Feb. 28th, 2011

That video makes me squee so happily. I don't even know why.

It's been a busy weekend, to be sure. So, I'll just hit the highlights and move on with my life.

- My extended family is nuts. Not in the literal committed-and-on-meds way - just a little odder than most people are. I had to drive my (much older) cousin home to Salt Lake over the weekend - the poor guy is so shy. He doesn't say "Boo!" without apologizing profusely, which is okay, I guess, until you've heard it fifty times. But he wanted relationship advice from me (he's 15 years older than me) and in asking for my help, we ventured into the mystical land of TMI and Brain Bleach... do I want to deal with this? Heavens no! Sheesh - I've never had a relationship of my own (nor do I want on). Why am I being asked to fix someone else's problems? -_-'

'kay, that's over - NEXT!

- I. LOVE. STUDYING. LIBRARY. SCIENCE. Laugh if you must, but this weekend I went up to Salt Lake to meet up with my MLS Cohort buddies and enjoy a full weekend of discussing collection development. Beyond getting all this new information so I can be a good librarian when I get to that point, I just love being around my classmates and colleagues. Maybe it's because I had a real downer week (the kids at school were being little twerps and I'll just leave it at that), but it felt good to get away and do something that makes me feel good.  I honestly can't wait to do my practicum this summer.

- While I was up north, my dad had me move some of my stuff that's been in storage since we moved nine years ago. We'd had it stored at this old house my parents own but are now selling (which, why we didn't sell it years ago is beyond me, but I'm not the one calling the shots). But since I don't have my own place to move all my stuff to, it just moved into another storage area (into a friend of mine's garage - I'm going to be living with her this summer anyway). Most of my stuff ended up getting thrown out because I didn't need it or because of mice (yeah...), so I actually have less stuff than I thought I did.

- Here's a funny story - for my class weekends, we meet in a small-ish library in Salt Lake City down the road from the University of Utah. It's right next to a Barnes and Noble, which does not help my finances at all. I'd arrived at the library early on Friday night, so I thought I'd go browse B&N to see if they had anything good. I ended up in the DVD section, perusing their Doctor Who DVDs to see if there was something I really wanted that 2Entertain wasn't planning a Revisitation version of later. Turned out they had the Black Guardian Trilogy at a decent enough price, so I bought that. The guy at the counter noticed what I was buying and actually seemed impressed that I was buying a Doctor Who boxed set and he started asked me who my favorite Doctor was - I replied that I really didn't have a favorite yet (well, I do, but I haven't seen them all yet, so I'm reserving judgment), but I'd been on a Peter Davison kick lately (hence, my purchase) and I really liked both David Tennant and Matt Smith. I think the guy thought it was cool that there was a 20-something girl in Utah that actually knew what Doctor Who was - even enough to buy some of the Classic series on DVD (or maybe I'm just giving myself gratuitous pats on the back).

As I left the store, I had to get on the escalator down and I noticed a guy walk in with either his wife or girlfriend. This guy had a black t-shirt on with white lettering in the shape of a TARDIS that said "Bow Ties are Cool" and a white image of a bow tie above that. I wanted to yell out "Nice shirt!" to the guy, but he'd passed by the time I got to the bottom of the escalator (plus, I'm a little shy about yelling out in a crowded store - and I try not to get too over-zealous about my love of all things Who, especially in public. I don't do well with awkwardness). But seriously - how cool is it that I encountered not just one, but TWO people who seemed to know what Doctor Who was and even were fans of it? 'Course, I was in Barnes and Noble, which I lovingly refer to as "The Geek Store" but it just made my heart happy ^_^


A sports book requires I use my sports icon :)

Dairy Queen

Author: Catherine Gilbert Murdock

ISBN: 0-618-86335-4

Publisher:  Houghton Mifflin

Date of Publication: June 2007

Reading Level: ages 12-17


From Books in Print –


JUVENILE FICTION / Lifestyles / Farm & Ranch Life

JUVENILE FICTION / Sports & Recreation / Football




Awards and Recognition:

Original Voices Award (NOMINATED) 2006

Great Lakes Book Awards (WON) 2007

Beehive Young Adults' Book Award (NOMINATED) 2007

Pennsylvania Young Reader's Choice Award (WON) 2007

Young Reader's Choice Award (NOMINATED) 2009

Maine Student Book Award (NOMINATED) 2007

Volunteer State Book Award (NOMINATED) 2007

Teen Buckeye Book Award (NOMINATED) 2008

Nutmeg Children's Book Award (NOMINATED) 2009

Iowa Teen Award (NOMINATED) 2008

Synopsis: When you don't talk, there's a lot of stuff that ends up not getting said. Harsh words indeed, from Brian Nelson of all people. But, D. J. can't help admitting, maybe he's right. When you don't talk, there's a lot of stuff that ends up not getting said. Stuff like why her best friend, Amber, isn't so friendly anymore. Or why her little brother, Curtis, never opens his mouth. Why her mom has two jobs and a big secret. Why her college-football-star brothers won't even call home. Why her dad would go ballistic if she tried out for the high school football team herself. And why Brian is so, so out of her league. When you don't talk, there's a lot of stuff that ends up not getting said. Welcome to the summer that fifteen-year-old D. J. Schwenk of Red Bend, Wisconsin, learns to talk, and ends up having an awful lot of stuff to say.

Comments: I enjoyed this book a lot.  The story is told from DJ’s first-person POV and her voice radiates through the whole narrative.  Murdock doesn’t shy away from sarcasm or snark – but the story has a down-to-earth tone that seems more genuine than some YA books that are supposed to be about real-life teens.

                DJ Schwenk is basically running her family’s dairy farm in Red Bend, Wisconsin by herself after her two older brothers get in a fight with her dad.  Her younger brother, Curtis, is busy with little league baseball and her mother is about to get a position as the principal of the school where she’s been teaching sixth grade.  Jimmy Ott, a family friend who coaches football at Red Bend’s rival school, Hawley, suggests that the Schwenks have Brian Nelson, a second-string quarterback for Hawley, work on their farm during the summer to train up for football season so he can be the starter.  In the course of this, DJ ends up being Brian’s athletic trainer (her brothers always had her run after their passes and she became a pretty good player just from practice).  Along the way, she decides to go out for Red Bend’s football team because it’s something nobody would expect her to do.  And, of course, she develops a crush on Brian.

                This book is nothing like the usual high school, Romeo-and-Juliet-esque YA romance.  First off all, the romance plot is secondary – the main crux of the story is DJ dealing with work on the farm, issues with her family, issues with her friends and keeping people from finding out about her plan to try out for the football team (until tryouts actually begin, that is).  It’s an authentic look at a strong female character who is truly a tomboy and doesn’t even dawn on her that she would like boys (it’s the revelation that her best friend, Amber, is a lesbian and has a crush on DJ that gets DJ to start thinking that she does like boys).  The unspoken conflict between DJ and her father is so believable and real.  I loved the contrast between the Schwenks, who never bring any kind of family conflict out in the open until it becomes a big blowup, and the Nelsons, who talk about everything (DJ often refers to Brian’s mother as Oprah Winfrey and she sometimes imagines the Schwenks going on Oprah to talk about their problems.  The scenarios DJ imagines bring a tone of levity to an otherwise emotionally burdensome situation).

                The small-town dynamics are wonderful, especially the wrench of the Red Bend vs. Hawley rivalry (I speak from experience when I say that small-town high school rivalries are SERIOUS BUSINESS – nothing about this rivalry is exaggerated).  DJ’s older brothers played football for Red Bend and they lost a big game to Hawley, so the fact that DJ would even consider being friends with Brian (never mind dating him) is a major factor in her self-discovery.  She feels a great loyalty to her family and her team, but she also wants to be friends with Brian (after he quits being a whiny brat about working on the farm).

                There are two other follow-up books after “Dairy Queen” – “The Off Season” and “Front and Center,” both of which are very good and I recommend them.

Up Next: “The Bar Code Tattoo” by Suzanne Weyn



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