Friday, February 14, 2014

Valentine's Day Mix

Happy Valentine's Day! Of course, what is not to love about books on this romantic day, and one of my favorite genres is paranormal romance and science fiction/romance and fantasy/romance hybrids. Linnea Sinclair and Sharon Lee (and Sharon Lee and Steve Miller) write some excellent science fiction/romance books, and Shana Abe's Drakon series is a marvelous paranormal romance series full of steamy love scenes and beautiful prose.

And while we are on the topic of beauty, these are some great photos of beautiful librarians:
'This Is What a Librarian Looks Like'
For those who still cling to the outdated cliche; of librarians as
cranky, shushing killjoys, Salon's "This Is What a Librarian Looks Like"
feature offered a counter-image in the form of Kyle Cassidy's
photographs, which were taken last month American Library Association's
Midwinter Meeting in Philadelphia.

"I realized I had a stereotype in my mind of what a librarian looked
like, which is one of the reasons I wanted to do this project. Whenever
I think something is true, I'm often wrong," Cassidy said. "I tend to
think of librarians as the ones I know from my public library and from
school. But there are librarians who are researchers and archivists
doing extraordinarily technical work. There are librarians who work in
specialized fields who have to know about archaeology, for example, or
medicine or research science. The field was broader than I had gone in
there thinking."

Ingrid Abrams, a librarian at Brooklyn Public Library who participated
in the project, added: "If you haven't been in a library since you were
a little kid, or maybe have only seen libraries in movies, you might
think we're all a bunch of humorless, shushing curmudgeons. The truth
is, we're a variety of ages. We're every race, ethnicity and religious
background imaginable. We can be the type who wears a suit and tie every
day or someone like me, who has pink hair and dresses in bright colors.
Not that any part of how we look really matters, but if the only
librarian you've ever seen is the librarian ghost from the first scene
of Ghostbusters, I assure you we're a really dedicated and friendly

Seattle was, a year or two ago, named the most literate city, but now the "other" Washington, on the East Coast, has somehow outstripped us. Still, Seattle came in second, which isn't a bad thing. Notice that the team we beat in the Superbowl this year, Denver, is number 6 on the list. Insert snarky smile here...

Washington, D.C., continued its reign as "America's most literate city
according to the annual study conducted by Central Connecticut State
University president John Miller. The study is based on data collected
from the largest cities (population 250,000 and above) in the U.S.,
including number of bookstores, educational attainment, Internet
resources, library resources, periodical publishing resources and
newspaper circulation.

The top 10 most literate cities in 2013 were:

1) Washington, D.C.
2) Seattle, Wash.      
3) Minneapolis, Minn.      
4) Atlanta, Ga. (tie)
5) Pittsburgh, Pa. (tie)
6) Denver, Colo.
7) St. Paul, Minn.
8) Boston, Mass.
9) St. Louis, Mo.
10) San Francisco, Calif.

The study measures quantity, not quality
Miller told USA Today, explaining that quality is "more subjective and
harder to verify." When people complain or question his rankings, he
counters: "Show me the data." Next year, Miller plans "to take his study
global and rank the most literate countries. He predicts that Finland
may surprise people," USA Today wrote. Among the highlights of this
year's findings:

* Parts of the "Rust Belt aren't so rusty" when it comes to public
libraries. Cleveland is No. 1, and Pittsburgh is No. 2, based on the
number of branches, volumes, circulation and staff per capita.
* Boston is No. 27 in education levels, despite being home to scores of
colleges, because of "its abysmal high school dropout rates."
* Washington, not New York (No. 16 on the overall list), scores highest
for the number of magazine and journal publishers "because of all the
trade publications devoted to politics and the federal government." 

And in news of my home state, Iowa, here's a nice bit of discussion about the importance of independent bookstores in fostering community. I wholeheartedly agree!

Despite the growth of e-books since the launch of the Kindle in 2007,
"independent bookstores have been growing [in] popularity in Iowa City,"

"I think that independent bookstores have staff that are warm, smart,
and spontaneous," said Jan Weissmiller, co-owner of Prairie Lights "We like seeing people. We don't look at this as just a job; everyone who works at Prairie Lights loves
Prairie Lights and is really curious about our customers that come in

Weissmiller added that print books still have a loyal audience: "There
is something about touching a book, writing in a book, and knowing where
you are in one. Just physically and technically, there is something that
people like about old-fashion books. There is also an awareness that
bookstores are endangered, and I think people know if they want a
bookstore, they have to support it."

Nialle Sylvan, owner of the Haunted Bookshop
"Independent bookstores are where people exchange ideas; it's where
people go to meet. It's a community location, it's very active, and that
is something that really speaks to people. And maybe people are just
remembering that books are places where beautiful things happen; we all
kind of need a little of that right now."

I've been a fan of John Scalzi for awhile now, and I am delighted to see that his humorous novel Redshirts is going to be a TV series. I am betting it will be quite popular with the science fiction nerd crowd. 

FX is teaming with producer Jon Shestack (Dan in Real Life) and
producer-director Ken Kwapis (Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants) and his
partner Alexandra Beattie to develop a limited series based on John
Scalzi's Hugo award-winning novel Redshirts reported. Kwapis will direct the opening episode.

"Redshirts is a madcap, hyper-meta tale," Shestack said.

Kwapis added: "If Jorge Luis Borges had been a staff writer on the
original Star Trek, he would no doubt have concocted a story like

Finally the greatest classic lit writer in America give us his wise words about love:

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