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Wednesday, November 17th, 2010
1:11 am - The Books of Summer - Fall 2010
"The 39 Clues" #6 - 9 (various authors)

"Twilight & History"
Interesting series of essays on the historical basis of the different characters in the Twilight saga.

"The Templar Code for Dummies"
Easy to read and understand basic history of the Knights Templar.

"Legacy" by Susan Kay
Very detailed biographical novel of Elizabeth I.

"Shakespeare Undead"
Will Shakespeare is a vampire and the Dark Lady is a zombie hunter. Very amusing, and the Elizabethan language is quite colorful.

"The Pillars of the Earth" & "World Without End" by Ken Follett
An extremely detailed (sometimes a touch too graphic) medieval saga. "World Without End" sometimes seems recycled from "Pillars..." but it's still certainly engrossing.

"Robin Hood" by David Coe
Novelization of the newest movie.

"Retail Hell" by Freeman Hall
If you have ever worked in retail, you MUST read this book!

"The Complete Idiot's Guide to Vampires"

"Shaking Hands With Shakespeare" by Allison Wedell Schumacher
Excellent resource for students and actors.

"The Complete Idiot's Guide to Werewolves"

"Stuff That Makes a Gay Heart Weep" by Freeman Hall
This could be subtitled "Stuff That Makes Anyone With Any Taste Whatsoever Cringe." Totally hilarious!

"The Princess Bride" by William Goldman
I tried to read this in HS and didn't like it. Some things improve with age.

Very vivid medieval tale set in France during the Inquisition.

"The Playmaker" by J.B. Cheaney
A nicely detailed piece of Shakespearean fiction for the younger set.

"Painted Ladies" by Robert B. Parker
One of the last Spenser novels.

current mood: cranky

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Wednesday, June 2nd, 2010
10:58 am - The Books of May 2010
"The 39 Clues" Books 1-5 (Juvenile Favorite Series, various authors)
I'm reading these (on my lunch breaks) for purposes of designing a window display for the store. The concept is that orphans Dan and Amy Cahill are on a global scavenger hunt to find 39 clues that will lead them to an amazing inheritance. They discover that their family is enormous, with ties to royalty and other influential figures in may countries. This is a grand adventure/mystery, along the lines of "National Treasure." The inclusion of historical persons, places and events will hopesfully entice kids to 'read more about it.' My main gripe about the series is that readers are given no good reason to suspend their disbelief about the idea of two regular kids running all around the world accompanied (sometimes) by a teenaged au pair. The series was written post-911, so that bit just rings untrue...possibly kids willl overlook it.

"Twilight and Philosophy"
A very interesting collection of essays that apply various philosophical and ethical theories to the characters and events of the Twilight saga.

current mood: busy

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Wednesday, May 5th, 2010
12:57 am - The Books of April 2010
"Winter's Child" by Cameron Dokey and "The Crimson Thread" by Susan Weyn (teen fiction)
Part of the Once Upon a Time series, these are adaptations of The Snow Queen and Rumplestilstkin.

"Alchemy and Meggy Swann" by Karen Cushman (young reader/juvenile fiction)
Very nice Elizabethan historical fiction, featuring some fabulous insult matches. Like many of Karen Cushman's heroines, Meggy isn't especially lovable at first, but she grows on you as she finds her own strengths and grows up.

"Blood Oath" by Christopher Farnsworth (fiction)
Mission Impossible - with vampires. Very entertaining.

"Alice in Wonderland and Philosophy" (philosophy)
This is a series of essays using material from the Alice books to illustrate classic philosophical ideas. The reading can be a bit dense, but there are some very interesting ideas.

current mood: sleepy

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Wednesday, April 7th, 2010
12:15 am - The Books of March 2010
“The Everything American Government Book” (US History)

“Wild Orchid;” “Belle;” and “Before Midnight” by Cameron Dokey (teen fiction)
Part of the Once Upon a Time series, these are adaptations of Mulan, Beauty & the Beast, and Cinderella, respectively. This is an excellent series, with lots of adventure, strong heroines who solve their own problems, instead of waiting around helplessly to be rescued, and no objectionable content.

The Twilight Saga by Stephenie Meyer (teen fiction)
Yes, I read them. Stop snickering. Bella Swann sets back the evolution of the modern female character by at least a century.

“Fablehaven: Keys to the Demon Prison” by Brendan Mull (young readers/juvenile fiction)
This is the awesome conclusion to the series...but there are plenty of loopholes for more stories later on. I really love the complex characters that change and evolve as the story progresses – no cardboard cutouts here. I also love the way that different characters choices have consequences, and they learn from them.

current mood: nostalgic

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Saturday, February 27th, 2010
9:34 pm - The Books of February 2010
"Alice in Wonderland" by T.T. Sutherland (teen fiction/movie novelization)
I generally don't care for novelizations-of-movies-based-on-novels, but I really enjoyed this. In this case, it's sort of necessary, since Tim Burton isn't telling the sort of Alice story we're most familiar with.

"Alice in Wonderland: the Visual Guide" (film studies)
Very cool volume of artwork and photographs, with character bios and an outline of the story. (Note: this is the $15 version - there's a deluxe edition coming out next week) Have you guessed yet that I can't wait to see this movie?

"Fablehaven: Grip of the Shadow Plague" and "Secrets of the Dragon Sanctuary" by Brendan Mull (young reader/juvenile fiction)
The third and fourth volumes of the ever-so-awesome Fablehaven series. Somewhat like Harry Potter, Kendra and Seth are growing up and learning to explore their respective gifts. I really hope number five won't be their last story.

"The Sixty-Eight Rooms" by Marianne Malone (young reader/juvenile fiction)
This is an absolutely wonderful story set in and around The Art Institute of Chicago, home to the Thorne Rooms, an amazing (and real!) collection of miniature rooms. Best friends Jack and Ruthie find a key that magically shrinks them small enough to enter and explore the rooms. Once inside, they discover that some rooms contain doorways to the historical periods they represent. They also learn that they're not the first ones to find and use the key, and solve a local art mystery. I really loved this one!

current mood: sore

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Monday, February 1st, 2010
12:42 pm - The Books of January 2010
"The Imagineers Guide to the Magic Kingdom" (travel)
Although you find this in the tarvel section, it's not about the best hotel to stay at, or when to get on line for Space Mountain. It's full of interesting facts about how the park was developed and all the amazing details that go into it.

"The Total Tragedy of a Girl Named Hamlet" by Erin Dionne (young readers)
This is a sweetly absurd story of the daughter of two ever so slightly overzealous Shakespeare professors and her genius kid sister. A must read for young rennies and Shakepeare fans.

"Divine Misdemeanors" by Laurell K. Hamilton (science fiction)
The latest Merry Gentry novel.

"Incarceron" by Catherine Fisher (teen fiction)
In a post-apocalyptic world, the government has put two bold programs in place to ensure future peace and tranquility. All of society's undesirables have been placed in Incarceron, an inescapable sentient habitat, programmed to be clean and safe, and to provide education, food, and health care. The rest of society returns to a simpler lifestyle, similar to renaissance Europe. Sounds like it should be pretty good for everyone,yes? Not quite.

This actually reminds me a bit of "Logan's Run," I think because of the idea that not everyone wants to live in someone else's idea of a perfect habitat. A very good read, with an open ending, so there will likely be another.

"Beastly" by Alex Flinn (teen fiction)
A retelling of Beauty and the Beast, set in present day NYC. I really like this one, because it incorporates alot of the details of the fairy tale, the magic mirror, the rose garden, the library, and one that tends to get glossed over - the witch puts the beast under the curse because he's a cretin, and he has to earn to freedom.

current mood: calm

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Saturday, January 2nd, 2010
3:21 pm - Passing on a bit of advice...
A couple of years ago, when my dad had to move to a nursing home, we had to make alot of legal and financial decisions. Our lawyer gave us an excellent bit of advice that helped to make this past week a bit easier, so I'm going to share it.

Get a fire proof document box (about $50 and easily available from a variety of retailers). Inside, have a file for each family member which includes: birth/baptismal certificate, life insurance policy(s), military discharge papers, any advanced medical directives/living wills, last will and testament, and paperwork for any major assets, such as stocks or bonds. I was fingerprinted as a child, in the wake of the Adam Walsh case, so my fingerprints are included in my file. You get the idea...any personal paperwork that you might need in an emergency when you might not be thinking too clearly.

You should also have a file for any vehicles you own, including title and insurance policies, the deed or rental agreement to your home, with homeowners/renters insurance policy, cemetery deed, and your marriage license.

I KNOW this isn't stuff you want to think about if you are young and in good health, but when you need to put your hands on these papers, it's generally because of a death or other emergency, and there is time pressure and you're just not thinking straight, and it's not a good time to have to go ripping the whole house apart.

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Friday, January 1st, 2010
4:13 pm - The Booksof November - December 2009
"Reunion: Three Plays" by David Mamet (drama)

"Robin Hood" by Don Nigro (drama)
Imagine the legend of Robin Hood meets The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged).

"A View from the Bridge" by Arthur Miller (drama)

"Underworld: Rise of the Lycans," "Underworld: Blood Enemy," and "Underworld: Evolution" by Greg Cox (science fiction)
Rise of the Lycans and Evolution are novelizations of the films. Blood Enemy is an original novel published after the original Underworld movie. It's based upon Lucian's flashbacks of Sonja's death and the beginning of the war - the story that eventually became Rise of the Lycans. It's very interesting to read such a different treatment of the story - Sonja is portrayed as more of a fairy tale princess, and the story feels more like Beauty and the Beast. It's definitely worth reading if you like the series, but I think TPTB made a much stronger choice having Sonja be a warrior princess, and casting an actress who looked more like Kate Beckinsale.

"The Complete Idiot's Guide to World War I" (history)

"The Complete Idiot's Guide to European History" (history)

"The Imagineers' Guide to EPCOT" (travel)
This is really fun. It's not about picking the best hotel for your trip, or when to get in line for Space Mountain - it's all sorts of neat factoids about the design process used in the Disney parks.

So, that's 59 books for 2009...first time, complete reads, not counting books I just skimmed for whatever reason (like the Lacemaker and the Princess, great juvie historical fiction that I really should go back and read completely, or the latest MEG book which really, REALLY sucked), or anthologies where I only read one selection.

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Monday, December 28th, 2009
6:43 pm - Rest in peace, Dad...
My father, Henry Klatte, passed away December 26 at St. Cabrini Nursing Home, where he'd been a patient for the last two years. He'd been very ill for most of this month, so we're thankful that he is at peace.

current mood: sad

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Wednesday, October 28th, 2009
4:33 am - The Books of Aug-Oct 2009
"Fairest of All" (teen fiction)
Nifty backstory about the Wicked Queen from Disney's Snow White.

"The Taming of the Shrew" William Shakespeare (drama)
I was born in the 20th century and I don't like this play. At all. Even though I do understand the historical context, and I've read the essays...I don't like it. That being said, I am still head over heels in love with the production that was staged at NYRF this summer. Simply amazing people making magic.

"Romancing the Pirate" (romance)
Tacky pirate romance novel. So sue me...my brain was fried.

"Lady of the Forest" and "Lady of Sherwood" Jennifer Robeson (fiction)
Two totally awesome Robin Hood novels. I think I tried to read "Lady of the Forest" a long time ago when it first came out, and was very disappointed because it was being marketed as fantasy and it's not. The current covers are also misleading, since they look like steamy romances - and they're not. These are fairly gritty historical fiction - dirt, brutal 'justice', and the the nasty truth about the crusades and the people who commanded them. If you liked the BBC Ivanhoe (with Stephen Waddington), give these a shot.

"The Lost Symbol" Dan Brown (fiction)

"The Professional" Robert B. Parker (mystery)
The latest Spenser mystery.

"British History for Dummies"

current mood: lonely

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Wednesday, October 14th, 2009
12:13 am - NY State History Event!
Wednesday, October 14th
Barnes & Noble
Crossroads Shopping Center
431 Tarrytown Rd

Hear ye! Hear ye! Please be our guests at a celebration in honor of 400 Years of New York State History!

As part of our Educators Week festivities, we will be featuring a very special historical storytime hosted by Henry Hudson (the ever-so-awesome Chris Leidenfrost-Wilson)& Sybil Ludington (me!). K-12 teachers with proper ID can obtain or renew their educator discount card, get extra discounts on all purchases, and enter a special drawing. The storytime is open to all.

Educator Reception 4PM – 9PM
Storytime 7 PM

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Tuesday, August 25th, 2009
3:39 pm - I found my magic!
So, I was playing with my water cats in a puddle Sunday afternoon. The first couple of groups of people did the 'oh, how cute' and move on thing. OK. Then, all of a sudden, I realized that I had about half a dozen people standing there stopped on the path watching and *responding* to EVERYTHING I was doing! Holy crap, I have my very own audience!!!!!! When that group moved on, another bunch stopped to play, and then another. Wow. I sort of lost track of the time and ended up running a bit late to my next thing.

I'd been kind of resigning myself to the idea that I'm a much better support person than performer, but...wow. :-)

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Tuesday, July 14th, 2009
10:42 pm
"Doomed Queens" by Kris Waldherr (Biography)
A collection of morbidly humorous accounts of various historical queens...muder, suicide, and the occasional retirement to a nunnery.

"A Treasury of Royal Scandals" by Michael Farquar (History)
The title speaks for itself. :-)

"Skin Trade" by Laurell K. Hamilton (Sci Fi)
The latest Anita Blake novel - reminiscent of the original (good!) stories. This features a monster hunt co-starring Edward, known to the monsters as "Death." Lots and lots of mayhem with a minimum of wierd sex scenes.

"G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra" by Max Collins (Sci Fi)
Good novelization of the upcoming movie.

"My Sister's Keeper" by Jodi Piccoult (Fiction)

"Good Masters! Sweet Ladies!" (Newbery)
The 2008 Newbery Medal winner. A very interesting collection of monologues for children. Each piece features a different character from a medieval village.

"Meg" by Steve Alten (Fiction)
Adventure about a giant prehistoric shark eating anything it wants. A little shaky on the science.

"British Monarchy for Dummies" (History)

"Souvenir" by Stephen Temperly (Drama)

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Sunday, May 31st, 2009
1:48 am - The Books of May 2009
"Loving Will Shakespeare" by Carolyn Meyer (Teen Fiction)
This is a very nicely detailed piece of historical fiction. There are very few known facts about Anne Hathaway or the young Will Shakespeare, but this book paints a very vivid picture of the era that they lived in, and the life they might have led together.

"Who Was William Shakespeare?" (Juvenile Biography)
This is part of a very popular series of biographies for young readers. Very readable and nicely illustrated - I can see why kids ask for this series.

"King of Shadows" by Susan Cooper (Young Readers)
This is a wonderful story for kids - a bit of fantasy and advenure in a beautifully detailed historical setting. Nat is part of a boy's acting troupe in London to perform at the New Globe Theatre. One night, he goes to bed with a fever and awakens in Shakespeare's time, part of an acting troupe preparing to perform in the original Globe for QE1.

current mood: hopeful

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Friday, May 22nd, 2009
9:33 pm - Rainbow Fairy Costume Party!
Saturday, May 23 at 11AM, Barnes & Noble in the Crossroads Shopping Center will be hosting a Fairy Costume Party! Little ones are encouraged to come in costume* and enjoy storytime, a fun craft, and a magical fairy treasure hunt. 914-946-3337 or contact me for details.

*If you don't have a costume, come anyway...the Fairy Queen always has some sparklies to share!

current mood: bouncy

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Monday, April 13th, 2009
5:17 pm - Shakespeare's Birthday Party!
On Thursday, April 23rd, at 7 PM, Barnes & Noble in the Crossroads Shopping Center will be hosting a celebration in honor of Will Shakespeare’s 445th birthday. Join us for storytelling, live music, and a visit from the Bard of Avon himself! Little princesses and pirates are most welcome to attend in their finest costumes. Come make merry in Merrie Olde England!

Of course, since this *is* a bookstore, I've put together two great displays - one for kids and one for adults. Books by Shakespeare, about Shakspeare, teaching Shakespeare, and performing Shakespeare, as well as renaissance cooking and gardening.

Barnes & Noble
Crossroads Shopping Center
431 Tarrytown Road
White Plains, NY 10607

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Wednesday, April 1st, 2009
1:06 pm - The Books of March 2009
"The Beaux' Stratagem" by George Farquar, adapted by Thornton Wilder and Ken Ludwig

This is a Restoration - era comedy that Thornton Wilder started to adapt for modern audiences but never finished. In 2004, Wilder's estate invited Ken Ludwig to finish the adaptation.

"How NOT to Audition" by Ellie Kanner and Denny Martin Flinn

"Leading Ladies;" "Be My Baby;" "Lend Me a Tenor;" and "Moon Over Buffalo" all by Ken Ludwig

Are we sensing a trend here? :-)

"A Compendium of Common Knowledge" by Maggie Secara

Terrific historical reference designed specifically for rennies and re-enactors.

"Will's Quill" by Don Freeman

This is a lovely children's picture book by the creator of Corduroy. Willoughby Waddle is a country goose who comes to London town to make his fortune. There he meets a young playwright by the name of...oh, come on, you must have guessed it by now!

PS: If you really want to know what "Will's Quill" is about, you can come on out to Will Shakespeare's Birthday Party and Barnes & Noble in the Crossroads Shopping Center, Thursday April 23, at 7 PM.

"The Complete Idiot's Guide to the Middle Ages"

Believe it or not, the Dummies and Complete Idiot's history books are actually pretty good references. They break large sections of history into manageable chunks of information, making it easy to find out 'what happened when,' or 'who was king when,' and decide which topics you'd like to read more about.

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Thursday, March 5th, 2009
12:49 am - The Books of February 2009
“Jennifer, Hecate, Macbeth, William McKinley, and Me, Elizabeth” by E.L. Konigsburg (Young Reader/Newbery Honor)

“Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister” by Gregory Maguire
I actually liked the TV movie better...it had gorgeous costumes and more of a fairy tale feel.

“Sunday in the Park with George” by James Lapine (book of the musical)

“The Three Musketeers” and “Treasure Island” by Ken Ludwig (drama)
I really, REALLY want to see both of these! (“Shakespeare in Hollywood,” too!)

“Emmaline and the Bunny” by Katherine Hannigan
This is a lovely little chapter book about a little girl who wants a bunny. It’s really cute and also carries a simple environmental awareness theme.

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Tuesday, February 17th, 2009
12:11 am - Boomer Cat (June ? 1995 - February 16, 2009)
Boomer was adopted from Forgotten Felines November 11, 1995. He was a rescue (like all of our zoo) so his DOB was estimated about June. He was a biiiiig kitten...about 8 pounds when we got him. He'd been fostered with a tiny little fuzzy black kitten and they were best buddies, so we were shown both. My Dad looked at me with one kitten and my Mom with the other, and the kitty foster mom looked at us and said something to the effect of 'I think we've got a two for one.'

For the better part of 14 years, Boomer's favorite hobby was eating everything in sight. My Mom named him from a TV commercial that was running at the time...it featured a cat named Boomer who unravelled toilet paper. One Christmas, we had a toy wagon with a couple of teddy bears on the dining room table. Boomer thought he'd like to get in the wagon with the bears...it rolled...right off the table and into the side of the tree. That was probably the last time we used glass ornaments!

About a week ago, he suddenly lost a great deal of weight. We watched him and gave him some special goodies to try to get some weight back, but we decided not to put him through alot of tests because of his age, and because he was such a holy terror to transport. We were taking him to the vet tomorrow morning, but he crossed the bridge on his own just a little while ago.

current mood: sad

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Thursday, February 5th, 2009
9:58 pm - The Books of January 2009
"The Pirates Code"
Mr. Gibbs rendition of the pirate code..er, guidelines.

"Hundred Dollar Baby" by Robert B. Parker
A Spenser mystery that I somehow managed to miss when it first came out.

"Dewey" by Vicki Myron
This is the story of the most famous library cat in the world. A must read for all cat lovers.

"The Complete Fairy Tales of Oscar Wilde"
This is a stunning collection of short tales rendering in astonishingly vivid language.

"Holiday Princess" by Meg Cabot
Holiday silliness. So sue me.

"White House Chef" by Walter Scheib
This is a combination memoir/cookbook by a former White House Executive Chef. The recipes are rather more exotic than I like, but this is a great view into the White House, from lavish holiday receptions to the events of September 11.

"Indian Captive" by Lois Lenski (young reader/historical fiction)
This is a fictionalized account of a young girl who was taken captive during the French and Indian War. The style is similar to the Little House books.

"All of a Kind of Family" by Sydney Taylor

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