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B&N: some thoughts

It surprise no one that I love a book store? If you are shocked… I ain’t got nothing for ya. Have you been under a rock my whole life? 3 out of 4 of my first jobs were in bookstores. And I loved them.

I got away a bit, by reading on my tablet. My Nook. And it’s ok for books, I like them just fine? Bit I absolutely can’t stand reading a magazine that way. It’s… Hinky. Too many quirks to it. And I’ve started reading a lot more magazines, so I’ve been visiting local Barnes & Noble stores. Well, one local to home, and one local to work.

My peeps, I am in trouble. In addition to the magazines, I am finding books, glorious ink and paper books that are a joy to behold! And hold and read and not worryabout dropping in the toilets or in the parking lot at work and shattering the screen. And in a time when connections are so precious, paper and ink win over the tablet

Although to be fair I am writing this on the tablet, so it is still being used.

Pre-pandemic, I would buy my cards in a Barnes and Noble, and some magazines. Now… Oh, they have tables with… Gasp! … Sales! Buy 2 get 1 free! Buy 1 get 2nd half off! And it’s so much easier to graze… Um, peruse titles in the store. Although the maze getting through Science Fiction and Fantasy is bloopy, it’s still easier to pick out a book than on a reading app.

(Don’t talk to me about the free books, and discounted pricing on e-readers. I know! I know!)

((and double don’t bring up the kindle. There’s a reason I’m on a nook))

So in the past couple of moths I’ve been to 3 different stores. The local one in Stockton is super nice, but they don’t have the selection I would like for literary magazines. That En Bloc I loved? Nope. Zoetrope? subTerrain ? Nope nada zero zilch. I get it, the demographics aren’t there.

The one near my work had more, but my friend when I was talking about demographics and needing a place that was.?? Hmmm… More literate? Knew exactly where to go! And I did find bunches there! And the problem with asking for the titles I want to read is… I didn’t know I wanted to read them until I picked them up. Some, I didn’t know existed! But being able to flip through pages? Get little sips of language and decide yes or no? Oh yes, yes please!

And that’s something that I missed with books too. I am a serial flip to the back of the book, make sure it’s a happy ending, flip back and keep reading kind of girl. (And yes, I’ll get back to reviewing actual books and magazines soon.)

Ah, books. I’ve missed you.

Book Review: Creatures: A Novel

Hello my lovelies! Today I thought I’d talk to you about Creatures: A Novel by Crissy Van Meter. It’s the first physical book I’ve read in a while. I’ve read on my Nook, and physical magazines… but books? For enjoyment? Not so much.

On that last trip to Barnes & Noble, I found a couple of tables with “Buy 2 Get 1 Free!” Normally, I just walk on by. I enjoy reading on my Nook. It’s convenient. I can adjust the font size. But there is nothing quite like holding a book in your hands and smelling the pages as you read.

I picked up this one in particular because of the little sea creatures on the cover, and the setting being close to the sea (an island, so. Yah). The voice captured me, drew me in and held me even through the parts I hate.

And yes, there are things in this book I normally skip right out of. Drugs—especially parents using a lot of drugs. Van Meter handles it in a variety of ways. Time flows like the ocean, back and forward. The academic questions and answers regarding whales that explore Evangeline’s relationship with her dead father, who looms just as surely as the dead whale out on the beach. The innovation in the way the story is told, including an insert of the very far future (and only one! I wanted more!), is beautifully done. It comes organically from the story– which we all know means that Van Meter put a lot of effort into it. It was worth it.

Overall, the character’s voice drew me in and kept me, even past the time where I knew the subject matter wasn’t what I normally read. I was engrossed. I was rooting for Evangeline. Creatures is the perfect example of why it’s so important to find the right voice for our stories. Because that voice will carry even the most reluctant reader through.

Momcation

I haven’t been by myself in a house for an extended amount of time in… Years. I always have my son (15) or my dad (95) around or coming back. It’s wonderful. I love my family. But….

I used to love living by myself too. I’ve always kept myself occupied– readings writing, television. I’m not one that gets bored and stays bored. The quiet is a friend of mine- it allows a moment of reflection, a deep sigh.

Thanks to Caltrans and my Best friend I just had that. A glorious Sunday through Thursday morning where I stayed in a house all by my lonesome. Caltrans closed the freeway that I need to get to work. (Not a work vacation, alas). My BF is travelling, and offered her house. I have to tell you….

It. Was. Glorious.

I wrote and sent out cards. I didn’t cook ANYTHING. Frozen all the way. And after work, I went to the real happiest place on earth, Barnes and Noble, and bought many wonderful magazines. One was brand new to me, called Oh, Reader and I read every single article in it. Which has inspired me– to do magazine reviews. Share what I’m loving. Maybe a few book reviews in there too.

The fact is that I miss blogging. I miss sharing the things I love, and boy do I love books and magazines!

I love my family. Of course I do.

But I missed myself, and didn’t even realize what had been missing in my life was ME.

Review: Mini Maker Fair @ Barnes and Noble (ALT Title: Princeling Learns to Stand his Ground

So all of this weekend, Barnes and Noble are doing a Maker Fair all across the country. It’s a really cool idea, and when we went yesterday we had a blast. For the most part. The Princeling was REALLY EXCITED because he wants to be an engineer or a scientist when he grows up.

They have 3 different types of things scheduled:

Make Workshop: Demos of products like 3d printers, little bitty robots and such. The Princeling really enjoyed seeing the things that came out of a 3d printer… but none of the patience to do it. It has such small fillaments… and it takes sooo long. But still, very interesting! So we the little robots we saw, that you could program with pens.

Meet the Maker: Umm… we didn’t stay for any of this. Sorry!

Make & Collaborate: This, in theory, was an AWESOME idea! But they forgot one thing… At most commercial stores, when there is a MAKE event (Toys R Us, Home Depot), the event is free… and the kids get to take home the project. I’m not saying that the Itty Bits (small electoral do-hickeys that were super cool!) should go home with kids for free. I understand that they are super expensive. But you know what? Lego has free Make & Takes with Toys R Us. I bet they would have done it for you too.

The staff was great, but a little bit overwhelmed. The reason why is also the reason why Ray almost left before he had accomplished his little Lego Mini-Bionicle. Because really, saw some awesomely bad parenting. Or greedy, pushy kids. Which is the result of bad parenting.

First Rule of Store Events: You need to share, sweetie. This is not your home. This is not your birthday party, or a family event where you are everyone’s #1 Kiddo! And for the dad who thought it was AWESOME that his kid made some electrical doohickey the length of the table… Yah! Awesome! Your kid had all but 9 of the electrical Itty Bits set out. Those 9 had to be shared by 4 other kids. Your kid made something awesome… at the expense of other kids being able to make something awesome. And then to have your kid try to take something from another kid? You were right there, cheering him on. He might be the greatest scientist one day… But if you want him to have friends, too… He needs to learn to share. At least the kids at the Lego table didn’t have their parents with them, cheering their little greedy hearts on…

Which brings us to:

Second Rule of Store Events: Parents need to be with or near their children.  This is not free babysitting so you can go run into the mall, or talk on the phone somewhere far away from your child. My son is 9 and still I stayed near. The only time I was away, was when I went into the Science Fiction and Fantasy section (2 new books! Yay mommy!),  but I still had a line of sight on my kid.

And your kids, too.

The Lego table was very popular. Unfortunately, they were extremely underprepared for the amount of kids. Oh, they had body parts, and heads, and this and that. But only 10 of the cool blue and white things. And with you, dear parents not there, your kids A. Got Pushy and B. Got Greedy.

First with A. If your child looks to be 4 or 5…. where the heck were you? She shouldn’t have been at the table at all. And yes, my son is bigger than her. But she still right shoved him out of her way. What the heck? It was the final straw for him, because there were no cool parts that he needed. 8 of the 10 were being used by one kid.

Ray starts storming out. I appreciate the fellow shopper who was in the aisle with us and didn’t say a word. “But they’re taking everything, and keep pushing me out of the way!”

“Why aren’t you standing your ground?” I asked him.

“I don’t want to push and shove and hurt other little kids!”

“Sweetie, standing your ground is planting your feet and not moving. Besides, you’re taller than all these other kids and have a fantastic reach!”

I decided it was time to stand right behind him, not letting anyone shove him around. Just standing there, being immovable mom.

We ended up going back to the Lego table where the little monsters were learning that they couldn’t take home their creations (ha!). Some of the cool bits started coming back into play, and it was fun again. We saw the ozo bots? and the princeling got to make a track and try that. We went back to the electrical table and he played around some more with those. And little whirlygigs that went up into the sky. It was fun again.

All in all, it was a pretty good experience. People need to be aware that these events are for EVERYONE, though, and not just their special darling. And stay with your kids. Share the even with them, make some memories together.

All in all, I give the event itself 4/5 stars. Would have been 5 stars if there had been an actual Make and Take, which COME ON! Even Toys R Us, the most expensive toy store in the world does every once in a while!

They have an art thing coming up next weekend. Think we might need to see what’s up with that!

barnes and noble 2 barnes and noble stand your

Creation: Finished                                                         Learning to Stand his Ground