keilexandra: Adorable panda with various Chinese overlays. (Default)
How are you keeping track of your personal library? I've been cataloging with Libra, but it's long out of active development and the new Amazon search changes make it really impractical. I have some limited experience with AACR2 standards and am willing to use those for my personal collection, if I could find a free program to do it in. Are there any open-source library cataloging programs, casual or professional, out there?
keilexandra: (glomp)
I was chatting with my parents today--in Chinglish, this does not happen very often due to the language barrier--and I discovered that my mother reads romance novels in Chinese on the Internet. I promptly told her that I would get her an English romance novel as a belated birthday present.

So what book should I get her? Preferably something I can nab off BookMooch, so popular is fine and probably preferable. We're starting from a clean slate, since my mother has read NO English romance novels EVER. This is the important bit: reading level. I know she's not comfortable reading English novels, so this needs to be something very accessible. Grammar is not an issue so much as vocab--simple/common words are good. And, of course, it has to be a compelling read.

Thoughts, recommendations?
keilexandra: Adorable panda with various Chinese overlays. (Default)
* [livejournal.com profile] shwetha_narayan's wonderful poem "Apsara" is now up at Goblin Fruit for the summer. First link should be permanent, second is where you can read the poem right now (ETA: may also be permanent, and better formatted, if it goes in the archive).

* Dylan Thomas's "Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night," with audio--perhaps the most famous English-language villanelle.

* Via [livejournal.com profile] yhlee, The Periodic Table of Typefaces.

* Geeky article about Lenovo's new keyboard design. Nothing like Dvorak's complete overhaul, just some interesting usability tweaks. I will say this: I love my caps lock key for easily marking out book titles. I really want a big delete key, though... So annoying on this laptop to sloooowly reach up to hit it in the corner.

* Color illusion!

* Notable Unshelved strip.

* Isaiah 55:12--"...and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands."

* A compendium of beautiful--no, gorgeous--libraries.
keilexandra: Adorable panda with various Chinese overlays. (Default)
I've entered about half of my book library into Libra, which is mostly satisfactory--but worrisome as the original site/developer appears to be long gone. Are there any other good programs? Media support is nice but unnecessary as I own very few CDs/DVDs; it's the books that I want to organize.

LibraryThing is out, as the website loads very slooooowly for me. I want a snappy desktop client!
keilexandra: Adorable panda with various Chinese overlays. (Default)
* I have 3 Dreamwidth invite codes to give out, anyone want? Comment with your email address (comments are screened) and I will update here with the number remaining. ETA: Gone already! That was fast.

* Vermont legalizes gay marriage through a legislative override of a governor veto. [livejournal.com profile] seth_dickinson is proud, I'm sure.

* Voluntary Human Extinction Movement!

* Via [livejournal.com profile] yhlee and VSL, a neat musical game called BallDroppings.

* On AmazonFail/TrollWin: [livejournal.com profile] mac_stone alerts me first to [livejournal.com profile] markprobst's post, Amazon Follies. [livejournal.com profile] fireriven then points me to [livejournal.com profile] rosefox's linkage summary; Dear Author also chimes in. Finally, [livejournal.com profile] tehdely points out the traits of trolling, Bantown, and similarity to Strikethrough; over at [livejournal.com profile] brutal_honesty, [livejournal.com profile] weev claims responsibility for propagating the lulz.

* Via [livejournal.com profile] netmouse from [livejournal.com profile] racism_101, an illuminating pictorial comparison of AvatarFail. Racebending has also started a petition.

* Belatedly, the first Asian Women's Carnival is just awesome. I've collected a lot of good stuff from that and previous RaceFail fallout; there's enough for one loooong Link Anthology, even discounting the ones I want to discuss in full-length posts. Haven't decided yet whether the discussion will be flocked.

* In non-activism news, an interesting article about linguistics and speech development, courtesy of StumbleUpon.

* Also via StumbleUpon, trees in stitches!

* ZOMG CUTE Tweenbots--little cardboard robots in NYC--via [livejournal.com profile] yhlee and others.

* [livejournal.com profile] nihilistic_kid talks about how to write a term paper.
keilexandra: Adorable panda with various Chinese overlays. (Default)
* Via Dave Wolverton's email list, how to sketch a novel in an hour (a free writing exercise). I'm going to try this tonight, hopefully--the Snowflake Method is a bit too overwhelming when I've only got a tiny inkling of what's going on.

* [livejournal.com profile] yhlee and [livejournal.com profile] rachelmanija have launched [livejournal.com profile] springfluff, "a no-stress, no-deadline fandom gift exchange"!

* Why skilled immigrants are leaving the United States--the same reason why my father, who has a Ph.D. and is a Canadian citizen (so not even from the high-immigrant countries of China and India), waited five years to receive permanent residency.

* Jo Walton ([livejournal.com profile] papersky) on real world reading for fantasy writers. An old link, but obviously still relevant.

* The Bush Administration's memos regarding the War on Terror.

* For Asian faces, M. Night Shyamalan goes to Virginia--not the most informed news article ever, but it does give [livejournal.com profile] aang_aint_white much-needed press coverage.

* Via [livejournal.com profile] yhlee, Cake Wrecks on the problem with phone orders. Laugh-out-loud funny.

* Did you know there's a Discworld MUD? I haven't tried it yet, but it tempts me...
keilexandra: Adorable panda with various Chinese overlays. (Default)
The Arbitrary Compilation of Books by/about POC, not!live from your local Delaware library:
Part I
Part II
YA Edition
Part III [This one!]

As usual, asterisks indicate recommendations and brackets indicate special notes.

*Shark's Fin and Sichuan Pepper: A Sweet-Sour Memoir of Eating in China by Fuchsia Dunlop [nonfiction]
China by Yann Layma [nonfiction/photography]
Aloft by Chang-rae Lee
Gesture by Chang-rae Lee
China Saga by C.Y. Lee
Cloud Mountain by Aimee Liu
Flash House by Aimee Liu
Spring Moon by Bette Bao Lord
Jian by Eric Lustbader
The Cairo Trilogy by Naguib Mahfouz [one book]
Wedding Song by Naguib Mahfouz
The Two Chinatowns by Dan Mahoney
*The Mango Season by Amulya Malladi [my review; highly rec'd]
The Rice Mother by Rani Manicka [SE Asia/Malaysia]
Shalimar by Kamala Markandaya
The Bride's Kimono by Sujata Massey
The Samurai's Daughter by Sujata Massey
Autumn Bridge by Takashi Matsuoka
Cloud of Sparrows by Takashi Matsuoka


A short contribution today, and late as well.
keilexandra: Adorable panda with various Chinese overlays. (Default)
A funny comic about writers, readers, and compulsory reading.

[livejournal.com profile] yhlee discusses her [livejournal.com profile] livelongnmarry music commission for [livejournal.com profile] swan_tower, a.k.a. Marie Brennan. Follow through for a link to download the mp3.

An online copyright slider.

The Guardian's Top 10 Asian Crime Novels, a significant number of which are written by POC. Also the top 10 SF novels written by women.

Via [livejournal.com profile] magicnoire, an addictive game called Word Vine.

Via [livejournal.com profile] telophase, a small-press release of Sherwood Smith's bildungsroman prequel to Crown/Court Duel, A Stranger to Command. I probably can't afford to buy it, but you should.

Via [livejournal.com profile] yhlee, Charles Coleman Finlay's short and original short story "Footnotes."

For those who followed the Helix debacle, the alternative archive Transcriptase will allow you to enjoy selected stories without contributing to Helix's pageviews.


And probably much more to come, sporadically, as I work through two weeks of Internet-reading backlog.
keilexandra: Adorable panda with various Chinese overlays. (Default)
The Arbitrary Compilation of Books by/about POC, not!live from your local Delaware library:
Part I
Part II [this one!]
YA Edition
Part III

As always, asterisks mark tentative recommendations, i.e. books that I would check out on a whim if I wasn't so overloaded with backlog.

Color of the Sea by John Hamamura
The Jasmine Trade by Denise Hamilton
*Sadika's Way: A Novel of Pakistan and America by Hina Haq
The Revenge of the Forty-seven Samurai by Erik Christian Haugard
The Mulberry Empire by Philip Hensher
The Last Chinese Chef by Nicole Mones
Empress of the Splendid Season by Oscar Hijuelos
Mr. Ives' Christmas by Oscar Hijuelos
A Simple Habana Melody by Oscar Hijuelos
*A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini [my review; rec'd]
*The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro
The 47th Samurai by Stephen Hunter
*Beasts of No Nation by Uzodinma Iweala [about war in West Africa]
The Two Hearts of Kwasi Boachi by Arthur Japin
The Blue Bedspread by Raj Kamal Jha
East into Upper East by Ruth Prawer Jhabvala
My Nine Lives by Ruth Prawer Jhabvala
Poet and Dancer by Ruth Prawer Jhabvala
The Crazed by Ha Jin
*Waiting by Ha Jin
War Trash by Ha Jin
Kagami by Elizabeth Kata
*The Swallows of Kabul by Yasmina Khadra
Trespassing by Uzma Aslam Khan
*Mirage by Soheir Khashoggi
Mosaic by Soheir Khashoggi
Tripmaster Monkey: His Fake Book by Maxine Hong Kingston
*The Budding Tree: Six Stories of Love in Edo by Aiko Kitahara
Flowers for Mei-Ling by Lorraine Lachs [warning: protag looks like the stereotypical "Oriental" woman]
Empress Orchid by Anchee Min [read before starting this journal; good story but tedious prose]
Katherine by Anchee Min
The Last Empress by Anchee Min
Wild Ginger by Anchee Min
keilexandra: Adorable panda with various Chinese overlays. (Default)
The Arbitrary Compilation of Books by/about POC, not!live from your local Delaware library:
Part I
Part II
YA Edition [this one!]
Part III

More books by or about POC from the shelves of my local library. I wish I had time to go through and at least add Amazon review quotes to all of these. If anyone has written informative reviews of any of these books, please link to them in comments and I'll add a [note]. Asterisks mark books that I would tentatively recommend, mostly unread, to those on the flist looking to diversify their reading.

*Does My Head Look Big in This? by Randa Abdel-Fattah
The Sky that Changed Forever by Firyal Alshalabi & Sam Drexler
Before We Were Free by Julia Alvarez
Finding Miracles by Julia Alvarez
*The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing: Traitor to the Nation: Volume 1, the Pox Party by M.T. Anderson
Samurai Girl: The Book of the Sword by Carrie Asai [see [livejournal.com profile] magicnoire's cautionary comment]
In Beautiful Disguises by Rajeev Balasubramanyam
Marisol and Magdalena: The Sound of Our Sisterhoood by Veronica Chambers
Quinceañera Means Sweet 15 by Veronica Chambers
Wandering Warrior by Da Chen
Born Confused by Tanuja Desai Hidier
Wings by Julia Gonzales
*Book of a Thousand Days by Shannon Hale [my review; highly rec'ed]
La Línea by Ann Jaramillo
Breaking through by Francisco Jiménez
The Circuit by Francisco Jiménez
The Beat Goes on by Adele Minchin
*The Fold by An Na
Wait for Me by An Na
Fire in the Hills by Donna Jo Napoli
*Zahrah the Windseeker by Nnedi Okorafor-Mbachu
Cuba 15 by Nancy Osa
Sammy & Juliana in Hollywood by Benjamin Alire Sáenz
Eyes of the Emperor by Graham Salisbury
Getting It by Alex Sanchez
The God Box by Alex Sanchez
*Swimming in the Monsoon Sea by Shyam Selvadurai
Shiva's Fire by Suzanne Fisher Staples
Haters by Alisa Valdes-Rodriguez
Flight to Freedom by Ana Veciana-Suarez
*The Sunbird by Elizabeth E. Wein
Chu Ju's House by Gloria Whelan
Native Son by Richard Wright
keilexandra: Adorable panda with various Chinese overlays. (Default)
The Arbitrary Compilation of Books by/about POC, not!live from your local Delaware library:
Part I [this one!]
Part II
YA Edition
Part III

I'm going to keep a list of books found on my library shelf by or about POC; this post will be updated weekly until I get through the library's entire fiction collection. The advantage of assembling this through shelf-reading is that I get to look at covers and descriptions, from which it's easier to find such books than online. An exhaustive list would be way too impractical, so this is arbitrarily specialized. However, it's my hope that you will at least consider these books if you're looking for something to read. The library does not divide by genre, so there'll be a good mix. I have generally eschewed explaining the qualifying criteria, except in borderline cases, since I haven't read most of these books.

It's interesting to note that I found most of these books either through name (title/author) or cover. Especially with the Asian books, every cover seems to be a variation on paper texture and repeating floral or curlicue patterns.

Asterisks mark books that I would tentatively recommend to the flist.

*The Secrets of Jin-shei by Alma Alexander
*The Teahouse Fire by Ellis Avery
The Harmony Silk Factory by Tash Aw
*The Sari Shop by Rupa Bajwa
China Run by David Ball [adoption story set in China]
Daughter by Asha Bandele
The Last Friend by Jahar Ben Jelloun
Mystic Dreamer by Rosanne Bittner
*My Name is Sei Shōnagon by Jan Blensdorf [my review; rec'd]
*Crystal Rain by Tobias S. Buckell [[livejournal.com profile] tobiasbuckell]
*Ragamuffin by Tobias S. Buckell [my review]
*Kindred by Octavia E. Butler
Inheritance by Lan Samantha Chang
American Woman by Susan Choi
Bruiser by Ian Chorão
The Saffron Kitchen by Yasmin Crowther
Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress by Dai Sijie
*The Tale of Murasaki by Liza Dalby
*For Matrimonial Purposes by Kavita Daswani
The Village Bride of Beverly Hills by Kavita Daswani
Plum White by Angela Davis-Gardner
The Point of Return by Siddhartha Deb
Queen of Dreams by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni
Dynasty by Robert Elegant
From A Far Land by Robert Elegant
Mandarin by Robert Elegant
The Samurai by Shusaku Endo
*Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro [my review]
When We Were Orphans by Kazuo Ishiguro
Dream of the Walled City by Lisa Huang Fleischman
India Gate by Lacey Fosburgh
The Eagle's Throne by Carlos Fuente
Licorice by Carlos Fuente
The Crystal Frontier by Carlos Fuente
Inez by Carlos Fuente
The Years with Laura Díaz by Carlos Fuente
*Cassandra French's Finishing School for Boys by Eric Garcia [not about POC, but looks like a great romantic comedy]
Bloody Secrets by Carolina Garcia-Aguilera
Luck of the Drew by Carolina Garcia-Aguilera
The Autumn of the Patriarch by Gabriel García Marquez
*Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel García Marquez
The Glass Palace by Amitav Ghosh
*The Syringa Tree by Pamela Gien [set in South Africa!]
Peking by Anthony Grey
The Painting by Nina Schuyler
Dragon Bones by Lisa See
*Peony in Love by Lisa See [my review]
keilexandra: Adorable panda with various Chinese overlays. (Default)
I have a backlog of book reviews to work through, but meanwhile: Deep Discount is offering its biannual coupon code. DDAF takes 20% off already discounted prices, and free shipping. How great is that? They have DVDs, CDs, books (hint hint), and a bunch of other stuff. I've never ordered before, but it's a large and reputable retailer. And with the code, it beats Borders' price (even with 30% off one item coupon) every time. [Via Mir at Want Not.]

Pondering

Mar. 2nd, 2008 12:27 am
keilexandra: Adorable panda with various Chinese overlays. (Default)
[personal profile] rachelmanija, have you read The Palace of Illusions by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni? It's apparently a retelling of the Mahabharata from Princess Panchaali's viewpoint. I like historicals and feminist novels, but the moralistic, retrospective tone in The Blood of Flowers really annoyed me, so I'm on the fence about adding this one to the queue. Your thoughts, or anyone else's?
keilexandra: Adorable panda with various Chinese overlays. (Default)
An amazing lifehack that I can't believe I only just discovered: The LibraryLookup Project.
keilexandra: Adorable panda with various Chinese overlays. (Default)
Yes, I know it's January 4th already. I don't normally do end-of-year wrap-ups because they get depressing, but extentuating circumstances intervene. No new year's resolutions; I find those even sillier. But I will say that since my birthday this year, May 9th, 2007, when I decided to keep a linked booklist of reviews, I have read 67 books, did not finish 6 books, and reviewed 71 books. For 2008 I expect to break 100, since I'm starting from the beginning of the year instead of halfway through. Which means, of course, that my perma-link on the sidebar requires updating.

Which leads me to the aforementioned extentuating circumstances. I've combed through the Customize Journal pages, and I can't effing find the place to change the Guestbook entry link. (I did manage to change the link-text from Guestbook to Booklist, though.) Because I've finished my first book of 2008--Singer in the Snow by Louise Marley--and I need to write up the review and keep things organized, damn it.

Halp?
keilexandra: Adorable panda with various Chinese overlays. (Default)
I've been thinking about joining BookMooch for a while now; I actually do have an account, but with nothing on it. My main concern is shipping costs--hence, I ask the almighty flist! If I did decide to participate, I'd only ship within the US; so, considering that I live on the East Coast, what are the approximate/average shipping costs for mass market, trade, and hardcover (respectively)? I'm not sure if cost increases with distance if it's domestic, but you can figure shipping to California for the purposes of this question.
keilexandra: Adorable panda with various Chinese overlays. (Default)
Apparently I had a chance to meet [profile] jpsorrow (Joshua Palmatier) at Confluence this year, but I missed him. I did pick up a promotional postcard and considered his books, but they aren't available at my library and my book-buying budget is extremely tight. Still, I do read his LJ and his fantasy trilogy sounds interesting. If I happened upon a copy, I'd definitely read it.

So look, a blog contest! The second book of the trilogy, The Cracked Throne, was recently released in paperback and he's promoting it with a grassroots word-of-mouth effort. Although I haven't read the books, I've heard good things about them from reputable sources, so I have no qualms about recommending it. Invented-world urban fantasy, I would say from the cover copy. Excerpts from the first two books are available online at his website, and I'll even give you a direct link to the promotional pages: The Skewed Throne and The Cracked Throne. My only caveat is with his website color scheme, which makes my inner amateur-designer wince. But no matter; Palmatier is a writer, not an artist.

The concluding volume of the trilogy, The Vacant Throne, will also be released in hardcover in January 2008. Although for many reasons, it'd probably be best to start with The Skewed Throne and work your way through.

Plus, he attended Confluence. That automatically gives him brownie points in my book!

Books!

Oct. 30th, 2007 07:37 pm
keilexandra: Adorable panda with various Chinese overlays. (Default)
Why do many literary novels have the subtitle, "A Novel"? It seems like a perfectly obvious and useless appellation.

Dropped by the library tonight and checked out three YA novels, two of which were shelf-grabs (the last is Cross My Heart and Hope to Spy by Ally Carter, which is a NYT-bestseller and guaranteed comfort reading--I've already read the first chapter). I haven't read much YA lately--finally finished The Annotated Pride and Prejudice, currently working on Lolita--so it should be a refreshing change. Especially as NaNoWriMo starts in two days, so I won't have time to read much.
keilexandra: Adorable panda with various Chinese overlays. (Default)
These are the top 106 books most often marked as "unread" by LibraryThing's users (as of today). Bold what you have read, italicize what you started but couldn't finish, and strike through what you couldn't stand. The numbers after each one are the number of LT users who used the tag of that book.

keilexandra: Adorable panda with various Chinese overlays. (Default)
Justine Larbalestier rants--mysteriously--about the worst book ever written. I've tried Googling it, but no luck. Does it sound familiar to anyone?

Via Dear Author, the grand opening of TRiXY LiON PublsiHing [sic]. Shield your eyes if you click!

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