Best of the Best Update

So far for the YALSA Best of the Best Reading Challenge I’ve read:

  • The Scorpio Races, by Maggie Stiefvater
  • What Happened to Goodbye, by Sarah Dessen
  • Anya’s Ghost, by Vera Brosgol
  • Bake Sale, by Sara Varon
  • Hera: The Goddess and her Glory, by George O’Connor

And for some quick thoughts on each book:

Loosely based on Celtic mythology, The Scorpio Races is set on the island of Thisby, where each year deadly water horses emerge from the sea and are captured and raced by islanders.  Sean Kendrick is a four-time champion of the races, although he does not own his beloved water horse Corr.  Puck Connolly impulsively decides to enter the races as the first woman rider in an attempt to keep her older brother from leaving for the mainland, and through a loophole in the rules is going to ride her beloved normal horse Dove.  Puck rides for her family, and Sean rides for his freedom.  They form an unlikely friendship, which slowly becomes something more, even as they know that only one of them can win the race.  I enjoyed The Scorpio Races more than I thought I would.  It was a little slow going at the beginning but I got very drawn into the descriptions of the island, the water horses, and the race.  I’m not a horse person myself, so some of the details about taking care of the horses went a little over my head, but theme of love and loyalty between people and their animals is relatable by any animal lover.  The writing was great and the romantic element was just right – a nice counterpoint to the slower descriptive sections, and the action scenes.

What Happened to Goodbye is a bit different than my usual genres of reading.  I’m not very drawn to contemporary realistic fiction like Sarah Dessen’s books.  In this one, McLean’s parents have gone through a nasty divorce that resulted in McLean choosing to live with her father, despite his needing to relocated every six months or so for work.  She takes the opportunity to reinvent herself in every town they get too, whether she decides to be a preppy girl, a cheerleader, a theater geek, or something else.  When they arrive in the fourth town in two years, McLean accidentally ends up being McLean again, and she has to figure out what that means.  What Happened to Goodbye was well-written, and I enjoyed it well enough while reading it, but it’s just not my favorite genre.  I’d definitely recommend it to people looking for realistic fiction with some romance though.

Anya’s Ghost is a graphic novel about a high schooler who struggles with her Russian background and dorky status at her private school.  Anya falls down an old well in a park and finds the ghost of a girl who fell down the well and died years earlier.  When Anya is rescued, the ghost, Emily, follows her.  At first Emily seems like a great friend, helping Anya cheat on tests and get the attention of the boy she likes.  Slowly though, Emily’s true intentions are revealed, and they are pretty evil.  As Anya tries to get rid of Emily and protect her family, she starts to recognize how valuable the people in her life are.  Anya’s Ghost was just the right amount of creepy and scary, along with a realistic portrayal of high school for a girl who feels she doesn’t fit it.  It was a really enjoyable read, and the art was great as well.

I love Sara Varon’s Robot Dreams, a wordless graphic novel for kids, so I was excited to read Bake Sale.  In it, Cupcake runs a bakery and is in a band with his friend Eggplant.  Eggplant is going to Turkey to visit his aunt and Cupcake wants to go with him to meet his baking idol Turkish Delight.  As Cupcake saves up money for the trip, Eggplant runs into some problems, and Cupcake has to decide whether he should go to Turkey on his own or give his savings to his friend.  This was a cute story, and Sara Varon’s artwork is colorful and fun.  Overall I was not as impressed by the story as I was with Robot Dreams.  Despite the theme of caring for your friends, there wasn’t that much depth to the story or the emotions.  Not a bad read, but I’d recommend Robot Dreams over Bake Sale.

Hera: The Goddess and her Glory is the third book in George O’Connor’s Olympians graphic novel series.  I am a big fan of the first two, Zeus and Athena.  The series tells the stories of a god or goddess and includes some extra information in the back about how O’Connor decided what elements of the myth to emphasize in his telling, along with some facts about the major characters in the book.  Hera felt a little more scattered to me, just because it told the story of Hera and the story of Heracles.  The art was just as wonderful as in the first two books.  The series is a great way to read the stories of the Greek gods.

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Skype

Like everyone else, I don’t have admin privileges to download and install Skype on my work computer. At home I use Google Video Chat to talk to family members, which works well.

YALSA Best of the Best Reading Challenge

YALSA recently announced their 2012 Best of the Best Reading Challenge, and I’m going to attempt it.  Even though my reading time has been significantly reduced since a certain baby made her appearance eight months ago, I’ll do my best.  I’m planning on keeping track of the books I read right here on this blog.

Screencast.com

I hadn’t used or heard of Screencast.com before, but it seems just about the same as box.net, which I use frequently.

Here’s my embedded photo:

It’s from my Minute to Win It program last summer.

Twitter

I made a Twitter account a few years ago, used it infrequently for a couple months, then decided I thought it was pointless and deleted my few tweets.  I kept my account in case I wanted to continue following people, but I never bothered to log in again until today.  I’m @fancypantspete on Twitter: https://twitter.com/#!/fancypantspete.

Our library already has a Twitter account, with various information posted about our hours, programs, etc.  Unlike on facebook, where we have a general library page and a separate teen services page, I don’t maintain a teen services BPL Twitter account.  I don’t think the teens around here are using Twitter – I never hear them mention it – so I would not bother to create one.

I will not continue using Twitter personally or professionally; like I said, I don’t like it.  It’s just one more thing to check and I don’t have the time.  I’d much rather interact with my friends on facebook than Twitter and I don’t feel the need to follow the few who are on Twitter there as well.  Some of them have also deleted or abandoned their accounts too.  I thought I would keep my account in case I wanted to still follow interesting public figures, but most of the ones I was following tweet so frequently, and frequently in reply to other users, it just feels like spam.

I tried Twitterfeed.  It was easy enough to use, although I won’t continue using it because I don’t plan on using Twitter.  If I was, I think it would be more useful to me to feed tweets into facebook than vice versa.

Delicious Bookmarks

I used to use Delicious pretty frequently, and then I guess I kind of forgot about it.  When I logged in my last saved bookmark was from April 4, 2011.  I did find it pretty useful when I was using it.  The ability to access my bookmarks from any computer at work or at home is very convenient.  This is my list of bookmarks: http://www.delicious.com/torirusso.

Activity #1:

I followed the link to the bookmarks tagged with “library” and then filtered it with the tag “teen.”  There were some interesting links there, including this one, which I saved to my bookmarks: http://librarybooklists.org/fiction/ya/yageneral.htm.  It’s a list of booklists, which could be useful for readers advisory at the desk.

Activity #2:

I wanted to follow the “Libraries using Delicious” Stack but wasn’t able to access it.

Activity #3:

I created a Stack called Readers Advisory with some of the links I had saved previously, including the link from Activity #1: http://www.delicious.com/stacks/view/RQ9ukX.

Activity #4:

I can’t access the group stack currently.

Pinterest revises its TOS

As a follow up to the post below regarding Pinterest and copyright issues, I received this email from Pinterest just today:

Updated Terms of Service

Over the last few weeks, we’ve been working on an update to our Terms. When we first launched Pinterest, we used a standard set of Terms. We think that the updated Terms of ServiceAcceptable Use Policy, andPrivacy Policy are easier to understand and better reflect the direction our company is headed in the future. We’d encourage you to read these changes in their entirety, but we thought there were a few changes worth noting.

  • Our original Terms stated that by posting content to Pinterest you grant Pinterest the right for to sell your content. Selling content was never our intention and we removed this from our updated Terms.
  • We updated our Acceptable Use Policy and we will not allow pins that explicitly encourage self-harm or self-abuse.
  • We released simpler tools for anyone to report alleged copyright or trademark infringements.
  • Finally, we added language that will pave the way for new features such as a Pinterest API and Private Pinboards.

We think these changes are important and we encourage you to review the new documents here. These terms will go into effect for all users on April 6, 2012.

Like everything at Pinterest, these updates are a work in progress that we will continue to improve upon. We’re working hard to make Pinterest the best place for you to find inspiration from people who share your interest. We’ve gotten a lot of help from our community as we’ve crafted these Terms.

Thanks!

Ben & the Pinterest Team

Looks like they are trying to be responsive to people’s concerns.

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