Monthly Archives: December 2012

Reads of Shame, Round 1: The Hours, by Michael Cunningham

Hello readers, and welcome to the first salvo in our Reads of Shame series. I decided to live-blog my reading of The Hours, with comments marked by pages rather than a time-stamp. Below are my thoughts on the book as I was reading it, and after.


Cover: Why is this even a Read of Shame? I don’t feel particularly bad about not having read it yet.

Title page: Hey, cool, it’s signed to the Library by the author!

3: I know that “potato-colored” is supposed to be clearly descriptive, but all I can think of is how many colors potatoes can be. I’m going to imagine it’s purple.

8: I don’t know about this. Sometimes the prose is lovely, and sometimes it’s way too much. Yes, I know I’m only on page 8.

12: Huh. From silliness to social commentary in one sentence. All right, Cunningham, go on.

14: But you’re losing me with these sudden perspective shifts.

23: Was not expecting discourse about queer identity and stereotyping.

26: Irises are  not outdated they are wonderful what is wrong with you, book?

27: Oh Clarissa. If only you knew that Meryl Streep plays you in the movie adaptation.

29: Here we go with Mrs. Dalloway again. Okay, Wikipedia, give me a summa – ARE YOU KIDDING ME?

37: Oh look, it’s our third point-of-view character. Hello, Laura. Go ahead and read, your husband can make his own breakfast. Yes, I know that you’re a post-WWII housewife and there were (are) gender roles.

40: Well, that explains that weird perspective shift earlier.

43: Sinister roses? When did this become Poe?

49: Yay! I missed you, Clarissa.

50: ….And then you’re super depressing. Thanks.

64: Richard, you are dearly maddening.

73: “The brackets around his mouth are so deep you could slip a penny in.” I don’t know why that sentence amuses me so, but it does. I like the imagery.

82: “Yes, she can practically hear her own muttered words, scandalize the aunts, still streaming like a scarf behind her.” Scandalize is such a fun word.

94: Obviously I need to read Mrs. Dalloway. This is all your fault, Barrows.

95: And see the movie. I wonder who they had as the movie star? Did Meryl Streep see herself?

114: Oh look, more parallels. Just how interconnected is this book?

117: <stops and does research about Vanessa Bell’s children>

159: I realize I haven’t made a note in a while, but I don’t care.

193: Small children are creepy.

218: I’m dumb.

Well, that was a book. I definitely enjoyed it (you can see where I got caught up in it). And it reminded me of how much I enjoy reading Virginia Woolf. So Mrs. Dalloway, at least, will be going on my to-read shelf. An encouraging start.

Thanks to Ms. Barrows for badgering me into reading it. I will see you all for the next round of Reads of Shame!

-Signing off, Kit Gette (who is still mad about the irises)

Junior School Winter Break Bookmobile

Happy 2 days before break!

Dear Junior School,

First of all: a huge thank you to those of you who took the time to fill out our survey. We’ve gotten some great responses, and have enjoyed hearing about what you like to read and would like to see at our next bookmobile. Speaking of which…

Winter Break Book Mobile

Tuesday, December 18th, 12:10 pm
Thompson South Atrium

We’ll be there with bells on,* plenty of print books, and 18 new books on the Kindles based on your requests and recommendations!

Some of those titles are:

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And, as a preview of some of the books we’ll be bringing and highlighting:

princess diariesThe Princess Diaries, by Meg Cabot (Funny)
While Anne Hathaway is adorable in the first book-to-film adaptation, please do not judge the book by the film. While I can’t speak for the rest of the series (10 in all), this book is smart and hilarious. Amelia Mignonette Grimaldi Thermopolis Renaldo (Mia for short) discovers that she’s not just an awkward girl living with her artist mom in NYC, she is also the princess of Genovia (fake country, I checked) and heir to the throne. Her grandmere shows up and makes her take princess lessons, all while she is busy being a flat-chested, 5’9 freshman. Cabot tends to make pop culture references throughout, many of which are now dated, however they are charming and nostalgic. And, hopefully still vaguely familiar to new readers of this SUPER FUNNY BOOK.
-Ms. Barrows

Professor and the Madman

The Professor and the Madman, by Simon Winchester (Non-fiction)
The madman is a Hopkins Alum. ‘Nuff said.
-Mr. Gette

Octavian Nothing The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation: Pox Party by M.T. Anderson (Historical Fiction)
This story is set in pre-revolutionary Boston and Octavian, son of a captured African princess, is it’s hero. He’s the subject of a series of mostly nice experiments by scientists and philosophers of the fictional Novanglian College of Lucidity who provide Octavian with an education “equal to any of the princes in Europe,” and treat him in a way that makes him believe he is a free member of a utopian society. But that all changes as the revolutionary unrest increases, and Octavian is subjected to horrifying experiments that make him understand that he is anything but free. Historical fiction at its best.
-Mrs. Prendergast

We’ll also be bringing up more mysteries, as they and fantasy were the runaway favorites when we asked what type of books you most liked to read. So stop by on Tuesday, and pick up a book to take with you on break!

*probably no bells

-Signing off, Kit Gette (who has WAY TOO MUCH to read over the next two weeks…)

Take a Book on Break – Winter Edition

Like most of you, the librarians are looking forward to Winter Break. Ms. Barrows is counting down seconds when she thinks no-one is listening, Mrs. Prendergast is awash in tinsel, and Mrs. Dubois  has been caught staring out of windows and sighing wistfully.

I, of course, am perfectly serious. Now excuse, me, I need to make some more paper snowflakes.

Librarians hard at work

Oh, right, there was something I was supposed to tell you.

Take a Book On Break: Winter Edition
Monday Dec. 17th – Wednesday, Dec. 19th
Calarco Library

Really, librarians look forward to break because there’s MORE TIME FOR READING.

We’ll have several displays highlighting recommended books, from our personal favorites to books we’re embarrassed we’ve never read (coughcoughJaneEyrecough). There will also be a display of student picks, courtesy of Lucy Balcezak ’13, Lloyd Chen ‘13, Rose Etzel ‘15, and Anna Fuertes ’13. (Thanks, guys!)

And, of course, your Calarco Librarians will be on hand to help you find whatever you’re looking for.

Unless it’s colored pencils. Sorry guys, we just don’t have them.

So stop by the library and pick up a book for break!  Maybe something new in December, maybe a Kindle, maybe a classic, maybe a graphic novel. There’s something for everyone. And festive decorations. And if, for some reason, you’re unable to visit us in person, check us out on Goodreads: It’s kind of like having a robot librarian available anytime, only without the thirst for world domination and odd fondness for William Gibson.

-Signing off, Kit Gette (who does have an odd fondness for William Gibson. Beep…whirrr…)

Library Shame Con 2012

And so commences Reads of Shame: A Series from your Calarco Librarians

This series will consist of Mr. Gette and Ms. Barrows being shamed into reading various books at irregular and inconsistent periods of time. These will be books that we really should have read by this point in our lives (as librarians and as humans), but for shameful, inexcusable reasons, have not. We will shame each other, and we ask the greater Hopkins community to finger point and assign books to us humble, shamed librarians.

For this first non-specific period of time, Ms. Barrows was shamed by herself and Mr. Gette into reading Great Expectations by Charles Dickens. Why is it shameful Ms. Barrows hasn’t read Great Expectations? Maybe because she is obsessed with Mr. Pip, visited England (where she saw a massive Dickens museum display), and secretly watched the bad Ethan Hawke movie once.

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Mr. Gette has been shamed by Ms. Barrows into reading The Hours by Michael Cunningham. Ms Barrows was going on and on about how good it is while talking about how embarrassed she is that she’s never read Mrs. Dalloway (a preview of things to come?). And since Mr. Gette had read some Virginia Woolf in college,and had sort of thought about maybe seeing the movie, he figured maybe he should give the book a try. Plus, he doesn’t read much contemporary fiction, so this should be a change of pace.

The Hours

Reads of Shame, Round 1: Start!

Signing off, Jenny Barrows (does doing bicep curls with Great Expectations count as reading it?) and Kit Gette (who hopes The Hours won’t take hours).

New Books: December

Greetings fellow in-between vacationers!

(let’s face it, we all feel that way)

Your neighborhood Calarco Librarians have recently decided to post bi-weekly highlights of new books added to our collection. Besides increasing our already high level of awesomeness, we are ensuring that you (yes, YOU) will be kept up to date with the finest or our fiction and non-fiction.

For a full listing of the library’s fabulous new books, please visit our What’s New LibGuide (curated by Debbie Dubois).

You can also follow Calarco on Goodreads – check in with what we are reading, want to read, love and hate.

Now, without further adieu, some featured December newbies.

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Tell the Wolves I’m Home -Fiction Brunt

Crossed -Fiction Condie

A Hologram for the King -Fiction Eggers

The Round House -Fiction Erdrich

The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making -Fiction Valente


Lincoln’s Code -343.7301 W783

Head Off & Split -811.54 F497

Farther Away -814.54 F858f

-Signing off, Jenny Barrows (who must read ALL the books)

p.s. Yes, the blog is snowing. No, that does not mean a snow day for Hopkins.