Friday, August 31, 2012

Crafty like a fox!

There are few feelings like the feeling of having made something awesome (or even not so awesome) with your own two hands. You've just created this thing. You create! You're a creator! Mwaaaaahahahahaha!!! (Those in the psychology field call this a God complex; those of us in the art field call it a healthy sense of self-worth.) Thankfully you too can experience this wonderful feeling no matter what kind of creation you're into with the help of your wonderful public library! We've got everything from cupcakes, kawaii awesomeness, and even something for a budding Tony Stark.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

The Book Thief

If you were to ask me, "what is the best book you have read in the past, say, month or so" (and trust me, as a librarian, I love to read, so I read a lot of books) I would, without question or hesitation, say that the best book I have read in the past month or so - maybe one of the best books I have ever read is The Book Thief by Markus Zusak.

It is a story set in Nazi Germany during World War II.

It includes scenes from the concentration camps and air raids.

It is sympathetically narrated by Death.

It is absolutely hillarious in places.

No, seriously. 

A sample, just to prove it:


You are going to die.

I am, in all truthfullness attempting to be cheerful about this whole topic, though most people find themselves hindered in believing me, no matter my protestations.  Please, trust me.  I most definitely can be cheerful.  I can be amiable.  Agreeable.  Affable.  And that's only the A's.  Just don't ask me to be nice.  Nice has nothing to do with me."

A co-worker of mine put this on hold for me.  I did not ask her to do so.  I had no idea what to expect from this book, but it truly won me over on the first page.  The only part I did not like about it was that I read through it too quickly and it was over too soon. 

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Mongolian Manga - or - Surprise! Your Spouse Is Nothing Like You Expected!

What I love about manga is the research put into many of the stories.  Kaoru Mori has had a long love of historic Central Asia and it really comes through in A Bride's Story.  Amir is twenty years old and she has just entered an arranged marriage with Karluk, who is twelve years old.  Both of them are surprised by the age difference.  As the newlyweds slowly adjust to life together, their day to day lives are illustrated in gorgeous detail. 

Karluk's family features prominently in the story, since Amir has left her nomadic tribe to live with them.  They range from grandparents to young children and all of them are well-developed characters that you come to care about.  Amir's tribe has several cultural differences from Karluk's town-dwelling family and she must adapt and learn as she encounters new situations.  The artwork is absolutely amazing, with delicate accuracy and evocative lines.  The woodcarvings, carpets, and jewelry are all portrayed in breathtaking detail, giving you a true sense of what life was like in 19th century Central Asia.  I can't tell you much more about the story without giving away parts of the plot, but I will say that the chapter with the woodcarver is my absolute favorite.  I love the interaction between the little boy and the old man. 

Consider yourself warned: there is a page of mild nudity - apparently the best way to keep warm in a yurt is to sleep naked.  Yeah, I didn't know that either.  Educational nudity, who'd have thought? 

~ Book Ninja

Monday, August 20, 2012

You Wish

Ever wished on your birthday candles? What if all your birthday wishes came true . . . all at once?

That's what's happening to Kayla after her sixteenth birthday, in Mandy Hubbard's hilarious You Wish. She's got a room full of gumballs, a pony of her own, even a life-size Ken doll. Unfortunately, those are all things that she wanted when she was way younger.

She doesn't know what to do with these crazy wish-products (although her sudden ability to speak Italian is pretty cool), but she's got an even bigger problem. Kayla's most recent birthday wish was to get a kiss from gorgeous, funny, cool Ben. This would be perfectly fine, except that Ben is now her best friend's boyfriend. And the one thing Kayla's never wished for is to lose her best friend forever.

For a funny and light-hearted look at how much everyone changes as they grow, try this book.

Friday, August 17, 2012

My father's a serial killer, how about yours?!

What would it be like to be raised by a serial killer?  Not a question I ask myself very often but one that must have come up to Barry Lyga, the author of "I Hunt Killers" (I guess after he explored all his questions about superheroes and goth girls, Lyga moved on!).  Jasper "Jazz" Dent lives in the small town of Lobo's Nod, trying to have a normal life after his father was convicted of one hundred and twenty three murders about four years ago.  He is dealing pretty well with school, his girlfriend Connie, his wise-cracking hemophiliac friend Howie, and his crazy-but-harmless grandmother--until dead bodies minus a few fingers start showing up.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

In Paris and In Love

Ready for romance in Paris, not only in the springtime, but for an entire school year?  Anna is from Atlanta and her life is utterly normal.  She works at a multiplex theater concession stand, has a crush on a cute musician and loves to hang out with her best friend.  Her very ordinary world is turned upside down when her Dad decides she needs to go to a boarding school in  Paris for her senior year to become more "cultured".  Having attended my last two years of high school in Madrid, I eagerly snatched up this book to see if there were any parallels with my experience.  Well, first of all, the title, Anna and the French Kiss, clued me in that the main character had a different experience from mine.  I had crushes, but they never progressed to a mutual feeling.  Anna, however, meets a very handsome fellow student who is a charming combination of nationalities, British, French and American.  Their friendship deepens as he familiarizes her with the wonders of Paris and she hopes that she will  be able to call him her "boyfriend".  I could connect my own experience with  Anna's growing appreciation of this very wonderful foreign city. She learns the names of her favorite delicious French pastries, she and her friends hang out at the Pantheon and other famous Parisian sites and in general she begins to find obscure and charming places that bring the city alive.  Read this story for a satisfying romance and armchair trip to the City of Light.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

What Happened to Goodbye?

Do you ever wish you could be somebody else?  Start over with a new identity?  In What Happened to Goodbye by Sarah Dessen, McLean gets that chance when her parents go through a really messy divorce.  She chooses to live with her dad who moves around a lot.  She takes the opportunity to be someone different in each new place.  In one place she is the cheerleader, in the next place she’s the goth girl and so on.  The problem is along the way she has lost who she really is.  In this newest town, she spontaneously uses her real name when she meets her next door neighbor Dave.  She realizes that she kinda wants to figure out who McLean is now.  She will get lots of help along the way from the quirky friends she makes.  

Sunday, August 5, 2012

How a dog thinks

Find out what this dog is thinking.  Cracker! : the best dog in Vietnam  by Cynthia Kadohata takes place during the Vietnam War.  It is told from a dog's point of view as well as from his owners. During this time numerous dogs were put into service and this is the story about one of the many special dogs.  Seventeen year old Rick Hanski is ready to “ lick the world” and plans to do it with his assigned partner, Cracker. They must trust each as if their lives depend upon it.  The story is based on true facts and Kadohata did her research well.  Here is a positive story that reveals much about our country, the young men, and the time in which it took place.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Anna, the (Not So Friendly) Ghost

Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake is not your average boy-meets-girl story—the boy, Cas, is a seventeen year old ghost hunter, and the girl, Anna, is a vicious spirit who murders anyone who enters her house. Sounds scary, right? But beneath the horror-story shell is a beautiful, sad, and moving tale about the struggle of choosing between one's obligations and desires.
 Theseus Cassio Lowood, nicknamed Cas, inherited a knife called the athame when his ghost hunter father was gruesomely murdered by a mysterious spirit. With the athame, Cas kills ghosts that are still wandering the earth, even though he isn't quite sure exactly what kind of afterlife he's sending them to.