Cites & Bytes @ Bailey

a library newsletter, a compendium of interesting tidbits, a communication tool....from Bailey Library @ Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania. (Site Feed)

Friday, February 17, 2006

Recently Read...

The Dewey Decimal System of Love by Josephine Carr. This was my lunch time read for the last couple of weeks, a gift from a friend. I admit I was embarrassed to be caught with it, but it was fun and a tiny bit smutty. You have your locked down librarian burning with secret desires, and then you know what? She lets down her hair, gets lasik, a low cut dress, and look out! There is a tiny pretense of a mystery but the author decides to give the heroine a revelation to resolve it in the last few pages and that is definitely a cheat. Thanks to all of you who didn't laugh and point when you saw me reading this.

The Ice Queen by Alice Hoffman. Another tale of a librarian, also repressed, but what a difference in content and style! This librarian (a nameless narrator) wishes to be struck by lightning... her wish is granted, she survives, and her life changes in mysterious and magical ways as she forms relationships with other lightning survivors. Her relationship with her brother is very moving, as is her guilt over a childhood incident. I think Hoffman is wonderful; another of her books I loved was the young adult novel, Green Angel. A definite recommend and a terrific book club choice, in my opinion.

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon. This title is another favorite of books clubs, and for good reason. There is something so quirky and charming about Christopher, the autistic narrator. I loved his perceptions that cut to the heart of the matter. His voice just seemed so authentic and I thought the portraits of his separated and distraught parents seemed so very human. The autism of the central character is reflected in habits reminiscent of The Rain Man, but he is a much more textured hero who exhibits great bravery. Very good book, although I skipped some of the "maths," as I do not possess similar skills (or interests.)

Don't Make Me Think by Steve Krug. This book on web usability was touted on one of my listservs as the best web guide ever. I believe I would agree, based on the ultimately solid, common sense philosophies underlying the advice and the very accessible writing style. Krug not only supplies excellent guidelines for testing web usability but has some really perceptive things to say about web design in general. Since this is a very timely topic for me, I thoroughly enjoyed it and plan to discuss it with colleagues. The author is a web design and usability consultant; you can view a cybercast of his analysis of the Library of Congress home page here... Seriously, this book should be required reading for web designers and web committees everywhere.


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