Monthly Archives: July, 2012

Books on the Silver Screen

This post is late but I was asked to add it here anyway. In May we looked at books that have been made into movies. There were a lot of them. I choose only the books we have in our library to narrow the list. The boys still wanted to read from a variety of genres, so the list covered a variety.

Books on the Silver Screen



  • Angels & Demons – Dan Brown
  • The Da Vinci Code – Dan Brown
  • The Silence of the Lambs – Thomas Harris
  • Carrie – Stephen King
  • Moonraker – Ian Fleming


  • Shogun – James Clavell
  • The Help – Kathryn Stockett
  • I am David – Anne Holm
  • Water for Elephants – Sara Gruen
  • Forrest Gump – Winston Groom
  • Black Robe – Brian Moore
  • Dead Poets Society – N. H. Kleinbaum
  • Invictus – John Carlin


  • The Lincoln Lawyer – Michael Connelly
  • Dead Man Walking – Sister Helen Prejean
  • Whale Rider – Witi Ihimaera
  • Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close – Jonathan Safran Foer
  • The Road – Cormac McCarthy
  • Coach Carter – Jasmine Jones (movie came first)

Science Fiction/Fantasy

  • 2001 A Space Odyssey – Arthur C. Clarke
  • The Golden Compass – Philip Pullman
  • Harry Potter – J. K. Rowling
  • Outbreak – Robert Tine (movie came first)
  • Interview with the Vampire – Anne Rice
  • Lord of the Rings – J. R. R. Tolkien
  • The Lightning Thief – Rick Riordan
  • The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen – Alan Moore
  • I am Number Four – Pittacus Lore
  • I am Legend – Richard Matheson
  • The Wolfman – Jonathan Maberry (movie came first)
  • Princess Bride – William Goldman
  • The Picture of Dorian Gray – Oscar Wilde

Paper Covers Rock by Jenny Hubbard

Four friends take a bottle to the river to secretly share. While enjoying this respite from school, a dare ends in the death of a friend and a subsequent cover-up of the events to save the survivors from expulsion. When Miss Dovecott, an English teacher who sees Alex as a fledgling writer, starts asking questions about the accident, Alex confesses his confusion and guilt in a journal he hides in the library as he tries to deal with his accountability and feelings of guilt. As he reviews the events leading to the tragedy Alex starts to question if the death was really an accident.

Jenny Hubbard has taken a tragedy and, by using the convention of a journal, has created a tightly coiled, emotionally charged tale that looks at the greys that can exist between truth, fear and self-preservation. The result is painful, beautiful, and in the true sense of the word, terrible. The use of poetry and references to other literacy works adds an additional depth to her tale.

This one is worth reading, gentlemen.

Brain Jack by Brian Falkner

So, can we be brain jacked?

Brain Jack is an excellent addition to the very strong list of technology-driven books written for teens lately. The plot is focused, the characters are well-developed, and the setting is tomorrow. Falkner has taken the real concepts of gaming addiction, brain-computer interfaces, and computer security and weaved them a great tale.

Sam is a techno-nerd whose idea of fun is hacking into impenetrable computer systems. When his latest hack lands him in Reckton Hall Juvenile Detention Center, he doesn’t realize that he has just become part of a bigger game. If he can hack his way out of Reckton, the rules of the game will change and he will be one of the players.

Social media considerations

One of the things I have learned during my time at SJSU is to be judicious in the social media I use. There are so many great social media tools that we can add to our toolbox. As information professionals, it is important to be aware of the trends and to practice with the tools but we need to also remember that tools are meant to help us. If we aren’t careful, these same tools can become time wasters.

So, a few suggestions:

  1. Choose a bookmarking tool that works for you. Delicious and Diigo  are two popular ones. Pinterest and Evernote (I love this tool) are also very popular.
  2. If you use Facebook, take a careful look at what is public. Remember you want to ensure your digital image is professional. Another social networking tool you may consider trying is Linkedin
  3. Check your digital footprint – do a search for yourself. What type of information comes up?  I know employers do this – I have done myself when hiring.
  4. Consider how you are managing how you receive information – do you use a news aggregator, twitter,; it is much more effective to have the information come to you than you trying to find new material all the time.
  5. Back up, back up, back up. You can, of course, use D2L to back up your documents but you might want to try Dropbox or Google Docs. The neat thing about these tools is you can share a document, or set of files, with a group you are working with.
  6. Get comfortable using Blackboard. You will be using it a lot during your time with SJSU so get comfortable with it quickly.

You may be interested in the following Youtube video about social media by totalprofit:

Social Media Revolution

Red Glove by Holly Black

 My main complaint with Red Glove is the cover. It is always hard to convince young men to read books when the cover appeals more to the ladies. Gentlemen, this book is about a guy – Cassel Sharpe – and a family of curse workers. Don’t let the cover fool you – it is worth picking up.

If you like realistic fantasy that has humour, action, and interesting twists, this series is one you should try, but read the first one, White Cat, before picking this one up. The characters are quirky, the plot is quick and entertaining.

Don’t want to say more than that in case you haven’t read the first one.

Leverage by Joshua C. Cohen

 Well, it isn’t often that I am so completely split about a book. I must say Leverage was well written with characters that are well-formed and realistic. The story is a compelling look at steroids, bullying, and football – all that should make it a perfect fit for my school.


I just think Cohen went too far and that is a pity because it won’t get the word of mouth press it should. By taking the plot over the edge he has limited his audience. I understand the violence, although I think it may be excessive. I am more adverse to the way that the major characters deal with it. So, I won’t be suggesting this to my teens. I don’t think it should be recommended without a cautionary note.

Time management

I was thinking today about schedules and commitments and about how time seems to expand and contract. My kids are loving the summer time; water, sunshine, and freedom. What more can a kid want? I, on the other hand, feel like I have just traded one type of work for another.

I may not be driving my kids to dance, music, and their other activities but I am gardening, doing home repairs, and driving my kids around to their activities. So what does this really have to do with taking courses on SJSU? Well, actually a lot. Here are a few tips to help keep you organized:

  1. Don’t procrastinate! Life happens and usually at the most inopportune moments – like when you have assignments due. Try to have your assignments completed at least a couple of days prior to due dates. That way you have time to do one more edit, if you choose. More importantly, you can say “yes” to that impromptu ticket to the ball game or concert.
  2. Break assignments into bite-size pieces – and schedule them too. Some assignments can feel overwhelming. But a beaver can cut down a tree one bite at a time. (I just came from the lake – you can tell where my minds at. I love beavers; they know how to turn work into something fun.)
  3. Schedule your time. Block time to work on your classes into your calendar. Be creative. I have completed most of my courses in ballet studios. I know some students that turn their notes into PDFs that they download onto their Kindles or other devises. Perfect for reading on the bus during long commutes.
  4. If you are working in the field, consider how you can make your assignments work at work.In a Collection Development course, I used my assignment to develop a plan to renew one aspect of my collection.
  5. This one will be tough for some. Shut off the cell, close down your email, turn off the IM and any other communication tool you use. Shut off the TV. Uninterrupted time is precious. Answering messages and chatting will eat away at eat away at that precious time you scheduled faster than anything else.
  6. Take a little time for yourself. A short walk, a good book –  even pulling weeds – can rejuvenate a person more than a cup of coffee and donut. (When I’m stressed, though, boy do I want that donut!)

I won’t promise that you won’t have the odd sleepless night and I can attest that I have a few more gray hairs than I did before starting the program. But, I can also say that I smile when my daughter brings her homework to the dining room table to work with me. I have a better library now than I did three years ago. And, I have met some amazingly talented and generous people. So I can honestly say that the journey is worth the cost.

What are your tips?

LIBR 203 – Starting Fresh

Welcome to the my LIBR 203 blog. I will use it to comment and discuss what we are learning.