RSS

Author Archives: Jennifer Hendzlik

Are You Smart Enough to Work at Google? Trick Questions, Zen-like Riddles, Insanely Difficult Puzzles, and Other Devious Interviewing Techniques You Need to Know to Get a Job Anywhere in the New Economy by William Poundstone

I’m not sure if I’m more excited about the challenging questions or depressed at how many make me scratch my head in confusion. But my answer is no, I do not think I’m smart enough to work at Google. Think my attitude is defeatist? Go ahead, tell me that after you read this book.

There are a lot of how to deal with the new economy and get a job books out there. What I like about this one is that it doesn’t cater to the lowest common denominator and really encourages the reader to think creatively and critically at the same time. 2012, 290 pages.

My favorite question that smacks of librarianship: “Explain what a database is to your eight-year-old nephew, using three sentences.” HA!

Their answer is brilliant: A database is an iPod for information. With an iPod, you can store thousands of songs and still find any track you want quickly. A database does the same thing with information that people have stored on a computer or the Internet.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on February 16, 2012 in Nonfiction

 

Tags: , , , , ,

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

“Once they were librarians, but that is a subject they will only discuss if heavily intoxicated.”

Since childhood, Celia and Marco have been trained to battle each other in a magical competition that neither is fully certain of all the rules. They are not even certain of each others identity. The venue, Le Cirque des Rêves, is a circus that is only open at night. As the battle continues to weave its way across the circus and those who call the circus home, it becomes clear that only one will remain standing.

The story is unique. I’ve read circus stories before but not with this premise and it is refreshing to find a different angle in a book that is getting a lot of press. However, the atmosphere is where it is at. From the beautiful language (Morgenstern had me as exsanguinated) and lush descriptions to the building romantic interests it grabs a hold of you and doesn’t let go. The chapters are short so it also appeals to the reader who likes a quicker read and perhaps this is why it is such a successful book. It reaches several of the different appeal characteristics without seeming to sacrifice anything. While I don’t think it lives up to the hype (really what book can) it is a beautiful book. 2011, 387 pages

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on October 3, 2011 in Fantasy

 

Tags: , , , , ,

The Challenge of Library Management: Leading with Emotional Engagement by Wyoma VanDuinkerken & Pixey Anne Mosley

“Common sense is not so common.” ~Voltaire

I liked this book! Most books geared towards librarians bug the heck out of me. Either they are simplistic or they are so focused on theory with no realization of the real library world (especially public librarianship) that I want to throw the book across the room only I have to go break up an argument over a .50 cent fine. Was that snarky of me? So, sorry.
The authors really made me open up my brain and think more about the process of change and how we need to understand it on an emotional level. This is a perfect librarian companion to Resonant Leadership. Change is disruptive and messy. It is human nature to resist this and resistance can only be truly turned into acceptance and empowerment with clear cut information, discussion and buy-in on all levels. I think it really all comes down to respect and compassion for every person you work with and interact with. A huge, huge task but in the end a very necessary one. 2011, 169 pages.
 
Leave a comment

Posted by on October 3, 2011 in Leadership, Nonfiction

 

Tags: , ,

Transitioning From Librarian to Middle Manager by Pixie Anne Mosley

“Your time is no longer your own.”

I really think that sums up the most important lesson you can learn about being a manager. Where once you were able to focus solely on the public you serve and the advancement of your career, you are now responsible for a multitude of people and all the issues they bring to the table as well as patrons and the building you work in. Weeee! While dated (2004) a lot of principles in this book will help the new manager with the basic things such as meetings, time management and how your role has shifted in the library culture. This is a lonely gig. As someone moving back into public service management, I looked at it as more of a refresher course in things I already knew.  2004, 211 pages.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on October 3, 2011 in Leadership, Nonfiction

 

Tags: ,

Advanced Black Belt Librarians: Answers to the Questions Librarians Always Ask Me by Warren Graham

A continuation of Graham’s first book Black Belt Librarians, this book answers the questions that he gets asked time and again while doing his presentations. I like both these books and I would just love it if he took it a step further by not just providing real life examples of things he has dealt with but also walking people through the steps he took to resolve the situation. While the situations faced by librarians will obviously not be identical-it is a nice way to keep some ideas in the back of your head. 2010, 51 pages.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on October 3, 2011 in Nonfiction

 

Tags: ,

Resonant Leadership by Richard Boyatzis & Annie McKee

“We are in the customer service industry. We just happen to fly planes.” ~employee from Southwest Airlines

I admit that it wasn’t very long ago that I was burned out on public service. I’d spent many years doing front line reference and front line management. I was tired, overwhelmed and most importantly very disappointed in myself. Where did my drive go?  This book is the first one I’ve ever picked up that held my hand and said, you know what? This happens and we’re going to show you why and how you can get the leadership you back. Whoa. I’m not a fan of business books in general but I like this one. Their whole philosophy starts with compassion and hope-what isn’t to like? 2005, 304 pages.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on October 3, 2011 in Leadership, Nonfiction

 

Tags: , ,

Never the Face: A Story of Desire by Ariel Sands

He’s way ahead of you, observed a small voice in my head. You don’t often meet a man who makes you feel like an ingenue.”

Our heroine, who is never named, is dissatisfied with her life and finds everything, including sex, a bore. Over dinner with David, an old friend she’s always had chemistry with, he quietly says, “I spent the weekend choosing a stick to beat you with.” With these words a previously unknown world opens up to her. A world of submission and a dark intimacy that shakes everything she thought she knew about herself.

 I am reading a lot of erotic fiction and erotica for a workshop I’m doing in September. Like our heroine, I am expanding my reading horizons even more so than usual. This book will not appeal to many readers. It is unflinching in its portrayal of Dominant/submissive relationships and there is no doubt that it is brutal and also much more. I came at it from the angle of understanding the characters involved and the intimacy and openness a relationship like this must posses. A hard and intriguing read that made me think outside my comfort zone. Ariel Sands is a pseudonym for an international bestselling nonfiction author. In an interview, she said she wanted to write with a pseudonym so there would be no preconceived notion of what the book would be like. 2011, 216 pages.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on August 24, 2011 in General Fiction

 

Tags: , , ,

Before I go to Sleep by S.J. Watson

“My life, I thought, is built on quicksand. It shifts from one day to the next.”

Christine wakes up every morning wondering who the guy is sleeping in the bed beside her. Sometimes she feels like she’s in her twenties and other times she feels like a child. It is only when she goes to the bathroom and sees an older woman staring back that she begins to panic. Every day, her husband Ben gently calms her down and reminds her of her life. Christine has amnesia and forgets everything she’s been told each day when she falls asleep. When a doctor calls and tells her to read her journal hidden in her closet and to not tell Ben-Christine has to decide who to believe and how much she can unravel before she falls asleep again.

This book is getting a lot of press, including a rave review from Dennis Lehane comparing it to the movie Memento. A classic thriller it is full of fast paced suspense that will keep the reader hooked. What makes it memorable is the engaging depth of character in Christine-who can remember nothing of her life day to day. The plot is tightly written and does not fall into too many cliches. The twists and turns are fun and thoughtful. If I am any example of a typical reader, I was throwing theories around in my head throughout the whole novel. Only a few of them came true. For that, I tip my hat. 2011, 358 pages.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on August 19, 2011 in General Fiction

 

Tags: , , ,

Pinocchio Vampire Slayer and the Great Puppet Theater (vol. 2) by Dusty Higgins & Van Jensen

“Come now, puppet, let’s settle this.”

Volume two opens with the realization that Master Cherry is dead and has become one of the vampires. However, he protects Pinocchio and an uneasy alliance with Cherry is formed as the gang from the Great Puppet Theater join the group to help. Only problem is Pinocchio is so full of hurt, loss and rage that he is one vampire stake away from exploding. When he finally does Cherry is truly dead and Fairy gave her life to cast her final spell-making Pinocchio human. How is he going to fight the vampires now?

I’m tired of vampires. There I said it. Whew. But, this series is such a quirky mixture of fairy tale mixed with evil vampires with a good dose of sarcastic wit and humor. I started reading because the premise made me laugh. I keep reading because the characters are engaging and sympathetic; the story sweet and the drawings are creatively full of life. 2010, 176 pages.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on August 19, 2011 in Graphic novels

 

Tags: , , , , , ,

Black Belt Librarians: Every Librarian’s Real World Guide to a Safer Workplace by Warren Graham

I’ve read Graham’s books before and we’ve even had him talk at our staff development day, but I’ve never reviewed them and it was time to refresh my memory. Graham worked security but did not know libraries until he talked with the director of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg County Library in North Carolina. What happens next is my favorite thing to watch-the initiation of the unknowing to the knowing about public libraries and what we all deal with on a daily basis.

A small practical book, Graham shares his knowledge about handling different situations and feeling empowered to deal with the public. It’s easy-going tone laced with humor will set many readers at ease-even those who are not at all certain they have what it takes to play security guard librarian. My only complaint is that I would have liked to see more real examples followed through with how they were handled. Visuals can be very helpful. 55 pages, 2006.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on August 2, 2011 in Leadership, Nonfiction

 
 
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.