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Molly Wetta

Down with the OED (Yeah, You Know Me)

It takes a certain kind of nerd to want to read the dictionary, and there’s even a name for it: logophile, or lover of words. I’m always been interested in obscure words and how definitions of certain words have changed over time. I was the kind of kid who read the dictionary for fun. Really.

I’m not quite ambitious enough to undertake reading the entire Oxford English Dictionary, but I was intrigued enough by the idea to read Reading the OED: One Man, One Year, 21,730 Pages by Ammon Shea. In 26 chapters, Shea shares his experience reading every single word in the dictionary and documents the amusing words he discovers during the process. It was an interesting and entertaining read.

About the time I finished, my friend, an acquisitions editor at Oxford University Press, said she got an email at work asking for suggestions on words to add to the OED as well as nominations for word of the year (last year’s was selfie) and asked for ideas. While I couldn’t think of a word I thought warranted such an honor, it did get me thinking about how a word enters a dictionary, as well as how early dictionaries were compiled. Turns out, it’s quite a tale, and is documented in The Professor and the Madman: A Tale of Murder, Insanity, and the Making of the Oxford English Dictionary by Simon Winchester.  Read More..


YA for Grownups

There’s been a bit of an uproar about a recent  article on Slate about how grownups should be embarrassed to read young adult literature.  But if you’ve been a part of the vibrant, thriving community of adults who these books for long, you know this is nothing new. There are all kinds of click-bait articles written with the intention of shaming the (mostly women) readers who enjoy books with teen characters and coming of age stories, whether they are poignant and realistic or dystopian drama.

Confession: I used to be one of those people.

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Half Bad, All Good

Don’t get me wrong. I love Harry Potter, even though I came to it later than most. Good versus evil, witchcraft and wizardry, friendship and identity…J. K. Rowling delivers the whole package. And even though there will always be a special place in my heart for Hogwart’s, as a general rule, I tend to prefer my fiction (even my YA fiction) a little…darker. Which is no surprise, considering if I went to Hogwart’s, the sorting hat wouldn’t have to think twice about putting me in Slytherin.

It’s also not surprising that Half Bad, the first installment in a new young adult trilogy from Sally Green, was just to my taste. Read More..

Awards Season: Highlights from the Youth Media Awards

Golden Globes. Oscars. Grammys. Awards season is upon us, folks!

While I love seeing celebrities walk the red carpet and discussing the best movies and music of the year with friends, family, and co-workers, the awards ceremony that I most look forward  to is the Youth Media Awards at the American Library Association’s Midwinter Conference.

The YMAs include the Newbery, Caldecott, Printz, and Morris awards, just to name a few. Each award seeks to highlight the best in books published for children and young adults during the previous year. The full list of honored titles can be found here, but I wanted to share some of my favorites from what I’ve read over the past year.

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Last-Minute Local Gifts for Loved Ones

If you’ve put off your holiday shopping until the last minute, don’t fret! In the span of a lunch break you can get pick up a bookish or Lawrence-themed gift for everyone on your list. In addition to supporting local businesses and artists, you won’t have to pay shipping!

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2013 Young Adult Novels for Everyone on Your List

Whether they devour YA books regularly or only check them out when a hot new title like The Hunger Games or The Fault in Our Stars hits bestseller lists (or movie theaters), there’s a young adult novel for every reader on your list. Remember, there’s no rule that someone has to be a Real Actual Teen to enjoy a young adult novel; these are all great picks for adults looking for well-written and entertaining stories as well as teen readers.  Read More..


Audiobooks for Family Roadtrips

Are you heading out of town to visit family or friends this holiday season? Are you dreading a car trip where everyone is constantly asking “are we there yet?” Audiobooks can make the time in a vehicle fly by and keep everyone entertained. Of course, finding something that fits everyone’s interest can be a bit tricky. These audiobooks are family friendly but entertaining enough for adults to enjoy. Read More..


Psychic Sisters

After reading Prepa novel about the trials and tribulations of a teen girl at boarding school, and American Wife, a novel whose main character is modeled after Laura Bush, I never expected that Curtis Sittenfeld’s next novel would be about psychic sisters.

Despite the supernatural hook, Sisterland is very much in the tradition of Sittenfeld’s previous novels, which feature startling realistic and unflinchingly honest narrators and examine complex family dynamics. Rather than an angsty teenage outsider or a wife who loves her husband but is at odds with his politics, Sisterland centers around Kate and her identical twin sister, Violet, who both have “senses” that give them glimpses into the future. While Kate eschews her given name–Daisy–and her psychic abilities for a quiet life in the suburbs raising her two young children as a stay at home mom. Vi, who makes a living as a professional psychic, predicts a massive earthquake and appears on television warning local St. Louis residents, and Kate can’t escape the fallout, or her own premonitions. Read More..


The End of a (Reading) Era: Dead Ever After

I discovered The Sookie Stackhouse series by Charlaine Harris (back when it was called the Southern Vampire Mysteries and before it was HBO’s True Blood) entirely on accident. I picked up the paperback on a whim while standing in line to buy Anna Karenina at The Dusty Bookshelf. The title caught my eye, and though I thought the cover art was a bit silly, the blurb on the back sounded fun and I thought it might balance out the serious and sad classic of Russian lit I’d already selected. Read More..


Unfailingly Entertaining or How to Read Infinite Jest

My best friend runs marathons. For fun. On the weekends. This requires lots of training, registration fees, and travel. I’ve always been kind of baffled by this choice of pastime.  When I asked her why she decided to adopt this hobby, she explained that the endurance required to reach the finish line made her feel proud of her achievement. She ran just to prove to herself she could do it.

I still didn’t quite understand how she could get such joy from such an endeavor until I decided to read Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace. Weighing in at 3.2 pounds and 1079 pages, it’s the reader’s equivalent of running a marathon. After successfully completing the novel and actually enjoying it, I thought I’d share some tips for reading this intimidating yet rewarding book.

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