Monthly Archives: July 2010

NPR and the Old Spice guy address libraries


[NPR article]

I don’t know whether public libraries will be the next big pop-culture wave. I know that they’re extremely useful and that every morning I go in to work, the librarian or page who opens the door has to shout “OPENING THE DOOOOOR” so that everybody can prepare themselves for the deluge of patrons who have been lining up at the door, waiting to get in. Unlike some other librarians, I don’t think I’d mind, as long as this wave of popularity gets them more funding and respect.

IraqiGirl: Diary of a Teenage Girl in Iraq

IraqiGirl book cover When I found this book on the library’s to-be-shelved cart I was immediately intrigued. IraqiGirl is a compilation of real blog posts written by Hadiya, a then 15-year-old girl living in US-occupied Iraq. Her narrative is reminiscent of The Diary of a Young Girl (by Anne Frank), and in a way, Hadiya is the Anne Frank of the 21st century. I’m sure I’m not the only one to make that connection.

But Hadiya’s world is much different than Anne’s. Aside from bearing witness to different wars (duh), Hadiya lives in the information age. Her blog is public, and so are her political opinions. She keeps her identity a secret, but people can still attack her in the comments section of her blog — not that she can’t handle it. In this book, you see Hadiya struggle between wanting to voice her opinions of American soldiers and the war in her country, and wanting to talk about more innocuous topics such as her bedroom and drawings. But we soon learn that pretty much everything in Hadiya’s life is tainted by the war.

Hadiya’s blog lives on here. I visited it today and read that she’s well into pharmacy school!

On My Desk and another book list

Betty Draper reading a book about Italy

On my desk:

  • Turtle Moon by Alice Hoffman
  • The River King by Alice Hoffman
  • The Robber Bride by Margaret Atwood

Have you ever wondered what they read on Mad Men (when they’re not smoking, drinking, assaulting, dog-abandoning, or playing the accordion)? Check out Flashlight Worthy’s list. They have another for Lost, but I don’t have anything witty to say about that because I’ve never watched the show.

The Ice Queen by Alice Hoffman

Cover of The Ice Queen by Alice Hoffman

Synopsis: An antisocial New Jersey librarian with an unusual power moves to Florida to be near her brother and sister-in-law. Shortly after her move, she is struck by lightning, and volunteers to be part of a university study of strike victims. It is through this study that she forms friendships and carries out a secret, steamy (no pun intended…ha ha) affair with a reclusive strike victim. Finally, she learns the meaning of sacrifice when she must make an important decision about her lover’s identity and privacy.

I read this book last year for an assignment that prompted us to examine how librarians were portrayed in the media/pop culture. I expected it to be full of cheesy stereotypes, but I was in for a surprise. This book was wildly entertaining and contains some beautiful imagery of the state of Florida.

If you’re looking for more substantial beach/travel reading than, say, Danielle Steele novels, I highly recommend this book (and her other novels, a couple of which will be featured on this blog in the coming months). I guarantee you’ll be captivated by Hoffman’s ability to take interesting details and combine them to create a meaty stew of a story that you don’t want to end. Is “meaty stew” a bad analogy for summer reading? Probably. But I really can’t think of any other way to describe the satisfaction I got from reading this book.