Moment of Zen: Aug 20-26

Bel Air 57 fins

I’ve been rediscovering things that I’ve liked for years but I have forgotten about, like the above pic of the back of a 1957 Chevy Bel Air, my favorite car for this year because the fins are pretty epic.  Granted I prefer it to be either red and white or baby blue and white, but the lines in this photo are gorgeous. I’m not sure if I’ll ever own one, but if I did, Arizona would be the perfect place to preserve it. This week I have been organizing teen/adult volunteers for Kids Cafe and getting ready for DiscoveryTime, which starts Sept 2nd. I’m finishing up my last two weeks helping out at one of our local branches, and though I’ve enjoyed my time elsewhere, I will be glad to be back on a normal schedule at my home library. My son seems to be somewhat settling in at school (he started about 2-1/2 weeks ago), though getting him actually in the building has been challenging. He’s always been one of those kids who hates the journey, but once he’s there in class, he’s usually fine and does well. Boo is so big and grown up in the pic below! It’s hard to believe he’s already in Kindergarten.  

Boo 1st day of school - Aug 2016

Boo’s 1st day of school – Aug 2016

Sat: Having a vegan lunch at Loving Hut with my mom and catching up on what’s been going on, and just relaxing as I feel like I’ve not had a whole lot of time to do that lately. The pandan cake and pho was delicious!

Sun: Eating brunch with my dad and son, and talking about family. The crimini mushroom, kale, mozzarella, roasted tomato and onion frittata was pretty tasty. I will give the melon cooler a skip next time though.

Mon: Talking to my friend Caren about everything going on and getting ready for bookclub on Sunday. I need to work on my discussion questions for the group. 

Tues:  Connecting with the supervisor at the branch library I’ve been working with this month, and talking about cooking and how much we hate to cook meat. 

Wed: Taco Salad Lunch with co-workers. It was part of the Community Service Fund Drive the Library does every year to benefit local charities and these were particularly yummy. I’ve also been indulging in the Ice Cream party version at the branch I’ve been working at for the past couple of weeks. 

Thurs: Hanging out with my son at the library where I work (when I’m not working). He loves going to Mach1 (our creative space for Makers, Artists, Crafters and Hackers). We tried the Minecraft and Star Wars Coding lessons on http://www.code.org, attempted battery-powered K’nex and then played with the Hyperdo making cool shapes. My son’s example is on the left and according to him is an AT-AT (from Star Wars) and mine is on the right (no idea what it was supposed to be, just my own creation). 

Hyperdo examples

Fri:  Probably talking about the book Harry Potter and the Cursed Child with a co-worker and finishing up reading the book, I enjoyed it and wrote a review, see below. 

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child a new play by Jack Thorne

Read 8/26/16

I love Harry Potter so I was curious about this play. It is based off a story by J.K. Rowling but I’m not sure how much is hers and how much was invented by Jack Thorne. As another Goodreads reviewer has said, it is basically fanfiction, and for me that is not necessarily a bad thing. Because it was written as a play and not a book, I think it loses a bit, which may be recovered if I saw the actual play itself (kind of like Shakespeare plays are easier to understand if you’re watching them).

There were some great quotes in the book and my favorite part is about in the middle where Ron is talking to Hermione (Act Three, Scene Seventeen, pg 223) and he thinks they should get a marriage renewal, which she of course thinks is totally romantic. He says:
“Well, we were only young when we did it the first time and I got very drunk and–well to be honest, I can’t remember much of it and…The truth is–I love you, Hermione Granger, and whatever time says–I’d like the opportunity to say so in front of lots of other people. Again. Sober.” I think that quote just encapsulates their relationship perfectly.

I also enjoyed a quote later on, in Act Four, Scene Four, between Draco and Harry when their sons are lost in time and they’re having an honest conversation about being parents and how hard that’s been. And Harry says to Draco: “Love blinds. We have tried to give our sons, not what they needed, but what we needed. We’ve been so busy trying to rewrite our own pasts, we’ve blighted our present.”

The play is set nineteen years after the events of “The Deathly Hallows,” and the gang is all middle-aged with families of their own. Ginny and Harry have married and have three kids, and Harry works for the Ministry of Magic while his wife is the sports writer for the Daily Prophet. Ron and Hermione are married and have one daughter, and Hermione is the Minister of Magic and Ron owns a joke shop. Harry’s kids are of course friends with Ron’s daughter and the book starts off telling the story of Albus, Harry’s middle child going to Hogwarts for the first time with Rose, Ron’s kid. On the train, they meet Scorpius, Draco Malfoy’s kid and there is this whole controversy about whether he is actually Voldemort’s son. Despite being sorted into Slytherin, Albus enjoys it and becomes best friends with Scorpius. Then the stuff really hits the fan. There’s time travel, first love, angsty teenagers who don’t get along with their parents, and of course Harry Potter and his scar. The ending was a bit predictable, but overall I enjoyed it. Recommended for ages 12+, 3-1/2 stars.

First Edition Book Contest

new-First Edition Flyer-updated

This is the second year of this awesome contest. I was on the committee that sponsored it last and part of this year and it is for a great cause: to give free good-quality children’s books to children ages 0-5 yrs, kids that may not have many books of their own. And every child deserves to have some books of their own. Southwest Human Development is a great resource for the community in regards to early childhood literacy, child development and child welfare. Last year’s winner was a local female author and former school librarian named Phoebe Fox and her book Up Up Up just recently got published. To buy a copy, please click here. I know it’s near the end of the contest, but please submit something and who knows, you might get published and win the contest! If you don’t want to write a children’s picture book but still want to help out with Children’s Literacy, become a Champion. See their website for more info! 

Moment of Zen: Aug 15-19

As I said before in the previous post, things have been pretty crazy this summer in my professional and personal life.The Summer Reading program is fun but keeps us super busy at the library. Plus I’ve been trying to decide where I want my career to go next within the library system I currently work in, and have only just now made a decision. Plus my personal life is a whole other minefield I won’t go into right now. So I’ve been trying to find new ways to become less stressed and more calm. I should take some examples from Bill the Cat and Opus the Penguin and have a spontaneous “monarch flash mob” instead of a nervous breakdown. 

Bloom County July 10, 2016

Because of all the stress and worry I’ve been having lately, I thought it would be good if I could find one awesome moment that made me smile each day. I’ve been thinking about this for ages, but have never managed to write it out. So in the future, I will be having at least one post a week about my daily “Moments of Zen” that I’d like to share. 

Tues: I was working at one of the branches for the first time, to get a feel for what it was like working there and they assigned me Kids Cafe. I’m the site supervisor at my location, so doing this on my own is no big deal. This little girl who was probably about 7-10 yrs old started talking to me as she was one of the first ones in there. She was so positive and happy to talk to me, excited even, and helped me put away chairs at the end of the program and gave me a hug. I had never met her before or visa versa, but it was just a nice experience. It made me feel really loved. 

Wed: I got complimented by one of my fellow co-workers who just became a supervisor. It was interesting because before then I had never really ever got direct positive feedback from him and to hear him praise me to another new co-worker was very cool because it made me feel very wanted/needed (which I hadn’t been feeling that there lately).

Thurs:  Experimenting with a completely new recipe and using beef (which I hardly eat) and having it turn out really tasty. 

Fri: Reading Imprudence by Gail Carriger, a book I’ve been waiting months to read and it was really hilarious and just enjoying my lunch break whilst reading it.

Summer Manga

This summer has been cray-cray! So much work and programming and personal life has been all over the place. So I have been reading a good amount of manga (29 and counting since end of April) this summer in between all the ARCs and book club reads because A. I enjoy them B. they are quick reads C. sometimes you just need something fluffy to read in between all the other stuff. I have discovered some pretty good stuff by accident, though some I knew about because of watching the anime version. I was very surprised how deep and meaningful A Silent Voice ended up being, and it is definitely one of the best mangas I’ve read this year. I’ve read more than I have reviewed, but I’ve been writing this post forever, so I figured I should end it soon. 

Strobe Edge Vol 1

Strobe Edge, Vol 1. written and illustrated by Io Sakisaka

Honestly at first I thought this book was a bit shallow and the main character clueless, but I will admit that is a bit of the charm of the book. Ninako has always relied on others to tell how she was feeling and has always been very nice but naive, which is why when she falls for the quiet popular guy Ren, she doesn’t know how to react. She wasn’t expecting it and most of her interactions with him are purely by luck and circumstance, but both of them seem to be falling in love with each other in a most unexpected way. Of course, there is another boy named Daichi who is in love with her, and they have been friends for years, but won’t say anything except to get pissed at Ren for “taking her away” from him. The twist in this story comes from the fact that Ren is dating Daichi’s older sister and his family has been going through a messy divorce. Will she bow to her friend’s pressure to date Daishi or follow her heart (though possibly have it broken) by pursuing Ren? Recommended for ages 13+, 3 stars. 

A Silent Voice #1 -2 by Yoshitoki Oima

A-Silent-Voice-Koe-no-Katachi-Volume-2

Shoya Ishida is a bit of a ruffian and slacker. He is in 6th grade and with the help of his two buddies, they make a new girl’s life a living hell. Shoko Nishimiya is the object of his torture, a pretty deaf girl who thinks the best of everyone, even in the midst of being harangued constantly by Shoya. He ends up ruining six of Shoko’s hearing aids before her mother draws her out of school, and charges his mother for the replacement of them, all $17,000 worth. Because of what he did, Shoya is ostracized for the next 6 years by his classmates and supposed friends and becomes an outcast. He makes up his mind to find Shoko and apologize to her in person, after he has paid back his mother all the money he owes her. He finally meets her and instead of simply apologizing, he tries to become her friend. She is at first bewildered by this, but kind of accepts it at the same time. He does seem like he’s turned over a new leaf, paying his mom back for the money he owes her, trying to help Shoko out, and learning sign language so they can communicate. Her sister Yuzuru is very protective of her and at first pretends to be her boyfriend to scare off Shoya (which leads to a hilarious scene in a public bath later on). In the end, Yuzuru decides that he is not being false and is sincerely trying to make amends. Their mother, however, will never forgive him. Will Shoya ever be able to get her mother’s forgiveness? What is his end game? How does Shoko really feel about him? To find out, read the first two volumes of this delightful series. Highly recommended for ages 13+, 5 stars. 

I forget what I was browsing when I discovered this title, but I’m glad I picked it up. The subject matter was so interesting and one I’ve never seen in mangas before, at least in this context. This handled some pretty tough topics such as bullying, depression, and thoughts of suicide, with a light touch. By that, I mean we are clearly shown the cause of the main character’s issues and the effect it had on his life afterwards (without being heavy-handed). I have dealt with all three of those in the past and been on both sides of bullying and I thought it was written very well. I think my favorite part had to be his mother’s reaction to finding out that he planned to end his life (as a mother, I can understand her reaction). 

Demon Love Spell

Demon Love Spell (Ayakashi Koi Emaki), Vol. 1-4 written and illustrated by Manyu Shinjo

This is quite possibly one of the worst name for a manga or anime, or really a book period. However, the story really wasn’t that bad. A good girl falling in love for a bad boy is not a new story, but watching her crumble was entertaining. Definitely a 16+ book though, as there are fairly graphic depiction of nudity and simulations of sex.

Miko Tsubaki is daughter of the head priest of the local shrine and her father is a famous demon hunter. She is supposed to be following in this footsteps, but her powers aren’t as good. One day she seals the powers of an incredibly powerful incubus (who seduces women into having sex with them to gain their power or energy) named Kagura, totally by accident, and they start living together. He is in a much different form though, not the sex god form she originally encounters but a mini boy child version (which makes for some interesting scenes). Eventually, Kagura proposes marriage to her and she says yes, only they have to convince both of their families it is a good idea. 

Volume 4 was my favorite one of the series because it made me laugh out loud so much I must’ve seemed like a crazy person.The series as a whole has been pretty hilarious as the incubus tries to get Miko, a priestess, to have sex with him so he can become even more powerful as a demon. But this volume is more stepped up as they are both falling more in love with each other and Miko’s resistance is falling fast. Plus every time she works up the courage to actually do it, they are interrupted by a crazy situation, aka the body swapping in this book.  Recommended for ages 16+, 4 stars. 

Wolf Children Ame and Yuki

Wolf Children: Ame & Yuki written by Mamoru Hosoda, illustrated by Yu and Yoshiyuki Sadamoto

I love love loved this book! It was a bit of a random pickup after I saw the book on a comics involving mothers booklist and thought it looked like fun. It was sweet and sad and wonderful! Plus fabulous illustrations that were so expressive. Hana is a young woman at university in a biology class when she meets a handsome but quiet young man and shares her textbook with him. They quickly fall in love, even after he reveals that he is half-wolf and can change at will. They soon have a baby girl named Yuki, followed a year later by a boy named Ame. Her husband has a tragic accident and dies, leaving young mother Hana to take care of two children by herself. She decides they would be able to be more themselves, aka half-wolf children, if they lived out in the country where her husband grew up. So they move way out and have to fend for themselves, learning to garden and be a part of nature. Her children are very different as they decide whether they want to be human or wolf on their own. Parts of this manga made me sob and it was totally heart-wrenching, but hopeful in the end. The anime version is great as well. Highly recommended for ages 15+, 5 stars.

Library Wars Vol 14

Library Wars: Love & War, Vol 14 written and illustrated by Kiiro Yumi

The Library Task Force (LTF) is still protecting the author Mr. Toma from the Media Betterment Committee guys aka the bad guys who want censorship, but decide he must defect from Japan to protect himself.  Kasahara and Instructor Dojo are helping Toma escape, but Dojo is injured and Kasahara must protect both of them from the MBC. Kasahara picks him up and takes him to safety. It finally happened! Kasahara finally got up the nerve to kiss Instructor Dojo after he is injured and tell him she likes him. He is shocked to say the least, but can still smirk at her as she is leaving. The LTF figured out that their mole was none other than Assistant Director Hatano and not Tezuka’s brother Satoshi. Dojo manages to make it a hospital where he has surgery to remove the bullet from his leg, and Kasahara drives Toma to Osaka. I liked it at the end of the manga when the LTF team members are discussing how similar Kasahara and Dojo are, and how Dojo used to be just like Kasahara when he first started. Highly recommended for ages 13+, 5 stars. 

Kimi Ni Todoke - From Me to You manga

Kimi ni Todoke (From Me to You), Vol 1- 10 written and illustrated by Karuho Shiina

I adore this series! I discovered the anime on Hulu and binge-watched it until the end, completely obsessed with it. So when I discovered there was also a manga, I jumped at the chance to read it. I am enjoying it because there is so much more in the manga that you don’t get in the anime show. Volume 1 is so adorable and I loved how the author/illustrator showed how Kazehaya was falling for her so early in the series instead of a bit later like they show in the anime. I mean he was nice to hear from the beginning but you don’t really see the love till later. Volume 1 is all about introducing us to the main characters and Sawako’s first year (1 of 3 years of Japanese high school). Sawako, who the teens have all dubbed Sadako (the long dark haired girl from the horror movie The Ring) because her behavior and mannerisms look the same, is a very quiet and shy girl with no friends. After a chance meeting with Kazehaya before school starts, she starts to slowly come out of her shell and try to get to know and befriend her classmates. They begin to see how cool she is and fun to be around. She becomes friends with Ayane and Chizuru, two girls who are the total opposite of her but soon become fiercely protective of each other. Because she is friends with Chizuru, she also befriends Ryu, Chizuru’s best friend (who is also secretly in love with her). With Kazehaya’s help, she is befriending more classmates and becoming well-liked with pretty much everyone, except Kurumi (who declares them rivals after she is rejected by Kazehaya). Then comes the incredibly slow burn romance between Sawako and Kazehaya culminating in a very awkward pronouncement from both of them that they like each other and start a relationship. I loved Ryu’s character even more in the manga, especially in relation to Chizuru. I can totally relate to Sawako as I was very shy in high school. Looking forward to reading more volumes in the series as this is pretty much where the anime stopped and I know there is at least 15 more volumes after that. Highly recommended for ages 14+, 5 stars. 

Kamisama Kiss Vol 20

Kamisama Kiss Vol. 20 written and illustrated by Julietta Suzuki

Namami and Tomoe are finally dating and they are in Okinawa for Nanami’s class trip. Mikage sends Tomoe on an errand to drop off a gift to the shrine maiden on an island nearby and Tomoe realizes it’s the same one he met so about 100 years ago. She tells him “the girl who lives in your heart is a good one,” and “you need to change if you want to make that girl happy.” He assumes that it means he must become human and starts reading up on it, but it really freaks Nanami out. Tomoe is kind of realizing how hard it will be to be a demon and have a human girlfriend, and she thinks he is rushing his decision to become human. Nanami goes to discuss things with Mikage who tries to make her see things through Tomoe’s eyes. Tomoe eventually takes the re-evolution potion that Kurama got from Ami (to turn her back to human after she was turned into a mermaid in the previous volume), and turns into a small white fox and then is stuck like that. Will he be able to turn back into a demon or even a human? To find out, read this exciting volume. Recommended for ages 14+, 5 stars. 

Demon Prince of Momochi House Vol 1     The Demon Prince of Momochi House

The Demon Prince of Momochi House, Vol 1-2 by Aya Shouoto

A fellow librarian recommended this series to me, so I decided to give it a try. I mean how can I not with a fox demon guy on the cover? They are a particular weakness of mine. The manga is about a orphaned girl named Himari Momochi who inherits a mansion on her 16th birthday. She soon realizes that things are not always as they seem. Once she gets there, she finds 3 gorgeous squatters who have no intention of leaving her house, which is a gateway between the demon and human world. Two of them (Yukari and Ise) are ayakashi (spirits) and the other is a human named Aoi who can transform into a fox/cat/butterfly demon. Aoi was chosen by the house to be its protector, and that is why he can change shape. The fox demon (Nue) reminds me a lot of Tomoe from Kamasama Kiss at least in looks (though a little more effeminate), though he and his alter ego are way nicer to start out with, and even features similar characters from that manga/anime.

Naturally Himari immediately falls for Aoi and is constantly talking about him and being concerned for his well-being. The funniest parts were how flustered she gets around him because he seems to be so naive, which makes me wonder how long he’s been the house protector. I look forward to finding out more about both of their characters and the mansion to better fill out the story. Recommended for ages 14+, 4 stars.