Monthly Archives: May 2010

Check Out: Seattle Central Library

I’ve been in Seattle visiting family since Tuesday, and one of the things I wanted to do while I was here was visit the Seattle Central Library. Seattle’s contemporary techie culture certainly seeped its way into the design of the library. I’ll start with the first floor. When you check out books, you scan your card, put the books on a plate that instantly detects their information in the catalog, print your receipt, and be on your way. When you return books, you put them on a conveyor belt that takes them straight up to the second floor to be processed. The second floor is for staff only, so we’ll skip that and move onto the third floor. The third floor boasts a huge reading room, all of the new materials, the fiction collections, and a cafe all under a slanted wall/ceiling of glass. After riding an escalator to the computer room and career help center, you take another escalator to the spiral of nonfiction and reference materials. These materials are so plentiful that they arranged them in a spiral that takes up a few floors and circles the escalators. You don’t even know you’re walking in a spiral; in fact, I almost tripped a few times because the floor was on a slight incline. That, and my boots are too big for my feet, but that’s another story. The top floor (or the highest floor I went to before I had to go down and meet my aunt on the third floor) was another reading room with a marvelous view of the city and waterfront out of the floor-to-ceiling glass windows. I would have loved to camp out there for the day with my laptop (free wifi!), my insulated reusable Starbucks cup, and a few books. Next time.

The next edition of Check Out will be about the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh (the old one next to the University of Pittsburgh and CMU). I practically lived there for a few days in March when I flew out to visit Sunny and had a huge project due while I was there (poor guy). Keep your eyes peeled!

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Monday Metadata

Valleywag has some reading suggestions for those who want to learn about how such tech giants as Google, Steve Jobs, and Mark Zuckerberg transformed our culture: What to Read: A Silicon Valley Curriculum

This is an oldie but goodie. I’ve been working my way through this list for a while: Jezebel’s 75 Books Every Woman Should Read

Anthony Bourdain’s new book, Medium Raw, comes out June 8. It appears to be a collection of essays about how much he hates what the food/restaurant world has become. Look me in the eye and tell me you’re surprised. I’m going to read it anyway!

If You Have to Cry, Go Outside by Kelly Cutrone

You might recognize Kelly Cutrone from her stint on MTV’s The Hills, her current role on MTV’s The City, and/or her own Bravo show Kell on Earth. She owns the PR company People’s Revolution, only wears black, is brutally honest, and has a very interesting story to tell about how she got where she is today.

If You Have to Cry, Go Outside is a memoir/self-improvement hybrid. It’s exclusively aimed at women. Kelly gives you the advice “your mother never told you,” about how to take control of your professional life by creating your own religion and embracing your inner bitch (it can be a good thing!). If you’re not into the self-improvement stuff, you might still enjoy reading about the whirlwind that has been Kelly’s life so far, including her quitting a nursing job to climb up the PR ladder in NYC, marrying an Andy Warhol protege, divorcing said protege, moving to LA with no money, finding her guru, touring with Mazzy Star…I don’t want to ruin the rest for you!

My one gripe is that the quality of writing in this book isn’t consistently good. (Example: “That’s when a thunderous voice inside me shrieked, ‘You will die!!!'”) I don’t know what role Meredith Bryan had in writing the book (“co-author” can be a pretty vague title), thus, I can’t point blame for things like their use of parenthetical footnotes. If things like that bother you, this book might not be for you. That being said, I still finished the book within a day!

The Sookie Stackhouse novels by Charlaine Harris

The first book in the series.

If the term “vampire novels” makes you cringe a little, I understand. It may conjure images of Bella, Edward, Jacob and crazed fangirls. The Twilight novels aren’t for everybody.

May I suggest the Sookie Stackhouse novels by Charlaine Harris? “But…they’re about vampires,” you argue. I know, and I am asking you to ignore the trendiness and give them a chance if you have an inkling of interest.

This series documents the life of Sookie Stackhouse, a 26-year-old human cocktail waitress living in the fictional town of Bon Temps, Louisiana. Sookie has a special talent that alienates her from the rest of her community, but things change when she meets one of her neighbors: a handsome vampire named Bill Compton. Romance, action, horror, and mystery ensue when she starts moonlighting (no pun intended) for Bill’s vampire friends.

Why you might like them: Sookie is a strong, self-confident heroine who doesn’t rely on her vampire friends to save her. She can take a punch, kick, or stake like a champ. She has Southern charm, but never hesitates to speak her mind. As for the vampires: they don’t sparkle. They live amongst humans who know what they are (even if they don’t accept them).

Books in the series, in order:

  1. Dead Until Dark
  2. Living Dead in Dallas
  3. Club Dead
  4. Dead to the World
  5. Dead as a Doornail
  6. Definitely Dead
  7. All Together Dead
  8. From Dead to Worse
  9. Dead and Gone
  10. Dead in the Family

If you like these books, you might also like the TV show, True Blood. Season 3 starts June 13 on HBO. Please note that the TV show is based pretty loosely on the novels.


You can read. You want to read. But where to start? How do you find a book you’ll love? I’m here to help you out. Check back here for book reviews and news.

Currently reading:

  • Lonely: A Memoir by Emily White
  • Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain
  • Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett
  • Dead to the World (a Sookie Stackhouse novel) by Charlaine Harris