Tuesday, June 23, 2015

What I've Been Reading: Summer 2015, pt. 1

Summer reading is upon us, and if you aren't sure what to read next, maybe I can help ... I've been reading a lot of different things lately, and I thought I'd share some of them with you.

Rebel Queen (Michelle Moran)
I have enjoyed Moran's historical novels in the past, and this may be my favorite. The British conquest of India is not a period I know well, and I certainly was unaware of the "Rebel Queen" who tried to keep her country safe -- not just from British Imperialists, but Indian contenders as well. Moran's writing is beautifully detailed, historically rich without being cumbersome. (I'm a bit of a fangirl, ha), and her characters have so much life and depth. An intriguing and engrossing read.

We Should Hang Out Sometime (Josh Sundquist)
I'm trying to read more nonfiction this year (I'm regretfully behind my goal), and this was a fun, quirky read I picked up on a whim. Sundquist has only had one girlfriend in his whole life -- for 23 hours, in the 8th grade. In an attempt to figure out why he is perennially single, he looks at every girl/crush/attempt-to-date and gives each case an in-depth analysis. More than a humorous memoir on trying - and failing - to understand the hows and whys of relationships (can't we all relate?), this is an honest and entertaining read about, well, people.

The Library of Unrequited Love (Sophie Divry)
This may not be universally adored, and some people may find it downright strange, but I absolutely loved this little book. It's different and unconventional and I was laughing out loud during some points. The premise is simple: a librarian discovers a patron spent the night locked in the library, thus prompting a long and lovely monologue that covers just about everything under the sun. There were startlingly true observations about libraries and people and just the human experience. It's fun and quirky and maybe I'm weird, but I loved it, so very, very much.

Things We Know By Heart (Jessi Kirby)
Oh goodness. This book. Sometimes you read things that just ... strike home ... The story itself bears no resemblance to my life (Quinn's boyfriend, an organ donor, was killed in an accident, and she has found the boy who received his heart), but that's a minor detail. This is a story that drew me in and wouldn't let go. I devoured it. The reading felt real and raw and that kind of tangled-up-beautiful-mess that is life. (Sidenote: I love all epigraphs at the beginning of the chapters. So. Cool.)

So there's a glimpse of what I've been reading, and believe me, it's just a glimpse. I'll post some more mini reviews through the summer -- in the meantime, what have you been reading?

Friday, October 3, 2014

Friday Ramble

Another Friday, another ... month? How is it October already? And more: Books checked out today are due October 24th; meaning we are 2 months and 3 weeks away from Christmas Eve. Just in case anyone was curious. Personally, this is a startling fact that leaves me searching for paper and pen to start scribbling down gift ideas for people. I'm running out of time! (I'm totally kidding). Though it's never too early to start brainstorming. Just, maybe not today ... for today, let's indulge in a Friday ramble instead. Deal?

Christmas Books
Okay, so maybe we can talk a little Christmas - but it's book-related, I promise! October is the magic month when Christmas books start being published. It's a little weird to me, but since Hobby Lobby and WalMart are already decking the halls, I guess it makes sense. Have you checked on upcoming Christmas-themed releases? When do you start reading Christmas book? I find that I can't read anything truly Christmassy until November. But I've already got a list of festive titles I want to read this holiday season. (Yes, it's an actual list. I believe in reading preparation).

Peter Pan
Here's an interesting thought for you ... The resurgence of Peter Pan-themed books and etc. Since I'm a fan of Peter and his Neverland, I find it fascinating. Sometimes, the new take is a very, very loose take indeed - like Second Star, a contemp YA that deals with some pretty heavy stuff. And sometimes, a different perspective turns everything you thought you knew on its head - like Alias Hook, a darker view of Neverland life from the eyes of the infamous villain. This morning, I stumbled upon this exciting news about a Peter Pan-based comedy (also links to more info about the next NBC live musical: yup, you guessed it, Peter Pan).

Books on Screen
I've talked about it before, but it really is amazing to me how many books are ending up on the screen right now - big and little. What do you think of this trend? Is it good or bad for readers? Do you love it or hate it? What's a book you would love to see portrayed in the movies or television? I enjoy a good book-based movie, and it doesn't even have to follow the book exactly - if it's still a good story. (Let's face it: some things you can't recreate outside of a page and your own imagination!) I think I'd like to see another Sarah Dessen book turned into a movie ... and we can always use another remake of Pride & Prejudice. Always.

Those are my main rambling points today. I can always find something to say about candy corn, football and my intense anticipation for the final installment of the Hobbit - but I don't want to overwhelm you, ha.

Here's to Fridays, good books, and a world that is paying more attention to things on the page!

Friday, August 29, 2014

Friday Ramble

Somehow, Summer has ended and Fall is slipping its way into our lives. School is back in session, college football season starts now, and September is a few days away. I don't know about you, but I feel like this summer flew by at a startling pace. Summer Reading has been over for almost a month, but it feels like just yesterday I was brainstorming ideas and sketching out the rules. (Or maybe it was -- I know the theme for next year already, and my imagination is giddy with delight. Just wait and see!).

Season changes can be fun times though. Late summer/fall can be a very busy time in the publishing world, and there are a lot of great looking books coming out soon! (Especially true of YA offerings - September alone has so many books!) The weather will eventually start shifting, leading to cooler days perfect for curling up with a good book and light blanket. And the football, always the football.

In the spirit of changing seasons and months, and the loveliness of Friday, how about a quick peek at some of the things I'm looking forward to?

I love the Shopaholic books, y'all. I think they may have been my first true foray in the world of "chick lit," and I've been a reader ever since. Becky Brandon is hilarious, her misadventures so impossible in my world -- but she's also so very real. She's flawed, and I love her for that. Looking forward to see what kind of trouble she can get into in Hollywood (my guess: a lot!) The only thing I'm not keen on is the cover ...

I've already mentioned the oodles of new YA titles coming out. If you want to take a peek for yourself, here's a pretty impressive list (and it only goes through September!) I think 2014 is going to go on record as a great year for books.

In non-book related channels, I'm working on a fun project that is requiring some quality time with this fantastic book ... As a lover of story, fantasy, and maps? This is one of the coolest things you could ask me to do ... Having a lot of fun with my 'research,' and can't wait to share more about the project in weeks to come!

Speaking of awesome 'imaginary' places ... Have you seen the newest addition to the "Darth Vader and Son series" by Jeffrey Brown? The book is Goodnight, Darth Vader, and I love the new poster:
For more information, or to download your own copy of the poster awesomeness, visit the official Chronicle Books site.

So there you have it ... a quick snapshot of Friday fun, and fall expectations.

What do you look forward to most about the changing seasons? Is there an upcoming fall release book that really has your attention?

Friday, August 8, 2014

Book Break Schedule Fall 2014

As summer winds to a close, and everyone starts preparing for the return of school and cooler weather, an exciting thing has occurred at the Library! The Fall 2014 Book Break Reading Schedule has been posted!

The wonderful Book Break readers have a great line-up ahead of them this year. Printed schedules are available for pickup in the Library, but if you just can't wait, here's the list:

September 16, 2014
Guests on Earth (Lee Smith)

October 21, 2014
Lost in Shangri-La (Mitchell Zuckoff)
**Discussion led by Matt Shaw

November 18, 2014
The All-Girl Filling Station's Last Reunion (Fannie Flagg)

December 16, 2014
All Through The Night (Mary Higgins Clark)

January 20, 2015
Walking on Water (Richard Paul Evans)

Book Break meets the third Tuesday of each month from 2:00-3:30pm at the Archdale Library. Refreshments are served, and the books are good. Please come and bring a friend!

Friday, July 18, 2014

Friday Ramble

I hope everyone had an amazing (and safe!) Fourth of July! Hard to believe that was already two weeks ago ... and there are only two weeks left of summer reading! This summer is simply flying by. In the spirit of Friday, here are some cool library or bookish things catching my eye this week ...

First, last weekend we had a great group of teens show up for the LEGO Robotics program. It was a lot of fun watching everyone build and program their robots to complete specific tasks. Check out our pictures on facebook!

And then there's this ...

I have been a fan of Paddington for a long, long time. So to have him coming to the big screen in a few months? Oh yeah. This Librarian will definitely be there!

Actually, there are going to be quite a few books-turned-movies coming out the rest of the year ... You know, like:

Not to mention the final installment of The Hobbit. Also, I'm a little excited about the next Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb.

To end my Friday ramblings on a sweet note, check out this listing of bookish cookie cutters.  Because cookies and books are a match made in heaven.

What have you found interesting this week?

Friday, June 27, 2014

Friday Ramble

Whew! Somehow, June is already (practically) over! Next week is July 4th! Summer is flying by, and what an adventure it's been so far!

I hope you've been reading good books - I know I've been very busy trying to catch up on my substantial To Read list (and yet, it never seems to shrink). I'm reading a lot of YA, trying to keep reviews and posts hopping over on the Teen Zone blog this summer, but I'm mixing in "adult" novels and the odd nonfiction title as well. Summer is a wonderful time for reading, and I intend to enjoy every page!

In the spirit of Friday, let's have a random, rambling listing of fun things and quirky thoughts ...

We've been having some wonderful Summer Reading programs for children (and families) on Wednesday mornings at Creekside Park Rec. Center! I especially love the pictures from the "Birds of Prey" program!
Make sure you check out our facebook page, to see more pictures from our summer events!

This piece from the Huffington Post, about the "7 Things Only YA Book Fans Will Understand" makes me laugh. Because it is so true.

If you're among the many Hunger Games fans, I'm sure you've already seen the first trailer for Mockingjay Part 1 ... but if not, here you go:

And while we're looking at trailer, how about a geektastic book trailer for one of my favorite reads of 2013: William Shakespeare's Star Wars:

I seriously love this series, as both a word nerd and a Star Wars geek. You should check it out if you haven't, there's a lot more information available on their facebook page (and the Library has copies too).

Speaking of a new spin on a classic ... how about this imprint that gives classic novels pulp fiction-inspired new covers? Some of them are funny, others are perhaps a little disturbing. It's definitely an interesting concept, this notion of rebranding books with simple cover redesigns.

What have you found interesting this summer? Stumbled upon an amazing new author, or discovered you like a book more than you thought? I hope you're having good reading luck, and not having to plow your way through one that's just not working (or, gasp!, even worse leaving it unfinished - don't worry, I do it too).

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Summer Reading 2014!

It's that time of year again! Registration began yesterday for Summer Reading 2014! You can feel the excitement in the air (or possibly that's the kids' happiness that school is almost out).

We have the entire schedule posted online, as well as available in swanky printed schedules at the Library, but to make things super easy, I'm posting the schedules here as well.

Fizz Boom Read! Programs for School-age (K-8) Children (families always welcome, grown-ups too!):

Weekly Programs, Wednesdays @ 10:30am, Creekside Parks & Rec Gym
  • June 11th: NASA with Judy Walker, NC NASA Educator Resource Center (UNC-Charlotte)
  • June 18th: Birds of Prey with Liz Schmid of Wild Birds Unlimited and Wildlife Rehab Inc. of Winston Salem
  • June 25th: It's Magic! with Steve Somers
  • July 9th: Emily Byrd, Meteorologist with Fox8 News
  • July 16th: Zumbatonics with Grubb Family YMCA
  • July 30th: Mad Science of the Piedmont

Special Programs, at the Archdale Public Library
  • Thurs, June 12th @ 2:30pm: Craft Time for Father's Day (Registration Req'd!)
  • Tues, July 1st @ 7pm: Cold Blooded Encounters
  • Weds & Thurs, July 23-24th: Lego Creations

Summer Movies at the Library, Thursdays @ 2:30pm (popcorn & drinks provided!)

  • June 26th: Wall-E
  • July 10th: Bolt
  • July 31st: Up

Spark a Reaction! Programs for Teens (13-18)
Monday, June 16th @ 3pm:
The Future of Space 
NASA Ambassador, Capt. Mike Lucas

Saturday, July 12th @ 11am-4pm:
LEGO Robotics
***Limited Space
***Registration Required

And, of course, we've got reading incentive programs and weekly prizes in the works! Swing by the Library for all the details!

Thursday, May 1, 2014

What I've Been Reading ...

Hello, hello!

I think, perhaps, Spring has finally arrived in Archdale! At least the days are longer, there's pollen everywhere, and the Library Ducks are once more making an appearance. Even on chilly mornings, this sounds like Spring ... and I for one am very, very thankful.

Now that I can come out of hibernation and start to thaw out, I've noticed my reading selection has gotten rather ... eclectic. (Who am I kidding, it's always fairly random). Curious? Here's a selection of my recent reads ...

While Beauty Slept (Elizabeth Blackwell)
A fairy tale for grown-ups, While Beauty Slept is more than just another retelling of "Sleeping Beauty." Blackwell has done a masterful job creating a gothic novel that feels like serious historical fiction, while still maintaining familiar elements of the fairy tale. Told from the perspective of Elise, maid and companion of Princess Rose, there's depth and intrigue, and perhaps a surprise or two.

Solving for Ex (Leigh Ann Kopans)
This is a super fun YA novel based on Jane Austen's Mansfield Park, with prep school flair and the fierce competitiveness of Mathletes. I'm not a big fan of Mansfield Park (okay, I'm not a fan at all), but I *loved* this contemporary retelling. I even found myself laughing at the math humor!
(Big Sister Note: For younger YA readers, there are some "heavy" moments and themes, including bullying (with subsequent language) and underage drinking.)

The Lost Sisterhood (Anne Fortier)
Part contemporary women's fiction, part near-mythic historical fiction, this is one of those reads you think about. Diana, a scholar at Oxford, specializes in the Amazons - the mythic female warriors from legend. Only, she's fairly certain they're real, and as a mysterious archeological dig turns into a transnational scavenger hunt, she discovers that sometimes the truth is stranger than legend. Woven throughout Diana's tale is that of the history of the women who would become the Amazons, specifically Myrina, their leader.

A Mad, Wicked Folly (Sharon Biggs Waller)
An entertaining YA historical novel set in posh 1909 London. Vicky Darling is the daughter of a well-to-do family, whose desire in life is to pursue her artistic passions. This goal is a direct opposite of her parents' (and society!) expectations, and soon Vicky's single-minded determination finds her not only involved with the Suffragette movement, but questioning everything about her current life. With enough historical detail to make it real, without getting too bogged down, A Mad, Wicked Folly is a fun read with a cheer-worthy heroine. 

Vintage (Susan Gloss)
True confession? I read this in two sittings. The perfect mix of vintage fashion and real life friendship, Vintage is a novel I'd like to pop into. I'd love the chance to meet Violet, April and Amithi and chat while we sip tea and nibble on cookies. Tackling the ups and downs of life, these three women - from very different places in life - happen to meet and form connections that become deep friendships. It's hopeful and funny, refreshingly realistic and still "warm fuzzy" when it needs to be. As a debut novel, this is stunning and I look forward to Gloss's next endeavor.

So there's a peek at what I've been reading lately ... What about you? As Spring finally slips into place, what has been catching your eye? Are you in a reading slump, or a reading frenzy?

Friday, February 7, 2014

Olympic Fever!

I don't know about you, but I definitely get Olympic fever! (And I really appreciate the Winter Olympics coming so soon after the Superbowl -- helps cure the no-more-football blues). In the spirit of the Sochi Games, why not pick up a book or few? Here are some ideas ...

A Note: For some topics, I'm giving a quick link to a selection of relevant books in the catalog. Use this as a starting point for an Olympic Scavenger Hunt of sorts, because this is just the beginning ...

Geronimo Stilton Saves the Olympics
Figure Skating: A History
The Official Book of Figure Skating
Bode: Go Fast, Be Good, Have Fun
It's a Big World, Little Pig!

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

2014 Youth Media Award Winners

Every year, the American Library Association gives a number of awards to authors and illustrators for books, videos and audiobooks. The 2014 winners and honorees were announced Monday at the annual Midwinter Meeting, and it's an impressive list! For more details about the individual awards (or to check previous winners), you can visit the ALA site.

Here's a list of the winners and honorees you can find in the Library (either here in Archdale, or available elsewhere in the system):

John Newberry Medal Winner
John Newberry Honor Book
John Newberry Honor Book

Randolph Caldecott Medal Winner
Caldecott Honor Book
Caldecott Honor Book
Caldecott Honor Book 

Coretta Scott King (Illustrator) Honor Book

Michael L Printz Honor Book

Schneider Family Award Winner (Ages 0-10)
Schneider Family Award Winner (Teen)

Alex Award
Alex Award
Alex Award
Alex Award

Mildred L Batchelder Honor Book

Sibert Honor Book
Sibert Honor Book 
Sibert Honor Book

Stonewall Book Award Winner (Young Adult)

Theodor Seuss Geisel Award Winner 
Geisel Honor Book
Geisel Honor Book
Geisel Honor Book

Morris Award Finalist
Morris Award Finalist

YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction Winner
YALSA Award Finalist