Librarian Superheroes: Ellen Bosman

Welcome to LIBRARIAN SUPERHEROES–the unsung defenders of books. Ellen Bosman is a librarian at the University of New Mexico. I caught up with her in the middle of a challenging mission, cataloguing books by New Mexico Authors. Her cape made quite the impression. Lucky for us, she took time from her dangerous mission to answer a few questions from a pesky reporter.
Ellen reading in 2008

Ellen reading in 2008

If you could have a super power, what would it be?

The ability to be in more than one place at a time. I would be simultaneously kayaking, bird watching, and snorkeling on the Great Barrier Reef.

What is the best thing about your job?

Helping people with their research questions. I love the combination of detective work needed to find an answer and knowing

I helped the user. Plus I learn about many subjects along the way.

What is the worst?

Being in administration, I wish I had more opportunities to work directly with users on their research needs.

What are you reading now, and what do you think about it?

I am on the Stonewall Book Awards committee so read a lot of gay/lesbian books. Unfortunately I can’t comment on those books

until the awards are announced, but I can comment on a few I enjoyed last year.

Very cool! Tell us more…

One my favorite genres is young adult fiction. I really enjoyed Sparks: The Epic, Completely True Blue, (Almost) Holy Quest of Debbie, by S. J. Adams. I read the book in one day. The fast pace, breathless nature of the writing/story was engaging and reminiscent of the headiness of being in high school, feeling like everything is earth-shattering and must be taken care of NOW. The rush and confusion of first love, the risk-taking, the cliques, the clunker cars with not enough gas or enough money for gas, the realization of religious hypocrisy–it all felt very realistic. I just had to keep reading to find out what happened. I found the plot unpredictable and the characters engaging. I think everything about the book was fun, from the cover art and title, to the writing style and characters.

Art on Fire by Hilary Sloin is a somewhat unusual work of fiction. It is a pseudo-biography, complete with fake footnotes and art reviews, of lesbian artist Francesa desilva. Tomboy Fran lives in the shadow of her genius sister Bella in their otherwise typically dysfunctional family circa late 1970s–early 1980s. Fran meets Lisa, also a genius, at one of her sister’s parties for the socially inept. Thus begins Fran’s only love, an on again-off-again relationship burdened by Lisa’s internalized homophobia, her own familial baggage, and Fran’s belief that she can never really, truly love. Fran runs away from home, begging Lisa to join her. Ultimately, Fran ends up living a life of artistic deprivation. The isolation suits her and, through a serious of coincidences, she becomes a famous artist, eclipsing her sister’s success.

There are several layers of mystery in the story and the reader is invited to read between the lines–and footnotes– looking for the truth but the mystery is only a subtle part of an otherwise tragic story, filled with broken people, thwarted desire, unfilled dreams. I enjoyed the juxtaposition of the scholarly art analysis of Fran’s work with the rest of the story. The reader almost has to laugh at the art reviews, as each attempts to decipher the meaning in Fran’s art within the context of feminism and lesbianism while the reader knows how each piece came about and why. A story of contradictions and sadness.

My TBR pile just grew. Tell us a story about yourself or about a librarian you know that runs counter to the myth of librarians as retiring, spinster-ish, bookworms.

At my last job I was working with a colleague on the reference desk and another librarian came by. We were carrying on some discussion when a patron asked us to be quiet. Clearly we were a chatty bunch, social to a fault—literally. The image of librarians as quiet, etc. has become a trope, media’s code for communicating precisely that someone is quiet, retiring, and book-ish. However the advent of the Internet, e-books, and other technologies in the library has mitigated the image to some extent. Librarians are now portrayed as tech savvy.

Is there a librarian in your past that influenced you?

I don’t recall the names of my local, branch librarian in NJ and my school librarian. I’ve always been drawn to libraries and have a very vivid memory of my first library visit. I had just learned to write my name and my mom took me to the branch library. I was in heaven and asked the librarian how many books I could take home and she said “as many as you can carry.” That response wowed me. Plus, I wanted to play with all the stamps on the librarian’s desk. Alas, by the time I became a librarian stamps were virtually non-existent.

Are there topics you feel writers need to write about more?

There is always more room for stories with characters of diverse ethnic backgrounds.  I would like to see a greater variety of religious fiction based on faiths other than Christianity; the latter has pretty much cornered the market.  The growing visibility of transgendered individuals indicates the need for more serious fiction featuring transgender individuals and bisexuals could also be included in that category.

What do you have to say to readers?

Read as many books as you carry. Read outside your favorite genres to broaden your horizons.

Great advice! That’s why I belong to a book club. It forces me to read books I never would’ve picked up on my own.

Thank you for stopping by, Ellen. Have fun snorkeling the Great Barrier Reef!

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Friendship, interrupted

Dear Miss Fortune Cookie,

In my group of friends there were four of us. One of them decided she didn’t want to be friends with us anymore and her reason was that I was bullying her; I wasn’t, I thought she was my bestfriend. She caused a big scene leaving the rest of us not wanting to talk to her.

It’s been 3 months and now one of my bestest friends wants to be friends with her again, and I’m not sure that I can be friends with someone who is friends with that girl that treated me badly.What do I do? 

Stuck

 

Dear Stuck,

Miss Fortune Cookie Says: The person who makes a scene is not a friend. She’s an actress.
 
I’m allergic to scenes. They discourage communication. If your ex-friend had not thrown a scene, you could’ve talked about what upset her. You might have seen each other’s point of view. Amazing! But now it’s a Chinese Opera with shifting alliances, and daggers unexpectedly drawn.
 
What a mess.
 
Your bestest-friend-that-wants-to-be-hang-out-with-your-ex-friend is key. Can you talk to her? If she understands that her move hurts you, she may change her mind.
 
I love to give people second and third chances. But true friendship is based on trust, loyalty, and mutual admiration. A friend should always have your back.
 
Miss Fortune Cookie
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Free book alert!

To celebrate the release of the final book in Kersten Hamilton’s riveting Goblin Wars Trilogy, you can get a copy of the first book free at iTunes. The offer is only good this week, so jump on it!

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You can also download a copy onto your Kindle for 0.00 at Amazon.

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Here’s what reviewers are saying about WHEN THE STARS THREW DOWN THEIR SPEARS:

“This spectacular conclusion will satisfy fans and lead new readers into a complex world with fascinating magic and appealing characters.” Kirkus, starred review

 “Brimming with heroism, violence, romance, and tragedy. . . . This will more than satisfy series fans—it will make them laugh, fill them with wonder, and uplift them in the end.” Booklist Online
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Don’t be a bully, you jerk

 
Dear Miss Fortune Cookie,

This noob in photography won’t leave me alone. He keeps asking me dumb stuff like how to view his pictures. I keep telling him to ask the teacher, but he ignores me. How do I get rid of him?

Annoyed

 

WHAT MISS FORTUNE COOKIE REALLY WANTED TO WRITE, BUT DIDN’T:

Dear Annoying,

Miss Fortune Cookie says: Someone is speaking well of you. Because they don’t really know you.

The hallmark of noob-behavior? Calling someone else a noob.

In other words, it takes one to know one. I’m rubber, you’re glue. Everything you say bounces off me and sticks to you.

Miss Fortune Cookie

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ENLIGHTENED ANSWER:

Dear Annoyed,

Miss Fortune Cookie says: Open your heart. You can always close it again later.

Be nice. Everyone is a noob sometime in their life.

Besides, maybe this noob knows how to view his pictures, but is looking for friendship or romance. Anything is possible.

Miss Fortune Cookie

fortune cat

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My two-timing summer

I am a late bloomer. A late, late bloomer. By the end of high school, my statistics in the romance department were deplorable:
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Crushes – 16
Dates – 6
Kisses – 2
Boyfriends – 0
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The summer after graduation my world changed. At the graduation party, Rick (not his real name) kissed me. A week later as I came off a shift at my summer job, Rick was waiting for me. I liked him. We started going out.

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Before all that, I’d developed a substantial crush on another boy named Pelle. We’d met in a community college poetry class that I took my final semester of high school. On the first day he read a love poem. To his girlfriend. For some reason that didn’t discourage me from getting to know him (flirting, actually). After several weeks I learned that his girlfriend lived 400 miles away. (yes!) And then one day, he invited me to go sailing. The whole time we were together, we had a blast—laughing and talking and being silly.

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Nothing “happened” on my date with Pelle. He didn’t ask me out again right away. While I waited for him to make the next move, Rick asked me to be his girlfriend, and I accepted. Rick and I enjoyed each other, but I couldn’t help comparing him to Pelle. Unfavorably. Then Rick told me that he planned to break up with me at the end of the summer because long distance relationships don’t work.
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That was not a good move for him.
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One evening Pelle appeared on my doorstep to return a sweater I’d left on his sailing dinghy. And to ask me out on a lunar eclipse viewing date. Oo la la. But one of my closest friends was staying the night, so I turned him down. When he left, I felt I’d blown my last chance.
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A few days later Rick told me he wanted to have sex before the summer ended. Before our pre-determined break up, naturally.
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Worst. Move. Ever.
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Luckily Pelle persisted. Not long after, he invited me on a drive to an overlook. As we gazed at the shimmering lights together (swoon), he still didn’t try to kiss me.
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Was I wrong to go out with him without telling Rick? Yes. Did I worry about it? No.
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Finally the turning point arrived. Pelle and I spent a romantic evening together in San Francisco. At the end he hinted that he would break up with his girlfriend. I hinted I’d do the same.
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Now Pelle and I are married. Our son is 16, one year younger than I was in the above story.
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Yikes.
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How do you think the world will end?

Zombie dinosaurs?

Sinkholes?

Radioactive capybaras?

Tweet your theory for the impending apocalypse.
#apocalypseprediction

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RT Teen Day … here I come!

If you’ve never heard of Teen Day at the Romantic Times Booklovers Convention, let me fill you in.

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100 amazing YA authors + me + 1 big room = 3 hours of delicious pandemonium called YA Alley.

Get autographs from luminaries such as Jennifer Brown, Veronica Roth, Kim Derting, Ally Carter, Carrie Ryan, Aprilynne Pike, Maureen Johnson, and Stephanie Perkins. I, personally, will be sitting next to Sarah Rees Brennan trying not to faint from fan-girl overload.

I’m on a speed reading panel between 5 and 6pm, and afterwards plan to “unwind” at the Teen Party, where you can win books and swag by the toteful. Hope to see you there!

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The Winner!!!

Congratulations to Mary Catherine Miller for winning the Be an Advice Columnist for a Day contest. She’s a doctoral student at Ohio State University working in Literature for Children and Young Adults. Check out her excellent blog, Travels with Mary.

And read her pithy and fun advice below:

Dear Miss Fortune Cookie,

I’m not short, but my girlfriend is taller than me. My friends laugh about it. They call me stumpy and pat me on the head. I don’t want to go to school anymore. Should I just break up with her already?

Taller Than Average

 
Dear Taller than Average,

Miss Fortune Cookie says: Long legs let the heron see more than the duck.

Don’t your friends know that the average height of a model is 5’11”? Tell them there’s no way you’re going to set them up with her friends if they keep patting you on the head.

Miss Fortune Cookie
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Opinionated much?

Do your friends dump their problems on you all the time? Do you feel like you’re expected to listen and keep your mouth shut?

Here’s your chance to do the talking!

I’m hosting an awesome Dear Miss Fortune Cookie CONTEST. Just reply to one of three letters asking for advice and you’ll get:

A signed bookmark

An opportunity to be published on my blog

An entry into my giveaway — sparkly nail polish, a beautiful bracelet, and a signed copy of Miss Fortune Cookie

Go here for more details!

Categories: Contests, Fun stuff, Giveaways, Miss Fortune Cookie | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments

Be an advice columnist for a day–NEW CONTEST

Are you proud of being opinionated? Do you like to give advice?

BE AN ADVICE COLUMNIST FOR A DAY!

Ask Miss Fortune Cookie

WIN A SIGNED COPY OF MISS FORTUNE COOKIE PLUS GOODIES,
INCLUDING A $30 GIFT CARD

B&N gift card
giveaway

TO ENTER, write a response to one of the Dear Miss Fortune Cookie letters below:

Dear Miss Fortune Cookie,

My boyfriend and I have been together for one week. He’s amazing, and I don’t just mean his eyes and hair. He really listens to me. He gives me compliments. Now I wonder if it’s just an act! He brags to his friends after we make out. My friend showed me one of his texts! I want to kill him. But what if someone else sent the text to split us up? Lots of people are jealous of what we have.

Going crazy

Dear Miss Fortune Cookie,

My best friend and I share a locker. It’s kind of a pain because she is a total slob. If I throw out trash, she accuses me of losing her homework. Once she left half an Icee in there, and it spilled all over my social studies binder. I’d move out of the locker, but my friend just joined chorus. Now she has new friends that she can hang out with instead of me. What should I do?

Squeezed

Dear Miss Fortune Cookie,

I’m not short, but my girlfriend is taller than me. My friends laugh about it. They call me stumpy and pat me on the head. I don’t want to go to school anymore. Should I just break up with her already?

Taller Than Average

ALL THOSE WHO ENTER WILL RECEIVE A SIGNED BOOKMARK

Email your entry to lauren@laurenbjorkman.com
You can enter as many times as you wish.

CONTEST DEADLINE March 1, 2013

GOOD LUCK!

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Categories: Contests, Miss Fortune Cookie, Miss Fortune Cookie letters | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment

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