Wednesday, November 11, 2015

KCLS Wins Sorting Smackdown, Bodhi Tree Reopens, Liaden Universe Loses a Fan, Against a Brightening Sky by Jamie Lee Moyer, and Listen to the Moon by Michael Morpurgo

Yes! West Coast librarians are the best! Here's a lovely article from Shelf Awareness about the Top Gun competition between the New York Public Library and Seattle's King County Library System. KCLS beat them all to heck, of course!
Sorting Smackdown': Seattle Librarians Beat NYC
Seattle's King County Library System materials warehouse staff avenged last year's loss to
their New York Public Library counterparts in a "sorting smackdown"
yesterday to see who could sort the most books in an hour. The Seattle
Times reported that the KCLS team became the 2015 National Library
Sorting Champion with 12,572 books, topping the NYPL's 12,371. With the
win, KCLS regained the overall lead in the annual series, 3-2.

Tony Miranda, manager of materials distribution at KCLS, "gave his staff
a quick early-morning pep talk and off they went, hustling from 9-10
a.m. sorting more than 200 books a minute," the Seattle Times wrote.
After the results were tallied, he told his staff, "I know everybody
wants to have a break, and I'm happy to say you deserve this break,
because we won! I can go home and be a normal person again."

Last week, as his NYPL team prepared for the contest, deputy director of
BookOps Salvatore Magaddino told the New York Times that he planned to
"crank up the Rocky theme song and deliver a pep talk" before the contest, adding: "The adrenaline
is outta control."

YAY, Bodhi Tree Bookstore is back! My friend and neighbor Janine Ferrell used to work at this august institution, and I was so saddened to hear of its closing.

The Bodhi Tree bookstore>, the iconic New Age store in West Hollywood, Calif., that closed in 2012
returning, according to an e-mail from new owner Stephen Powers and the Bodhi Tree team, which includes former customers of the store. Powers said that Bodhi Tree founders Stan Madson and Phil Thompson are acting as advisers. "Our whole team is excited to once again bring you spiritual education and life-optimization with authors and teachers that made us your home of discovery and awakening since 1970."

The reincarnation of Bodhi Tree begins with an online store, "with all
your favorite books and greatly expanded lifestyle and sacred home
categories." After that, Bodhi Tree will open a bricks-and-mortar store, "a new, accessible retail location in Los Angeles, which is in the
planning stages." Bodhi Tree will also publish a journal and produce
"transformational media."  

This past week has been horrible, for many reasons, not the least of which was a targeted attack of bullying toward me from the authors of the Liaden Universe books, Sharon Lee and Steve Miller. Because I have a zero-tolerance policy toward bullying and harassment, I was forced to sever all ties with the Liaden Universe online, such as their several FB pages, the author pages and their listserve, which I've been a member of for many years. I don't make this decision lightly, and to be honest, their hostile behavior toward me makes no sense at all, as I've done nothing that I can think of, to create such icy disdain. I've bought all their books, read and reviewed them as wonderful, I borrowed their chapbooks from a now-deceased gentleman named Craig who used to live nearby in Kent, and I have talked up the Liaden Universe and its authors far and wide. I've actually given away several copies of their work to fellow SF geeks, who are now fans of the Liaden Universe.  Lee and Miller do space opera like no others, and their characters are brilliant, charming and their stories engaging. The only beef that I can possibly think that they might have with me is that I didn't contribute to their "storyteller's bowl" (ie donate money) for the Splinter Universe, nor did I add any monthly income to their Patreon account. I am unable to do so because we live on one income in my household, both my husband and I have expensive medical issues, and by the end of the month, our budget is stretched to the breaking point. So whatever their problem it's going to have to remain their problem, because I have no time to be anyone's whipping boy/grrl. Therefore I won't be reading or reviewing any Liaden books, or fantasy novels by Sharon Lee, from here onward. I wish them success in the future. 

Against a Brightening Sky by Jamie Lee Moyer is the third and final book of Moyer's WW1 ghost-busting mystery stories, which began with the wonderful Delia's Shadow. "Sky" takes place a year after the war has ended, and there are plenty of refugee Russian nobility, revolutionaries, union organizers and necromancers to keep even the most adventurous of readers turning pages. Here's the blurb:
By 1919 the Great War has ended, peace talks are under way in Paris, and the world has been forever changed. Delia Martin, apprentice practitioner of magical arts, and her husband, Police Captain Gabriel Ryan, face the greatest challenge of their lives when fragments from the war descend on San Francisco.
As Delia prepares to meet friends at a St. Patrick's Day parade, the strange ghost of a European princess appears in her mirror. Her pleasant outing becomes a nightmare as the ghost reappears moments after a riot starts, warning her as a rooftop gunman begins shooting into the crowd. Delia rushes to get her friends to safety, and Gabe struggles to stop the killing-and to save himself.
Delia and Gabe realize all the chaos and bloodshed had one purpose-to flush Alina from hiding, a young woman with no memory of anything but her name.
As Delia works to discover how the princess ghost's secrets connect to this mysterious young woman, and Gabe tracks a ruthless killer around his city, they find all the answers hinge on two questions: Who is Alina...and why can't she remember?
Against a Brightening Sky is the thrilling conclusion to Jaime Lee Moyer's glittering historical fantasy series.
Moyer's prose is sturdy and yet flows gracefully on the perfectly-timed plot that still has more twists and turns than the streets of San Francisco. Delia and Dora are both tested to the limits of their strength, however, trying to keep their friend Sadie's youngest son away from attacks by an old Russian necromancer bent on revenge. I found myself reading all of Moyer's Delia novels all the way through without cease because they're so gripping and fascinating. A look into post Great War era America was riveting stuff for anyone interested in the history of the time, and how it affected regular people. A definite A, with a recommendation to those supernatural/paranormal romance buffs who are also fans of history and mystery.

Listen to the Moon by Michael Morpurgo is a fascinating fictionalized account of the girl who supposedly survived the sinking of the Lusitania in 1915 (by German U-boats) by floating on top of a grand piano. So the based on a true story part is somewhat established, and there are reproduced newspaper articles in the back that can give readers more information about the controversy surrounding the sinking of this grand passenger ship (The Germans claimed there were weapons aboard, the British and Americans claimed that it was passengers only) While supposedly a YA fiction book, Listen to the Moon is one of those timeless stories that adults can certainly read and enjoy just as easily as their teenage children. Here's the blurb from Publisher's Weekly:
Morpurgo (War Horse) returns to a WWI setting with an emotional tale of wreck and recovery. The year is 1915. The Scilly Isles, north of Cornwall, are somewhat sheltered from the fighting that rages on the continent, but not completely. Alfie Wheatcroft and his father find a girl stranded on the isolated island of St. Helen's—she is unable to speak, on the edge of death, and wrapped in a blanket labeled "Wilhelm." Alfie and his family take her in, hoping to help her regain her speech, mind, and memories. The community, however, worries that she might be a German—possibly a spy, or just an enemy. In fact, "Lucy's" story is longer, stranger, and more traumatic than they could imagine, and she has good reason for her amnesia, elective mutism, and desperate fear of the water. A framing device, built around the research of Lucy's future grandson, allows Morpurgo to shift among multiple narrators as he unspools the mystery of where she came from. Along the way, Morpurgo offers powerful descriptions of shipwreck, mass drowning, and devastation, as well as healing and growth.
Lucy, though mute, communicates well with her adoptive family, and their warm Irish heritage and open-hearted attitude toward her makes all the difference in saving the girl's life. The beauty of the landscape, the crazy "pirate" uncle and the difficulty of fitting in when you're different are all addressed here. The prose is lyrical and the plot swift, thought the multiple POV sometimes gets in the way a bit. I was charmed by Lucy/Merry and the whole Wheatcroft clan. The ending, while nicely tied up, was a bit too perfect, but I'd still prefer too good to no decent resolution at all. Listen to the Moon is worthy of an A, and I'd recommend it to historical fantasy buffs and those who like a good "Lost" style story. 

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