Old School


A long time ago, I thought it would be fun(ny) to create a blog based on the persona of a librarian in a banana suit. Yeah, I still don’t know what I was thinking. On the plus side, it was my laboratory for learning how to write for the web, including book reviews, nerdy library & publishing news, and tidbits from my personal life, and it taught me skills that I still use in my professional life every day.

Now this website is all grown up, but I thought you might still get a kick out of being able to scroll through this rabbit hole of a time capsule to see what was on my mind a year, two years, even five years ago…


The New Man In My Life

Meet Max!  Max comes to us from the Lawrence Humane Society as of six days ago, and he’s already stolen both of our hearts. He’s 16 months old and an itty bitty 8 pounds.


Max is sweet, muscular, affectionate, and chatty with huge wideset yellow eyes, leaving no doubt in our minds that he’s a li’l Burmese kitty. Also, did you know that apparently it is super hard for shelters to get people to adopt black cats and dogs? WHAT IS WRONG WITH EVERYONE?

Anyway, I’m looking forward to lots more exciting stuff coming up in the next few weeks — we’re moving into our new house, going to the 2013 US Air Guitar Championships Qualifier at the Record Bar, and I’m finally joining the ranks of Lawrence Nerd Nite Alumni with a June talk about — wait for it — KU Boobs. Will post more soon as the deets become available!

I’m Having a Riot

Andy Warhol Banana

I’m so excited to tell you that I recently joined the ranks at Book Riot as a contributing writer!  I’ve been eating up Book Riot with a spoon ever since they launched in 2011, and am so honored to now be a part of this awesome online journal.  Keep your eye out for biweekly Book Riot posts from me, maybe more if I’m feeling ambitiously bookish.  And if you like thrillers with badass female characters, you might just like one or two of the books I recommend in today’s Genre Kryptonite post.

Book Riot may be the new home for my sexy librarian, pop-culture and bookish-themed content, but keep checking back in on me over here for periodic updates on life in general and what I’ve got cooking at my library.

Choose-Your-Own-Faulkner February

Remember that book club I started up with those jokesters over at The Larryville Chronicles about a year and half ago?  We’re still going strong!

William Faulkner with Pipe

This month we’re switching things up with a book by a dead white guy.  Make that ‘books’ plural.  If you live in NE Kansas and like book clubs that are charmingly disorganized and consume copious amounts of cheap beer, you might want to join us for our weirdest experiment yet: Choose-Your-Own-Faulkner February. Continue reading

First There Were Meat Tastings, Then There Was Insane Clown Posse

Hi guys! I’ve missed you.  After navigating a few big work changes, it’s nice to say “hello” again.

Last month I said goodbye to the fabulous Lawrence Public Library and climbed aboard the web team at Johnson County Library right next door in Overland Park.

Johnson County Library Central Resource LIbrary

What I do now is pretty different from wearing banana suits at block parties, organizing meat tastings, and hanging out with world-famous authors like Daniel Woodrell, but I have to say I’m liking hunkering down in my cubicle to create hilarious (right?) social media and web content.  Writing has always always been up there among my favorite tasks at any job, and now I’m paid to do it 90% of the time.  The other 10% is spent brushing up on fun techie and UX skills.

The other major change? As a brand-new commuter, I have become totally fanatical about audiobooks.  Punk goddess Patti Smith reading her very own memoir?  Brilliant journalist Jon Ronson reciting Insane Clown Posse lyrics in a dry british accent? Yes, please!  If you’re a fan of audiobooks, too, let me know what I should listen to next.

In Three Acts

Since I’ve been contributing to everyone else’s blogs lately, I thought you all deserved a little update, too.  Here it is, in three acts.  Happy birthday!

act i: what I’ve been reading

scene 1: Fifty Shades of Grey

This book really is as terrible as everyone says it is.  But I still loved reading it and would do it again; here’s why.  For the cynical take, you’ll have to check-in with twitter friends @knsstxs (“reading that book is my own red room of pain,”) and @theluckynun  (“I could write better one-handed reading with one hand tied behind my back & some gross dude spanking me.”)  I also enjoyed Chip’s ostentatiously lazy review.

scene 2: Love is a Mix Tape

Gawd, what a great piece of pop culture writing.  I heart Rob Sheffield, and this book made me cry like a baby, even though (or perhaps because) it was about Duran Duran and Missy Elliott.  I’m going to cheat by linking to my brand new review for Lawrence Public Library — this review isn’t officially published until tomorrow.  Doesn’t it feel exclusive?

scene 3: 2666

Roberto Bolaño is totally freaking me out, in that way that only the best writers know how.  I loved Savage Detectives, but 200 pages in and I’m already calling it: 2666 is Bolaño’s masterpiece.  I’m crawling along, reading just a few pages at a time, because it’s too much to take in.  This business with Amalfitano and the geometry textbook is KILLING me.

Continue reading

Bunnies with Moustaches, and Nine Other Things I Love About the Library

Plush bunny with moustache

There have been too many things to love about the library this spring.  At least five of them have to do with beer:

1. Reading Terminal Market and the Fabric Workshop and Museum

In March I headed to my first ever PLA conference, in adorable Philadelphia.  I roomed with my boss, and we watched “Friends” reruns in our hotel room.  So, it was pretty rad.  These Amish women at the Reading Terminal Market made the best sticky buns I’ve ever had in my life. Beer was consumed. But my favorite was the Fabric Workshop and Museum, where I met the very awesome Chicago librarians Vicki Rakowski and Ben Haines, and scored some pink plastic tentacles and a bunny with a moustache.  Then we saw Betty White.

2. The San Jose Public Library

Nate Hill, web librarian at San Jose Public Library, is my new favorite librarian — I saw him speak at PLA in Philly.  Imagine: self-published books by library patrons that could be instantly cataloged and then vetted by upvoting, like on Reddit.  And check out that sexy color coding on their website.  These are some of the brain children of Nate Hill, who makes jokes about dogs and burritos.

3. Erotic Fiction workshops

Also a Philly highlight: talking about smutty books with about 100 fellow librarians at 8:30 on a Saturday morning.  I learned that many erotic novels have purple or red covers, and I placed a hold on Fifty Shades of Grey.

Continue reading

Books & Beer

If you’ve been following that other blog I contribute to, you may already know that tonight I’m getting together with a bunch of Larryville book nerds to talk about Haruki Murakami’s 925 page odyssey, 1Q84.  We’ll be drinking PBR at the Tap Room at 7:30 p.m.

Besides being hipper than your mom’s book club, we love seeing new people, especially after we’ve had a beer or two.  If you live in Larry and have been reading your way through 1Q84, come on down!

Librarian’s Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse

Ladies & gentlemen, I grew up in a family that lived and breathed the Mormon edict to “be prepared!”  My three brothers are Eagle Scouts.  We had a shelter custom-built in our basement to store a year’s worth of food for seven.

Survival Kit Supplies

Yet it wasn’t until I went to grad school that one of my favorite professors finally put the fear of god in me.  “What are you all planning to eat during the next natural disaster?” she demanded to know as we covered the emergency preparedness segment of her Organizational Management syllabus.  “You sure can’t wait until after the disaster happens to get prepared.”  Then she told us to all get guns.

Literally since that day, my husband and I have been on our path to emergency preparedness.  If you’re interested in making your own kit, your friendly internet librarian in a bananasuit suggests checking out the Center for Disease Control (CDC), FEMA, and the Mormons, all who have great emergency preparedness resources.  There’s even an excellent US Army Survival Manual that’s been floating around on Reddit.  And my husband’s and my own personalized list is available here.  Any way you slice it, your survival kit should cover these seven essential categories: Continue reading