely the sign of a good series, I have spent the week diving into one Percy Jackson book after another.  I’m currently in the middle of the fourth book in the series, The Battle of the Labyrinth, and am already looking for another YA series to fill the void in my life that will be left when I finish the fifth and last book!  Suggestions are welcome :)  Wonderfully, I haven’t noted a decline in quality of the books as the series has progressed and I’ve found the feel of the books to be mostly the same as the first one, so I won’t be doing complete reviews for each but would happily give the whole series 4 stars and highly recommend them!

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Photography Friday

January 27, 2012 Photography Friday 0

This week, I decided it was time to stop being a pansy and bravely venture out into the cold to get some good pictures.  I’ve found it hard to motivate myself to go out for pictures lately, between the cold and the gray, but I actually managed to get some really brightly colored pictures which I liked a lot.  In this first picture, the background was just too distracting in full color, but I loved the shape so I decided to just keep the beautiful red curves.  I also found a really pretty, fall-colored bed of pine needles sheltered under a tree where the snow couldn’t reach.  The colors here were so vibrant, I just had to get a picture :)

 

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“Rockin’ the Wedge” – The Cheese Book

January 25, 2012 non-fiction 5

As I discovered during my last library visit, number 637 in the Dewey Decimal System is devoted exclusively to cheesemaking!  I was intrigued, so I picked up a very elegant-looking book called The Joy of Cheesemaking: The Ultimate Guide to Understanding, Making, and Eating Fine Cheese.  The first aspect of the book I really enjoyed was the elegant, sophisticated feeling it imparted, with both the cover and its description of “classic” cheeses I’d never even heard of.  The next thing I wanted to know, as I read impatiently through the introduction, was whether or not I could reasonably expect to make my own cheese.  Given enough money to spend on it, with this book I’d say the answer is yes. Read more »

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Bookends And Finally Some Fiction!

January 22, 2012 Fiction, non-fiction 10

So far, I’m really enjoying all the non-fiction reading I’m doing.  At the same time, there are so many good YA fiction blogs that I’ve begun to crave some fiction myself!  Which is why I decided to put off my Bookends post until today so yesterday I could finish reading the first Percy Jackson book,  The Lightning Thief.   I also finally got to reading my extra book from the 004’s, so that will be the other book I review today. Read more »

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Photography Friday

January 20, 2012 Photography Friday 0

In keeping with the theme of the blog, I decided on another library picture this week.  This is a picture taken from the first floor of the Iowa State campus library.  I was attempting to create an HDR picture to capture both the lighting and the shadows well.  Unfortunately, it was pretty dark so I needed a slow shutter speed and I had no tripod, so I wasn’t able to get three shots lined up exactly enough for HDR.  What I ended up doing was manually merging two pictures – one at a normal exposure, for the lighting, and an overexposed image to make the concrete look brighter.  I’m still not entirely happy with the framing (maybe it could be better taken from the second floor?) and I would like to get a true HDR shot, so I might go back for another stab at this one later :)

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My Kind of Cat

January 18, 2012 Biography, non-fiction 6

As soon as I finished reading Dewey: The Small-Town Library Cat Who Touched the World, I immediately jumped into the sequel (a good sign, I think!).  And in the introduction I came across the following quote, which really represented the first book to me: “People appreciate Spencer, Iowa.  They like our cornfields and architecture and they also like what we represent: simplicity, old-fashioned hard work, but also creativity, commitment, and love.” Read more »

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Fun Challenges

January 17, 2012 Uncategorized 8

As a new blogger, I unfortunately discovered the many fun reading challenges other book-bloggers are running shortly after the new year.  This meant most sign-ups were over.  In a way, this was a good thing, since it kept me from adding anything else to an already pretty ambitious project!  However, I think the community aspect of completing a challenge together could be fun.  Fortunately, I discovered Maphead’s Book Blog which led me to two Non-Fiction challenges with ongoing sign-ups 😀

I will now be participating in (appropriately) the Dewey Decimal Challenge hosted by The Introverted Reader at the Master level (goal: 16-20 non-fiction books) as well as the Non-Fiction Non-Memoir Challenge hosted by My Book Retreat at the Master’s Degree level (goal: 25 non-fiction, non-memoir books).  Although I hope that won’t be a challenge, since that would mean my semester had suddenly gotten a lot busier, I’m really not signing up for the extra goal.  So far, the most rewarding part of blogging has been the interactions with other bloggers and readers, which I look forward to expanding through these challenges.  Happy reading!

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Of Cats and Cheese

January 16, 2012 Uncategorized 2

I have a confession.  In the two months since adopting my cat Maggie (shown “helping” me put away clothes on the right), I have in many ways become, if not a crazy cat lady, at least a little obsessed with my cat.  This includes things like talking to her when I get home and taking many pictures of her, although I do my best not to be the person who uses facebook solely to share pet or baby pictures :)  And this week, my library books reflect that too!  I was wandering through the rows of non-fiction, feeling slightly overwhelmed by the sudden explosion in choices for my next book.  It’s simply amazing how many books even a small library like mine has in some of the sections, like history and politics. I think at a bigger library trying to pick just one might actually be too overwhelming and less fun!

Fortunately, I spotted a book I’d read about and wanted to read, called Dewey: The Small-Town Library Cat Who Touched the World in section 636, pets.  Since I’ve decided to read books in clumps, I began exploring the surrounding books and before getting out of the 636’s I’d managed to pick up 5 or 6 books with titles like The Cat Whisperer: The Secret of How to Talk to Your Cat and Totally Fun Things to Do With Your Cat (complete with cartoon illustrations!).   I kid you not.  But they promise answers to questions like why my cat attacks my ankles and whether or not it’s really ok that she ate half my sugar cookie the other day, which is enough to draw me in.

I also explored the section before (gardening) and the section after where I discovered that the entire number 637 was devoted to cheese making.  Again, not kidding – you just can’t make this stuff up!  So, of course, I had to check one of these out and ended up taking home The Joy of Cheesemaking: The Ultimate Guide to Understanding, Making and Eating Fine Cheese.  I’ll let you know if it turns me into a cheese connoisseur and/or causes me to spend exorbitant amounts of money on tasty cheese!

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Bookends – Flyte and Malcolm Gladwell

January 14, 2012 non-fiction 1

Non-Project Non-Fiction

My on-the-side non-fiction reading this week included two books by Malcolm Gladwell, Blink and The Tipping Point.  Blink was well-written and accessible.  The author shares many engaging anecdotes to facilitate his discussion of when our split-second decisions serve us well and when they go wrong.  It’s not the most scientific book I’ve read (with less transparent support for the points the author makes than Click, for example) but does cite many scientific studies for those who care to delve more deeply into any specific claim. Read more »

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