It’s hard to believe it has been almost fifteen years since my first Librarina post went live, but I guess it makes sense when I consider the fact that my son, who was a baby at the time, is now closing in on sixteen! It’s amazing to look back on my journey — from working very part-time to working full time, then attempting to be a “mostly stay at home mom,” only to end up working part-time again.
Along the way, I transitioned from doing one tween book group per month at my “old” library, to being fully responsible for their YA collection development and teen programming. For the decade that I was there, it only made sense to pour myself into a blog dedicated to YA literature. Over the last five years, nevertheless, I have shifted gears entirely to focus on toddler and preschool storytimes, while occasionally subbing at the reference desk, at my “new” library.
Now that I am no longer working directly with tweens and teens, and I am not performing any YA collection development, I have found that the Librarina spark is gone. Rather than being excited about the endless possibilities of YA books to read and review, I have found myself becoming more and more anxious about simply keeping up with my blog. As difficult as it is to think about writing the final chapter in this book of my life, I have a lot of other books I would like to write — both literally and figuratively.
So I am moving forward with a plan to keep reading and listening to audiobooks whenever the spirit moves me, and I will no longer hold myself accountable for keeping up with the depth and breadth of the YA literature universe. I will simply follow my reading/listening interests, wherever they may take me, for the purposes of personal enrichment and entertainment. And while I will do my best to keep tabs on my reading progress via my Goodreads account, I will no longer feel compelled to write in-depth reviews as I have done on this blog.
Although I know I don’t necessarily *need* to explain myself, I feel like y’all deserve to know that (1) I haven’t fallen off the face of the planet and (2) all is well with me. I am simply moving on and using my time for other personal and professional adventures…
So… I have been feeling guilty about falling behind on both my reading and my book reviews on this blog, but I have decided I need to let go of that guilt. I made a New Year’s Resolution to be “more selfish” (i.e. focus on myself a bit more) so that I don’t get burned out, and I need to follow through. In addition to working part-time in two local libraries, volunteering with a few organizations, and running a household, I have some other pretty awesome [yet time-intensive] stuff going on in my life — like planning the 2021 NYLA YSS Spring Conference!
So, I just need to accept that I am only one person, that there are only 24 hours in a day, and that I deserve some time to straight-up relax and do nothing every now and again. Though I have been struggling to accept these truths, based on my Type-A personality, I *am* trying… So, hopefully y’all won’t mind that this blog will likely only be updated 1 or 2 times a month for a while.
I swear I am still alive… I just haven’t posted a book review in a few weeks because the beginning of #SummerReading has been insane! I hope to have another review up again later this week, though. Thanks for your patience! 😊
Hopefully you aren’t too terribly disappointed in my lack of activity over the past couple of weeks, but I’ve been crazy busy… I have several books that I have finished and need to review, but I thought it was slightly more important to (1) prepare for/participate in the 2016 NYLA Annual Conference and Trade Show, (2) spend some extra time with my kids immediately before and after the conference, and (3) update my blog with a new new bio and the sweet new header my hubby created for me! (Do you love it or what?!?) I figured it would be a good idea to update everything since a lot has changed in the last year. Who knew that being a “mostly-stay-at-home-mom” would make me so darn busy?!? I hope to sign on by the end of the week to actually review a book, but please forgive me if I just can’t fit it in.
One of the reasons I chose to be a “work at home mom” was so that I would have the opportunity to volunteer more at my kids’ schools and with community organizations to which we belong. This year, I am the fundraising chair for our local recreational soccer league, and I have been up to my eyeballs in candles all week. I promise to come back with a review next week, but I’m about to leave town for a family wedding and simply need to admit to myself that it’s not gonna happen this week…
If you aren’t already downloading ebooks and audiobooks from your local library, you should probably get on that… like yesterday! Once you have that established, though, there are additional sources of free downloadable ebooks and audiobooks you can look into. And, if you love YA, you will love SYNC — http://www.audiobooksync.com — a free summer audiobook program for teens 13+. I know I am technically not a teen anymore because the world prefers to see my age rather than my heart, but I think the “+” has me covered! 😉
This week’s selections are Egg & Spoon by Gregory Maguire and Every Last Word by Tamara Ireland Stone. Though I already read Every Last Word, I totally loved it and may listen to it just to see how the experience compares. I have always intended to read Egg & Spoon but still haven’t gotten around to it, so I will surely listen to that one first. (And I am sure I will be reviewing it on this blog before the summer is over.)
It appears that, while I fully intended to post a quick little something last week, I merely *thought* about posting something. Long story short, I was in Lake Placid, NY, for the 125th Anniversary NYLA Annual Conference! Since I was presenting a continuing education workshop about VolunTeens and overseeing the rest of the YSS lineup, my brain got away from me. Sorry to anyone who has become so accustomed to my OCD and “mandatory” weekly posts. Though I am sure the people who follow me on Twitter figured out that something was up! 😉
I am about to start writing a book review, but I don’t have long until my kids get off the bus and might end up distracted/waylaid until tomorrow morning. Rather than leaving y’all wondering what the heck happened, I figured I owed you a quick explanation. But, yeah… I need to get going on that book review so I can (hopefully) get it up in the next little bit.
I would like to start off this post by apologizing for the lack of a post last week. I seriously thought I had posted something, but multiple curriculum nights and weeknight soccer games apparently broke my brain. To make it up to you all, and in celebration of my fREADom to read, I am going to post several reviews this week. I typically like to post multiple reviews during Banned Books Week, anyhow, so I’m going to keep the tradition alive with some “edgy” books.
Much like The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian (which was the most challenged book of 2014 and yet *another* book I managed not to review even though I loved it), I fear that some readers will complain that I am the Weapon contains drugs/alcohol/smoking, offensive language, violence, depictions of bullying, and that it’s “unsuited for age group” — whatever THAT means! I honestly believe that we need to trust tweens and teens to make their own choice about what they’re comfortable reading, since their lives and their emotional needs vary greatly from person to person. If they aren’t ready to handle a topic that comes up in a book, they’re most likely to simply set it aside and move on. And if there’s something “too mature” in a book, it will often go over the reader’s head — unlike a movie that just spells it right out for ya! I also firmly believe that experiencing the repercussions of unsavory/risky behaviors vicariously through characters in a book is a much safer than testing things out in “the real world.” Wouldn’t you rather your children learned to have empathy for others by witnessing the repercussions of bullying in a book instead of blindly joining up with the bullies at their school because they didn’t really think it was such a big deal? I know I would.
Ben, aka the Unknown Assassin, is a finely-tuned, teenage hitman. He has been trained by “The Program” and reports to people he calls “Mom” and “Dad.” Ben is not his real name, of course. It’s just the name of his persona for this mission, and he will stop being Ben as soon as his mission is complete. This mission is different than the rest, though, because it has such a short timeline. Ben is used to taking time to find his mark, to get close enough to kill them, and then sticking around long enough afterward so as to not arouse suspicion. But this mission is supposed to be completed in no more than five days. Five days! With such a high-profile target, this mission seems nearly impossible. But, Ben is bound and determined to succeed. He’s never failed before, and he doesn’t intend to start now. Except… Something about this mission feels off. Not only that, but Ben also has feelings for the daughter of the mark. The fast pace, action, and adventure are sure to lure guys in, and the romantic undertones are well-balanced enough to enrapture love-crazed teenage readers without turning off the people who couldn’t care less. I definitely need to get my hands on the rest of this series!
How awesome is it that a librarian/book nerd like me was born on International Literacy Day?!? In order to help spread the word about the importance of literacy/problems associated with illiteracy, I thought it would be a good idea to share this infographic [below] from Grammarly’s blog post about International Literacy Day:
There are a lot of organizations out there to help combat illiteracy. To find out more about how you can help or how some of those organizations work to help people in need of literacy assistance, please check out:
So, I feel kinda bad about not posting a book review this week, but I just don’t have it in me. I’ve been busier this week than I have been in a very long time. Because I’m home with my kids, soccer is in full swing, and I’m getting everything prepared for both back to school and our Labor Day camping trip, I feel like my head is going to start spinning soon. Rest assured, though, the kids will be starting school next week and I will begin to have some semblance of order in my life once again. Until then…