La fete francaise

Like most people, I'm endlessly frustrated with my job. Yeah, selecting children's books for 63 libraries can be fun...but here's a secret:

It can be monotonous.

So that's when I'm eternally grateful to publishers. They have events, like author dinners and seasonal previews, to promote their books. This gets me out of the office, networking, eating, and usually carousing around Manhattan. These sorts of things get me through the daily routine.

Imagine my surprise, shock, and excitement when I received an invitation from Random House to attend an exhibition for The Enemy: A Book About Peace by Davide Cali and illustrated by Serge Bloch (Schwartz & Wade, 2009)...at the United Nations! Huge smile and an enthusiastic yes!
After airport-level security checks and getting lost in the labyrinthine halls of the U.N. building, I arrived at the event. I met Serge Bloch, the illustrator, though I seemed to get tongue-tied and still can't remember what I said to him. I'm certain I said nothing of any significance. Also, as I looked around, I realized that 3/4ths of the people there were French, which wasn't surprising since the invitation was actually from the Association Culturelle Francophone.
The exhibition was in a major walkway so that as many people as possible could see the artwork on display. On the right side was the art from the American edition of the book, printed on large foamboard, in double-page spreads. On the left side was the art from the French edition, printed in the same manner as the American version. I read French well, though my accent and listening comprehension are nothing short of embarrassing. So I read through the French edition.

It was at this point that I ran into Jeanne Lamb from New York Public Library. She also understands some French so we were able to discuss. The first thing we noticed was the length: the French edition is longer. In the midst of talking about this, a Frenchwoman commented that the reason for this was "because the attention span of American children is so much shorter." I told her I didn't necessarily find this to be true. American adults (and adults from other countries) may believe this to be so, but I certainly don't think it's true.

The parts of the book that were cut? Vivid descriptions of "the enemy". In particular, in the French version, "the enemy" kills women and children, and this part of the text was illustrated by a stick-figure-esque little boy with a sword or knife in his side, laying on the ground. It's not graphic, as the art is minimalist and seemingly simple. Nevertheless, the imagery is still potent.

Naturally, this started an exciting discussion about what is "appropriate" for children. The American version being what it is, I could definitely promote it to 1st-2nd graders, especially in a school setting where children will have questions about war and peace. But that's my opinion. By the same token, Jeanne also saw potential in using it with middle school-age kids as well. Schwartz & Wade, in making their editorial decision, definitely opened the book up to a wider American audience.

On the other hand, I do feel obligated to point out that I was disappointed to see the shortened version. I just worry that it's part of the "dumbing down" of America, not to mention that one could argue that it compromises the integrity of the author and illustrator's original work. Don't get me wrong - I am not disagreeing with the editorial decision. Instead I'm questioning our culture and society at large and, as such, Schwartz & Wade had to make a decision that would help the book sell. I can't fault them for that.


Laura: (whispers) Is it just me or is everyone here stunningly beautiful?
Tracy: (whispers back) Well, yeah. They're all French.

There were speeches made - all in French, save Lee Wade. Luckily, everyone spoke pretty slowly so I understood most of the French. The word "exposition" was repeated. I explained to Tracy that "exhibition" in French means when someone flashes you. "Exposition" is what you want to use when talking about art.

An amazing evening. I walked out of the U.N. with a bounce in my step that I didn't have earlier, and I felt like a pretty lucky gal, having a sometimes-monotonous job that allows me to see and experience cool things...like the U.N. and samurai swords.

(Buy the French version here, the English version here.)


I'm not a saint!

Sooooo not local.  Yet soooo worth it!

Eat, drink, and welcome the change in seasons!

Taking Local Eating to the Next Level

My foodie readers will most likely know about Edible Communities, which is "a network of local food publications."  Basically, it's a franchise situation and various cities, towns, and communities around the U.S. have them.  

For instance, in my hometown(ish), there is Edible Sacramento.  In the city where I left a little bit of my heart, there is Edible Phoenix.  Edible Portland covers the city I love yet am incapable of living in.  For those of you in the New York area, there is Edible Brooklyn and Edible Manhattan...and that's it...

Until now.  Launching September 2009, there will be Edible Queens.  And thank goodness, right?  It's the most ethnically diverse borough (to my knowledge), combined with the Queens County Farm (the only remaining undisturbed farmland in the boroughs dating back to 1697), and it's primed to have its own publication.  

It's a quarterly publication - 4 times a year - and there will also be regular web content.  In fact, it appears as if I will be contributing some of that content.  More details to come, of course, but for now let me remind everyone that the Edible Communities publications are locally owned and support local restaurants, farms, and shops.  Take a look for your nearest magazine.

Eat, drink, and support local communities.

Forgotten photos

Recently I've mentioned two meals I have made but I was unable to provide photos at the time: Migas and Burg's French Toast.

I made Migas from Spain: A Culinary Road Trip by Mario Batali with Gwyneth Paltrow (click on link above for recipe) while my parents were visiting and, again recently, for a simple family dinner.  It's a great option for cooking with kids because few kids will say no to toasted bread crumbs as dinner!  If they eat the accompanying roasted peppers, chorizo, and pancetta as well, well then that's even better!  I also serve it with a bunch of grapes.  Here is how it turned out:

I also made Burg's French Toast from Molly Wizenberg's A Homemade Life a few weeks ago...and we just made them for the third time this morning.  It's officially our go-to recipe (again, you can click the link above for the recipe).  The great thing about it is that you can really change it according to your tastes; for instance, Molly doesn't add freshly grated nutmeg to her recipe...and I can't imagine french toast without it.  So I add it to taste.  Ultimately, it's about the bread and egg combo.  We use a porous (but not tooooo much) bread and cut off the crusts (the crusts just get too hard and crunchy, in our experience).  And we soak the bread for ages -  about 3 -5 minutes.  That way you get the really crunchy exterior and custard-like interior.  This morning we even made it using entirely local ingredients: the bread, syrup, eggs, and cream (we made whipped cream to go on top) were all bought locally at Union Square market.  Outstanding.

Eat, drink, and cheers to a 3-day weekend well-spent!

Kitchen enhancement

I've been whining to Adam for quite some time about wanting a board of some sort in our kitchen where I can keep track of our weekly menus and shopping lists.  This was our solution:

Eat, drink, and combine aesthetics with functionality.


"Consider the Farmworkers"

Civil Eats has a sobering post, "The Ethics of Eating: Consider the Farmworkers," which discusses the living conditions of farmworkers in Marion County, Oregon.  

We're so fond, myself included, of complaining about the conditions of CAFOs, declaring them evil and feeling righteous for eating grass-fed, cage-free, humanely raised animals.  "Consider the Farmworkers" is a call for action to consider the human cost of the food we eat.


Horn Book's food issue

Horn Book Magazine's May/June 2009 issue is chock full of delicious foodie articles related to books and reading.

Fortunately, my favorite article in the issue, "Book and Bar Man" by Jack Gantos is available online. I particularly loved Gantos' description of himself reading at the bar of the Elks Club when he was a child: "Sitting at the bar as a boy is where I learned how to smudge up the pages of a book with the cheeky rouge of food. The bar always had bowls of sweaty peanuts that were both salty and sugared. They were delicious. I ate mounds of them, and they left the tips of my fingers crusted with a glaze of oily, salty sugar - a kind of tacky varnish that was instantly transferred to the upper corners of the pages." He also described a meal in Bangkok for which I am completely ravenous.

Unfortunately, Horn Book is not giving up Arnold Adoff's poem "sol y sombra" to the masses. It might be blasphemous to only share a single stanza of a poem and, yet, I must:

each evening at casa quitape┼ła we would devour plates of gambas al pil pil and chunks
of thick spanish bread dripping oil: the crunching of sardines punctuated our talk of
ernesto and (always) faulkner and richard wright

Swoon. I have no idea what "gambas al pil pil" is. My first inclination was to look it up, but then I realized that the magic of the line lies in my unfamiliarity with the dish. I have no idea what it is but I want to eat it anyway. That is great food writing.

Linda Sue Park wrote "Still Hot: Great Food Moments in Children's Literature". I really loved the way that she separated the article into "Breakfast", "Lunch", and "Dinner" sections. However, I did find her choice in books to be very predictable: Farmer Boy, Bread and Jam for Frances, among others. Park does point out that she could have discussed newer books, but that she decided to write about the books of her childhood, which is understandable. After all, Park makes the point that what we eat and read as a child stays with us, good and bad. I also enjoyed Park's observation that Maurice Sendak understood the connection between food and love when we wrote Where the Wild Things Are: Max wanted to be in a place "where someone loved him best of all", and that place was home where his food was still hot.

Eat, drink, and read - all at the same time.

You know the drill...

This is where I lead you to Citrus-Glazed Polenta Cake, posted by Amateur Gourmet, and then remind you that I loathe baking because I'm very bad at it. But I still want all of you to make it and, if you feel so inspired, you can give some to me.

Again, you're welcome. Enjoy!


Harvest Time explores chocolate

I mentioned before that the Slow Food NYC Harvest Time program had started a blog, and today they're talking about chocolate.

The most poignant part of the blog post:
They showed us real cacao beans from the Dominican Republic and Madagascar. Some of us are from the DR and didn't even know they grew chocolate there. We got to grind our own roasted cacao beans.
The most astute quote from the post:
The dried cocoa beans were really weird. We disagree about whether we like them. At first when you chew them, they taste like flowers, but after a while they start to taste like dirt. We think the chocolate probably tastes like what grows around the cacao plant.

And a tie for the funniest quote:
Did you ever see the movie, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory? We did, and so when we went to The Mast Brothers Chocolate Shop, we were disappointed that there were no oompa loompas.
When we got back to school, we met Virginie, a French chocolatier. We were disappointed because she didn't wear a berret.

Overall, it sounds like they had a wonderful time (and - shhhhh! - they may have learned a thing or two)!

Eat, drink, and support your local school programs!


The myth of "easy" food

Endless Simmer has a spectacular rant posted about the new show "Table for 12" and its endorsement by Ragu "sauce".

I take real issue with this brainwashing of America's busy parents. First, parents have been tricked into believing that there is no time for anything anymore, now that a child (or children) have arrived. Which is simply not true in most cases. Think about the homemade tomato sauce you can make in the time it takes you to watch "Table for 12"! Second, you can't convince me - unless you want to go shopping with me and prove me wrong - that buying cans of Ragu is cheaper. Not to mention the health and environmental ramifications of buying a cheap-arse jarred sauce with high fructose corn syrup as the third ingredient. On that note, don't even get me started on the environmental ramifications of producing 10 children. Let's not go there.

As most of my readers know, I'm starting culinary school at ICE soon (3 weeks from today!). And one of the most common things I hear from people when they find out I'm a culinary student is whether I plan on working in a restaurant. I do not. I know that I don't have the temperament and I know that I cannot work 10+ hours a day. So I'm not entirely sure what I want to do with it when I'm done...

...but here's something I'm noodling over: private cooking classes (not original, I know). But here's the thing: very often I have friends ask me how I do what I do. Meaning the blogging, the book reviewing, parenthood, marriage, full-time job, cooking school...and still manage to put together fantastic meals every night. None of that is an exaggeration - I really do all those things...and more. Even when I have to miss dinner with Adam and Bug, what they eat is a meal I have planned for them that's simple - and even easy - and delicious.

What bothers me is how many people - mostly "mom friends" - think that what I do is so rare and special. What I want to do is get out my high school pompoms and say, "You can do this too! Let me show you!" I would love to get into people's kitchens, go through their pantries and refrigerators, and throw out the garbage (meaning any food where you can't recognize the ingredients because they consist mostly of chemicals). Go shopping together. And come up with menus and recipes. I want to prove to other people that they can do what I do. It's not rare. It's not special. And I'm constantly surprised as to why it is treated as such.

Ultimately, I want to empower others. Help them break free of the marketing machine telling them they have no time to do anything other than open a jar (which ES points out, takes more time than anything. Those jars are impossible to open.). Parents have fallen hook, line, and sinker for the ploy and it's time we all snapped out of it. We didn't turn off our brains as soon as we had children, did we? Well, the marketing machines are treating us like we have. Enough.

Eat, drink, and slowly step down from the soapbox.


Dem's fightin' words!

Want an interesting discussion on race and the Coretta Scott King awards? Go over to Editorial Anonymous now.

The idea is that, as a middle-class Caucasian woman, I could not win a Coretta Scott King award. My skin color has altered my life experiences - which I don't deny - and, thus, does not give me the insight to write a book about the black experience.

Commenter "Chris" caught my attention:

"CSK has become almost a ghetto of its own. It seems as if AA authors are bypassed for major awards because they have a category of their own."

"Instead - [the CSK] is what it is - an attempt to rectify a problem but which may have - in fact - created an even bigger one. A way to deflect real discussion on the racism in publishing and reduce the range of work available for AA authors at the same time."

Compelling stuff going on over there...and commenters are all being refreshingly civil. Go check it out.

REVIEW: When the Whistle Blows

I'm incredibly torn on this book because it comes down to the age-old debate of quality versus taste. Some would disagree with me but I believe you can be awed by a book's quality...and yet still not enjoy it. I call it the Shakespeare Syndrome (I also mentioned it here) - I recognize Shakespeare's greatness (nay, his genius)...but that doesn't mean I actually like reading his stuff. It just doesn't do anything for me.

If I were to give this book a rating (on GoodReads) based on quality, I'd give it a 4 out of 5 - the storytelling is fantastic. In particular, Slayton's sense of place is impeccable. I do wish some of the characters were more fully drawn, not to mention that there are too many peripheral characters. Overall, though, I was impressed with the whole book. Especially for a debut author. Holy crap. And it's no accident that Richard Peck is blurbed on the interior cover of the ARC - Slayton's writing style is invocative of Peck's A Year Down Yonder and Long Way from Chicago.

That said, I gave the book 3 stars on GoodReads based on my personal tastes. First, I'm not a big fan of historical fiction. So there's that. I also don't find trains particularly interesting, or the time period in which this story takes place. And while I do love stories about relationships, I just wasn't drawn to the stoicism on display here. It left me cold. Again, though, let me state that this isn't reflective of Slayton's writing. It's all me.

So while it wasn't my cup of tea, I do think it was exceptionally written and I wouldn't be the least bit surprised, nor disappointed, to see a shiny medal on it come January (though it's definitely too early in the year to be making big statements like that). An excellent debut novel.
Other reviews:
  • Tarie's review at Into the Wardrobe
  • Diane's review at SLJ
  • Jen Robinson's review (I love that she points out the authenticity of Jimmy's voice - it does indeed ring very true)
  • Sarah Miller's review (Agreed. There are multiple times a day when I wish I could hurl rotten cabbages at things...or, more specifically, people.)


Career Day at P.S. 144

Tomorrow - Friday, May 15th - I'll be a speaker at the 20th Annual Career Day at my daughter's school. This will be the first year I'm doing it, and I'm feeling both nervous and excited. Interestingly, I'm not only speaking as a librarian but also as a blogger and a culinary student. I hope to show the kids that, if/when you have a 9:00 - 5:00 job, it doesn't necessarily mean that you can't seek out new responsibilities, follow a passion, or take a new career path.

I want to say a warm GOOD MORNING to the awesome students at P.S. 144!!!! Thank you for hosting me at Career Day!

Back in the saddle again...

We finally have Internet at home, but I've had an impossible time getting back into the swing of blogging there. Especially when, as was the case last night, drinking wine and watching Zoolander with Adam sounded like a lot more fun!

Luckily (or unluckily, I suppose), there are neither movies nor wine available to me during my lunch break at work. So I'm here with an eclectic mix of links, both food- and children's literature-related:
  • Sarah Miller posted a series of publishing jokes involving screwing in lightbulbs. As I mentioned to some colleagues, I found the jokes hilarious, mostly because I found each of them to be based on truth.

  • The New York Times Dining section has an article on corporate America' adoption of the term "local". Which is a good sign in that it means "locavore" has become a widespread philosophy. But I take it as more of a bad sign: the marketing teams of these companies will no doubt mar and twist and spin the word "local" until it's nearly unrecognizable from its original meaning. And mainstream America will have no idea which end is up. Just like the word "organic".

  • Slow Food NYC is now working on its answer to Alice Waters' Edible Schoolyard: Harvest Time. I'm thrilled and will be reading their blog closely.

  • Yesterday was Queens Library's annual children's/YA "Literature Meeting" (here is a recap from last year's meeting ). This year we focused on audiobooks and had the folks from Listening Library talk to our librarians: Cheryl Herman, Dan Zitt, and Rebecca Waugh. They discussed audiobooks and literacy - Cheryl shared that a child can listen to a book two grade levels above where they can actually read. Rebecca discussed the acquisitions end, and I was surprised to learn that Listening Library records books that are "library exclusives," which tend to be the more literary or classic materials that don't do so well in the retail market. Dan, who is in charge of production, shared all kinds of wonderful stories about working with the actors. He talked about the celebrity (he wouldn't give names) who asked for a hot towel promptly at 2:00 p.m....and followed by a square of chocolate! He also talked about Broadway stars who love recording audiobooks because they get to play all the characters versus playing the same single character night after night. Overall, an informative and entertaining presentation!

  • I'm in the midst of reading Hungry Monkey: A Food-Loving Father's Quest to Raise an Adventurous Eater by Matthew Amster-Burton (HMH, May 2009). Thus far, I'm really enjoying it - I wish that it had been available when Bug was a baby! Even so, there is still information in the book that I'm finding helpful with my now-7-year-old. There are some very interesting recipes so far, like Yeasted Waffles, that I'll be trying real soon. Also, there appears to be a Hungry Monkey website, but my computer won't load it - maybe you'll have better luck. Gluten-Free Girl, who is a good friend of the author, reviews Hungry Monkey here. And someone mentioned in the comments on G-F Girl that the first 3 chapters of Hungry Monkey are available on Amster-Burton's website in PDF...so clearly other people have been able to access the website. Whether you have older children, babies, are pregnant...or even thinking of having children in the future...this is a recommended read.
And as a final note, my Facebook account has been repeatedly hacked by "nefarious villians," in the words of Maurie Manning. So please disregard any messages from me. It's only hackers wearing Laura masks, trying to trick you with poisoned apples.

Eat, drink, and fight the forces of darkness and evil!


Food as memory trigger

Adam and I somehow got to reminiscing tonight about this stage in our lives:

When we were dating and then newly married (12 years ago), my mother-in-law (MC) lived only 3 miles from our house.  And she always had a bag of these in her freezer.  Adam and I would go over to MC's house and bake a whole bag...and proceed to eat the whole thing.

We were laughing about this tonight, and Adam said, "Gee, hon, I wonder why you were 20 pounds heavier back then!"  Most women would scoff at this, of course, but I just laughed and said, "I know, right?"  Because he was right on the dot about that.

But here's the interesting thing: I don't miss the 20 pounds...but I miss the memories created around those pizza rolls.  Some of the crappiest food ever, truly.  In every way.  But I remember Adam putting them on a foil-lined baking sheet.  I remember that I was always in charge of putting music on MC's stereo while he got the food ready.  I remember lots of laughing, lots of games of pinochle and Acquire, and lots of good music.  

So I find it interesting that with all the local, fresh, seasonal food I eat...all the weight I've lost...all the extraordinary meals I've made...

I kinda miss the pizza rolls.

Be meticulous...even in children's books

Publishers Weekly interviewed Adam Schell, a former chef who wrote the soon-to-be-released adult fiction title Tomato Rhapsody: A Fable of Lust, Love, and Forbidden Fruit (Delacorte, July 2009).Schell has described his book as a "playful absurdist romp" so PW asked him why he was so meticulous in his research for the book. I loved his answer:

I wanted to be meticulous. When you’re a chef and you read a book about food, you know when the author doesn’t have mastery of that subject. Sometimes it’s glaringly apparent. You know they haven’t done their homework. I wanted to make the [food parts] tactile, and place it so well in the 16th century, because with the story’s more farcical aspects, there’s that bit of uncertainty.

You know what's coming, right? I'm going to point out that this same thought can be applied to foodie books for kids, which is what I was trying to get at here. You can't just plug food into a story and call it a foodie book for kids. An author still needs to be meticulous, still needs to be aware of food's tactile and sensual nature. Even one writing for children and teens.

We have the technology!



Kevin, this one's for you...

I have a friend, Kevin, who I met through Adam...and he's all about the food. And the drink. Being Oi-rish and all. For reasons I can't quite guess, he's a regular reader of my blog. But he confessed to Adam that he'll often get halfway through a post and realize that it's about kids' books. And my posts have certainly been kid-lit-heavy lately, as all my foodie photos are locked in my computer right now, held captive by the evil tyrant, Time Warner.
So this foodie blog post is dedicated to my friend-in-food, Kevin. Cheers!

- I finished reading A Homemade Life: Stories and Recipes from my Kitchen Table by Molly Wizenberg, known to the food blogosphere as Orangette. The recipes are inspiring, though the only one I've tried at this point is Burg's French Toast (read: fried French toast...and it is out-of-this-world). I pretty much agree with the reviews I've read about the book: the passages about her late father are poetic and poignant. I enjoyed her stories of Paris. However, I also agree with the reviews when they mentioned Molly's relationship with her now-husband: the passages about their relationship just got overwhelming and leaned toward the saccharine and cloying. They lacked - at least in the writing - the emotional depth seen elsewhere in the book. Overall, though, an enjoyable read. I'm looking forward to making her Butternut Soup with Pear, Cider, and Vanilla Bean! And thanks to Molly for including the recipes from her book on her website - it's great to be able to link to them!

- Listen up, all you New Yorkers! There's a new kid on the block at the Union Square Greenmarket: Grazin' Angus Acres. If you haven't met them yet, do so immediately. They're super nice and helpful: during our first encounter, we asked for a skirt steak. He (unfortunately, we didn't get his name) pulled it out of the cooler but also pulled out a flap steak (which we had never heard of). He gave us a lesson about flap steak, which is actually more complicated than I expected, but here's the bottom line: it is incredibly similar to a skirt or flank steak but costs half the price. Grazin' Angus also has breakfast sausage and hot dogs to swoon over - there are no words, truly.
Lastly, they're eggs are unreal. My friend Josh picked up some meat one morning from GAA. When he opened his bag, the purveyor saw eggs from another stand. He challenged Josh: give me one egg from that dozen, and I'll give you one of our eggs - see which one is better. He marked GAA's egg with an "x". Josh confirmed that Grazin' Angus' egg kicked arse all over its competitor. Adam picked up a dozen last weekend and I've never tasted anything like it.
Don't visit the market without stopping by their booth. This is their first year so we want to make them feel extra welcome so they'll come back forever and ever.
- This article in the NY Times made me long for a hamburger. But I was dismayed by Shake Shack and Rare being so low in the rankings - I always counted them among my faves. On the other hand, I've never had a Peter Luger burger. Must put on to-do list.

- You might have heard about a little thing called the James Beard Foundation Awards...the 2009 winners were recently announced. In particular, I want to congratulate Andrew Dornenburg and Karen Page who won in the Reference and Scholarship category for The Flavor Bible: The Essential Guide to Culinary Creativity, Based on the Wisdom of America's Most Imaginative Chefs (Little, Brown). I haven't reviewed Flavor Bible here (though I own it), but I did review What to Drink with What You Eat - both books are culinary library essentials. Karen and Andrew were the first people I met "in the industry," and they were both incredibly generous and authentic. So congratulations to them both - their success is well-deserved!
Eat, drink, and cheers to Kevin!

Stand up in the cafeteria and stab them with your plastic forks, Part II*

Wisconsin 4th-graders boycott their cafeteria, demanding healthier and tastier options.

I don't have much to add to that statement, other than I think we'll be seeing a lot more of stuff like this. I'm hoping people will get more and more fed up. Thanks to Civil Eats for the post.

* I never thought I'd have the chance to use that blog post title again, but it seemed perfect here. Who knew that I'd still be quoting Pump Up the Volume after all these years...


Tweens read...kinda

YPulse has the results of a recent poll they took re: tweens and reading. Surprise! They actually do read, according to the results. However, as YPulse does point out, the group is self-selecting and it skews toward younger and mostly female...so we can't really call this a trend or point to it, claiming, "See! See! They do read! We knew it all along!" That said, I love that those kids that read are passionate readers - kids excited about reading always makes me happy. Thanks to Stacy over at Tweendom for the link.

Serendipitously, there was a link above the tweens-and-reading piece to an article about Food Network reaching out to the Gen-Y kids with their new Food2 website, which I actually first heard mention of over at Amateur Gourmet (Adam has his own show on the new site). When I heard about it there, I shrugged it off...being a Gen-X-er myself... Apparently, Food2 is going for the hipper, younger crowd with more face-off competitions, eating fast and cheaper, and "off-beat personalities". I like "Ace of Cakes" as much as the next person...in fact, I love it. But I also love Mario Batali and some of the "original" stars of the Food Network. Why must it be one or the other?

Internet Update: Time Warner told Adam they'd be out this Saturday...at the earliest. By the time they fix this thing I will have shriveled up and withered away, thus resembling those "poor unfortunate souls" in Ursula's "garden" in The Little Mermaid.

Eat, drink, and keep drinking until Time Warner fixes this f-up!


Still rough-going...

Again, I apologize for the spotty posting lately...Internet is still down at my apartment - we're going on more than a week now - so everything has been limited to my one-hour lunch break...and generally I like to eat during that time period. So hang in there, everyone!

For my purposes today, I'm going to "borrow" an idea from Sarah Miller's excellent blog and share with you what I have recently read:

- A Homemade Life by Molly Wizenberg (S&S, 2009)

- Mothstorm by Philip Reeve (Bloomsbury, 2008)

- When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead (Random House, 2009)

- Night Tourist and Twilight Prisoner by Katherine Marsh (Hyperion, 2007, 2009)

And here is what I am currently reading:

- Jellaby: Monster in the City by Kean Soo (Hyperion, 2009)

- Fire by Kristin Cashore (Dial, 2009)

- I Loved, I Lost, I Made Spaghetti by Giulia Melucci (Grand Central, 2009)
Hopefully I'll be back soon with some more regular posts. Join me in cursing Time Warner...and my utter dependence on electronics.


Only in children's library services...

One of Queens Library's branches, Kew Gardens Hills, is having a "Light Saber Combat Workshop" this Sunday, May 3rd at 2:00 p.m. Here's the description:

Lightsaber Combat Workshop

Ages 9-14 will learn to duel with lightsabers by working with members of the New York Jedi Association. They'll demonstrate their fighting techniques and teach audience members how to stage their own lightsaber battles.

I'm falling in love with New York all over again. We have a Jedi Association?!?!?! Too, too cool.

But the question remains: will you learn how to make the lightsaber-clashing sound during the workshop? Because everyone knows that you have to provide your own sound effects during a true lightsaber duel.

This is one of those times when I am reminded that working with kids and teens is about the coolest thing ever. I assure you that I won't be having any lightsaber duels in culinary school. And it'll be the poorer for it.

Help out a fellow librarian and kidlit blogger

Matt Holm reminded me today why I love children's literature folks so much. Click here to find out how to help Bridget Zinn, a fellow librarian, a YA author, and a kidlit blogger, who has been diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer.

On a food-related note, Bridget shares on her blog that she has to avoid fiber in her diet, which means that ice cream is a go...but broccoli is not. Oh, sweet irony!

Eat, drink, and remember that we're truly a community.

Woe is the Internets

I have not had internet at home for three days.

Three days, people.

Do you have any idea what this is doing to me?

All the blogging I've been doing during that time period has been completed frantically during my one-hour lunch break at work. But now we're coming up on the weekend...

So forgive the spotty posts...I'm giving Time Warner the evil eye...I think they're getting motivated to do something. I'm sure of it.