More Librarians vs. Vendors : Coming down from ALA10

1 Jul

ALA is over, I need to get started reading ARCs to review in between being disgustingly happy with Mr. Math Professor and catching up on summer cocktails. Plus, I *NEED* to find a pair of four-inch heels that don’t scream Kardashian Famewhore all while training to hike the Grand Canyon in late July and finishing a baby blanket. Because that’s how I roll, Darling Readers.

So apparently you people really liked my last post, hence here’s another post to help you with the Post-ALA Blues. You know, when you have to come down from the Jerry Pinkney High, figure out what life’s like without getting handed swag every five minutes and how to get around without a free shuttle bus. So, after you go through those five boxes you FedExed to yourself only to find out you spent $200 shipping crappy pens, CDs of obscure journals and handouts about new study Bibles to yourself, remind yourself how worth ALA is for spending your professional development money (or your own nowadays).


Vendors: for the ladies- carefully highlighted, blow-out, shoulder-length (feminine w/out being too sexy)
for the gentlemen- channelling JFK whether in reality or their minds

Librarians: sensible short haircut a la  OR long ‘n’ frizzy of no discernable color. Applies to any gender. (Thanks, Jamie!)


Vendor: Knows a great little Thai/New Orleans BBQ/California fusion noodle joint in recently gentrified area. But really, just getting a chopped salad (low-fat dressing on the side, please) like the rest of us and eating it on the convention center stairs.

Librarian: food gleaned from crashed events and tables outside of sessions, crumbling granola bar in bottom of purse.


Vendor: won’t admit how badly their feet hurt from pointy Italian shoes. Both genders.
Vendors under age 30: won’t admit how badly their feet hurt from pointy, cheap, knock-off shoes.

Librarians: feet feeling good after standing in lines all day for author autographs because they are craddled in the comfort of Birkenstocks or Danskos.

Librarian exception: me in gold heels refusing to admit how badly my feet hurt. Just throw another sloe gin fizz on the problem.

Adult beverage of choice:

Vendor: Top-shelf liquor and Diet Coke.

Librarian: Yellow Tail Syrrah from open bar event.

Representative quality:

Vendor: ability to gather large crowds to listen to sales pitch with promise of Costco cupcakes and Charles Shaw merlot.

Librarian: ability to excitedly recognize authors most people would pass by on street.

Needs to work on…

Vendor: waiting until AFTER ALA to make fun of librarians

Librarian: Wipe the drool off of your chin before telling Kadir Nelson how much you love his work. (Mostly because the water stain devalues your signed copy.) Also, try bringing your dress-up Birks instead of your everyday ones next time.

Love, kisses, and swag!


Special ALA: How to tell Librarians from Vendors

27 Jun

Here reporting live from ALA Annual in DC where Jacqueline Kelly, Rebecca Stead and Fran Manushkin are signing books and are soooooooo nice that if you have not read their books, please go read one.

Anyway, a favorite game to play whenever ALA is in town is Spot the Librarian. It’s usually a safe bet to start playing on your plane ride, at the airport and throughout the city. (Next year I need to get my ass in order sooner and get librarian bingo going and offer prizes…remind me.) Anyway, as you are traversing the wilds of ALA, including roller backpacks and people covered in buttons, if you are new to the scene you might find yourself confusing equally badged Vendors with Librarians. Here is our handy guide to spotting the differences between the two species.


Vendor: black suit/black pencil skirt/black dress/black silk shirt/black Italian suit (Euro imprints or poetry journals)/severe shoes

Librarian: roomy jumper with pictures of cats reading on it OR thrift shop finds cobbled into Hipster Superhero look.

Starbucks order:

Vendor: nonfat Venti triple latte OR iced coffe (black, no sugar, please)…and a receipt, please.

Librarian: Grande Hazelnut/Almond/Cherry mocha with extra whip OR chamomile tea…and a receipt, please


Vendor: black laptop case and swag people knock each other down for, soothing smile and candy dish

Librarian: five logo bags full of posters, ARC, storytime kit, fifty buttons, notes from one session they attended in between author signings, lanyards

ALA injury:

Vendor: carpal tunnel syndrome from swiping cards OR broken ankle from getting knocked down by librarians trying to be first to get one of 50 limited edition tote bags

Librarian: blisters and aching feet from waiting 1.5 hours to get Cornelia Funke’s autograph OR heart attack brought on by Kadir Nelson’s melting brown eyes.

Catchphrase and/or pick-up line:

Vendor: “Can I swipe your card?”

Librarian: “Your books mean so much to me.”

Social skills:

Vendor: well-honed in halls of East Coast corporation that include politely navigating awkward conversations on continual basis. Social geniuses of the conference.

Librarian: “Your books mean so much to me.”

That’s it for now, lovelies!

Dumb ass post for a dumb ass book

20 May

Special thanks go out to Ms. Katie Dersnah Mitchell (Mrs. Mitchell, if you’re nasty) who sent a few special books our way. As we go through them, trying to pick out the worst parts (which in these cases is like picking out the worst Lindsay Lohan or Britney buh-gina flasher moment), here’s a little something to keep you warm at night. And to keep me from calling DFS on my neighbors whose kid seems to cry a non-stop wail morning-night.  At this point, I think it might be a Greek widow up there instead of a kid crying because his mom has a new boyfriend and no college degree.

This book is so stupid, the cover illustrator gave up trying to do a half-way decent job.

I wish she would just choke on that stupid lei she is wearing for no reason while surfing so that we can end it here.

Okay, is the portrayal of her little brown friend in the background racist or just plain lazy? I am known for my startlingly accurate stick figures and let me tell you, I could draw drunk circles around Arnold Spilka. I wonder if he has Schpilkas in his ganektagazoink? And the title, “Penny in Hawaii”? It’s like they’re not even trying. Sadly, Penny doesn’t die from getting leied while surfing. Instead, she and her readers are made to learn all about Hawaii, its wonderful cultures and traditions, history and so forth in social studies lessons disguised as a really bad, stilted, and forced story. I HATE when a book tricks you like that. It’s worse than discovering your JDate means cocaine orgy when he tells you you’re going to a “white party.*”

Well, as long as we’re here, we might as well learning something about Hawaii’s rich culture.

I Googled this luau description and the author totally ripped it from Wikipedia!

Oh Penny,  Larry will show you want three-finger poi really means later! Like Mother said, if it’s thick, it only takes TWO fingers. She should know!

I like how Mother and Larry speak like paragraphs from a fifth-grade social studies textbook. They segue from making boring lectures to coming up with insults kindergarteners would find gay and retarded.

Larry was right about Penny being a dumbass, she didn't even realize she was at a luau about 15 pages earlier. White people.

“You’ll like that I know.” ??? Really? Is this how kids in Hawaii speak? No wonder we want to colonize the hell out of it. Not just because we could charge $10 for a drink to retirees from Iowa and Witchita brides on their honeymoons. But mainly because apparently all children speak in long, pedantic sentences about the traditions and history of their culture to well-meaning white people. It’s like they were ready for tourism! Plus, they don’t want to hang out with you after the lecture. They go home and make leis with their grandmas. Good natives know and keep their places!

Where are the frat brothers puking up early morning Jaeger shots on the stomachs of passed-out Tri Delts?

Oh Aunt Gerri, who gives a crap about some ritual that used to have significance when you can expound on monkeypod? I wonder if malihini haole has the same insider meaning as goy does? “Oh sure, it just means ‘white newcomer’.”

The thing is, there are over 200 pages of this drivel!

*True story. Ask my sister.

Calling teen librarians and YA authors!

14 May

I’m presenting at ALA Annual this year as part of the Emerging Leaders program (which sorta sounds like we are all dirty, tattered and crawling out of sewers to stand on two feet finally after a serious makeover overseen by a fey man with a poppy soundtrack). My group (Project Group U, for UNICORN!) is creating job shadow initiatives for public and school librarians working with teens to expose them to the glamourous and rewarding world of teen librarianship.

I’m working on a virtual program which includes a kick-butt video that I need your help making. The premise is myth busting about librarianship, exactly what librarians working with teens do and how we have a rockin’ good time. Teens would watch the video then connect with a REAL-LIFE librarian via Skype or videoconferencing.

How can you help and potentially increase your star power?

  • Authors: send video clips extolling the amazing powers of librarians working with teens to change lives, get books in front of kids, have fun and wear great shoes.
  • Librarians working with teens: give us a behind-the-scenes look at your job in which you bust the myth that librarians are prudish, uptight, inaccessibly geeky, favoring the “good kids,” and boring. Also, most of the world, not just kids, don’t realize we have to get a specialized education, but that’s all good.

Wanna participate? Email me for the details ( Deadline to receive footage is June 4.

What they knew and when

12 May

As a statistically-significant friend pointed out, this week’s unfortunate victim* should have seen it coming. The ominously-named “The Eskimos Knew” conjures up images of native people smugly stockpiling weapons and canned goods while waiting for the zombies/nuclear war/Apocalypse/next Bush president than the educational romp through the lives of  cold climate dwellers. It’s a weird book, for so many reasons, not least of all that it was illustrated by the delightful Ezra Jack Keats before he hit it big with another book about snow.

So, check this out while I eat another expensive cookie from Whole Foods.

...that nothing flatters quite like fluffy hoods and wrap-around shades.

Okay, so we are looking a tad cranky and Blade Runnerish here. But I’m digging the totally mod cover page. Still, the title makes one feel as if SOMETHING is looming behind those innocent pointed hoods.

So, basically sushi but without the pretentious Los Angeles a-hole sitting next to you loudly talking about the time he ate real sushi in Tokyo?

So, I had to Google “Eskimo stereotypes” to get riled up and prepare for this one.  It’s not that this book is totally bad even though these sexually-ambigious people look like the Five Chinese Brothers doing sick things, it’s just weird.

So basically, this sounds like the equivilent of third-graders making fun of each other on the playground and someone getting stuck with “Pee-Pee Pants” or “Vomit Boy” or “Glenn Beck” as their nickname until high school.


I need to take a cold shower. No pun intended.

Wow, I think they ripped this straight from D.H. Lawrence.

Did YOU know that penchants for kinky sex are an Eskimo stereotype? Me neither, but that is totally bitchin’… in a really hurtful way that affects how people see them as individuals. I mean, dang, my people got money-grubbers, frigid, big noses and penis-cutting.
(Read this paragraph slowly to your lover with the smooth sounds of Barry White in the background and see if you don’t get a surprise nine months later…or an itch and redness a few days later depending on your lover.)

Why is this whole book written in what appears to be blank verse?

 I just want to point out that you are supposed to ask your mother for help here. And that the language is so stilted that I cannot make a joke about it without offending so many people that I will let you make your own inappropriate analogy…

I wrote this about my soul. Oh, no wait, my soul is black like the hallows of hell.

I prefer to think of this as the authors’ attempt to hash out their unhappy (in my mind) marriage by using food as a metaphor for feelings.  So it’s like their love is frozen in order to keep it from spoiling totally but sometimes they let themselves thaw out (like maybe when they write “What the Africans Knew” next) in the warmth of home, here represented by an igloo (which is both shelter, but one constructed of cold materials). And their hearts are the cold storerooms of emotion. Then Eskimos metaphorically eat their emotions, which loses me there. And makes me think of that Damien Rice song about Eskimos, which then makes me wonder if these people hate him for stereotyping Eskimos through sexy music. Hmmm, Damien Rice…

"Mommy, look at the bloody, cruel and unnecessary exploitation of animals! Let's go protest the diamond trade at Tiffany's next!"**

You and Mother will do this after Mother’s three-martini lunch. And if the furrier offers to show you how he sews skins together, leave, call the police immediately and check into the Plaza until he’s in full custody. They already know Mother there because of her “meetings” with her and Father’s “accountant.”

(**I really hope this is what my hypothetical daughter and I do someday after we go to a cheap Korean place for mani/pedis.)

Do you *have* to look menacing when chewing on animal skins, do ya think?

 Hey, stop spreading the stereotype that Eskimo women have strong teeth! What about the ones with gum disease or tartar? How do you think it makes them…oh sorry, got distracted thinking of little leather boots for dogs!
I will totally make my kids do this to make shoes for the family. And they’d better be damn cute, too. (Not the kids, the shoes. G-d don’t make no ugly.)

This is what life would have been like if they got to keep the money from drilling.

“Wheeeeee! We’re all so free and happy thanks to Sarah Palin!”

*Special thanks to Melody Murray for sending us this book.  We will give her a rose-scented sponge bath and feed her honey-soaked figs to say thanks at a later date and time.


Does this mission travel to Uranus?

27 Apr
I have so much cat hair on my laptop I feel like I should wear an appliqued sweatshirt and stirrup pants. That said, I’m neglecting you all because I’ve been as corny as Kansas in August. Which means I have less time to cozy up with my friend Absolut and unintentionally funny books. Mommy Dearest needs her fun, too, darling children. (And no more wire hangers while we’re on the subject.) Today I give you what can only be described as an attempt at making sci fi more accessible but comes off as the Ice Capades presented by a freshman art student with homely friends in 1980. Oh, but before we begin, you can all read peacefully knowing that Bret Michael’s toupee is in stable condition. way of 69 Uranus Street, overlooking the Castro

(Joke stolen from my friend John Bruton but I don’t feel bad since I cleaned his toilet over the weekend which I did to keep The Gays happy so they’ll give me babies when I’m 40 and still alone and childless and getting back-alley Botox.)

What sucks about this tease of a book is that you THINK you might be on a literary journey, all set to satisfy your space-geekiness or impress the president of the Chess Club with your knowledge of our solar system’s best accessorized planet (those moons, yo), but instead of something all National Geographic-y (who can hum the NG theme song? Go!), you get the following. Just a warning: glued-on sequins and bad PhotoShop. And I think there’s supposed to be a narrative, but I haven’t figured that part out yet.

Looking into the future when feathered hair finally dies...until hipsters bring it back 30 years later.

Hey, yo : when you decide to take mega-close-ups of your sexually-ambiguous friends for your arty picture book, slap some foundation on that mug. For those of you who read this regularly, don’t you think this is sorta a Terry BergerMelvin Berger mash-up happening here? Like you halfway expect some dramatically-lit child of divorce to start boring you to death with lectures on supercomputers? (Yeah, all three of you people rock. Gold stars for you. Can you also tell me when this blog started getting more Drunk and less Angry-College-Girl-Taking-Revisiting-World-History-With-A-Feminist-Bent-At-Oberlin?)

Dear  Jack Hamilton: I am guessing you support yourself by taking pictures for the Newport News catalog or at the Akron-area Sears Portrait Studio. Hence when you landed this plum job taking pictures for a thrilling teen book with a confusing story about going to Jupiter, you let it cloud whatever better judgement you had. It’s like when your mom discovers the shadow font feature in Word and then you get homemade computer birthday cards with backlit font and Office clip art. The result is neither pretty nor semi-professional. It’s just sad and lonely, like your mom struggling to type your 38th birthday card because she really can’t type well and you’re divorced and considering joining a synagogue to find a damn date.

This looks like they ran it off on a mimeograph machine.

Oh I LOVE when someone is described as speaking “polite but cool.” We so know what that means, people. It means she’ll be forced to have her icy exterior melted by Will later, most likely prompted by him saving her life or something else demeaning and cliched.

And, when was “Radames Orestes” emperor of Rome, please?

And I totally love when things are explained to me in clear, boring detail so that I don’t have to think.

A rich emotional tapestry.

So I’m  guessing by his prominent brow and placement in this collage that looks like something I did in high school because I wore black and listened to The Cure that the dude in front is going to be our villian. I am totally hoping he gets redeemed by his love for Polite But Cool. Maybe he’ll be the one who saves her life and so confusion about with which Lame-Ass Boy she should be ensues. Word of advice: never date a boy who looks like he spends more time on his hair than you. Trust me.

"So, when did you join Marching Band?"

May I please draw your attention to the strips of sequins glued on their cadet uniform? You know, to give it that realistic flavor so you’ll believe a bunch of tools sitting around a card table with styrofoam cups are for true on a space ship. I have some misgivings about the financing of this so-called space mission. If they’re going to dress you like the Show Choir, you might reconsider their ability to help you travel safely through space. And they use styrofoam on a spaceship? Man, even 1970s PBS adaptations of science fiction novels are better appointed than this.

In my mind,they’re trading tips on which brush gives you the best feather.

Here's a stupid way to learn!

Gotta love a book for teens that uses phrases like “while lecturing on such matters.” And I love the total fakey I-took-an-Astronomy-class-in-college “Space Dynamics Lab.” Also, these people are supposed to be cadets on some important, albeit unclear mission and they need simple astronomy lessons?

(Also, Morrisey will be read from now as “Morrissey.”)

He is thinking really hard about simple 4th grade science or trying to figure out if he can fart inconspicuously.

So since I am not actually interested in which characters are which, I am assuming this is “Rad” thinking about how to respond to the question “Where is the Sun?” that Morrissey just asked him. Unless Morrissey asked “how soon is now?” instead because he is a tricky morose and brooding space commander bastard that way.

Of course the girl stumbles and has to be caught. I just wanted to point that out. It's not funny. Just notice it. Okay?

“Trapped in the vortex of the wind!” is the poem I wrote my sophomore year of college when I was in love with my high school English teacher’s ex-boyfriend and he was all using me (you know, for good conversation and making-out) but I was convinced he just needed a Girl Like Me (self-righteous, combat boots, Tori Amos-listening and convinced of her own self-awareness because she read Anais Nin) to help unleash his heart that was clearly aching to feel love. But I was like, totally feeling trapped like in the vortex of the wind which really means nothing except I couldn’t see what an Asshole he really was(/is? Probably.) Which reminds me, who the hell misses their twenties? They sucked worse than middle school. And notice how you can’t tell what’s true about this example? Because maybe it was high school and I wrote it because I was so misunderstood.

By the way, please record yourself reading that last line in a dirty voice and email me.  I’m pretty sure the author stole this from that awesome one-paragraph sex scene in “For Whom the Bell Tolls.” (I love you people nodding right now; it’s the only damn good thing in that book.)

They totally stole this from MTV. I just hope the video for "Sharp-Dressed Man" comes next.

This picture makes me think I’m at a crappy art opening in a not-yet-converted loft space in Bushwick drinking Yellow Tail and eating cheese cubes.

Crap! Sadly this is where it ends because I can’t find the last photo which features Dora (Polite But Cool) lying on a bed in a white nightgown (sans sequin strip) holding a rock out towards the camera while a male figure’s legs are shown to the side. I think it might be someone’s senior art thesis on reconciling their feelings towards their father.

What, you don’t want to be a doctor?

4 Apr

First, let’s get something straight: I am a in a restaurant in which the waitress is having to explain what “Falafel” is. I live in a place in which people don’t know what falafel is.

Okay, next: why do nurses get such bad reps? It’s like they are sexpots chasing doctors, too lazy or stupid to be real health professionals like doctors, guises for strippers and totally underappreciated, overworked and don’t get to wear the fetching cape/hat anymore.  Nurses get the shaft (pervert!) in so many ways and today we honor them and my favorite nurse Wendy Burton by making fun of this stupid book about them called “I Want To Be A Nurse.” It’s part of same the I Want To Be A (porn star, pony, fireman, golddigger, reality star) series that spanned decades starting in the 1950s including our recent posts about Jane’s big dreams to be a homemaker/stay-at-home drunk. They are designed to start getting little kids thinking about the future because why not ruin childhood by planning your career at the age of five? Also, they are full of simple words designed to help build vocabulary and reading. Or something that really should be left to the experts, like LeVar Burton. Experts were paid tons of money to write these books. And yet, as you will see, the simple language ends up translating into just the filthiest thing ever about everyone’s favorite sexy Halloween costume. Bend over, here comes your shot!

Sorry, nothing clever to say here. It's Easter, but my sense of humor hasn't risen.

Apparently “cowboy” is one of the viable career paths this series promotes. You probably need a Ph.D., though.

Glad the boy is helping the girl out here. She needs his firm hand and guidance for her dolly.

That dolls needs: a strong drink? A spanking? A good man? A new pair of Jimmy Choos and a kicky hairstyle to perk her up? Who the hell is this kid to come in and start bossing Jane around about taking care of her dolly? Is he her future husband or something? This ISN’T “I Want to Be a Homemaker,” people.

Wanna play with my enema bag?

Hey you stupid girl, I’m gonna point at you and your bandaged trashed dolly who didn’t get her hair done.  Because I’m a boy and I can be a doctor and you can only be a nurse, girl. You still have years to wait for “The Feminine Mystique” to come and change things for you,  stupid girl. See me point at you! Cuz I’m so masculine. I wear a SAILOR HAT, I’m so butch!
I am pretty sure I should get arrested for having this picture on my computer.

Miss Nurse, tell me how to get old men to write me in their wills, please.

Wendy broke my heart when she told me nurses no longer dress like this.

The subtext is absolutely rich here.

"Just rip it out, stomp on it and say 'You won't be needing this anymore!'

Here’s the part that explains how nursing is exactly like playing “Operation.”  Also, don’t the positions of their legs express repressed, burgeoning sexuality? This is why women shouldn’t know so much about anatomy; it will just get them all excited. Hence, I guess they only get to learn about the heart. It’s the only non-sexual organ in the whole body.

All of this nubile blossoming makes sense for the next few pictures…

This picture costs $3.99 per minute to look at.

Wendy: PLEASE PLEASE tell me this picture is accurate. The head nurse looks VERY displeased with the job her young apprentice is doing , though Grace Kelly looks pretty darn happy to have a 14-year-old rubbing her down like veal. Does this book make anybody else think of Boy Scouts?

"And now, dearie, you must swear eternal loyalty to your fellow Daughters of Eve by dipping your virgin candle into the blood bowl and smearing it all over your naked body. It's standard procedure."

So the lesbian pulp subtext is quickly and puzzlingly replaced by a Lois Duncan novel. I’m pretty sure in the next scene she has to drug a doctor, tie him up in the janitor’s closet and carve anti-dominant culture sentiments onto his body. By candlelight. But then she gets the ability to astrally project! Supersweet. (Incidentally, that’s what I got Wendy for her birthday: the ability to astrally project. But only when her evil twin sister stares out from a mirror at her. And steals her boyfriend. Because Wendy will need to get herself to the car her Twin is driving said boyfriend off of a cliff in.)

And not like Lionel Ritchie's "All night long."

Porn? Horror? Country song? Failed haiku attempt? Ace of Base lyrics meant to convey the unsatisfying life of a hard-working woman who just needs a man to love her?

A girl's gotta supplement her meager income somehow! Those caps and capes don't pay for themselves.

The light shining on her smiling face as she eyes how much morphine she needs to keep Mr. 85-Rich-and-Widowed just conscious enough lets you know this is now film noir. Or an ABC Movie of the Week from 1983 that my brothers and I would have convinced our pot-smoking babysitter to let us stay up past bedtime to watch. With the caveat that we would run upstairs and fake sleep the minute my mom got home. I’m pretty sure Eve Plumb starred in this one with a pre-“Facts of Life” Lisa Welchel.

"You're a pretty one! And if your eyes stay blue you'll be worth $50,000 on the black market!"

Man, what hospital is this? It looks like a preschool room and that they’re shoving babies into little kids’ cubbies. I think they got this furniture at Ikea.

Much love and happy birthday to Wendy Burton, Nurse of the Plains. Look for other titles in this series including:

Wendy Burton, Girl Scout Camp Nurse

Wendy Burton, Lincoln’s Nurse

Wendy Burton, Popular Nurse

Wendy Burton,  Nurse on the Run!