Archive for December, 2012

Book Review: The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

Ultimate Opinion: Loved It

From the book jacket:

Despite the tumor-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few years, Hazel has never been anything but terminal, her final chapter inscribed upon diagnosis. But when a gorgeous plot twist named Augustus Waters suddenly appears at Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel’s story is about to be completely rewritten.

I’ve read a few of Green’s other books and I always go back and forth on how much I like them.  I usually find them an enjoyable read, but with problems that annoy me too much to say I really love them (with the exception of Will Grayson, Will Grayson, which I adored).  So, despite the good reviews of this latest book, I had my doubts going in.   I will say right now that I was wrong.  Very wrong.  I loved this book.  It seems that all Green had to do to really get my vote was create a female protagonist.  That small change fixed the biggest issue I have with his writing – his overuse of the MPDG character trope.

Yet, the mere existence of the female protagonist isn’t the only reason I enjoyed this so much.   Hazel is genuinely a great character.  She’s neither too angry, too saccharine, too maudlin, nor any of the other “too” adjectives that come so easily to cancer stories.  Instead, she reads as a more realistic portrayal of a teenage girl dealing with terminal cancer (well, a realistic girl who often speaks in the typical highly stylized Green dialogue).  Augustus ends up being well-developed for a supporting character and a nice foil for Hazel.  Their relationship and the way they see the world, while obviously shaped by their disease, keeps this from being a typical “cancer book.”  The story is less about dying and more about living and falling in love and growing up, even when that growing up is going to be cut short.  However, you never forget that this is a story about a girl with a terminal illness.  That leaves a shadow over everything that happens.  You know this story won’t have a happy ending.  But that doesn’t keep the journey to the end from being worth reading.

Gifts for the Book Lover in Your Life

It’s that time of year again.  The time when we’re all scrambling around to find that one last gift we need to get.  If that gift happens to be for an avid reader and you’d like to avoid the usual gift card to Barnes & Noble ,* I quite the list for you!


It Was A Dark And Stormy Night

Named after the famous first line of Paul Clifford, this game has players moving around the board after identifying the author of title of books after hearing their first line.

Novel Teas

This makes a great gift for the book and tea lover.  Each of these sweet little packages contains 25 teabags with quotes from literary icons.


These amazing posters are made using the entire text of a novel arranged to create a white space image representing the book.

Printed Book Quote

Etsy is full of prints like this, but I particularly enjoy this saying and the fact that it’s printed on a dictionary page. Look around and find one your friend will love.

Book Tote
This hilarious tote would be perfect for hauling all their books back and forth to the library.

Quotable Chocolate Bars

Literary quotes and chocolate? It doesn’t get much better than that.

Banned Books Bracelet
This bracelet features covers from some of the most frequently banned childrens’ books, including Annie on My Mind and To Kill A Mockingbird.

Altered Book Clutches

If you know a lover of altered book art, these clutches by HintofVintage are beautiful. They’re made from the covers of gently used books.

Book Cover Laptop Case
These leather laptop cases are made to look like vintage hardback books. Each case is specially handcrafted so no two are exactly the same.

Book Cover Shirts

Out of Print offers t-shirts and long sleeved shirts featuring covers of classic books. If clothing isn’t what you’re looking for, they also have phone cases, bags, stationary, and other gifts.

Of course, there is also the best gift of all: a book you love.  Avid readers are always looking for new books to try and sharing with them something you love makes the  gift really special.

*Unless, of course, you are buying for me and then feel free to give me all the gift cards you want.

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Global Libraries Initiative Survey

I read over at Stephen’s Lighthouse today that the Gates Foundation is conducting a survey to help them determine how to focus their support of public libraries.  The Gates Foundation has provided some pretty awesome support for public libraries, so I encourage everyone to participate in this survey to make sure they continue to provide that support to libraries that need it.

Find the survey here.

his short survey is being conducted on behalf of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Global Libraries (GL) Initiative. The purpose of the survey is to help the Global Libraries Initiative identify opportunities to focus their current support of public libraries in ways that foster innovation and dramatically accelerate positive and lasting change in libraries throughout the U.S. and around the world.

The vision of Global Library Initiative is one where libraries, world wide, provide public access to information for people who would not otherwise have access, and that this information is relevant to them and used in ways that improve their lives. The GL Initiative has been supporting public libraries for over 15 years because they passionately believe libraries are vital to healthy vibrant communities. Libraries offer access to information and knowledge to all community members and in doing so they bring opportunity to all.

Leadership and staff of the GL Initiative believe that public libraries are grappling with how they can best meet the needs of their communities in a time of extraordinary and rapid change. With this change, comes both challenges and opportunities. The GL Initiative wants to better understand these challenges and opportunities and identify ways in which the Foundation can support – and accelerate – libraries’ change efforts.

The GL Initiative has contracted with an independent consulting firm to reach out to a broad swath of people to get your thoughts and ideas about how public libraries can best serve their communities in a future where e-books and ubiquitous digital content is the norm. Each individual response to this survey will be anonymous, however, the aggregate responses along with common themes will be provided to the GL team to help inform their strategy for the next three years.