Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Library GrabBag: Lovin' Narnia

Hey all!  Thought it was about time I put together another Library GrabBag post.  For all my librarian friends out there, or parents who want to plan an awesome book-themed party, we're traveling through the wardrobe to Narnia this Saturday for our first ever Narnia Lock-In.

We've made it a habit over the last year to offer a book-themed after hours party each "regular" programming session (which excludes summer...a totally different beast :) Last March we had a Mad Hatter tea-party followed by Bangorang!, a Peter Pan event in the fall.

Our homeschool group selected The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe for our spring play, so we thought we'd promote a bit with the Narnia Lock In (which also, incidentally, fit in really well with our British themed Winter Reading Program - Brilliantly Bookish)  So through the wardrobe we go.

Here's the plan:

4:45-5:15pm - Participants begin to arrive/Go over rules/Icebreaker
   I'm thinking maybe Narnia charades or taboo for the icebreaker.  Loud and full of
5:15-5:45pm - White Witch Freeze Tag
   I've found that a high-action activity is a great way to break the ice and get kids who
   don't know each other talking
5:45-6:45pm - Adventures in Narnia Scavenger Hunt
   See below for more scavenger hunt info.  It's self-lead, so a chance for participants to
   just relax and have fun.  They have to complete all the tasks in order to get a goodie
   bag at the end of the night.
6:45-7:15pm - Snack and a Pick Up Stick tournament
   We're going with make-your-own trail mix for a snack and stretching the connection
   between Mr. Beaver's home and Pick Up Sticks :)
7:15-8pm - Epic Battle - Aslan vs. The White Witch (a.k.a. Capture the Flag)
   A new favorite with our group.
8-8:20pm - Sardines
   A lock-in must for our crew...and they mention sardines in the book which is kind of fun.
8:20-8:30pm - Goodie Bags and Goodbyes

Sounds like fun, doesn't it!

So here's what we're doing for the scavenger hunt:

Each player will get a scroll.  I aged the scroll with black tea and my stove the other night which was way more of a production than I was planning on.  They look really cool though, so it was worth it.  Sometimes the small touches make a big impact at teen programs!

The scroll lists 10 activities the teens have to find and complete over the course of an hour.  When they finish a task, they mark it off on their sheet (and if it was a craft, they bring their creation with them.)

Tasks include:

1) Become a creature of Narnia - make a set of cardboard horns
2) Narnia lullaby - make a pan flute like Mr. Tumulus's
3) A walk with Mr. and Mrs. Beaver - complete an obstacle course wearing snow shoes
4) Always winter never Christmas - make a paper snowflake
5) Father Christmas - wrap a present to celebrate the return of Christmas (an old book...)
6) Fight Maugrim - make a miniature bow and arrow and complete target practice
7) Cross the frozen river - hop on the duct-tape stones to the other side
8) Prepare for battle pt. I - make a shield
9) Prepare for battle pt. II - choose your banner
10) Cair Paravel - celebrate the new royals with Just Dance

Our goodie bags aren't anything fancy.  We're thinking hot chocolate fixins and some candy.

Have you ever hosted a Narnia event?  What did you do?

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Top 10 Favorite Heroines From Books

Top Ten Favorite Heroines from Books
(Feature hosted by The Broke and the Bookish)

This list was extremely difficult because there are so many female book heroines that I've come to respect, root for, and applaud.  They are strong, independent, stubborn, and willing to put themselves on the line for what they believe in.  To narrow it down to ten seems kind of wrong.  What about Hermione Granger and her loyalty and intelligence?  Or "Verity" and her unbelievable courage and friendship?  Or Flavia de Luce and her curiosity and determination?  Or Meg Murry and her awkwardness and fierceness?  There are just so many ladies to here are ten of my favorites.  Not necessarily all-time favorites, but favorites none the less.

Who's on your list?

1) Cyn Rothschild in Evil Librarian by Michelle Knudsen

2) Harper Price in Rebel Belle by Rachel Hawkins

3) Celaena Sardothien in Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

4) Blue Sargent in The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

5) Lina Vilkas in Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys

6) Lex Bartleby in Croak by Gina Damico

7) Katarina Bishop in Heist Society by Ally Carter

8) Thursday Next in The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde

9) Sophronia Temminnick in Etiquette & Espionage by Gail Carrier

10) Celia Bowen in The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

Thursday, February 19, 2015

15 Movies That Changed American Cinema

So did you catch this special on Tuesday night?  It made me really miss the American Film Institute's countdown shows.  I've almost made my way through their 100 greatest American films of all time list.  And then I think about how much I like lists...and ranking things...and debating the best books or movies or TV shows or 80s songs.  Anytime you want to challenge me to a list I'm game :)

Anyway, Robin Roberts counted down the 15 movies that changed American cinema on Tuesday night in full Oscar hype, and I was pretty pumped that a few of the movies were included.  In case you missed it...

15) Toy Story
14) Sixteen Candles
13) Hard Days Night
12) Jaws
11) Lilies of the Field
10) The Godfather pt 2
9) I'm No Angel
8) Easy Rider
7) Birth of a Nation
6) A Streetcar Named Desire
5) 2001: A Space Odyssey
4) Psycho
3) Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
2) Gone With the Wind
1) Star Wars caught #14, didn't you?  Oh the joy!  John Hughes definitely deserved a place on the list, but I thought they'd go with The Breakfast Club...which is great and all, but it's not Sixteen Candles :)

Are these the best movies ever made?  No.  Probably not.  But I agree with the argument that many of them changed the landscape of American cinema.  Especially Star Wars, a true cultural phenomenon.

From the epicness of Gone With the Wind, to the groundbreaking animation of Toy Story and Snow White, and the birth of modern horror with Psycho, the list does a pretty good job of covering all the basis.

I was a little surprised The Wizard of Oz didn't make the list. What do you think?  Anything they missed?

Excuse me while I plan out an evening of movie viewing :)  Looks like I've got a few new once to see!

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Waiting On Wednesdays: Six of Crows

I haven't done one of these in awhile, has a cover!  Who's excited?!  This girl!  Super excited!

Six of Crows (The Dregs #1)

Author: Leigh Bardugo
Release Date: October 6, 2015

Ketterdam: a bustling hub of international trade where anything can be had for the right price - and no one knows that better than criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker.  Katz is offered a chance at a deadly heist that could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams.  But he can't pull it off alone...

A convict with a thirst for revenge.

A sharpshooter who can't walk away from a  wager.

A runaway with a privileged past.

A spy known as the Wraith.

A Heartrender using her magic to survive the slums.

A thief with a  gift for unlikely escapes.

Six dangerous outcasts.  One impossible heist.  Kay's crew in the only thing that might stand between the world and destruction - if they don't kill each other first.

~Goodreads Description

If you haven't read Bardugo's Grisha trilogy yet, put it on your list.  It's one of my favorites.  The Darkling is one of the most seductive, charming villains I've come across.  This is supposedly set int he same world.  Prequel?  More Darkling?  Oh, yes please :)

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

10 Book Related Problems

Ten Book Related Problems
(Feature hosted by The Broke and the Bookish)

Today's topic made me think of the hilarious videos from the Epic Reads ladies.  If you're not familiar, and like to nerd out over books, check out their YouTube channel.  It will make your day. I'm also a huge fan of this Buzz Feed video.  Makes me feel warm and fuzzy to know that others understand just how hard it is to be a book lover.

If you've stopped by TheGnomingLibrarian before, you've probably heard me talking about a few of my book related problems.  And if you realize that you are slightly obsessed with books and reading and have accepted the fact that you are a total nerd, check out the tumblr "Problems of a Book Nerd," and let your nerd flag fly :)

My name is Emily, and here are ten of my book related problems:

1) I read so much that I have a very hard time remembering what books are really about...which is a problem if you are a librarian who is called upon to offer reading suggestions on a daily basis.  "Have I read this?"  "I'm pretty sure it's about this girl..."

2) I like what I like...and so I neglect the other 100,000+ books in my local public library.  My mother is always asking me if I read anything "grown up." To which I reply..."I'm sorry, what did you say?  I wasn't paying attention because this teen book is so good."

3) I wish that an author's series of books were released together, or a month or two apart.  Let's be done with this in a year.  Or I suppose I could always wait until they're all out.  See #1.

4) I like my bookshelves straight and in order, so when I wander innocently into a bookstore, it is impossible for me not to volunteer my time to making things look nice and pretty...and offering book suggestions to other customers who give me frightened looks.  Definitely a problem.  I haven't been asked to leave anywhere yet, but I fear it's just a matter of time.

5) I have a modest library in my home filled with books I love and titles I'm sure I'll love some day.  The thing is, those "sure fire favorites" are still sitting on the shelf waiting to be read.  Oh the pull of shiny new books at the library.

6) I have books scattered all over my home half read.  There is, truthfully, a different book in each room that I'm currently reading.  Why can't you carry a book from one room to the next and finish it in a timely matter?  Because that would be easy.  And I like to live my life on the edge.

7) Have you ever chosen the wrong book to read in public?  Have you been spotted laughing awkwardly to yourself or suffering from ugly face as you try desperately not to cry?  Major book problem.  Unless you just own it :)  [As depicted by The Epic Reads channel]

8) I like to give books as presents.  But I failed to catalog what I was getting people, so now I have to ruin all surprises by asking the recipient if they have already received a particular title.  #giftfail.

9) The hype.  I'm sure you've been drawn in before.  "This is the best book I've ever read!"  "It changed my life."  "This is the next Harry Potter!"  So I check it out.  And I read it.  And I am woefully disappointed when the book doesn't meet my very high expectations.  Ugh.

10) And I saw this one on Problems of a Book Nerd and realized that this can often be a serious problem: "You have too many bookmarks on hand...up until the moment when you actually need one."  Preach!  Then you're searching for anything that you can stick in your book that won't leave a mark or ruin the spine.

Oh the wacky life of a reader :)  So what's on your list?

Happy reading!

Monday, February 16, 2015


Author: Jen Calonita
Info: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky, copyright 2015, 256 pages
Netgalley - Release Date March 3, 2015

A review in 10 words (or thereabouts): Cinder-ella-ella-ella-a-a-a-a (sometimes being bad can be good).

Would you send a villain to do a hero's job?

Gilly wouldn't call herself wicked, exactly...but when you have five little brothers and sisters and live in a run-down boot, you have to get creative to make ends meet.  Gill's a pretty good the (if she does say so herself).

Until she gets caught.

Gilly's sentenced to three months at Fairy Tale Reform School where all of the teachers are former (super-scary) villains like the Big Bad Wolf, the Evil Queen, and Cinderella's Wicked Stepmother.  Harsh.  But when she meets fellow students Jax and Kayla, she learns there's more to this school than its heroic mission.  There's a battle brewing and Gilly has to wonder: can a villain really change?

~Goodreads Description

This was a Netgalley find with an awesome cover and a pretty cool premise.  I've been shelving Jen Calonita books in the Teen Room at my library for years, so I thought Flunked was a great place to dive into her storytelling.

Imagine Ella Enchanted and Disney's Sky High getting smoothed together for a fun, surprisingly witty fairy tale reboot.  Gill lives in an overcrowded shoe .  Her father is a cobbler who is known for creating Cinderella's glass slipper, but ever since "Ella's" fairy godmother has started duplicating pumps with her magic, cobbler business hasn't been great.  With so many mouths to feed, Gilly turns to thievery to make ends meet.  A bag of rolls here.  A locket there.  And finally she's been caught by the Dwarf Patrol, Princess Snow's police squad.  Three infractions are enough to banish Gilly to the Fairy Tale Reform School (FTRS), where Ella's evil stepmother is attempting to transform the wicked into royal loving citizens.

But trouble is brewing at FTRS, and some villains just can't be reformed.

Calonita has created a fun world that turns the fairy tales of old on their nose.  All of the Princesses we've come too love are in one kingdom with Cinderella as the leader.  There are creatures of all shapes and sizes (including gnomes which is oh so awesome) inhabiting the land of Enchantasia, and if you love the royals, it's all a good time.  But not everyone loves the royals.  There's definitely a sense of haves and have nots which sets the scene for Gilly's illegal tendencies.

This is definitely a middle grade title.  Not that that's a bad thing.  In fact it was refreshing to have a story set in a school without a lot of regular teenage drama, just real drama with evil magical villains. Calonita is quick to bring in the action and keeps it going throughout for a fast paced story.  The story ends with the school under attack and the Royals attending an anniversary ball, but the "final battle" is rather abrupt for all the build up.

There's definitely a opening for sequels which I wouldn't mind at all.  If you're a fan of fairy tales and a lot of witty, clever fun, check out Jen Calonita's Flunked (Fairy Tale Refrom School).

Friday, February 13, 2015

A Sonnet for Christopher Lloyd on this Valentine's Day

If you remember correctly, assuming you've been visiting for awhile, last Valentine's Day I wrote a little sonnet for Tim Curry, the fantastically hilarious actor who stole my heart in films like Clue, Annie, and Oscar.  [If you're new to TheGnomingLibrarian or want a refresher, click here for the Tim Curry ditty.]

I thought I'd make this a tradition, so this year I've put together "A Sonnet for Christopher Lloyd."  I know.  You're getting excited, aren't you :)  Well, without any further ado, let me express my affection for the man who was Doc Brown.

O Christopher Lloyd, the fluffiness of your bright white hair
Your "Great Scott!" is oh so rare.
You always make me laugh sincerely.
As Professor Plum you did it dearly.
From Doc Brown to creepy Judge Doom
each character you portray clears the gloom.
O Christopher Lloyd it never ceases
I'll always love forever to pieces.

So I really have no idea how to write a sonnet.  The above "poem" might not cut it, but take it for the spirit of fun it was intended.

Why did I choose Christopher Lloyd?  Well, why not!  The man is fantastic and quite often overlooked, and much like Tim Curry, played a big part in many of my childhood pop culture memories.  Here are just a few of the moments that make Christopher Lloyd totally awesome and sonnet worthy on Valentine's Day:

1) No, it's not just because he shares the screen with Tim Curry in the 80s classic Clue.  He holds his own with my last Valentine.  [Professor Plum and Mrs. Peacock have drawn cut matches of the same length, pairing them together] "It's you and me, honey bunch."  That's why I love him.  He's equal parts creepy and endearing.  And he has great comedic timing, delivering simple lines with his own flare.

2) I've always loved Back to the Future, but recently I've noticed that it's creeping toward the top of my favorites list.  There's just so much to love about it.  Especially Doc Brown.  Who wouldn't want him in their corner?  He's got that crazy look in his eye.  Interesting fashion sense.  And the habit of mumbling under his breath looking crazed when an idea pops into his head.  And, of course there's this.  It's the little moments.

3) Judge Doom in Who Framed Roger Rabbit.  Another favorite.  Apparently I have a LOT of favorite movies.  We should really talk about that some time.  This movie is genius.  Truly genius.  And like Bob Hoskins (who is a boss), Christopher Lloyd does an AMAZING job acting with no one.  Of course, there's always his cool, calculating, totally demented character that makes things interesting too.

4) He's got the laugh.  He's got the funny sidekick.  And he's got a great song as Rasputin Anastasia.  Not Disney, but a great animated movie.  Can we talk animated villains sometime too?  Man I love movies.  Almost as much as books.

5) So one summer, a long, long time ago, I spent a few months giving tours for the National Park Service at Yorktown, Virginia.  The Student Conservation Association was a great opportunity, but far from home with only a handful of new acquaintances and one fast friend, I decided to get a summer pass to Busch Gardens in Williamsburg.  If you've been in Virginia in the summertime, you know it's a wee bit humid and a lot bit hot.  Thank goodness for The Haunted Lighthouse 4D movie tucked away in the Globe Theater with air conditioning.  I probably saw that little show fifty times, yes, because it got me out of the heat, but also because Christopher Lloyd starred as Cap'n Jack :)  Found it on should watch it.

And of course there's Camp Nowhere, Dennis the Menace, The Addams Family, Taxi, and great spots on two of my FAVORITE TV shows, Psych and Chuck.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

The Kiss of Deception

Author: Mary E. Pearson
Info: Henry Holt and Co., copyright 2014, 486 pages

A review in 10 words or thereabouts: Beware the girl with the sharp tongue and beautiful smile.  She might bite.

A princess must find her place in a reborn world.  She flees on her wedding day.  She steals ancient documents from the Chancellor's secret collection.  She is pursued by bounty hunters sent by her own father.  She is Princess Lia, seventeen, First Daughter of the House of Morrighan.  The Kingdom of Morrighan is steeped in tradition and the stories of a bygone world, but some traditions Lia can't abide.  Like having to marry someone she's never met to secure a political alliance.

Fed up and ready for a new life, Lia flees to a distant village on the morning of her wedding.  She settles in among the common folk, intrigued when two mysterious and handsome strangers arrive - and unaware that one is the jilted prince and the other an assassin sent to kill her.  Deceptions swirl and Lia finds herself on the brink of unlocking perilous secrets - secrets that may unravel her world - even as she feels herself falling in love.

~Goodreads Description

I've been in a bit of a reading funk.  I just haven't been able to really get into a book.  Every time I tried a title I'd get a bit distracted and start something new, hoping that the next book I opened would draw me in and get me hooked.  At first I didn't think Kiss of Deception was going to be that book.  But it was.  And the cover is pretty, as if that makes a difference.

Lia is a princess that hates the small box that being a First Daughter of Morrighan forces her into.  She hates the distance she feels from her parents.  She hates the traditions that are forcing her to marry a man she has never met.  She hates a life without choice, without love.  So she does the unthinkable, she leaves it all behind.  She escapes, and she starts a new life in a new place, rejecting her heritage and hoping for a better life, a normal life.  Unfortunately normal is not in the stars, and love is something she'll have to fight for (and against if you're Lia).

Lia is a strong-willed, independent woman who isn't afraid to take her life into her own hands.  I enjoyed her tenacity and fire.  She says what's on her mind, and she's fiercely loyal.  Here's the thing though...Lia escapes her royal life in large part to avoid an arranged marriage.  She wants to make her own choices, follow her own path.  And the only thing she seems to really think about is falling in love.  That's it?  Really?  While I sincerely enjoy the two gentleman who are vying for her attention, I wanted a little more from her fire, her tenacity.  I wanted her a bit stronger and independent.

I think it's coming.  I think it could happen.  I think she's coming truly into her own, accepting who she is and the role she will have to play in a battle on the horizon.  I just hope that she doesn't find herself in the damsel category

Yes, there is a love triangle.  And I enjoy both suitors.  I maybe lean a little to the Rafe side, but I'll let you make your own choice :)

Now, if only I can remember everything I just read while I wait for the sequel.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Top 10 Things I Like/Dislike When It Comes To Romances In Books

Top Ten Likes/Dislikes When It Comes to Romances in Books
(Feature hosted by The Broke and the Bookish)

Oh February, the month of store bought love :)  I'm not going to go there, don't worry.  But today's Try It Tuesday just so happens to be about romance and all that mushy stuff, so let's do this thing!

Here we go...what do I like (and not like) about romance books.  [Disclaimer: I do not really read "romance" in the adult, muscle-y shirtless guy on the cover next to girl whose dress seems to be coming off kind of way.  I prefer my romances a wee bit more subtle than that.  And I'm a serious blusher.]

Despite the sappiness, I like...

1) The boy/girl next door
A girl can dream can't she.  The soulmate that moves in next door.  Sigh.

2) Boys who empower girls, not keep them in a box
Don't treat her like a damsel in distress.  Appreciate her talents

3) Great conversation (and slow to fall)
Love takes time, so why not enjoy some great conversation

4) The strong silent type
In reality, this would drive me crazy, but on the page, I kind of love it :)  
It's mysterious and thrilling and fun.

5) Love triangles
When you like them both and it hurts a little to say goodbye to one, I heart it so much.

Because of the sappiness and general stupidity I dislike...
(Quick note, while on 

6) "I hate you!" (No I don't, I totally love you)
You're kidding no one.  We no what's happening and if you just had the guts to say 
how you really feel, you can avoid all the drama.  Drama, drama, drama.

7) Love triangles
When it's completely obvious who is the third wheel, 
love triangles get very tiresome.  Very.

8) Needy girls who are lame
Grow a backbone and strand up for yourself.  You are a capable 
human being with a brain.  Geez oh pete.

9) The boy/girl next door
You idiot!  He/she was right there all along!  What is your damage?!

10) The strong silent type
Get over yourself sir!  Do you think your angst is attractive?

**And one more.  The villain never gets the girl.  Some villains are fantastic, and they deserve some love *cough* Darkling *cough*  

So what did we learn from this list...that some writers get it right, and others don't.  That even though the love story can drive us nuts, we might still enjoy the book.  That I am fickle and easily annoyed but kind of a hopeless romantic who digs a sweet story.

What's on your list?

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

In which Mike meets the "Muppet" man

Are you a man, or a Muppet?  Hopefully you're both.  Hopefully you're a Muppet of a man.  And it just so happens that Mike the Garden Gnome met the man who put the love back in the Muppet franchise.  And for that, he will forever make my heart sing.

Jason Segel co-authored a new Children's novel titled Nightmares!, and he made his way to the annual American Library Association Mid-Winter conference in Chicago this past Saturday.  We thought it was going to be a long shot getting into his session, but no one was checking badges, so SCORE, we grabbed ourselves a seat and later free signed copies of his book.

In case you're wondering, he is a really cool, funny, thoughtful, TALL guy who was a pleasure to listen to and exciting to meet.  So, yeah, Mike the Garden Gnome totally got his picture taken with a movie star :)

I'm not excited or anything :)
Look at that smile.  Mike is just so happy!
Mike's new friend Sammy the Toucan :)

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Top Ten Classics I Can't Believe I Haven't Read

Top Ten Classics I Should Probably Read
(Feature hosted by The Broke and the Bookish)

I'm not one to read the classics.  They tend to be long, overly descriptive, and a wee bit dry.  I spent several really long years reading for a purpose (college tend to suck you dry), so when I read, I don't want to really have to work at it.  So goes the age old discussion about why you read.

But there are some books that I'm ashamed I haven't tackled yet.  That maybe I really should give a whirl.  A few I'm going to read this year (fingers crossed)...others I hope I will get to eventually.  So here goes, the top ten classics I can't believe I haven't read and plan on remedying sometime in the not too distant future.

1) The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas

2) Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier

3) Crime and Punishment by Feodor Dostoevski

4) Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

5) The Wonderful Wizard of Oz L. Frank Baum

6) Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte

7) Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson

8) Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy

9) Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe

10) Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes

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