Friday, December 7, 2012

Recent Reads and Happenings

How can it possibly be December already? I've got our Christmas shopping done (all books, of course) but somehow I still find myself surprised that we're heading into the final weeks of 2012. It's been a busy year!

So what have I been up to lately? Working on the grant application to seek funding for my Eureka! Leadership Program project, reviewing books for School Library Journal, accepting taskforce/committee appointments for YALSA and my state library association, blogging for The Hub (my latest post is about gender-neutral names in YA novels).

What have I been reading? 

The Raven Boys, by Maggie Stiefvater
I've read some of Stiefvater's previous works, and I liked them, but none hooked me as much as her latest book did. The Raven Boys is a most excellent blend of eclectic elements-- a family of psychics, a group of elite boarding school boys, and a quest to find a legendary Welsh king said to have been buried in the hills of Virginia. I was riveted. Stiefvater's prose is always lush and gorgeous, and the plot elements really clicked for me in this one. It may be personal preference- I'm just not that into werewolves or horses- but I think this is her best work yet.

The Fire Horse Girl, by Kay Honeyman
Historical fiction lovers, keep an eye out for this title in January 2013. Honeyman's debut novel tells the story of a headstrong girl who leaves her small village in China with hopes of a new life in San Francisco during the 1920s. I haven't seen many YA books addressing the difficulties Chinese immigrants encountered in coming through Angel Island to enter America, so this was a refreshing read. Honeyman's historical research shines on every page, and the characters are interestingly flawed and three-dimensional. Also, how gorgeous and eye-catching is that cover? I love it! (ARC for review generously provided by Scholastic via NetGalley.)

What have I been up to?

Last weekend, I went to the grand opening of the Whittwood Branch Library in the City of Whittier. The director of Whittier's library system is one of the mentors I was honored to meet at the 2012 Eureka Leadership Program, and I wanted to take part in celebrating her success.

It was fun and interesting to observe a library event as a spectator-- I'm used working these types of events as a librarian, so I really liked being able to step back and witness this community's deep appreciation for their library.

Maybe the best part of the event was seeing how many people came out on a Saturday morning- during the holiday season, when they could have been shopping, no less!- to support their new public library. Hundreds of eager library patrons lined up to enter the building, as soon as the ribbon cutting ceremony was done, they streamed into the building and immediately started using all the resources the library offered. It was truly inspiring. Congratulations, City of Whittier!

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