Tuesday, April 29, 2008

The Joys of Reading

Pulitzer prize winner, and now Nebula award winner, Michael Chabon has an essay in the Los Angeles Times about how cool reading is. You can read it here.

Scary Clouds over Southpark

Scary Clouds over Southpark
Originally uploaded by zzazazz
During my dinner break yesterday I saw these clouds over Southpark. I couldn't resist taking a shot.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Short fiction

I love science fiction short stories. Some of the best SF I have read has been in the short story form. Right now I am reading a collection called Wastelands. So far I am really enjoying it. My only criticisms of it are that there aren't enough older stories and and that first one by Stephen King was just silly. Other than that it's been a fun read so far.

Today I did find a list put together by Jonathan Strahan of all the science fiction short story collections he could find that are coming out in 2008. You can view it here. There sure are a lot.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Brad Bird on Ollie Johnston

One of the classic Disney animators, Ollie Johnston, passed away recently. A personal favorite of mine, Brad Bird, wrote a nice piece on Mr. Johnston for an animation blog. You can read it here.
People don't use Google?

From the smart people at Metafilter I found a chart displaying which search engines are used the most. You can view the chart here. I use Google exclusively, which do you use?

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Need more book blogs to read?

The always helpful Metafilter site today has an entry that links to a lot, and I mean a lot, of good book related blogs. You can view them here. Be sure to scroll down to the comments. There are some good suggestions there also. Metafilter is the brightest online community out there.

Monday, April 14, 2008

I think I'll write a fake memoir

I see on the New York Times book blog that another memoir may be fake. I was thinking not that long before these fake memoirs were exposed that there were an awful lot of memoirs out there. "Can there really be that many interesting people in the world?" I thought. I think you should have to be at least 60 before you are allowed to write a memoir. I will tell you one thing, you are going to have to be at least 60 before I read your memoir.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

The Main Library

Did you happen to read the article on the early stages of the possible renovation of the Main Library? I like what I am hearing from Mr. Brown, the library director. I think looking at the Main Library as a possible Imaginon for adults would be a great idea. I know that teens meet up at Imaginon and spend a day there using the facility. Friends that don't live in the same neighborhood have a fun place to rendezvous. A place that their parents know is safe.

I would like to see a Main Library that is a facility that adults will go to just for the heck of it. A place in downtown where they don't have to worry about parking or dodging transients. Right now the Main Library isn't a gathering place. Those that work downtown use it for picking up items they have placed on hold or browsing the CD or DVD collection. When I go down to do research I see a bunch of homeless people hanging out and that's it. Most other people seem to come in and get what they want and leave. Balancing the needs of transient citizens and year round residents has always been a challenge for libraries in big cities. Books have been written on that topic, I think.

I've always thought that partnering with a coffee shop would be a great idea for the downtown library. Initially I thought they were going to put in a coffee shop and then I saw that a cart had been stuck near the entrance on the first floor. I'd like to see a working coffee shop with its own entrance and periodical collection at the corner of Sixth and Tryon. It could be a gathering place full of good coffee, magazines, out-of-town newspapers and wireless internet. Something like a Border's Books and Music. Since it has its own entrance it could make its own hours and you could even have entertainment in there at night. A little stage could be stuck in the corner and you could have music, readings or even stand up comedy.

I'd also like to see a gaming room that was open the same hours as the library. Right now they have gaming events and every machine is used. A room devoted to gaming would be unique and a huge hit.

I remember traveling to Winston-Salem with a friend a few years ago to see a band play at a club. Being library people we decided we should go to the local main library. We did and we left pretty quickly. It was an old building full of homeless guys. It wasn't a bad library, I'd use it if I lived there. They had plenty of material and computers but it was just not a place that was conducive to killing a few hours of time. What did we do? We went to Border's. I would like to see the Mecklenburg Main Library become a place where someone like me would go the library to see what it was like and then stay for a few hours because it offered me a reasons to hang out.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

A Whodunnit

Last week I finished probably the fifth mystery I have ever read in my life. Maybe sixth if you count those robot SF mysteries that Isaac Asimov wrote. I remember the one I read was about a murder that took place on a planet where the human society that developed there loathed contact with other humans. If they didn't see each other in person how could someone be murdered? I guess that would be a...mystery.

The novel I finished last week was The Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie. It was the second Agatha Christie book I have read. Seeing as how it's a mystery I cant' say too much about it but I will say that I first decided to read the book because of the introduction written by Connie Willis for her new book of short fiction. Willis names this books specifically as one of her favorites and goes on to say that she learned almost everything she knows about plotting a novel from "Dame Agatha." Unfortunately the introduction also gives away the identity of the murderer. I read it anyway. I had never read mystery that I had known who was going to be the murderer before going in.

I will say this for Agatha Christie, each of her books that I have read I have torn through. I guess in any good mystery you get to the point where sleep and hygiene become less important than getting to the end and discovering who is the murderer. I don't see myself ever becoming an avid reader of mysteries but an Agatha Christie mystery every year or so might be a nice break from routine.