Saturday, September 27, 2014

Twice Challenged: The Watchmen





Saturday, September 27, 11:30 am

Support Banned Books Week, bring a lunch and learn about the misunderstood history of a commonly censored genre from WCPL librarians and Epic Loot Games & Comics staff. Trivia (with prizes) after the talk. 
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Banned Books Week: September 21-27, 2014


Banned Books Week celebrates the freedom to read by bringing awareness to censorship and challenged materials. Every year The American Library Association with the national Banned Books Week planning committee selects a theme or genre of books that have been challenged. This year the focus is on the frequently challenged genre of comics and graphic novels. During the week leading up to Banned Books Week and throughout the week itself, we are devoting our Fine Print posts to graphic novels.  We hope to raise awareness of the ongoing threats of censorship and to spread knowledge about graphic novels as a unique form of storytelling.





I am going to begin by saying the only graphic novel I have ever read is Captain Underpants and this was because my son was reading the series and I wasn't sure I liked them. He loved them! They made him laugh and gave him the desire to go back to the library to read more of them. I tolerated Professor Poopy Pants, because my son was reading books. Reading them. Devouring them and coming back for more. How do you say no to that? I can't/couldn't/wouldn't and last but not least won't say no to any book that will get my child to read. If I ever have a question about a book my children want to read, I pick it up and read it before they do. 

I have never had a desire to read a graphic novel. Sure I enjoy reading comic books, who doesn't? They are an easy diversion from everyday life and they are quick reads.  I am not so sure that The Watchmen will be a quick read. It is huge. My son assures me this graphic novel will not harm my sensibilities (can you tell I am a bit nervous to read my first adult graphic novel). Sounds silly to be afraid to pick up a book, after all it is a book and I love books. But this one has been "challenged" am I going to let that stop me. No! I laugh in the face of danger.  Well obviously,...my son is leading the charge. In my mind I keep hearing the little engine that could say, " I think I can. I think I can."  

I did it! I have read my first graphic novel and now I wonder what the fuss was all about. The Watchmen is a Hugo Award-winning graphic novel, which chronicles the fall from grace of a group of super-heroes. It's set in the 1980's in an alternative timeline where the U.S. won the Vietnam War. This is a dark story, but it also has moments of unbridled humanity. It dissects life, love, death, war, comic books and the superhero as a romantic/mythological figure for the century. Much to my surprise, I enjoyed the book. I then went on to read why this book was challenged.

Two schools challenged The Watchmen. The first challenge was in 2001 at a High School in Harrisonburg, VA. This challenge was unsuccessful and two copies of the book remain in the school library today. The result of the second challenge, which occurred in May 2004 at a Florida school, is unknown. The reasons for the challenges include sexism, offensive language and that it is unsuitable for the age group. You might be interested to know that Captain Underpants is one of the most frequently challenged books. It is challenged for  its use of offensive language, violence and unsuitable for the age group. Guess that's why I had doubts about it, but it got my son to read. Again I ask how do you say no to that?

Banned books week is a celebration of our freedom to choose what we read. I am thankful that I have the right to choose what I read are you?



Saturday, September 20, 2014

Queen of the Tearling

I have a fondness for reading debut novels. This particular debut novel, Queen of the Tearling, is a gem. Erika Johansen creates an intense novel in a fantasy world filled with treachery. Young Princess Kelsea is hidden away from the world when she is a toddler. She is raised by two devoted servants who teach her politics, languages and a little about fighting. She is hidden away in a secret cottage for her protection. The world is not a safe place for a young untried princess, especially when her Uncle, the acting regent, wants her throne and the power that goes with it. 

Kelsea knows little of her mother, the queen or the current state of affairs, because her servants never spoke of her or the treaty she signed with the Red Queen. On her nineteenth birthday Kelsea becomes the queen and the Queen's soldiers arrive to take her to the Keep.  They do not faun or bow to her but treat her with disrespect and distrust.  Kelsea's journey to become queen is a quest of epic proportions that will either make her a strong leader of legends or destroy her and her kingdom.

Johansen's debut novel is solid, intriguing and captivating. It is riddled with mysteries, betrayals and treacherous battles. If you enjoyed The Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, The Wheel of Time series or A Game of Thrones you will enjoy this novel. I cannot wait for the next book in the exciting new trilogy. 

Friday, September 19, 2014

Alabaster: Wolves




Saturday, September 27, 11:30 am

Support Banned Books Week, bring a lunch and learn about the misunderstood history of a commonly censored genre from WCPL librarians and Epic Loot Games & Comics staff. Trivia (with prizes) after the talk. 

______________________________________________

Banned Books Week: September 21-27, 2014

Banned Books Week celebrates the freedom to read by bringing awareness to censorship and challenged materials. Every year The American Library Association with the national Banned Books Week planning committee selects a theme or genre of books that have been challenged. This year the focus is on the frequently challenged genre of comics and graphic novels. During the week leading up to Banned Books Week and throughout the week itself, we are devoting our Fine Print posts to graphic novels.  We hope to raise awareness of the ongoing threats of censorship and to spread knowledge about graphic novels as a unique form of storytelling


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Let's be frank: I don't read a lot of graphic novels. I do own a few, though, and all of them are adaptations of books or short stories that I've read and loved. Thus, I present to you Alabaster: Wolves by Caitlin Kiernan, with artwork by Steve Lieber and Rachelle Rosenberg. This one's not on any banned or challenged book list that I'm aware of, but given what's made those lists so far, I'm pretty sure it could be a contender. Why? Well, there's violence in it, for one. It deals with the occult. There are assorted creepy-crawlies on every other page. And you know what? I'm okay with that because the heroine of the story is pretty awesome, and of all the characters Kiernan has created over the years, she's my favorite. Her name is Dancy Flammarion, and she's a rather mysterious albino waif who wanders the back roads and the empty places of the Deep South in search of the aforementioned creepy-crawlies. Commanded by a terrifying angel only she can see and armed with just a carving knife, Dancy goes where the monsters are, and she destroys them. She's so vicious with that knife that all the big bads know her name, and I'm telling you, it's a beautiful thing.

Dancy first appeared in Kiernan's excellent Threshold: A Novel of Deep Time, and she went on to star in several short stories of her own, all of which are collected in Alabaster. Wolves began as a five-part series of comics that has Dancy visiting a "bad part" of South Carolina, an abandoned hole of a town that, as you may have guessed by now, is overrun with werewolves, among other things. Accompanied by a wise-cracking bird and the ghost of a werewolf she kills early on, Dancy soon finds herself outnumbered and outgunned, so to speak, when the angel that has guided her deadly knife-wielding hand suddenly abandons her. Beyond that, you'll get no spoilers from me, so if you want to know if Dancy eventually puts down the pack or ends up as dog chow, well, you'll just have to read the graphic novel to find out. And if graphic novels really aren't your thing, you can always read the short stories.

Highly recommended for fans of dark fantasy and horror.














Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Banned Books Week: Pride of Baghdad



Saturday, September 27, 11:30 am

Support Banned Books Week, bring a lunch and learn about the misunderstood history of a commonly censored genre from WCPL librarians and Epic Loot Games & Comics staff. Trivia (with prizes) after the talk. 
________________________________________

Banned Books Week: September 21-27, 2014

Banned Books Week celebrates the freedom to read by bringing awareness to censorship and challenged materials. Every year The American Library Association with the national Banned Books Week planning committee selects a theme or genre of books that have been challenged. This year the focus is on the frequently challenged genre of comics and graphic novels. During the week leading up to Banned Books Week and throughout the week itself, we are devoting our Fine Print posts to graphic novels.  We hope to raise awareness of the ongoing threats of censorship and to spread knowledge about graphic novels as a unique form of storytelling.

Pride of Baghdad by Brian K. Vaughan and Niko Henrichon

• Location of key challenge: Various
• Reason challenged: Sexual content

A 2006 graphic novel about a pride of lions that escapes from a Baghdad zoo after it is bombed by American forces.  It follows the lions as they struggle to survive in the burned-out ruins of the city. The tale is based loosely on true events in 2003 Iraq.

Despite making both the American Library Association's Great Graphic Novels for Teens Top Ten in 2007 and Booklist Editors’ Choice: Adult Books for Young AdultsPride of Baghdad has been challenged over and over.  And even though it features four lions as the main characters, it has been challenged for alleged sexually explicit content.

I thought the artwork was gorgeous and the story does contain violence and some sexual content--but it is about non-combatants during wartime.  War is violent and this shows what can happen to innocents during combat.  But it also covers other subjects such as freedom and sacrifice.  I thought it was intelligent, really well done, and it makes you think.

Brian K.Vaughan is the writer behind several award-winning series, including Y: The Last Man, Ex Machina, Saga, and more.  He is from Cleveland, Ohio.

Nico Henrichon is a Canadian writer/artist who has done work for Marvel, DC, and others.  This is his second graphic novel.

For more information: http://cbldf.org/banned-comic/banned-challenged-comics/


What is your favorite challenged or banned book?



Saturday, September 6, 2014

September's In the Queue

September's In the Queue is filled with great reads from New and old best selling authors.

Fiction

The Christmas Cat by Melody Carlson
Returning home at Christmas time a young man receives an unexpected inheritance--six cats who need homes.

The Secret Place by Tana French
French's new novel stealthily spins a web of teenage secrets with a very adult crime at the center. Detective Stephen Moran wants to become a member of Dublin's Murder Squad, when he receives a tip about "The Secret Place" he gets his chance. 

Haunted by Kay Hooper
How do you make peace with the dead if the dead aren't ready to forgive? The answer lies in the twisting shadows of a small town, and its unearthed secrets.

The Golem of Hollywood by Jonathan Kellerman
When a burned-out L.A. Detective... a woman of mystery ll and a grotesque, ancient monster bent on a mission of retribution collide, a new standard of suspense is born.

Angels Walking: A Novel by Karen Kingsbury
This is a dramatic story about a washed up baseball player, the love he left behind, and the miracles that might just save them both.

A Sudden Light: A Novel by Garth Stein
When Trevor Riddell tries to save his parents' marriage, he uncovers a legacey of family secrets in a coming-of-age ghost story.

Five Days Left by Julie Lawson Timmer
This is a heart-wrenching debut novel about two people who must decide how much they're willing to sacrifice for love. Timmer shows us that sometimes loving someone means holding on, and sometimes it means you have to let go, even if it breaks your heart.

New Books by Best-Selling Authors

Havana Storm by Clive Cussler and Kirk Cussler
The King's Curse by Philippa Gregory
Winter Street by Elin Hilderbrand
Shopaholic to the Stars by Sophie Kinsella
Mr. Miracle: A Christmas Novel by Debbie Macomber
Leaving Time by Jodi Picoult
Prince Lestat: The Vampire Chronicles by Anne Rice
Deadline by John Sandford
Pegasus: A Novel by Danielle Steel
Paris Match by Stuart Woods

Non-Fiction

Enough: Our Fight to Keep America Safe From Gun Violence by Gabrielle Giffords and Mark Kelly
This book provides an intimate window into the recovery of one of our nation's most inspiring public figures and reveals how she and her husband have taken on the role of co-advocates for one of the defining issues of our time.

Killing Patton: The Strange Death of World War II's Most Audacious General by Bill O'Reilly
This is a gripping account of General George Patton's leadership during the final months of WWII in Europe, and the events which surrounded his mysterious death.

Cosby: His Life and Times by Mark Whitaker
Based on extensive research and in-depth interviews with Bill Cosby's closest friends and family. The author offers a frank account of the comedian's life and legacy. 


Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Women of the Wild Blue Yonder: WAFS, WASP, and Beyond

This third installment of Women of the Wild Blue Yonder features some of the other organizations of women aviators that flew during WWII and later.

ATA Wings



ATA (Air Transit Authority)--a British World War II civilian organization that ferried new, repaired, and damaged military aircraft. It also flew service personnel on urgent duty from one place to another and performed air ambulance work.  
The ATA recruited pilots who were considered to be unsuitable for reasons of age, fitness, or handicap, pilots from neutral countries and, notably, women pilots.
166 women pilots volunteered from Britain, Canada, New Zealand, and South Africa, United States, the Netherlands, Poland, and one from Argentina. 15 lost their lives in the air, including the British pioneer aviator Amy Johnson. One of many notable achievements of the women is that they earned the same pay as men in equal rank as the men starting in 1943.


Nancy Batson Crews (WAFS)
WAFS (Women's Auxiliary Ferrying Squadron)--never numbering more than 28, was created in September 1942 under Nancy Harkness Love's leadership. WAFS were recruited from among commercially licensed women pilots with at least 500 hours flying time. Their original mission was to ferry USAAF trainers and light aircraft from the factories, but later they were delivering fighters, bombers and transports as well.

WFTD (Women's Flying Training Detachment)--this program for women pilots, under Jacqueline Cochran, was approved on Sept. 15, 1942, . The 23-week training program included 115 hours of flying time. Training soon moved to Avenger Field at Sweetwater, Texas, and increased to 30 weeks with 210 hours of flying. Their training emphasized cross country flying with less emphasis on acrobatics and with no gunnery or close formation flight training.


WASP Pilots


















WASP (Women Air Force Service Pilots)-- In August 1943 all women pilots flying for the USAAF were consolidated into the WASP program with Jacqueline Cochran as Director. Nancy Harkness Love was named as WASP executive on the Air Transport Command Ferrying Division staff. More than 25,000 women applied for pilot training. Of these, 1,830 were accepted, 1,074 graduated and 900 remained at program's end, plus 16 former WAFS. WASP flew virtually every type of USAAF aircraft and they flew about 60 million miles. 38 WASP were killed in service of their country.


Read some of the following great books:

The All Girl Filling Station's Last Reunion by Fannie Flagg (WASP)

American Women and Flight Since 1940 by Deborah G. Douglas (History)

Blue Skies by Ali Vali (Carrier Pilots)

Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein (ATA)

Military Fly Moms: Sharing Memories, Building Legacies, Inspiring Hope: Compiled and Edited by Linda Maloney

Nancy Love and the WASP Ferry Pilots of World War II by Sarah Byrn Rickman (WASP)

The Originals: the Women's Auxiliary Ferrying Squadron of World War II by Sarah Byrn Rickman (WAFS)

Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein (ATA)--Companion book to Code Name Verity




























Saturday, August 23, 2014

August's In the Queue

Find a heroic quest, an amazing crusader and learn to take the lead in August’s
 In the Queue.


 Painted Horses By Malcolm Brook
This debut novel introduces us to a dauntless young woman on a heroic quest. It reminds us that love and ambition, tradition and the future, often make for strange bedfellows.

One Kick: A Novel By Chelsea Cain
Kick Lannigan is a child abduction survivor. She was kidnapped at age 6. Her family and the police were shocked when she was found 6 years later. Kick had difficulty adjusting to her return home. Although her parents tried numerous therapy techniques the detective who found her discovered the key. Kick learned to fight. She excelled at marksmanship,martial arts, boxing, archery and knife throwing by the time she was 13. She vowed never to be a victim again. When she learns young children's lives are at risk, she sets out to be the crusader she always wanted to be. 
By Derek Hough
For the first time ever Derek Hough shares his story. He tells of his transformation from a bullied little boy to an accomplished performer and coach who learned to let nothing stand in his way. He shows readers how they can take charge of pursuing their goals, overcome obstacles, and become winners—not just on the dance floor but in life.