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 »


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 🙂


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 »


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!


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!


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 »


Photography Friday

January 13, 2012 Photography Friday 0

This week, the Ames Photography Club meeting was a talk on HDR photography, so I’ve been experimenting with that a little this week.  Unfortunately, I don’t have any results I’m excited about.  But I did photoshop this picture I took over Christmas break and I think I like it enough that it’s going to be my entry in the photography club contest this year.  The theme is abstracts and I’ve had a lot of fun taking pictures of things I wouldn’t usually notice trying to get something good for it 🙂  As always, feel free to check out my other work on flickr and if you follow me, I’ll follow you back.


Unexpected Changes

January 11, 2012 Uncategorized 2

At the library yesterday I discovered something awful!  Or at least, I thought it was awful at the time.  My library doesn’t actually own books for all of the number currently in use as part of the Dewey Decimal system!  I wasn’t sure how I wanted to deal with that.  Should I just skip the numbers they don’t have for now and continue as much in order as possible?  Or should I just read books in any order I wanted?

My last post actually led me to the answer.   As I concluded the, there is definitely some value to reading books on similar topics all together.  You begin to see connections between the books and learn what makes that sort of book interesting to you.  So while I will stop going precisely in order, I will try to read related books in clusters so I can still see those connections.  Hopefully this will help me follow the advice given by Kim at Sophisticated Dorkiness and not become a reading robot.  It’s very important to me to continue enjoying reading.  No thinking “I have to finish this book so I can review it!”.  That’s a great way to lose the joy of reading and an attitude I’ve been doing my best to avoid.

Since I’ve started this project, walking up and down past the non-fiction section has been a lot of fun. I love looking at all the different exciting books and topics ahead!  I think now that I’m picking my own topics this project will become even more enjoyable 🙂  I’m also excited to take the rest of this week to do some off-project reading, at least until I get back to the library.  I think I’m finally going to read Blink by Malcolm Gladwell (a book which I’ve wanted to read since it came out in 2005!) and hopefully do some more non-fiction reading as well.


“Unexpected Insights for Business and Life”

January 10, 2012 non-fiction 1

ClickClasses started today and neither of my classes seem too difficult.  Hopefully this means good things for my ability to continue blogging throughout the semester!  This evening I had time finish Click, my 006 book, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.  Like the author, I have to admit that I love data.  And this book describes a data-miner’s dream.  The author has information about the searches made and websites visited by 10 million users (!) and has demographic information for about a quarter of them. Read more »


Bookends for Bloggers

January 7, 2012 non-fiction 2

This week visiting the boy was awesome, with lots of time off together and one of our best dates ever at the revolving Sundial restaurant at the top of the Westin in Atlanta (so awesome!).  Unfortunately, the boy also had a lot of work to do.  Fortunately, this left me lots of time to work on my blog and read some 006 books on blogging, which I’ll be reviewing here 🙂 Read more »