Friday, September 28, 2012

Ashes

By Ilsa J. Bick
3 / 5 Gnomes

It could happen tomorrow . . .
 
An electromagnetic pulse flashes across the sky, destroying every electronic device, wiping out every computerized system, and killing billions.
Alex hiked into the woods to say good-bye to her dead parents and her personal demons. Now desperate to find out what happened after the pulse crushes her to the ground, Alex meets up with Tom—a young soldier—and Ellie, a girl whose grandfather was killed by the EMP.

For this improvised family and the others who are spared, it’s now a question of who can be trusted and who is no longer human.

~Amazon Description~

I'm just going to start out by saying that this was not one of my personal picks.  It has several of my favorite literary elements.  It's a dystopia.  There are cannibalistic zombies eagerly hunting for a tasty meal.  A rather kick-butt female protagonist carries the story.  And there is a bit of a love story.  So, maybe, eventually, it might have been one of my own picks.  Instead, it was an assignment.  A book club assignment.  Which, for some reason, makes even the most intriguing books a little more difficult to read for me.

I'm stalling.  I quite literally finished the book just moments ago, and I really should collect my thoughts before sharing them with you, but I'm not sure that would help.  My thoughts are a jumble.  I liked the book.  I did.  I have some serious issues with the book though.  It almost feels like the beginning of a first book, the middle of a sequel all jammed into one.

So, there's this girl named Alex who travels into the woods one day on a lonely backpacking adventure when she comes across this kind man named Jack and his not so kind granddaughter named Ellie.  Moments after meeting, the world is shaken by an EMP.  Still not sure why, or really what the heck the thing is, but it turns everything wonkie, including turning people of a certain age (?) into wild zombies.  From that point on, a good portion of the book is a survival story.  And through a series of unfortunate events, Alex is separated from her traveling companions and ends up in this weird cult-like town (that has spontaneously appeared after only a month??) where things are quite what they seem.

I guess my problem is that things are just weird.  It's hard to pass judgement knowing more books are to come (yeah!  one more series to add to my growing list of literary goal disappointment), but not much time has passed in the book, but the world has literally fallen into, well, weirdness.  Could people really build a morbid little town that fast?  And why in the world are there zombies?

But one thing Bick does really well is cliff-hangers.  What happened to Alex's traveling companions?  Will her new love interest come to save her?  What is going to happen to the world if these zombies are getting smart?  So many questions, and I'm kind of really looking forward to finding out what happens next.

So...yes...I liked it.  Maybe not loved, but maybe like will turn to love as the story continues.  Who knows?  It's creepy though. If you like creepy, definitely give Ashes by Ilsa J. Bick a read.

One more thing:  Being the unobservant young lady that I am, I totally didn't see the face on the cover.  I thought it was a thumbprint!  Oops!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Waffle Wednesdays: American Vampire Vol. 1

American Vampire Vol. 1
By Scott Snyder, Rafael Albuquerque, and Stephen King
Graphic Nove

3.5 / 5 Gnomes

This volume follows two stories: one written by Snyder and one written by King. Snyder's story is set in 1920's LA, we follow Pearl, a young woman who is turned into a vampire and sets out on a path of righteous revenge against the European Vampires who tortured and abused her. This story is paired with King's story, a western about Skinner Sweet, the original American Vampire-- a stronger, faster creature than any vampire ever seen before with rattlesnake fangs and powered by the sun.

~Amazon Description~


Finally, some truly horrific vampires!  They don’t twinkle in the sun.  They’re not super moody and sullen.  They are not being followed by even moodier adolescent girls who are so insecure that they drive you absolutely batty.  They are vengeful and hungry for blood.  Oh!  And they are SUPER creepy looking with this talon finger things and crazy eyes.  CREEPY!

Somehow this title missed my radar.  Not sure how.  All things supernatural usually peak my interest.  I saw a discussion on a professional listserv debating whether or not to shelve this particular title in the teen section.  I was maybe a little curious at that point, but when I saw Stephen King’s name attached to the title, I knew I needed to peruse.

The dual stories flow together seamlessly.  It’s basically the story of bad boy bank robber Skinner Sweet.  He is turned into a new hybrid of vampire that can walk in the sunlight.  And he’s angry.  But he’s fun angry, which means lots of blood and gore.  Flash forward several years, and Skinner comes across the beautiful Pearl, a wannabe actress who gets mixed up in with the wrong crowd…the wrong vampire crowd.  Skinner’s new protégé is just as lethel.

I still don't know where I would shelve the book in my library.  I don't really have to worry about it though, because I don't actually have money to purchase the book for my library.  So it goes.  But it is definitely a title I would like to continue reading.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Top 10 Series I Haven't Finished

Top Ten Tuesday
Top 10 Series I Haven't Finished
(Feature hosted by The Broke and the Bookish)
Oh goodness...this could be a long list.  Thank goodness it only holds me to 10.  Series are the bane of my literary existence.  I'm terrible, horrible, awful at finishing series.  I tend to get distracted by other pretty covers, or, if the series hasn't been completed, I'm too lazy to go back and try to figure out what happened in previous volumes to continue on.  I have decided that my reading goal for 2013 is to finish as many of the series I've started and failed to complete.

Here are a ten on that list:







1) Artemis Fowl series by Eoin Colfer
(Completed 5 of 7)


2) Chronicles of the Imaginarium Geographica series by James A. Owen
(Completed 1 of 6)


3) Maximum Ride series by James Patterson
(Completed 1 of 8)


4) Hungry City Chronicles by Philip Reeve
(Completed 1 of 4)


5) The Looking Glass Wars by Frank Beddor
(Completed 1 of 3)


6)  Hex Hall Novels by Rachel Hawkins
(Completed 2 of 3)


7) Leviathan trilogy by Scott Westerfeld
(Completed 1 of 3)


8) Thursday Next novels by Jasper Fforde
(Completed 5 of 7)

9) Dresden Files series by Jim Butcher
(Completed 2 of 13)


10) Hitchhiker series by Douglas Adams
(Completed 1 of 6)

So...it's worse than I thought...

Monday, September 24, 2012

Junk Drawer: Is the moon really made of cheese?

A homeschool student totally asked me that last Monday at our "The Sun, The Stars, and the Moon" astronomy class.  "Is the moon really made of cheese?" Cracked me up.  This programming session we're discovering a new heavenly body each month.  Last month we learned all about the Sun (which completely had me freaked out...it's just this burning ball of gas that must work correctly or we're doomed!).  This month we were preparing for the library celebration of International Observe the Moon Night, so we learned all about the Earth's silent satellite and the history of lunar missions.

Last year my library was awarded a grant from the Lunar Planetary Institute.  We received a fantastically awesome pair of ginormous binoculars on the condition that we celebrate the world event of moon gazing.  Of course I was game!  What a perfect opportunity to host an educational event while making amazing community connections!

How to host a International Observe the Moon Night event:
  • Contact your local astronomical society.  It just so happens that these are the most wonderful, passionate people on the planet.  This year 6 volunteers from the Indiana Astronomical Society brought out their huge telescopes ready to share the majesty of the night sky with kids, teens, and adults.  (All you need is a clear western view of the night sky!)
  • Put together some fun interactive stations.  These aren't absolutely necessary (the telescopes are awesome enough) but as an extra draw to the event and to encourage family participation, educational stations are worth the effort.  The International Observe the Moon Night website has tons of great resources for programming.  Our stations included:
    • A jumping pad that allowed participants to compare how far they could jump on Earth vs. how far they could jump on the Moon
    • What is a lunar eclipse, and why we don't see one every month?
    • What is the surface of the moon like?  And what effect does the impact of meteors and asteroids have on the rocky terrain?
    • A history of NASA missions to the moon:  Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo Missions and information on Alan Sheperd, Gus Grissom, Neil Armstrong, and Buzz Aldrin.
    • Air-powered rockets: (1) thin straw / rocket, (1) bigger straw / rocket, (1) balloon / rocket, tape, and modeling clay: insert the thin straw into the end of the balloon about an inch and tape tightly.  You will blow up the balloon using the straw.  In one end of the bigger straw, insert a small piece of modeling clay to keep air from escaping.  Blow up your balloon and plug the open end of the thin straw with your finger.  Quickly place the bigger straw over the thin straw and launch!
  • And the lynchpin - Moon Pies.  A great southern delicacy that is a moon gazing night must.
I won't lie.  That night I was super tired and had my fingers crossed that it would be too cloudy to host the event.  Alas, it was a beautiful evening despite being a little chilly.  Once the families came, it was worth the effort.  Everyone was super excited to participate in the stations, and listening to the discussions at the telescopes with the amazingly awesome Astronomical Society volunteers, I realized that, as a librarians, we have to take full advantage of these opportunities as often as possible.  Sure it's an educational event, but it is a great event to build relationships with community members, and offer free cultural opportunities to your patrons.  Another magical moment at the library!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Junk Drawer: CD Scratch Art

I'm not an artist.  And I'm not particularly crafty.  I try to be, but the art I create ends up looking nothing like the art I imagine in my head.  So it goes.  But not all art has to be super complicated!  Last week for our Tuesday teen program we tried CD Scratch Art.  Super easy, super cheap, and a whole lot of fun.

I found a great tutorial on Instructables, but it really couldn't be easier.  All you need is an old CD, some black acrylic paint (picked up a bottle in the craft section at Walmart for about $2.00) and a nail (or some other sharp, point scraping tool).  That's it!  Paint the CD with the black acrylic paint on the shiny side.  Be sure to wait about an hour so it dries really well.  Once the paint is good and dry, sketch out your design and then carefully trace back over it with your sharp, pointy scraping tool.  Don't push to hard.  You don't want to scratch the shiny surface or chip too much of the paint away.  And voila!  Craft complete!  My flower design kind of morphed into this little monster alien dude which I kind of like.  The skies the limit.

Enjoy!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Waffle Wednesdays: D.Gray-Man Vol. 1

By Katsura Hoshino
3 / 5 Gnomes

Set in a fictional end of the 19th century England, the story revolves around a teenage boy named Allen Walker who is cursed with a cross mark on his hand that turns his arm into an enormous weapon, which he uses to hunt down and kill akumas. An akuma, generated by a 1,000-year-old phantom, is implanted into a human's soul during a moment of devastation and despair. The phantom uses the demons to then carry out his goal: destroy all humankind.

~Amazon Description~

I'm patiently awaiting the return of Black Butler Vol. 3 to the library, so until that happens, I'm taking D.Gray-Man for a spin.  From what I understand, when people are super sad, this giant strange looking guy in a hat approaches them, promising the return of their loved one.  Their loved one becomes this giant floating blob weapon thing that kills people with these super potent bullets.  Then there's this kid with this arm that is apparently a weapon thing that can kill the giant floating blob weapons.

So I'm not super technical.  But I'm also not super certain I understand what is going on.  I like Allen.  He seems like a pretty standup kid.  And the book ends with him entering some kind of headquarters and the home of like-minded individuals, so it looks like he'll soon be apart of a posse.  In all likelihood, the giant strange looking guy in a hat is trying to bring about the end of the world and the posse in the headquarters are posed to stop him.

I suppose we'll see what happens next.  Big PRO: no one turned into the childlike version of themselves with humongous eyes.  Just lo-down nitty gritty.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Top 10 Bookish People I'd Like to Meet

Top Ten Tuesday
Top 10 Bookish People I'd Like to Meet
(Hosted by The Broke and the Bookish)
This is an impossible list for a librarian.  Seriously.  It's actually quite ridiculous.  I would like to meet just about every author I read, ever blogger I follow, anyone, basically, who champions literacy.  In a world in which technology, and instantaneous gratification, is making it increasingly difficult for the written to have a fighting chance, anyone who believes in the power of words and the importance of imagination deserves a standing ovation.  So, to pick ten, here you go, my list of a few champions I would like to meet:

1)  The Ladies and Gent @ foreveryoungadult.com (with a drink in one hand and an awesome book in the other)

2) Libba Bray (without totally spazzing out...if possible)

3) Ernest Cline (Fanboys and Ready Player One? Um...yeah)

4) Anna @ Annareads.com (At an author event, mingling with the favorites)

5) Jasper Fforde (let's talk Thursday Next, Mr. Fforde)

6) C.S. Lewis (Genius #1)

7) Stephanie Perkins (former librarian, author of Etienne St. Clair, good times!)

8) J.R.R. Tolkien (Genius #2)

9) David Lee King @ DavidLeeKing.com (Combining technology and libraries in fun and amazing ways)

10) Derek Landy (am I too old to be a minion?)

Monday, September 17, 2012

Introducing Luna


There is a new member of TheGnomingLibrarian family.  She's an 8 week bundle of joy and complete destruction.  I introduce you to Luna Lovegood Ellis.  In an effort to find some perspective, restructure priorities, and leave work at a reasonable hour each day I decided to adopt this fur ball.  It has only been two days, but I know have a new found respect for parents.  Geez oh pete.

As for the name...I went through a variety of literary names.  I had two that were kind of stuck in my mind.  I thought Scout (of To Kill A Mockingbird fame) would be adorable, and I also loved Lola (shout out to Stephanie Perkins and Lola and the Boy Next Door).  My mother, however, commented that Lola sounded like a strippers name, so she suggested Luna, and I knew immediately that was the right choice, especially after falling for the puppy's happy-go-lucky attitude.  

I'm sure Miss Luna Lovegood will share many a book adventure with me and Mike, and I look forward to growing with her.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Junk Drawer: DIY Zombie Makeup

So that's my first attempt at a putrid zombie wound.  This year will mark the Library's 3rd annual Zombie Fest for teens, and I really wanted to invite a presenter to demonstrate the art of creating the perfect zombie look.  Unfortunately, presenters are expensive, and with my much-appreciated yet tight budget, it doesn't look like I'm going to be able to afford to a professional.  For the last two days I've been watching YouTube videos to try and teach myself.  So not as easy as it looks, especially when you want to do it on a budget and you want to avoid liquid latex less a teen have an allergic reaction (major program goal...avoid hospitals).

What I've learned so far that might be useful for the next librarian attempting to learn a new skill and save some money:
  • Elmers and tacky glue can be used instead of liquid latex
  • Let things dry adequately before moving on to the next step
  • You can use cornstarch and water to create dimension to a wound (DIY Fashion @ about.com)
  • Cheap fake blood can stain
  • Blending is key.  Don't be afraid to use layers of color and mix well
  • Torn pieces of toilet paper on top of the layers of glue can be torn once dried to create the appearance of a wound, just don't use patterned paper
Hopefully I get the hang of it soon and can teach the teens to replicate.  AMC had some great suggestions on their Walking Dead site including dried oatmeal and gelatin.  Curious.

Do you have any suggestions?  Tips?  Tricks?  Please share!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Junk Drawer: Mad About Doctor

So this isn't really literature related, but so what...  I was sick all weekend, which means I spent a lot of time on the couch watching television.  Doctor Who to be exact.  I became embarrassingly behind in my efforts to catch up with the Doctor, and I'm oh so close to finishing series 3.  Which means I just watched "Blink.  Yeah.  The Weeping Angels are absolutely terrifying.  I will never look at stone angel statuary the same again.  Actually, that kind of extends to just about any statuary.  Even my garden gnomes are starting to creep me out a bit.  I maybe, might have, turned them around to face the wall so their beady little ceramic eyes couldn't see me.  Except Mike of course.  He's safe.  I think.

There had been no sign of Doctor Who fandom in my library (beyond the awesome staff I work with) until this year.  So far, I've seen 2 Doctor-themed t-shirts and a couple of keychains.  So he's finally arrived, which means, much to my personal enjoyment, a Doctor Who program might be in my future for Teen Services.

But what to do?  We could:

- Build a TARDIS (surely Lowe's will donate a refrigerator box!)
- Decorate t-shirts
- Construct Lego Daleks
- Have a trivia contest
- Create our own creepies for the Doctor to battle
- Manufacture our own Sonic Screwdrivers

The Programming Librarian post by Alyson Youngpeter had some great ideas too!
- TARDIS and Dalek papercrafts
- TARDIS Rice Krispies treats (Yummy and fun!)
- Sonic Screwdrive dipped pretzel recipes

Do you have any ideas?  I'd love to add them to the list!

Oh...and don't forget.  Whatever you do, don't blink.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Waffle Wednesdays: Black Butler Vol. 2

By Yana Toboso
3 /5 Gnomes

As high society's social calendar opens up and the Season draws to a close, London is gripped by fear. Someone has taken to stalking women of the night and painting the town red...in their blood. The name on everyone's lips seems to be "Jack the Ripper" - and as a result, the name on Queen Victoria's lips is Phantomhive. Summoned to London to clean up the mess created by this madman, Ciel Phantomhive arrives with Sebastian, his extraordinary butler, at his side to pour him tea, polish his silver, and...investigate a serial killer. And with the aid (and occasional interference) of a few of the Phantomhive house's numerous acquaintances, little stands in the way of the young earl getting to the bottom of this mystery. However, one question remains...can he handle the shattering truth behind it?
~Amazon Description~

The story continues when Sebastian and the Earl of Phantomhive travel to London to catch the notorious "Jack the Ripper".  I'm really starting to like this one.  Bits and pieces of the back story are finally being told, and the mystery behind the world's greatest butler is being revealed.  The dude is a machine.  Not only is he a wicked baker and makes an amazing cup of tea, but he works with the most incompetent staff and has to do their work too.  It wouldn't be so bad to have a this ninja suited man at your beck and call, feeding you tasty yummies.

It does, of course, take a rather strange turn when Ciel dresses like a girl to try to lure the Ripper out into the open at a party, all while being chased by his one-day bride.  He already looked extremely effeminate to me, so it was a stretch to see him in a dress.  But then, everyone seems girly-esque to me in manga because of the long hair and slender features.

I'm learning.  It's a process.  Luckily the teens that fill the library after school can school me in the wacky manga world.  Like when characters are all of the sudden tiny with humongous eyes and lots of exclamation marks floating above their heads.  Different...

To keep up the momentum, I'm dedicating Wednesdays to manga and graphic novels for awhile.  This here blog will force me to take the plunge into this unique format.  For all of the lovers out there, I'm trying.  I really am.  Now for a very important question: what should I actually call this venture.  "Manga Wednesdays" doesn't fit, because I'd also like to dive into some graphic novels.  And "Graphic Wednesdays" sounds like I'll be discussing Fifty Shades of Grey each week.

For now, I think I'm going to go with "Waffle Wednesdays" because I like alliteration, and because waffles are compact and tasty, just like manga and graphic novels.  Geez...that's a stretch.  Truthfully, I just wanted a "w" word, and waffle was the first thing that popped into my head.  If you've got a suggestion, I'd love to hear it!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Top 10 Tuesday: Books That Make Me Think

Top 10 Tuesday
Top Ten Books That Make You Think
(About The World, People, Life, etc.)
(Hosted by The Broke and the Bookish)

As a rule, I try not to do a lot of deep thinking when I'm reading.  Reading is my escape, and while I appreciate the ability to experience without having to experience, I try not to get all deep and think about the lessons I'm supposed to be taking away.  It's just a personal preference.  Some people love that part of reading.  Me...not so much.  But sometimes I do.  Sometimes you can't help getting caught up and thinking about the deeper meanings of whatever.  So is my list of sometimes.

1) To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee

I know, I know, I know.  You've seen this before on one...two...oh, who am I kidding, almost all of my lists.  But it's my favorite, and above all, the one book that made me think.  It made me consider prejudice and racism.  It forced me to wonder if I had the courage and integrity to remain steadfast in the great question of right versus wrong.

2) Unwind by Neal Shusterman
3) The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
4) Rash by Pete Hautman
5) Feed by M.T. Anderson

Dystopias are kind of designed to make you think.  Make you question the world, the possibilities of the future, the nature of man.  Though dark and bleak, could our world really become the totalitarian, corrupted world of story?  How precious do we consider life?  Are we too tuned in to technology?  Will we go the other way and set so many rules that safety becomes oppressive?

6) Paper Towns by John Green
 All of John Green's books make me think.  He's truly a genius storyteller, but he uses words unlike any other teen author out there today.  He uses them almost like a weapon, he fights with them but they're never harsh.  They are filled with emotion, and they just seem genuine, even in moments when you know you've never heard teenagers talk just that way.  You want them to be true.  Paper Towns was kind of an eye opener.  This idea that we see people as we want to see them and not as they truly are, and how revealing that is about yourself.  But at its core, it's a book about a boy and a girl.  Love it.

7)  The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by Frank L. Baum
"There's no place like home."  I dream of adventure, of experiencing the world outside my front door.  Dorothy taught me that true courage isn't a lack of fear, but moving forward despite the fear.  And that home, love, friendship, can be there too.  Home is where your heart is, and wherever you go, you take your home with you.

8) Room by Emma Donoghue
Sometimes the world is just sad and scary.  There are people out there who want to hurt you, but the human spirit is resilient.

9) Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher
Our actions, both direct and indirect, have an effect on the people we interact with on a daily basis.  What a really harsh way to learn that lesson?  A tale of the importance of keeping your eyes and ears open.

10) Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli
What's so great about being normal? 

So apparently reading makes me think more about myself than the world around me.  When i read, I'm throwing "A Me Party."  (Go Muppets!)

(Sidenote: by the end of this list I was totally stressed out.  Oh, the power of lists...)

Monday, September 10, 2012

Prom & Prejudice

By Elizabeth Eulberg
2.5 / 5 Gnomes

A prom-season delight of Jane Austen proportions.

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single girl of high standing at Longbourn Academy must be in want of a prom date.

After winter break, the girls at the very prestigious Longbourn Academy become obsessed with the prom. Lizzie Bennet, who attends Longbourn on a scholarship, isn't interested in designer dresses and expensive shoes, but her best friend, Jane, might be - especially now that Charles Bingley is back from a semester in London.

Lizzie is happy about her friend's burgeoning romance but less than impressed by Charles's friend, Will Darcy, who's snobby and pretentious. Darcy doesn't seem to like Lizzie either, but she assumes it's because her family doesn't have money. Clearly, Will Darcy is a pompous jerk - so why does Lizzie find herself drawn to him anyway?

~Amazon Description~

William Darcy and Elizabeth Bennett are pretty much my favorite literary duo ever.  That’s not uncommon.  And I like just about every reinterpretation out there today.  2.5 Gnomes make it sound like I didn’t like Prom & Prejudice by Elizabeth Eulberg.  I did.  I’m not just saying that either.  It just didn’t “wow” me.  But…It’s Will Darcy and Lizzie Bennett.  It’s the classic tale reinvented.  It’s the same witty back and forth and headstrong characters.  And it’s the same battle with bad first impressions, misinterpretations, and, well, prejudice.  

The Awesome

The storyline worked really well at the prestigious boarding school.  It was sort of like Pride and Prejudice meets  Mean Girls.  Being a scholarship kid in a world of haves has to be difficult.  And despite some really cruddy interactions with some truly awful rich girls, Lizzie Bennett navigates through the school year with grace and poise.  Who can blame her for being a little leery of the oh, so adorable yet stand offish Will Darcy?  He really stinks at first impressions!

The Not So Awesome

Then again…the dialogue left much to be desired.  Some of the teenage characters sounded like they were forty (yeah, you Colin).  In fact, some of the dialogue hurt just a little because of the awkwardness.  Maybe really rich, boarding school teens talk that way?  Something tells me probably not.  And I know it was a retelling, and thus, a bit predictable, but the story really played up stereotypes.

Despite all that, the classic story holds up, and Eulberg does an excellent job bringing the tale of Darcy and Bennett into the 21st century.  Kudos Ms. Eulberg!  I'd love to see you tackle other Austen favorites!

Friday, September 7, 2012

Black Butler Vol. 1

By Yana Toboso
3 / 5 Gnomes

Just a stone's throw from London lies the manor house of the illustrious Phantomhive earldom and its master, one Ciel Phantomhive. Earl Phantomhive is a giant in the world of commerce, Queen Victoria's faithful servant...and a slip of a twelve-year-old boy. Fortunately, his loyal butler, Sebastian, is ever at his side, ready to carry out the young master's wishes. And whether Sebastian is called to save a dinner party gone awry or probe the dark secrets of London's underbelly, there apparently is nothing Sebastian cannot do. In fact, one might even say Sebastian is too good to be true...or at least, too good to be human...

~Amazon Description~

I'm not a manga enthusiast.  In fact, I probably wouldn't pick them up if I wasn't a teen librarian in charge of monitoring a manga club.  But, so it goes.  In an effort to keep up-to-date on what is available, I select the occasional title or to to take home and dutifully read.  And then I go back to the library and make the teens explain them to me.  I can not, for the life of me, figure out the right to left reading and who is a male or female character.  I also get so caught up in the story that I forget to look at the pictures, which, lets face it, is the actual point of manga.

The teens have been mentioning Black Butler quite a bit, so I took volume one home to figure out what it's all about.  From what I gather, Ciel Phantomhive, is the head of the Phanotomhive family and apparently a major toy dealer.  And he has this wicked Butler who is not only proficient in the kitchen, but can kick butt as well.  And the Butler,Sebastian, might not be what he seems.  

And because I believe in going big or going home, I've also started watching the anime.  Episode one started out very similar to the manga, then became this rather demented thing which I can only hope will be explained later in the book.  Episode two followed the manga much better.  Sebastian's voice-over isn't quite what I was expecting.  I did, however, enjoy the English accents, except the Butler in an English manor made me think of Downton Abbey, and then I kept imagining how this strange devil butler would have been hilarious dealing with Mr. Carson.  Or even better, I kept hearing Tim Curry in Clue:

Wadsworth: "Indeed, no sir. I am merely a humble butler."
Colonel Mustard: "What exactly do you do?"
Wadsworth: "I buttle, sir."
Colonel Mustard: "Which means what?"
Wadsworth: "The butler is the head of the kitchen and dining room.  I keep everything tidy."

In the end, I suppose I will continue.  Unlike most series, I do tend to finish manga.  Thank goodness they only take me about 20 minutes to read.  I have to fight the teen patrons for them though, so who knows when the other gazillion volumes will return to the library...

Happy Friday!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

The Diviners

By Libba Bray
Released September 18, 2012
4.5 / 5 Gnomes

Evie O'Neill has been exiled from her boring old hometown and shipped off to the bustling streets of New York City--and she is pos-i-toot-ly thrilled. New York is the city of speakeasies, shopping, and movie palaces! Soon enough, Evie is running with glamorous Ziegfield girls and rakish pickpockets. The only catch is Evie has to live with her Uncle Will, curator of The Museum of American Folklore, Superstition, and the Occult--also known as "The Museum of the Creepy Crawlies."

When a rash of occult-based murders comes to light, Evie and her uncle are right in the thick of the investigation. And through it all, Evie has a secret: a mysterious power that could help catch the killer--if he doesn't catch her first.
~Amazon Description~

I'm kind of wishing that author stalking was an acceptable hobby.  That sounds totally creepy, but dude, what I wouldn't give to just sit down for a tasty beverage with Libba Bray and totally fangirl out.  She's a true storyteller, and I just can't seem to get enough of her humor, wit, and thought-provoking plots.

The Awesome

Totally freaked me out.  Do your remember the episode of Friends when Joey gets upset reading Little Women and sticks the book in the freezer?  The Diviners almost ended up a popsicle.  Bray is brilliant at slipping in just enough information to make the hair on your arms stand up without giving away too much and making it campy.  John Hobbes is definitely a villain you don't want to meet in a dark alley.  And there is plenty of that in this book.

Let's talk about Evie...Miss Evangeline (love the name!) O'Neil is truly a force to be reckoned with.  She's independent.  She's fashionable.  She's a flapper's flapper, wild for the hooch, a snappy tune, and a big dance floor.  But she's more then that.  She's compassionate and smart.  She's loyal and fiercely courageous.  And she's trouble, which, in the 20s, kind of makes her the total package.  I loved her voice and can't wait for more.  Actually, I loved all of the characters: Sam, the smooth ladies man; Jericho, the silent, strong heartthrob; Mabel, the repressed wallflower; Theta, the glamerous Ziegfield girl; Memphis, the gently poet; Uncle Will, with his mysterious past.  The characters, including the grand city of New York and the era of Prohibition, really make the story.  There are so many voices that blend together seamlessly and excitingly.

The Not So Awesome

So, there are a lot of characters.  I know this is the first in a series, but there are tons of characters, some just briefly mentioned, which will become even more complicated as the story advances.  And the story leaves some holes.  The first chapter introduces quite a bit, and then it's just passed over.  The stories never returns to that moment and never explains the importance (or maybe irrelevance) of that moment.  Again, we might get to chalk that up to the fact that it's a series starter, but I found myself a little distracted trying to piece everything together.

Uuggg...the book is a behemoth.  It's huge.  Like 578 pages big.  I know you shouldn't judge a book by its size, but the thing is so big it's a little tricky to hold.  And because I'm feeling whiney, it made my purse SO heavy.  That's just a little intimidating.  And it's a series!  Curse you Bray!  Now I must wait.  What's coming?  Why is Memphis's mother so cryptic?  Who is this shadowed death man that makes me want to hide under my bed?  Who will Evie end up with in the end?

But...it's Libba.  And she's made of pure awesome.  The Diviners was a truly great read.  Despite the size, and the inability to read at night because it scared the willy-nillys out of me, I read it pretty quickly.  So, yeah, I'm a fan.  I literally did jazz hands when the book arrived on my doorstep, and I'll probably bring out the jazz hands when I see it on my library's shelves in a couple of weeks.  If you're a fan of Libba Bray's unflinching, honest voice, mysterious, or things that go bump in the night, check out The Diviners on September 18th.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Top 10 Tuesday: Fall TBR List

Top Ten Tuesday
Top 10 On Your Fall TBR List
(Feature hosted by The Broke and the Bookish)
So...yeah...I totally failed to complete my Summer TBR list.  I'd like to offer up a good excuse, but there's not one.  Life and laziness just got in the way.  Because I'm stubborn, I've transferred a few of the titles to this list, because darn it, I'm going to read these books this year, and then I've add a few new.  If you'll excuse me, I have to start reading...

1) Unwholly by Neal Shusterman
What a genuinely nice guy, and a sequel to one of my favorite books.

2) Insurgent by Veronica Roth
Repeat offender...

 3) Endlessly by Kiersten White
 Repeat offender...

 
 4) Graceling by Kristin Cashore
Repeat offender...
 
5) Girl of Nightmares by Kendare Blake
 Eagerly awaiting our library copy!

6) The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater
L-O-V-E-D Scorpio Races, and ready for another.

7) Dodger by Terry Pratchett
It's about time I read a Pratchett.

8) Every Day by David Levithan
One of the most unique voices in YA today.

9) This Dark Endeavor / Such Wicked Intent by Kenneth Oppel
A great author, and some awesome covers.

10) The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
Fitzgerald + Luhrman =  AAAAAHHHHH!!!!!

Monday, September 3, 2012

Junk Drawer: Celebrating September


Are you looking for a September display, book club selection, program, movie night, or just a reason to add some pizazz to the month?  There are tons of ways library's can celebrate September!

  • Celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month (September 15-October 15) 
    • http://hispanicheritagemonth.gov/
    • Create a book display that features stories with Hispanic characters and plot points
    • Invite a local Hispanic cultural center to the library to host an event
    • Show a movie that celebrates Hispanic/Latino culture: Selena, Tortilla Soup, The Mask of Zorro
  • Celebrate National Breakfast Month
    • Does your local school system serve breakfast?  Visit the cafeteria and book talk, hand out giveaways, and promote your library's upcoming programs during breakfast one school morning.
    • Host a breakfast for dinner night where patrons can share there favorite breakfast recipes.
    • Contact your local hospital and have a nutritionist present a program on the benefits of a healthy breakfast.
    • Invite a local bakery or coffee shop to come and teach patrons how to make delicious pastries, muffins, and warm tasty beverages.
  • Celebrate International Literacy Day (September 8)
    • Invite your Children's Department to host a special storytime/workshop to teach parents Early Literacy skills they can practice with their children at home
    • Host a monthly read aloud with kids or a homeschool group.  Invite your group to share in the reading experience and plan crafts and activities around the group read.
    • Pick a book to movie selection and enjoy both mediums.  Discuss the ways in which the book and movie differ.
    • Plan an author visit or host a local author fair. 
  • Remember September 11th
    • At a local library conference, a fantastic teen librarian suggested taping a sheet of butcher paper to a table top and encourage patrons to write down where they were on September 11th.
    • Create a patriotic book display
    • Invite a local recruitment office to teach kids and teens how to properly fold the American flag
  • Celebrate Roald Dahl's Birthday (September 13)
    • Enjoy a Roald Dahl movie: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, Matilda, James and the Giant Peach, The Witches
    • Host a chocolate program.  Invite a presenter to discuss the origins of chocolate and how it's created, or have kids and teens make different chocolate treats.
    • Create Sculpey centipedes.
  • Other special days:
    • September 15th :Make a Hat Day - Crazy hat contest?
    • September 16th: Mayflower Day - Early Thanksgiving?
    • September 18th: National Play-Doh Day - Sculpture contest?
    • September 19th: Talk like pirate day - Just cracks me up...
    • September 23rd: National Checkers Day - Checkers tournament? Giant checkers?
    • September 25th: National Comic Book Day - Comic book trivia? Art workshop?
    • September 26th: Johnny Appleseed's Birthday - Apple deliciousness?

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