Visiting Other SE PDX Libraries

Here’s another SE Portland little library. This one is one block from the Woodstock New Seasons store. It looks like there was another structure next to it – another library? a little free pantry? a birdhouse?  It doesn’t have an official LFL registration number on it, and I couldn’t find it on the official LFL map.

I love the colors on this one. It’s similar run down LFL.jpgto what I was originally going to paint mine – pumpkin orange, olive green, and eggplant purple. This photo also reminds me I keep meaning to find a cabinet doorknob of some sort and a magnet for mine, instead of the rotating lever style latch.

I’ve passed this library several times. For about a year, I passed it almost weekly, and it was always nearly empty – maybe a few wilted magazines or a couple of damp dog-eared books, and that was about it. I passed it recently,  and it was half-full of books in really good shape. I don’t know if that was a one-time thing or if someone is back to caring for the library. I hope it’s getting used regularly again. It’s in a great spot, so near the Woodstock neighborhood businesses, close enough to the elementary school that it’s got to have walkers and cyclists coming by. The neighborhood is pretty neat too – lots of holiday decorations, good looking yards, and the occasional bit of chalk art on the sidewalks.

 

 

Recent Reads

Books I’ve recently read

Image result for make me lee childMake Me, by Lee Child – I’m a big fan of action books, especially spy/thrillers and police procedurals, and I’m really liking Child’s writing. I’ve read a lot of those, and I’ll freely admit I had not guessed the twist. Looking forward to more of his work.

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Red Dragon, by Thomas Harris – I’ve had this book on my shelf for 20 years, and I finally got around to reading it. In fact, I ended up staying up late reading it without realizing it. I don’t know if I’ll be able to watch the movie – I’m an anti-fan of gross-outs and slashers, so it’ll depend a lot on how the moviemakers decided to handle it. Seriously considering reading the third novel in the set, Manhunter.

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A Moveable Feast, by Ernest Hemingway – How is it possible, that as an English major, I never read any Hemingway? Maybe one short story. Possibly. But nothing else?  I found this one at the Little Library in one of the grocery stores I frequent and thought what the heck. Apparently I’d misunderstood all the descriptions of his writing I’d seen, too. While he uses fairly spare vocabulary, his sentences and messages are anything but. I find I can only read a short bit before having to stop and take a break from his writing style, but that’s okay. I usually have a couple of books going at once anyway. It’s especially interesting to read right now, having been to Paris this summer. He writes of the Jardin du Luxembourg, and we walked all through it; he strolls along the Boulevard St. Michel, and we walked up and down it, watching the boats on the Seine. In addition to being an interesting recount of his time there – spent with authors I’m familiar with too – t’s an especially nice reminder of that trip.Image result for serenity the shepherd's tale

Serenity: The Shepherd’s Tale – I can’t remember where I got this one. Maybe from a friend who went to a Comic Con, maybe from Michael’s Firefly Loot Crate. It took me a bit to adapt to the narrative style, and I don’t know that it actually answered any of the questions I’d had about this character from Firefly, but it was a good read and did provide some interesting info on his backstory. Plus it was a good reminder to find some more graphic novels.

Image result for lab girl hope jahrenLab Girl, by Hope Jahren – autobiography/memoir of Dr. Hope Jahren, geochemist & geobiologist that’s as much memoir as it is some of the best scientific writing for the layperson I’ve seen in a while. Wikipedia says this better than I can:

Jahren is an advocate for raising public awareness of science and has been working to lift the stereotype surrounding women and girls in science. One such example included the repurposing of the Twitter hashtag#ManicureMondays.  Seventeen magazine originally came up with the hashtag, but focused mainly on manicured and painted fingernails. Subsequently, Jahren encouraged fellow scientists, specifically girls, to tweet pictures of their hands conducting scientific experiments. The idea behind this was to raise awareness of scientific research and to increase the profile of women working in science.

Jahren has also written compellingly about the sexual harassment of women in science. She recommends that people draw strong professional boundaries, and that they carefully document what occurs, beginning with the first occasion of harassment.

Anyone who’s been read the “About” link on this site or my Recent Reads posts will know I’m a fan of biographies. This book did not disappoint. She writes about the best parts, the worst parts, and all the realities along the spectrum, of being a woman in the self-perpetuating male-dominated world of science, as well as how this country supports (not) and values (not) science, especially when there’s no sellable or weaponizable product to show for the work put in.

 

What are you reading these days? What do you think of it?

Visiting other SE PDX Libraries

Here’s the little library at the New Seasons store on SE woodstock new seasons LFLWoodstock and SE 46th. Not an official LFL, but a lovely little community book-&-game shelf. A shelf of adult books, a shelf of kid books, and some games, along with the usual free magazines & newspapers. This shelf is upstairs in the “Tree House”, where you can sit and drink or eat indoors and outside. There’s even a bar up there.  Pretty spiffy, having a little library – letting people know they are welcome not just to shop, but to hang out. Occasionally, there is live music, story time for kids, and a couple of different regular meet-ups sponsored by New Seasons that change through the year, along with groups that just happen to meet there.

Thanks, New Seasons!

Reading Style

I was reading Lee Child’s “Make Me” recently and came across his description of the main character’s reading style. He seems like a prime candidate for Little Free reacher's reading style.jpgLibrary patronage.

What kind of reading habits do your favorite or recently-read fiction characters have?

 

Visiting Other SE PDX Libraries

I was out for a bike ride and came across this little library on IMG_8325.jpgSE 92nd and Duke. This library gets a lot of traffic. It’s on an intersection, it’s right near the I-205 Multi-Use Path, and it’s along a well-used route for walking to both a super-frequent bus and to an elementary school. I’ve passed this LFL before and seen it anywhere from pretty much empty to half-way full. Today it was PACKED with books. 95% of them were Romance novels, so take what you will from that. I also spotted a drawing/creativity journal, a couple of books about different populations in the US, and a Harry Potter-related book about Albus Dumbledore.

This library doesn’t seem to be an official Little Free Library – at least, doesn’t have a registration number on the library, and I couldn’t find it on the official LFL map. That’s okay. It’s still a little library! It seems to be cared for and used.

Visiting Little Free Libraries in Eugene

I went to Eugene for the weekend a few weeks ago, for the first time in close to 20 years. I spent 5 years working and going to school there a long time back while at the University of Oregon, so I knew it fairly well then, but hadn’t kept up with much of anything since. Most of my time this trip was either spent with friends or just walking around. Of course a ton had changed since I was there last. Still, knowing that and seeing the changes are different things. Little Free Libraries as such, for example, weren’t around then. You’d see a small shelf of books and games for anyone at a bar or coffee shop, but not the Official Little Free Library movement there is now.  This trip, I also dropped a few books off in the LFLs I found via BookCrossing.

On the first day, a friend and I went out IMG_8161.jpgto Lane Community College to find the Art-o-mat machine.  It’s a refurbished cigarette machine from the 60s/70s/80s that now dispenses cigarette-pack sized art. This is one of three in the whole state of Oregon. The machines are stocked with all sorts of art, from poetry to ceramic or wire sculptures, glass pieces to mini-notebooks, photography to jewelry, paintings on mini canvases and lino prints and everything else that could possibly fit in a box the size of a pack of cigarettes. Everything sells for $5 each. This one was located, appropriately, in the community college’s art gallery. I love everything about Art-o-mats – I love that the cigarette machines are getting new lives, I love that they sell affordable and easily stored/displayed art for the masses, I love that Art-o-mats works with individual artists – famous and not – and art collectives such as teen programs, I love that you only get the barest bit of information from the tags on the machine – it’s a bit of gambling. I collect the pieces – I have around 30 pieces right now.  Here’s what I got this trip:  A woodland scene made from paper piecing (there’s even a cardstock easel on the back to stand it up), a painted block with a heart in a speech balloon, hand-drawn pen art with typed words on paper strips done by a teen, and a word made from photos, plus all the packaging the pieces came in/with.

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Once done with the Art-o-mats, we tracked LCC 18400.jpgdown the Little Free Library right outside the community college’s preschool, #18400. It’s even got its own page on the Lane Community College website! I don’t know why it was so empty. Maybe they empty it for weekends and just have books in it when the preschoolers are at school.

 

 

The next day, I was on my own. The Little Free Library map is kind of unwieldy even on a regular-size computer, and downright useless on a smart phone. Fortunately for me, I also had access to the Little Library Locator app – really, a website – to help me find the LFLs near me as I walked. The weather was beautiful, the trees still green and super-leafy, and there was hardly any traffic as I started out on this early Saturday morning.

5083 LFL.jpgThe first one I stopped by was LFL #5083.

 

 

Not too many books in it, but I did find this gem:

 

It reminds me of books and materials we used to build for the preschool kids where I worked in the late 80s/early 90s at the UofO childcare centers.

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Next up was was LFL #10252. Again, not too many books, but a lovely little yard. I’m pretty sure this is near one of the apartments I lived in while going to school. I never did find that apartment building on this trip – it’s entirely possible it’s been torn down to build a higher density apartment building or a business.

 

 

 

 

 

Further down the street was LFL #10465. Such a pretty yard! Also, a well-stocked LFL! I took one book from this library.

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I met one of the neighbors as I walked. Very friendly, not my cat.jpgnot much of a talker.

 

 

 

 

 

LFL #16774 had a nice little note on the window

 

I tried to find LFL #4202 – especially because which one is missing.jpgof its low number – but it’s not there anymore. So I sat at the park across the street for a bit to log it’s absence in the Little Library Locator, enjoy the trees and fall leaves, and to decide which direction to go.

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To make up for it, I found a little library with no LFL designation or number. (Yes, I added it to the Little Library locator)

I passed a couple of garage sales, some nice yards, ski lift chair.jpga few more cats, and this ski lift chair mounted on someone’s porch.  I love it!

Last one for the day, LFL #21177. Easily tied with #10465 for the best stocked LFL I saw the whole trip. I 21177 LFL.jpgthink I took two books from this library.

 

 

After that, much catching up over dinner with friends, some well-deserved reading time in my motel, then back home I went. The nice thing about taking the train – I got to read the whole way home!