Friday, June 27, 2008

I Am A Native Texan

I am a native Texan and proud of it. I can trace my roots back to Stephen F. Austin's first 300 settler families. I even have license plates that proclaim me to be a native. ( I tell everyone the special plates help support the preservation of the Alamo, but that's secondary -- really it's just pride talking) And, I desperately wanted my children to be Texans, too. But, (thanks to the U.S. Navy) they were born in Louisiana so they are transplanted Texans. So, whenever I can find a novel with Texas as the place of action, I stop and take a second look.

The last book I read with Texas characters was The Ex-Debutante by Linda Francis Lee. Carlisle Wainwright Cushing left Willow Bend, Texas as soon as she was granted her license to practice law. She's spent the last three years in Boston, practicing law, dating a Yankee and reveling in her anonymity from her privileged Southern background. Now, her mother is dragging her back to town to help with the latest divorce. Once back in town, Carlisle learns that unless she takes the reins for the 100th debutante ball that has always been sponsored by the Wainwright family, the local symphony will be disbanded since the ball provides the capital to operate the symphony. The final straw comes when Carlisle leans the the opposing attorney in the divorce suit is her former boyfriend whom she left without a forwarding address when she fled to Boston. As she quotes Michael Corleone from the Godfather III movie, "Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in." Carlisle's attempts to find debs for a ball that no one wants to participate in, disentangle her mother from her marriage without losing her social standing, and not fall back in love with an ex-flame form the nucleus of a funny and smart book that explores the crazy things we all do for the sake of family.

Other books similar to The Ex-Debutante include:
My Big Old Texas Heartache by Geralyn Dawson
Alamo House by Sarah Bird
Lone Star Cafe by Lisa Wingate
Lady be Good by Susan Elizabeth Phillips
Blue Blood by Susan McBride
Not Another Bad Date by Rachel Gibson

So, pick up a book about my favorite state and spend a lazy summer day reading.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Summer Reading Club: No Time to Read?

Think you don't have time to read this summer? Think again. Try some flash fiction that is only six words long. Or for a little longer reading, try Flash Fiction Forward. The book has 80 very short stories, from Dave Eggers to John Updike.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Deweying It by the Numbers: Introduction

This library and most public and school libraries in the country use the Dewey Decimal Classification System for their non-fiction books. There has been a move by some in the library world to drop the system. I know that some might find the string of numbers confusing, but it is actually one of the better ways to classify books out there, especially when it comes to finding a particular book or a particular subject.

Here is a breakdown of the basic Dewey list:

The Ten Main Classes

000 Computer science, information & general works
100 Philosophy & psychology
200 Religion
300 Social sciences
400 Language
500 Science
600 Technology
700 Arts & recreation
800 Literature
900 History & geography

Over the next couple of weeks I will be writing on how I find the Dewey Decimal System useful, starting with the 000s all the way to the 900s (and then back to biographies, which, while 92s, are shelved separately). For a really in-depth treatment of Dewey on a blog, check out 025.431 The Dewey Blog (025.431 is the Dewey Decimal Subject for, you guessed it, the Dewey Decimal Classification).

Monday, June 23, 2008

Summer Reading Club: Romance Novels

The Summer Reading Club is in full swing, and I have had time barely to read five books. That is all that you need to complete an entry into the Adult Summer Reading Club drawing, as well as a free book coupon to the next Friends of the Library book sale and (while supplies last) a free map or other item in our box of "goodies". If you are on the road a lot this summer, or don't have time to read, you can also listen to audiobooks.

I read a variety of books, but I've been focusing mainly on romance novel and chick lit type books. After this, I am going to read some science fiction novels. I am a sucker for genre books.

Certain Girls: a novel by Jennifer Weiner
This is a follow up to Good in Bed, the book that put Jennifer Weiner on the map. I loved this book. It was a smart update of what happens to the heroine thirteen years after the first book when its time for her daughter to have a bat mitzvah.

Secrets by Jude Deveraux

I've loved Jude Deveraux ever since I read Knight in Shining Armor when I was a teenager (gave me a love of time travel as well as romance novels). But her foray into psuedo romantic mysteries and supernatural romance has not had me impressed. Secrets does a better job than most of her recent books have of keeping my interest. The love interest is a secret agent and the nanny of his daughter, who is our heroine, doesn't know it. Misunderstandings over this basic plot fuel the rest of the book.

No Choice But Seduction by Johanna Lindsey
Another novel in the ongoing series about the Malory family. I really do love Johanna Lindsey (I used to own every one of her books in first edition), but it can get annoying with her having to describe every single person who is in the main character's family.

Bellwether by Connie Willis
Not an actual romance or chick lit novel, but the closest thing to it that Connie Willis, an award winning science fiction author, has. The book is about a scientist that studies fads only to find that sometimes only chaos has the answers. She has two love interests, one rancher who spends more time on the internet than with his sheep, and a scientist she works with who might be "immune" to fads.

Undead and Unworthy by MaryJanice Davidson
I haven't read this particular novel in her Queen Betsy series, but I just picked it up yesterday and can't wait to read it. This series brought the supernatural to romance novels, in this case with vampires and werewolves. Trying not finding a supernatural romance novel now can be daunting.