Friday, June 24, 2016

Lumberjanes by Noelle Stevenson

Lumberjanes by Noelle Stevenson, Grace Ellis, Shannon Watters, Brooke A. Allen

The Miss Qiunzilla Thiskwin Penniquiqul Thistle Crumpet's camp for hard-core lady-types is, at first glance just a typical summer camp. However, our intrepid crew of the Roanoke cabin: Jo, April, Molly, Mal, & Ripley cannot seem to do anything remotely mundane. They have encounters with three-eyed wolves, raptors, a bear lady, mythological sampling rivalry, deadly puzzles,  and much more.

Stevenson does some excellent work with the writing, keeping the action coming, the puns hilarious, and the references odd all while constructing an energetic story with some great characters. Similarly, Allen nails the artwork, allowing each character’s personality to come through but still adding some wonderful exaggerations that beautifully support Stevenson’s writing.
In short, Lumberjanes is an Eisner Award winning riot of fun and craziness. 

Pretty much anyone that has ever gone to a summer camp or gone on crazy adventure with friend can relate to the shenanigans that the Lumberjanes get up to. Currently, the library has the first three volumes with the fourth on the way. 

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Great LGBT Books for Young Adults!

The month of June is LGBT Pride month which is a world wide celebration asserting that LGBT people should be proud of who they are and embraces diversity and the acceptance of all people.  It is especially poignant this year after the horrible shooting in Orlando. No matter who we are--we all deserve to be loved and to be safe from hate and violence. Our thoughts and prayers are with the city of Orlando and all those affected by this senseless act.

Below are some of the best LGBT books for teens.  While entertaining, these books can also provide reassurance that you are not alone and reinforce that it’s okay to be different - -because we all are in our own individual way.

Fat Angie--e. E. Charlton-Trujillo
Angie is broken but hiding under a mountain of junk food hasn’t kept the pain away. Having failed to kill herself, she’s back at high school just trying to make it through each day. That is, until the arrival of KC--a girl who is 199% wow! A girl who never sees her as "Fat Angie" and who knows too well that the package doesn’t always match what’s inside. This is an appealing, darkly comic, anti-romantic romance.

Beautiful Music for Ugly Children--Kirstin Cronn-Mills
My birth name is Elizabeth, but I’m a guy. Gabe. My parents think I’ve gone crazy and the rest of the world is happy to agree with them, but I know I’m right. I’ve been a boy my whole life.  When you think about it, I’m like a record. Elizabeth is my A side, the song everybody knows, and Gabe is my B side―not heard as often, but just as good.  It’s time to let my B side play.

If You Could Be Mine--Sara Farizan
Seventeen-year-old Sahar has been in love with her best friend, Nasrin, since they were six. But Iran is a dangerous place for two girls in love--they could be beaten, imprisoned, even executed. So they carry on in secret. Then Sahar discovers what seems like the perfect solution but is saving their love worth sacrificing her true self?

George--Alex Ginio
When people look at George, they think they see a boy. But she knows she's not a boy. She knows she's a girl.  George thinks she'll have to keep this a secret forever. Then her teacher announces that their class play is going to be Charlotte's Web. George really, really, REALLY wants to play Charlotte. With the help of her best friend, Kelly, George comes up with a plan. 

None of the Above--I. W. Gregoria
Kristin Lattimer is homecoming queen, a champion hurdler with a full scholarship to college and is madly in love with her boyfriend. But then a visit to the doctor reveals that Kristin is intersex, which means that though she outwardly looks like a girl, she has male chromosomes, not to mention boy "parts."  Dealing with her body is difficult enough, but when her diagnosis is leaked to the whole school, Kristin's entire identity is thrown into question.

The Porcupine of Truth--Bill Konigsberg
Carson is resigned to spending his summer in Montana, helping his mom take care of his dying father. Then he meets Aisha, a beautiful girl who has run away from her difficult family and Pastor John, who's long, held a secret about Carson's missing grandfather. Together, Carson and Aisha embark on an epic road trip to find the answers that might save Carson's dad and restore his fragmented family.

Two Boys Kissing--David Levithan
A 2014 Stonewall Honor Book:  Based on true events—two seventeen-year-olds are about to take part in a 32-hour marathon of kissing to set a new Guinness World Record. As the pair becomes increasingly dehydrated and sleep-deprived, they also become a focal point in the lives of other teens dealing with questions of love, identity, and belonging.

Not Otherwise Specified--Hannah Moskowitz
Etta is tired of dealing with all of the labels that seem so important to everyone else in her small town.  Not gay enough for her ex-clique, not tiny and white enough for ballet, and not sick enough to look anorexic. Etta doesn’t fit anywhere—until she meets Bianca, the straight, white, Christian, and seriously sick girl in Etta’s therapy group. Can Etta be saved by a girl who needs saving herself?

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe--
Benjamin Alire Saenz
Aristotle is an angry teen with a brother in prison. Dante is a know-it-all who has an unusual way of looking at the world. When the two meet at the pool, they seem to have nothing in common. But as the loners start spending time together, they discover that they share a special friendship—the kind that changes lives and lasts a lifetime. 

Saturday, June 18, 2016

The Orphan Queen

What would you do if you were a six year old child, your homeland is invaded and your parents murdered? You are a princess and most of the nobility has been decimated. Do you seek revenge?  How can you? You are a child. 

This is Princess Wilhelmina's story, ten years have passed and now it is time to reclaim her throne and unite her people. She and several other noble children have hidden in plain sight, as refugees in the Indigo Kingdom's refugee camps. 

The Indigo Kingdom has banned the use of magic, even the use of a little magic to save yourself from discovery could cost you your life.  Princess Wilhelmina has magic; and tries her best not to use it, but sometimes it's difficult when your loved ones are in danger. 

The Orphan Queen written by Jodi Meadows is an epic fantasy filled with adventure, intrigue and betrayal. This story grabs you and keeps you turning pages and then when your done reading the first won't be able to wait to get the next book in the series, The Mirror King so you can learn what happens next. Readers who enjoyed Graceling or The Queen of the Tearling will love this story.   

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Poets of World War I--Volume II

On November 11, 1985 in Poet's Corner Westminster Abbey, Ted Hughes, Poet Laureate, unveiled a memorial stone commemorating poets of World War One.

Earlier this year the library was highlighting our Graphic Novel collection and staff was encouraged to try a new or interesting comic to broaden our reading skills. I came across some historical titles about World War One and read several.  These really opened my eyes to a world-wide conflict that I wasn't very familiar with and also introduced me to a new kind of graphic novel (new to me at least).  Above the Dreamless Dead takes poems from WWI poets and has different comic authors and artists interpret these poems in their own way.  I was hooked!
  The following are books about WWI poetry and literature:

A Corner of a Foreign Field: the Illustrated Poetry of the First World War

Great Poets of World War I: Poetry from the Great War--John Stallworthy

The Great War and Modern Memory: the Illustrated Edition--Paul Fussell

In Flanders Fields: 100 Years: Writing on War, Loss and Remembrance--edited by Amanda Betts (eBook)

Long Shadow: the Legacies of the Great War in the 20th Century--David Reynolds

The New Oxford Book of War Poetry--edited by Jon Stallworthy

Poets of World War I: Rupert Brooke & Siegfried Sassoon

Poets of World War I: Wilfred Owen & Isaac Rosenberg

Regeneration, The Eye in the Door, and The Ghost Road--a trilogy by Pat Barker

Some Desperate Glory: the First World War the Poets Knew--Max Egremont

Tolkien and the Great War: the Threshold of Middle Earth--John Garth

The War Poets--edited by Oscar Williams

If you are interested further, then read the biographies of the poets that follow. 

Francis Edward Ledwidge, 1887-1917--he was an Irish war poet from County Meath.  Sometimes known as the "poet of the blackbirds", he was killed in action at the Battle of Passchendaele.

John McCrae, 1872-1918--born in Canada, he first fought in the artillery, then became a doctor.  He died of pneumonia and his poem In Flanders Field was one of the most famous of the war, written during the 2nd Battle of Ypres.

Wilfred E. S. Owen, 1893-1918--born in Oswestry, England, he is widely accepted as the greatest writer of war poetry in the English language.  He met Siegfried Sassoon in an Edinburgh hospital.  He was killed near Ors just seven days before the end of the war.

Isaac Rosenberg, 1890-1918--born in Bristol, England he was an artist, engraver, and poet before he enlisted in 1915.  His Poems from the Trenches are admired and praised.  He was killed near the town of Fampoux after a night patrol.

Siegfried Lorraine Sassoon, 1886-1967--born in Kent, England, he was the first of the war poets to volunteer.  He was friends with Robert Graves and mentored Wilfred Owen.  He was wounded, won the Military Cross, and then became an editor after the war.  He is second only to Owen as a war poet.

Alan Seeger, 1888-1916--born in New York, he was educated at Harvard and in Paris.  He joined the French Foreign Legion and was killed at Belloy-en-Santerre on the fourth day of the Battle of the Somme.

Charles Hamilton Sorley, 1895-1915--born in Aberdeen, Scotland he loved Germany and hated the idea of the war.  He enlisted in the Army, was promoted to Captain, and was killed in the Battle of Loos.  Favorite of Robert Graves.

Edward Thomas, 1878-1917--born in London, he was already a prolific writer before the war.  His friend Robert Frost encouraged him to write poetry and he wrote 144 poems between 1914 and 1916.  He was killed at the Battle of Arras.

Arthur Graeme West, 1891-1917--born in Norfolk, England he enlisted in the Army in 1915.  He was killed by a sniper at Bapaume.  His war diary, The Diary of a Dead Officer, which contained his poetry, was published in 1919.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

The Book Thief

Imagine a story in which the words the characters speak—and write—are living things. They sit with you, walk alongside you, murmur you to sleep or keep you awake with their chatter. They poison. They heal. They haunt. Yes, I’m thinking of a particular story, one that is both heartbreaking and beautiful in its telling. One passage may make you cry, while the next might coax a smile, and you may even laugh out loud from time to time. Make no mistake, you will feel something, and you’ll fall in love with a girl coming of age in Nazi Germany. Her name is Liesel Meminger, but you may know her as The Book Thief.

Liesel is just nine years old at the beginning of this story, and already her life is stained with grief. The loss of both her brother and mother (one has died, the other has given her away) haunt her when she comes to stay with Hans and Rosa Hubermann on Himmel Street in Molching. Rosa is stern and sharp-tongued, quick with insults and wooden spoons and feared by children and adults alike, while Hans is gentle and nurturing, a painter by trade and passable player of the accordion. It’s no surprise that Liesel grows close to Hans as he sits with her through the night during her nightmares, and he teaches her how to read using, of all things, a book she stole at her brother’s burial, The Gravedigger’s Handbook. He is the one who instills in her a lifelong love of words. Next door lives a boy with hair the color of lemons, Rudy Steiner, and as he and Liesel become fast friends, she slowly adjusts to her new life, a life that, for a time, just might be normal.

Of course, the Nazi Party has other plans, and as it begins to make its presence felt even more in Molching, things change. Heil, Hitler. Hitler Youth. Book burning. Liesel steals another book, one that survives the fire, but there are witnesses and consequences. And then there is this: a long-ago promise that comes calling in the form of a Jew named Max Vandenburg. These are perilous times for Jews and anyone who doesn’t march lock-step with Nazism, but the Hubermanns rise to the occasion and hide Max in their basement, and Liesel makes another friend. But as the noose of Hitler’s war tightens around Germany, the lives of Liesel and those she loves are changed forever.

The Book Thief, by Markus Zusak, is pure poetry. When you’ve finished reading your usual summer fluff, give this one a try. I think it just might give you an entirely new appreciation for the beauty, power, and life of words, particularly during dark times.  

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Dear Mr. You

Mary-Louise Parker, best known as an award winning actress, recently released her first book titled Dear Mr. You. It is a literary memoir written as collection of letters to men (and a few boys) who have helped mold her into the person she is today. The letters have a varying degree of seriousness and intimacy. Some letters, such as those to her grandfather, father, and family friend, Father Bob, are very touching, while others are incredibly humorous and lighthearted. Her letters directed at college peers, ex-boyfriends, and college professors divulge more about Parker’s struggles than the letter’s intended subject. You get a glimpse into the type of person she is and how she came to certain phases of her life by the actions of the man she’s writing to—which, of course, is her intent. Some letters, such as the one to Big Feet, are to men who were not even acquaintances, but gave her perspective on life and showed the depth of her caring or how simple interactions leave lasting impressions. In a few interviews Parker has railed against the idea that this is a memoir through letters. She argues that she didn’t look at it that way because it seems odd to tell your life story using another person, like it is a weak idea, when in fact the letters make for a fantastic literary device to convey her experiences.

Parker’s writing is lyrical and very readable, making the book flow easily from one section to the next. Being a person who loves a good memoir, I can say this doesn’t disappoint. Due to the nature of her memoir, I think a staunch fiction reader could pick this up and enjoy the arc of the story told via the letters. Parker’s writing has appeared in Esquire, Bullett, and Bust, but this is her first book, hopefully not her last. She can easily add accomplished writer to her growing list of accolades.  

June's In the Queue

Prepare to be charmed and thrills with wonderful selections from June's In the Queue. 


The Charmers: A Novel by Elizabeth Adler
When Mirabella Matthews' Aunt Jolly dies unexpectedly, Mirabella finds herself the new owner of a villa in the south of France. The villa is great, but with the inheritance come unexpected mysteries and danger. Perhaps Aunt Jolly's death was no accident. 

The Girl's: A Novel by Emma Cline
This spellbinding debut novel is filled with razor-sharp precision and startling psychological insight. Evie Boyd is lonely and withdrawn, when she sees girls moving with carefree abandon in the park, she becomes entranced. As she gets to know the girls she is drawn into their circle and becomes involved in a soon-to-be infamous cult and its mesmerizing leader.

I Almost Forgot About You by Terry McMillan
An inspirational story of a woman who shakes things up in her life, faces her fears, and takes a chance on herself in the hopes of finding a new direction and possibly a second chance.

Barkskins: A Novel by Annie Proulx
This is a multi-generational epic, dazzling, violent, and magnificently dramatic novel about the taking down of the world's forests. Proulx weaves history and her imagination together creating a compelling and vivid page turner.

Lily and The Octopus by Steven Rowley
This debut novel shows readers how it feels to love fiercely, how difficult it can be to let go, and how the fight for those we love is the greatest fight of all.

Ghosts of War by Brad Taylor
Traveling to Poland to investigate articles believed hidden in a Nazi gold train, Pike Logan and Jennifer Cahill are swept up in a Russian incursion into Belarus before a horrific attack against US forces, prompting NATO to prepare for war.

Vinegar Girl: The Taming of The Shrew Retold by Anne Tyler
Tyler brings us an inspired, witty and irresistible contemporary take on one of Shakespeare's most beloved comedies.

New Books By Best Selling Authors

Among the Wicked by Linda Castillo
Liberty's Last Stand by Stephen Coonts
Falling by Emily Green
Worry Free Living by Joyce Meyers
Bay of Sighs by Nora Roberts
Black Widow by Daniel Silva
Magic: A Novel by Danielle Steel
Foreign Agent by Brad Thor
The Singles Game by Lauren Weisberger
Dishonorable Intentions by Stuart Woods


Wake Up America: The Nine Virtues That Made Our Nation Great by Eric Bolling
Wake Up America is a much needed call to arms as well as a celebration of America.

The Lynching: The Epic Courtroom Battle That Brought Down the Klan by Laurence Learner
The Lynching brings to life two dramatic trials, during which the Alabama Klan's motives and philosophy were exposed for the evil they represent. In addition to telling a gripping and consequential story, Laurence Learner chronicles the KKK and its activities in the second half of the twentieth century, and illuminates its lingering effect on race relations in America today.

Love Wins: The Lovers and Lawyers Who Fought The Landmark Case For Marriage Equality by Debbie Cenziper

The fascinating and very moving story of the lovers, lawyers, judges and activists behind the groundbreaking Supreme Court case that led to one of the most important, national civil rights victories in decades--the legalization of same-sex marriage.