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Archive for March, 2017

In India, in the year 2054 there are five males for every female. Every couple is allowed only one child. Most want a boy. In a new country, Koyanager, formed by a woman, reforms are enacted. Instead of only the rich buying a bride, there would be a trial of tests. Every boy has a chance to win a bride.

Sudasa, one of those potential brides to be won has to wonder exactly how fair these tests are, especially considering her cousin is in the group competing for her. She doesn’t want to marry, but, 5 to 1, the men need wives. Studying the contestants, she finds that Number Five doesn’t want to be a husband and his family wants him to fail.

This is told in alternate voices of Sudasa and Contestant Number Five which allows the reader to see both points of view of the situation the country finds itself in. It’s in verse. I’m not a fan of this, but once I tell myself not to be silly and ignore it, I enjoyed the story.

This was the first dystopic story I’ve read set in India and I was glad to see a change in venue. It gave another cultural view to the others.

This is a story to ponder on. Quite a few discussions can come from it. I’d make it a class set or a book to read for a book club.

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I am not a telephone person, but it’s an instrument one just can’t avoid. So it was with trepidation that I called up my insurance company, and got caught up in the web of hell. Option 1. Option 2. None matched what I really wanted to know – get an address, a physical address. It wasn’t on the website, that was my first port of call in avoiding the telephone. I didn’t want billing. I didn’t want information for a provider. I wasn’t a provider. Will pushing zero help? No. Second by second I got tangled deeper in the web.

Still, it wasn’t as bad as when I worked at the school. Being the librarian I was in charge of the bell system mainly because the computer was in a back closet in the library. Taking up valuable space I might add. Whenever it was down I had to call the company – Sprint, Embarq, Century Link, the name changed almost yearly.

Residence or business. Telephone or internet. My finger pushed whatever button seemed best. What number was I calling about? None, really. What type of phone. What type of internet. Nothing matched what I wanted. Wherever I went, it’d be wrong.

I stabbed at the zero button. Pick up, pick up, I’d pray. Someone human, please pick up. Ten minutes later, if I haven’t been disconnected or put on hold, I’ll be speaking to a person who hasn’t a clue about the bell or the TekNet system. They’ll redirect me and I’ll be back in the phone web and banging my head against the wall while students or teachers want attention.

So glad I’m not doing that anymore.

And yes, I did get my address and it wasn’t so bad afterall.

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Last Sunday the library nearest to me reopened in a new location. Sandhills Branch Library is now in the same building as the new school, magnet type, and is part school, part public library. I told Mama we were going to the grand-opening. I mean, how could I not?  Mama said it’d be crowded. I told her I was still going and I’d be optimistic.

Mama did go with me. She gussied up too. I didn’t. Come two o’clock Sunday we drove on down. The place was packed. Seriously, the parking lot was full and it’s a big parking lot, almost Wal-Mart worthy. Wow, I thought. This is a great showing. It was too full to get a good feel for the place, but the support by the people was amazing. This is how libraries should be, packed. Then they’d make more of them.

According to the flyer the library features: 250 seat auditorium, children’s area, courtyards, makerspace, meeting spaces, pick-up window, reading room, studio. Note there’s nothing about the books except maybe the reading room. Still, the other stuff is interesting. I look forward to being let loose in the makerspace and studio. Here’s hoping they have workshops for adults.

I liked that the children’s section was pretty large. There’s space for the kids to do things and there are plenty of books. I am pleased. The teen section is much larger too. I’ll enjoy going through the volumes there. Mama was happy they had paperback books. But why is the shelving so high? From her wheelchair she can only look at three rows and I have to stretch to reach the top shelf. Do they anticipate library workers will accompany someone with disabilities as they make their selection? Being a browser I feel that’s a bit of annoying. It might make you want to rush.

They don’t have a large selection of books in adult fiction either. As President Trump would tweet. Sad. Is it that they think adults don’t read much or adults prefer their electronic devices? I sure wish I could have a peek at the circulation logs to see the trends. But if they carry more e-books and not the print versions wouldn’t e-book circulation naturally go up? If that’s the only way they can read the book, of course they’ll check it out that way. If they have an e-reader. I think a survey needs to be done as else or the results will be skewed.

Enough about my pickiness. Overall impression. It was crowded so that impacts my feelings. I need to go back when its less crowded. Nice. But that busy rug needs to go. Concrete floor okay, but it shows all the spots and places they repaired.

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It started with a stowaway. A girl in a basket riding on an ox-cart. Eleven-year-old Chiyo Tamura only wanted to watch out for her sister, to stop her from marrying a widowed, older man. Discovered, caught, she ends up in a girl’s school, miles away from home. It’s an opportunity for an adventurous girl. Having been brought up in a farming community, she’s a little rough around the edges and is asked to use another girl as a role model. That doesn’t go as planned and Chiyo finds herself involved with the Friendship Doll from America project.

This is a companion book with ‘Ship of Dolls’, which I also read. In fact that prompted me to read this one. It’s set in 1927. I can’t say I’ve ever read a book in this time era before that was set in Japan and it gave a peek at the 1920’s Japan with the juxtaposition of traditional Japanese women and flappers.

The exchange of dolls between Japan and the United States really happened. They did so to foster better relations between the two countries. The makers of the Japanese dolls were revered artists, another thing I didn’t know.

I really got the feel of the girl, a farming girl who ends up in Tokyo. She goes from ox-cart to train to automobile. There’s this deliciously evil girl, Hoshi who things being a leader means she’s to bully people. She’ll stop at nothing to get her way.

 

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Mama and TV

I always find it interesting when Mama talks about a TV show she’s seen. It’s never what I remember and I purse my lips and say nothing except for once in a while when I think the listener is getting a bit confused. Not that my mother isn’t clear headed, she just doesn’t really pay attention to what’s going on and there’s her constant headache that gets in the way and there’s me constantly changing channels.

Most of the shows we watch regularly are in the morning, our morning routine. Mama gets up, anywhere between 8 and 9 and gets to the ‘sunroom’ a half hour or so after. After she takes her first set of pills we get down to the TV watching, rarely watching more than an hour. First there’s the weather channel. Once they start going in depth in some other part of the country, we move on.

The news channels are numbered right above the weather channel and we quick through those unless there’s some funny or interesting. The channel we stop at is the Home Network – HGN, I think it is. The Flip and Flops, Love it or List it, Flea Market Flip. Each day it’s a different show. While the people redo the house or piece of furniture we like to get our two cents worth in, saying what we’d do different or that we don’t like that, but love that. It’s fun.

When Mama talks about the shows later on she mashes them all together and adds the commercials in as well, which makes for a really interesting synopsis. I’d probably get confused too after awhile especially if I had someone (like me) who changes the channels all the time during the commercials. I’ve learned to tell Mama: I’m changing the channel now. Otherwise she’ll wonder how cooking got into home repair because she can’t see me waving the remote around.

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