Sunday, August 29, 2010

Coming Soon: The Lost Hero

Title: The Lost Hero
Author: Rick Riordan
Published: Coming October 12, 2010
Age: 8-13

Is it even possible to ever get tired of the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series? NO WAY!

For those of you who haven't heard yet, Rick Riordan is soon coming out with a spin-off series called The Heroes of the Olympus. The Lost Hero will feature a whole new cast of characters, but the series is still set in Percy Jackson's world and Riordan states that "Percy has an important role to play in the series." Riordan is planning for five Heroes of Olympus books to be in the series.

A Heroes of Olympus website was launched on June 1, and for those of you who'd like to read the first few chapters of the book online, the secret password is "newhero."

You can thank me later. :) 

If you've never read any of the previous books, don't forget to check our library's catalog for this book!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

3-Year Old

Now that's impressive! I don't know about you guys, but I had enough trouble with the first stanza of "Twas the Night Before Christmas" for the school pageant.

Here's the text of the poem he memorized:

You are the bread and the knife,
the crystal goblet and the wine.
You are the dew on the morning grass
and the burning wheel of the sun.
You are the white apron of the baker,
and the marsh birds suddenly in flight.

However, you are not the wind in the orchard,
the plums on the counter,
or the house of cards.
And you are certainly not the pine-scented air.
There is just no way that you are the pine-scented air.

It is possible that you are the fish under the bridge,
maybe even the pigeon on the general's head,
but you are not even close
to being the field of cornflowers at dusk.

And a quick look in the mirror will show
that you are neither the boots in the corner
nor the boat asleep in its boathouse.

It might interest you to know,
speaking of the plentiful imagery of the world,
that I am the sound of rain on the roof.

I also happen to be the shooting star,
the evening paper blowing down an alley
and the basket of chestnuts on the kitchen table.

I am also the moon in the trees
and the blind woman's tea cup.
But don't worry, I'm not the bread and the knife.
You are still the bread and the knife.
You will always be the bread and the knife,
not to mention the crystal goblet and--somehow--the wine.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Librarian's Pick of the Week: Great and Terrible Beauty

Title: A Great and Terrible Beauty
Author: Libba Bray
Published: 2003
Age: 13+

This debut novel set in Victorian times has been described universally as "riveting." The pace is swift, the plot is intriguing, and the finale gripping. Perfect for those of you who enjoyed Splendor and other regency-era novels.

Synopsis: "It’s 1895, and after the suicide of her mother, 16-year-old Gemma Doyle is shipped off from the life she knows in India to Spence, a proper boarding school in England. Lonely, guilt-ridden, and prone to visions of the future that have an uncomfortable habit of coming true, Gemma’s reception there is a chilly one. To make things worse, she’s been followed by a mysterious young Indian man, a man sent to watch her. But why? What is her destiny? And what will her entanglement with Spence’s most powerful girls—and their foray into the spiritual world—lead to?"

Review: ""Gemma Doyle is no ordinary nineteenth-century British teenager; she has disturbing visions. Upon finding the diary of a young student who was also a visionary of sorts, Gemma and three classmates, each of whom, like Gemma, has a personal demon to overcome, follow the diarist's lead and travel into the Realms, a place of both joy and danger. The jacket, a photo of a young woman in a tightly laced corset and lacy camisole, bespeaks a steamy love story (Gemma does have some sexy dreams about a young gypsy), but the costume is really a metaphor for the strictures against women of the period, which Bray limns extremely well in her debut novel. The Realms and the mystery surrounding the diary are less well handled, yet there's no doubt the mystical elements, along with a touch of forbidden romance, will draw a large, enthusiastic audience, who will come away wanting more about stubborn, willful Gemma and the strange world whose doors she can open at will." - Booklist

If you're intrigued, don't forget to check our library's catalog for this book!

Friday, August 20, 2010

New Arrivals: August 1st - August 15th

Monday, August 16, 2010

Librarian's Pick of the Week: Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian

Title: The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian
Author: Sherman Alexie
Published: 2007
Age: Grades 7-10

If you're interested in Native American culture, present day assimilation in America, and current and pressing issues the Native Americans face today, this is the book for you. Interesting and wrenching, this is a good book for those teens who also find themselves in rough situations sometimes and would like a book that will help to take heart and gather strength.

Synopsis: "In his first book for young adults, bestselling author Sherman Alexie tells the story of Junior, a budding cartoonist growing up on the Spokane Indian Reservation. Determined to take his future into his own hands, Junior leaves his troubled school on the rez to attend an all-white farm town high school where the only other Indian is the school mascot. Heartbreaking, funny, and beautifully written, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, which is based on the author's own experiences, coupled with poignant drawings by acclaimed artist Ellen Forney, that reflect the character's art, chronicles the contemporary adolescence of one Native American boy as he attempts to break away from the life he was destined to live."

Review: ""Exploring Indian identity, both self and tribal, Alexie's first young adult novel is a semiautobiographical chronicle of Arnold Spirit, aka Junior, a Spokane Indian from Wellpinit, WA. The bright 14-year-old was born with water on the brain, is regularly the target of bullies, and loves to draw. He says, "I think the world is a series of broken dams and floods, and my cartoons are tiny little lifeboats." He expects disaster when he transfers from the reservation school to the rich, white school in Reardan, but soon finds himself making friends with both geeky and popular students and starting on the basketball team. Meeting his old classmates on the court, Junior grapples with questions about what constitutes one's community, identity, and tribe. The daily struggles of reservation life and the tragic deaths of the protagonist's grandmother, dog, and older sister would be all but unbearable without the humor and resilience of spirit with which Junior faces the world. The many characters, on and off the rez, with whom he has dealings are portrayed with compassion and verve, particularly the adults in his extended family. Forney's simple pencil cartoons fit perfectly within the story and reflect the burgeoning artist within Junior. Reluctant readers can even skim the pictures and construct their own story based exclusively on Forney's illustrations. The teen's determination to both improve himself and overcome poverty, despite the handicaps of birth, circumstances, and race, delivers a positive message in a low-key manner. Alexie's tale of self-discovery is a first purchase for all libraries." - School Library Journal

If you're intrigued, don't forget to check our library's catalog for this book!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Harry Potter: The Exhibition

Any of you heading to Seattle anytime this winter? Well, me neither.. but if I was, I would certainly stop by the Harry Potter: The Exhibition which will be held at the Pacific Science Center from October 23, 2010 - January 30, 2011.

There will be over two hundred authentic costumes and props on display that were used in the actual Harry Potter films. A few of the artifacts and sets on display include Harry's original wand and eyeglasses, the Marauder's Map, Gryffindor school uniforms as well as costumes worn at the Yule Ball. They will also have areas set up where you can toss a Quaffle, have an encounter with Buckbeak the Hippogriff and the Acromantula spider, and pull a Madrake in the Herbology vignette. It is even going to have props from the never before seen Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.

How exciting! I do hope it comes to the East coast.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

The Best Invisible LOLCats


Monday, August 9, 2010

Librarian's Pick of the Week: Batman, the Dark Knight Returns

Title: Batman: The Dark Knight Returns
Author: Frank Miller (Author), Klaus Janson (Illustrator), Lynn Varley (Colorist)
Genre: Graphic Novel, Young Adult
Published: 1997
Age: 14+

In 2005, Time magazine chose the collected four-issues of Batman, the Dark Knight Returns as one of the 10 best English language, graphic novels ever written.

Synopsis: "A tour de force of powerful storytelling and intense characterization, "Batman: The Dark Knight Returns" is the tale of a tortured man's effort to save a city spiraling into chaos. An aging, time-worn Batman struggles with the acceptance of a new Robin while facing the latest generation of vicious, hyper-violent criminals. Old foes like the Joker and Two-Face add to the maddening mayhem which Batman must face and somehow conquer. Even Batman's relationship with his friend and ally Superman takes a fresh and inventive turn that would have been unthinkable outside of Frank Miller's richly imagined vision of the Dark Knight's future."

Review: "If any comic has a claim to have truly reinvigorated the genre, then The Dark Knight Returns by Frank Miller--known also for his excellent Sin City series and his superb rendering of the blind superhero Daredevil--is probably the top contender. Batman represented all that was wrong in comics and Miller set himself a tough task taking on the camp crusader and turning this laughable, innocuous children's cartoon character into a hero for our times. The great Alan Moore (V for Vendetta, Swamp Thing, the arguably peerless Watchmen) argued that only someone of Miller's stature could have done this. Batman is a character known well beyond the confines of the comic world (as are his retinue) and so reinventing him, while keeping his limiting core essentials intact, was a huge task.

Miller went far beyond the call of duty. The Dark Knight is a success on every level. Firstly it does keep the core elements of the Batman myth intact, with Robin, Alfred the butler, Commissioner Gordon, and the old roster of villains, present yet brilliantly subverted. Secondly the artwork is fantastic--detailed, sometimes claustrophobic, psychotic. Lastly it's a great story: Gotham City is a hell on earth, street gangs roam but there are no heroes. Decay is ubiquitous. Where is a hero to save Gotham? It is 10 years since the last recorded sighting of the Batman. And things have got worse than ever. Bruce Wayne is close to being a broken man but something is keeping him sane: the need to see change and the belief that he can orchestrate some of that change. Batman is back. The Dark Knight has returned. Awesome. --Mark Thwaite " - Mark Thwaite

If you're intrigued, don't forget to check our library's catalog for this book!

Friday, August 6, 2010

New Arrivals: July 16th - July 31st

On the Big Screen: Legend of the Guardians

Coming on September 24, 2010, Kathryn Lasky's "Guardians of Gahoole" series will finally make its way onto the big screen. "Legend of the Guardians" is comprised of the first three books in the series, and looks fantastic.

Click here to check out more great books that have found their way into movie history.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Librarian's Book of the Week: Tender Morsels

Title: Tender Morsels
Author: Margo Lanagan
Published: 2008
Age: 14+

This book was an honor book for the 2009 Michael L. Printz Award for Excellence in Young Adult Literature. This award is for a book that exemplifies literary excellence in young adult literature. It is named for a Topeka, Kansas school librarian who was a long-time active member of the Young Adult Library Services Association. This award is sponsored by Booklist. For more information about this non-fiction award and other book awards, visit the YALSA page on the ALA website.

Synopsis: "Tender Morselsis a dark and vivid story, set in two worlds and worrying at the border between them. Liga lives modestly in her own personal heaven, a world given to her in exchange for her earthly life. Her two daughters grow up in this soft place, protected from the violence that once harmed their mother. But the real world cannot be denied forever—magicked men and wild bears break down the borders of Liga’s refuge. Now, having known Heaven, how will these three women survive in a world where beauty and brutality lie side by side?."

Review: "In her extraordinary and often dark first novel, award-winning story writer Lanagan (Red Spikes) creates two worlds: the first a preindustrial village that might have sprung from a Brueghel canvas, a place of victims and victimizers; the second a personal heaven granted to Liga Longfield, who has survived her father's molestations and a gang rape but, with one baby and pregnant again, cannot risk any further pain. As she raises her two daughters, placid Branza and fiery Urdda, she discovers that her universe is permeable: a dwarf or "littlee man," in Lanagan's characteristically knotted parlance, slips in and out of her world in search of treasure; and a good-hearted youth also enters, magically transformed into a bear in the process. A less kind man-bear follows, and then a teenage Urdda, avid for a richer life with the "vivid people," figures out how to pass through the border, too. Writing in thick, clotted prose that holds the reader to a slow pace, Lanagan explores the savage and the gentlest sides of human nature, and how they coexist. With suggestions of bestiality and sodomy, the novel demands maturity--but the challenging text will attract only an ambitious audience anyway." - Publisher's Weekly

If you're intrigued, don't forget to check our library's catalog for this book!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Book List: College-Bound

{Image from MSU}

Summer is a time for reading whatever you want whenever you want. But what if you've already read all the vampire-related books at the library? And what if you've decided that reading the entire Harry Potter series for the fourth time is a last resort ONLY?

Well, if you’re preparing to go to college or are just really motivated, you might want to consider reading some of our college-bound picks, all of which are available at the library.

Title: The Curious Incident of a Dog at Night
Author: Mark Haddon
Published: 2003
Synopsis: Despite his overwhelming fear of interacting with people, Christopher, a mathematically-gifted, autistic fifteen-year-old boy, decides to investigate the murder of a neighbor's dog and uncovers a secret about his mother.
Title: The Kite Runner
Author: Khaled Hosseini
Published: 2003
Synopsis: Amir, haunted by his betrayal of his childhood friend, returns to Kabul as an adult after he learns he has been killed to redeem himself by saving his son from slavery.

Title: The Secret Life of Bees
Author: Sue Monk Kidd
Published: 2002
Synopsis: Fourteen year old Lily and Rosaleen, an African-American woman who has cared from Lily since her mother's death, flee their home after Rosaleen is victimized by racist policemen, and find safehaven in Tiburon at the home of three beekeeping sisters, May, June, and August.

Title: Monster
Author: Walter Dean Myers
Published: 2004
Synopsis: While on trial as an accomplice to a murder, sixteen-year-old Steve Harmon records his experiences in prison and in the courtroom in the form of a film script as he tries to come to terms with the course his life has taken.

Title: The Last of the Mohicans
Author: James Fenimore Cooper
Published: 1826
Synopsis: In upper New York State during the French and Indian War, a woodsman named Hawkeye and two Mohicans, Chingachgook and Uncas, get entangled in the fighting as they try to save two pioneer sisters abducted by Iroquois tribesmen.

Title: Fahrenheit 451
Author: Ray Bradbury
Published: 1982
Synopsis: A book burner in a distant future fascist state finds out books are a vital part of a culture he never knew. He discovers the importance of art and clandestinely pursues reading, until he is betrayed.

Title: The Road
Author: Cormac McCarthy
Published: 2006
Synopsis: A father and son walk through burned America. Nothing moves in the ravaged landscape save ash on wind. Their destination is the coast, though they don't know what awaits them there. All they have is a pistol, the clothes they wear, scavenged food, and each other.

Title: The Red Badge of Courage
Author: Stephen Crane
Published: 1863
Synopsis: The classic novel about Henry Flemming, a young Civil War Union soldier who experiences his first battle and then has to come to terms with his own fears and feelings of cowardice.

Title: Catch-22
Author: Joseph Heller
Published: 1961
Synopsis: A bombardier, based in Italy during World War II, repeatedly tries to avoid flying bombing missions while his colonel tries to get him killed by demanding that he fly more and more missions.

Title: The Call of the Wild
Author: Jack London
Published: 1903
Synopsis: Buck, a dog that has been forced into the harsh life of a sled dog, befriends a man seeking his fortune in the Klondike gold fields, and must ultimately decide whether to stay with his master or obey his instinct to join the wolves.

Not finding anything you'd like to read? Well here are a few more book lists for the college-bound reader:
American Library Association Literature and Language Arts
Collegeboard's 101 Great Books
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