Friday, March 23, 2012

Review - Scorpio Races

Scorpio Races, by Maggie Stiefvater

from Goodreads: It happens at the start of every November: the Scorpio Races. Riders attempt to keep hold of their water horses long enough to make it to the finish line. Some riders live. Others die. At age nineteen, Sean Kendrick is the returning champion. He is a young man of few words, and if he has any fears, he keeps them buried deep, where no one else can see them. Puck Connolly is different. She never meant to ride in the Scorpio Races. But fate hasn’t given her much of a chance. So she enters the competition — the first girl ever to do so. She is in no way prepared for what is going to happen.

Maggie Stiefvater's latest book has been getting rave reviews for good reason - it's fantastic! I haven't read all of Stiefvater's books, but I did read the Wolves of Mercy Falls series. I enjoyed the Wolves of Mercy Falls, but it's true that this is her best work to date in my opinion. The story is both simple and complex, straightforward and layered. There is nothing extraneous in the setting, plot, world-building, descriptions or characters; but that serves to enhance rather than detract. I could truly visualize Thisbe, feel the mist on my face and the bite to the air. I could smell the salty sea and taste the November cakes (which, since Ms. Stiefvater has so wonderfully created a recipe for, I could actually one day taste!). I also love that while this book is fast-aced and full of action, I settled into it like a big down comforter. I could read just a few pages and be completely submersed in it.

Bottom line: read it.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Perspective - thoughts from the library

I work at a public library and I feel blessed to say that I love my job. Until recently, I've worked in the circulation department (checking books in and out, maintaining customer accounts, answering basic non-reference questions, taking fine money, shelving books, etc.). I have also done some reference work, and was recently promoted to a reference/outreach position. While I do love my job, let's be honest: it's a job. It's not perfect and some days are better than others. And some days, I just need to tell someone:

Things that annoy me:

1. The attitude "it's not my job" or, conversely "back away from my job." How about we all just work together to get done what needs to be done.

2. Rivalry between branches "they don't know how good they have it out there at X Branch." Or "Well, at Y, they do this. Why can't you?"

3. Condescension toward the circulation department. So often in libraries circulation is viewed with subtle condescension an with a lack of respect, I think because circulation staff aren't usually required to have a degree. But that's such a narrow and elitest view of things and really drives me crazy. I'd like to see what some of the other staff members would do if there was no more circulation staff.

Which leads me to today's thought: job swapping! How about you walk a mile in my shoes -- or in this case, how about you do my job for a week. Not just a couple of hours, or even a day. That's not enough time to get a real good view of the other side. A week. Maybe then we could all take one more step toward workplace harmony.