Monthly Archives: March 2013

Bookmobile in Review and Spring Break

KG: It’s 1:30 on Friday afternoon, which means there’s only 2 hours left until Spring Break.

JB: It’s actually 2:49 on Friday afternoon, which means Librarians Barrows and Gette ignored the task of writing this post for over an hour. Now, Librarian Gette is teaching the likes of Health 9 and Librarian Barrows must author these meager words solo.

Yesterday’s Junior School Bookmobile saw success unlike any other Bookmobile, ever.* Students jostled aggressively, vying for an opportunity to check out a coveted Kindle/Kindle Fire or even a, dare I say, book. We enlisted Mr. Saunders for crowd control, and immediately lost him to the crowd. Last time we librarians spotted Mr. Saunders, he was grabbing sought-after books and Kindles by the armful, laughing maniacally all the way to the Breakthrough Office.**

Thank you JSchool for your toleration and participation.

To students near and far:

Read. Amidst elaborate (or totally un-elaborate) travels, missed episodes of The Walking Dead, post-term paper sleep, read. Whether badly written chick-lit, James Joyce, John Green, narrative non-fiction, The Economist, or Shel Silverstein, read as if books were rare and expensive and difficult to locate. Read as if Gutenberg was still kickin’ and the printing press was still in its infancy. Read as if the Chinese hadn’t developed printing even earlier. Read as if an impending invasion of your country threatened (and subsequently destroyed) all physical manifestations of collected knowledge. Read as if free K-12 education was not a right, but a privilege.

Read stuff and get excited about it.

-Signing off, Jenny Barrows (public service announcement courtesy of being surrounded by ALL the books ALL the time)

*Slightly exaggerated

**True or untrue? You decide.

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Junior School Spring Break Book Mobile

Dear Junior School,

In celebration of our impending Spring Break (so close, yet so far), we neighborhood librarians invite you to…

Spring Break Bookmobile

Thursday, March 14th, 12:10 pm

Thompson South Atrium

Come visit us in the atrium where you can view this episode’s selection of books, kindles and clay tablets. In the interest of time, we will be organizing materials into broad/vague categories that may or may not be helpful to interested parties. They aren’t really rules, more like guidelines. And we probably won’t be following them too closely, so be bold and ask for help and reading suggestions. Bring your friends, teachers, adviser, imaginary pets, and etc. The more the merrier!

Book Review: The Age of Miracles, by Karen Thompson Walker

Turn, Turn, Turn

The Age of Miracles

They call it the slowing – the unexpected, inexplicable, quietly disastrous deceleration of the earth’s rotation. There are no predictions of its impending occurrence, or Armageddon-esque missions to prevent it – the slowing just happens, and continues to happen. The seemingly ordinary Julia wakes up on an ordinary Saturday after an ordinary sleepover in an ordinary house in an ordinary suburb and hears (along with her ordinary parents) the obviously un-ordinary news that the earth’s rotation on its axis is in fact slowing, and will continue to slow indefinitely.

What makes Karen Thompson Walker’s debut novel quite brilliant is her decision to tell the story of the slowing through the voice of Julia, an 11-year-old girl with parents, a best friend, and two cats. The dichotomy between the extraordinary slowing and the ordinary Julia blurs, merges, overlaps, and swaps places repeatedly throughout Walker’s narrative. Everything from Julia’s best friend and the suburb she calls home, to her parents’ marriage and school bus stop sheds the facade of “ordinary”. Do all things become extraordinary because of the slowing? Does the slowing become ordinary when life is so? Or, can the slowing only be blamed for certain phenomena? Lengthened periods of light and darkness, drastic tide changes, agricultural failures, altered laws of physics, mass extinctions of entire species. Julia herself is never really quite sure.

I mostly enjoyed The Age of Miracles – it couples a coming-of-age story with a sci-fi plot set in a dystopian near-future. Often, there are instances when familiar moral questions are raised – persecution of outsiders (“real timers”), the human impact on planet earth, and the purpose of existence. Conversely, Julia recounts the universally familiar (but perhaps not so grand) personal experiences of middle-school loneliness, first crushes, loss, and marital troubles. Sometimes, I noticed Walker overreaching in her effort to draw parallels between  the microcosm of Julia and the macro phenomenon of the slowing; however, such flaws do not warrant distraction from the promise of this debut novel.

-Signing off, Jenny Barrows (who is confident that she would be a “real timer” if the slowing actually happened….or just a very batty librarian)