Category Archives: Rants

General rants about all things library.

Book trailers and why they rock!

It has only been recently that I have been inducted into the world of book trailers.  I believe the first one I watched was for Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters.

And for a few months, I didn’t see anymore book trailers.  It was as though this funny little clip was all that there was.  True, I wasn’t going out of my way to look for these trailers, but you would expect one or two to pop up on a Google search of the latest book release/ bestseller.

Lately, I’ve been noticing LOTS of book trailers.  And many of them are extremely well done.  There are blogs that are devoted to reviewing and awarding book trailers.  The most comprehensive blog for book trailers out there is Book Trailers.  If you’re not sure what you are looking for, then check out Book Screening, a website that finds the trailers for you.

So why am I loving book trailers lately?  They’re a fun way to browse.  From a promotional standpoint, if your facility has the technology (sound system, small screen T.V.s) then you are reaching a wider audience than by simply displaying the book (I believe that Chapters has already done this in one of their larger stores…).  It’s more interactive, which the younger generation absolutely loves.  And within a minute or two of watching a book trailer, you already know more about the story and the characters than you would if you had spent that minute reading the book jacket or a page.  And I think that this is essential if we want to create readership within young people.  They need to feel a sense of connection with the character (or at least interest) and story in order to stick with it longer than one chapter.

I’m going to work on incorporating book trailers into my displays. We’ll see what the guys think.

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Coffee, cookies, and Sir Ken on stage… life is be-a-utiful

Last night I was lucky enough to score a ticket to an impromptu (at least for me!) presentation by Sir Ken Robinson at Mulgrave School. As I have only ever watched any of his presentations on the “interwebs”, I was incredibly excited to go see him live.  Listening to him speak is absolutely inspiring every time!  As quite a few of the people in the audience (and here I’m just extrapolating from the few I’d spoken to) hadn’t read his book, The Element, I felt that it was a good introduction to the subject of creativity (right brain (R) directed thinking) within our culture of standardization and logic (left brain (L) directed thinking). For those of us who had read the book before hand and had watched many of his prior presentations, it was a wonderful review of his arguments with some new examples.

One thing that Sir Ken discussed was the population growth over the last century, and how it will affect our cultures.  It was interesting to hear his views of the problems that we will face as the Earth becomes more “crowded”.  And what this is referring to is not that the world is going to run out of landmass for everyone to fit on, but it will (and is) run out of necessary resources such as drinkable water, farm land (food), and fuel (which we rely heavily on).  I won’t go into more about this as I think the recommendation that Sir Ken gave is more… knowledgeable about this subject than myself.  If you are interested in learning more about overpopulation and the problems that arise from this, watch Sir David Attenborough’s documentary titled, How Many People Can Live On Earth.

Overall it was a wonderful evening, and it was awesome to see so many parents, teachers, and school board members together to listen to this man.  Here’s to hoping that when schools begin looking at their strategic plans across the world, that they think of Sir Ken and the revolutionary ideas he puts forth for education.

Here is the RSA Animate’s adaptation of a speech that Sir Ken gave.  I know I posted earlier with this video, but it is seriously amazing and should be watched multiple times!

 

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Kindle Woes

I love my Kindle to pieces.  I’m a space limited bookaholic, which is why I switched from my beloved paper books to e-books in the first place.  And while I miss having the actual book in my hand, the convenience of an e-reader is just to… convenient.  I can carry 3,500 hundred books in my purse! I can shop while on the bus and it’s delivered within seconds! I’m in book heaven! And this is why all of my friends have had to sit through a 10 minute love rant on why Kindle is amazing and I’ll never want to use another e-reader.

I really hate eating crow.

As someone who thinks a great time involves spending hours browsing books in the local (or commercial depending on how picky you want to be) bookstore, I was bound to come across the new release Juliet by Anne Fortier while I was killing time in Chapters.  After reading 4 chapters in store, I was excited to get home and download it to my Kindle so that I could finish it!  The scene that followed went something like this:

(Me at home with Kindle) “Come on, come on, load already… yes!”

(sits down with the Kindle in front of the climbing gear) Okay…(typing furiously on the little keyboard)… hmm, maybe I spelled it wrong. Let’s try this…(typing again)… oh come on!”

(jumps up in frustration and runs to the computer) “Maybe it’s too new? (typing furiously) WHAT!!! NOT AVAILABLE IN CANADA!!???” (grabs ice-ax from wall and advances on the helpless Kindle…)

That’s right.  Not available in Canada.  And it isn’t just that one.  I was also hoping on buying Trudi Canavan’s latest book The Ambassador’s Mission electronically as I have bought all the rest of her books.  And Juliet Marillier’s latest book in her Sevenwaters series, Seer of Sevenwaters.  ALL UNAVAILABLE IN CANADA.

I know that this has been ranted about in previous discussions.  I believe that there is even a facebook page dedicated to irate Kindle owners from Canada who can’t get their books.  I also realize that this is not entirely Amazon’s fault… but really??? I can get the rest of the series on my Kindle but not the latest books??? This is going to make me hesitant to buy anymore books that are part of a series, or an author I really enjoy… which pretty much leaves me with all the books I bought the Kindle for in the first place.

So.  I have two options.  I can either live with it and wait until the day that they MAY come available… or I can go buy another e-reader… one that maybe allows me to borrow books from the public library as well?  I guess I will be heading to Chapters tonight… I need to finish that book, maybe on my new Kobo e-reader.  I just hope the new home-made, ethically sourced (whatever that really means) case I bought for my Kindle will fit the latest generation of Wi-Fi Kobo readers!

 

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A classic case of “I really don’t want to read this…”

I really didn’t want to read…

I love reading.  In fact, I have a private collection of around 300 books that didn’t make it to my weeding pile last spring where I got rid of another 200.  I’ve seen less books in some public high schools in the Cariboo (rural schools mostly).  But I’m like everyone in that sometimes… I just don’t want to read anything that can be remotely called literature.

I’ve been meaning to read and do a short review of The Geographer’s Library by Jon Fasman, Born to Run by Christopher McDougall, and another one that is in the category of “I can’t remember the title right now, but it is sitting on my shelf at home”.  Basically, for the whole week, I procrastinated.  I read everything but what I was meaning to (I think I re-read Dragonsong 4 times!).  I re-read books that I didn’t even like(Sorry Pi, but I still don’t like you)! How silly is that??

So what I’m hoping to accomplish by posting about my lack of motivation is that I’ll be more… motivated(?) to read these books.  Because they do sound interesting.  And getting out of your comfort zone is important to do every now-and-then.  And really, when you post about books, you’re pushing people to think beyond their comfort level as well.  So here’s to less comfort, more adventure, and (hopefully) less procrastination. Although I believe that I’m procrastinating now…

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Shhh! My rant on the quietness of libraries.

I remember from school that the library was the “no talking” zone. This has been drilled into me since elementary school, throughout high-school, and into university.  Even today I walk into a library and feel compelled to learn sign language.  School libraries have been traditionally quiet places where people can go to read or study… but should they be completely devoid of conversation?

Personally, I don’t think they should be.  I understand that some people need to study “quietly”.  Really I do.  But those students are the ones that are silent because they have Modest Mouse blaring into their ears.  True, they aren’t making any noise.  But I would rather a group of students discussing their work and the benefits of having an SUV over a minivan than listening to music.  At least if they’re talking about cars, they’re learning something.

Our policy here at the school is that the library is a serious place meant for silent, individual study.  But that is less often the case.  Students get assigned group work in classes, which is then transferred to the library when they come in to work on it in an environment where they can easily access all the needed resources.  Group work means that they need to have discussion.  If we enforce “quiet study” then I think that we restrict their learning.

Basically, I’m just ranting.  In the meantime, I will continue to monitor (not get rid of) talkative students in the library.  Sometimes it may get a bit louder than what people expect of the library, but hopefully we can learn to adjust the image of an outdated library image to properly reflect the learning styles of our students.

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I’m sorry Frodo, but I’ve found a new Hobbit

What I’m about to say is sacrilege, and I realize that it could potentially injure some of my book–related relationships… but I have to tell the truth.

I can’t stand reading the LOTR books.  In fact… I made it through the first book and 25 pages of the second.

But I have watched the movies quite a bit…actually I love the movies to pieces.  The story is just so great.  Which is where I point my mind to whenever I’m talking to a LOTR book fan and I can’t change the topic.  I suppose I should apologize for posing as an Elvish speaking, Tolkien lit fan in order to fit into the book world…but I really don’t think I will.  It’s been fun.

So what is so terrible about the  LOTR books that I haven’t bothered to stick through the second or the third book? Why do I rely on my ability to remember scenes, quote them and nod intelligently when anything outside those scenes is discussed?  I believe that the reason for this is that I can’t stand reading page after page of Frodo’s whiny dialogue and unspectacular self.  I’d rather watch it.  At least it doesn’t take quite as long to get through those parts!  And because of this terrible introduction to J.R.R. Tolkien, I haven’t really tried to pick up another one of his books… until The Hobbit.

Bilbo Baggins is everything that Frodo isn’t.  And while I appreciate that Frodo had a tough burden to carry through the books, Bilbo was also on a dangerous mission outside of his preciously quiet Hobbit life. Much like Frodo (or should we say that Frodo was much like Bilbo?) Bilbo is set onto his journey by Gandalf to help the dwarves rid themselves of Smaug, which he does.  Along the way Bilbo becomes the first Baggins to leave the Shire, the first Baggins to outwit Gollum (my favourite riddles are in this book!), the first Baggins to be a “friend to the elves”.  And he does all of this without the whine.  Perhaps the older generation Hobbits were more sturdy?

That’s all I’ll say on the subject… I’ll let Leonard Nimoy take over from here.

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Did he say “this” or “diss”?

I will admit that I have an incredibly hard time understanding someone who is speaking English with a heavy accent.  It doesn’t matter what kind, or if English is their second language.  There are plenty of Canadians and Brits who I can’t understand… and English is their first language!  It is both embarrassing and frustrating to tell someone that I can’t help them simply because I just can’t make out what they are trying to tell me. Thankfully this doesn’t happen very often.  I have become very good at reading other visual cues to break apart the language barrier.

But this made me ask myself why, when people can speak English fluently, we seem to cross wires.  And I realized that it doesn’t have to do with their knowledge of the English language… it’s a problem of differences.  Differences in how I enunciate a word and in how they enunciate that same word, as well as differences in pronunciation.  And depending on the individual’s culture changing that is going to take a lot of work… especially in a language as difficult as English.  There were certain sounds that I couldn’t pronounce until I was in my teens (I still have a hard time saying aluminium!).  And in the commercial below, the problem with not understanding how to properly pronounce and enunciate words is highlighted.

The best thing to overcome the problems of pronunciation(has to do with saying a word the way a dictionary would tell you it should be said) and enunciation(has to do with saying all the sounds in a word clearly) is to practice by reading aloud.  Reading from a book or a magazine forces you to read set words and not slip into slang that is easier.  And even better is to record yourself.  This will help to show you exactly what words you have a hard time with and where you tend to slur words together.  If you want to do any recordings, come and talk to Ms. Dalberg about participating in the student podcasts.  We’re offering students the opportunity to podcast about books, movies, music, etc.  Afterwards, we’ll place the podcast on the wiki page so that you can see your improvement!

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