Saturday, June 25, 2011

23 Things for Library Professional Development

I officially signed up to participate in "23 Things".  I want to be an Awesome 2.0 Librarian so I am learning everything I need to know about the web 2.0 world.  Thing 1 was to create a blog. Thing 2 was to explore other blogs and post a comment on them.  I did that a few days ago.   I posted a comment at BookMates, a project of two Seattle-based  readers, because it seemed similar to this blog in that it was about selecting and recommending books.  I also commented on 23 Things: The Way Forward by an Irish blogger interested in professional development.

Today I explored one more blog and the blogger was based in London and in fact used to be in New York.  This blogger has educated me a little about librarianship in the UK. Chartership is a professional qualification earned by practicing librarians in the UK.   Reflective writing is a requirement of Chartership and blogging for this Librarian is one approach to meet that requirement.

I look forward to continuing with Thing 3 and of course I am going to finish reading my book, The Eye of the Crow.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Sherlock Holmes heart Crows

So it is 1867. London.  Poverty is in abundance. Bigotry and bullying is the order of the day.  Thirteen year old Sherlock Holmes is half Jewish, smart, very analytical and is bullied at school and harassed by a gang of misfits known as The Irregulars; a gang led by a teen called Malefactor. The Irregulars are petty thieves, thugs and include two Jewish boys so their harassment of Holmes is not based on racial prejudice. 

There is the discovery of a dead young woman.  An Arab man, Mohammed Adalji, has been arrested for her murder and for robbery. He singles out the boy Holmes in a crowd to shout to him that he is innocent.  Soon, Holmes is arrested and placed in a cell beside Mohammed.  Holmes was seen going to the murder scene twice.  He was just following his friends, the crows, to the murder scene but he can't confess that to the police. The police believe Holmes and Mohammed are associates.  They can't find the woman's purse so they are hoping that by putting the two misfits next to each other they will get a confession or at least some revelation about the missing purse.

Crows; symbol of evil but also known to be smart birds, lovers of shiny things.  The reader can tell by page 48 that the crows are key to the mystery somehow. Other birds are mentioned magpies, jays, ravens but all belong to the crow family; the corvid family.  Fascinating story, Eye of the Crow, Sherlock Holmes first mystery by a writer who was himself fascinated by the writing of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and all things "Sherlockian". 

The Birds and Young Sherlock Holmes

Just started The Eye of the Crow.  Abundant use of bird symbolism in the few pages that I have read.  Crows are usually symbols of death and magic.  The teen aged Sherlock is quite fond of these carrion eating crows.  In this story they follow him around as he plays hooky from school.  In the first few pages of the story, Sherlock reads a newspaper article about a murder of an attractive young lady.  Sherlock spots a crow in the newspaper's photo of the deceased girl.  Sherlock's Dad just happens to have an interest in ornithology and works with doves, symbolic of peace.   I will see in the next few days how this story develops.

Personal note: I first started this blog some years ago for my book club so that I could be more proficient with the new social media.  More recently, I started a twitter account for the Okefenokee Toastmasters Club (#oketoast) for the same reason.  Today I came across this blog,  23 Things For Professional Development.   I have read about 23 Things before but this seems to be an updated version and I am going to try to participate as much as I can.  Already, I posted comments on two blogs to spread my online wings and in accordance with "Thing 2" - Establish an online presence.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Jamaican Poet and Novelist

Kei Miller, Jamaican poet and writer, was brought to my attention by friend on Facebook. Will certainly put this book, The Last Warner Woman, on my list of Must Read books.  I remember those "Warner Men and Women" on the JOS buses.  They warned that we should repent since the end was near. 

Friday, June 17, 2011

Book club Meeting in Waycross

We enjoyed our book club meeting today at a new venue, Matt's Italian Restaurant and Pizzeria.  The spinach and mushroom pizza was delicious. Everyone had a lot to say about the book, Snow Falling on Cedars.    Our book next month is Eye of the Crow.

I have just finished reading, with my online book club, the first few pages of  a pre-pub book, The Brink of Fame by Irene Fleming.  So far it appears interesting. I will add this to my list of books to read.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Theme of Snow Falling on Cedars

The story has to do with prejudice; the bigotry shown towards Japanese Americans  about10 years after World War 11 ended.   In my opinion the theme is right there on page 418.  It has to do with the battle of  fate, coincidence, and accident versus reason.  Reason won but the game changer was truth.  It was truth that won a victory for one of the protagonists in the story, the proud, stoic Kabuo Miyamoto.   Very good storyline, steamy love scenes, graphic description  of an autopsy and of the war, good use of  imagery but there was an overabundance of descriptive details which slowed the action. 

I was a little disappointed that the much described  island of San Piedro, devoted to fishing and strawberry farming, did not actually exist outside the imagination of the writer.  I don't know the meaning of the symbolism used, the snow and cedars, but there were constant references to both through out the story.  May be the cedars had to do with the quiet, patient, strength of Kabuo.  I would have liked to have known if Kabuo got his 7 acres in the long run but that is not clear.

I see on wikipedia that the novel was a bestseller in 1995 and a movie has been made based on it.

Saturday, June 04, 2011

Reading Snow Falling on Cedars in the Summer

Our selection for the hot summer month of June is Snow Falling on Cedars by David Guterson.  The setting is San Piedro Island and this is post-World War 11. This story starts of with a court scene and then goes back to when "the incident" took place.

In the first few pages, we meet in the courtroom, the accused man, Kabuo Miyamoto; the judge, Llewellyn Fielding; and a local reporter, Ishmael Chambers. We learn that the deceased is a fisherman named, Carl Heine, and that Kabuo is also a fisherman, a Japanese American, and a former school mate of Ishmael. This writer is very detailed.  There is a lot of detailed description of San Piedro Island, the lonely life of the fishermen, and about the dead man, including his genitalia, as he is being examined by Horace Whaley, the coroner.  On page 56 and I have just read a bit of information that makes me see why, of all the fishermen, Kabuo is the one accused of murder. Carl has a blow to his head that looks like a kendo strike, as in Japanese stick fighting.  I am now on page 60 and the story is back into the courtroom.

I think it's about to get really interesting.  I'll let you know later.

Thursday, June 02, 2011

eBooks in the Library

So what do librarians, watchdogs of freedom to read and promoters of equal access to library materials, think about eBooks? It was recently reported that more eBooks are sold on amazon now than regular hardcover and paperbacks.  Also, Ebscohost databases will soon have journal and eBook content in their search results.   There is an eBook revolution going on and 2011 is supposed to be the Year of the eBook.  Here is an interesting article on Library Journal and an educational video on a free digital library, by Librarian Brewster Kahle.  I like his quote on universal access, "the best we have to offer within reach."  I have not yet jumped on the band wagon to buy a Kindle or a Nook.