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How Dare You Sir?

May 22, 2017 Leave a comment

 

I realize that it’s been nearly three years since my last post. It’s not because the sublime and ridiculous annotations have disappeared, its just that I’ve been swamped under so many retrospective collection records. When you start cataloging 1,000 per month after only 300 a month, you tend to get behind on reporting the outrageous. But, that’s changes today.

Today I have to tell you about some fresh bullshit that I just encountered. The book is called The Lies of Fair Ladies by Jonathan Gash written in 1992. From the NLS Annotation:

Although he claims to be the only real antiques dealer on earth, Lovejoy is considered by East Anglia police to be a chiseling shagnasty. It’s clear to Lovejoy that a recent spectacular heist is the work of his newly released pal Prammie Joe, but it’s Lovejoy the police seem to suspect. When Love-joy hears of another huge scam and then finds Prammie dead, he pushes aside his numerous women to figure things out. Strong language and some descriptions of sex.

First off, I’m going to be honest, I could not actually close-read the entire annotation in order to do a real cataloging job. Normally I close-read and think about what this book is about, where it takes place, does it have any significant historical value, etc. I got just passed “chiseling shagnasty” and my fucking brain literally started to hurt. It was like WARNING WARNING WILL ROBINSON!

What in the actual fuck is going on in this book? So, at the risk of my mind, let’s try to break this down.

1. Antiques dealer
2. East Anglia (Oh, okay, England!)
3. Police (this means “mystery,” fine.)
4. Chiseling Shagnasty (google that…nope, no match.)
5. Spectacular heist (crime!)
6. Prammie’s dead (whaaaat?)
7. “…pushes aside numerous women…” (What? Where? Like, in line at the deli?)

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Just hammering together a bunch of funny sounding words does not make a fucking novel. We started one place (antiques) and ended up with a dead person named after a baby carriage. And what about the “fair ladies?”  I’m not reading this book to find out.  I officially do. not. care!

I want to put this title on a cartridge (book on tape for those playing along at home), inventory it, shelve it, go into the stacks, pull the copy, light it on fire, and burn it! Then I want to let it cool and run it over with five cars.

Jonathan Gash, how dare you sir?

 

 

Wait, what? Is that fucking Ian McShane?

You time traveling cocksuckers have a lot to answer for I’ll tell you that much.

Oh my God. I am now shook to the core. So this Lovejoy character was adapted for a TV show that ran from 1986-1994 and my man, IAN MC-fucking-SHANE was the star? Jesus, how could you do this to Al Swearingen?

I sit here stunned. Never before in the history of Who’s Reading This have I been subjected to, not only such a gross assault on my eyes and brain as an idiotic NLS annotation, but to have it compounded by the sacrilige that has somehow time traveled to violate me? I mean, this awful annotation has come forward from 1992 to ruin my day in 2017 and then double back in time 30 years to besmirch the holy name of Ian McShane, arguable, the baddest motherfucker to ever come out of Ireland?

No. I quit. See you in another three years.

 

 

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Categories: Uncategorized

Where is the “oh jeez, what” subject heading?

September 17, 2014 Leave a comment

 

So, today I’m cataloging retro titles. I came upon this book, Breath, Eyes, Memory by Edwidge Danticat and after reading the NLS annotation my reaction was:

“Oh jeez, what?” and then, “Where is the ‘good lord, what the hell’” subject heading when you really need it?”

Then I looked up the title online to compare descriptions.  This really does come down to the original purpose of this blog: NLS’s crazy, mixed up, misguided, and occasionally, FAR OUT annotations.

breath-eyes-memoryFrom the NLS Annotation:

Until age twelve, Sophie is raised by her aunt in Haiti. Her mother then sends for her to come to New York and explains that Sophie is the product of rape. When a grown Sophie is befriended by an older musician, her mother tests her virginity. Sophie rebels by violently deflowering herself, an act that caused her to seek sexual phobia therapy. She marries the musician and tries to come to terms with her past as her mother does the same. Some violence.

 

Oh jeez, what the what?  Pretty much the end of every sentence of this annotation is cringe-worthy.  Rape. Virginity. Sexual phobia therapy. Haiti.  And…only some violence?  This is a book that contains, by description, a violent self deflowering and the best we can do is “some violence” but no, not even a little bit of “descriptions of sex,” explicit or otherwise? Uhhhhh.

So, like I said, I visited the internet to find out if its just me, or is this book weird (?).  Turns out, it’s been an Oprah’s Book Club selection.  I was like, “sensational, much?”  But then I read the Amazon description from July 2003.  Turns out, it’s not JUST a book about virginity verification and violent deflowering after all.  Yay?

 

breathFrom Amazon:

At the age of twelve, Sophie Caco is sent from her impoverished village of Croix-des-Rosets to New York, to be reunited with a mother she barely remembers. There she discovers secrets that no child should ever know, and a legacy of shame that can be healed only when she returns to Haiti–to the women who first reared her. What ensues is a passionate journey through a landscape charged with the supernatural and scarred by political violence, in a novel that bears witness to the traditions, suffering, and wisdom of an entire people.

 

When presented from this angle, the book seems downright interesting, engrossing, enlightening, and, dare I say, worth a read?

NLS, I realize that this is a very old annotation…1994 to be semi-exact.  So, I’m not going to rail too hard.  Let’s assume this annotation writer has moved on to other tasks at the NLS…director, deputy director, collection development…something innocuous that doesn’t put them in direct access to the books, or the humans, or writing PR copy.  Uh oh.

Anyway, that is all.  Now back to cataloging this backlog of 4 months and 2,000 titles.

Edited to say: Make that 3,000 and change.

 

April Copy Alotment: what’s coming up

June 24, 2014 Leave a comment

 

Welcome to the April 2014 of WRT’s What’s Coming Up.  Someday soon I hope to be caught up.  But for now…

 

stashowerDB78103 The Hour of Peril: the secret plot to murder Lincoln before the Civil War by Daniel Stashower

Details the plot to assassinate president-elect Abraham Lincoln in Baltimor while he was en route to Washington, D.C., for his inauguration in February 1861. Profiles Allan Pinkerton, founder of the Pinkerton Detective Agency, and widow Kate Warne, America’s first female private investigator. Some violence. 2013.

The New York Times called The Hour of Peril “swift and detailed” but neglects to tell us how many stars it’s worth! Overall though, it’s clear that the reviewer enjoys this non-fiction account of Lincoln and Pinkerton’s story. The Barnes & Noble site features several reviews, but the overview, provided by bestselling suspense writer, Harlan Coben, calls the book “…history that reads like a race-against-the-clock thriller.” Overall B&N readers and reviewers have given The Hour of Peril 4 out of 5 stars and note that the book has received several honors in 2013 and 2014 for notable non-fiction and tru-crime. Overall the Goodreads readers have given the book 3.67 out of 5 stars. They love it just like everyone, were surprised by the swift way the book reads, and only a few found the details daunting.

 

tessaroDB78151 The Perfume Collector by Kathleen Tessaro

In 1955 London newlywed Grace Munroe learns that her husband cheated on her and that she has inherited a fortune from an unknown Parisian woman. Grace travels to France to investigate her relationship to her deceased benefactor, Eva d’Orsey, and asserts her newfound independence. 2013.

The Goodreads readers REALLY love The Perfume Collector and show that devotion with 3.95 out of 5 stars. They’ve read it in audio and print and they feel like it transcends both media. They call it a great story of love and loss and an interesting picture of 1920’s Europe. They do say, however, that it was horribly edited—lots of grammatical and word use errors in the print book which make me curious about the NLS narrator’s handling of these problems…it will be interesting to see what our readers think. Publishers Weekly used words such as “contrived banter,” “mildly clichéd,” and calls the main character’s love interest choice predicable. PW neglects to give any kind of star rating which begs the question, “How will we know what to think about what you think if you don’t use stars?” I’m going out on a limb though to say that PW wasn’t all that wild about The Perfume Collector. The Historical Novel Society found the story “enticing” and says that it’s a “refreshing read that combines a bit of mystery, love, nostalgia and self discovery.” HNS says the history and locations are well described and worth the read.

 

lynchDB78165 The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch

Locke Lamora, who as an orphan was sold to crooks, grows up to be a con artist impresario and leads a band of fellow thieves. When a coup throws their country of Camorr into chaos, Lock must become a hero. Violence and strong language. 2006.

I’ve since learned that The Lies of Locke Lamora is from the Gentleman Bastard series, but as it’s the first book in the series, adding it to the What’s Coming Up list isn’t a bad idea. BestFantasyBooks.com reviewed Lies almost three years ago as it’s a few years old. Their review is quite detailed and worth the full read if you are thinking of recommending this book to a sci-fi reader. They praise the author’s resourcefulness in solving plot conflict, the rich and well written characters, and the “startlingly impressive” finale. It is noted that this is the author’s debut novel. Goodreaders have given it 4.27 out of 5 stars and repeatedly draw it’s similarities to Ocean’s Eleven. One Goodreader artfully pastes images that suggest it’s as if Ocean’s Eleven and the Godfather had a love child. Another Goodreader posits that Ocean’s Eleven would have been perfect if it had taken place in a fantasy version of the Renaissance…oh wait…we have it now and it’s called The Lies of Locke Lamora. Either way, I’m adding it to my list mainly because I’ve gotten caught up in the fervor of a bunch of four-year-old reviews!

 

bruchacDB78176 Killer of Enemies by Joseph Bruchac

In a distant future, Native American girl Lozen hunts genetically modified monsters for the tyrants who are holding her mother, sister Ana, and little brother Victor hostage. With each kill Lozen’s unique powers grow. Violence and some strong language. For senior high and older readers. 2013.

The first review I’ve selected is by a blog called Rich in Color; a blog “dedicated to reading, reviewing, talking about, and otherwise promoting young adult fiction starring people of color or written by people of color.” Lozen is an Apache hunter in a post apocalyptic world in which technology has failed, monsters are loose, and we’re living in a new “steam” age. The overall recommendation from Rich in Color says get the book now and read it fast because it’s a “fun, quick read, and…a distinctive addition to the dystopian genre.” Sounds like, if you enjoyed the Hunger Games series, you’ll like Killer of Enemies. Good Reads readers give it 3.7 out of 5 stars and say that they are happy to see a protagonist of color, a book where the “Indians aren’t poor,” and has excellent action. Hilariously enough though, one reviewer was happy that the “heroine didn’t shame her name sack” and is “…tall (above 6”).” Six whole inches tall. Wow. Now I’m even more interested in this book than I was already! In August 2013 Kirkus Reviews called Killer of Enemies a “good bet for fans of superhero fiction and graphic novels and readers in search of superpowered female warriors. Done.

 

hannahDB78198 The Orphan Choir by Sophie Hannah

Louise Beeston misses her seven-year-old son, who is required to board at Saviour College School to perform with the school’s choir. Meanwhile, her neighbor keeps her awake playing loud pop and rock music and –more recently—choral singing. Strong language. 2013.

The UK Independent’s reviewer likes the The Orphan Choir and is familiar with the author’s previous work. Apparently this is Sophie Hannah’s first attempt at ghost, or supernatural fiction; she normally writes psychological suspense. Of the book, the reviewer says “…innovative score and an eerie twist.” The Goodreads readers have only given Orphan 2.71 out of 5 stars though. They use words like “infuriated,” “disappointed,” “extraordinarily bad novel,” and say that the main character is “unlikeable.” Ouch. I guess that most of the book is exposition and that the supernatural ghosty stuff doesn’t even take place until the last 50 pages or so. As a person who recently spent six months reading nothing but haunted house fiction, this book would have gotten a toss across my living room in no time flat. Just kidding, throwing a book, even a bad book, is rude. The rest of the reviews are mostly independent review blogs and they seem split. Half of them “really enjoyed” it and the other half basically say, “meh.” So, take that to the RA desk and do what you will.

 

stroudDB78207 The Screaming Staircase by Jonathan Stroud

Plagued by malevolent spirits, London turns to ghost-hunting agencies staffed with you sensitive to paranormal activities. Anthony Lockwood, George Cubbins, and Lucy Carlyle join together to become Lockwood and Co. –but after bungling a job, their only chance at redemption is clearing a dangerous haunted house. For grades 6-9, 2013.

The Screaming Staircase is book one in the Lockwood & Co. series. The blog Fantasy Book Critic loves the book and calls it “interesting, captivating, and just all out amazing.” He notes that even though it’s a YA novel it will work for adult readers…but due to the graphic descriptions of the ghosts, avoid readers who are too young. In late 2013 the New York Times reviewed this book and another called The Clockwork Scarab. The reviewer enjoyed both but particularly liked The Screaming Staircase for its lightheartedness, thrills, and themes of friendship and friends at the right time. I’d like to find a review by a young reader again as in an early book featured on What’s Coming Up…but we’ll have to settle for Goodreads and assume that at least a few of the reviewers were actually YA readers. Turns out they really like The Screaming Staircase and give it 4.23 out of 5 stars…wowser. “Reccomendation of the month…this book is awesome…brilliantly written,” and even “BEST. CHARACTERS. EVER!” An underlying theme in the reviews is that most readers thought it was going to be something else, either boring or another re-imagining of Sherlock Holmes with paranormal overtones and ended up really really…really enjoying this book. Get thee to BARD or the library ASAP and read this book!

 

Real Simple’s 50 Books that will Make You Want to Read

May 21, 2014 Leave a comment

 

Recently, Real Simple polled it’s readers to find out which book made them in to a reader…whether it was as a child or as an adult. Over 4,000 Facebook fans answered the poll and these are the 50 titles that came up over and over again. A link to Real Simple’s list has been posted to our Facebook page and this is the breakdown of DB availability if you want a quick look.

 

white-charlotte_300Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White

DB74950

 

 

 

 

bronte-eyre_300Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

DB47868

 

 

 

 

stevenson-verses_300A Child’s Garden of Verses by Robert Louis Stevenson

DB43675

 

 

 

 

warner-boxcar_300The Boxcar Children by Gertrude Chandler Warner

DB63706

 

 

 

 

keene-clock_300The Secret of the Old Clock by Carolyn Keen

DB08739

 

 

 

 

wilder-woods_300Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder

DB50921

 

 

 

 

odell-dolphins_300Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O’Dell

DB62761

 

 

 

 

mitchell-gone_300Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell

DB33082

 

 

 

 

rawls-fern_300Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls

DB32449

 

 

 

 

montgomery-gables_300Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery

DB56114

 

 

 

 

lengle-wrinkle_300A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle

DB48972

 

 

 

sendak-wild_300

 

Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak

DB22906

 

 

rowling-potter_300Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling

DB47260

 

 

 

 

dickens-cities_300A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens

DB49497

 

 

 

 

williams-velveteen_300The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams

DB24614

 

 

 

 

buck-earth_300The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck

DB37294

 

 

 

 

alcott-women_300Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

DB58830

 

 

 

 

konigsburg-frankweiler_300From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg

DB22914

 

 

 

 

paterson-terabithia_300Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson

DB48732

 

 

 

 

burnett-garden_300The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett

DB23638

 

 

 

 

spyri-heidi_300Heidi by Johanna Spyri

DB22936

 

 

 

 

hinton-outsiders_300The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton

DB22433

 

 

 

 

blume-margaret_300Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret. by Judy Blume

DB37405

 

 

 

 

seuss-cat_300Green Eggs and Ham,

The Lorax,

Horton Hears a Who,

and The Cat in the Hat by Dr. Seuss

DB34056, DB31231, DB34058, and DB33062

 

tolkien-hobbit_300The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien

DB48978

 

 

 

 

tree-grows-brooklyn-ictcrop_300A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith

DB44769

 

 

 

 

blume-nothing_300Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing by Judy Blume

DB39643

 

 

 

 

steinbeck-mice_300Of Mice and Men,

East of Eden,

and The Red Pony by John Steinbeck

DB48515, DB49676, and DB34258

 

 

fitzhugh-spy_300Harriet the Spy by Louis Fitzhugh

DB44768

 

 

 

 

dumaurier-rebecca_300Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier

DB48914

 

 

 

 

lee-mockingbird_300To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

DB77672

 

 

 

 

lewis-narnia_300Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis

DB50083

 

 

 

 

campbell-trixie_300Trixie Belden by Julie Campbell

DB72733

 

 

 

 

christie-none_300And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie

DB11077

 

 

 

 

saintexupery-prince_300The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery

DB44071

 

 

 

 

hope-twins_300Bobbsey Twins by Laura Lee Hope

DB31229

 

 

 

 

sewell-beauty_300Black Beauty by Anna Sewell

DB41291

 

 

 

 

bronte-heights_300Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte

DB25178

 

 

 

 

baum-oz_300The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum

DB51047

 

 

 

 

king-it_300It by Stephen King

DB28045

 

 

 

 

dahl-chocolate_300Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,

Matilda,

James and the Giant Peach,

and Big Friendly Giant by Roald Dahl

DB33498, DB31793, DB32548 and DB44101

 

frank-diary_300The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank

DB57022

 

 

 

 

meyer-twilight_300Twilight by Stephenie Meyer

DB62066

 

 

Razorland…a nice place to visit, but I wouldn’t want to live there.

January 24, 2013 Leave a comment

This one almost writes itself.  Usually I make funny (to me) jokes about how these books are turds, etc. etc. But the main character in this series of books is actually called “Deuce.” And she is a girl. Outpost novel  Today’s offering, from the NLS’s magically awesome annotation generator:

Enclave, DB074167:  In a post-apocalyptic future, Deuce, a loyal huntress, brings back meat while avoiding the deadly Freaks outside her underground enclave. But when she is partnered with outsider Fade, she begins to see that the ways of the elders may be horrifically wrong. Violence. For senior high and older readers. 2011.

Outpost, DB075532:  Deuce and Fade struggle to fit in with the organized topside community called Salvation. An excellent fighter, Deuce volunteers her much-needed skills to patrol against the Freaks–but in Salvation, women do not use weapons. Sequel to Enclave (DB 74167). Violence. For senior high and older readers.    2012.

These books, together with any future “deuces” that Ann Aguirre decides to drop on us, make up the groundbreaking series: RAZORLAND.

Remind me never to go to “Razorland.” Please. I realize that I’m going to hurt feelings up in here, but truth be told, science fiction, fantasy, and most especially, post-apocalyptic fiction is not my cup of tea (that is putting it diplomatically).  Now, that being said, I also know that it is a genre that is fiercely defended by it’s fans so I know I’m going to take some flack. But come on, re-read those annotations and pretty much every other annotation for the genre.  They read like goulash for words.  As in, here’s a bunch of stuff we had left-over, let us put it in this bowl and just mix it up, bake it in an oven and hope it comes out okay.

When cataloging any book from the science fiction or fantasy genre I usually have to read the annotations multiple times before I can even begin to figure out what the what they are talking about.  Here are the hallmarks/problems with the genre’s annotations:

  • words are used out of context/time/relevance; loyal huntress, brings back meat, enclave
  • people are named after thoughts, emotions, nouns, adjectives…it’s chaos.  In fact, I’m pretty sure that there are several “Chaos’s” out there between the pages.
  • places are named by putting words in hats and drawing them out.  Or, by Mad-Libs techniques.
  • too many words; why can’t they say something like, This girl lives underground because there are zombies above ground. One day when she is above ground hunting she meets a dude and he makes her question her entire existence.”  Why not?
  • ridiculous premiss that nobody gives a crap about; “…[above ground], women don’t use weapons…”  So what?  I’ll bet they use their MINDS or something.

So you can see why I try to never share sci-fi/fantasy on this blog.  It’s like not even fair and you’d get really tired of hearing me rant.  At my desk each month you might overhear me muttering, “Oh barf, who cares?” So feel free to stop by sometime.

Anna dressed in overdramatic nonsense.

January 24, 2013 Leave a comment

From the NLS annotation:

Anna Dressed in Blood

Anna Dressed in Blood

Since his father’s untimely death, seventeen-year-old Cas and his Wiccan mom have continued the family trade–hunting down vengeful, murdering spirits. But when Cas goes after ghostly Anna, an unexpected occurrence changes everything. Violence and some strong language. For senior high and older readers. 2011.

Let me guess…it’s LOVE isn’t it?  The unexpected occurrence is that Cas has feelings for “ghostly” Anna.  Is she GHOST-ly, I mean, is she sort of like a ghost, or is she an actual ghost?  Wait wait don’t tell me. I’m sure that I’d rather be shocked when it’s all revealed 30 pages in to the 320 page book.

You know, if I were a teenager I would be super pissed that YA classified books almost exclusively have to do with either the supernatural or falling in love–typically both. I know the whys and the wherefores to writing supernatural for young adults; spare me the lecture.  I’m just saying that as a reader of books and a librarian, I’m just wondering if somewhere teens are getting burned out on being constantly bombarded with the SSDD (same shit…).

Anyway, today’s offering is called Anna Dressed in Blood and it is the first book in the…wait for it…ANNA series by Kendare Blake.  Yes, Kendare Blake.  Let’s all make a little offering to the Goddess in hopes that Kendare is her pen-name.  And “Blake?”  Please.  We get it, you’re material pays homage to both the Gothic and the Romantic periods.