I heard about this awesome word cloud tool from a fellow librarian. To access it, go to http://www.wordle.net/. You just copy in some text and it will generate a visual representation of your writing, with the most frequently used words in the largest print. It's free, no sign in required, no registration required. Pretty nifty, huh? I tried it out with Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 (There is a time for everything, and everything on earth has its special season. There is a time to be born and a time to die. There is a time to plant and a time to pull up plants. There is a time to kill and a time to heal. There is a time to destroy and a time to build. There is a time to cry and a time to laugh. There is a time to be sad and a time to dance. There is a time to throw away stones and a time to gather them. There is a time to hug and a time not to hug. There is a time to look for something and a time to stop looking for it. There is a time to keep things and a time to throw things away. There is a time to tear apart and a time to sew together. There is a time to be silent and a time to speak. There is a time to love and a time to hate. There is a time for war and a time for peace.) Here's how it turned out:

Pretty cool, huh?! PLUS, the printing applet is preconfigured for 8-1/2 x 11 paper, so you don't have to make any page adustments for it to print out to the exact dimensions of your creation on screen.
Go ahead...give it a try!

(*Warning: ANYONE can post ANYTHING here, so on the home page of the site, where most recent creations are posted, there's a chance you could run into some PG-13 language or possibly offensive topics.)

The Last Sin Eater, by Francine Rivers

Cadi is a young girl whose family is living in the mountains somewhere around early 20th century. Her parents don't seem to care a thing about her, and she thinks it's because her younger sister died while in her care (sort of). She carries around a tremendous amount of guilt for her sister's death, and thinks that the Sin Eater is the one who can help her get rid of her guilt. The Sin Eater (in keeping with mountain community culture) is a person whose job is to take in the sins of the newly dead through a ritual involving bread and wine. Along comes a prophet/missionary (called the Man of God), whose very presence causes the violent leader of their community to forbid anyone's contact with the man. Cadi is drawn to him, and as a result she and several others are saved as they hear the good news about the real Sin Eater. Her choices cause a chain reaction that unveils the deepest and darkest secrets of their settlement.

The book was heavy on the dialect dialogue, which is probably a good reason to listen to the audio version. It was okay, but not my favorite Francine Rivers. Overall rating: good, not great.


True Believer, by Virginia Euwer Wolff

When I was in library school, I read an insane number of books. Kids' books, young adult (AKA "teen") books, books for discussions, advanced copies of books for review, books for presentations, books about books, books about choosing books, you get the picture...

Needless to say, it could be a little overwhelming at times! I can honestly say, though, that 99% of the time I always managed to get my books read, whether through skimming and scanning, listening to audio versions during my commute to and from classes, but mostly by adjusting to the demands by becoming a sort of speed reader. One time I found myself listening to one book on CD while reading another book (Make Lemonade, by Virginia Euwer Wolff) for discussion during class later that day. It was ridiculous to attempt, but desperate times call for desperate measures. The result was that I don't recall very much at all about either one of those books, though I'm sure they were noteworthy for some reason or another.

True Believer is the sequel to Make Lemonade, and part of a trilogy.I listened to it in the car on the way to and from school. There were several cryptic remarks from the author that made me wish I had paid closer attention to the first book in the series. I'm not sure what I missed in book number 1, but in this book Lavonne is an underprivileged high school girl whose passion is to go to college. She has some typical girl-stuff going on in her life, like being desperately in love with a boy who just isn't interested, being nervous about a dance, and trying to figure out who her real friends really are. She's also dealing with some grown-up issues like helping take care of the small children of a struggling single mother. Overall, I'd say it's good, not great....maybe I'd feel differently if I actually read the first book! ;)