Author Archives: Cathy Hatterman

Friday Reads: The Magicians and Mrs. Quint by Galen Beckett

The Magicians and Mrs. Quint

The Magicians and Mrs. Quint

At first all I could see where the parallels with Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice,  in The Magicians and Mrs Quint, by Galen Beckett, but they fell away. While the era it reverberates with to me is definitely the Regency era in England, the story is at the same time familiar, and strange. When the characters discuss something that in our world would be unusual, in  the most normal way one is jarred away from the everyday Regency path. The characters can’t be certain the amount of day or night they will have, except by an almanac. A night may be 30 hours long, and a day less than eight hours of sunlight. And yet this oddity is not ruled by the season or any obvious astronomic explanation.

The story begins with a family just hanging on to gentility, just barely staving off the poorhouse. The father was a magician, until an event working with “magick” cripples his mind. The wife will not have magic spoken of in the house, but the oldest, most sensible sister of three, is fascinated with it, and reads as many books on it as she can in hopes of helping her father. The only thing odd about this is that she’s a woman. Women cannot work magic, of course, or so it is said.

Additionally, two young men who are friends, one attempting to find the financial means to return to College, and the other living a frivolous life, with occasional demands from his father to take on responsibility, go down their paths. While the poor one moves on the edge of conspiracies to make ends meet, the other begins to find magic invading his life.

This is an intriguing book with appealing language and the sparkle of magic. It also has appealing characters, delightful turns of phrase, and plot that never quite moves as you think it will.

Book review of The Magicians & Mrs Quent by Tammy Moore on the SF Site.

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Friday Reads: The Fold, by Peter Clines

The FoldThey tried to create a teleportation machine (a transporter, if you’re familiar with Star Trek), but after much study, came to the realization the present technology can’t support the theory. So they moved the project and attempted a different approach.   This team of  DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) scientists in the California desert who believe they have created a portal that “folds” dimensions so a traveler may move hundreds of miles with one step. At budget time the agencies involved aren’t getting the information they believe they should. And even the head of their project in Washington is getting some odd vibes from the group, so he sends his own form of investigative team in to check on everything. A high school English teacher, Leland “Mike” Erikson, who looks like Servius Snape, college edition.

Mike, as he prefers to be known, had an eidetic memory, and an extremely high IQ. The combination makes him a perfect fit for the  Sherlock Holmes role. Mike is interesting, and the way he handles his memory makes the concept approachable. It also adds an interesting dimension to some of the things we take for granted, like forgetting painful experiences, and the immediacy of grief.

And yet, even for Mike, it’s hard to see what’s wrong with the Albuquerque Door, as they’ve named this machine that fold space. There have been nearly 400 human tests, without an injury. “Nine people, two hundred and sixteen rats, six cats, and a chimpanzee,” (p.49) have been through the door, and not one lost. And yet all the scientists, engineers, and programmers, who have been the test subjects are uneasy, and want to continue to do tests. Until something does go wrong. Of course, it goes so badly wrong that everyone is stunned, and someone dies.  This group is small, again, just six people, who outsource for medical or any other services.

Oh, yes the secret comes out, and the situation goes downhill fast. This becomes on of those Nantucket sleigh rides, and with very interesting twists. Just as you think you understand what’s going on, Mr. Clines throws you a curve, some from left field. And in the end, some logic, luck, and fast thinking saves the day. Just not neatly, cleanly, and with some odds and ends.

It is definitely an adult work of Science Fiction, Fantasy/Horror, some parts are not for the squeamish, and it is thriller territory. But it is a fun, and satisfying read, with quips, humor, and interesting characters.

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Friday Reads: Updraft by Fran Wilde

UpdraftThis book is a first for the author, who is known by her short stories, according to the book blurb. This tale, is one of redemption in a postapocalyptic world set far, far in the future, of, I would guess, Earth, since there are familiar species of birds. But it’s the juxtaposition of the familiar birds with the strange that makes it so compelling.

Humans live in towers of living bone, the higher in the tower, the higher your social status, and as the towers grow, the lower levels are abandoned, since they get more crowded by the growth of the bone.  Travel between the towers is allowed, and is accomplished by flying with one’s own set of wings, which one is tested for at a certain, young age. Travel inside the towers is accomplished by ladders.  But the outcasts of the culture are also left in the lower levels of the tower to live or die. It is a very rule orientated way of living, where the main character, Kirit, longs to be a trader, like her mother, attain the right to fly to other towers and trade and also bring medicine. She is close to earning the right to fly free, as well as earn her apprenticeship as the story opens, when she and her once closest friend Nat, break the Tabu/Law, she goes outside during an attack, and he doesn’t let her back in. So they are equally at fault, and get caught by one of their officers, called a Singer. But in being caught outside, Kirit displays a unique skill that the Singers need. But the skill gets in the way of her dreams.

In another story, she might have simply gone with the authority figure, but not this one. She and Nat both work to get through their punishment in time for both to take their flight tests. To get done in time they meet and receive help from one of the cast off citizens of the towers, Tobiat, old, with injuries badly set and healed, and mind a little scattered.  He turns out to be key to many of the mysteries  come to face.  The tests seem to be passed, but the Singers have skewed them, and both Kirit has to go with them to their tower. She learns secrets that turn many of the things she’s learned in the towers inside out, and finds that the strange creatures that attack their towers were once much different. Not only does so much she has learned about her family change, but also about her culture.

So much happens in such a short pace of time. But it changes so many lives of this small  civilization on the edge of survival.  The disruption spreads from one life, to a family, to an order keeping service type organization. It’s interesting to see, after reading the book, how the character of one actor, can serve as a catalyst to expose the wrongdoing of an entire organization.

Reviews

Book Review by Julie Novakova, in Fantasy Scroll Mag

The Illustrated Page blog

Bibliosanctum blog

 

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Friday Reads: The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison

The_Goblin_Emperor_coverIt’s the story of the unwanted, unloved fourth, and extra son of an elven Emperor, who unexpectedly, violently, becomes the next emperor. With no training and no one to trust, he’s thrust into a fully imagined court and political wrangling of a complex government that he hasn’t even been fully educated about. On top of all that, he is half Goblin, a distrusted minority in his country. The unexpected part of the story is that, of course, that living with a greedy, selfish, violent guardian has taught him survival skills that he can use. And he has more than a few. And despite all the difficulties, the story is a hopeful one.

The author has not only packed the story with the edgy subject of race, and all the differences that can mean, but many other lines that she handles well. The accident that ends his father, the emperor’s life, and the lives of his three older half brothers, was aboard an airship (dirigible). Two people are set to guard the emperor at all times, one his soul and the other his body. But the one who guards his soul can also cast what we would call spells. New ideas are part of the difficulties the new emperor must deal with, including a new bridge. There is also an ongoing investigation into the deaths of his father and half brothers, which threads through the story, as well as 2 assassination attempts.

The world building is wonderful. One can tell where the origins of many of the foundations come from, but the author handles them in ways that seem fresh. While magic and steam punk flourishes exist, the story, the politics, the struggles, and the people are more interesting. In many ways though, it feels more like a historical story, than a fantasy, despite that fact that the character’s ears move to indicate their emotional state, much like a cat’s.

Katherine Addison, is actually a pseudonym for Sarah Monette.

The novel has received the Locus Award for Best Fantasy Novel and nominated for the Nebula, Hugo and World Fantasy Awards.

Reviews:

Strange Horizons: The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison, reviewed by Foz Meadows
Building Bridges: The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison reviewed by Liz Bourke

 

 

 

 

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Friday Reads: The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell

imagesCAN6O13QThe Bone Clocks moves along quicker than The Cloud Atlas, by the same author, and seems to flow better, in my opinion. It begins in 1980 with Holly Sykes, a 15-year-old London girl, who has an ugly row with her mother, then the earth shattering betrayal by her older, illegal,  boyfriend and her best friend. Then she runs away.

But she can’t run away from the radio people. The paranormal entities that she’s been hearing and been in contact with much of her life. And she isn’t just hearing things. They’re real. The genius of this writer is that he’s writing perfectly fine real life coming of age story, war story, writer’s life story and then in walks the paranormal, and it’s not the one you think it’ll be from all your mystery or horror reading. Eventually you learn who the sides are. Both are immortal, One “eats” the gifted souls to live eternally, carnivores, or Anchorites. The other dies natural deaths and continues on, only if not killed unnaturally, the Horologists, following a script (as in a play.)

Slowly, we go through personal stories of each individual, with sudden steps into the paranormal. Each interweaves with the other, a 14-year-old girl, a war correspondent, a young con man, a literary writer, and more. Getting closer to an event of proportions we cannot guess. But it will change lives.

Review by William Skidelsky in the Gaurdian

Review by Derek Thompson in the Atlantic

 

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Friday reads: The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by N. K. Jemisin

hundred thousand kingdomsIt’s a Greek god like rollercoaster, with the politics of nations, the politics of gods (a family), and the politics of the emperor’s family and succession, and all of it interrelated and convoluted. All of it in a city created by magic in a palace that resembles a rose which towers far above the capital city. Into all of this you follow the trajectory of Yeine Darr (a forgotten, dismissed, “half breed” heir, but ruler of her own country in the heretical North), from the start, plunging into this seeming tranquil pool, to plunge through its roiling depths.
Yeine, also has her own agenda, to discover why her grandfather, the emperor killed her mother, after letting her live for 20 years in a foreign land. Not to mention why she’s now an acknowledged heir, and competitor for the throne (excuse me, stone chair.)
And of course, there’s magic and gods. But the gods are bound, and living at the palace, doing the ruling family’s every whim. No matter who gets hurt, including themselves, or entire nations.
Watching Yeine try to manage her way through all the protocols, snares, and attacks, without injuring the innocent, is worth the read. A fresh voice, and a very different world view. This is the first book of The Inheritance Trilogy.
Reviews & an excerpt:
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/valerie-stiversisakova/review-nk-jemsins-the-hun_b_5585765.html
http://www.amazon.com/Hundred-Thousand-Kingdoms-Inheritance-Trilogy/dp/0316043923

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Friday Reads: Coming Home, by Jack McDevitt

Coming HomeComing Home is the seventh Alex Benedict novel by Jack McDevitt. These are not military or thriller science fiction, but they do have a quest, and a quirky pace much like real life. They are narrated by his assistant and pilot, Chase Kolpath. Alex is in the business of antiquities (or salvage, depending on your opinion), thousands of years in the future of a timeline that could be ours. Human empires and cultures have risen and fallen since humans left Earth; so much history is lost due to riots and wars. And much of the history of the early years of space exploration is missing, such as the early flights to the moon. A friend of theirs brings them an early space artifact of mysterious origins and asks for their help in authenticating it. The trail leads finally, to Earth, and more mystery.
Also creating tension for the pair is the fact that Alex’s uncle is on a space liner caught in a space/time warp, which makes the ship available every 5 years, real time, only minutes have elapsed shipside. So that only a few people can be rescued each time, before the ship disappears again, for 5 years. Since Alex owns a yacht, and Chase is the pilot, she is involved in the rescue attempts.
Jack McDevitt definitely has a distinctive voice in the field, and can both create characters that one can care about, as well as interesting science. His pacing is also more like real life, the antique search slowing and speeding up much like a real search with hunches played out and failed, and others popping up. The work on the space liner rescue interrupts regular life, as it would, and then the excitement dies down. It feels much more like living with the characters than the constant roller coaster thrill ride of a science fiction thriller. Much more consideration about the human element and consequences is often given in his work.

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Friday Reads: Codex Born by Jim C. Hines

Codex BornWhat if you could protect someone by pulling a ray gun out of the book Slan, by A.E. Van Vogt? That’s what Isaac Vainios of Codex Born, the book I’ve been reading, can do. He is investigating a murder by using a machine that views the past written in a short story called The Dead Past by Isaac Asimov (in his anthology, The Best of Isaac Asimov), which leads to an attack on his girlfriend. And the price of using too much of his book magic in too short a space of time, is losing his mind or his life. The characters are fun and irreverent, the action is fast, and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed as much as I’ve read so far. There are definitely adult sexual situations.

Magic systems interest me, and this is one is a fit for librarians. Any book, as long as the person with the talent can concentrate, and imagine it, can draw any item out of a book. If the item is larger than the book when the book is open, it can’t be pulled through…usually. And of course, a lot can go wrong. There are of course, bad guys, and a force on the inside of the book world that is inimical to humans that Isaac calls the Devourers. Some of the side effects of the magic from the books is that there are several types of vampire—defined by the writers of the books: Sanguinarius Meyerii (a sparkler, from the Twilight trilogy), Sanguinarius Meadus (from the Vampire Academy novels), etc., with powers defined by those described in the books. There are other magical creatures as well: werewolves, dryads, golems, and more.

Also a fun plus, the author includes a list of the books mentioned in the text, and marks the titles fabricated for the story. Included are references to A.E. Van Vogt’s Slan, Isaac Asimov’s The Best of Isaac Asimov, Robert Heinlein’s Friday, Randy L. Daly’s African Honey Bees in North America, and others.

Codex Born, by Jim C. Hines, 2013, Daw Books, ISBN 978-0-7564-0816-9, Magic Ex Libris, Book Two.

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New Books Added to the Library Commission Collection

The following books have been added to the collection–please contact the Information Services Team if you’d like to check out any of these titles. Thanks.

Spans in Time: A History of Nebraska Bridges, edited by James E. Potter, L. Robert Puschendorf (third title down on linked page.)

Teaching the Works of Willa Cather, ed. by Steven B. Shively & Virgil Albertini

Railroad 1869; Along the Historic Union Pacific, by Eugene Arundel Miller

Nebraska Quilts & Quiltmakers, edited by Patricia Cox Crews & Ronald C. Naugle

Law & Order in Buffalo Bill’s Country; Legal Culture & Community of the Great Plains, 1867-1910, by Mark R. Ellis

These Nebraska themed titles have been added and will be in the Library of Congress collection.

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Spotlight on Keep It Simple;

Keep It Simple; a Guide to Assistive Technologies, by Ravonne A. Green and Vera Blair, Z711.92.H3 G74 2011. 

“Among computer users, about 25 percent have been reported as having difficulty with vision, 24 percent have mobility impairments, and 29 percent of computer users have problems with hearing. “ from Keep It Simple, p. 4. Most of them are unaware of the free assistive technologies built right into the Microsoft software in the library computer that they are using. Keep It Simple  will show you how to find and use that and other free software assistive technology (AT) to help patrons use computers, maybe even your catalogues.

First the authors convince you, and give you facts and figures useful for making a case for turning over computers to AT or writing  a grant for extra computers. They also bring you up to date about the technology available for libraries. But what impressed me most, was that there was so much freeware already built into Microsoft that could be used right now. Here are some examples of other freeware:  Emacspeak which speaks aloud specific printed information, such as a date. FATBITS is a screen magnifier for Windows XP free for downloading which enlarges the screen area abound the pointer. There’s WordTalk, which is a free text-to-speech software for use with Word 97 and later. Free Cursor enlarges the cursor.  SUITEKeys 1.0 for Microsoft Windows 95, 98, NT 4.0, and 2000/XP is a speech recognition system to operate a Windows environment computer, for hands free operation. And then there’s hardware. Scanners can be turned into reading machines with the right software (p.24.)

It might be easy to let the amount of information overwhelm, but there is enough at the basic, free level, to make access to everyday computers for seeing and hearing challenged patrons more accessable.

Please email me, Cathy, with any topics you’d like to see in a blog.

Please contact the Information Services Team if you’d like to check out this  title. Thanks.

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New Books Added to the Library Commission Collection

The following books have been added to the collection–please contact the Information Services Team if you’d like to check out any of these titles. Thanks.

A Visit to Hartington, by Denny Miller

Nebraska Voices: Telling the Stories of Our State, edited, from the Nebraska Humanities Council

What Hath God Wrought? Tour Guide of Nebraska’s Great Capitol, by Elinor L. Baade Brown

The Ceremony & other Stories, by Weldon Kees

The Roads That Built America: The Incredible Story of the U.S. Interstate System, by Dan McNichol

These Nebraska themed titles have been added, and will be in the Library of Congress collection.

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Adult Readers Advisory Guides

We’ve received a lot of different readers advisory guides from different series on different topics, it’s hard to only select a few. I’ll stay with adult titles this time.

This last one is a little different, but I’ve added it, since it gives information about the author, how he or she writes, as well as his life.

Please email me, Cathy, with any topics you’d like to see in a blog.

As always,–please contact the Information Services Team if you’d like to check out any of these titles. Thanks.

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New Books Added to the Library Commission Collection

The following books have been added to the collection–please contact the Information Services Team if you’d like to check out any of these titles. Thanks.

The Repurposed Library; 33 Craft Projects That Give Old Books New Life, by Lisa Occhipinti

Lao Folktales, by Lajuppa Tossa with Kongdeuane Nettavong, ed. by Margaret Read MacDonald

Engaging in Evaluation and Assessment Research, by Peter Hernon, Robert E. Dugan, and Danuta A. Nitecki

Contemporary World Fiction; A Guide to Literature in Translation, by Juris Dilevko, Keren Dali, and Glenda Garbutt

More Technology for the Rest of Us; A Second Primer on Computing for the Non-IT Librarian, ed. by Nancy Courtney

Make Mine a Mystery II, A Reader’s Guide to Mystery & Detective Fiction, by Gary Warren Niebuhr

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Technology in Libraries with Challenges

I noticed at the Big Talk from Small Libraries Conference many libraries with challenges where finding ways to offer technology to their patrons. Here are some titles that may inspire projects of your own.

The supplement to American Libraries Jan/Feb 2012, v. 43, n.1/2, focuses on EBooks, entitled, EBooks Making New Connections.

One of a series of DVDs from College of DuPage, Library futures: Staying Ahead of the Curve: Technology Trends in Libraries: Tools, Skills, Staffing and Training, offers various views on technology, the library, and the future. Other titles in the series can be searched for by using the series title, Library Futures: Staying Ahead of the Curve.

Please email me at cathy.hatterman@nebraska.gov with any topics you’d like to see in a blog.

As always,–please contact the Information Services Team if you’d like to check out any of these titles. Thanks.

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New Books Added to the Library Commission Collection

The following books have been added to the collection–please contact the Information Services Team if you’d like to check out any of these titles. Thanks.

The Cybrarian’s Web; An A-Z Guide to 101 FREE Web 2.0 Tools and Other Resources, by Cheryl Ann Peltier-Davis

Essential Library of Congress Subject Headings, by Vanda Broughton

How to Fix Copyright, by William Patry

A Book Sale How-To Guide; More Money, Less Stress by Pat Ditzler & Joann Dumas

Graphic Novels In Your School Library, by Jesse Karp, Illus. by Rush Kress

The Information Diet; A Case for Conscious Consumption, by Clay A. Johnson

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New Books Added to the Library Commission Collection

The following books have been added to the collection–please contact the Information Services Team if you’d like to check out any of these titles. Thanks.

Survey of Use of RFID in Libraries, from Primary Research Group, Inc.

Teens, Libraries, and Social Networking; What Librarians Need to Know, ed. by Denise E. Agosto and Junde Abbas

Ready-Made Book Displays, by Nancy M. Henkel

Read on…Horror Fiction, by June Michelle Pulliam and Anthony J. Fonseca

The Customer-Focused Library; Re-Inventing the Public Library from the Outside-In, by Joseph R. Mathews

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Books to Help Stretch the Library Budget

If you need help stretching the library budget, there are a few things in our collection that may help.

I just entered “shoestring” in our catalog in the “Search” blank, with the button set to “Anywhere”, and discovered an interesting selection of titles. Here’s a sample:

Here are some new titles we’ve received you might find helpful:

I found this DVD by searching library finance with the button set to “Anywhere”, and “Sorted” by copyright date:  NLC DVD Library futures. Staying ahead of the curve. Making the best of a shrinking budget : creative practices in a new economy, recorded from a College of DuPage Teleconference broadcast.

As always,–please contact the Information Services Team if you’d like to check out any of these titles. Thanks.

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Customer Service Books For Before the Patron Says…

After reading about the experiences of public librarians at the service desk I was amazed at the situations they were put through and how well they handled the patrons. I thought maybe some of the following might be helpful as refreshers as well as sources of new ideas for handling situations.

Coming up this month is the free Big Talk from Small Libraries Conference, offered online  February 28, 2012.  It’s about big things from small libraries, such as the following programs:”Gaming and Game Collection Development”, “Community Partnerships”, and “Training the Public” This conference was organized and is hosted by Michael Sauers and Laura Johnson of the Nebraska Library Commission and is co-sponsored by the Association for Small & Rural Libraries and Library Renewal.

As always,–please contact the Information Services Team if you’d like to check out any of these titles. Thanks.

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New Books Added to the Library Commission Collection

The following books have been added to the collection–please contact the Information Services Team if you’d like to check out any of these titles. Thanks.

Best Practices for Corporate Libraries, ed. by Sigrid E. Kelsey & Marjorie J. Porter

Reading Julia Alvarez, by Alice L. Trupe

Reference Reborn; Breathing New Life into Public Services Librarianship, ed. by Diane Zabel

Reality is Broken; Why Games Make Us Better & How They Can Change the World, by Jane McGonigal

Pre- & Post- Retirement Tips for Librarians, ed. by Carol Smallwood

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New Books on Grants And Grant Writing

They say current economic trends are improving, however, grants are always a welcome addition to a library budget, and we’ve just received The ALA Book of Library Grant Money, 2012, the latest edition of the Big Book of Library Grant Money.

You’ll also find the following new titles in our catalog helpful:

There is also a free webinar, from the Foundation Center, entitled Grantseeking Basics that was shown 1/11/12, the page linked to here has this one and other recorded webinars you may be interested in.

As always, –please contact the Information Services Team if you’d like to check out any of these titles. Thanks.

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