Sunday, January 24, 2010

What Do I Read Next??

My Review

Have you ever walked through a bookstore/the library wanting a great book to read, but not knowing what to pick or where to look? The situation can quickly get frustrating if you only have a limited amount of time to make your choice, and/or you must choose a book for a loved one. Equally frustrating: you are assigned a book report, and are free to write on whichever book you want, so long as you have never read it before (I have had these!).

Enter the books on books. These are advice guides that can help you make a decision on what to read, and are split into a variety of different genres/subject areas.

Each of the following authors/books is accompanied by a note.

Books by Nancy Pearl.

Now Read This III: A Guide to Mainstream Fiction (2010) co-authored with Sarah Statz Cords.

Book Lust (2003)

More Book Lust (2005)

Book Crush (2007) -- for Kids and Teens.

I like and HIGHLY recommend Nancy Pearl's books (especially Book Lust) for a variety of reasons. She not only groups books into subjects, but many of her subject titles are inventive/humorous. Within each subject, she does not "list" books by authors -- she dedicates a small paragraph to each book, so that you can get a taste for the plot, the awards/history of the books (if any) and the authors' style.

Reading with Babies, Toddlers and Twos: A Guide to Choosing, Reading and Loving Books Together. By Susan Straub and KJ Dell'Antonia.

Want to read with your newborn, or with your talkative two-year-old? This book is a really handy tool to keep around. It not only lists picture books according to subject area, but it discusses the "mechanics" of making reading enjoyable with your child, even if your available reading material is only a shopping catalogue. The book discusses how to choose books that your child will find interesting, and it also addresses the different needs of babies at different stages, from newborns, to children who have just learned how to sit, to kids who love to talk all the time.


I really wanted to tackle this subject matter since I myself have wandered my library shelves all too often looking for something "good" to read. I am in particular interested in children's services, since I used to teach preschool programs and morning camps, so I found Susan Straub's book quite comprehensive and practical.

This blog took longer to post than is normal. In the interval between blog posts, I tried reading Charlaine Harris' latest Sookie Stackhouse novel unsuccessfully. Whereas I really enjoyed her Grave... series with Tolliver and Harper, her Sookie Stackhouse novels seem more romantic and, from my impression of Dead and Gone, lacked in character development.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Caring For Your Pet Bird: A Practical Hand book by David Alderton

Caring for Your Pet Bird: A Practical HandbookBook Information
Caring For Your Pet Bird: A Practical Handbook. By David Alderton. Southwater, 2009

My Summary/Review
Bird owners (and people planning to get their first bird) should look through Caring For Your Pet Bird: A Practical Handbook by David Alderton. Its glossy pages are filled with colourful photos, and with indepth information on all things bird-related.

Readers should note that this book focuses on budgies, canaries, finches and parrots in particular, and that the print size is small. In addition, this book is divded according to topic (such as aviaries, nutrition) and not according to the type of bird, so readers should consult other manuals as well.

From perches to speech training, this book is a worthwhile read for any owner needing more information than is provided in a basic guide.

My Notes

I picked this book up from the library as I own a large, talkative white English budgie named Jim. Some of his favourite sentences are "Good morning!" and "Hi! How are you?" I found the information on food particularly useful: I will offer fruit and vegetables such as carrots and celery on a more regular basis, since seeds do not provide a well-rounded diet.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Talking About Detective Fiction

Talking About Detective FictionBook Information
P. D. James. Talking about Detective Fiction. Knopf, December 2009.

My review
When you are looking for a new read, do you often find yourself heading towards the mystery section? Are you interested in history? "Talking about Detective Fiction" by P.D. James (who wrote the Adam Dalgliesh mysteries) covers the highlights of the history of the English detective novel, from its beginnings in the 1700s and 1800s to recent mystery fiction, including the Inspector Morse novels. James analyses the novels in light of the social history that influenced the time in which they were written.

James' clear writing style, combined with the cartoons sprinkled throughout the book, make this a breezy, enjoyable read.

Personal Notes
I picked this book up for a several reasons. What grabbed my attention first was the format of the book. It's quite small, and with its large margins, I knew it would not be a difficult read. Most importantly, I enjoy reading mysteries. At this moment, my favourite mystery author is G. K. Chesterton (Fr. Brown mystery story anthologies), although I really enjoy Charlaine Harris too, since she writes real page-turners.

Read This Book Already?
Try The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher: A Shocking Murder and the Undoing of a Great Victorian Detective by Kate Summerscale. It's about the gruesome Road Hill House murder that inspired the writings of both Wilkie Collins and Charles Dickens.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Aya: The Secrets Come Out

Aya: The Secrets Come Out: Volume ThreeBook Information
Aya: The Secrets Come Out. By Marguerite Abouet and Clement Oubrerie. Translated by Helge Dascher. Drawn & Quarterly, 2009.

My Summary/Review
Aya: The Secrets Come Out is full of complicated romances and social change. It's the third book in the award-winning Aya series. Aya, the main character in this colourful graphic book series, is a studious African teenager growing up on the dynamic Ivory Coast of the 1970s.

In this book, Aya patiently prepares her friends Bintou, Adjoua, and Felicite for the local beauty pageant, and provides ongoing support for them throughout all the difficulties they face. The tensions in this book come to a head quickly, when Aya's father's mistress brings her children for a visit and abandons them. Added to this, Bintou's father decides to marry one of Aya's friends, and Bintou plans to leave.

Readers will find that Abouet's writing and Oubrerie's illustrations tell Aya's story in a way that is sensitive, realistic, and at times, even humorous. Additionally, the recipes, tips and glossary at the back of the book give readers a light-hearted wider view of African culture.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

How to Find a Job on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, MySpace and Other Social Networks

How to Find a Job on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, and Other Social Networks
How to Find a Job on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, and Other Social Networks. By Brad and Debra Schepp. McGraw-Hill, 2009.

My Summary/Review
Do you spend a lot of time on Facebook or MySpace, updating your account and writing on your friends' walls? Do you "tweet"? If you are looking for work, and can answer yes to the first two questions, then you should read Brad and Debra Schepp's "How to Find a Job on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and Myspace and Other Social Networks". This book is not a step-by-step guide to setting up a social networking account. Instead, it discusses how to develop your account so that it targets and attracts the attention of employers and recruiters who specialize in your field of interest.