Thursday, August 21, 2014

Utah Book Month: Spotlighting the Orem Library

Orem Library
This is the "new" wing...the old wing is to the left.

Once upon a time when I was first married (we just had our 27th anniversary, so there you go) we discovered the Orem Library. I'd been there before when I was kid and visited a friend that lived in Orem. Since I didn't grow up in Orem, this had been my only exposure up until then.

But shortly after I was married, we found out that this library had quite the collection of CDs. Now remember, 27 years ago, CDs were just becoming the thing. We were blown away by how cool this new technology was and how awesome that this library had some we could check out! It was the best! We went often and pored over the several drawers full and took home a good handful each time. So much fun.

Then we discovered they had movies too. Oh, and lots of books of course! Back then there was only one wing, three stories. Fiction was upstairs and I went through my Orson Scott Card phase, and Anya Seton and M.M. Kaye phase. I can still remember where those authors could be found at the time. I would head there there minute we walked in the door.

I remember back then looking at the closed door to the offices and the behind the scenes of the library and wondering what these people did for their jobs and how lucky they were to be working there. Yep.

And then, I had kids. And now I came to this library every week without fail for story time. We'd go down stairs where the pictures books were housed (the CDs were still there in the basement too, but  a lot more now) and listened to animated enthusiastic librarians tell stories. The kids loved it. I loved it. However, sometimes I wished I could just leave them there while I browsed for my own books! But we'd take the stroller and ride up the glass elevator to that top story and check out my books after story time was over. (The glass elevator is no longer there and in fact the closed stack books are locked up in its shaft. Also the printer supplies which I get to inventory now and then!)

Half of the famous window.

When my third kids was a baby (he's now nearly 20 years old) they added on a whole huge wing to the library. We went to the ribbon cutting and grand opening. So exciting! Now the kids books were in a big light, open area with the most awesome stained glass window depicting fairy tales. We loved it! And the CDs and movies? Oh my word, but that collection was expanded to have its whole own section and they had thousands and thousands of items. We loved it!

A minuscule section of the CD collection

And just some of the movies.

Many years went by. My kids grew up and we stopped going to story time. But we started going to summer reading. It was the best! Every week we gathered and a new person would be there to talk to them about whatever the theme of the summer was. They even had a different group for the teens. One summer, they had to move to the mall while they remodeled the old wing, and my daughter sat in the window and modeled books! How fun is that?

My daughter and her friend sitting in the library window.

The bridge that connects the two wings.

We loved going. We went so much that I kept thinking how awesome it would be to come and actually get PAID for it. There had to be a job I could do there.

Meanwhile, we not only supported the summer reading, and continued to check out things like crazy, but we came to evening programs. I loved these. Awesome speakers all the time. I can't remember what else we came to in those days, but there was always something happening. And the CDs and movies? HUNDREDS of thousands of items now!

Then six years ago, I finally ended up with a job at the library! Weird how I'd thought about it for so many years and then it finally happened. And now I totally know what it's like to work behind the scenes and it's crazy I tell you. Crazy!
The view from where I sit!

So much is going on at the library. Let me just tell you some stuff:

  • there's a fun blog full of lists and recipes and staff highlights and much funny stuff. Check it out!
  • this next weekend is the Timpanogos Storytelling Festival... the second largest of its kind after the one in Jonsboro Tennessee. If you haven't seen theses storytellers. The time is now. This event, in which the library is heavily involved, happens every Labor Day weekend.
  • programs and movie screenings, and chess, and writing groups and story time and all sorts of things all week long!
  • Each fall we have Orem Reads where a certain book is highlighted and then there are programs and events for two months long surrounding the theme of that book. I love it! This year it's going to be all about poetry. 
  • You can check out magazines, online!
  • Speaking of online, there's a huge resource of ebooks and audiobooks. 
  • Did I tell you about the CDs and movies? I think so. You should just come and LOOK at this collection. It's truly amazing.
  • Two wings, six levels of collection. That's a lot of books.
  • Awesome staff! :) I know. Believe me.
The day brothers Rob and Dan Wells visited.


And that's just the tip of the iceberg. I love this library so much. I've been coming for all these many years, and I'm not tired of it yet!



Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Book Review Discussion: Becoming Lady Lockwood by Jennifer Moore

Book: Becoming Lady Lockwood by Jennifer Moore
Genre: Historical Romance
Rating:★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
For: Utah Book Month
From: Bought it at Seagull Books

Short Synopsis: Amelia was married by proxy to a Duke she never met...and he died before the meeting could ever happen, which makes Amelia quite happy. And now his brother has come to declare it all a fraud. Meanwhile, her awful admiral of a dad has beckoned her home to London (she's been raised in Jamaica, a British colony) and she has to go on none other than the angry brother's war ship! Of course, since this is during the Napoleonic Wars, a battle happens in transit. Lots of other stuff happens too!

My Response: At first, I thought there was too much ship/navy talk and it went a bit over my head, but it grew on me and I ended up loving it. We got a wonderful feel for what it might have been like on one of these war ships! The battle itself seemed sudden and quick. A few other things seemed sudden and quick too, and easily resolved. It's only a 200 page book after all. I could have handled a longer book with more detail and a bit more story. But as it was, it was fun and enjoyable and I raced through it quickly. Also, yet another "new to me" Utah author I've discovered!

Bottom Line: It was a nice "proper romance"! Just what I needed!

Let's Talk About: Do you ever read books that have settings that are quite unfamiliar to you? Does it make you enjoy learning something new? Or do you scratch your head in confusion? There were SO MANY sailing terms thrown around in this book. Some I knew, some I had no clue about. It made me crazy at first, but then I enjoyed the feel of it all and could imagine the workings of this small community. It helped that I recently toured the Midway in San Diego. It really helped me to envision it all, even though the ships are from completely different eras.

Other Reviews:

There is love, action, adventure and intrigue, all the great hallmarks of a historical romance to me. From The Muse Unleashed

Wonderful characters, beautiful setting of the story, amazingly written and such beautiful love story. You totally should read it! From Corazones-Literarios

If you enjoy clean regency romance, then this is the book for you! From Mel's Bookshelves

Becoming Lady Lockwood had everything an historical romance should. It had a strong heroine, a dashing hero, a moving plot that with some tension and a little danger, great chemistry between the two love interests, some humor, romance that extracted some sighs, and a happily-ever-after ending that had everything stacked against it. From Wishful Endings



Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday: Recommend Something to Me

So here's the thing. . . the prompt today (over at The Broke and the Bookish as usual!) is to list books that people have recommended to us, and while I know of all the buzz books (mostly anyway) I can't think of a book that has been recommended to specifically me, at least lately. 

So I thought I'd just ask you all... WHAT BOOK SHOULD I BE READING RIGHT NOW? What am I missing out on? What book do you think I would just LOVE LOVE LOVE?

Let me know!


Monday, August 18, 2014

Book Review Discussion: Cut Me Free by J.R. Johansson

Book: Cut Me Free by J.R. Johansson
Genre: YA Contemporary
Rating:★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
For: Review and Utah Book Month
From: ARC from the author at a book signing (to be released Jan. 2015)

Short Synopsis: Charlotte (formerly Piper) has just escaped an abusive childhood. She is now ready to change her life and put everything behind her. Then she sees a little girl that appears to be suffering the same awful abuse that she herself has just escaped. Charlotte has to help her and now her life is going in a completely different direction than she planned. Thanks to help from a strong and understanding boy named Cam, it just might be possible to overcome all.

My Response: Ah, tough subject matter! This is torture abuse, literally. It's hard to even imagine. But despite the harrowing bits, it's also an inspirational tale that leaves you with the feeling of  "you go girl" toward Charlotte. She is strong and determined, yet she is also unable to do this alone. Thanks to some friends she meets along the way, she is able to fight back and overcome. It's page turning to watch. Yes, hard, but also, yes, awesome. Cam, an unlikely friend she finds along the way, is amazingly understanding. I'm not sure any normal person would stick around and just... you know... take the good with the bad. Because this bad is pretty bad.

Bottom Line: I totally enjoyed this one. A sad, powerful story. (Note: This book doesn't come out until Jan. 2015 and I usually don't review something so far ahead of time, but have made an exception this time as part of Utah Book Month celebrations!)

Let's Talk About: What are your feelings reading about reading about abuse? I know it's hard, but it's also eye opening and something that we need to do to be aware. Don't you think? Or do you think it's better left unsaid and unwritten? Or do you think that sure, it should be written about, but you don't have to read it? Thoughts?

Other Reviews:

I was on the edge of my seat the entire time! The story was so intense. I wanted to finish it as soon as I started reading it. From Jenni Elyse

This is a very realistic fiction with a very important theme, one that unfortunately is probably more true than any of us outside this type of a situation may know. From Lisa Loves Literature

Side Note: Don't read this after dark! I had some weird dreams after reading into the night. I just couldn't put it down, but I paid for it! From Kami's Library Thoughts



Sunday, August 17, 2014

Currently: Back to School? Already?

CURRENTLY
(written this very second)


Listening: Nothing. I should fix that. What should I listen too? We've been listening to a lot of MIKA at our house these days. Raise your hand if you know this singer??





Watching: I started the second season on Netflix for Hell on Wheels. Also, I watched the first episode of Outlander on the computer. Didn't catch the second one last night. Not sure if I'll manage to keep up with this one. But anyway, that's all the TV I've watched in the past few days. Feeling some withdrawal. I need the new shows to start up! I want Once Upon a Time and Parenthood and Survivor and... well... at least those ones....


Reading: I haven't been doing very well with my Utah Book plans. Only two books down! And I started a third and it's not grabbing me. I think I'll try another one today and see if it takes hold a little better.


Writing: Having fun chatting online with my little group every Tuesday... those that come anyway! I'm still making slow but sure progress with editing and revising my Nano story. Starting to gear up and think about a new Nano story for this November.

Also, we are very close to jumping full force into creating my new writing space. I have every reason to believe once this is done, my writing will totally take off! Ha!


Blogging: Gah... I guess I'm in a slump! Just not feeling it these days. Forcing myself to write those posts that actually do show up. I hate that. Here's hoping it changes.

Anyway, smack in the middle of Utah Book Month and have plans to start gearing up for a full on Bloggiesta which is fast approaching! Oh my word, but time flies!


Eating: I've been tracking my eating at My Fitness Pal now for three full weeks. I HATE IT! Hate it tell you. I feel hungry all day long. And there is nothing to show for it. But I'm determined to keep trying. I've managed Zumba several times, which I actually really love. It's just finding a moment to squeeze it in. But yeah, I'm tired of being fat, but the effort not to be fat is exhausting and frustrating. I'm guessing I'm not alone in this sentiment.


Crafting: Nothing but I need to do some wedding scrapbooks so bad.

Miscellaneous:
  • school starts this week for kid #4. Kids 1 through 3 all start various colleges the next week. Party on.
  • we've plans to go camping this weekend as our final hurrah. But there are so many things happening that we'll miss that we wonder why we even tried.
  • Oldest kid turns 25 this month. He is freaking much worse than I am.
  • the whole writing blog posts for Comic Con has not turned out as expected. Two weeks have gone by and I haven't seen a thing yet. Sigh.
  • I want to see The Giver. And I want to see Richard Armitage in that tornado movie. And people... is Guardians of the Galaxy really that good. I mean...really?
  • And all the talk about Robin Williams and depression and all... has made me depressed. No joke.
  • Ah well. I guess that's all that's on my mind at the moment.



Happy new week to you all!

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Utah Book Month Party 2014

Once again, we are gathering all our awesome bookish-ness in one place and you know you want to be there! Yes it's true, to end our fun celebration of Utah Book Month, we'll be having a party at the same park in Lehi where we've been the past couple of years. Except this year, we'll be in the directly opposite pavilion then we have before, which means we'll be at the NE spot...so take note! Here are the details:


Utah Book Month Bash
Saturday, August 30, 2014 at 7:00 p.m.
Wines Park in Lehi, Pavilion #1 (NE Corner)

  • Bring a small dessert to share; we'll provide plates/forks/napkins/cups/water.
  • Bring ONE book (per attendee) to swap.
  • We do have a pavilion with picnic tables, but you may also want to bring chairs or blankets for sitting on the grass.
  • Families are welcome - there is a playground for kids


We hope to see all you bloggin' buddies and favorite authors there!

Here we are a couple of years ago.
I would love to see this many come again!

Friday, August 15, 2014

In Which The World's Strongest Librarian Comes to Book Club!


Since it's Utah Book Month this month, our book club decided to read a book by a Utah author. The book they chose was The World's Strongest Librarian by Josh Hanagarne. Turns out, the library even had a book club set for this book! Which is always a plus for our book club.

We planned to meet next week on our normal third Thursday but after a fun turn of events due to a Twitter conversation I had, we met last night instead and Josh Hanagarne himself came and joined us!

I was so very nervous. Talk about doing something out of your comfort zone! So I rallied the book club and I said, hey, if you haven't read the book yet.. read it now! And bring guests (friends, husbands, kids, moms) to book club! And they did and last night, we had an awesome, interested and engaged crowd!

And Josh came and he was fun and interesting and willing to answer pretty much any question we had. In the end after we gave him a thank you gift that included a t-shirt from the library, he even modeled his book stack spine tattoo when he changed shirts. LOL!

Some of the things we talked about:

  • his relationship with his parents, particularly his mom who was featured so strongly in the book. 
  • how the book came about, which was sort of accidentally, when someone fell in love with his blog
  • how he learned to write? From reading! And practicing. "If you don't have time to read, you don't have time to write."
  • the difference between a memoir and an autobiography: a memoir is a certain slant on a life...there's a theme. An autobiography is the whole life of a person... beginning to end.
  • Did you get your Mark Twain set back? YES!!
  • "Everything is a story." Even math spreadsheets.
  • We talked a lot about honesty. His book is so honest and forthright, and yet, things in just the past few years have changed yet again. And now he's so different even from the person who wrote that book. There's another memoir in the works to talk about all the changes...I think.
  • One of the big changes.. divorce. I know many of us were curious about this one and he talked about it a little. 
  • Book crushes since Fern? The girl that appears only for a paragraph or two in Carols Ruiz Zafron's The Angel's Game. 
  • Some favorite books: anything by Cormac McCarthy, Blood Meridian, Catch 22, Don Quixote. But the book he's read the most... Terminator 2!
Here's a few pictures: 


Josh Hanagarne with girlfriend Angela

A crowd shot
More of the interested audience!
Here's our posed picture... and even then a few people
didn't jump in.
Changing shirts and showing of the tattoo!
My husband handed him a phone book.
This was the result!


 Such a fun evening! It will go down as one of our best book club moments. Thanks to Josh for joining us!



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