8 Favorite Literary Fathers Who Earned the Name “Dad”

While I was researching novels for a library display celebrating literary fathers, I noticed many blogs have dedicated space to fathers who were not so deserving of their children’s affection.

A father may be biologically linked to his offspring but growing up with an absentee father, I have always been of the mind that a man has to earn the name Dad by actually showing up in their day to day lives, knowing their favorite foods, helping them with their homework, or other such knowledge of the minutiae of their kids’ lives. I wanted to make a more precise list to celebrate these fathers who have earned the Dad title.

1. This is my personal favorite and an incredibly biased pick as he hails from my personal favorite novel of all time…Mr. March from Little Women! Mr. March was absent for a good portion of the novel, but for a very good reason. He was a chaplain during the Civil War, serving his countrymen and the Union at the expense of being separated from his obviously well-loved daughters and wife. Again, here is where my own bias becomes obvious as I am currently dealing with a similar type of separation from my own husband and the father of my daughter, who is deployed overseas. Dealing with this deployment I have fostered a deeper appreciation of Mr. March and his service, as my husband struggles greatly with being away from our daughter despite the convenience of modern technology and the amazing USO United Through Reading program! Military Dads FTW! Mr. March comes home and falls back into the role of March patriarch fairly easily compared to the struggles I have been warned of during the reintegration period following a military deployment. He demonstrates a quiet strength of character and ease of affection with his children that is enviable to the best parent.

Mr. March

(Samuel S. Hinds played Mr. March in the 1933 adaptation of Little Women with Katherine Hepburn)

2. My personal second favorite literary Dad probably shows my age a bit, but he was a well-loved figure both on the page and on TV, Pa Ingalls from Little House on the Prairie both from the book series and the television series of the same title that ran for nearly a decade from the mid 70’s to mid 80’s (I caught the syndicated reruns as a child). Pa Ingalls on the small screen treated us to many heartwarming and amusing afternoons as he dealt with the headstrong antics of the titular character of his daughter, Laura Ingalls played by the near legendary Melissa Gilbert. In the book, Pa Ingalls was the adventurous provider of the Ingalls family, moving his family around frequently as they explored the West.

Pa Ingalls

(Michael Langdon as Pa Ingalls and Melissa Sue Anderson as Mary Ingalls from the TV series Little House on the Prairie)

3. Further removed from the main character of the book he is featured in, Arthur Weasley, better known as Mr. Weasley to the main character of the Harry Potter series, was an exemplary father. The patriarch (though by no means the head of the household, that honor is without question held by Molly Weasley) Mr. Weasley was the calm balance to his wife’s sometimes overbearing mother hen personality and sometimes equal instigator in the hi-jinks of his many children (see: his reaction to George, Fred, and Ron’s grand theft auto misadventure in rescuing Harry from his room at No. 4 Privet Drive in Harry Potter #2: Chamber of Secrets). Mr. Weasley quickly becomes prominent in Harry’s life as a father figure and gleefully picks his mind frequently as to the function of many Muggle inventions. When Mr. Weasley is grievously injured in Harry Potter #5: Order of the Phoenix his importance to his family and Harry is cemented in the series. Mr. Weasley continues his role as Harry’s surrogate father through the rest of the series, especially after the death of Sirius Black, whom Harry learns is his godfather.

MrWeasley

(Mark Williams as Mr. Weasley in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix with Daniel Radcliffe)

4. Larger than life characters always draw me in and I feel like THE larger than life father figure, though granted slightly absentee, is Edward Bloom from Big Fish. This character resonates with me not only because I love this fable/fairy tale storytelling style but because my grandfather who was much more prominent in my life than my biological father, told many tall tales himself and Edward Bloom in many ways reminds me of my grandfather and his penchant for storytelling though the stories were obviously fabricated or at least embellished. I think this idea of the tall tales telling patriarch resonates with many people and his stories have earned him a spot on my list of fathers who earn the title Dad, if nothing else because he wanted to amuse and impress his son.

Edward Bloom

(Ewan McGregor as the young Edward Bloom in Big Fish with Matthew McGrory)

5. The long-suffering father archetype (which I think we can lump Mr. Weasley into as well) is no doubt headed by a one, Mr. Bennett, the father of five daughters with very little inheritance in a time when those things determined marriage prospects, and thus his daughters’ livelihood (ability to survive or at least thrive) after his death and a wife prone to hysterics and “nerves.” Besides his exposure to excessive estrogen, Mr. Bennett has to endure his cousin, an entitled Mr. Collins who stands to inherit Mr. Bennett’s estate instead of his exhausting but well-loved daughters. Mr. Bennett primarily makes this list because of one scene. Though Mr. Collins stands to inherit everything substantial, Elizabeth, Mr. Bennett’s favorite daughter, refuses to marry him. Confronted by Mrs. Bennett in a nervous fit, Mr. Bennett supports Elizabeth’s decision. I think this may be a little controversial among those who would examine the problem in context of the time period, it does make common sense for the time for the cousins to marry to protect Mr. Bennett’s daughters’ interests. But this is fiction, we know a happy ending is coming, and Mr. Bennett agreeing with Elizabeth over his wife and even the social norms of his day facilitates that happy ending. Total Dad move and I approve.

Mr. Bennett

(Donald Sutherland as Mr. Bennett in the 2005 adaptation of Pride and Prejudice)

6. This number is dedicated to a Dad duo in the most unconventional sense. From The Jungle Book two figures stand out as father type figures to the orphaned Mowgli, Bagheera the Panther and Baloo the Bear. Bagheera is the overly cautious fathering figure, while Baloo is the carefree Papa type. Both are important to Mowgli’s development through the story and both demonstrate an emotional interest in Mowgli’s upbringing and welfare. I don’t think these characters get their due as Dads as they are beasts rather than humans parenting a human child. The wolf pack who takes Mowgli in as a baby are also due a lot of credit in parenting Mowgli, though they are not quite as endearing to the reader as Baloo and Bagheera.

balooandbagheera

(Baloo the Bear, Mowgli, and Bagheera the Panther in the 1967 Disney adaptation of The Jungle Book)

7. Anyone who grew up in a low income household probably has some memory of a parent working at a job they hated to make ends meet. Such is the suffering of Bob Cratchit from Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. Bob Cratchit works for the surly, mistletoe-hating Ebenezer Scrooge who severely underpays him and obviously is very reluctant to let him take Christmas Day off for a holiday. Later in the story we learn that Bob Cratchit has a very ill son referred to heartrendingly as Tiny Tim along with five or so other children whom he supports on his meager wage. Despite his frustrating employment, Bob Cratchit retains his holiday spirit and kindles that same spirit even in the soul of his sickly child whose future is potentially bleak. Cratchit’s story of familial sacrifice is one which contributes to Scrooge’s change of heart and which solidifies his role as a #1 Dad in any century.

Bob Cratchit

(Kermit the Frog as Bob Cratchit in The Muppet’s Christmas Carol with Michael Kaine)

8. Finally, the list is apparently not complete without mentioning the seemingly most popular literary Dad of all time (at least according to literally every single list I looked at while researching this topic), Atticus Finch from Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird. Atticus Finch is an attorney in pre-Civil Rights Act of 1964 South, a widower, and the solo parent of Jem and the novel’s narrator, Scout. The novel deals with serious issues about race but also depicts a caring father attempting to fill the role of both father and mother to his young children. This is a role many parents relate to and many children deal with. Growing up with a single mother and absentee father, my mother often tried to fill both the role of mother and father, an incredibly difficult and sometimes contradictory intention. While he isn’t my favorite literary Dad of all time, Atticus Finch lands the final spot on my list of father’s who have earned the name Dad through his tireless work in defending Tom Robinson, committed to his moral imperative to uphold justice though justice is not served in the conventional way, and solo parenting his two children.

Atticus Finch

(Gregory Peck as Atticus Finch in the 1962 adaptation of To Kill a Mockingbird with Mary Badham and Phillip Alford)

What literary fathers would you add to this list? Remove? My picks are largely not modern, there are many fathers in recent novels that no doubt have earned their #1 Dad mugs as well. Drop their names and the book titles in the comments!

Happy Father’s Day to all Dads, real and fictional!

Books for Baby

September 27, 2016

I started this post when I was 6 weeks pregnant and saved it to publish once I went public with the news that I was having a baby. But then I got caught up working two jobs, then summer reading programs came around, and basic preparing for baby hysteria. Anyway, I forgot about this post and haven’t blogged at all otherwise for these same reasons. But I figure better late than never! So now, at 35 weeks pregnant I am posting this book list.

March 2016

So, I am writing this post at 6 weeks pregnant exactly according to the pregnancy apps I have downloaded on my phone (first prenatal visit is usually scheduled for 8 weeks or so) but won’t publish it until after my first ultrasound when we should hear the heartbeat for personal superstitious reasons I wish I didn’t subscribe to. It was a surprise, one we certainly have welcomed but with some fear and anxiety. My husband and I are relatively young to be having a baby in this day and age, I am 25 and he is 23. We know there are many things we will have to learn to be good parents but we are willing and will try to be open minded.

So, besides charting my little embryo’s growth since I found out at exactly 4 weeks, the thing I have been most excited and emotional about having a baby is getting to buy children’s books. There are so many from my childhood that shaped my love of reading, language, and art. My private early registry consists mostly of books I want to fill Squishy’s (our nickname for our little chocolate chip-sized offspring) bookshelves with before his/her arrival.

Fairy tales are a must. I already own The Annotated Brothers Grimm edited by Maria Tatar and plan on buying The Annotated Hans Christian Anderson and The Annotated Peter Pan in the same series as well.

annotatedbrothersgrimm

annotatedhanschristiananderson

annotatedpeterpan

And Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens illustrated by Arthur Rackham because the illustrations are so gorgeous and I love that older, softer style of illustrations.

peterpaninkensington

I also own East of the Sun, West of the Moon: Old Tales from the North illustrated by Kay Nielsen which is just the most gorgeous book of fairy tales ever.

eastofthesun

Also on my list, but I have not read this edition Old French Fairy Tales by Comtesse De Segur and illustrated by Virginia Frances Sterrett which also has some really gorgeous illustrations. oldfrenchfairytales

Also included on that list of fairy tales are The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery, translated by Richard HowardSnow White and the Seven Dwarfs: A Tale from the Brothers Grimm, illustrated by Nancy Ekholm, translated by Randall Jarrell, and Lon Po Po: A Red-Riding Hood Story from China by Ed Young.

littleprince

snowwhiteandthesevendwarfs

lonpopo

And of course I want the more modern classics that we all grew up with like Winnie-the-Pooh which my father-in-law found these really awesome vintage copies of The World of Pooh and The World of Christopher Robin with the non-Disney illustrations. I have no links for the editions I own as I have not been able to find the exact kind anywhere but here is a link to the book with these illustrations.


Peter Rabbit and the entire Beatrix Potter collection were some of my favorite illustrated books growing up and I still own the box set I used, though it is held together by duct tape and covered in scribbles. I would probably purchase a new version for my baby like Beatrix Potter: The Complete Tales (Peter Rabbit).

beatrixpottercompletetales

Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown, illustrated by Clement Hurd, The Rainbow Fish by Marcus Pfister, The Giving Tree and Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein are modern classic must haves as well.

goodnightmoon

rainbowfish

Of course then there is the super modern, not quite a classic, but I am positive most people my age will want to share with their children, Harry Potter series. I already own The Illustrated Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling, illustrated by Jim Kay (I actually ordered The Philosopher’s Stone from Amazon UK).

illustratedharrypotter

There are also several books that I am not sure would be classified as classics or must haves but they are so visually appealing I kind of want them for myself. Some of the illustrations borrow from classic art styles and some are very modern.

Animalia by Graeme Base

animalia

House Held Up by Trees by Ted Kooser, illustrated by Jon Klassen

househeldupbytrees

The Magic Flute by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (THE Mozart), illustrated by Emanuele Luzzati (and hard to get a hold of)

magicflute

Along a Long Road by Frank Viva

alongalongroad

The Ship that Sailed to Mars by William Timlin

shipthatsailedtomars

The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats

snowyday

The Great Paper Caper by Oliver Jeffers

greatpapercaper

Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People’s Ears: A West African Tale by Verna Aardema, illustrated by Leo Dillon and Diane Dillon

whymosquitoesbuzzinpeoplesears

Outside Over There by Maurice Sendak

outsideoverthere

Flotsam by David Wiesner

flotsam

The Garden of Abdul Gasazi by Chris Van Allsburg

gardenofabdulgasazi

The Arrival by Shaun Tan

arrival

And just so, so many more. I want to line the walls of my baby’s nursery with books and honestly the older they get the more books I will want to buy and read to them and watch them read. I am so excited to share the beautiful things of this world with this little person who will be mine to teach and mold and watch explore. It is overwhelming and humbling.

*All book covers used in this post belong to their respective publishers, authors, and illustrators and are used in good faith to promote these titles and express my admiration for their work.

 

My (Scatterbrained) Process for Finding Inspiration While Writing

I have never really been the type of writer who finds inspiration for a story by people watching or otherwise going out into the world as strictly an observer. Some of my stories have been born out of active living, participation rather than passive observation. Even more of my story ideas have whacked me on the head in the middle of nowhere with no clear indication of where they came from. I am also not the type of writer bound to write what I know.

These stories which go bump in the night, crawl out from under my bed with desperate, bony, grasping fingers and begging to be told are most likely ignited by a desire to learn more about something, if I had to trace them back to anything. For instance, my current WIP is inspired by Middle Eastern mythology. I have always been interested in mythology, starting with the commercially popular brand of Greek and Roman (probably thanks in part to watching Disney’s Hercules way too much as a child).

As I learned more about my ancestry (Scandinavian-ish), my interests shifted to Norse mythology, folklore, and fairy tales. With the current state of affairs in the Middle East and the emphasis on the Islamic religion in politics, I became curious about the evolution of Middle Eastern beliefs and history. I just wanted to understand how they got from point A to point B and learn what point A even was.

Americans know very little about cultures outside of our own and I think that is sad. So when I got hit with the inspiration to write about Ancient Persian djinn I was able to both contribute to my understanding of a very important country and culture but also develop some pretty cool what I think are original plot ideas, settings, and character types.

When I am struck by sudden inspiration for a specific type of story (not just random, mismatched pieces of several stories) I tend to start writing immediately. I saved my current WIP for NaNoWriMo though I only had to wait about a month before I began writing. My second WIP that I haven’t fully committed to was one such story that I had to just sit down and begin writing straight away.

I usually don’t outline because I don’t give myself a lot of time to plan at the beginning. I allow the story to sort of serendipitously flow through me and tell itself. I don’t remember where I heard this (feel free to link to a course in the comments) but the best advice about writing a first draft I have ever gotten was “The first draft is you telling the story to yourself. The second draft is you telling the story to other people.” There is definitely a huge difference in explaining something to someone else as opposed to doing it yourself.

I have never loved my first drafts. I doubt I will ever write something and love it without editing and extensive rewriting. My first drafts are probably most like a box of Legos I just dump out, spread across the floor, and then build from the jumble. Some writers may leave the pieces in the box, choosing only the ones that will contribute to the final structure. I have never ever been this kind of writer. Or person.

That being said, weirdly my stories are often character driven. I will develop my character as I write but I usually begin with a fairly clear personality in my head, probably more based on myself and people I know than anyone else as I said before I do not enjoy people watching to build characters. I love starting off with my focus on one main character with some kind of flaw. My main WIP’s main character is a high school girl who suffers from debilitating shyness (a weakness inspired by own struggles with introversion and social anxiety).

I will sometimes use character questionnaires to fill out a character a little more during the first draft process or if I am struggling to write their perspective. Many writing blogs and websites have these questionnaires available if you choose to go this route for your own character development. The questions range from easy demographic ones like “What is your character’s hair color?” to more thought-provoking questions like “What is your character’s deepest fear?”

During the first draft, though I will work without an outline, I do not shy away from research. It can sometimes lead me on a tangent but my motivation for writing is in part driven by a desire to learn so I count it as part of the process. I also do not want to write a historically inaccurate detail in a major point in the story and have that detail derail my entire plot.

And that is essentially what I work from. It is by no means efficient nor would I recommend it to everyone but I think having an individualistic process is important to creating original content. Just follow your instincts, always be open to new ideas, and don’t be afraid to do that Google search in the middle of a big scene.

Book Review: Shadow and Bone (Book 1 of The Grisha Trilogy) by Leigh Bardugo

shadow-and-bone_hi-res-677x1024

(Book Cover Image Belongs to Leigh Bardugo and her team at Square Fish!)

Publisher’s Summary:

“Surrounded by enemies, the once-great nation of Ravka has been torn in two by the Shadow Fold, a swath of near impenetrable darkness crawling with monsters who feast on human flesh. Now its fate may rest on the shoulders of one lonely refugee.

Alina Starkov has never been good at anything. But when her regiment is attacked on the Fold and her best friend is brutally injured, Alina reveals a dormant power that saves his life—a power that could be the key to setting her war-ravaged country free. Wrenched from everything she knows, Alina is whisked away to the royal court to be trained as a member of the Grisha, the magical elite led by the mysterious Darkling.

Yet nothing in this lavish world is what it seems. With darkness looming and an entire kingdom depending on her untamed power, Alina will have to confront the secrets of the Grisha…and the secrets of her heart.”

Okay, so I think my only problem with this book is just that I read Six of Crows first and I was expecting something completely different (i.e. very similar to SoC). Shadow and Bone takes place in the same world as SoC but the books could not be more different, at least in my opinion. SaB follows a single protagonist, Alina Starkov, as she is revealed to have Grisha powers. She is whisked away to begin training as a Grisha, leaving behind a comfortable life in the army as a mapmaker and her best friend, Mal. During her training she meets the Darkling, a mysterious and temptingly handsome Grisha palace dignitary with a “shady” past.

So, love triangle-y. Not my favorite YA trope, though it isn’t a super invested love triangle or at least didn’t feel that way to me. Her feelings for Mal very much seemed to outweigh her feelings for the Darkling. She also seemed very helpless for the first half of the book and then suddenly becomes super powerful in a rushed moment of self-actualization I felt was too easy. The book did pick up after this point though and become more interesting, after Mal reenters the scene and she has assumed the bulk of her abilities. I still love the world Bardugo has created, though she utilizes it so much better in SoC. The ending of SaB led me to believe we would be exploring this universe more in this trilogy as well. It is the first in the trilogy so I will give the other two books a chance before completely dismissing this story. And the fact that I loved SoC doesn’t hurt either. I gave it three stars out of five on Goodreads.

Book Review: Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

sixofcrows

Publisher’s Summary:

“SIX DANGEROUS OUTCASTS. ONE IMPOSSIBLE HEIST.

Ketterdam: a bustling hub of international trade where anything can be had for the right price — and no one knows that better than criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker. Kaz is offered a chance at a deadly heist that could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams. But he can’t pull it off alone…

A convict with a thirst for revenge.

A sharpshooter who can’t walk away from a wager.

A runaway with a privileged past.

A spy known as the Wraith.

A Heartrender using her magic to survive the slums.

A thief with a gift for unlikely escapes.

Six dangerous outcasts. One impossible heist. Kaz’s crew is the only thing that might stand between the world and destruction — if they don’t kill each other first.”

 

I finished this book a few weeks ago, I have since started an internship and gotten halfway through Shadow and Bone by the same author so the book isn’t super fresh in my mind. I was too busy at the time to write a review but this book seriously deserves one.

I loved Six of Crows. It was exciting, the characters felt very real to me, not just real but damaged. I realize now I really like damaged characters. This is a YA fantasy, sort of steampunk-y, although I am not sure if that was intentional. It is definitely a world I have never seen before. Usually fantasy, especially YA fantasy feels like the same sort of universe across novels but this was so new to me, not only the world itself but the concept, the type of magic introduced was just a new thing, I can’t quite describe what it is.

I would recommend this book to anybody regardless of what type of genre they prefer, though there is some detailed violence which may disturb younger readers or the super squeamish. I picked up Shadow and Bone immediately after I finished this book because I loved it so much and felt the author was super talented. My review of that will be up as soon as I finish (Bardugo has definitely improved since writing S&B). Even better, Six of Crows will have a sequel which I am definitely excited for. Surprisingly the large cast of characters does not seem to overwhelm the book and each character is explored adequately according to the story’s need. You will definitely find yourself favoring some over others. They are each given very distinct personalities. I am excited to see the characters blossom even more in the next book.

I also love strong female characters (those do tend towards damaged more often than not and I am not at all sure how I feel about that trend but that is a different blog post) and this book has two main female characters with enviable characterization. I also enjoy that this book has diversity (the six main characters are not all white). The book itself is well paced and you will find yourself on the edge of your seat during some of the more daring escapades.

Highly recommend. I wish I had written this review right after I finished reading so I could express my reactions more strongly, but you will not be disappointed. Just go read it.

Writing A YA Series Among Other Things…

So, I have graduated from UK’s MLIS (Masters of Library and Information Science) program and I just started a four-month internship at my undergrad alma mater that only requires 20 hours a week of my time. I am taking a break from applying to permanent positions simply so I am not tempted to leave the internship and my managers in a lurch if offered a full time position which would clash with my commitment here and I believe finishing the internship will be more beneficial in the long run. It is a great academic library, a great university, and a fantastic opportunity with some of the nicest people I have ever met.

But, I feel like I could do more. Definitely more in the internship, I will be learning valuable day to day skills that cannot really be taught in college or grad school, but also more in my personal life and to meet my personally held dreams. One of those dreams is to pursue an agent and a major publisher for my WIP YA series.

It is difficult, with my anxiety issues (anxiety, depression, panic attacks, and insomnia) and some major agoraphobia problems I did not foresee, to plan for creativity, exercise, cooking, quality time with friends and loved ones, and in general the down time everyone needs to feel human. Especially with the commute for the internship which adds up to about an extra ten hours a week on the preexisting 20 hours. I do have big plans though and as soon as I have slept more than 4 hours within 72 hours I plan to sit down and really have a heart to heart discussion and planning session with myself. I need a deadline. And before starting my first full-time, permanent position (when I am lucky enough to find one) seems like a good one to finish the first book in my series, including all the drafts I can see needing. If I don’t at least make a go of it now, I am not sure I can ever see myself trying or having any level of success in the future.

Basically this is just a rambling hunger and sleep deprived tirade for change in my life, feel free to ignore it while I gather my thoughts.

Be the Judge of Your Own Information Needs: A Brief Examination of Information Resources and Methods for Evaluation

Reference services are vital in an information centric society. When a person approaches a reference desk they expect that professional to guide them towards a sufficient answer to their query. It is important to understand and evaluate those services and sources, especially for information professionals, to insure continued or increased quality of service. The answers to reference questions can have far reaching effects, from asking how to start a business to wanting to learn more about cancer treatments. Information professionals meet many demands and fulfill many service gaps in communities, especially those which are small, rural, or poor.

I have explored several reference services and sources on this blog, which you can find on the pages linked in the navigation bar. The Information Portal is essentially a pathfinder, or a document which provides sources to learn more about a specific subject. These are created for certain topics to provide ease of access to information by users. These can be created in anticipation of a query or at the request of one. These will point users towards relevant websites, databases, controlled vocabulary to search by, periodicals, etc.

The Reference Source Reviews I and II provide an evaluation of different types of reference sources used by information professionals. These sources can be encyclopedias, dictionaries, directories, or indexes, among several others. Information professionals must constantly evaluate reference sources to ensure they are relevant and useful to those who access them. In a medical setting or when dealing with medical information some reference sources may quickly become obsolete as new materials are published and new information discovered. Comprehensive review of available sources is another method of maintaining quality reference service.

The Reference Services Plan is a way for information professionals to develop quality reference services right out of the gate. Gaining an understanding of user type, information setting, and instituting a method of testing the success of these services are just some of the advantages of creating a reference services plan.

The Reference Services Evaluation is a strategy to evaluate existing services. This evaluation proposes methods for testing efficiency and accuracy of reference services, including the sample population to be evaluated, the method for the evaluation, tools required, and the method for synthesizing results so change can be implemented if needed based on any insights gained by the results. Evaluating existing services is another technique for testing the relevancy of reference services just as evaluating reference sources which information professionals use to fulfill queries keeps the sources up to date and reduces sources which are no longer usable for their original purpose.

The Database Analysis evaluates databases in which many information professionals as well as non-professional users find sources to answer queries. Databases are as susceptible to issues of usability as print resources and reference services. The analysis tests for accuracy as well as exploring how the database can be searched to effectively deliver relevant search results. Different databases can contain vastly different sources of information, exploring the scope of each database allows information professionals to more accurately pinpoint correct sources when performing a query search.

Understanding reference sources and services is not just important for information professionals. We are all users of information and so being able to discern “good” information from “bad” information is a useful skill for everyone. Information professionals are not infallible and the sources and services they provide aren’t either. In this day and age misinformation is as easily accessible, if not more so, than the correct information. It is up to the users of that information to question everything. I hope these pages provide some assistance in the process of evaluating your own sources of information, be it from a library, the World Wide Web, or a book bought at a yard sale.

Ipsy Product Reviews: August Glam Bag

It’s that Ipsy time of the month again! I love seeing that shiny pink envelope every month! This month’s bag was a nice variety of items you could literally use from head to toe.

This nail polish, Mister Pookies by Aila, was probably my favorite item of the month. I love this color. The website describes it as “steel grey with purple undertones” though it is a little more purple-y than grey. I still really love it. This polish requires two coats to really enjoy the full effect of the color. I used it on my finger and toenails. Love it. The website also describes the nail polish thusly:

  • 5 Free, Gluten-Free, Vegan
  • Made WITHOUT Parabens
  • Cruelty Free
  • Chip-resistant, super shiny, long-lasting
  • Made in the USA

Retail cost: $17.00

So far, very little chipping though I have washed at least 5 loads of dishes by hand and showed three times since applying.

(I have terrible nail beds and short nails so my nail pictures are never picturesque.)  

The face wash I am not sold on. It smells very strongly of lavender oil but lathers well. I blew a bubble with this stuff with my nose the size of my head. I have acne prone skin and at 25 still have monthly breakouts. I use Clearasil Acne + Marks Wash and Mask normally and it does a good job of keeping things under control. I have only used this product three times and it does not seem to have done any damage nor does it seem to work better than my existing product. The price points on these two seem to be the deciding factor, Clearasil is much cheaper at about $6 for 6.78 fl. oz. while Lather’s Ultra Mild Face Wash is about $19 for 6 fl. oz. I will continue to use this while it is not causing me breakouts and see what its effects are. So, tbd.

Retail cost: 1 fl. oz. $3

Briogeo’s Blossom & Bloom volumizing spray is my next favorite item if only for the smell. It is lovely and doesn’t leave your hands sticky when you apply it. The website describes it as “cruelty-free, 98 percent naturally-derived formula is vegan-friendly and formulated WITHOUT parabens, phthalates, silicone, gluten, synthetic fragrances and dyes.” So healthy and natural which is always a plus.

My hair was still pretty full after a full day and night, no flat head like I usually have at the crown of my scalp. I could wear my hair out like this with a little frizz control help from my Biosilk. Again, this is a product I will have to continue to use to see the full effect. But after one use I am pleased.

Retail cost: 1 oz. $3.60

Noyah’s Desert Rose lipstick was a toss up. I liked the color though it might be a little light for my skin tone but I could still see getting away with wearing it casually. It is a little dry so I wouldn’t wear this with chapped lips, the chapping shows. Unless there is some way you can treat chapped lips while wearing a drier lipstick. Or maybe I just haven’t worn lipstick in a really long time. I used to sneak into my mom’s Avon lipstick samples when I was a little girl and this reminds me of those. This product is packaged eco-friendly.

Retail cost: 1.4 g ~$5

Lastly, the lip liner, Absolute New York Waterproof Gel in True Red. I like the lip liner. I do, but I am not super adept at using lip liner. I wish the sample lipstick had matched this because I do not have an exact matching lipstick so the results always looked a little wonky. It did not smear easily though and very likely would have lasted a long time if I had not washed it off. The color is a beautiful rich red which I really liked.

Retail cost: $4.99

Total retail value of the August Glam Bag: $33.59

Last month’s bag was a little pricier but included more full size products than this month’s. However, I liked the variety of this month’s bag a little more.

Still highly recommend Ipsy, it is a great way to try new products.

Turkey Burgers

I saw this recipe for these multi-colored turkey burgers and had to try them. We do not eat a lot of burgers, I do not cook burgers often at home. We have been making a slow switch to turkey from beef lately, trying to eat healthier when possible. I never cared for the frozen, flavorless turkey patties you can get from the grocery store but these looked so flavor packed I thought they might redeem the turkey burger for me. For this recipe I subbed the red onion for yellow (the red is too strong for my ulcer to handle) and sun dried tomatoes for fire roasted because my local grocery store did not sell sun dried tomatoes. 

My complete ingredient list follows:

2 lbs ground turkey

1/2 cup breadcrumbs (though my final results were somewhat crumbly so you might want to increase this to 2/3 cup to 1 cup)

4 oz feta cheese

1/2 can fire roasted tomatoes drained

1 cup spinach chopped 

1 tsp oregano

1/2 yellow onion diced

2 cloves garlic diced

1 egg 

  

Combine everything.
  

Mix everything together. This recipe is constructed pretty much like a meatloaf. Make patties out of the meat mixture and grill according to your preferred methods. I used a George Foreman. The internal temperature for safe consumption of ground turkey is 165 degrees Farenheit according to the USDA. My parties were fairly delicate and easily pulled apart so be gentle grilling. They will hold mostly if handled carefully. I added provolone as soon as I removed them from the grill which helped keep them from crumbling further. 

  

Made for 10 decent patties and 3 completely destroyed ones.
 

I had a mess afterwards and had to scrape the crumbled parts off the grill before adding new patties but the result really was delicious. Perhaps this recipe would have made for a better meatloaf to avoid the mess but the burgers were delicious. I didn’t make the accompanying sauce as I don’t like dill so I just added mayonnaise, romaine lettuce, cucumbers, and the provolone I mentioned earlier on a regular bun. 

The flavor combination of this recipe was really great, I love feta and it melts in the meat in a very, very appealing way. All in all, an enjoyable recipe. If I ever find an interesting meatloaf sauce recipe I want to try, this will definitely be the recipe I use for the meatloaf itself.

Book Review: A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas


I had the pleasure of being introduced to Sarah J. Maas as an author when I read Throne of Glass a few years ago and the second sequel, Crown of Midnight, a couple of years ago both of which I thoroughly enjoyed. I loved how badass the main female character was and I am so glad she carried that character type into this novel.

Here is the publisher’s summary for the novel:

Feyre’s survival rests upon her ability to hunt and kill – the forest where she lives is a cold, bleak place in the long winter months. So when she spots a deer in the forest being pursued by a wolf, she cannot resist fighting it for the flesh. But to do so, she must kill the predator and killing something so precious comes at a price … 

Dragged to a magical kingdom for the murder of a faerie, Feyre discovers that her captor, his face obscured by a jewelled mask, is hiding far more than his piercing green eyes would suggest. Feyre’s presence at the court is closely guarded, and as she begins to learn why, her feelings for him turn from hostility to passion and the faerie lands become an even more dangerous place. Feyre must fight to break an ancient curse, or she will lose him forever.

The start of a sensational romantic fantasy trilogy by the bestselling author of the Throne of Glass series.

– See more at: http://www.bloomsbury.com/uk/a-court-of-thorns-and-roses-9781408857861/#sthash.SCrojywA.dpuf

The book is a retelling of Beauty and the Beast though I found a book list which listed an influence as being East of the Sun, West of the Moon, a Nordic fairy tale in which a polar bear steals a human girl to live with him in his ice palace. Though the BB parallels are much more identifiable.

Feyre is not your typical fairy tale heroine. Similar to the heroine of Throne of Glass who was emotionally distant due to her imprisonment at the beginning of the novel, Feyre does at least show some early potential for emotion. She has a romantic relationship with a village boy and shows an obvious warmth for at least one family member. But still, very closed off, take no prisoners, feral cat caught in a burlap sack type of heroine.

There are some steamy romance scenes in this novel and the pairing is so heartbreakingly perfect. I kind of hate that this book is the first in a trilogy only because I love this romantic pairing so much. I am afraid two more books and a possible love triangle (maybe even square?) may ruin it. Tamlin will always have my heart and can bite my neck anytime. *swoons* 😉

Maas definitely has a distinct writing style, she seems to favor warrior women MCs, violent fight scenes, and modern dialogue that doesn’t feel forced. Her characters talk like our generation which is refreshing. I also enjoy her world building abilities. Her descriptions of Prythian (even the Mortal Lands) are vivid, she can create a beautiful picturesque setting and then turn around and create an equally grotesque one and it is equally captivating.

This novel seems to be among an emerging trend of YA literature meant for older teens and young adults. There are romance novel elements in this book with some pretty steamy love scenes and then the gore is pretty explicitly described as well. Maas does not shy away from using more adult language either. The heroine is 19 but the novel definitely feels more YA than adult fiction (which is what my library labeled it under). I would have been drawn to this book in high school, I have always enjoyed retold fairy tales, and they are often targeted at teens. I wonder if this trend will continue to grow and what that means for the inclusion of YA, or this specific flavor of YA, in many teen collections in schools, libraries, and book stores.

Highly recommended along with her previous novels. I love a strong female character, though I thought this one would go soft at a certain point in the novel before Feyre got down to business and owned. Love her, love Sarah J. Maas. Definitely means I will be finishing the Throne of Glass series which I got behind on because of school and then wanted to read this because of the faerie fairy tale elements.