I admit I had no idea what to expect when I picked up this book a few weeks ago. I loved the design on the book jacket, and the main character is a librarian.

The short book tells the readers the story of Isabel, a 20-something librarian who loves anything vintage. Isabel often creates stories out of objects she finds-anything from postcards to clothes.

Readers are taken on a journey on a day-in-the-life of Isabel. We follow her as she wakes up in the morning, goes to work and attends a party with friends that night. As we follow Isabel on her daily routine, she reflects on her past growing up on the west coast and in Alaska. Isabel tells us of her secret crush on a veteran tech co-worker, Spoke. We find out that once Isabel confesses her feelings for him, he is sent away on tour the next day.

The language and descriptions in this short novel are beautiful. I found myself re-reading some passages multiple times. Short, but powerful, this novel is about the past and hopeful, curious wonderment for the future.


The Irish Princess

I have another secret to admit…I am a huge Tudor history buff. I memorized the genealogy line by 8th grade, and I have read every historical fiction  book about the family I can get my hands on.

I found the Elizabeth I mystery series by Karen Harper in middle school. Since then, the author has stopped writing that series, but she has produced a number of good historical fictions, from Elizabeth Woodville to my current read, Lady Elizabeth Fitzgerald, or The Irish Princess.

I happened to see this book sitting on the shelves at the library, so I casually picked it up. I have enjoyed all the books by this author, and this one lived up to my expectations. Harper writes about Gera, or Lady Elizabeth Fitzgerald, the unnamed princess of Ireland. Descended from Irish and English royal blood lines, Gera soon becomes a pawn of international politics. She must manage to keep ahead of the game, and win back her family’s reputation and place in Ireland.

The author depicted the tyrant and more negative control of Henry VIII. For once, it was refreshing to read a historical fiction piece that did not portray this family in the best light. It showed uncertainties, struggles for power and a lot of be-headings.

This book was a good, quick read. It was by not means a classic piece of literature, but I appreciated the story of Gera and learning new history facts.


Peanut Butter Cookie Dough Milkshake

Tonight, I watched Julie and Julia. Instead of a classic glass of wine, hot cup of coffee or a micro brew, I decided to finally use my blender to make a milkshake. I looked in my fridge to see what was there-I had a carton of cookie dough frozen yogurt, 2 percent milk, vanilla almond soy milk and peanut butter.

Milkshakes bring back memories of growing up. Every Sunday night in the summer, my parents would pile my sisters and I into the car after dinner. We would head to a different ice-cream shop to eat ice-cream cones and shakes, and then go on for drives looking at houses in the area. My parents never bought any of the houses they said they wanted, but we always pictured ourselves living in Sedgewick mansions or newly-constructed homes in Camillus. We just drove, and dreamed.

As I made my cookie-dough milkshake tonight, I thought about my parents and sisters. We do not do those Sunday drives anymore. We do not go to our favorite ice-cream shop anymore. We’ve grown up, and now have different responsibilities and dreams. I still keep hold of my childhood memories though.

Anyways, here is my recipe for cookie-dough milkshakes:

  • 4 scoops cookie dough frozen yogurt
  • 1 c. milk
  • 1 c. vanilla almond soy milk
  • 1 tbsp. peanut butter

Blend in blender for 2 minutes. Makes enough for two people at one glass each.

Death Comes to Pemberley

A few weeks ago, I heard a NPR book review for Death Comes to Pemberley, a new novel by P.D. James. I instantly ordered this book from my local library.

Now, I am a die-hard Jane Austen fan, albeit my favorite book is Emma. I am a sucker for Pride and Prejudice sequels-from Elizabeth Aston to Carrie Bebris. If it has any Jane Austenness or P & P elements, I will read it. This book had a mystery element to it, so I was excited when I finally picked it up.

After reading a few chapters, I soon lost interest in the book. I loved the language and character development, but the content was disappointing. This was the first P & P sequel that I have not devoured in an up-all-niter. I wanted to see more of Darcy and Elizabeth, not George Wickham and secondary characters (although some played an important role later in the book).

This book did have some surprising elements of the characters. The author delves deeper into the personalities and stories of Georgiana, Colonel Fitzwilliam and Ms. Younge.

I would not go out and buy this book, but it was a decent one to take from the library. The writing was eloquent, and the author did do Austen’s style justice. But, I could take or leave the plot.

Randomness at my best

Besides a few small admin items, my spring semester is almost done. A lot has happened this semester. My oldest sister and her husband are expecting identical twins in October. My niece turned three. Both my parents are retiring in the next few weeks after working for more than 35 years. My best friend from college got married. My boyfriend and I broke-up earlier this semester. I’ve gained confidence designing and giving presentations about social media to local schools, undergrad classes and businesses in the area. I’ve read a lot of books. I’ve strengthened my relationships with my two best friends. I’ve had a few weeks where I thought I would never be happy again. I laughed. I cried. I drank good beer and wine. I cried some more. I learned how to smile again. I learned how to get back to me. I’ve taken zumba classes. I go for long walks. I drink new flavors of coffee. I’ve discovered Instagram. I’ve learned to live, laugh and love.

My mother told me that the world expects you to know what you want to do when you are 18 years old. After you step off that graduation stage in high school, you have a plan. Well, my plan six years ago is so different from now. I’m looking forward to finishing my practicum at the high school, and working at the iSchool. I’m looking forward to spending precious last minutes with my friends who will be graduating. I’m looking forward to reading a boat-load of books that have been sitting in my bookcase for months. I’m looking forward to helping my sister get ready for the babies. I’m looking forward to warmer weather and spending time outside.

Filters & Online Safety

Is it possible that filters are being used to get around the issues of online safety? There can be many ways to answer and think about this heavy question. But, I’m inclined to believe that filters are indeed being used to get around the issues of online safety.

Instead of teaching students the difference between good and bad websites, filters are used. Students will not learn how to evaluate sites, or conduct proper searches. Research options are limited with denied access to thousands of websites because of filters. As students enter higher grade levels, they will most likely have to complete more projects and papers. With little access to online resources, it will be challenging to find sources and information.

Filters could also hinder teaching students about cyber-bullying and online predators. Filters could prevent these types of people and situations, but it is important for students to know this information Schools, teachers, librarians and administrators must ensure that students are aware of these situations, and understand how to handle them if they come across them.

I’m honestly not sure why some schools have filters blocking so many websites. Maybe people do not want to take the time to teach students these needed skills, or maybe they do believe censorship is the best policy. From personal experience, ignorance is not bliss. It is best to make sure students are aware of any and all possible situations that could affect them academically or personally.