Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Operation Red Jericho by Joshua Mowll is a fun read - lots of action, lots of explosions and nasty bad guys. But the best thing about the book is its design. Mowll is a graphic designer by education and the book looks like an old-fashioned travel journal - red cloth binding with a thick black elastic band to keep it shut. There are all kinds of fold out pages, maps and drawings and old photographs - the book takes place in 1920 in the China Sea. There are schematics of ships and machines, sidebars with info on scientists of the period. Just paging through the book is a treat. This is the first in a planned trilogy so I will keep you posted about the next one.
I still haven't got my hands on Under the Jolly Roger by Louis Meyer. Someday soon I hope.
I have a program tonight and another one tomorrow night so I will sign off here. Keep reading and let me know what you've read.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Big Doings at Parkland Community Library!!!
Tomorrow, Feb. 25, 2006, Steve Abrams does a program entitled Masks, Makeup and Mystery at 2 p.m. Steve is an excellent presenter and he's bringing slides and maybe a mask or two from the University of Pennsylvania Museum. This is a Commonwealth of PA Lecture series thingy. (I have to say that.)
On Wednesday - March 1 at 7 p.m. - Susan Bartoletti is here to talk about her Newbery Honor book Hitler Youth. I read the book and it was amazing! I find it hard to believe what people will believe and what they will go along with. The way Hitler and his propaganda machine used the children of Germany is just another reprehensible part of their legacy. Anyway, try to make it if you can.

Now on to books. I just catalogued a picture book called Tadpole's Promise by Jeanne Willis. I'm wondering what kind of response I'm going to get to this book. OK, a rainbow colored caterpillar falls in love with a tadpole and vice versa. The caterpillar makes the tadpole promise that he will never change. The tadpole promises but of course he does change and the caterpillar crawls off and cries herself to sleep. She wakes up as a butterfly. The tadpole is now a big frog. The butterfly returns to look for her love, the tadpole, and the frog...Well, what do you think the frog does? Yup. Then, the frog wonders whatever happened to his love the rainbow colored caterpillar. There, now you don't have to read it.
What do you think parents will say about this book? Hmmmm?
I also catalogued Dear Miss Breed by Joanne Oppenheim about a librarian who corresponded with students who were sent to the internment camps for Japanese Americans during WWII. I haven't read the whole book but just paging through it touched my heart. This is a TRUE story with actual photographs and transcripts of letters. The story is as much about the kids as it is about Miss Breed.

Oh and I have to apologize. Fray, mentioned by Okuni in an earlier post, is a GRAPHIC NOVEL not manga as I so ignorantly mispoke. What was I thinking? I know better than that!!
I'll just chalk it up to old age.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Fiction should be properly represented!
This is partof the basic spiritual contract between the writer-for-publication and the individual-who-reads-for-whatever-reason. This is why I find the "we were just pretending to pretend" pose of recent writers is obnoxious, and borders on evil. The public needs to take a deep breath, think about the recent "literary" creations, and think about MARKETING. How much marketing are they going to allow to warp the relationship that develops between the writer and the reader? So, stop buying from publishers who have little on no commitment to the public (slipping over the line into print prostitution.) When I read fiction, I want to completely invest my attention in non-everyday things.
I love to read, I love people who read, I feel everybody needs to make well informed decisions.
Dustjackets and Kisses to you all, over and out.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Reality is skewed into shades of gray. I doubt many of us can recollect every moment of our day yesterday without some embellishment or some omittion. However, I do believe it is wrong to sell something as fact when it is indeed fiction. A story that relates brutal human tragedies and marked as actual events encites stronger emotions in its audience than a work of fiction. It is not fair to make people invest a portion of their soul only to have the author state that "oops, I...um...that's not really the truth." It would certainly annoy me if I believed something was real, identified with it, cried tears, then found out that it wasn't real. I'd feel a little jilted and I believe there are others out there that would feel the same way too.
However, I do not remember where I heard or saw this, but it is possible for a person to believe a lie so much that the lie becomes truth within that person and would register as a truth on a lie dector. Also we all will recollect the same event differently since we would each hone in on different details. I suppose the whole truth and nothing but truth is subjected to point of view.
Anyway enough of that. I find it fun to read about ancient cultures. Some of them seem so fantastic it is as if you are in a fantasy novel. That's always fun. I'll stick with my fantasy except for class which kind of makes you deal with reality.
To be honest, I don't normally read biographies. When I read, I read to escape the real world and all of the problems I seem to have with it. I normally don't want to read about someone else's problems. If I do pick up some non-fiction, it is normally historical or something mythological. I actually once read The Science of Jurassic Park and the Lost World. All kinds of DNA information with a lot of BIG words that I'm still not sure if I understand.
In any case, when I read I want to KNOW everything is fictional, even if the story is about most of the world going crazy because of cell phones.
And just to let you know what I'm reading now: currently I'm reading The Library Policeman, a short novel in the book Four Past Midnight by Stephen King. Yes another novel by Mr. King. I tend to get on author kicks and read a few things by the same author in a row. Although, after this one I think I will read Arrow's Fall, book 3 in the Heralds of Valdemar series, by Mercedes Lackey.
I need something a little more cheerful after all the blood and gore.
John Grogan wrote a very funny column on fake memoirs arguing that his own best-selling memoir Marley & Me was actually faked. This made me wonder what everyone else thinks of faking memoirs and/or biographies in publishing.
If you have been busy studying you may have missed the Oprah show where she praised James Frey and his "memoir" A Million Little Pieces and then the show where she lambasted him for lying about events in his memoir - making some things up or vastly exaggerating others.
About a month ago the New York Times had an article about J. T. LeRoy. LeRoy sold himself as a former child abuse victim (I don't know how young my readership is so I will leave it at that. The description of the abuse he allegedly suffered was very graphic.) who only managed to survive through the kindness of a couple, Laura Albert and Geoffrey Knoop. (Knoop's first name may be something else.) The novels that LeRoy wrote were gritty and the publisher claimed that they were "semi-autobiographical." Well, the NYTimes article said that J.T. LeRoy does not exist. The novels were written by Laura Albert and Knoop's younger sister wore a disguise to appear as LeRoy at book signings.
Here are some questions to think about.
Would these books have sold if there was not a suffering author attached to them? Would they ever have made it out of the slush pile? What does that say about the publishing world? What does it say about American readers?
Since the LeRoy books are fiction, does it matter whether we believe the personna the author has created for herself?
Author's have written under pen names for centuries. What's the difference here?
Can you think of other books with authors who made fraudulent claims about themselves?
And how would you feel after reading a book that was supposed to be true if you found out it was mostly a lie?
Does Lemony Snicket fit in here?
I'd like to read any comments you might have about this.

Also, if you could make up a persona, what would it be? This one is strictly for fun.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Oh goodie I am not the only manga reading person in the group!! There are also two other series that I am really into.
The First is Immortal Rain in which Rain is much like Trigun's Vash. The story is that of a tragic hero doomed by their own actions, in this case Rain is condemed to live forever. Like Vash he ends up having a bounty on his head and everyone wants to bring him in dead..or alive. Except he always seems to escape. Of course I have only read three books so far.
The second is Louie the Rune Soldier which is a riot. This guy is the totally opposite of the everyday hero. He's a mage that prefers fist fights and street brawls to magic. He can be a complete moron and one perverted, beer drinking son of gun, but watching him fumble down the path of a would be hero is hilarious.

And for sights to add links too Tamora Pierce's website is pretty awesome. She has some really interesting reading lists availiable to browse through. Also there is this Potter sight that can basically tell you almost everything there is to know about the Potter Universe created by J.K. Rowling. Of course at the moment I am having dinner, thus I too lazy to find and post them here. I'll give them to our wonderful blogmaster about the same time I remember to show her Kenshin.

Edited: Okay, I thought I would try to put them on the side bar, but I don't have those magical powers so I am sticking them in here.
http://www.tamora-pierce.com/ This is Tamora Pierce's site
http://www.hp-lexicon.org/index-2.html This is the Potter Site
I'm glad the other members are keeping this blog alive. Thanks to Shadow and Okuni we now have some manga represented. I'm definitely going to look at "Fray" and Shadow can show me Roruoni Kenshin sometime this week.
I'm interested in book related sites to put on the sidebar. A professional journal listed 10 library blogs back in the fall and I just checked them out. Only 2 were still being updated. Sad.
Have you stumbled over any cool book-related websites or blogs - other than this one, of course? Let me know about them. You can link to them in your posts and then the whole WORLD can know about them, too.

As to what I'm reading? Um, I'm sort of embarassed to tell you that I actually read Alchemy by Margaret Mahy back when it was new - except I don't remember what happened in it so... HOWEVER The curse of the blue tattoo ( see my post from Sat. 2-18-06) finally came in - it was a whole day late here at the library - and I think that I will read that instead. I also have this very cool-looking book Operation Red Jericho by Joshua Mowll. It looks like a red notebook and comes with an elastic band to keep it shut. I wonder how long THAT will last. The author claims that the notebook comes from the files left to him by his Great-Aunt Rebecca. Has anyone read it yet?
Yay for Melanka Fray! Josh Whedon has developed the Buffy universe further by teaming up with some fabulous artists and presenting "Fray", a slayer story in graphic novel format. This is a very tight, character driven story, which takes place 200 years from the now of the TV show. Melanka Fray lives in the scruffy, downtrodden, dark urban underbelly of a future city. The rich folks have flying cars, the poor folks have an underworld that really is an underworld, and human beings have mutated into so many forms that one can't tell the demonic from the demented. Melanka is a teenager who has seen more than her share of rough stuff, but still has heart and a strong desire for a wholesome life, (although currently getting by as a contract thief.) She becomes a slayer of vampires, and a more mature person, by the end of the book. The artists are so good, you can compare the girl at the beginning to the one at the end, and see the subtle changes. There are also some tiny, clever quotes from Gaiman's "Sandman", if you remember that graoundbreaking graphic novel. You absolutely do not have to have seen any of the Buffy shows to appreciate "Fray", all the needed backstory is complete and well revealed.

Monday, February 20, 2006

I don't know if you consider this actually reading or not, but I spent most of my day home sick napping and reading Rurouni Kenshin manga books. I read 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17 and started 18 which was where I switched to school work.
These six books carry the end of the kyoto arc. Other than a wonderful action adventure story with a great deal of comedy mixed in, it give a me a historical glimpse of the meiji era Japan with snapshot flash backs of the past. The manga series takes place after the fall of the Shogun or feudal military ruler. The Ishin shishi, patriots, fought to restore the emperor to his rightful throne after nearly 300 years of warlords.
This is historical fiction so other than historical facts, customes at the time, and certain minor characters, this is made up. However most of the characters are referenced back to actual people that lived.
Kenshin Himura served as a hitokiri, assassin, during the war and became known as hitokiri battosai. Now he is merely a wander who seeks to help the weak though refuses to kill ever again. So,Kenshin wanders into Tokyo (orginally Edo) to keep an eye on the government and that where the story starts. Oh, that's when a bunch of weird and interesting characters get mashed into one big happy (most of the time) family. This manga delves deeply into the soul of emotions that governs humanity. Kenshin himself is seeking atonment for the sins of his past, another character loses everything including his humanity only to fight to regain his soul and will to live.
Anyway, I was a great deal of fun. Hope you enjoyed the mini history lesson given to me from my reading. Sayonara!

Sunday, February 19, 2006

I must say....I've got my nose in the textbooks too...although one of the books I had to read was very good. I did a presentation for my educational psych class on Asperger's syndrome. It's a fascinating thing to study boys who have this autistic type syndrome. I'm reading this book now called "eating an artichoke." It's from the point of view of a mother who found out her son had Asberger's. I know it sounds all clinical, but it's really an amazing book that I don't want to put down. It's great to get informed about "teacher" stuff that affects people everyday.

I am looking forward to this summer when I can kick back and read as many Juvenile fiction books as I can....but now there just isn't any time!!

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Unfortunate for me, I have my nose plastered in my World Geography book, which might be instereting if the writting was a little better.
Also Reading for World Geography paper (on literacy):
The Professors by David Horowitz, which deals with the terrible things happening in American academics.
The world is flat by Thomas Friedman, also deals with the ills of american society
There are a whole bunch of other books that I have out on Literacy from LCCC which will help me write my paper should I sit down long enough to take notes.
At the moment I am attempting to read through the mulitude of manga I have picked up of the last few years and The River's Gift by Mercedes Lackey, it's one of those fairy tale type novella's for adults. I think I read it years ago, but I don't remember the story. I also took out a book of Asian Mythology which we just got a new set of at the library.

Processor's note: I placed a whole bunch of New YA out this week. There is a way to bring up the titles in the catalog, but at the moment I can't remember how and my instructions will be way off.
2 books in 2 days! Princess Academy by Shannon Hale - thanks rab - and Bloody Jack by L. A. Meyer. (And I'm reading Dakotah by Kathleen Norris, as well.)
Princess Academy:
Main Character: Miri - too small to work in the quarry, Miri feels like an outcast, although she has good friends in her village - especially Peder a boy her own age.
Setting: Mount Eskel, a territory of the kingdom Danland, best known for its linder quarries. Linder is a highly sought after stone similar to marble, I think.
The terrain is forbidding and the people are strong. Everyone works in the quarry except the old, the infirm and Miri whose father refuses to let her work there.
What happens: The royal priests have decided that the Prince's new bride will come from Mount Eskel so all the girls between the ages of 12 and 17 are "imprisoned" at an abandoned stone mansion under a disdainful teacher. A boring prince, scary punkshments, rivalry among the girls, a blossoming romance and BANDITS!! all add up to a very good read.

Bloody Jack : Being the Curious Adventures of Mary "Jacky" Faber, Ship's Boy
Main Character: Mary or "Jacky" Faber.
Setting: England and the Atlantic Ocean in or around 1800.
What happens: When the leader of Mary's gang of street orphans is murdered, Mary steals his clothes and gets a berth aboard the HMS Dolphin as a ship's boy in the Royal navy. Off they all go to fight pirates! The book is written in Mary's voice and she spends a lot of time working on "The Deception" as she calls it.
A nasty pedophile of a sailor, fights with the "other" ship's boys, battles with pirates, bully officers, tattoos, ear piercing, a visit to a brothel, being found out by one of the other "boys", and being stranded on a desert island all make this a glorious read for less squeamish and slightly more mature readers (discussions of sexual situations though nothing graphic, menses, violence, - PG-13) .
There are two more books in this series - so far - and I have the next one Curse of the Blue Tattoo on hold.

I have four more books waiting to be read. Next? Alchemy by my favorite new Zealand author, Margaret Mahy.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

For fans of Hilary McKay and the Casson Family - Saffy's Angel, Indigo's Star and Permanent Rose - Caddy gets her own book in June, Caddy Ever After. Rest assured that this book is already on order, though not available for holds yet.
I can't wait to see if Caddy and Michael get back together. They better!!!
McKay says she thinks she has one more book about the clan after Caddy's book. This is good news but better news would be if she had a book about awful Bill and one about the Mom- who is so terribly sweet and dopey but I can't remember her name Elizabeth? -and another one just for Sarah who is a member of the family, for goodness sake.
I don't have a cell phone and Dragon's post makes me even more hesitant about getting one.

Last night, I read ttyl by Lauren Myracle. It's done in IMs between 3 best friends in 10th grade. The IM format means you hear about events after they happen so the sense of immediacy is lost. But it is a fun way to read a book. Lots of stuff happens too, a disastrous frat party, a far-too-interested HS teacher, heartbreaks, etc.
So, I'm in the living room reading away and the doorbell rings. It was one of MY 2 best friends from High School. (Reading a book about 3 best HS friends - getting a visit from 1 of 3 best HS friends! Coincidence or astral connection? - miniseries to follow.)
Anyway, it was great to talk with her again. And Myracle's book was fun, too. As the IMers say - l8r.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

I just finished reading Cell.

Once again another cheerful and upbeat tale from Stephen King.


Uh huh. Not quite.

Tons of people dead within the first ten pages, ahhh, now that's the Stephen King I know and love.

This time the terror does not come from a virus, a killer clown, aliens or even a werewolf. No the end of the world begins with the ringing of a cell phone.
The story is told from the point of view of Clay, an artist, who has just signed a deal for his first comic book. As he stops to get a celebratory ice cream cone, the people around him start going crazy and killing everyone around them. Clay saves the life of Tom and the adventure begins. Along the way they pick up Alice, and begin to understand it was the cell phones that drove people crazy. Clay's only interest is to find his son, who he left with his ex wife. Tom and Alice go with him on this journey. They pick up a few more people while still learning more about the "phone crazies".

Like all Stephen King novels, this one had me glued to my seat, and late back from lunch at work. I love the way he writes; there is just something about his style that draws me into the stories. He writes in a way that makes my imagination so clear that I see the characters in my mind and feel the characters pains and emotions. Of course after reading Cell, I am glad I'm not familiar with the song "Baby Elephant Walk". I developed a strong dislike for the song "Sympathy for the Devil" after reading Dreamcatcher, and to this day can't hear the song without thinking of the book.

All in all, this is not my favorite Stephen Kings novel, but it's very good.

Of course, I wonder if I'll ever look at my cell phone the same way again.

Monday, February 13, 2006

In response to our fearless leader, I did infact enjoy a couple books that I was forced to read. I enjoyed A Separate Peace by John Knowles. It is a coming of age story set during WWII (I think) at a private school for boys. Some really bad stuff happen to the guys, but all in all it was a good book. I also enjoyed the Scarlet Letter by Hawthrone. It was the end of the year and as much as I like reading Mark Twain, I really wanted something else to read.
Some of the stuff they make us read is really dull, boring or not worth the effort like the lord of the flies by william golding. Yeah, I kind of only read four full chapters of that book, listened to the class discussion and still got an A on the test. The absolute worst was when I had to read the old man and the sea by hemmingway. You could skip twenty pages and you right where you left off. It was so dry everyone hated it. I think we'd all learn better if we actually had books that we wanted to read. In fact it would promote life long reading instead of turning most people off.
After my last post, I took the time to read Sunshine's post. I re-read rab's post as well and together they brought up something that has bothered me for awhile. Why do high school's insist that students read these heavy "meaningful" books? What is the purpose?
When I was a freshman in college, I took a course, "Intro to the Novel". (I majored in English Literature.) We read the very first Jane Austen novel I ever read and the last that I would read for 20 years. "Emma"! Our professor was this gangly 6 foot 6 inch tall thirty-ish guy who LOVED Jane Austen. He was able to take our class by the hand and show us all the little things that Austen does in her novels - the pokes at social mores - the sly giggles-behind-the-hand at people's pretentions. At 18, I needed that guide. I still had trouble figuring out why Austen was so cool.
Fast forward 20 years. I decided when I turned 40 that I would read some of the "Great Books" that I somehow missed and I took out "Pride and Prejudice." I loved it. I needed something slower paced, something to read in which not much happens. And when I read P&P, I realized that at 18 it would have bored me to death.
Now, I'm NOT saying that teens don't have the maturity to appreciate Austen. Some teens love Austen, at first read. What I'm asking is: is forcing teens to read these books necessary to teach teens about symbolism and themes and plot and all those other things that English majors get so excited about? I had to read "Silas Marner" in high school and George Elliott is still an author I avoid. What if students read segments of these books to get a taste of the authors' style? Maybe it would make more sense for students to be exposed to small tidbits of a lot of different authors and then be forced to apply the analysis they learned to a book they had discovered and loved. Like Sunshine's "Sisterhood" and rab's "Princess Academy".
So what do all of you think? Is "Great Literature" necessary to teach about effective writing or how to analyse someone else's writing? Is it necessary for cultural literacy - for instance? Can Cliff's notes or waiting for the movie to come out do the same thing? Have any of you had to read something for school and discovered you liked it - like Sunshine and "Silent Spring"?
And while we're at it, what's the book you read over and over again? Mine is "The Lives of Christopher Chant" by Diana Wynne Jones and I'd have to write a thesis to explain why.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

I read a book written for adults!!!! Don't get too excited. It was a murder mystery. I DO read murder mysteries written for adults. The title is "The Summer Snow". The author is Rebecca Pawel. I stayed up to finish it last night so, obviously, I enjoyed it. (Sleep is VERY important to me. A good book, however, is usually more important.) The mystery was interesting but the solution was...well, it was a character that the reader doesn't know anything about until the accusation. I prefer to be able to say "Yeeah! That's who it was." Rather than "Well, sure but why?" and then get the explanation all at the end.
Still I liked the main characters, Lieutenant Carlos Tejada Alonso y Leon, his wife and five-year -old son Tono (There should that little wavy thing over the n in Tono's name.) And I liked the setting very much - Granada Spain in 1945.
Two things upset me about the book.
1. It's the third of fourth book in the series and this means I have to get the other books and catch up.
2. I know absolutely NOTHING about the history of Spain - NOTHING. I mean, I know General Franco was a dictator but I don't know what went before. Though my ignorance was not a huge deterrent to reading and enjoying this book every couple of pages there it was - big as life. "Duh, I didn't know that."
Never mind. The solution was not disappointing. It was actually elucidating. But I realize that I really enjoy mysteries that teach me about a different time or culture or that have characters and relationships that I enjoy. The mystery is just the vehicle for these other things.
It's the same with TV series. Most of the series that I enjoy are mysteries. The BBC mysteries like "Foyle's War" or "Inspector Lynley". (I don't watch Lynley much - I just put him in as an example.) Or "Law & Order" - which I really watch because of the Cha-chung noise or "Monk". A lot of these mysteries are formulae. It's the characters and their relationships that I get addicted to.

Book Two:
Who read the Newbery Award winner "Criss Cross" by Lynn Rae Perkins? I'd like to get a teenager's take on it. I enjoyed it immensely. The book meanders through a summer in the late 1960's or early 1970's and touches on the lives of four to six teenagers -four main characters and two minor characters. No one gets shot or terribly abused or loses a family member or is traumatized. The book is not hilariously funny. But it is fun. Grown-ups, let me know what you think, too.
That's it for tonight.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

The most recent book that I read that I loved was Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes. I think that I would have had a completely different view of this work had I been required to read it for school. By picking it up on my own, I gave it that much more of a chance. The author has a great sense of humor (very sarcastic-which is why I can identify) and some of the adventures of Don Quixote are hysterical. The book chronicles the journey of Don Quixote de la Mancha, who believes himself to be a knight in shining armour, even though the days of chivalry are long over. He trapses over the Spanish countryside with his trusty squire, the slightly more practical Sancho Panza. The book gets sidetracked very easily and probably less than half of the book is actually Don Quixote's adventures; the rest of it being the stories of people that he meets along the way. I wouldn't pick up this book unless you are in a very determined mood as it is very, very long. It took me about four determined spurts to actually finish it. In some parts it gets very dry and boring, but the exciting, funny parts are well worth it.

Well...let's see...I also recently read Silent Spring by Rachel Carson, but this was for a project for school. This one also takes lots of determination, especially when Rachel gets really technical and starts going into complex chemistry (that it, complex for most people). But this book has lots of character and it has some really good points on humans' destruction of the enviornment that should not be ignored. But I don't think that I would have picked this one up if it hadn't been for school...

And of course, being a teenage girl, I recently re-read, for the I don't know what time The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. All three of those books are so good. I'm not sure which one I love the most. The author has such a unique voice and style to her writing...she says what I want to say, except she says it better :) Unlike all this stuff that they make us read in school, it easily applies to every day life without any analyzing of symbols or motifs. If only we could read stuff like this for school, I might actually want to get up for it in the mornings...

Thursday, February 9, 2006

Well... the most recent book I read was Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen. It was for my term paper so I have a mental block against it. Austen uses way too many dashes and I admit, I'm not a fan of her writing. It was one of the only books with a happy ending, so I choose it.

The most recent book I read that I liked was The Princess Academy by Shannon Hale. After waiting for the book for almost 6 months, it finally arrived at PCL. It's safe to say I read the book at least twice the day I got it and maybe three or more times since that day. It's a good book. In a way it's like the Harry Potter series. Simple plot, simple style, but it's ten times better than Harry Potter. The characters aren't annoying (and it has a happy ending too! :D). It's a quick read with no indepth symbolism or hidden meanings (UCK! Gag me... I hate analysizing novels.), but very-well written and worth a 6 month wait. It's a good bit of fluff...
During February, Mark Kennedy has an origami display in the case at the Parkland Community Library. He's calling it "Origami Same but Different". He and his wife, Arlene Gorchov, made all the models in the case and there is one (or more) model on each shelf that is different from the other models on that shelf. The different models on the bottom shelf are the easiest to find. To see more information about Origami check out Origami USA. Mark has a monthly folding club that is listed on that site.
Mark has given us LOTS of origami books as well. Look in non-fiction, either Juvenile or Adult, around 736 . Some books have an extended Dewey number of 736.982. We even have an Origami poetry book in Juvenile non-fiction called Fold me a poem by Kristina George (J 811.5 GEO). (I hope that link to Amazon works so you can see the poetry book.)
I haven't read anything wow since my last post. I had to do housework (boo! hiss!) last night. Sometimes life is not fair.

Wednesday, February 8, 2006

Well, silly me. I already told you about John Grogan's visit in my first post. Is my face red! Obviously, I was very impressed with that event.
The Black Rose Teen Tellers are presenting "The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins" a Reader's Theatre script on February 28 at 7 p.m. at our Annual Dr. Seuss Birthday Party here at the parkland Community Library. It should be a blast. These kids are good. You do have to sign-up for this though. Call the library at 610-398-1361 for information.
Has anyone else read anything by Terry Pratchett? He writes for adults, I am told, but of course, I wouldn't know about that. Oh, he writes the Discworld series. That may mean something to someone.
Anyway, I took home Only You Can Save Mankind, Pratchett's first Johnny Maxwell book. Its premise reminded me of Orson Scott Card's classic Ender's Game. Maxwell plays video games endlessly, endlessly, endlessly because his family is going through "trying times" as his dad says. When he starts to actually interact with the aliens in one game, his actions effect (or is that affect. I can never remember.) every other copy of that game. The book is set in the not-too-distant past when a war is displayed on television to look like a video game. It's action packed and thought provoking and thankfully not a whole lot of attention is given to the "trying times". (Problem novels!! Not so crazy about them.)
We own a number of Pratchett's books. I think I'm going to read The Wee Free Men next.
I also read a couple of Avi's books for younger readers. The Book without Words is a fantasy that didn't get to the point fast enough. An alchemist has spent his life trying to find the secret of immortality. A monk has spent that same lifetime trying to reclaim and hide the Book without Words that holds this and other secrets. The book reveals its secrets to green-eyed readers who desperately want something. The alchemist's servant girl, his talking raven and an orphan boy with green eyes try to escape certain death or torture by plumming the depths of the Book's secrets. Throw in a greedy, cruel lawman, a smart aleck apprentice and you have some clever repartee. The action was a little slow for me. I did enjoy Avi's glossary that explained what was accurate in his book and what was his own creation.
The End of the Beginning : being the adventures of a small snail (and an even smaller ant) is a chapter book for the youngest of chapter book readers. Avon, a snail, thinks he has to have adventures in order to live happily ever after so he and his friend, an ant. (I forget the ant's name, drat.) set off along the branch of a tree. Not much happens but their conversations are so silly and the word play is so clever that the book is an enjoyable 10 to 15 minute read.

Tuesday, February 7, 2006

I decided to read some of the older Newbery Award winners, so I took out The Good Master by Kate Seredy. I was surprised at how good it was. It takes place in Hungary at the beginning of the 20th Century. A city girl, Kate, is sent to live in the country with her Uncle Marton and his wife (who is NEVER named in the book except as Mother and Auntie. At least, I don't think she was.) and their son, Jancsi. They are expecting a quiet, sickly little angel and they get a whirlwind. It's a good description of life on a huge farm in Hungary and the customs of people before WWII and the Iron Curtain. And it's fun reading about the trouble that Kate gets herself and Jancsi into. Like Dragon's Little House books its a trip back to a time and place that seems idyllic to denizens of the 21st century.

And what else is going on here? John Grogan stopped by on Saturday January 28 with about 300 of his fans. No kidding. Grogan wrote Marley & Me about his late, great yellow lab, Marley, the worst dog in the world. It appears that everyone loves books about dogs and most people think Their dog is the worst in the world. When I learn how to put pictures on this blog, I'll put Grogan's picture.

On March 1st at 7 p.m., Susan Campbell Bartoletti will be here to talk about her Newbery Honor book, Hitler Youth. I read it! It is amazingly well-done and pretty darn scary. Hitler Youth started out as this program to help children learn about hard work and the great outdoors and then -(insert ominous music here) it turned into a training ground for Hitler's army. We will have copies of the book here if you want to buy some. I'm going to try to get copies of Bartoletti's Growing up in Coal Country which is about Pennsylvania's coal region - which is not too far from here - to sell as well.
I am currently re-reading the Little House Series. This series was my favorite as I was growing up and still brings enjoyment to me whenever I read them. For Christmas I was given the first three books in the series, in hardcover. (A real joy to a book nerd like me.) I am currently half way through On the Banks Of Plum Creek. Of course I am also reading the new Stephen King novel The Cell. Two completely different genres, but for me it works.

Monday, February 6, 2006

Good tidings to all!!

Let's see the last book I read for enjoyment was Dragonspell by Donita K. Paul. I was pretty good and a fast read. It's about this girl who has a gift finding dragon eggs. She ends up going on this quest to recover this ultra rare egg from the clutches of evil.

Well, that's about it, happy reading!!