Blog Posts by Ultra Violet

blogger photoUltra Violet is an artist, but not the one who hung out with Warhol at the Factory. She is also the only library staff member who was a Shakespearean research scholar and a member of the Meat Cutters' Union in the same year.





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Interior Desecrations
by James Lileks

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12/03/10

The horror of the worst of the decorating sensabilities of the 70's, combined with Lileks bitingly witty comments makes for one hilarious book. Not for the faint of heart!

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Bouquets With Personality
by Lucinda Rooney

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12/02/10

Give yourself a colorful pick-me-up with this book brimming with lush photography of gorgeous floral designs. The best part is that this floral artist's first job was as housekeeper to Maria Von Trapp!

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Apples
by Roger Yepsen

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12/01/10

 This is a great time of year to check out Roger Yepsen's Apples.This charming little book is overflowing with apple history, art, and growing tips. I can't wait to mail order my Knobbed Russets!

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In the Stacks
by Michael Cart

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11/15/10
It was not the subject matter of this collection of shorts stories that caught my attention so much as the array of authors which are included. Some of them are old favorites of mine, while many of the others are writers who have been on my "read them someday" list for years. For example, Italo Calvino, Ursula K. LeGuin, Alice Munro, and Ray Bradbury were all familiar to me, but I also enjoyed the story by Anthony Boucher, whose work I had never read before. All of the stories included deal with libraries or librarians in some way, but with vastly differing results. There are romances, and mysteries and some stories which defy genre. With all of the novels and non-fiction books I read, I seem to forget all about short stories. It is singularly rewarding to be able to follow a story start to finish in one sitting.
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The Bad Book Affair
by Ian Sansom

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09/13/10
The latest in the "mobile librarian" mystery series, The Bad Book Affairis a fun and delightful cozy mystery for readers who enjoy Irish culture. Isreal Armstrong is a Jewish, vegetarian from London who is working as a bookmobile librarian in the most remote northern end of Northern Ireland. He is wallowing in self-pity over being dumped by his girlfriend, but he has to pull himself together and help find a missing teenager before he ends up being implicated for her disappearance in the newspaper. Worse yet, the missing girl is the daughter of a powerful local politician who has it in for Isreal. With the reluctant help of his bookmobile partner, a very curmudgeonly old Irishman who makes merciless fun of Isreal every chance he gets, the mobile library sleuth manages to untangle the plot. The plot of The Bad Book Affairis not exactly thrilling, but the characters and dialog make it well worth reading. I plan on reading the others in the series to find out why Isreal Armstrong is stuck in this provincial town where he feels so out of place.
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The Interrogative Mood
by Padgett Powell

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08/30/10
When I saw the cover of this book amongst the countless all-caps titles and author names with flashy images that adorn most of the new fiction collection, I snapped it up like a gold nugget in a muddy riverbed. The lack of words on a book cover was half of the attraction for me. In particular because it was in the fiction section, so it couldn't be an art book or a poetry collection. I was not disappointed. I wouldn't recommend this book for everyone because it is so unique that readers with a strongly held notion of "novel" will be frustrated by it. From start to finish every sentence in The Interrogative Mood: A Novel? is a question. Yet, Powell manages to establish a substantial character for his narrator, or should I say, interrogator? Not that this feels like an interrogation in any negative sense. The questions spark nostalgia, curiosity, introspection and at times, fear and disgust. By the end, I felt a kinship with the narrator and I appreciated Powell's mastery in crafting this most unusual book. I can't think of when I last felt so strongly that I wish I had thought of that.
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Mistborn: The Final Empire
by Brandon Sanderson

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08/09/10
From the city of Luthadel, the Dark Lord has ruled with an iron fist for over a thousand years. The Final Empire is such a disaster, that the legends of the days when trees were green and the sky was blue seem like a ridiculous fairy tale. The skaa are so oppressed that they aren't even considered to be people by the nobles. Kelsier is their champion, whether they like it or not. He was born a skaa but has the power of allomancy (the ability to manipulate metals to have incredible powers). Kelsier is a Mistborn, a rare type of allomancer who can use more than one type of metal. Kel knows that he can't put his plan in motion alone so he assembles a team of the most powerful allomancers for each type of metal. Through his search he comes across Vin, a teenage girl with remarkable abilities. Together they may accomplish great things but not without tremendous loss.

Brandon Sanderson does a fantastic job of creating an unique and believable world with characters that are very likable. Final Empire is the first of the Mistborn trilogy.

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The Tattooed Lady
by Amelia Klem Osterud

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07/09/10
Most 19th century circus freaks were unfortunate people born with various physical deformities, however, there were individuals who chose to separate themselves from society; sword-swallowers, fire-eaters, snake-charmers and most of all, the tattooed ladies. The inate fascination with the forbidden along with the reputation of sexual deviance and primitive savagery that went along with tattooing until relatively recently made people willing to pay money to view a scandalously clad young lady covered with tattoos. What I found most intriguing in this book was the accounts of how common tattoos actually were for women throughout history. They were just hidden. Even Winston Churchill's mother had a tattoo which she concealed with jewelery. The Tattooed Lady is a gorgeous book filled with fascinating photos, well-designed graphics and vintage-style fonts that add to the mystique of the subject. An engaging book to read cover to cover or to just peruse for the pictures and captions.
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The Whale: In Search of the Giants of the Sea
by Philip Hoare

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06/23/10
The Whale is a magnificent adventure through our communal history with cetaceans. Quotes from Moby Dick are interspersed with graphic descriptions of whaling practices and tales of sea serpents. Hoare's prose is a pleasure to read and his obvious fascination with these mysterious creatures is infectious. It's hard to believe how dependent 18th and 19th century people were on whale products for industry, cosmetics, food products and many other surprising uses. An interesting book for anyone who enjoys Victorian history, Herman Melville or who is concerned with the possible extinction of the world's largest mammals.
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Lament: The Faerie Queen's Deception
by Maggie Stiefvater

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05/31/10
Deirdre Monahan is a talented teenage harpist. She is shy and awkward and doesn't fit in except with her best friend, James Morgan. James is a snarky, bagpipe-playing outsider who has a few neurotic habits and a secret love for Deirdre. When Deirdre meets the mysterious and amazingly cool Luke, her whole world changes, quite literally. She and James are drawn into battle with the evil Queen of Faerie. Someone's not going to make it back to this world. This book and its sequel, Ballad, are both in the Teen section, and while I am sure teens would love them, I also found them very entertaining. The relationship between James and Deirdre is realistically tragic and romantic. I highly recommend both Lament and Ballad for a quick, fun summer read.
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