Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The Uncommon Reader

One day while shelving books, I spotted a small thin red book and I grabbed it. It was titled The Uncommon Reader and written by Alan Bennett. I thought the cover looked very nice - it features a silhouette of a woman reading a book with a crown on her head - a silhouette of the Queen of England. She is reading very politely too, with her pinky held slightly away from the rest of her fingers.

The plot does center around the Queen of England. She one day stumbles upon a mobile library and borrows a book out of politeness. That sets off an appreciation and newfound love for reading, one that is not too welcome by other members of the staff, including the Queen's private secretary. Her love of reading grows but not everyone appreciates it, but she does manage to get across to some people, including the public. Towards the end of the story, the Queen realizes that reading will only take her so far - it is time for her to take the next step - to write.

It was at this point that I realized that the Queen's problem is my problem. There are so many books that I have that I want to read, more now that I just went to the annual book sale we go to. At the same time, I want to write, to write a book, a story, but because I spend so much time reading, I sometimes don't have time. I think I should follow the Queen's example and spend a bit more time writing now that I actually do have the time.

At the end of the story, the Queen announces her idea to write, and many of her staff and previous prime ministers are against it; the prime minister at the current time is worried that her book will reveal things (probably about him and others) that will be embarrassing to him, so he reminds the Queen that she must abdicate to write the book she is thinking about writing. She then asks them all, "Why do you think you are all here?" And like that, the story ends.

I really enjoyed this story. The writing was nice and calming and witty in many places. I loved the theme of reading and I love history, such as British History, so reading a story about The Queen was interesting to me. Something else I loved about the book was that Charles Dickens was mentioned at least three times. There were a few minor things that I didn't find too funny, but for the most part the book was a lovely read.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Zombie in the Library

The man wears dark sunglasses.

Adam recognizes him. It is the same man from his mother's favorite movie.

It is the Librarian.

- Return to the Library of Doom: Zombie in the Library, Michael Dahl and Bradford Kendall

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Neil Gaiman on Librarians

- Neil Gaiman
Librarians are the coolest people out there doing the hardest job out there on the frontlines. And every time I get to encounter or work with librarians, I'm always impressed by their sheer awesomeness.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Picture Book of the Month: Love, Splat

This is actually the Picture Book of the Month for February, but I am a little late in posting.

For the month of February, I was planning to select picture books related to Valentine's Day to read during story hours. While searching the catalog I came across Love, Splat by Rob Scotton, and found that this was one of several books about a cat named Splat. Something about the book made me feel that it would be perfect; when I was able to look through it I found it to be both wonderfully written and illustrated. The details in the illustrations are lovely, and one of the really nice things about the book is that the illustrations and the white background and the words all go really well together.

One of the things I have found is that children are very attentive to details. They will catch things that adults don't, and they really appreciate those details. With this book, the children would most often comment on little details such as Splat sitting on his bench with Kitten, and especially how their tails curl together to make a heart on the back of the book. They also note that Spike is very mean to Splat and sympathise with Splat for the way Spike treats him. Overall, this is a very good book to read and will be enjoyable for all age groups.