Table Talk: The Information World

Information: General or specific knowledge about a subject, event, or person.

Let me take a break from reviews a bit to talk a little about the information world.

Why?

Excellent question. How to answer this is another matter.

My blog is mainly reviews. I like talking movies, books, and television and my blog provides a quick summary and my thoughts and these various forms of entertainment. I’d throw in music, but all I really do is listen to music and I’m not sure how to incorporate that into a blog post. And when I think about my blip of information adding to the vast sea of information already out there, I think of how a drop of water just disappears into the to the sink. You cannot tell where that drop of water is. You cannot distinguish your drop of water among the many drops of water.

And then I think about everything else out there on the internet. When I work on research papers for class or even just looking up random bits of information a simple internet search can call up pages and pages of links on what you’re trying to find out. Not including social media platforms. Opinions of others on the subject you’re researching only adds those pages and pages of links.

There is a lot of information out there, fact and fiction, that makes its way into our research.

It could be that I am a library assistant. It could be that I’m a student. Whatever the reason, I cannot help but think just how inflated information can be now days. I use Google a lot when writing my posts. For basic information, to find a quote, to read other reviews. And I see those pages and pages and pages of links yet I don’t make it past page three, sometimes four and never past page five. I sometimes even click on the last page just to see if there is anything useful on that last page. A whole lot of misinformation, or disinformation, and a whole lot of opinions that are being passed off as facts.

And all this always makes me think of the book Are Libraries Obsolete? by Mark Herring. He argues there is a significant difference between knowledge and information. He mentions “it is one thing to find fifty links to a certain topic; it is another to know which of the fifty links on, say, evolution are by scientists, which are by creationist, and which are by eighth graders (36).” He makes the comparison that the internet catches noise whereas libraries try to catch signals (26). While Herring is making his case for the value of libraries, the same concepts can be applied to those who work in libraries. The brains who are pointing out the scientists and such. People like me, who is striving for a Library and Information Science degree.

Let’s take a closer look at that shall we. Information science. Defined as “an interdisciplinary field primarily concerned with the analysis, collection, classification, manipulation, storage, retrieval, movement, dissemination, and protection of information (Wikipedia).”

When I mention that I’m pursing a Library and Information Science degree, people tend to only hear and focus on library. As in “you need a degree to work in a library?” because everyone who works there, even those who are only checking in and checking out materials has a degree says sarcastically. You don’t need a degree to work in a library, however, you need a degree if you want to be a librarian. How else can they separate information and knowledge for you? If everyone can do that, there wouldn’t be a disinformation problem. The internet wouldn’t be inflated with noise and actually have well-thought through links to quality information.

This month is Records and Information Month with the first week being Library Week. Maybe take a minute or two to reflect on just how important knowledge is and the wisdom it takes to filter out the noise. And then think about your library and the people who work in the library. I’m not bias either. I was a library patron way before I ever worked in a library. And I always appreciated research. And when you think about your library and the people who work there, why don’t you stop by a library and show some appreciation? Tell them thank you for the service they provide. They are there to help you. To help arm you with accurate and up-to-date information.

Happy Library Week everyone!

 

Photo credit: dreamstime.com

Table Talk: The Unfinished Book

Blog_ATaleOfTwoCities

I know every bookworm has one. At least, most of us have one.

The unfinished book. The one book where no matter how many times you try–and I mean really, really tried–to read the book you just can’t finish it. Whatever the reason. I mean, you’re really interested, I mean you seem interested. Every time you read the jacket you’re excited to start. Every time you read the first paragraph, you’re interested. But then you’re halfway through the first chapter and you’re loosing focus.

Why, oh, why?

For me, it’s a Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens. And I love the opening!

It was the best of times,
it was the worst of times,
it was the age of wisdom,
it was the age of foolishness,
it was the epoch of belief,
it was the epoch of incredulity,
it was the season of Light,
it was the season of Darkness,
it was the spring of hope,
it was the winter of despair […]

I fell in love with this book with just that opening stanza and yet, I haven’t made it past chapter 2! And I’ve been trying to read this book for at least the past ten years.

And then you have a the “trailer” in the back of the book:

After eighteen years as a political prisoner in the Bastille, the ageing Doctor Manette is finally released and reunited with his daughter in England. There the lives of two very different men, Charles Darnay, an exiled French aristocrat, and Sydney Carton, a disreputable but brilliant English lawyer, become enmeshed through their love for Lucie Manette. From the tranquil roads of London, they are drawn against their will to the vengeful, bloodstained streets of Paris at the height of the Reign of Terror, and they soon fall under the lethal shadow of La Guillotine.[1]

And how can you not love a love triangle? (Okay, I say a little bit about love triangles here)

And yet, Chapter 2 >> ROAD BLOCK.

I have no idea why that is. I love reading books like this. I read most of Jane Austin’s novels and I love reading a bit of Bronte so I cannot wrap my head around me not finishing this lovely book.

But one day!

I promise. One day I will get through this book and wen that day comes  . . . PAR-TAY!

Until then, it will sit on my TBR list.

 

[1] GoodReads. A Tale of Two Cities.

Photo Credit: factofun.com

 

Table Talk: Two Stories in One Season

Okay, so do you remember that blog post I wrote around two weeks ago. This one here >> Table Talk: A Beauty, A Year, and a Day Zero. It seriously was a fangirl week for me. So much good news in the entertainment industry. So much.

Well, the day after I wrote that post, I kid you not–the next day!, Kresley Cole announced that not only would Day Zero, an Arcana Chronicles novella, would be released on August 1st, but this fandom would be receiving the next installment in the series only fifteen days later! So not a month or two after the novella is released and hopefully can tie us over until fall, but fifteen days! I cannot tell you just how anxious I am.

See here (posted to her FB page):


You would not believe the cliffhanger book three, Dead of Winter, left us with! I mean, seriously. It was . . . I must have gone disbelief, anger, shock, disbelief again, a little bit of joy, and then back to anger. Disbelief because the book ended so abruptly. Anger that the book ended so abruptly. Shock because the ending hinted at a new Arcana getting some more screen time. Disbelief, again, that the story ended so abruptly. A little bit of joy because my favorite character came to the rescue. And back at anger because the book ended so abruptly and I would have to wait a whole year to find out

SPOILER!

And so I am super excited that we don’t have to wait long. I am nervous that this one will end on another whopper of a cliffhanger, but I will press on to the end because this series is that good.

So, let the countdown begin!

Table Talk: The book that changed your life

Have you ever come across a book that had a huge influence on your life?

Made you see things differently? Maybe motivated you to do something you never thought you’d do? Gave you that push you need to be the person you wanted to be?

If I’m honest, I know there are several books I could mention that gave me a different perspective on things. Tuesdays With Morrie by Mitch Albom, for one. Who Moved My Cheese? by Spencer Johnson, another. And those books are expected to change your perspective on life. I mean, they are self-help books, are they not?

While I am not questioning the influence self-help books have, and I am grateful for some of the lessons I have learned to them, I have to say greater influence came from the fictional world. Books like the Harry Potter series taught me a little about bravery and friendship. I have never really been ashamed of who I am through my adolescent years, but I did forget who I was during life after high school and the Twilight Saga helped me remember. And the Hunger Games! Gosh, the Hunger Games. It made me understand what it is like to slowly loose your mind, except it, and taught me what it is like to come back stronger, a little broken, but stronger. And One Day by David Nicolls . . . gosh, I still can’t talk about it! It made me feel feelings I never thought I would ever experience. Everything about that book was just . . . intense for me.

Blog_ADiscoveryOfWitchesBut, the one book that I reflect upon the most when I think back to all the lessons I’ve learned through books, would have to be A Discovery of Witches. You could say other books and other series helped prepare me for A Discovery of Witches, but it was this book that gave me the courage to take back control of my life.

I haven’t reviewed this book yet, or the series it is apart of, All Souls Trilogy. It focuses on Diana Bishop, a witch, whose world changes when she calls up a book at her university library that has been missing for centuries. She has no idea how she did it, just that she did, and now the supernatural world won’t leave her alone, including vampire Matthew Clairmont, which is a good thing.

I won’t get more detailed than that because this isn’t a book review, but I will tell you how this book has changed my life.

In addition to be a really good story with really good characters and an amazing world of magic and mystery, this book has done the following:

  • Gave me courage to go back to school
  • Reminded me why I love history so I major in history
  • Surrounded me with a group of fellow book geeks and amazing friends, both virtual and in real life, and even a little bit of both.
  • Reminded me that the fandoms centered around books are AWESOME!

The list may seem small, but do you know the ripple effect these four bullet points had? Going back to school has connected me to a whole new world of people, places, and things. Going back to school and majoring in history has reminded me that the world is a big, and small, place and that I should be exploring it. And most importantly, putting me around people who are interested in the same things as I am, who understand some of the things that no one IRL understands, has shown me that I really don’t have to be alone unless I really want to.

Not everyone will be profoundly changed after reading this book, or this series for that matter, but think back to all the ripple effects the books in your life has created. How has reading shaped your life?

Books are such great teachers if you learn to listen and engage.

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Table Talk: A Beauty, A Year, and A Day Zero

Okay, there are a few things that are happening that are kind of a big deal for someone who is all kinds of fangirl.

First thing first. Let’s talk movies. A few days ago (or was it just yesterday?) the teaser trailer for Beauty and the Beast live action was released. And I know you probably all have seen it–what, with the advent of the internet and everything–but I’m going to add it here. Because I want to. Because it’s such a tease. Because I can.

And seriously? How can that not get you excited? I know it’s almost nothing. I mean, you see a door open, you hear voices, and then it’s pretty much over, but then you realize you’re pumped about it because it’s almost here and you’re trying not to get too excited because you have just under a year to wait but you’re excited anyway! << Yeah, all that. I’m so curious how this will play out. Will it stick pretty close to the animated story line? If it ventures a bit, how far will it venture? Will I like it? How can I not like it? << Yeah, that too.

We have Bill Condon as director. I liked The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn 1 & 2 so that’s a good sign. And Evan Spiliotoupolis and Stephen Chobsky has also done great work, also a good sign. And we have a pretty darned good cast of characters as well so . . . all signs point to a really good movie. Fingers cross that it will live up to the hype, the expectation, the everything! Beauty and the Beast was my favorite Disney animation (despite the fact my twelve-year-old self couldn’t quite wrap my head around the timeline between when the Prince became a Beast and to the arrival of Belle. Seriously, I just coughed it up to magic and let it be) so I’m pretty excited about it.

Then there’s this video that pops on my Facebook feed with Ellen interviewing Lorelai (Lauren Graham) where she talks about how they’re almost done filming the last four 90-minute episodes of Gilmore Girls. And she talks about her book about the Gilmore Girls! You can watch that here. As excited as I am to hear that the release for Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life is near. I am also a bit sad because then it’s over. I mean, really over. I know we Gilmore Girls fans didn’t quite get closure at the end of Season 7 and we really wanted it, but now it’s so much near! You know, the … That’s All Folks! Will Rory and Logan end up together (because I really hope she does. Seriously, I was a hard-core Jess fan until I met Logan. You can read all about that here and here, that is if you totally dig my blog and want to visit Stars Hallow with me).

And then, a few days ago I stumble across this piece of news:


A novella to tie us over for the Arcana Chronicles, Book 4! And Book 4 should be released this fall! I am in love with this series. I’m irked a bit that this is a series and can’t be wrapped up in one book, without cliffhangers, but que sera sera. And while it is a series–because, you know, I can’t change that and I’m okay with that (because props to you Ms. Cole, you are doing an excellent job!)–I’m in for the ride. So, I am so stoked. Super stoked.

Talk about all kinds of fangirling! I did my fair share of squeeing, let me tell you. It’s big news. Big news! And it’s going to be a long wait to the fall for two out of three on this list. I can live with that until Beauty and the Beast is released.

Of course, there are many more fangirl moments spanning books, television, and  movies, but these three hit in a the course of eight days so … squee!

It’s going to be quite the year.

 

Table Talk: The Soundtrack

It’s that moment. The moment in the movie where the storyline comes to a peak. And then … cue music … the drama unfolds.

And it’s in that moment, the moment the music plays, that makes everything in that moment a little more climactic. It just gives the moment more.

I love soundtracks. In fact, my love of music developed from soundtracks.

My first encounter with “the soundtrack” was the cassette tape and one lazy summer afternoon. My aunt left her cassette player out in the living room so I jumped at the change to play with. There was a tape already inside and the first song that came blaring out of the speakers was “In the Still of the Night.” At the song’s end, the automatic rewind triggered and more songs kept playing.

I realized that there were different artists and there didn’t seem to be a theme or anything to the songs playing. Curious, I stopped the tape, popped the eject, and took a look at the cassette. It said “Dirty Dancing–Original Soundtrack.” When I asked my aunt about the tape, she mentioned that it was songs from the movie Dirty Dancing. I remember thinking about that–a tape filled with music from a movie. It was intriguing. From that moment on, I paid attention to sounds and music in the movies I watched. I remember waiting for the end credits to scroll so I could see the titles of the songs and who sang them. I paid more attention if I heard a song I loved. And when I got older and started making my own money, I would buy soundtracks (by then CDs had replaced cassettes) and relive the movie while listening to the album.

And I think that’s what I love most about soundtracks. They take you to that one scene where the where the villain is introduced, where the hero reflects on the day he had, where the guy finally gets the girl. The music encompasses all the feels you had at watching that scene and slams you back no matter where you are, even if it’s for a brief moment.

Tell me you don’t have a grin on your face, or give an eye roll, whenever you hear “(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life (Dirty Dancing)” or freak out just a little when you hear “Cry Little Sister (The Lost Boys)” (I can’t listen to at night. I’ll sleep with nightmares. Don’t get me wrong, I love the movie, but yeah. I’d rather keep it out of my head when I’m about to sleep).

Composer Howard Shore, an award winner for The Lord of the Rings music score had this to say about music in movies:

“I like to work around the edges and try to give the film another level of subtext, which is what music can do. I love painting around the corners of the frames and staying out of the middles. What you want to do is bring the audience right in the scene with the characters, so they’re living and breathing as part of the film.”[1]

Music is the glue that binds the moment. It’s the best part of movie magic because it is so subtle. You don’t know you are in that moment until the moment is gone and that’s because the music lead you there.


Reference
1. Hutchinson, Lydia. The Big Score: A Timeline of Music. 2012.
2. Gerard de Marigny.