28 March 2011

The Clockwork Angel

The Infernal Devices: Clockwork Angel, Book 1
By: Cassandra Clare (author of The Mortal Instruments Series)
Genre: Supernatural Fiction
Grade Level: 5-10
Pages: 479

Tessa Gray was just a normal 16 year old girl.  Orphaned and sent for by her brother, living in England. Upon arriving in port, Tessa is stolen away be the evil Dark Sisters.  Kept and taught by force to bring out her "talents" just to keep her brother safe.  Tessa is not normal.  Saved by the nephilium from the Dark Sister's lair before they can marry her to the mysterious "Magistar," Tessa is plunged into a world of Angels and Downworlders.  Her gifts are her curses, and love is the most dangerous path of all.  The storyline is a bit too similar to the Mortal Instruments for my liking.  I enjoyed the book because I enjoyed the previous series.  However, although this particular storyline takes place in England in the latter end of the 19th century, the character dynamic is practically parallel.  Now, since this in merely the first book in the series, I am giving the author the benefit of the doubt. Perhaps this is more of a companion to the Mortal Instruments series and how it ties in will become more apparent as the series progress.  I do hope so, otherwise, I would have to say, it's time to come up with another storyline.

26 March 2011

Just A General Question

My question is this: Do you ever ask the librarian for help? Do you ask them for general help? Do you ask them for help in pursuing some sort of research?  Now, the most important question of all---WHY or WHY NOT?  Please, contribute.  I want to know if my assumptions are correct, but I won't tell you what those are until you let me in on your thoughts.

23 March 2011

Some Things that Really Bug Me About Librarianship

So I admit, this is not about a book I read, but rather some of my own thoughts, but since this is a blog about books and myself, I must digress.



1.  Paraprofessionals.  Why?  It has absolutely nothing to do with competence.  The facts are there are many "librarians" who hold no professional degree.  Let's face it, they work for less, and in our world it seems all too often less is more.  However, what bothers me, is that although they can learn the job and do it quite well, they do take jobs away from those who have sought the necessary education.  Now, I'm not saying that they have to have their degree in Library Science yet, but they should be currently enrolled in a program, deliver their degree plan to their employer, and be required to stay on track in order to keep their job.  For me, it's like saying 'ok, we need to shave a few bucks off the budget, so we are going to stop highering teachers with a degree and certification and start replacing them with anyone that has ever taken a class in a particular field, i.e. if you took an English class one semester of college you can teach English.'  Let's face it.  There are enough tools out there that they could learn how to put together an teaching plan, and teach, but they are not truly equipped for the task.

2. The fact that you not only need a Masters in Library Science but also a Teaching License in most states to be a School Librarian.  I guess I just don't understand the logic here.  I know that as a School Librarian you would be teaching children.  However, in a masters program, I have the option of being a Teaching Assistant, which would have me teaching undergraduate courses.  So while I'm only working on my Masters, I can teach college students, but once I actually have my Masters, I can't work in a School Library without an additional teacher's license?  Seriously, if you've figured that logic out, other than it allows school districts to shunt you away from the library and into a teaching position because they want to save money by removing an actual librarian, let me know!!

3. The fact that there is so little help/socialization/networking in an online LIS program.  In this digital world, it is getting far more common to find people attending school online. In my case, I can't move to where I can actually attend grad school, and so I had to find an ALA accredited school that had their program completely online.  While I absolutely LOVE my program, it bugs me that there is no real socialization going on.  We have so much social media out there available, and I wonder why it is not utilized.  Plus it always completely and utterly dumbfounds me that out of a large group of online students, only a small minority use social networks.  I miss the social aspect of actually going to college; it would be nice to at least obtain a virtual representation of that now that I am in an online program.

Okay, that's enough venting for now, and I do apologize if I overly offended someone, but please remember that these things bother me.  Maybe they don't you, but they do me.  I welcome commentary, but be civil.

19 March 2011

The Uglies Series

The last book in the series is dedicated "To everyone who wrote to me to reveal the secret definition of the word 'trilogy'."  I love that the author continued a story that was suppose to be a trilogy simply because he was asked.  I mean, let's face it, no series actually ends, the author simply stops telling the story.  Who among us hasn't been seriously tweaked when a series you really loved, ended?

UGLIES
By: Scott Westerfeld
Pages: 425

Tally Youngblood lives in a world were everyone is ugly in their natural state, but that magic number 16 is right around the corner for Tally.  Youngest of all her friends, she feels very alone.  All she wants is to be pretty and party across the river in New Pretty Town with all her friends.  Then Tally meets Shay, who is the exact same age as her and her whole world goes topsy turvy.  Shay doesn't want to be pretty; she wants to be herself.  When Shay runs away, she begs Tally to go with her, but Tally just wants to be beautiful.  However, Tally's city won't let the outside in so easily.  Special Circumstances whisks her away from the operation, and forces her to betray Shay and The Smoke, a town in the wild that doesn't force anyone to have the operation.  Getting to the Smoke is an adventure in and of itself, and something has already begun to change inside Tally.  While in the Smoke, Tally learns the truth about being Pretty.  She falls in love with David.  In an attempt to stay in her new home, she unwittingly betrays them all. In order to redeem herself, she must risk her life, her love, and her mind.


PRETTIES


By: Scott Westerfeld
Pages: 370

Tally is finally pretty, but she is haunted by memories that seem just out of her reach.  She has her friends and Shay all around her, but something is missing.  Then her ugly past comes back.  She finds her note and the cure is offered to her, but getting it will require more brain power than Tally may have left.  Zane is the leader of the Crims, a clique of pretties who like to stretch the limits.  Tally is everything Zane has been waiting for.  With Zane by her side, Tally finds the cure, but fear makes her split the pills in half.  Now Zane and Tally are "cured" but Zane is sick.  His migraines are getting worse, but seeing a doctor is out of the question--afterall Pretties don't get sick.  Can they escape New Pretty Town in time to save Zane? Can Tally save herself when Shay remembers and her hate turns towards her?

SPECIALS

By: Scott Westerfeld
Pages: 372

Tricked by Shay, Tally is now Special-a "Cutter", a special Special, ones that cut themselves in order to stay "icy." But Zane is not Special, not yet, and Tally's mind won't let that be.  In helping Zane escape to the new Smoke, in the hopes that the Cutters can follow and destroy the revolution, Shay and Tally destroy the city's armory.  During the ensuing trip through the wild, Tally and Shay separate and Tally's mind begins to become her own once more.  But the Special brain surge is strong.  Finding the New Smoke, Tally is flung into a nightmare.  Can Tally remain Special and still be herself?  Can she save her world?  Who will she loose this time? Can anything or anyone survive Dr. Cable's insanity?

EXTRAS

By: Scott Westerfeld
Pages: 417

It has been three years since the "mind-rain" descended and everyone around the world was free from forced brain surge.  Aya Fuse is an Extra, someone who doesn't matter in a reputation based society.  All Aya wants is to kick the greatest story and be cloaked in reputation so that she can be someone.  When Aya meets the Sly Girls and descends into their world, she gets more than she bargained for, the story of a lifetime.  A story that brings out Tally Youngblood.  Tricked by Tally, they are captured by the "aliens" that are creating what everyone believes are weapons of mass destruction.  As Aya is forced into an adventure, she learns the true meaning of Extra, and that she can be someone without a cam pointed at her twenty four-seven.


Genre: Dystopian Fiction
Grade Level: 6-12

I began reading this series, because I had no idea what it was about and all of my Junior High kids at the school were begging for it constantly.  I like understanding why something is popular.  And oh freaking my, did I get it.  Talk about a future, I fear we are not far from!!  Not to mention the subject of body image that is heavily interwoven throughout the tale, something we all fight with--not just teenagers.  The story is artfully woven.  I enjoyed the fast past and the conflicts were perfect.  You were always on the edge of your seat, at least I was.  I couldn't put the books down and yet, I didn't want to turn the page.