Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Now I really feel guilty when I see how long it has been since I posted an entry! And, I am very glad I included a weekly posting in my 2008-09 academic year goals. I am one of those people who is easily controlled by email - I could spend my whole day responding to email as I get so many of them work and listserv wise. It is almost noon and I have been responding to emails all morning. Granted, some of the responses require me to create documents beyond the actual body of the email answer, which takes more time, but still - email eats up tons of time. Sometimes I long for the time we communicated via phone or snail mail. No one expected an immediate response back then.

Funny how this is on my mind since I just sent in the manuscript of the cell phone article. I love to write, but I am not sure how well I'd do at 140 characters at a time and have to integrate the immediate feedback from readers who respond to the text as it is posted to the web site. Could I write a cell phone novel? I am seriously thinking about, but not until I get some other things off my plate. I admit, time management is my big downfall. I get bogged down in the daily duties, like email, and don't get to the part of my profession I like best - writing about youth literature.

I spent last week in Greenville so I had 18 hours of novel listening with the round trip. I listened to James Patterson and Howard Roughan's Honeymoon. http://search.barnesandnoble.com/Honeymoon/James-Patterson/e/9781586217273. I could certainly fantasize about having so much money that I had to choose between driving my Porsche or Bentley, but I wouldn't want to be Nora Sinclair, the main character in this murder mystery. You know from the start that she is killing off her rich husbands after she cleans out their Swiss bank accounts, but she is still a fascinating character. Nora is a beautiful woman and she uses her looks and her amoral intellect to get what she wants, even in the bedroom. This doesn't get too steamy but there were a few times I was glad I was in a car zipping down the highway with the windows closed! The Feds are on to her, but the agent they send to trip her up gets caught in her mouse trap instead. Lots of plot twists and turns and good "road read" for the trip.

Finished listening to The Accidental by Ali Smith. http://search.barnesandnoble.com/The-Accidental/Ali-Smith/e/9781598870138. I really didn't like this book, but I kept listening as it is grossly fascinating in its own way. You feel like you are caught in the closet watching all the things a family wants to keep hidden. There are multiple narrators, from the acerbic tongued 12-year-old Astrid, her suicidal teenage brother, her aging sleazy professorial stepfather, and her mother who is a writer. Into their summer home walks barefoot, 30-something Amber who enthralls the whole family in her own way. She seduces the son, befriends the daughter, frustrates the mother, and ignores the seduction techniques of the father. No one really addresses who invited her - actually no one did - but in the time she is there she changes each of them, whether in a good or bad way - that's the reader's decision. It is beautifully written, no doubt about that, but I may have been better off reading this one as the seduction scenes with the teenage boy, in the little village church, creeped me out as I listened to them.

Haven't had much time to read, but I did have fun picture reading a Kids Can Press title - Robots from Everyday to Out of This World by the editors of YES Mag. http://search.barnesandnoble.com/Robots/Yes-Magazine-Editors/e/9781554532032/?itm=1It will be out at the end of the month and is a gotta have in every elementary level library. It "had me at hello" as on the first page there is a robot, Albert Hubo, that has the face of Albert Einstein on a white robotic body. He was never that "buff" in real life! A very basic time line of robot history is included - from da Vinc's mechanical lion to Stanford's robot called Shakey. I am going to sound sexist here when I state that the boys are going to love this, but they are. And, there are some girls who will get into it as well. The color pictures are superb, match well with a quick and easy to read text. The short text and side bars give just enough information for a good subject over view that might entice readers to seek out in depth information on specific robotic subjects, such as Kevin Warwick who considers himself a cyborg! The creepiest tidbit of robotic trivia - in Japan, researchers have replaced cockroach's antennae with electrodes, adding little backpacks and cameras. Theory is - the roaches can be used to search through the rubble of collapsed buildings. Oh yeah - and as sneaky creepy spies. Think about that the next time you turn and see a cockroach - your scream might be heard and seen by someone else!

Sorry - no YA title today. I haven't had time to actually read a book with my eyes these days.

Okay - on to the next task on my to-do today list. This was a fun one.