The Girl on the Train?

The Girl on the Train?

If you work at a public library, you’re bound to have heard of the latest thriller, The Girl on the Train. In my library system there are currently 285 holds on the 101 copies we have in our collection, ergo, it is an extremely popular book. Apparently, “Gone Girl fans will devour this psychological thriller” (People) and “Nothing is more addicting than The Girl on the Train” (Vanity Fair). Needless to say I had to get my hands on a copy to see what all the fuss was about. I did, in fact, devour and thoroughly enjoy Gone Girl, so I assumed this book would be a hit, as well.

If you’re completely out of the librarian-loop, here is a brief synopsis from Amazon.com:

Rachel takes the same commuter train every morning. Every day she rattles down the track, flashes past a stretch of cozy suburban homes, and stops at the signal that allows her to daily watch the same couple breakfasting on their deck. She’s even started to feel like she knows them. “Jess and Jason,” she calls them. Their life—as she sees it—is perfect. Not unlike the life she recently lost. And then she sees something shocking. It’s only a minute until the train moves on, but it’s enough. Now everything’s changed. Unable to keep it to herself, Rachel offers what she knows to the police, and becomes inextricably entwined in what happens next, as well as in the lives of everyone involved. Has she done more harm than good? Compulsively readable, The Girl on the Train is an emotionally immersive, Hitchcockian thriller and an electrifying debut.

It sounds like a promising, thrilling read; however, I just finished reading it and I am left feeling let down. Am I the only person on the entire planet who was unimpressed by this novel? Perhaps since there was such a build-up I was expecting too much… although Gone Girl lived up to the hype.

I found the beginning of the story to be tedious- you start to wonder if the entire storyline is going to consist of Rachel’s daily commute on the train. I found my mind wandering, which is never a good sign, especially when the book is supposed to be an “electrifying” and “compulsive” read. I also found the character development rather weak. The story starts out alternating between Rachel and another character, Megan, narrating the chapters, and although the chapters are properly labeled with each character’s name, I didn’t even realize at first that there were two different characters. When a third character was added- Anna- I still didn’t see her character differ from the others. Generally when you have several different characters narrating a story, they all have distinct personalities, which makes it easy to distinguish which character is “speaking” at the time. This story was none too clear.

I also would not necessarily consider this a “thriller”- a mystery, yes; I continued reading it because I was curious how the story would end. But a real thriller is like Gone Girl when the story takes that turn in the middle and your mouth drops open, or in Dean Koontz’s Hideaway when you literally jump in your seat. The Girl on the Train paled in comparison. There also was no surprise-ending- nothing shocking or unpredictable happened, and you weren’t left feeling unsettled in the end, as with Gone Girl.

I don’t mean to bash this novel by any means. I’m simply confused as to why this book is flying off the shelves and being “devoured” by so many readers.  Am I completely missing something here? Feel free to enlighten me and help me see this book as more than a weak (and rather annoying) main character, her train rides, and a ho-hum murder mystery.

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Exciting Apps

Exciting Apps

Check out LibraryScienceList.com’s list of 45 Most Exciting Apps for Librarians! Although the list seems to be missing some important apps, such as OverDrive, OneClickDigital, and 3M Cloud Library for reading/listening to audioBooks and eBooks. Another fantastic app is the voice recorder, SuperNote- great for meetings or for students needing to record lectures! Also, if you’re looking for a new library job, try the Indeed Jobs app.

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What Pet Should I Get?

What Pet Should I Get?

A new Dr. Seuss book has been discovered! Twenty-four years after the death of Dr. Seuss, the manuscript for “What Pet Should I Get?” was found. It will be published by Random House and available for purchase on July 28th.

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It’s Purple Week!

It’s Purple Week!

Purple WristbandsFebruary 1-7th is Eating Disorder Awareness Week. The Provincial Eating Disorders Awareness (PEDAW) campaign works to promote awareness of eating disorders- their prevention, treatment, and resources, and to promote a healthy body image and lifestyle. On Friday, February 6th make sure to wear purple to show your support, and check out some local structures that will be turning purple for the day!

The library can also do its part by making sure resources are available for library patrons. Why not create a LibGuide, pathfinder, or handouts on eating disorders? Read some of the latest studies on eating disorders so that you’re more familiar with their treatment and etiology. How about creating a book display of purple books for the week, along with local eating disorder resources and information on PEDAW? Any other ideas?

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Books to Movies in 2015

Books to Movies in 2015

Get ready for the following books to become movies in 2015!

  • Dark Places by Gillian Flynn- hopefully this will be as good as Gone Girl!
  • Fifty Shades of Grey by E L James- oh my, is all I can say about this one
  • Insurgent by Veronica Roth- if you’re into the dystopian thing
  • The Longest Ride by Nicholas Sparks- typical Sparks love story
  • Paper Towns by John Green- another best-seller of John Green, author of The Fault in our Stars
  • Me Before You by JoJo Moyes- I’ve heard this book is a real tear-jerker, so I’m guessing the movie will be too
  • Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins- the second half of the book, for those who have been left hanging
  • The Secret Scripture by Sebastian Barry- looking forward to this one, as it’s been on my reading list for awhile now- “a 100-year-old mental patient, investigates her past and unearths some troubling memories”
  • Room by Emma Donoghue- looking forward to this one, as well- it was an incredible read! The story is told through the eyes of a 5 year old boy, who is held captive in a small room with his mother.
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So You Want to be a Medical Librarian?

So You Want to be a Medical Librarian?

I came across an interesting read the other day that I thought I’d share: So you want to be a medical librarian, perhaps? The article interviews four medical librarians and gives useful advice on how they got started in the field. For any of you out there interested in pursuing a career in the health sciences, as I am, it’s definitely worth a read!

My own tips, which I have done so far, include the following:

  • join a professional association (CHLA)
  • take a course in medical librarianship in grad school- my favourite class at SJSU!
  • complete a medical terminology course- St. John Ambulance offers classes
  • focus your undergrad degree on a health-related specialty- I majored in psychology
  • practice searches using PubMed and become familiar with the MESH browser, as well as any medical databases you have access to
  • follow medical librarians/libraries/associations on Twitter and Facebook
  • interview a medical librarian
  • volunteer in a hospital library or any health information resource facility
  • Good luck!

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    Best of July

    Best of July

    I’ve been reading a lot this summer, and so far my top picks for July are the following:

      Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn– Soon to be made into a movie, this thriller is full of plot twists and loads of suspense. The story is about Amy Dunn, who mysteriously goes missing from her house one summer day. Her husband, Nick, looks increasing suspicious as the investigation proceeds… but could he really have killed his wife?
      The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty– This story is about a mother of three, Cecilia, and her seemingly perfect life, complete with her perfect husband… or so she thought. One day while Cecilia’s husband is out of town, she finds a letter addressed to her from her husband that is only to be opened upon his death, as it holds a life-changing secret. Curiosity gets the best of Cecilia, and after reading the letter her family’s life is forever changed… This is one of the best “chick-lit” books I’ve ever read. It has more suspense and is more thought-provoking than your average “chick-lit” read. Definitely recommend it, as I read the whole book in one day!
      OCD Love Story by Corey Ann Haydu– This YA book is about Bea, a high school student who struggles with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. She soon falls for Beck, a boy in group therapy and finally she finds her match- someone who understands her quirks and can relate to her situation. It’s a cute, high school love story; however, it’s also raw and emotional, as it’s a very real depiction of living with a serious mental illness.
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    Job Resources

    Job Resources

    I recently attended a workshop called “Skilled Immigrants,” which provided information on immigration and job searching in Canada. Many of the job search resources covered were not only applicable to immigrants, but also to anyone searching for a new career, or anyone interested in general career development. Below is a list of some of the resources that I found most interesting:

    • Sokanu– take their quiz and find out what career matches your personality and interests.
    • Careerealism– contains many useful articles on career development, work-life balance, job searching, and much more.
    • Eluta– a job search engine of Canada’s top 100 employers. One feature that I found to be particularly helpful was the Career Directory for New Grads- choose your degree, field of study, and search for employers that recruit people with that specific educational background!
    • Quintessential Careers– loads of job search tools and career resources.
    • GlassDoor– a job search engine; an inside look at companies, and most useful- practice interview questions actually used at companies.
    • Alison– engage in life-long learning with these free, certified online courses.
    • GCF Learn Free– free online learning, including job development courses.
    • Rate My Employer– research and screen potential employers.
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    Most Wonderful Time of the Year…

    Most Wonderful Time of the Year…

    Here’s a list of good Christmas reads for adults:

    • Skipping Christmas by John Grisham- imagine a year without Christmas; a hilarious look at the chaos and frenzy that have become part of our holiday tradition
    • Holidays on Ice by David Sedaris- collection of six essays about Christmas, some new and some previously published; known as “one of the funniest writers alive” (Economist)
    • The Bridge by Karen Kingsbury- heartwarming Christmas story about a hundred-year flood, lost love, and the beauty of enduring friendships
    • The Christmas Train by David Baldacci- a sweet holiday tale; differs greatly from Baldacci’s usual fast-paced thrillers
    • Wishin’ and Hopin’: A Christmas Story by Wally Lamb- “Both heartwarming and laugh-out-loud funny… a cast of characters that are both uproarious and unforgettable… a poignant reminder that family and friends are the greatest gift of all.” (Hartford Books Examiner ) (Not to mention that anything by Wally Lamb is worth reading!)
    • The Christmas Box by Richard Paul Evans- “This inspiring holiday tale tells the touching story of a widow and the young family who moves in with her, and the ways in which they discover together the first gift of Christmas and what the holiday is really all about..” –Barnes & Noble; eight million copies in print!
    • All I Want for Christmas by By Sherrilyn Kenyon, Lori Foster, Eileen Wilks and Dee Holmes- ‘tis the season for passion; four of the best romance authors team up for this hot Christmas romance 
    • The Christmas Shoes by Donna VanLiere- heart-tugging Christmas tale; may not be suitable if you’ve recently lost someone to illness, as it deals with a character losing his mother to cancer
    • Santa, Baby by Jennifer Crusie, Lori Foster and Carly Phillips- “You’ll believe in Santa all over again with these seductive stories” 😉
    • A Wallflower Christmas by Lisa Kleypas- light, humorous Christmas romance
    • An Irish Country Christmas by Patrick Taylor- heartwarming, cozy tale of yuletide merriment by the New York Times bestselling author of An Irish Country Doctor
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    Would You Like Fries With That?

    Would You Like Fries With That?

    If someone were to ask me what one of the greatest challenges of being a librarian is, I could answer them in one word: McDonaldization.

    McDonaldization is a term coined by sociologist, George Ritzer, referring to society being dominated by the principles of the fast-food industry in several different ways, such as efficiency, calculability, predictability, and control. In the library setting part of this concept can be used to our advantage by being predictable; for instance, no matter what branch in a library system a patron enters, they know that they will receive the same quality service and programming. This makes for a good brand and repeated business. However, the problem lies in the efficiency sector. “Efficiency” in this context means the minimization of time, or “the fastest way to get from being hungry to being full,” regardless of the garbage you may be putting in your system…

    So often I have patrons approach the information desk as if they were at the counter of McDonalds. “I want this information and I want it now.” Just today a patron asked me where the relationship section was. I looked at my computer and paused for maybe three seconds, planning my search strategy and deciding what further questions to ask her before she simply walked off stating, “Never mind, I thought you might just know off-hand.” I do, in fact, know off-hand that it will most likely be in the 155-158’s but depending on the type of relationship you’re looking for it could also be in 362, 658 or even 616.8584 if you have a personality disorder that’s causing you relationship problems. But that doesn’t tell you what’s on the shelves right now; you’d have to give me more than three second to look that up.

    We, librarians, are efficient masters of information retrieval but quality service does take time, certainly more than three seconds! We need to plan our search strategy, filter the results, and cater the process specifically to you. By having a “McDonalds” mindset, demanding your answer five minutes ago, and refusing to wait for quality service, you’re really missing out on all librarians can offer. We are quick, but we do need time to work our magic. Your choice though- Big Mac or filet mignon?

    Ritzer, George (2009). The McDonaldization of Society. Los Angeles: Pine Forge Press. ISBN 0-7619-8812-2.

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    If You Like…

    If You Like…

    Here are some author read-alikes. If you like the authors in bold, then most likely you will enjoy reading the authors listed below.

    Jodi Picoult
    Chris Bohjalian
    Jacquelyn Mitchard
    Ann Hood
    Luanne Rice
    Lionel Shriver

    Sophie Kinsella
    Helen Fielding
    Jane Green
    Sarah Mlynowski
    Sarah Strohmeyer

    V. C. Andrews
    John Saul
    Kay Hooper
    Adele Geras
    James Patterson
    Lois Duncan

    Karen Kingsbury
    Lisa Tawn Bergren
    Terri Blackstock
    Donna Fletcher Crow
    Francine Rivers

    Sandra Brown
    Heather Graham
    Lynette Eason
    Lori Foster
    Karen Robards

    Rick Riordan
    Kelley Armstrong
    Christopher Paul Curtis
    Margaret Peterson Haddix
    Philip Pullman

    Lee Child
    F. Paul Wilson
    James Lee Burke
    Barry Eisler
    Reginald Hill
    Vince Flynn

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    The Fault in Our Stars

    The Fault in Our Stars

    It seems as though every second teen is requesting The Fault in Our Stars by John Green. When books are requested that often I have to read them, regardless of the topic, to see what all the fuss is about.

    Amazon.com Review:

    In The Fault in Our Stars, John Green has created a soulful novel that tackles big subjects–life, death, love–with the perfect blend of levity and heart-swelling emotion. Hazel is sixteen, with terminal cancer, when she meets Augustus at her kids-with-cancer support group. The two are kindred spirits, sharing an irreverent sense of humor and immense charm, and watching them fall in love even as they face universal questions of the human condition–How will I be remembered? Does my life, and will my death, have meaning?–has a raw honesty that is deeply moving. –Seira Wilson

    Accolades for The Fault in Our Stars:

    TIME Magazine’s #1 Fiction Book of 2012
    An Entertainment Weekly Best Fiction Book of 2012
    John Green is one of Entertainment Weekly’s Entertainers of the Year, 2012
    #1 New York Times Bestseller
    #1 Wall Street Journal Bestseller
    A USA Today Bestseller
    International Bestseller
    #1 Children’s Indiebound Pick
    New York Times Editor’s Choice
    The Huffington Post Best Books of 2012
    A Booklist Books for Youth Editor’s Choice
    The Horn Book Fanfare List
    A Publishers Weekly Best Book
    A School Library Journal Best Book
    Unprecedented EIGHT starred reviews

    My review: I read half the book in one sitting, which obviously is a sign of a gripping book. It started off very strong, making you quickly grow close to main characters. It’s LOL funny at times, moving, and none too “teen angsty,” as many YA books. However, I felt like it fizzled toward the end. I wasn’t expecting a happily ever after type ending, but the so called turn in the story was predictable, and I was left a bit disappointed. Maybe I expected too much? It’s overall a good book, but not one that will stick with me, nor plague with me questions of what happened to the main character after the book ended, as it did to Hazel in An Imperial Affliction. *Spoiler Alert!* Okay, I take that back, I am starting to wonder how Hazel is doing…

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