What are we reading? Staff recommended reads for November

NovSliderAre you looking for a good book to read?  Hundreds of thousands of books are published each year, so how does one choose? Read on for several Milne Library staff  book recommendations for the month of November.

Business & Data Librarian Justina Elmore recommends a popular novel by Dan Brown:

Inferno-coverI’ve just finished reading Dan Brown’s latest book Inferno.  Brown is best known for his novel The Da Vinci Code (2003) and his works are guilty-pleasure reading for me. It isn’t high literature, but he’s a great storyteller and you can tell he’s spent a good deal of time in a library. In this latest novel, symbolist Robert Langdon unwittingly finds himself at the center of controversy (again) and in a globe-trotting race to save the world from a bio-terrorist attack.  A task that can only be accomplished by decoding Dante’s Inferno. Dante scholars should probably avoid the agony of reading this one, but it’s a quick and entertaining read for the rest of us willing to suspend reality for a few hours.

Librarian Kate Pitcher recommends a new fantasy novel, The Bone Season, by British writer Samantha Shannon:

bone seasonThe Bone Season is the first of a projected seven book series and is generating  a lot of buzz. Paige Mahoney is a “dreamwalker”, a type of clairvoyant in London, circa 2059.  Paige’s special abilities allow her to walk in and out of others’ minds and take information without their knowledge. Paige works for  a crime syndicate in the shadowy underbelly of London, but her life is dramatically changed overnight when she is kidnapped and taken to the lost city of Oxford.  Paige is kept imprisoned by a race of beings from another world, called the Rephaim, and is assigned a keeper, called Warden.  In order to find her escape, she realizes she must get close to Warden; an uneasy and altogether dangerous subterfuge. Gripping and entertaining, The Bone Season, marks an impressive debut  in what will be an original and thrilling series of science fiction.

For fans of contemporary fiction, Business Manager Ryann Fair recommends two titles this month:

light oceansI’m currently reading The Light Between Oceans by M. L. Stedman. If you’re looking for a gripping, emotional, and morally challenging read then I would give this first time novelist a try!

Winter Garden by Kristin Hannah is hands down one of my all-time favorites! This novel is beautifully written and will draw you in. It’ll take you on one heck of an emotional roller coaster; making you laugh and (if your like me) cry as you discover the chilling and courageous story of Anya Whitman and her family.

What is the impact of textbook prices on students?

written by Tim Bowersox and Kate Pitcher

It is a commonly heard story on campus that students are feeling the pressure when it comes to textbook prices.  Anecdotally, librarians and faculty have heard about many students’ dropping or avoiding classes because they cannot afford the required texts — not because of content, interest or availability. Next week, Milne Library will be holding a series of events related to the open access movement and how we can redefine the impact of free and open resources on higher education.

How do textbook prices impact college students?

imageWe do know that nationally, students bear a high cost to attend college, but how much do textbook costs factor into these budgets?  In 2012, the Florida Student Textbook Survey was conducted by the Florida Virtual Campus (a network of public colleges in Florida). The researchers interviewed over 20,000 students from all 11 of Florida’s state universities.

Among the many survey goals, officials wanted to find out how much Florida students spent on textbooks during the Spring 2012 semester; the frequency with which students buy new textbooks; how students are affected by the cost of textbooks; what formats students prefer; and additionally, what students’ perceptions of the availability of textbooks in their institutions’ libraries actually is.

In brief, the researchers found several trends:

  • Textbook costs continue to take a toll on students financially and academically

  • Students use various means to reduce costs of textbooks, including purchasing books from a source other than the campus bookstore, renting textbooks, purchasing used books, selling their used books, and using copies on reserve at the campus library

  • Some institutions’ libraries provide textbooks for checkout, extending a lifeline to students who cannot afford to purchase a textbook

How Geneseo students feel about textbooks

Much of this was seen in our own informal polling of our students.  During the Spring 2012 semester, we conducted a brief survey to gage the attitudes of SUNY Geneseo students toward textbook prices. Though the response rate was small, we did receive some candid feedback:

“Sometimes, it makes me not want to take a class. I’m somewhat funding myself, so high costs of textbooks are a deciding factor for me.” — Sophomore

“Forced to get old outdated versions where the page numbers dont match up because buying the right/new version is too expensive.” — Junior

“I have to really think ahead and plan ahead to make sure I will have the money to buy my textbooks. There have been classes I haven’t taken because the cost of the textbooks has been too high for me to afford.” — Junior

“It is very expensive to buy textbooks. Generally my professors are honest about whether or not we will use the text during class, but sometimes I go through a whole semester without even opening it. Textbook buy-back stinks because I barely get a fraction of what I initially paid. Basically, it is an incredibly expensive addition to the already incredibly expensive cost of furthering my education. “ — Junior

“I had a work study job this year to cover various expenses, but with the costs of textbooks, I rarely had cash to spend. My parents are helping pay for my college education and they too are financially strained by how expensive the textbooks can be in addition to everything else we need to pay for.” — Freshman

Milne Library can’t do it alone

In an effort to mitigate some of the burden of purchasing textbooks, Milne Library has developed a Textbooks on Reserve collection. Currently, the collection consists of 787 unique titles — that’s roughly 72% of the unique titles assigned by faculty for the Fall 2013 semester. Although some of the titles were already in our collection, we rely heavily upon donations from faculty and students in order to stay current. Why? Because we simply cannot afford to buy the latest edition of each textbook every year.

FreeTextbookOur Textbook on Reserve collection also has limited reach. In order to ensure that as many students as possible can access the collection, students can only check out one book at a time for 4 hours. Since we often only have one or two copies of a book, not every student can access a copy when they need it most: often the night before an assignment is due.

Some students also try to borrow their textbooks through Information Delivery Services (IDS). However, this also has limitations. Many libraries do not allow us to borrow textbooks through interlibrary loan. We are often forced to borrow older or alternate editions. As with all materials we borrow from other libraries, due dates are often limited to 4-6 weeks — meaning students have to return the items before the end of the semester.

Where do we go from here?

We want to know your thoughts. Please respond to our blog post with your comments – how do textbook prices impact your educational experience at Geneseo?  What are some strategies or alternatives used to avoid buying a textbook?

Download and read the 2012 Florida Student Textbook Survey

Publishing student work openly: the GREAT Day Proceedings

GREATDayEvery year, GREAT Day (Geneseo Recognizing Excellence, Achievement & Talent Day) marks a college-wide symposium celebrating the creative and scholarly endeavors of our students.

For the past several years, SUNY Geneseo has published the conference proceedings of the GREAT Day presentations held every April.  The proceedings are designed to be a student-led publication, compiled and edited by a series of student editors and originally advised by Dr. E. Richie VanVliet of the Languages & Literatures department.  In 2011 the publication found a home in Milne Library when Dr. Van Vliet retired. Since the 2011 Proceedings, Milne Library has worked with two wonderful student editors, Stephanie Iasiello and Amy Bishop, to compile and edit the student work from GREAT Day presentations and poster sessions.  In the spring of every year, the Library publishes the edited proceedings of the previous year’s event.

Beginning in 2009, the Proceedings were published in print through the Amazon CreateSpace platform, and in 2011, the Proceedings were also made open access and freely available electronically through Milne’s journal publishing platform, Open Journal Systems (OJS).  http://ojs.geneseo.edu

Student submissions for the 2013 Proceedings are in the process of being reviewed  for publication — you still have time to contribute your paper!  Submitting is easy, and instructions are found on our website. Please contact the GREAT Day Proceedings journal managers (Daniel Ross, Academic Excellence Librarian [email protected] or Allison Brown, Editor & Production Manager [email protected]) for more information.

What are we reading? Staff recommended reads for October

Are you looking for a good book to read?  Hundreds of thousands of books are published each year, so how does one choose? Read on for several Milne Library staff  book recommendations for the month of October.

In the mood for a spectacular YA fantasy?  Then read the following recommendation by Bill Jones, IDS Project Creative Technologist, for a truly amazing young adult novel:

The multiple award-winning YA novel, A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness, is a story filled with surreal illustrations and a captivating a-monster-callsstoryline that leaves the reader wondering what is in fact real and what is simply perceived to be.  The story is told through the eyes of a teenage boy named Conor, who describes his struggle in coming to terms with his mother’s cancer and the terrifying possibility of losing her.  Awakened from a nightmare, a monster comes to help Conor understand his future and admit truths that he holds deep inside.

Throughout the novel, the monster shares with Conor three stories to help him understand the truths of life and what lies ahead.  “The answer is that it does not matter what you think,” the monster said.  “Because your mind will contradict itself a hundred times each day. You wanted her to go at the same time you were desperate for me to save her. Your mind will believe comforting lies while also knowing the painful truths that make those lies necessary. And your mind will punish you for believing both.”

Check out Patrick Ness’ amazing three-part Chaos Walking Trilogy:  The Knife of Never Letting Go (2008), The Ask and the Answer (2010), and Monsters of Men (2010).
Download the free prequel of the trilogy, A New World, today from Amazon Kindle!

Special Collections Librarian Liz Argentieri recommends an Irish writer and a trilogy which broke numerous social and literary barriers when first released in the 1960s.

Edna O’Brien’s Country Girls trilogy includes The Country Girls (1960), The Lonely Girl (1962), Girls in Their Married Bliss (1964).  All three novels were then reissued together with an  Epilogue in 1987.country girls

The impetus to pick up Edna O’Brien’s Country Girls trilogy came from chancing upon a panel discussion of it on the Diane Rehm show last spring.  Dealing with growing up female and Catholic in mid-20th century Ireland, it sounded intriguing: controversial, daring, and literary.  And since I liked what I had read of O’Brien’s short stories, I thought I’d tackle her trilogy. I’m glad I did.

The novels center on Caithleen (“Kate”) Brady, mainly, and her friend Bridget (“Baba”) Brennan, whom we first meet as two young teenage girls living in a small Irish town and straining against the confines of their lives – as teenagers often will.  They are an unlikely pair, and I never did grow to like Baba. Throughout, she bullied Kate and quite literally led her astray, beginning with her orchestration of getting them both expelled from convent school (an opportunity Kate, whose mother had recently died and whose drunk of a father drifted in and out of her life (usually violently) could ill-afford to squander).  But Kate was not easy to root for either.  Watching her drift through her own life, allowing friends, family, and lovers to largely decide her course, often made for frustrating reading, and if it weren’t for her sweetness and vulnerability and the unfortunate events in her life that she truly was unable to control, I might have had less sympathetic feeling for her.

lonely girlThe tone and point of view of the narration shifts between Kate and Baba.  When Baba’s telling the story, the language is more lively, the attitude more devil-may-care, but I’m sure I sensed an underlying pathos in there, especially in the last novel and Epilogue, when the two had more or less “made their beds.”  A current of loneliness flows through Kate’s rather spare narrative voice, especially when she’s talking or thinking about her girlhood home, a run-down farm on the edge of town.  The language she uses to describe that place and her life there – which was not without happiness and love – evokes the stereotypical image of a rainy, damp, bleak Ireland.  The feeling carries through her days in Dublin as a shop girl and Baba’s reckless tag-along, her romantic misadventures with older married men, and her ultimate fate.

Are you a fan of contemporary literary fiction?  Librarian Kate Pitcher recommends Life After Life, the latest novel by Kate Atkinson:

Ursula Todd is born on a cold and blustery night in 1910, and then dies.  She is then reborn, living through her traumatic birth, until a tragic death by drowning.  Ursula is then reborn again, lives a happy but chaotic childhood and dies in a firebombing during World War II.   She is then reborn again.life after life

Kate Atkinson (author of the wonderful Jackson Brodie mystery novels; Case Histories, One Good Turn, When Will There Be Good News? and Started Early, Took My Dog) is an expert storyteller and a literary artist.  In her newest novel, she takes on an interesting device to tell the story of her heroine, Ursula Todd. What if your life didn’t really end at your death, rather, that your life is actually a series of lives as one person, and that you are destined to relive some of the same experiences over and over again, until you get it right?  This is the conceit that Atkinson employs to show Ursula’s development as a character and a person living through some of the worst calamities the human race has ever known – two World Wars and the almost entire destruction of people, namely those of the Jewish faith during the Holocaust.

Atkinson’s novel explores Ursula’s surreal sense of déjà vu and it works – the reader plays along and relives these lives; each one slightly different than the one prior, depending on how Ursula “learned” from that life.  What captures the reader’s imagination is the authors’ shaping of the narrative; how she uses the same plot and events, but almost every chapter reads like a different story.  It is a completely inventive and captivating story and engages the reader from page one, until the end, when we are left with the desire to relive those lives all over again.  Highly recommended, especially for fans of literary fiction and authors such as Margaret Atwood and Jennifer Egan.

2013.OctSR

 

Faculty Bookshelf: An interview with Steve Bein

Faculty.Bein2Steve Bein is a Visiting Assistant Professor of Philosophy, teaching classes on Asian philosophy.  Dr. Bein sat down with Kate Pitcher earlier this year to talk about books, reading and his writing life.  Dr. Bein’s second novel in the Fated Blades series (Year of the Demon) is newly published by Roc (an imprint of Penguin Publishing) this October.

What are your current research interests?

My recent projects have been in compassion, environmental ethics, and applied ethics.  My upcoming project is a book chapter on a Japanese philosopher called Watsuji Tetsurō.  There I’m writing about problems of how we self-identify in the face of climate change.

What is your favorite literary genre to read for pleasure?

At heart I’m a science fiction and fantasy guy.  They’ve got the most potential to be philosophically provocative.  But when I’m reading for pleasure, I also have an eye for reading the kind of stuff I’m currently writing.  So for Daughter of the Sword and Year of the Demon, I’ve been reading urban fantasy, historical fiction, and anything with strong female protagonists, because my books have all of those elements.

Do you read one book or multiple books at a time?

I read multiple books at a time.  (In my line of work, there’s not much choice!)

What book(s) are currently on your nightstand or e-reader?

I make it a point to read some philosophy and some fiction every day.  In philosophy I’m reading a lot of Watsuji Tetsurō right now.  In fiction, Kurt Vonnegut’s Sucker’s Portfolio and Hugh Howey’s Wool.

Tell us about a book that changed your life:

Introduction to Zen Buddhism by D.T. Suzuki is the first book I read on Zen, at fourteen.  It’s the book that put me on my career path. It taught me the importance of mental discipline, and that you didn’t necessarily need to replace one religion for another. The essential message is that your problems are problems because they are problematic for you.  Stress is not objective.  It’s not like weather; it’s not inevitable.  You can manage it.the-hobbit-tolkien

As for fiction, I read The Hobbit when I was a kid and I was hooked on fantasy after that.  Tolkien led me to Madeline L’Engle, C.S. Lewis, Robert E. Howard, all of that stuff.  From there I got into the sci fi side: Frank Herbert, Philip K. Dick, writers like that.  But I think The Hobbit is the snowflake that triggered the avalanche.

Name a book you just couldn’t finish & why:

I was asked to review a first novel, The Name of the Wind, which was advertised as Tolkienesque.  In my review I wanted to write, “it’s exactly as Tolkienesque as my work is Tolkienesque, which is to say not at all.”  No one is Tolkienesque—not until they redefine an entire genre and influence everyone in it.  My review of that book was, “Harry Potter without an interesting school, interesting adventures, or interesting friends, blathering on endlessly while taking superhuman efforts to remain a virgin.”

What were your favorite books as a child?

The Black Stallion, Choose Your Own Adventures, typical kid stuff. Thousands of pages of comic books. So many Conan novels. I was just at the right age when comic books made the shift from kid’s fare to adult fare.  Batman, Wolverine and those guys were my mythology, but then graphic novels came into being, so I could follow them into high school and beyond.

Do you have any favorite books related to your academic background in Japanese philosophy and history—books that non-experts would find accessible?

SophiesWorldZen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance is brilliant, and very accessible.  Robert Aitken is also very accessible; he’s one of the guys who brought Zen Buddhism to the United States.  The Mind of Clover stands out as a good choice.  On the Western side, Jostein Gaarder’s Sophie’s World is a lovely little introduction to philosophy.

You also write fiction –how do you manage the difference in the writing process (or is there a difference?) between creative and scholarly writing?

They’re different but they inform each other. I think the demand for research in my academic life has trained me to do a lot of background reading for my fiction—which is a good thing, because historical fiction is heavily research intensive.  On the flipside, the fiction acts as a reward system for the academic scholarship; in fact, I’m sure I never could have finished my dissertation without it.  I was writing a novel at the time, and my system was to write 500 words a day for the dissertation before I was allowed to do any fiction writing.  A year later I had a finished dissertation and a novel manuscript in hand.

And then there’s the obvious: no matter what you write, I think the more time you spend writing, the better you get at it.  In my philosophy I want to be clear and lucid; in my fiction I want to write with panache.  Not a lot of philosophers focus on the latter, but in my opinion, writing clearly, lucidly, and with flair is no bad thing.

If you could meet any writer, dead or alive, who would it be?  What would you want to know?

Plato, and everything.

Scholarly Publishing across the Disciplines: Interviews with Geneseo Faculty

CostelloPeckInterviewThe Milne Library Scholarly Communications team and librarian liaisons for the campus academic departments interviewed 87 faculty members in one-on-one conversations during the academic year 2010-11 and part of academic year 2011-12.  The results of these interviews were analyzed and documented in a series of reports which will be issued over the next few months.

The interviews conducted with Geneseo faculty members were intended to be a survey of the current research and publishing practices on campus, giving us a glimpse of the issues affecting Geneseo faculty, including the changing scholarly publishing environment, digital and online scholarship, peer review, publishing with undergraduate researchers and open access.

faculty interviews wordle.SMThe first two reports in this series (both released today) document the issues and responses surrounding faculty and undergraduate students involved in research and publishing and the quickly changing environment surrounding digital scholarship and its value on campus and in the disciplines.  In particular, we look at ways in which the library may be able to meet the needs of new initiatives on campus.

To read the reports, please visit the Milne Library Scholarly Communications’ webpage at http://libguides.geneseo.edu/AcrossTheDisciplines

We welcome your feedback about the reports.  Send any comments or questions to Kate Pitcher at [email protected] or by phone at 585-245-5064.

Milne Library Scholarly Communications Team

 

Library Publishing Toolkit – a new and free e-book

LPT CoverMilne Library is pleased to announce the publication of a new book, researched and edited by Milne staff member Allison Brown and published through the IDS Project Press:

Interested in library publishing services?
Thinking about publishing a book or journal, or helping authors do so?

The Library Publishing Toolkit looks at the broad and varied landscape of library publishing through discussions, case studies, and shared resources. From supporting writers, authors, and filmmakers in the public library setting to academic libraries hosting open access journals and books, this collection examines opportunities for libraries to leverage their skills and resources to curate, create and provide access to content.

Both public and academic libraries are invested in the creation and distribution of information and digital content. They have morphed from keepers of content into content creators and curators, and seek best practices and efficient workflows with emerging publishing platforms and services.

The Library Publishing Toolkit is a project funded partially by Regional Bibliographic Databases and Interlibrary Resources Sharing Program funds which are administered and supported by the Rochester Regional Library Council. The toolkit is a united effort between Milne Library at SUNY Geneseo and the Monroe County Library System to identify trends in library publishing, seek out best practices to implement and support such programs, and share the best tools and resources.

For more information and access to the book, please visit http://www.publishingtoolkit.org

What are we reading? Staff recommended reads for April

2013.AprSR
Here’s what some of Milne’s Staff is reading!

Are you looking for a good book to read?  Hundreds of thousands of books are published each year, so how does one choose?  Milne Library staff  have selected a few choice ones to highlight for the month of April.

If you are a fan of more traditional fantasy fare, Reference & Instruction Librarian Sherry Rhodes recommends the The Abhorsen Trilogy by Garth Nix:

Last summer my teenaged daughter picked up a book called Sabriel from her favorite bookstore. I took a look at the back cover and found the description to be interesting, and decided to read it. I sure am glad I did!

I really enjoy fantasy, but it’s got to be well done. Too much of what is published as fantasy are ill-disguised reworkings of previously published books. Sabriel, and its two sequels, Lirael  and Abhorsen, are set in a completely unique world, with completely unique characters and plots.

sabrielSabriel is finishing school when her father, known as The Abhorsen and a gifted necromancer, goes missing. She journeys home, to the Old Kingdom, where magic is alive and well—and the dead are alive as well. With the help—and hindrance—of a cat who is not just a cat, and a long-imprisoned mage she rescues, Sabriel uses the skills her father has taught her to journey into Death to attempt to rescue him, and in the process battle the forces of evil necromancers determined to escape Death and return to the land of the living.

liraelLirael, on the other hand, has spent her entire life in the Old Kingdom. She is a daughter of the Clayr, women who have the ability to see the future. Fourteen when the book begins, Lirael is painfully aware that she is the only Clayr who has not received the Sight by her age. She also has no family, with the exception of the aunt who runs the Clayr settlement and who has little time for her. Feeling alienated from her surroundings, Lirael seeks isolation in the enormous library and is apprenticed as a Third Assistant Librarian. Over the months she works there, her curiosity enables her to learn how to battle hideous creatures lurking in the library’s depths, as well as how to construct a magical dog who becomes her loyal companion. Events reveal that Lirael’s destiny is not confined to the home of the Clayr, and actually is closely intertwined with the ruling family of the Old Kingdom. The end of the book leaves readers with few answers, setting up the plot for Abhorsen and the convergence of the main characters from the previous books and the resolution of the various plotlines.

abhorsen

I especially enjoyed the character development present in all three novels. Sabriel, Lirael, Sameth, and Nick are all believable teens, growing more mature and confident in themselves as the books progress and they age. The Disreputable Dog and Mogget the Cat exhibit typical characteristics of their respective species, but are far more than just a dog and a cat. Their often humorous and sometimes caustic interchanges reveal more about the Old Kingdom and Charter Magic—and conceal far more. Nick and the other ordinary humans live in a kingdom reminiscent of Phillip Pullman’s His Dark Materials Trilogy, flavored with a strong strain of Victorian/Edwardian steampunk. And Nix’s descriptions of the various levels of death, its denizens, and the dangers that are encountered there by the living are creepy and nerve-wracking.
If you’re looking for a really original fantasy series with appealing characters, Garth Nix’s The Abhorsen Trilogy is one to read.
Another favorite set of fantasy books is the comic fantasy series of  Thursday Next novels by Jasper Fforde, highly recommended by Electronic Resources & Digital Scholarship Joe Easterly:
fforde booksThe Thursday Next books by Jasper Fforde are wonderful British novels which blend comic fantasy, detective fiction and literary wit. Set in a parallel universe where classic literature is revered above all, and criminal masterminds steal manuscripts and murder literary characters, literary detective Thursday Next is part of a specialized police force charged with protecting Britain’s literary heritage. As this fast-paced, endlessly imaginative series progresses, Thursday moves from one unusual situation to the next, such as running anger management classes for the cast of Wuthering Heights, to standing trial (set in Kafka’s book, of course) for changing the ending of Jane Eyre, and encountering fan-fiction versions of herself and Harry Potter. Start reading the series with the first book — The Eyre Affair. However, the third (The Well of Lost Plots) and the fifth (First Among Sequels) books are particularly good as well.
How about contemporary fiction?  Librarian Kate Pitcher recommends the recent publication of the novel, The Dinner, by Dutch writer Herman Koch and translated into English by Sam Garrett:
The Dinner is a contemporary book, set in present-day Amsterdam, although a specific day and time is never mentioned in the course of the novel’s events. The setting is dinner at an upscale restaurant in the heart of urban Amsterdam. Dinner is also the framework of the novel; chapters are nestled within sections of the book indicating which course is being served (“Aperitif” being the first, followed by “Appetizer” and so on ).
kochOur main characters are two couples, brothers and their wives. Narrated  by one brother, Paul, the other brother is Serge Lohman, an up-and-coming Dutch politician. The reader soon learns of the presumable reason the couples are meeting for their dinner – a horrible crime committed by the two brothers’ children. At the same time, we figure out Paul is an unreliable narrator; as the story moves on, not only do we learn more details of the sons’ horrible crime, but also the reason why Paul has lost his job as a history teacher. The reader is also continually struck by Paul’s anger and bitterness towards his brother, his sister-in-law Babette and their adopted son. As the novel progresses, the dinner itself feels surreal, the couples dancing around the decisions that must be made about their children and the impact it will have, not only on Serge’s career, but on all their lives.
A bestseller in his native Netherlands, The Dinner is an uncomfortable and disturbing story of how far people are willing to go to protect their family. It has surprises, and although the children’s’ crime is unforgivably brutal, it isn’t their crime that is the most horrible, but rather their parents’ reaction and response to it which moves this novel in so tragic a direction.  As The New York Times stated in its book review, the author  “…[he] has created a clever, dark confection, like some elegant dessert fashioned out of entrails. “The Dinner,” absorbing and highly readable, proves in the end strangely shallow, and this may be the most unsettling thing about it..”
Recommended and hard to put down, so save the reading for a day when you have a few hours to absorb yourself completely.

Have you read any good books lately? Are you willing to share a review? Let us know – submit your review to Kate Pitcher at [email protected] for a future post.

What are we reading? Staff recommended reads for February

Are you looking for a good book to read and an escape from your studies for a short while?  Libraries and bookstores have thousands of books that might fit the bill. Staff have selected a few choice ones to highlight for the month of February.

Do you enjoy fantasy? Education & Instructional Design Librarian Michelle Costello recommends Magic’s Price by Mercedes Lackey:

magic priceThis is the last book in Lackey’s The Last Herald Mage trilogy and is definitely the strongest and most interesting of the three. The last installment tells the tale of Vanyel Ashkevron and his journey towards becoming a Herald Mage and legend. Magic’s Price focuses on Vanyel’s plight to defeat a dark mage who is trying to overthrow the Kingdom of Valdemar. Vanyel begins the Last Herald Mage trilogy as a brat and a coward (making the first book a bit difficult to get through), but becomes a true hero and thus a very likeable character by the third book. If you enjoy fantasy literature and novels that demonstrate strong character development, I would highly recommend this book.

How about mysteries? Reference & Instruction Librarian Sue Ann Brainard recommends The Devotion of Suspect X by Keigo Higashino (translated from the Japanese by Alexander O. Smith):

suspect xThe third book in the Detective Galileo series, this novel begins with an attempted extortion and death of the extorter in his ex-wife’s apartment under mysterious circumstances. The woman’s neighbor, a mathematics teacher named Ishigami, offers to help dispose of the body. When the body turns up and is identified, Detective Kusanagi gets the case and the ex-wife becomes the prime suspect. The detective, suspicious but unable to find any evidence of the woman’s guilt, calls in his friend,  Dr. Manabu Yukawa, a physicist and frequent partner in crime solving. Coincidentally, “Professor Galileo”, as he is commonly known, attended college with the mathematics teacher, Ishigami, and suspects the man had something to do with the  murder. What ensues is a high stakes, cat and mouse game, as Ishigami tries to protect his neighbor and Professor Galileo tries to out think the suspect and prove his guilt.
Maybe you’re more of a contemporary fiction fan?  Then Kate Pitcher suggests the recent novel, Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore, by Robin Sloan:
penumbraClay Jannon is a laid-off web designer and technology worker.  Living in San Francisco, Clay needs to find a job and wanders into a dusty, ancient-looking used bookstore one night, literally called “Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore” as it is indeed open 24 hours a day.  Hired as the night-time bookstore clerk, Clay has questions about the mysterious activities and strange visitors to the bookstore.  People visit the bookstore in the middle of night, never buying anything, but borrowing books from the depths of the bookstore and returning them once they have been read.  Paying customers might only be passers-by who wander in out of curiosity and this is how Clay meets Kat Potente, a Google programmer.  Clay is a curious, ambitious man and his technology skills play a major role in uncovering the true purpose behind the origins of the bookstore and its reason for being.  The novel is a true blend of “book love”, a sort of ode to the book as object, but also as a novel about the possibilities and limitations of our obsession with social media, technology and data.  Clay, Kat and a cast of several other quirky characters discover a mysterious organization called the Unbroken Spine and race across the country and through cyberspace to solve the mystery of the bookstore.  The New York Times‘ review states that the novel “…dexterously tackles the intersection between old technologies and new with a novel that is part love letter to books, part technological meditation, part thrilling adventure, part requiem.”

Ebooks on demand!

Starting this fall, Milne Library is pleased to offer ebooks on demand from EBL, a vendor specializing in scholarly and popular books. The current collection has access to over 5,000 titles, with majority of content published between 2011 and 2012.  Publishers include:  Ashgate Publishing, Blackwell, John Wiley & Sons, Princeton University Press, McFarland & Company and several others.

To access ebook titles, students, faculty and staff need only search GLOCAT+ for subject of their choice, then limit by Show content type to “Book/eBook”.

 

Once you have a list of results you will see a link for Full Text Online.  Click.

 

 

 
The link will take you to a drop-down menu where you will select SUNY Geneseo from the list of selected institutions.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On the next screen you will see information about the book title you selected; click Read Online and your table of contents for the book will appear.

 

 

 

As with print books, a loan is required before access to an ebook can be made available for an extended period of time.

Borrowing a book will activate full text access for the length of the loan (in most cases 1 day or 7 days) and enable you to copy and print from the books.

Note: To continue accessing the ebook once a loan has expired, simply create or request another loan as you did your initial loan.

 

If you want to download a title to your e-reader or computer, click on the Download tab on the lefthand menu; you will need to have Adobe Digital Editions installed for downloading content.

 

Read and enjoy!
Please contact Kate Pitcher, Collection Development Librarian, if you have any questions or comments about the ebook collection.