100 Years of Books

While some people would find it difficult to read 10 books in a year, others read so many that they lose count. If you love to read, you might also like to do your own book reviews on sites like GoodReads. But one blogger has a unique idea that takes book reviews to a different level.


Matt Kahn is a blogger who has decided to read and review every book that reached the number one position on Publisher’s Weekly annual bestseller’s list, beginning in 1913. He lists all the titles he’ll be reading and review here on his blog, so you can follow his progress. It should be interesting…he’ll be reading everything from The Grapes of Wrath to Fifty Shades of Grey, and a whole lot of John Grisham!  He also plans to provide a bit of background on the authors and the time periods in which the books became bestsellers in order to give readers a better sense of why they got there. I also think it will be fascinating to see how popular books have changed over the last 100 years. Will we see trends? Or will books change with the times?

Maybe you’ll be inspired to read some of these books after reading his reviews. You never know, you might find your new favourite author on this list!  Happy reading!


Review a book, get a book

I love books, which is great considering I work at a library.  But there are plenty of people out there who also love them, and love to talk about what they’ve read.  If you have a blog, now you can join BookSneeze and they’ll send you books….for free!  The catch?  All you have to do is review the book once you’re finished.  You get to keep the book, and they’ll send you another as soon as you’re ready.  They have an extensive list of books to choose from and you can keep the book once you’re finished.  (They suggest you give it away, or have it as a prize for your blog readers.)

If you’re interested, just pop onto BookSneeze, and get started today!

Mornings and evenings

With all of the fantastic online options of posting your pictures, Flickr has really provided so many people with the opportunity to show off their photography skills, whether they are professional or just having fun. And while many people just post randomly, some are very regimented in posting pictures, known as visual blogging.  Like writing, photography is something that many people feel they need to do everyday in order to practice their skills.  Two such women, 3191 miles apart have been doing just that and recently published a book of their photos.

On the morning of December 7, 2006, Maria Alexandra Vettese and Stephanie Congdon Barnes each took a digital photo of everyday objects randomly arranged on their kitchen tables and, unbeknownst to one another, uploaded them to the website Flickr.   And the rest is history, so to speak.  Each day, these women would post a photo taken before 10am that showed the little details of their lives.  Kindred spirits, they have only met once, but their book entitled A Year of Mornings : 3191 Miles Apart showcases their gorgeous shots.


Each woman continues to take photographs and they now both contribute to websites about their ideas.




photo-04 (A few of their photos taken on various mornings…..3191 miles apart.)

Why not start your own visual blog?

Young and old

Olive Riley and independent filmmaker Mike Rubbo

Blogging is not just a younger-generation thing. I just recently read an article online about the world’s oldest blogger, a woman from Australia who just recently passed away at the fabulous age of 108! Olive Riley began blogging as a way to tell the world about her life experiences and to comment on modern society today. Her blog was enjoyed by people from all over the world, and even though she was in a nursing home in her last days, she had a friend post for her so that she could keep up with her daily writings.

You can read an article about her here:


Olive Riley often posted lines from her favourite songs or poems that she enjoyed. One of her great admiring readers, Brenda Bryant from Newcastle, wrote her a wonderful poem:

The World’s Oldest Blogger

Sometimes, I hear the young complain of all they have to do.
But I am sure that their complaints should really be quite few.
Take Washing Day, for instance, all they do is press a knob,
And then machines go whirling round and quickly do the job.

They throw in powder, maybe bleach, and softener as well,
And dirty clothes are whirled about, then spun around, pell-mell.
And then, to follow up, I hear, they set the dryer spinning,
They’ve hardly raised a finger to the end from the beginning.

But things were very different in the days of long ago,
When Olive Riley’s mother washed her clothes as white as snow.
And Olive well-remembers that, when it was Washing Day,
Daughters had to do their bit; there was no time for play.

First Olive looked for firewood, which was sometimes hard to find,
She had to hunt for broken twigs or sticks of any kind.
Sometimes she found a fruit-box that was thrown down on the floor.
She chopped it with a tomahawk, though it made her fingers sore.

After filling up the copper, her Mum would light the fire,
And the water would start heating, as the flames grew ever higher.
Then she threw in some soap chips, followed by Reckitt’s Blue,
(That was a clever little bag that made things look like new.)

Next she got the Sunlight Soap to scrub at all the stains,
And, sometimes, if she scrubbed too hard, there were blisters for her pains.
The corrugated board was rough, her hands were roughened too,
Ruined by years of scrubbing, but what else was there to do?

Then, she threw in the dirty clothes, and gave them all a stir.
The steam rose up in clouds and very nearly smothered her.
She was splashed by boiling water, and the bubbles stung her eyes.
And a line of snowy washing was to be her only prize!

Yet, now, would come the starching, of the collar and the cuff,
And, however hard she starched them, it was never quite enough.
For Father must look perfect when in his Sunday Best,
He mustn’t look inferior, measured against the rest.

At last, the clothes were clean and rinsed and the fire had lost its heat.
Mother was quite exhausted, after so long on her feet.
But the hardest job was yet to come, an energetic trick,
For she had to get the clothes out with a hefty copper-stick!

Imagine sheets all water-logged and weighing half a ton!
Her back was nearly broken by the time that job was done.
A soggy mass lay, wetly, in a tub, somewhere nearby.
The washing was as clean as clean, but not the least bit dry.

Now Olive had a job to do, though she was scarcely grown,
For Mother couldn’t mangle all the washing on her own.
Between the wooden rollers Mother fed the dripping clothes,
While Olive turned the handle, standing on tippy-toes.

The mangle squeezed the water, it came quickly pouring out,
But the washing was still wet and heavy, that I do not doubt.
But Olive and her Mother had to drag it to the trees,
Where a line was stretched, so washing could be dried off in the breeze.

When all was safely pegged, they stood and eyed the white perfection.
But a flock of noisy magpies swooped and swirled in their direction!
They aimed for Mother’s washing, causing splish and splash and stain!
‘Oh well’ said Olive’s mother, we must do it all again!’

You can find her last few blog posts at this temporary blog:


Apparently her original blog has been having some glitches, so you might not be able to access it, but they are trying to get it back up and running. Please check back here to see if it is available.

Why do you read blogs?

I’ll start by saying that before I began writing a blog for our public library, I really didn’t read a lot of blogs. I knew about them and read a few on occasion, but I wasn’t a regular reader and I never posted comments. So why would I start a library blog and what was (is) the purpose of doing so? That’s a question I’ve only asked myself recently.

If you are reading this, you are probably a regular blog reader. But, if you are like some of our readers from the library who really don’t know what blogs are, or why we have one, I’ll explain what a blog is all about. A blog, or Web Log, is really just an online diary of sorts, or someplace to organize information that might be about a particular topic, whether it be political views, crafting, or just a day by day rundown of someone’s life. People all over the world write blogs, and probably no one writes for the same reasons, except to have their voices heard. It is a way to share their knowledge and opinions and allow the world to interact with them.

Saying this, why would I feel the need to start a library blog? Were our patrons asking for one? Was there some great need to get out information regarding programs at the library? Did I feel that I had something important to say? To all of these questions, I would have said “no” back when I first started blogging. But now, I have changed my mind, and I’ll explain why.

In the first few months of this blog, I did not write every day, and it was mainly a platform for telling our patrons what was going to be happening at our library in the coming month. Useful, maybe, but not a lot of people read it. And why would they? Any of our patrons who were regularly reading the blog were probably also coming to the library where they could see what was currently going on. I began a newsletter back in the fall to let those not doing the internet thing in on our programs each month. That began to fly out the door, so I know people are conscious of our monthly goings-on. So why continue with a blog? I asked myself the same thing early this year.

Two of our librarians went to the Ontario Library Association conference in Toronto back in February, and one of my colleagues attended a workshop which talked about blogging. When she told me a bit of information about blogs and how they can be used in libraries, it got me thinking. How was I using our blog and what was it really all about? Nothing. Well, at least, nothing that anyone cared to read about. Our blog was a glorified calendar, and no one will wake up with the need to read a calendar everyday. I needed to start reading some blogs! And read I did! And what did I discover that would make me want to keep blogging?

Blogs are whatever you want to make them. I read so many blogs that were interesting that I wanted to come back every day just to see what they had to say. Maybe it was a different topic, or maybe it was just the comments that were being left on the blog that were interesting. It didn’t matter. The point was, I kept going back. It didn’t matter to me that I knew nothing of the person writing the blog, but maybe the topic was something I could relate to, or wanted to know more about. So I wondered how I could get people to come back to our blog.

Our blog doesn’t really exist as many other do, written completely in first person, with a singular voice and opinions and controversy. What I hope it does, though, is showcase some interesting topics that relate to books we may have, or things going on in our community. There will be personal thoughts interspersed between facts, but only to keep the blog posts relevant to myself, and I hope, other readers, but for the most part, I just want to present interesting information to our readers to help stimulate thought. Maybe you’ll read something that you hadn’t known anything about and then want to find out more. I hope that is the case.

So, to all our readers, whether you live in Carleton Place and the surrounding area, or you live across the world……..why do YOU read blogs?