Monday, March 31, 2008

Non-Fiction Monday

It's Non-fiction Monday! Start your week with a heavy dose of reality! But not heavy reality. Well, one of mine is kinda heavy. Now I'm just babbling.

The facts are as follows:
1. It's Monday. NON-FICTION Monday.
2. Anastasia has the roundup.
3. I have a headache.
4. Numbers 1 and 2 are related. Number 3 has nothing to do with anything except that my head hurts and I felt like complaining.

Malcolm X: A Graphic Biography Andrew Helfer and Randy DuBurke

This book is pretty much what the title promises--a biography of Malcolm X in graphic novel format. I can't comment too much on content, as I knew very little about Malcolm X before hand and therefore have no frame of reference.

I will say it's extremely engaging for both heavy readers (me) and reluctant readers as well. The drawing style is pretty straight forward black and white. There's a lot of information, and sometimes quite a few panels on each page--it's not crowded but it's a bit intense. But, intense in that way that draws you further into the story, not intense in the way that gives you a headache and makes you put the book down. (Not that my current headache was caused by a book. Well, maybe by 3 linear feet of books strewn across the floor, but...)

I especially enjoyed the little photo essay at the end of the book that showed where the artist got some of his background material--however I could have used more of it--more photos, and maybe an artists rendering, or which panel the material was used in...

Overall, a good pick. It makes me want to read more about Malcolm X (how sad is it that I haven't?!)

And now, a really old book (I read it in April of 2007)

Sister Bernadette's Barking Dog: The Quirky History and Lost Art of Diagramming Sentences Kitty Burns Florey

Go read this book. Read it NOW. It seriously warped my brain and was one of my favorites of 2007. After reading about the history of grammar education in the US, and of diagramming sentences, as well as Florey's own history with loving to diagram sentences, plus how famous authors have viewed grammar (who knew Gertrude Stein loved grammar? Just because she broke every rule didn't mean she didn't know the rules) with lots of examples... I became obsessed with diagramming sentences. I taught myself how to diagram. Sometimes, I still do it for fun. It also inspired me to be more into the grammar rules (not necessarily follow them, as you are aware, but more aware of them)... I also now lust after a copies of The Elements of Style Illustrated (Strunk and White) Spunk & Bite: A Writer's Guide to Bold, Contemporary Style and The Chicago Manual of Style

Yes, this book will inspire you to new levels of geekdom. Embrace it.

But more than anything, it's a fascinating look at a practice most school kids dread.

Mr. Lee, I'm sorry I never paid attention when you tried to explain this stuff.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Nancy Drew

I'm spending my weekend over at Geek Buffet, detailing the differences between the 1930 and 1960 editions of Nancy Drew and the Bungalow Mystery by Carolyn Keene. I'm doing a complete chapter-by-chapter comparison, so head on over and check it out!

At this moment, I've done the first 4 chapters, but I'll be updating throughout the weekend!

Friday, March 28, 2008

Queen Bees, Wanna-Be and MySpace rip-offs

Poetry Friday:






It's from The Secret Life of It Girls by Dakota Lane

A collection of short stories told in teenage style about real teenage life.

The first is a page on with the queen bees commenting on some drama they created and had to pay for. (Well, kinda. Queen bees never really have to pay for the damage they inflict--that only happens in books, but not in this one.)

There's letters to fathers, diaries, a fake Spanish book, and school assignments. Lots and lots of photos and handwriting that makes you feel like you are reading somebody's scrapbook or diary.

Absolutely scary in its realism and absolutely fantastic, both for content and form.

Cuentecitos has the round-up!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

O Canada!

So, Chasing Ray has us set up with another Around the World One Shot, this time, it's all about Canada.

I've been under the radar lately (yay for school and work) and just found out about this today. Luckily, this afternoon I read a book by a Canadian. I love it when serendipity works in my favor.

Bull's Eye Sarah N. Harvey

Emily's life is going along fine until her crazy aunt commits suicide. Then everything is turned upside down when she discovers that her crazy aunt was really her mother and that the woman she thought of as her mother is really her aunt.

Emily cannot forgive her un-mom for keeping this information from her for so long. She runs away to Vancouver in an attempt to find her biological father (not the sperm donor un-mom always said he was). When she returns, she turns to vandalism to get some of her anger out. When caught, she starts to see things in a new prospective.

Now, this is an Orca Soundings title (high interest, low reading level) and is a fast read on purpose. As such, it's very plot-driven without time for anyone's character development besides Emily's. However, in keeping with the purpose of the series, the characters are all very real and believable, even if they appear flat because they're only "on screen" for a flash or two and the plot is compelling enough to propel the story, and the reader, forward. A good bet for teen girl reluctant readers (or someone who hasn't picked a book yet and the paper is due TOMORROW.)

Harvey is from British Columbia! And the book takes place in a BC town, and Vancouver. Orca is a Canadian based publisher and the Orca Soundings line of books is a sure-fire hit with reluctant readers. They all have relevant, contemporary themes and rely on plot to move the book along. The vocab is easier and it has short sentences (the reading level is usually between second and fourth grade, but the content level is definitely high school). The books NEVER talk down to the reader though, which is why they are so successful. I cannot recommend this series enough for the reluctant readers in your life.

And now we're going to move down the coast to LA, because I need to turn this book in tonight.

Homeboyz Alan Lawrence Sitomer

Y'all know this is not the type of book I normally read.

Tina Anderson was killed as an innocent bystander to a gang-related drive-by. Her brother Teddy is bent on revenge. When executing his plot, he gets caught by the police. After spending 2 weeks in juvie, Teddy ends up under house arrest and stuck mentoring a 12-year-old gang-banger wannabe.

In the meantime, Teddy has an elaborate computer virus scheme set up to (1) Spy on his enemies (2) Finish the revenge for his sister's murder (3) Bilk the school district out of 3/4 million dollars so he can set up a new life somewhere else.

Sitomer is an inner-city high school teacher and it shows. His frustration and anger at the lack of funding for schools, a juvenile detention system set up to punish rather than prevent, and the idiocy of the code of the streets oozes from every page.

On one hand, I can't doubt the authenticity. On the other hand, will the target audience relate to a narrator that talks down to street life, not just in the plot and characters (which is ok and understandable) to in the general narration so it starts to seem didactic? (Subtly, but still.)

I'm also confused by Teddy's mad computer skillz. First off, I really cringe at books that deal with high end technology sophistication. In a year, it's going to look lame because this stuff dates SO QUICKLY. (Don't believe me? Go reread The Boggart) Secondly, Teddy and the narrator spend a lot of time bemoaning the public schools that Micah (the boy Teddy's mentoring) and Teddy go to-- where did he acquire this talent? And does the NSA really recruit high school boys to come do encryption for them?

It's also really sad because you can see the only reason Teddy ever had a chance of not being caught in the system was because he came from a "good" family. His older brother and sister graduated from, or attended, really good colleges. His mother has a job, and his father is still around.

It's a damning look at the system.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Wimpy Kids Everywhere UNITE!

So today we have one book from the "way back files" and a book I just read.

Diary of a Wimpy Kid Jeff Kinney

Greg Heffley is the perfect 21st century every boy. A dorky best friend, a horrible older brother, an annoying little brother, and parents that mean well, but they're parents. Can you get any more embarrassing!?

Starting out the school year, Greg's mom makes him keep a journal in exchange for no longer having the scrub the toilets on Saturday mornings. (This is NOT a diary. It's a journal.) 75% hand-lettered prose, 25% comic, Greg's trials and tribulations will be a hit with girls and boys, heavy readers, and the most reluctant. Also, a sure hit for grown-ups remembering their own childhood.

I swear I went to school with Greg. I think I had crush on him at some point.

Diary of a Wimpy Kid started out as a webcomic on Funbrain, where you can still read large chunks of Greg's adventures.

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules

Another school year, another journal. Only this year, Greg still has the cheese-touch. Also, he did something really embarrassing last summer, and older brother Roderick saw, so he's kinda Roderick's slave.

Roderick's band is always over playing their "music" and Manny (Greg's little brother) continues to make life difficult. It doesn't help that Rowley (Greg's best friend) is as dorky as ever.

Can't a guy catch a break? A FANTASTIC follow up to the first.

My favorite is the Wimpy Kid phenomenon. When the first one came out, I put it on display and it eventually got picked up. My favorite was when a 12-year-old boy came in and started leafing through it. I looked over a little while later, and he was sitting down, deeply engrossed. He read the whole thing in one sitting.

But now! With the second book? Hold lists out the wazoo! For both books! Kids have been waiting FOR-ever (their word) to get their hands on this book. Does it just have great word-of-mouth with the kids? It's fantastic!

Monday, March 24, 2008

Non-Fiction Monday

I promised you the rest of the Cybils books and then never delivered, didn't I? Well, have no fear, my opinion is here!

Also, my Top 9 for March is up at the Biblio File store. Check it out!

But first, I showed a bunch of kids the Glister books. They have pronounced them "Awesome" and "Totally cool."

Marie Curie: Giants of Science #4 Kathleen Krull

A very well done biography of the chemist Marie Curie. I learned a lot I didn't know and Curie's life is always easy to book talk to kids who need a biography. She's not well known and she's, you know AWESOME. Krull makes this fascinating story accessible and engaging. The only problem is kid appeal-- kids will LOVE it if they ever read it, but I don't seem them ever reading it unless they have to. Curie's not famous enough and the book itself isn't eye-candy enough for them to pull it off the shelf. Also, some photos would have been nice.

The Wall: Growing Up Behind the Iron Curtain

When I was in the 4th grade, one day we were lining up in the cafeteria to go outside for lunch-time recess. Miss Anderson (who I would have for 6th grade, but now her name is Mrs. Gosz and she teaches kindergarten) came in to tell us that the Berlin Wall was being torn down. It was the first time I had ever heard of the Berlin Wall. She was extremely frustrated that this room full of kids had no idea the history that was taking place at the moment.

Peter Sis understood. He grew up in Prague, during the Cold War. This autobiography straddles the line between graphic novel, biography, and picture book. He tells the story of a little boy who wanted to draw, of having to draw approved things, of getting in trouble for drawing the wrong thing. He tells of the story of trying to escape, of Western music, of crackdowns, of neighbors spying on neighbors.

The book is scant on background information though, so, like the 4th grader I used to be, it might confuse some children. It's beautiful and well done, but the older audience it's aimed at might need some selling, as it looks like a picture book on the surface.

Smart-opedia: The Amazing Book About Everything

This is more of a browsing book then a sit-down and read book. Think DK Eyewitness style to a bunch of different topics. It's a fun read, but I had 2 main complaints:

1. It's heavily illustrated with cartoon-y pictures, and real photographs would have worked just as well and would have been better.

2. Because it covers everything, it doesn't cover anything in depth. Because of this, some things are glossed over to the point of no longer being entirely correct. They're not wrong, but they're not right either, you know? You lose the subtleties of a situation.

And there's the nonfiction report!

Picture Book of the Day has the round up!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

All that Glisters is totally Gold

I was going to blog about totally different books today, but we just got the first two volumes of Glister in at the library and I'm obsessed. In a weird way.

From the guy who brought us Clubbing (Minx) we have an odd little comic that's... almost old fashioned? Is that the word I'm looking for?

Short stories, no real subplots, with illustrations that remind you of 60s children's books (I'm thinking Drina here--totally different style from the super-slick Clubbing), witches, magical houses and ghosts, Glister still has spunk to spare. You can see examples of what I'm talking about at Watson's Flickr pages.

Glister 1: Haunted Teapot

So, in this first issue, we see Glister Butterworth as she receives a random teapot. It quickly transpires that the teapot is haunted. A Victorian author whose dreary works have fallen out of favor lives in the teapot and wishes to complete his last novel.

Glister is not fond of being the secretary stuck transcribing a book where something awful happens to the main character on every page. Can Glister get out of this?

It also has a mini-story from Watson's Skeleton Key which was very entertaining.

Glister Vol. 2: House Hunting

Glister loves Chilblain Hall. It's constantly sprouting new wings, has ballrooms that come and go, the occasional Masonic temple, visiting Questors, and even a troll under the bridge. But, when the village of Gravehunger Moss enters the bonny village competition, the man in charge of getting the village up to snuff isn't so sure about Chilblain Hall. With the house's feelings hurt, it decides to run away. Glister and her dad are homeless, and Glister is board without the entertainments her house provided. Can she find it and convince it to come home?

I have been obsessed with this series since I read the first one last night. I've scoured the internet for more information. Especially as volume 3 came out in December, but isn't available through the major book retailers. It *is* however available other places on the 'net, mostly comic retailers. I don't know enough about comic publishing to know if it will eventually show up on Amazon or Powells? Anyone out there know?

Anyway, Glister is a comic for the smart girl, especially the ones that like things a little off-beat. I will definitely be talking this up when my after-school kids come back next week after spring break. I think the girls will go for it.

Also, I really want Glister on a shirt. The muted colors on the cover lend themselves to hipster wear so easily! I LUST!!!

Anyway, check this one out. It's probably not everyone's cup of tea, but it will make some people, like me, veeeeeeeeery happy.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Poetry Friday + a review or two

La la la la la... last week, I was talking about how the daffodils were out along the Potomac. The ones in my yard have certainly gotten taller, and my next door neighbor's are out!

Just yesterday, a friend of mine in Ohio was complaining because her car is still buried under a mountain of snow and ice. I went to the university library in a long sleeved shirt and no coat and everything just smelled green and of spring. I'm also reminded of Daffodil Lament by the cranberries off of No Need to Argue (that's the album that had Zombie on it) I'm going to have that in my head all day now... I have decided to leave you forever, I have decided to take things from here... and the daffodils look lovely today, ay, ay ay, and the daffodils look lovely today, ay, ay, ay...) Anyway, HERE'S A DAFFODIL POEM!

I WANDERED lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o'er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the milky way,
They stretched in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

The waves beside them danced; but they
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:
A poet could not but be gay,
In such a jocund company:
I gazed--and gazed--but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:

For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.
--William Wordsworth

I love how Thursday's grandma gets trapped in this poem during the various Thursday Next books.

Jama Rattigan has the roundup and is asking for our favorite Dylan lyric. I love to refrain from It Ain't Me, Babe

But it ain't me, babe,

No, no, no, it ain't me, babe,

It ain't me you're lookin' for, babe.

I love how sure he is of himself while telling someone, I'm just not what you're looking for and I never will be! I like how the "babe" is pretty sarcastic, especially in the last line. (Also, I like the line telling her to "walk away from my window") Plus, it's just fun to sing, especially the "no no no" bit.

Anyway, for some book reviews because I need to turn these back in...

The Bermudez Triangle Maureen Johnson

Nina, Avery, and Mel have been best friends since forever. Then, the summer before senior year, Nina goes off to pre-college camp and falls in love with Steve. Avery and Mel fall in love too, but with each other. Well, Mel falls in love, Avery might just be... exploring.

When Nina returns, she's suddenly the third wheel whenever she's with her friends, and when things start to break down when Avery realizes that, while she likes Mel, she's not a lesbian, or even bi, Nina gets caught in the middle.

This is an excellent look at what happens when you date your best friend, and how that changes everything around you. Especially if your best friend is the same gender you are.

I loved Johnson's characters and where they drove me up a wall, I think their actions and reactions were spot-on.

Also, it's been banned! Because girls can't make out with each other! (And really, that's all they do. Make out.)

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian Sherman Alexie

On his first day of high school, Junior breaks his math teacher's nose. He wasn't mad at his teacher, but when he saw that his textbook was the same one his mother had 30 years ago (the same copy, even) he just gets fed up with everything that sucks about being poor. So he threw the book and it hit the math teacher.

In the aftermath, Junior decides to transfer high schools-- to the one in town, the one outside the reservation. No one from the reservation high school goes to college. They just stay on the reservation and drink to forget how poor they are. Junior needs out.

Now, he's seen as a traitor by his tribe and school's not much better, because no one likes a scrawny little Indian kid.

This is a tragic book-- life on the reservation is hard and Junior loses a lot of important people before the story is done.

That said, it's hysterical. Junior's voice is angry and bitter, but funny. He's a cartoonist, so there is a lot of art included in the short chapters that helps tell the story. Alexie really explores reservation life, as well as outsiders perceptions of it, both good and bad. He has a really good handle on what American poverty entails. In a tale that could be mired down in self-pity, Alexie has a character that knows how hard is life is, but also sees a future that could be different, without going to far to the other side to be overly schmaltzy. Plus, there isn't nearly enough fiction about contemporary Native life.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Book Blast

I have a stack of books that needs reviewing. Not the metaphorical stack that I always have, but a real stack, right next to me. We'll see how many I get through before I get to class!

London Calling Edward Bloor

As with most Bloor, the plot is pretty dense and complicated, which makes it a little hard to explain.

Martin is a poor kid at a snooty rich school. He doesn't want to be there. After getting in a fight with the son of one of the school's heros (and financial benefactors) he decides to do an independent study from home for a semester.

When his grandmother dies, he is given an old radio that his grandfather had when he worked at the embassy in London during the Blitz.

Through that radio, Marin ends up traveling through time to the days of the blitz. What he sees there sparks research and discoveries that seemed impossible and is about the blow the lid off several family secrets, for several different families.

The time travel bit sounds a bit hokey, I know, but Bloor is a master. I like the hard look he gave the Blitz on many different levels. It's a fascinating book that I couldn't put down.

Confessions of a Serial Kisser Wendelin Van Draanen

Evangeline is sick and tired of moping after her parent's divorce. Inspired by a romance novel found under her mother's bed, she is on a quest to find the perfect Crimson Kiss.

So, she gives herself a make-over and starts kissing every guy in sight. Drama ensues.

Overall, it was a nice book about finding yourself and how you won't be crimson without some attraction. There was friend drama that I didn't fully understand, because there were some serious flaws in that relationship even before Evangeline starts going kiss-crazy.

It's also interesting how it's only about kissing. Kissing is taken very seriously in this book and where I can see why randomly grabbing guys and making out with them will damage your rep (because people think if you're willing to do that in the cafeteria, you're willing to do a whole lot more elsewhere) but at the same time, it's high school. Also, a guy who smokes pot is A TOTAL DRUGGIE AND THAT'S BAD BAD BAD BAD. The whole thing is a little... innocent. (I can understand not wanting to date a pothead, but... he's not an ax-murderer.)

Out in May 2008.

Life Sucks Jessica Abel, Gabe Soria, Warren Pleece

You know I love First Second.

Anyway, being a vampire today in LA totally sucks. All Dave wanted was a night job at the convenience store, but who knew his boss was a vampire? And he made Dave a vampire, and now Dave is bound to his Master, spending all night every night at the convenience store. It doesn't help with the day shift guy is late and Dave has to rush to make it home before the sun comes up.

There's surfer god Wes, who was such a bad employee, Dave's master rides him even harder, which Wes just loves to rub in Dave's face.

Then there's Rosa, the goth girl who hangs out at the juice bar by the sore. Beautiful Rosa who seems to maybe like Dave. And Wes. She also thinks being a vampire would be awesome. How can Dave tell her how much it totally sucks?

Well thought out and funny, the graphics have a pretty dark, muted palate that fit the all-night all-the-time setting.

Look for it at the end of April

Barb and Dingbat's Crybaby Hotline Patrick Jennings

One afternoon in 1975, Barb calls Jeff and dumps him on behalf of her friend, Viv. As it turns out, Jeff likes girls. He's not that picky, or that observant, he just likes girls.

Throughout a series of phone calls, we see Jeff as the ultimate clueless guy, but Barb is willing to help him. Maybe.

Funny and true to all of those random phone calls made and received in junior high and high school, the quick read of phone call transcripts makes is a good pick for reluctant readers.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008


Alright, I'm over at Geek Buffet today, totally agreeing with Roger Sutton's controversial post. TOTALLY AGREEING. You can go read it and find out why and disagree with me over there.

But, in light of that, I thought I'd review adult books today.

The Translator: A Tribesman's Memoir of Darfur Daoud Hari

Daoud Hari grew up in a village in Darfur. He went to college and then got a job in Libya. Lured by higher wages, he illegally crossed the border to find work in Egypt, then again to Israel, where he was caught.

When he made it back to Sudan, to Darfur, his people were under attack. Shortly after returning, his village was attacked and his brother killed. He fled with the other villagers to the refugee camps in Chad. Using is language skills of English, Arabic, and Zaghawa, Hari offered his skills as a translator to investigators and reporters.

He led 6 trips back to Sudan to help get the story of his homeland told to the wider world. Eventually, he was caught with a reporter and tried as a spy. American pressure to free the reporter freed him as well.

Hari writes a brutal account of Darfur, telling his story and many of the stoies he heard along the way. He makes an impassioned case for more help, and gives thanks for the help that has already been given. He also makes clear and concise work of an extremely complicated and nuanced political and cultural situation.

On sale March 18.

Full disclosure: ARC recieved from publisher through LibraryThing's early reviewer program.

Lili: A Novel of Tiananmen Annie Wang.

FINALLY! A "bad Chinese girl" novel that's well written!

Now, this doesn't take place in current boomtimes, but rather during the previous boomtime of Deng Xiaoping's newly opening China in the last 80s. (As the title gives away, it tends with the Tian'anmen Square massacre in June of 1989.)

Lili has just been released from jail, where she served three months for hooliganism. She's been a hooligan ever since she ran away from Monkey Village, where her parents were sent for reeducation during the Cultural Revolution. She joined a gang when she got to Nanjing. A man was stabbed to death over her.

Lili's a dissapointment to her parents, a wealth of wasted talent and unfulfilled promise. She moves in with a white guy who speaks flawless Chinese, but doesn't get China.

Part cultural exploration as Lili and Roy try to understand each other and their homelands, part self exploration as Lili tries to find meaning her life, Wang paints a stunning portrait of China on the verge of something massive. Fantastic!

Thursday Next: First Among Sequels Jasper Fforde.

Man alive, I read this one back in July. I also saw Fforde read the day after it came out-- hilarious!

So, this is the latest installment in the most excellent Thursday Next series.

It's been 16 years since Something Rotten. The literary crime unit has been disbanded, so Thursday and the crew are now carpet installers (of course, investigating literary crime on the side.) She also has a profitable sideline in cheese smuggling. Not that Landon knows any of this. In the land of JurisFiction, Thursday's gone through a rash of partners. Her last one is the worst though, as this last one is... herself. Only, it's her fictional self, who's just a little more rock and roll than Thursday actually is.

Her son Friday has shown no interest in joining the Chronoguard, which is throwing time seriously into whack. And Goliath is about to turn Pride and Prejudice into a reality show. Yep, the general public is about to vote the Bennets out of Longbourn, even before Mr. Collin's has it entailed onto him. But Thursday's not about to let that happen. Of course, she's having a much harder time book jumping these days...

Hilarious and awesome. If you like the series, READ IT. If you haven't read the series yet, WHAT THE HECK IS WRONG WITH YOU? Pick up The Eyre Affair: A Thursday Next Novel today!

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Series Explosion

It's an odd week so far here at Biblio File. First off, I was really hoping to get The Sisters Grimm Book 6: Tales From the Hood, but Amazon is saying that they don't know when it will ship. (It was supposed to ship Monday.) All the other book sites say that it's not coming out until May. Poo.

Then, a book I had ordered used, Libricide: The Regime-Sponsored Destruction of Books and Libraries in the Twentieth Century got refunded because the used seller ran out of copies. (WTF?!) So, no book for me. It's a little on the pricey side to be buying new. Luckily, it looks like my school library has it, so I can still read it for the paper I'm writing.

Also, I'm having serious problems understand how to assign LC classification numbers to books (last week's lecture was a very, very bad one to miss. Stupid back.) I'm also completely blocked on this paper that's due tomorrow, and I need to come up with about 1,000 more words. I also fear that the 1,500 words I have so far don't make much sense. Oh, the insecurities of school.

AND THEN BRETT FAVRE RETIRED FROM FOOTBALL! I mean, ok, he's had a good career and it was a good season to end on (even though the last pass he threw in his career has to be one of the most painful) but... still. I feel like I should go home to Wisconsin so I can mourn with my people.

But! I found the rest of the Drina series at a price I'm willing to pay. And, inspired by the movie Helvetica, I added some super-fun buttons to my Zazzle store. More fonts will be added soon.

Also, I started physical therapy today, which I know a lot of people complain about. Yes, it's hard work, but it makes my back feel so much better! So, in the end, it's all good! And, while driving up the GW Parkway this morning to get to my appointment, the Potomac was super muddy and brown, because of the rain we got last night, but there were daffodils! In bloom! A whole host of little yellow heads that were so... jocund. (So, we all know what Friday's poem will be. 9th grad English has severely warped my mind when it comes to daffodils.) The ones in my yard are only about 7 inches tall, but there's a clump of them coming up.

Did I mention it might snow on Saturday?

But, let's talk about some books, m'kay?

She's a Witch Girl Kelly McClymer

Pru, our magical cheerleader, is back! In this latest installment, Pru is out of remedial magic classes, which means doing even more studying and homework--to the point where she's almost failing math--the one class she was good at. It's a good thing she doesn't have time for boys, because the only way she can get head cheerleader Tara to buy into mortal cheer competitions is by giving Tara along time with her Pru's super-hott next door neighbor, Angelo.

Of course, then it turns out that Angelo might not be as mortal we we thought, and when Agatha finds out about the squad's mortal cheering, she puts a stop to it completely, including cheering at games against mortal schools. This might just get the squad actually working together.

With Pru worrying about things like school and getting Agatha to change her mind, she doesn't spend as much time worrying about being kewl--her social status isn't as precarious as it was in previous volumes. Pru's greater concern about bigger issues, as well as more exploration of the mortal/witch divide takes away some of the plot lines that were becoming annoying and opens new doors for the series to stay fresh. My favorite installment to date!

When Irish Guys Are Smiling Suzanne Supplee

A new Students Across the Seven Seas!

This time we have Delk, who's moneyed Nashville, but after her mother dies, the whole debutante scene just isn't for her. This is especially true when her dad remarries someone young enough to be Delk's sister!

So, Delk is off to Ireland. Holed up in a castle in the Irish countryside, Delk tries to hide her mother's death from her new friends, trying to get fresh start, plus there's the super-cute Pather, who works at the school and lives at a farm down the lane.

Delk's having so much fun, she may never want to go back to Tennessee!

This is my favorite SASS book so far (ok, it's tied with The Sound of Munich). There isn't a lot of drama between Pather and Delk--there's is a pretty straight-forward romance. Delk's drama is much more internal, and her friends have some serious drama, which breaks the mold of this series a little bit.

Miki Falls: Winter Mark Crilley

This is the last volume of the Miki Falls series! And just when Miki and Hiro think they're going to get away with their forbidden love...

Well, we wouldn't have much a story if they didn't get caught, now would we? Of course, all traces with Hiro's existence in Miki's town have been erased, so people are thinking she's a little cuckoo...

I continue to adore Crilley's unusual framing structure, lots of trapezoids and small and large frames on one page--many of his pages remind me of a shattering mirror.

There's also a cool feature-ette at the end of the book on the making of Miki-- including early character sketches, and how the story line has changed over time.

This book will make NO SENSE if you haven't read the previous 3, but I adored this series and highly recommend it.