Thursday, February 28, 2008

Sharing Docs (Thing 9)

Thing 9 asked us to explore sharing documents online using Zoho Writer and Google Docs. I tried both or at least attempted to try both. Google Docs is very easy to use and was extremely straightforward to use. I created a new document in no time and shared it with JD (knowing he'd get the email at work and actually look at it). In minutes he'd commented in it and edited what we'd created. I also asked to be included in the 23Things doc (they just had to share it with me--a simple click and soon they'd added me) and added a word to the Declaration of Independence and made a comment about what I'd added. It was slick.

Zoho Writer, however, was not slick. I tried to use it and while many of the buttons looked the same, something was not loading correctly because I could not get it to work properly. I kept getting these weird purple lines through things and strange windows appeared out of nowhere and I couldn't edit. I tried and tried but finally gave up. It wasn't worth it.

That said, I might find a use for Google Docs, but right now, I don't know if I will. We'll see...

Will Weaver Author Visit

Will Weaver visited my school yesterday for I Love To Read Month. His talk was fun and the students did a pretty good job of listening. (As a teacher you get nervous about half way through when they get fidgety, but that's just MS students.)

Will talked about his new book, Saturday Night Dirt, which is part of a trilogy about dirt track car racing. He brought the driver of his car (Will sponsors a car) and they talked about racing and safety etc. The book will be released at the Mall of America on March 24 at 5pm in the Rotunda. See MotorNovels for more details.

I created this little slide show via Picture Trail with the help of two of my 8th grade student workers. They picked the border and transition. They agreed we didn't need glitter. :) I tried to post it to my school webpage, but the program my district uses does not allow for additional javascript codes, so it will not post. (SO VERY ANNOYING! If you ask me...) So, I'm stuck just using it here. Oh well. As another side note, this is also why I cannot post Twitter to my school webpage. Nrrrrr......

Monday, February 25, 2008

Sharing Information (Thing 8)

Slideshows: I thought that Zoho Show was the better of the slideshow options. It seemed to offer different clipart and transition options that I found appealing. I watched one of the demo videos (or maybe it was just a page about how great the tool was, it's all starting to blend together tonight) and there was this image of being able to access the slideshow from all over the world via the site and bc it's hosted on the web. And I thought that maybe I just don't get it. You can post it online (website, blog etc.) or email it to that person bc it is not as if this slideshow is a live slideshow and it is a presentation you are giving to someone around the world. It is not synchronous learning/viewing. It is still on one's one time. Another "benefit" was to have it all online and have it accessible from anywhere. Ok, I have a flash drive. And sometimes the internet connection doesn't work. The web crashes or just comes to a complete standstill. Doesn't matter who you are or where you are or where you work. That happens and counting on that for the big presentation that might get you a big deal, promotion or maybe it's just your lesson for a class of unruly 13 year olds---if the web is down, that site isn't going to help me. But my flash drive will save me. Maybe I just don't get it.

Sharing Photos: I thought PictureTrail was a fun site and I am thinking I will use this one more often. Although, did anyone try the bling section? Whoa! That's a bit much for me. I can see my middle school kids liking it, though!

>Database: Ok, I just didn't see the need here. Why do I need to post a list or database online? A wiki would work just as well...and perhaps seems a bit easier to use?

eFolio MN: Ok, I think this is a great site. It's just not for me. I do not need another place to have a website--I maintain a school website, I have a blog. It could be useful to post ones information online and perhaps have a professional site for marketing oneself rather than having a personal account on a blog or a Facebook account. I am going to recommend this site to my B-in-L, who is just starting out looking for an internship and job. I think I could see him using this site for professional networking.

I really found the link to this site, 50 Ways To Tell A Story, to be really unique and really informative. It overwhelmed me a bit, though, with how few this Thing asked us to explore and how many there actually are! Yikes! I thought the webslides from Diigo was a cool tool to show the various tools. It's a good tool to use in presentation to show websites you talk about.

One other thought: I was surprised that Google Docs didn't get a mention in the online communication and sharing tools portion of 23 Things...Oh wait, that's part of Thing 9....Nevermind. :)

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Lady Catherine de Bourgh

JD made this comment on Sunday night and I (we) felt it needed a post: Has anyone else ever thought that Lady Catherine looks like a poodle (in the '95 version)?? A gray, mousey poodle. I can never look at her in the same way again!

This time 'round we've also been adding our side comments into the mix. For example, when Darcy tells Caroline Bingley that Lizzy is one of the most handsome women of his acquaintance and Darcy walks out of the room, we think he was thinking to himself something like, " Darn! That felt good to tell off Caroline! Take that!" Then he continues to walk down the halway with that smirky smile he has...

Hope you are enjoying P&P this time 'round.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Twittered? (Thing 7 cont. part 3)

One of the challenges for Thing 7 was to try another Web tool. I finally tried Twitter this afternoon, because while reading my extreme backlog of SLJ at Caribou, I read an article titled, "Tweets At Your Library." It gave some excellent suggestions for using Twitter in the library setting.

First, though, let me ruminate on my Twittering. One of the options was to load your address book from your email account and search for 'friends' and others that Tweet on Twitter. (Say that 5 times fast!) Anyhoo, of note is that no one in my address book matched any emails or whatnot for Twitter. All 180 some of those in my address book! What does that mean? Hmmm....Does it mean no one of my Gen Tweets on Twitter? (I'm enjoying writing it, sorry!) Does it mean that no one uses their names? Or their emails that we usually use? Or are their settings just set to private so they aren't on the Twitter public roll of what's new etc.?

I have added the Widget for Twitter to my blog, just to see. One of the suggestions from the SLJ article was to post micro-content booktalks. I am eating this one up! I am thinking of trying this idea. I am set to do booktalks on Friday with a class and maybe I could highlight some of them? Again, the time thing...but we'll see. Could I use Twitter's HTML link and link it to my library homepage and try to gain some readership there? I might try. Of course my school will probably block it but it's worth trying.

Let me play a day or two and see what happens. I'll report back.

Golden Thoughts

Again, I am just finishing catching up on reading my SLJ's for the last 4 months. (Articles only, I still have to read the book reviews!) But I came across a snippet from the January issue where Philip Pullman says this quote in response to some of the backlash against the His Dark Materials Trilogy due to the Golden Compass movie that came out in December. (Remember, these books have been out for ages, so they didn't just appear out of thin air. It's just heightened publicity due to the movie.)

Pullman says about the story,

They'll find a story that attacks such things as cruelty, oppression, intolerance, unkindness, narrow-mindedness and celebrates love, kindness, open-mindedness, tolerance, curiousity, human-intelligence.

What a Golden thought to describe these books! Again, read the book before you judge it. I couldn't have said it better myself.

P&P on PBS Part 2

Again, P&P was on PBS this last Sunday. I am ashamed to admit that I fell asleep for the last 45 minutes. I did, however, see the proposal and the end of the two hours to see Lizzy meeting D at Pemberley. (Really, the best bits if you ask me.) I don't think I need to say more on this topic. Just to say....Sigh....

5 Bonnets. (Again, in case you forgot.)

Another P&P Mystery

Suspense and Sensibility (or First Impressions Revisited): A Mr. & Mrs. Darcy Mystery by Carrie Bebris.

Ok, so the first one in this series is good. The second one, not so much. I read the first chapter. Then I read the last 3. I skipped the middle. It was too hokey for me and it couldn't capture my attention like the first one. The supernatural elements in it were a bit too outlandish and just didn't fit my take on JA and P&P. To each their own.

1 Bonnet out of 5. Sorry.

Communication Tools (Thing 7 Cont.)

Just a thought as I sit at Caribou and catch up on my SLJ (I'm 4 months behind! YIKES!) They did an article from the January issue about Skype the article is called See Me, Hear Me--Skype in the Classroom Another tool to add to the communication tools list. ...

Web 2.0 Communication Tools (Thing 7)

Email: Been there, done that. Have several email accounts since HS. Do I need more? Nope.Use it everyday. Very useful at work. But then sometimes we don't have actual conversationswith people and I still truly value person-to-person contact. Sometimes communication is bestin person rather than print (email) where it can be miscontrued.

Funny comment on email--wetalked this weekend in my family that my little bro-in-law no longer emails. The only waywe can get a hold of him is to post on his Facebook wall...:) (Did you read that D?)

Instant Messaging: Been there, done that. That was more of a college thing. I still have an AOL AIM account. Not sure if I could remember the password right now, though. How else was I supposed to survived a summmer without college friends far far away?
To me IM seemsold, but in terms of library services, I like it a lot. IM reference services for publiclibraries is huge. I have tried it several times for very quick items and have been pleasedwith the fast response times and how easy it was to use. I like that it doesn't tie down a reference librarian to the phone. But then, I don't work in a public library--if you aredoing IM reference are you at the main ref desk? Do you get interupted? Do you stillwhere else so as not to be interruppted by others? What's the scoop there?

Text Messaging (Short Message Service): I am not part of the revolution. I can't text fast enough. I use it here and there with friends,but here is the great generational divide. I just can't get into it. I don't want to payextra for it and it's easier to call than to get the letters punched into my darn phone.(Note, I am a GenX/GenY someone. I think this makes the difference. If I were a Millenialwould I be into it?)

Web conferencing: I listened to the podcast about web conferencing. The author of the podcast states that it is, "Telephone conference calls on steriods." One has the ability to record them and then podcast them. It allows folks to meet online inleiu of a personal meeting and with gas prices rising perhaps this is a good way to beatthat problem. One of the possible problems that WebJunction offers about web conferencingis the distraction problem. I haven't done much with the Webinars offered by Minetex becausethe timing isn't right for me. They are often over the lunch hour for my assistant and it'swhen I need to be "more" available to my students at the drop of a hat. SO for me to join oneand then need to cut out doesn't seem very polite.
One of the surprises I had from reading the PDF from Webjunction was the number of resourcesavailable for web conferencing. Especailly the number that are available for FREE! WOW! Check them out here.

I also listened to an archived OPAL that is similar to the Webinars offered by Minetex.(All of the current OPAL were next week and I want to finish this "Thing" today.) I only listened to 5 minutes because it was just audio and I didn't have the patience to just do audio today.
Also tried the archived Webinar from Minetex on I enjoyed that and itwill come in handy in the future. (Didn't do a live one because of time constraints.)

I have been exploring options to create some of these tutorial settings for my own schoollibrary. I am contemplating getting SnapzPro to do some of this. There is a freebie outthere (name is failing me right now) and I might try that first. I think it only does videowithout the audio and I'd have to put that in at a later time in iMovie or something. I am thinking of these tutorials because we just switched circulation systems and I thinka help video might be good for my students. Similarly, I am contemplating doing something like this but more video for library orientationin the fall so I don't have to do the same speech 40 different times.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

QOTD/Article of the Day

"Are some books inherently bad--junk food for the mind? Are some books inherently good--the literacy equivalent of an oat bran muffin?"
--Barbara A. Genco in SLJ March '91 "Juggling Popularity and Quality"

I read this article with my student teacher last week and just pulled the note I wrote the quote on out my purse today. Doesn't this quote just make you nod your head and make you think. Is any reading bad for you? I'd argue no it is not. But don't you feel that way sometimes--like, "I shouldn't be reading this, there's nothing to it."

I feel that sometimes we (teachers, schools) give our students this impression. Namely, that some books aren't worth it--series books like Goosebumps or what have you, graphic novels, magazines. That those types of reading won't count for book reports or towards reading goals. This lack of inclusion makes me frustrated. Doesn't Krashen pretty much lay it out there, that reading, ANY reading is good for you? That it doesn't matter what we read as long as as read?

I'd once read that most adult fiction is written at a 6th grade reading level. So when I read the latest Stephanie Plum novel, that might be my "junk food" reading, but I'm still reading. I'm enjoying it. I'm laughing. I'm relating to the character's family antics. I'm discussing the books with friends and family. Isn't that the point? I'll save my "oat bran muffin" for something meatier at times, but there is nothing wrong with either.

Similarly, a co-worker gave me a copy of the article titled "Reading to Learn and Learning as We Read" from Booklist Jan 1 & 15, 2008. In it the author, Joyce Saricks, discusses the merits of reading fiction to learn, not just non-fiction to learn.

She writes:
"I came across a comment that got me thinking: readers read nonfiction to learn something...(this) implied that one doesn't learn from got my dander up: Is nonfiction essentially superior because it offers information, the opportunity to learn something? And is it true that we don't learn from fiction?"
She continues:
"Sometimes we read to escape, sometimes to discover and to learn, sometimes to be challenged to be comforted."
We read bc it fulfills some need within us. We can learn about history from historical fiction. In fact, it often prompts readers to learn more and seek more out about certain topics. I thought that fiction and non-fiction are similar to the "junk food" and the "oat bran muffin" analogy used from Genco. Can't we learn from both kinds of reading? I rarely make it through an entire work of non-fiction. I skim, I read a chapter here and there, but that's it. Does that mean I'm not getting anything out of it? No. Both types of reading are good for us and it's important to keep that into perspective whether we are working with students who are struggling with reading skills or just even struggling with the liking to read bit or if we work with adults. It's all important and good for us bc it's a desire to learn!

Avatar Update

I finally added a background to my avatar. Why had I not done this previously? Bc I'd spent a good 2 hours plus playing with my avatar changing clothes, hairstyles etc. I couldn't handle it that night. This time I went with a computer lab to represent research in the library at school. How exciting!

Monday, February 11, 2008

Can't You Just Watch Your DVD? (P&P on PBS)

Pride and Prejudice (A&E '95) started airing on PBS last night. JD just couldn't understand it. His repeated comment: "Couldn't you just watch your DVD's?" My response was, "Uh, no. It's on TV, I should watch it." I mean, I feel this personal commitment level to watch it if it's being aired. So what if I watch it at least once a year. So what if I've seen it more times than I can count. It's dear JA. It's 6 hours of pure JA, people! It's the Andrew Davies adaptation! It's got (dare I say it?) Colin Firth!

And the real kicker is--I got up about three quarters of the way through it in order to make lunches for the next day and throw some laundry in the wash. And who was still watching it (albeit while surfing on his laptop) and making comments about Mrs. Bennet and her lack of taste? That's right, JD. :)

Remember, this P&P adaptation receives 5 Bonnets!

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Online Image Generators (Thing 6) - Custom comment codes for MySpace, Hi5, Friendster and moreIn case you weren't sure what blog you were reading... :)

Playing around with ImageChef was fun! There are a lot of options to choose from and I recognized many of the images that I've seen people use on other sites or other blogs. The trading card creator was one of the mashups that I looked at for Thing 5, so I'd seen it. This time I got to use it. JA sits on top of my file cabinet at work. My after school students thought I was a bit nutso to be taking pictures of Jane (really, I only took so many because I was trying to get the camera to focus on her face.) I could see uses for both Image Chef and the Trading card creator use in the school setting. The hardest part is just finding the time to do some of the work. If I made trading cards of authors--would would find the pictures? Write the brief bio for the lower half of the card? Is it worth my time? Is it worth a teacher's time for another project? Just food for thought there. I really like Image Chef for programming ideas. I think that website was most useful. I can see that one coming in handy. If I copy and paste the image, can I get it into a word document? I haven't tried that yet and that might be a good idea bc then you would put it in a flyer or a display idea.

A P&P Mystery

Pride and Prescience (Or, A Truth Universally Acknowledged): A Mr. and Mrs. Darcy Mystery by Carrie Bebris.

D & E are shocked to discover that Caroline Bingley as announced her engagement, on their wedding day no less. She is to marry a wealthy American named Mr. Parrish. The wedding is to take place within a fortnight and D&E must delay returning to Pemberley in order to attend the wedding. Shortly after the wedding, strange things occur surrounding Caroline Bingley. Turns out the entire Bingley family is under attack of a mysterious plot to harm them. D&E stay by their family and friends, quietly trying to solve the mysterious events.

Overall, P&Prescience was a fun plot twist to the P&P story. It has elements of the Gothic Novel in it and of course, referred to The Mysteries of Udolpho by Ann Radcliffe several times. Characters are generally believable except for Caroline Bingley (even if the events that occur hadn't happened--I don't want to spoil anything here). I just felt that she was too nice, even when she was too much like her Caroline Blingley self. If anything was amiss it was her character. Not much romance, just a fun mystery to solve.

3 of 5 Bonnets. (For lack of tradition on the D&E story, but fun nevertheless.)

More on Mashups (Thing 5)

One of the blog prompts asked users to consider ways to use various mashups in their library settings. I struggle with some of these, because these are the eqvililent to bulletin boards for me. I don't do bulletin boards. Really. At all. If you visit my school, you'll notice that the library has several bulletin boards. One is standard research bulletin board that doesn't change throughout the year. The other is for newspaper articles and images for when something or someone is my school is recognized by our local newspapers. Simple, sweet, to the point. Not a lot of putzing and creativity. Also, I don't want to spend time working on these things. It's just not me. I do do library displays but they are my style, a little cloth over a table, a theme and a few signs here and there.

I equate some of these mashups to bulletin boards because I think you can over do it with bulletin boards. I think, too, you can overdo it with mashups. Do I need to spend time doing these photo editing tidbits and adding them to my library webpage or anything similar? Maybe. Maybe not.

I supposed I could....make sure the fabulous techno wizard students who do the school newspaper know about spell with flicker and the captioner. I can see them finding some goofy pictures and placing captions on them and putting those in our school newspaper. I could see myself utilizing Spell with Flickr to create some signage for a display at some point or updating something new on the webpage. But, otherwise, I am struggling for applicable uses in a middle school setting. Anyone else? Any other ideas?

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Mashups! (Thing 5)

M A S H wide u plain card disc letter p fire hydrant S
Exploring Flickr mashups was a lot of fun. The article about the 10 best Flickr mashups was a good one and listed some fun ones to try. Flickr Sudoku and Flickrball also looked entertaining, but I don't have the time to spend. I could waste hours playing with them. (Reminiscent of avatars and Snood and Yoshi....) Flickr captioner looked good, too. I just didn't feel like spending more time in Flickr trying to find another photo and trying to be clever. It's Saturday, I'm not sure I can be clever on a Saturday.

I'd seen Flickr spell used quite a few places, so I knew what to expect. I've started to noticed that there are only so many letter photos because I recognize the style of the letters from other words that have been spelled.

I also did some playing with a website called FD's Flickr Toys that had a Billboard maker from various photos. I tried to upload one of ours from our iPhoto and the result is below. The Flying Monkey makes his debut on Broadway!

Flickr Link Directions Not Helpful (Thing 4)

A short rant about Thing 4 and linking the photo I pulled from Flickr back to Flickr from my blog. The 23Things blog links to the Flickr photo help link that describes finding and using a link that is the "correct" was to link back to a photo on Flickr.

Here's the thing. This link only appears when you are logged into Flickr and for your own personal photos. I thought I was doing something incorrectly and asked JD for help, feeling incredibly 2.0 incompetent since I deem myself fairly intuitive when it comes to these things. He logged in with his Flickr account and we did some trouble shooting. No links when the picture isn't yours, but there are links there when it is yours.

So--Flickr, get some new help directions!!

Just copy and past the link from the view photo page and cite your source. Enough said.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Flickr (Thing 4)

I thought that the Common Craft video about photosharing the 23 Things blog linked to was quite well done. Other 23 Things blogs I'd read noted the Blogging video from the same person so I watched that one, too. They were both great explanations of the two 2.0 tools. (Note: I did not put the video into this Blog entry because I didn't want the page to take forever to load for folks.)

Because of my goofy Internet access I ended up doing this thing in several parts. (Watching the videos at school because of Internet speed, but looking at Flickr at home because it is blocked at school and I ran out of time.)

I think Flickr has its fun. I have friends that use it. While we do not use it for our photosharing as a family (we use Picasa Web Albums via our Google accounts), I thought it was interesting to note that when I searched for "Middle School Libraries" there were only 721 results. Is that because we aren't using it, haven't figured out how to use it or because it is blocked in our schools? Similarly, "middle schools Minnesota" only yielded 180 results! Not that popular for MS usage, I guess. Public libraries are using this a lot and there were some cool images out there from programs past.

I could see this being fun to show book titles or fun things like that. But the posting of student pics on the web gets complicated with the photo policies etc. I was going to take some photos of my super busy library. I think it'd be cool to show that we are a busy busy place, and hey, my mom wants to see what I do, but I don't have the time to go look to make sure each student has the photo policy "OK." That's reasonable right? I mean, when my desk is stacks deep, we have a new circulation system to learn the idosyncracies of, I need to pull books for booktalks and also keep my student teacher working and learning, I just don't feel that that's a good use of my time. Or am I mistaken? If so, someone tell me. And maybe that's why others aren't using it in MS, too?

Then, I thought, "Well, you could take a picture of all the Jane Austen stuff you have and people would think it's cute." But here's the rub, I check most of it out from the library and don't own most of it....

And then I remembered Peeps in the library. Unfortunately, there are no photos from this fabulous little website on Flickr.

Instead I decided to find a picture that demonstrated what I have spent the last two days in my library working on. Weeding the reference collection! While I did not take any photos during this project, with the help of my student teacher, we removed numerous titles from our collection. (No pictures taken because there just wasn't the time and I'm not that clever to think of taking a picture to in the midst of a project like that!) But here is the image that Jenica26 took when she weeded her library and posted to Flickr. Thank you, Jenica26! (Her image is used with Creative Commons license.)

Saturday, February 2, 2008

A Modern Persuasion

The Family Fortune by Laurie Horowitz (read 6/07): 3 Bonnets. A modern take of Persuasion. Jane Fortune is 30-something and lonely, but when an old love, Max, returns to her life she's not sure what to do and how to be around him.

Modern Day Jane Austen

Books set in modern day time with a JA basis that I have read so far...

The Jane Austen Bookclub by Karen Flowler (read 9/04): 1 Bonnet. Needless to say I did not see the movie. And is there another one? I didn't seek it out.

by Shannon Hale (read 12/07). 2 Bonnets. Modern day. Jane, trying to get rid of her Mr. Darcy obsession, goes to England to Pembrook Park, an estate that takes visitors back to Regency England. Ok, I have this nasty habit of reading the first several chapters of a book, skipping the middle and then reading the end of the book. I did that with this one. It didn't keep my attention, although I did go back and read the middle to the end. It was cute and I like Shannon Hale's other works.

Me and Mr. Darcy by Alexandra Potter (10/07): 0 Bonnets. This is the only one that I've read that I started and did not finish. I didn't like it at all. Plot: Modern day, woman who loves P&P goes on a trip to England, the tour guide is a modern matchmaker, but has hints of JA in her.)Apparently I am pretty hard on these types of books. I seem to give them low Bonnet scores.

A Plethora of Pride and Prejudice

Someone commented on whether or not I had read this or that JA sequel etc. And here's the thing. I've read so many that they blend together. I was thinking that I might try to blog on each one. Although most I have read recently because persuing them has become a new hobby of mine. So, here's what I've read so far, complete with the Bonnet Rating System.

Mr. Darcy Takes A Wife (read 1/06) & Darcy and Elizabeth: Nights and Days at Pemberley (read 6/06 ) by Linda Berdoll. 5 Bonnets. Colin Firth must have been in that book somehow! Ok, they were fun and well written. I wasn't so sure of the Wickham plot in the 2nd one, but it didn't make me not like it. They were a bit steamy at times (notice how the second book lists nights first, not days?), so it was the closest thing to a Danielle Steel novel that I've read. These are also detailed enough and faithful to JA enough that they deserve 5 fully laced Bonnets.

Darcy's Story
by Janet Aylmer (read 3/07) 4 Bonnets. P&P told from Darcy's perspective. A well-done change of perspective. True to the characters that JA wrote. I read it twice, so it must have been good!

First Impressions by Marilyn Sachs (read 4/07) (Young Adult fiction): 3 Bonnets. A young girl reads P&P in class and finds that she relates to Mary, the unnoticed middle child, more than the other characters

Mr. Darcy's Diary by Amanda Grange (read 6/07): 3 Bonnets, no lace. Another P&P take, again Darcy's side of the events told in diary format.

Fitzwilliam Darcy Trilogy--1. An Assembly Such As This, 2. Duty and Desire and 3. These Three Remain by Pamela Aiden (read 8-9/07): 3 Bonnets P&P told from Darcy's perspective. Good adaptations and true to the characters. Book 2 deals with the time where Darcy is away and has a character, Lady Sylvanie, that reminds me of Mary Crawford from Mansfield Park. They were entertaining.

Letters From Pemberley: The First Year by Jane Dawkins (read 12/07): 3 Bonnets. Told as letters from Elizabeth to Jane, we learn about the first year of marriage from Lizzy's perspective. Good, nothing too exceptional here. The author said she had fun and played on other Austen characters (using names from other books) and I didn't care for that, but that's just me...

Pemberley Shades by Dorothy Bonavia-Hunt. (BB read this in HS) 3 Bonnets: Ok, I don't really remember this one. But I think this one may have started my adaptation craving obsession, so it was a worthy one.

The Diary of Henry Fitzwilliam Darcy by Marjoirie Fasman. (BB read in college.) 3 Bonnets: My dad bought me this one when we presented at JASNA in '00. It was fun and again, fed the beginnings of my obsession. I should read it again...

Mr. Darcy's Daughters by Elizabeth Aston. 0 Bonnets. Ok, I haven't read the books in this series. But Darcy and Elizbeth would never name a daughter Octavia. I'm sorry, but no. I stand on that principal alone and will not read these books.

Ultimate Top 10 Book List

My ultimate top 10 book list, more or less...there are some series here there are more than 10 really, but who's counting?!

1. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen and then after that there really is no order...(note that the book cover I show here is the copy that I've had since HS. The cover is almost off, it has mud on it from a camping trip or two and has traveled Europe.)

2. Harry Potter series by JK Rowling (yes, all 7 count as 1, more or less)

3. His Dark Materials trilogy by Philip Pullman (The Golden Compass, The Subtle Knife & The Amber Spyglass)

4. Feed by MT Anderson

5. Anne of Green Gables by LM Montgomery

6. Pensees
(trans: Thoughts) by Blasie Pascal (Ok, so I threw this book across the room in college. Wait,that was something from Socrates...but you get the idea. I hated it. But no other writer has come up more in my adult life (sorry dear JA) when discussing life and beliefs than Pascal. His Wager just keeps popping up!)

7. The Time Traveller's Wife by Audry Niffenegger (Ok, so it was the best cry I've ever had while reading a book. JD had to ask if I was going to be ok when he came into the room. Then I made him read it and he understood...)

RSS Feeds Galore (Thing 3)

Note: This ' library thing' made me thing of a book that is on my "Ultimate Top 10" list. Feed by MT Anderson. It's a must if you want to think about what it might be like to have an Internet feed insdie your brain.

Thing 3 was to learn about RSS aggregators and since I already had a Blogines account, I decided to create a new account for Google Reader. Having gone through the set-up steps in both readers and played with both a bit, I think I like GR more than BL There is something about the simplicity and layout in GR that is just simply more user friendly than in BL.

I still have some issues with both. Meaning that both do things in ways that I don't like or wish it would do or display in another manner. I don't like that BL makes all feeds "read" if I mistakenly click on that RSS feed or folder. I keep thinking I can change this setting, but even after playing around with the settings, it still does this. I don't like that some feeds don't display the full entry and the only way to read the whole entry is to click on the Blog (or whatever) name and go directly to the cite. (Joyce V's SLJ blog is an example. It must be SLJ's plot to get us to their website.) If I'm going to have something aggregated for me and all in one spot, let's really make it that easy to do and not just tease people with the feed.

My husband also tried to add me as a friend in his GR account and share a feed with me to see how easy that was to do. It was relatively easy, but had it's flaws. You basically end up sending someone an email of your "shared" entries and then I ended up clicking the link in the email. The link took me to a HTML web page where I just copied the URL from the address window and added it to my subscriptions in GR. We were actually just hoping to share an entire feed link for one of our favorite blogs, but it only shares entries he marks as "shared." Although, this in itself is cool, because he can mark things he wants me to see or read about to talk about later and then I'll see them in GR. Of course, then I'd have to check my GR account frequently....But right now this is not a problem. Ask me in 2 months. :)

I also had 26 items that I was collecting feeds from in BL. For GR, right now I have about 5 and need to limit it to no more than 10. Anything more than 10 and it is just too much information for me. I have enough problems keeping up with LM-Net Digest emails, personal emails and blogging that I'm not sure how much more I can take. Although, with my old bloglines account, I was desperately trying to keep up with the professional world of libraries--be it school libraries, tech trends, book news and research updates. But I just stopped because when the number of feeds to read passes 1000 (because I haven't logged into my account for several months because I already don't have enough time, when will I read a book for crying out loud?

And with that, I run to my cup of hot chocolate and my book. Love the technology, but love the printed word and tactile feeling of turning the pages.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Mansfield Park on PBS

I have had a chance to to the newest version of Mansfield Park (Masterpiece on PBS) twice this week. At first watch, I was a bit put off by it. It seemed that the story was just not done justice in its hour and a half time slot. The plot felt scattered and I was left trying to fill in some of the missing plot pieces. If I felt this confused and I know the story, those viewers that did not know the story must have been truly lost.

After watching it again this afternoon, this version left me with a better taste. It is a better version than the TV mini-series 1983 version. (Can anything be worse than Mrs. Bertram and Pug? There are such painful moments of complete silence in that version.) However, the 1999 Mansfield, while unfaithful to Austen's work, is the best version. It is entertaining and beautiful in its scenery. It combines some of Austen's life and the book and while this a bit silly, it is fun.

This new version makes me wonder if the screenwriter really read the book. There were bits left out and characters much changed. Henry and Mary Crawford were just as despicable as ever. They were a bit more presumptuous in their actions than I imagined. Billie Piper and Blake Ritson as Fanny and Edmond were reasonably good. They were good, and I think the fault lies in the writing not the acting. Was Fanny that playful in the book? (Although, one could argue that the 1999 version was similar.)

Overall, this version recieves 3 Bonnets. It is certainly a trip to Meryton, full of delight, but lacking in officers or those that make it memorable.

(As Masterpiece Classics continue on PBS, I will have to re-evaluate the Bonnets previously given in my rating system. It was pointed out to me that nothing but the '95 P&P could receive 5 Bonnets because of the Firth Factor. Also, some versions make others move in the Bonnet Continuum.)