Thursday, December 21, 2006

Classics Reading Challenge

To help you out, I supply this list of short classics:
Kafka, Franz (60 pages) The Metamorphosis
Tolstoy, Leo (60 pages) The Death of Ivan Ilych
Mann, Thomas (71 pages) Death in Venice
James, Henry (83 pages) Daisy Miller
de Saint-Exupéry, Antoine (83 pages) The Little Prince
Hemingway, Ernest (93 pages) The Old Man and the Sea
Melville, Herman (98 pages) Billy Budd
Weisel, Elie (109 pages) Night
Conrad, Joseph (110 pages) Heart of Darkness
Orwell, George (113 pages) Animal Farm
Wells, H.G. (115 pages) The Time Machine
Hesse, Herman (119 pages) Siddhartha
Stevenson, Robert Louis (119 pages) The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
Rand, Ayn (123 pages) Anthem
Camus, Albert (123 pages) The Stranger
Steinbeck, John (124 pages) Of Mice and Men
Dostoyevsky, Fyodor (136 pages) Notes from the Underground
Twain, Mark (143 pages) Pudd'nhead Wilson
Wharton, Edith (144 pages) Ethan Frome
-- Try also Wharton's Summer (200 pages)
Voltaire (144 pages), Candide, or Optimism
Wilder, Thornton (148 pages) The Bridge of San Luis Rey
Pynchon, Thomas (152 pages) The Crying of Lot 49
McCullers, Carson (153 pages) The Member of the Wedding
Solzhenitsyn, Alexander (158 pages) One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich
Goethe, Johan Wolfgang von (167 pages) The Sorrows of Young Werther
Bradbury, Ray (179 pages) Fahrenheit 451
Achebe, Chinua (181 pages) Things Fall Apart
Chopin, Kate (192 pages) The Awakening
Burgess, Anthony (192 pages) A Clockwork Orange
Baldwin, James (197 pages) If Beale Street Could Talk

(page numbers given are approximations and will vary with edition)

I apologize, I can't remember where I got this list, but I thank the anonymous compilers!

Another Reading Challenge: the Chunkster Challenge

Read a big fat book (over 400 pages) -- or several, you decide -- between January 1 and June 30, 2007. Here are the Bookfool's guidelines.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

The Underrated Writers 2006

The folks at the blog 'Syntax of Things' polled some of their favorite readers, those, in their words, who fill their time by hanging out in the "dustier corners of literature." They asked those readers to name writers they feel aren't getting the attention they deserve, those writers they feel are "underrated"—however they choose to define it.

The result? A delightful list of "writers from almost every continent, poets from the past, essayists who are concerned for the future, and novelists desperate to understand the now."

Monday, December 18, 2006

Kate Fleming/Anna Fields, Audio Star, Dead in Seattle Storm

The actor Kate Fleming, who also recorded as Anna Fields, was a wonderful recorded-book voice artist. She died in Seattle this week, drowned when a storm sent floodwaters into the basement of her home and recording studio.

I particularly enjoyed her recordings of books by Lydia Adamson and Donna Leon.

Thursday, December 14, 2006


The blog Renee's Book of the Day has introduced me to Bookmooch. Maybe a librarian isn't supposed to think this is a good idea, but I do.

(the image is from the cover of one of my favorite books, SZOPKI KRAKOWSKIE [Cracovian Christmas Cribs]. The chances I'll offer it up on Bookmooch are nil, but if you want to buy it, Polonia Bookstore in Chicago is the place)

Friday, December 08, 2006

2007 TBR Challenge

To join the list of TBR Challenge participants, go to Miz B's blog, Literary Cache.

Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn

I am reading a book so good that I have to tell you about it. It's Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn. Warning: it's most definitely not a warm and fuzzy kind of book. Don't read it unless you have a strong tolerance for learning more about very damaged people and the sometimes horrific damage they in turn inflict on others. Scary but very, very well done.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Fiction Allsorts Goes Weekly

Stop the presses. We are now doing the adult storytime (aka the Fiction Allsorts storytime for knitters) every Thursday morning at 10:30 a.m.

Best Books of 2006?

(photo credit to ISphoto)

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Librarians and Book Recommendations

(photo credit for Archie McPhee's Nancy Pearl librarian action figure photo to Meri Gallego)

Another Reason to Love Ray Bradbury

A blogger from Vroman's Bookstore finds this great anecdote about Ray Bradbury.

(photo credit to vm1757)

To Librarians: On the Future of Libraries

(photo of librarian Michael Stephens from the flickr page of Michael Stephens)

Fiction and Politics

(photo credit to pmeidinger)

Do Blogs Sell Books?

Mrs. Book World talks about two excellent blogs by authors Susan Hill and Jenny Diski.

(photo credit to sfPhotocraft)

Bookplate Blog

(photo credit of Rockwell Kent bookplate to Bredlo)

What's to Read?

Bookdwarf has been reading like crazy and updates us on what's new and cool.

(photo credit to mccall76)

Lake Oswego Public Library: #1 in Oregon

Thank you, taxpayers, staff, and everyone else who makes our good customer service happen!

(the pic? It's by librarian and artist Todd Feinman and it's based on a historic photo taken on Lake Oswego)

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Overlooked Gems

Slate asked a group of people who regularly read lots of fiction—literary bloggers and booksellers at some of the country's best independent bookstores—to recommend their favorite underappreciated novels and story collections from the past several years.

(the pic -- yes, totally unrelated to the subject of this post -- is apparently of a scherenschnitte booth at a German fair! How cool is that? Thanks, Magnetisch!)

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

10 Greatest Detective Novels -- the List

Mr. Crime Fiction Dossier (aka journalist and novelist David J. Montgomery) reveals his favorites -- and so do his readers.

Coming Early in 2007

(photo credit to Mike Pedroncelli at Flickr)

Field Report from the London Library

Mrs. Bookworld takes it all in.

(photo credit to phodge100 at flickr -- that's the London Library during the Blitz)

America's Next Top Librarian!

Bookburger is running a search for America's Next Top Librarian! Nominations will be taken through November 15.

(photo credit to feaverish at flickr)

Not Quite Fiction, but Cool: Blackstock's Collections

Blackstock's Collections showcases the work of Gregory L. Blackstock, a retired Seattle pot washer who draws order out of all the chaos with a pencil, a black marker, and some crayons.

Bookburger, thanks for the heads up!

Needless to say, I am doing what I can to see that our library orders this!


Might as well mention Shelfari. Thanks, Beatrice.

Catching Up: Novelists Tackle the Middle East

Ruth Rendell's Splendid Wexford Series

I'm reading End in Tears and I've resolved to go back and read all of the books in Ruth Rendell's Inspector Wexford series. Her characters are wonderful. Mystery writer Val McDermid agrees with me: read all about it.

Prize Watch: Booker and Nobel

The Powers That Be have announced the Booker Prize Winner (Kiran Desai) and the winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature (Orhan Pamuk).

Friday, October 06, 2006

Remember Nancy Pearl's 50-Page Rule

If you're under 50, give yourself permission to read no more than 50 pages of a boring book. If the book doesn't grab you by page 50, life's too short (and there are too many good books!) to stick with it.

Are you over 50? Famous Librarian Nancy Pearl says after age 50, readers get even more of a break -- she's devised a formula to subtract your years over 50 from the number of pages. A 51-year-old reader, for example, can adopt a 49-Page Rule, and so on.

(photo credit to Moriza at Flickr)

Thursday, October 05, 2006

What's Happening with Reading These Days?

M. J. Rose asks, how do we reinvigorate the idea of reading? "We need to be fearless. Bold. Brave. Take crazy initiatives. Do audacious things. We need to shake up everything and get people thinking about reading. Because reading X leads to reading Y..."

(photo credit to Prio at Flickr)


BiblioTravel is a free online resource for identifying books set in distinct locales. And it's created by librarians.

(photo credit to Bisy Backson at Flickr)

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

A Small Death in Lisbon by Robert Wilson

"Book sales can have a curious alchemy. They have been spurred by all sorts of things, such as happenings in the news or mentions on Oprah, but seldom in the history of bookdom has one title ridden to new readership all because of a T-shirt from Texas..."

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Dune: It's Time

Dave Itzkoff in The New York Times Book Review has good things to say about Frank Herbert's great science fiction novel: "Dune was more than a clever rip-off of “Lawrence of Arabia” — it was a metaphor for the environmentally conscious age it was written in, reverent enough to pay homage to its Greco-Roman and Judeo-Christian roots, and prescient enough to suggest that kingdoms must become more attuned to the worlds beyond their castle walls in order to survive..."

However, he also says that it might be time to give the Dune franchise a rest.

Author Division

The New York Times Book Review's Dwight Garner expresses irritation with authors "who feel compelled to tell us, on their dust jackets, that they divide their time between, say, the Hamptons and Gstaad." He's delighted that novelist Kyle Smith takes a swipe at this practice by saying, on the jacket of his new book Christmas Caroline, that "he divides his time between the front and back rooms of his apartment."

(photo credit to Pete Ashton at Flickr)

Monday, September 25, 2006

Librarian in the Delta

"People call him a librarian, and he surely looks like a librarian, with his sedentary frame, thick eyeglasses, fastidiously trimmed hair and goatee. But, deep down, he feels like something else, something more. He feels like the Sisyphus of Mississippi. He feels like a superhero in one of his beloved comic books, even though he fights the forces of darkness with little more than night classes and meager grants, and he loses more than he wins; 30 years of that would make even Spiderman cranky...."

(the photo? That's a movie version of the superhero librarian: Noah Wylie in "The Librarian: Quest for the Spear")

Friday, September 08, 2006

There's still time! Adult Summer Reading Program

Our Adult Summer Reading Program is going strong till September 18. Sign up now at the Fiction Desk! Enter the drawing for our Grand Prize: two nights (and two dinners!) at the Sylvia Beach Hotel on the Oregon Coast.

Don't delay! There's just one more week till our Grand Prize Drawing at author Karen Karbo's appearance.

You are What You Read

Catching up with Beatrice, you are what you read.

Jamaica Inn by Daphne Du Maurier

Still worth reading after all these years...

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Susan Hill, Her Blog, etc.

Check out novelist Susan Hill's blog. I found it via Sarah's Bookarama, which said, "Susan always has something interesting to say about books and publishing, along with snippets about her life in rural Gloucestershire."

Arranging Books by Color

I know a lot of people wish the library would jettison the Dewey Decimal System and arrange things like your local bookstore does it...but here's another idea.

My thoughts? This might work for a small home library.

(photo from Born Sleepy at Flickr)