Monthly Archives: November 2015

October Books

Even though I started a new, full-time job in October, I still “read” 19 books.  Nine of them weren’t really book-books – novellas, audiobooks, and graphic novels. The audiobooks in particular have been lifesavers on my commute. Reading time has been cut drastically, and a lot of the free time I have left goes towards grad school and Girl Scouts.

negroland spinster woods bryson

*Negroland was interesting in that it is written from a perspective I’m not familiar with. I like reading about people’s’ lives and experiences.
*Spinster is another book of that vein, and I loved it. I bought a copy for myself so I can refer back to it, and will most likely read it again at some point. It’s a winding look at one woman’s journey to understand who she is, the concept of spinsterhood, and the societal idea that women are only as good as their marriageability and motherability. She relates all of this to events in her life and authors who have had an impact on her sense of self and direction. I would have loved to have had this book 15 years ago.
*A Walk in the Woods was the first Bill Bryson book I read, way back in 1999. I’ve been wanting to listen to a Bryson book read by Bryson since my painful initial foray this summer, and A Walk in the Woods was the first one I found at my library. He is definitely good to listen to while commuting.

onyx shadow bone queen shadows bumped dead lands sweet owen jock fat girl third grave expelled the map

Shadow and Bone was a great start to trilogy, though sadly I’m sure it’s not going to end the way I want it to. I have a thing for the dark, slightly evil guys, and they rarely end up the winners. Why can’t the dark, slightly evil guy end up being the winner? Queen of Shadows furthers my love of all things Sarah J. Maas. Her writing keeps getting better, and her characters more complex and gray. Gray is good. More authors should embrace the gray. Sweet is one of my new favorite books. Oh the follies of man and wanting things the easy way – while stuck on a cruise ship. It’s one of the few books I’ve read where I want and/or need a sequel. Third Grave on Dead Ahead has made Charlie Davidson grow on me. It also has made me really miss ABQ, especially the Frontier. I started listening to the series on my commute with this book, and the only complaint I have is that the narrator mispronounces some of the city/street names.

princeless 3 lady killer bitch planet birthright

*I was excited to see that Princeless, vol 3 finally came out…and was disappointed once I read it. The whole thing felt like poorly set up filler. Nothing happened that moved the overall plot of rescuing Adrienne’s sisters, and the interactions between Adrienne and Raven were too stereotypically cat-fighty. I hope the weakness of this volume is a fluke in the series.
*Lady Killer is another gray (leaning towards black) book. The author’s introduction was amazing as was how Josie Schuller is presented as balancing her personal and professional lives. Women have darkness inside of them, too, and I like seeing it presented in way that doesn’t show the woman in question as an evil, unnatural monster.
*Bitch Planet probably falls into the same category as well. While I didn’t like it as much as Lady Killer, it was still very well done.
*The lone non-female centric graphic novel I read in October was Birthright, vol 1. It wasn’t weak by any means, and there is potential for the series to progress to freaking amazing. I love flawed heroes. I love the dark complexity that motivates Mikey’s return home. Will a child kidnapped because he was prophesied to be the savior of another world ever fully commit to that cause?

which witch

*Which Witch? is one of my childhood favorites. It’s been on my read aloud list for Bean for a long time, and it was finally this book’s turn. Bean adored it. She would press me to read “just one more paragraph” or “just one more page”. Signs that a given book is a winner.

The Orange Carpet 2015

This was the third year my library held its annual Halloween Runway Party (see last year). By far one of the most popular family events, it was created by my director as a way to have Halloween fun without the competition – every child is a star. Each child is announced by name and costume, then they walk down the orange carpet to background music while their families take pictures.

bp halloweenActivities

Last year, I expanded the event to include activities in addition to the runway. This year, I expanded the number of activities significantly. We did not have any comic books from Halloween ComicFest, but that was because September and October were insanely busy months for both myself and the director, and we never put in the order for the comics.

Poke-a-Pumpkin – My mislabeled station was popular last year, and was popular again this year. I put small, inexpensive treats in each cup – beaded bat necklaces, bat rings, squishy eyeballs, Halloween tattoos, etc… A single layer of tissue paper was rubber banded over each cup to hide the prizes. To get to the prizes, you jab your finger through the tissue paper.

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Pumpkin Guts (from Stir the Wonder) – A station intended for littlest children, but all of the children present spent some time squishing guts around.

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Paint Mix Pumpkins (from Sunflower Storytime) – I used this as an activity at a storytime, and thought it would be good to use again since several attendees were under the age of 2. I learned from previous experience that duct tape over the top of the baggie is a must – enthusiastic smooshing can cause paint to leak out.

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Squawking Pumpkins (from Miss Mancy – website not working ) – I did a non-Halloween version of these with my Girl Scout troop last year, and they loved them. When I came across a version that turned them into jack o’lanterns, I knew I had to do them at my library. A volunteer prepped them by stringing the yarn and paper clip so all the children had to do was decorate it and play with it. I highly recommend using a drill to make the holes in the base of the cups.

The basic directions: tie a piece of cotton yarn to a large paper clip; put the string through the hole; hold the cup in one hand, and with the other hand wrap a wet (not sodden) paper towel around the string and pull down. An annoying squawking noise is made by the wet paper towel/string and amplified by the cup. Physics at its funnest.

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Egg Carton Pumpkins – I know variations of this are floating around the internet, but I got the idea from a craft I did with my Daisy Girl Scouts. We made Girl Scout Promise bugs from blue-spray painted egg cartons. It was easy enough to translate the idea into pumpkins.

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Candy Corn Puff Paint (from Growing a Jeweled Rose) – I’ve used shaving cream/glue paint multiple times during storytime, and it has always been a hit. I had a bunch of leftover candy corn coloring pages from last year, and decided to reuse them.

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Pool Noodle Pumpkin Stamps (from Toddler Approved) – a popular, and messy, station.

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