Monday, July 31, 2017

Book Review: Perfected

        Basically, what you need to know about Perfected by Kate Jarvik Birch is that it is set in a future in which teenage girls have now replaced tiny dogs as the new "it" accessory for the rich. These girls are genetically engineered to be beautiful and taught absolutely nothing except how to sit and be pretty.... they are literally pets:  they are raised in kennels, and at one point, the owner of the book's protagonist (Ella) is actually given a freaking DOG TAG to wear around her neck.
      Because of the way she was raised, Ella actually thinks she has it pretty good. Her new family seems nice enough (even though they make her eat in the kitchen and she has a specially formulated super bland diet so she doesn't gain weight) and they dress her up and give her a pretty room. Plus she really likes the family's young daughter. And then her new owner starts acting kind of creepy. Sexually creepy. And she starts hearing about the LAST pet... and how she got "sick" and sent back to the Kennel. Plus she starts developing feelings for her owner's son, which the owner does NOT like.
     Just as she is trying to figure out all her confusing new feelings, Ella is kidnapped by a well-meaning but misguided person who thinks all pets should be set free. Penniless, illiterate, and completely terrified, Ella is left to wander the unfamiliar streets and must decide if she wants to go home, or try to start a new life out in the world.
    As far as the story goes - there's nothing new here: books about genetic engineering and people as pets have been around a long time. Still, the writing style is engaging, and though Ella is hopelessly dull as a character, some of the other characters, especially some of the other pets are interesting and fun.

Rating: 3/5 bookmarks, because I actually WANTED to read book 2 to see how this played out.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Librarian Post: Attack of the Smelly Patrons

      To say that summer is warm where I live is the understatement of a lifetime. Our temps are often in the 110's and higher, and it's sunny almost every single day. People say "but it's a dry heat," and that may be the case, but when it's 116 degrees how dry it is doesn't matter: what matters is that you burn your hands just getting into your car. Your power bill quadruples. You literally feel your skin sizzle if you stand in the sun for more than minute or two.
     As you can imagine, the nice, air-conditioned library is a favorite place for people to hang out in this weather. Especially for those who may not have a lot of money to spend on air conditioning at home, or who may not have a home at all. We welcome all of them, of course - and we expect anyone who ventures outside in this heat to be a little sweaty and smelly when they come in. But lately, it seems that some folks are going past sweaty-stinky into "been dead for 3 weeks in a pile of poo" smelly. We have one man who smells so bad he comes with his own swarm of flies, I kid you not. When these folks come in, not only does it make it REALLY hard for the staff to help them, but it makes life super uncomfortable for the other patrons who have to sit next to them at a computer or study table.
    The thing is, I am completely incapable of telling another human being they reek, unless they are my close personal friend and I love them. I can't go up to some poor stranger and say "I am sorry but you smell HORRIBLE, people are passing out around you and you need to go back out there into the 120 degree summer, away with you!" I would rather gag at my desk and even go puke real quick than have to have this conversation with someone! I feel like the worst person in the entire world having to tell someone their personal scent is making people sick... mostly I have been sending my boss and our poor security guard to do it, but I KNOW a time will come when I have to do it too and it makes me want to cry.
    How do you do it???
    Is there ever a "good" way of doing it? A nice way? A way that doesn't make the person you're talking to feel even worse about their situation?
    Sadly in my community there is not really anywhere they can go have a shower... we have one homeless shelter and it's closed during the day, so what is a librarian to do when the smelly patrons attack?
    I would love comments on this subject, because I am truly at a loss.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Book Review: Lunarbaboon - The Daily Life of Parenthood

    I am not a parent. I do not ever plan on being a parent. Even so, Lunarbaboon's web comics CRACK ME UP! They are also often extremely touching and heartwarming, and the interaction between the mother and father in the series reminds me a lot of my boyfriend and myself, while their son reminds me a lot of my nephew.
    This collection is a great intro for those not familiar with the web series, and will also appeal to those like myself who love Christopher Grady's light and touching humor. These comics are guaranteed to either make you relate to this families experiences, or chuckle and say "I am so glad that's not my family!" Either way they will definitely put a smile on your face.

Final verdict: 4/5 bookmarks

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Librarian Post: It's OVER! Goodbye SRP 2017!

6 weeks.

     1 Kickoff Party

     1 Farewell Party

     31 Children's Programs

     18 Teen Programs

      29 Adult Programs

Some reptiles, a magician, a balloon man, LOTS of decorations and LOTS of reading logs..... and a staff of 6.

And so it ends.

Build a Better World is over.

Now to start planning next year's music themed programs.

Who else needs a nap?

Monday, July 17, 2017

Book Review: Only Ever Yours

    I had to take several very deep breaths before starting this review. That is because as a woman, Louise O'Neill's Only Ever Yours is one of the most disturbing books I have read in a long while, and it is difficult for me to accurately explain WHY this is without spoiling major bits and pieces but here is my attempt.
    The story is set sometime in the seemingly not so distant future. Untold events prior to the book's beginning have rendered the population infertile, and made the world a completely barren and desolate place. Freida, our protagonist, is one of the few young women in the world, bred in a lab to be almost genetically perfect and raised completely within the confines of an all-girls "school." Her entire purpose in life is to be beautiful, desirable and popular, so that one of the few young men her age (all sons of prominent figures in this society) will choose her as either a wife, or a concubine. If you're not chosen for those two roles, you are forced to become a sexless and celibate teacher. So far, Freida has been doing this very well - she is among the top ranked girls in her year (ranking are determined by near constant posting to social media and their feedback from boys). Freida's best friend Isabel has also being doing well for herself, until this year when Isabel does the absolutely worst thing any woman in this society can possibly do: she starts gaining weight.
   That's only part of what makes this world so disturbing. It's basically the worst high school experience you can imagine but magnified. Every single one of the girls here has severe issues. Eating disorders are considered a good thing, and the only classes the girls actually take are things like building nice outfits. There's even a class where your "friends" are encouraged to tell you everything they hate about you as a way for your to "improve."
   When the boys finally arrive to make their selections everything gets about a million times worse. The girls who want to be wives have to tread an EXTREMELY thin line so as not to be considered either too cold or too slutty, while some of the girls just completely chuck the hope of being a wife and just start being completely promiscuous, their theory being that being a concubine is better, because you get killed sooner and don't get ugly. Oh yeah, did I mention that most wives get euthanized at about 35? After loads of plastic surgeries of course, because being old and ugly is worse than death. And the husbands just go back to the schools and pick out new, better wives... 16 year old ones. Because that's how old these girls are. SIXTEEN.
I just.... can't even. This was horrible. HORRIBLE, It was also the best book I have read so far this year. Though I have to say, I put it down and walked away several times. Read it. It's awful.

Final verdict: 5/5 bookmarks.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Book Review: Goldie Vance

   Hope Larson's new Goldie Vance series is sort of a Nancy Drew for a new generation of girls. You may know Larson's other fine works - she's the author/illustrator of Chiggers and was responsible for the graphic novel adaptation of Madeline L'Angle's A Wrinkle in Time... so it's safe to say she knows how to write fun, spunky girls.
    That's exactly what Goldie is: a fun, spunky girl with a mission. Goldie lives and works as a valet in a large resort hotel her dad manages. She is also an accomplished driver and crazy drag racer... and somehow finds time for her real passion: helping the hotel's on-staff detective (why does a hotel have an on-staff detective?) solve crimes while playing matchmaker to her adorable friends. Oh, there's also Nazis, stolen jewels, secrets, a rivalry between Goldie and a spoiled rich girl, and a very subtle LGBT story line.
    Yeah, it pack a lot in. In fact, it packs in almost TOO much for a first volume, but with beautiful bubble-gum bright artwork and fun characters, I can definitely see this being a huge hit with older tweens and younger teens, especially girls looking for a new role-model.

Final verdict: 3/5 bookmarks