Saturday, March 10, 2012

Book Reviews for Service Hours!

Do you need a few more service hours to fulfill your school requirements? Are you unable to find a service learning site, or not motivated by the ones available to you? Are you reading something interesting right now? Write about it for our blog, and we'll give you one hour's credit for each book review! Click on the "Book Review Guidelines" tab at the top of this blog, and follow the directions.

Side benefits:

  • Sharing your reading opinions with others;
  • Bringing another viewpoint to this blog (after all, we librarians believe you'd rather read reviews by your friends than by us!);
  • Improving your writing skills (so useful in every other area of life...)
We hope to see your review in our "mailbox" ( SOON!

Take our very first poll!

(Look up and to your right.)

Friday, March 9, 2012


We have new book lists for you! Wondering what to read next? Here are a couple of collections:

It's the End of the World As We Know It--it's all dypstopic and post-apocalyptic fiction--about 50 titles--all carried by your BPL library! 

Tripping Through Time--Historical Fiction for Teens! Yes, this list combines the best of both worlds--books you might actually want to read, that you could maybe also use for school.

You can pick up a paper copy @ your library, or you can access them directly in the library catalog (which has the advantage of letting you know which library has them and whether or not they are checked out:

While you're there, check out our recent list of ZOMBIE books, and you can also see what's on the teens' NEW bookshelf by clicking on "new young adult books."

Artist Lori Nix let us use this amazing art for the cover of EOTW--
it's a diorama that she built on a tabletop and then photographed!

Book Club Report

There were 14 of us at High School Book Club Tuesday night. We discussed Shiver, by Maggie Stiefvater, and although some thought nothing much happened in the course of the book, most felt the writing was good (maybe even a bit too lyrical) and the characters were compelling, and the book received high ratings—even one 10! The cumulative rating was 7.75.

For April, we are reading Marcelo in the Real World, by Francisco X. Stork. Our plan for May was to read Freak Show, by James St. James, but there were no copies available from our supplier, so it’s going to be either The Mockingbirds, by Daisy Whitney, or Black Hole Sun, by David Macinnis Gill.

Other books we considered:
Room, by Emma Donoghue
Sacred Scars, by Kathleen Duey
Elixir, by Hilary Duff
Push Not the River, by James Conroyd Martin
Born Blue, by Han Nolan
Nation, by Terry Pratchett

Sixteen attended Middle School Book Club at Buena Vista Wednesday night. We discussed Starship Academy: The Pearl Wars, the first book in a planned trilogy by Nick James. Everyone seemed to enjoy the book (a nice mix of sci fi and dystopia), particularly the rival protagonists Jesse and Cassius (IS Cassius the new Jace?), but we completely forgot to rate it. Oh, well. Next month, we will be reading Black Hole Sun, by David Macinnis Gill. Other books we considered:

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, by Douglas Adams
Speak, by Laurie Halse Anderson
The Looking Glass Wars, by Frank Beddor
Ten Little Indians/And Then There Were None, by Agatha Christie
An Abundance of Katherines, by John Green
The Usual Rules, by Joyce Maynard

Middle School Book Club at Central is next Wednesday night. We will be (again) discussing Shiver.

Sunday, March 4, 2012


I just read the new book Bunheads, by Sophie Flack, drawn in by the amusing title and also by my fascination with the single-minded and rather austere lives of ballet dancers, who seem to be second only to nuns in their dedication to their chosen vocation. From that aspect, the book delivers many interesting insider views of their existence, and if you share my interest in the dance world, you may enjoy it; but although I wanted to like the book, I can't say that I did. I didn't dislike it either--I just found it a bit flat. Although Flack's command of language is good and her descriptions authentic, the book feels episodic rather than plot-driven, and I didn't fall under the spell of any of her characters. I really wanted to, especially because it has many wonderful moments--revealing the simultaneous camaraderie and conflict among members of the corps de ballet; showing the differences between dancers and "pedestrians," as the dancers call non-dancers; and even the small insights about others related to the dance world, such as stagehands, seamstresses and masseuses. But for me, the author didn't sufficiently pull it all together into a compelling story. In one chapter, Hannah is agonizing over how to pursue a relationship with Jacob, a cute musician she meets on a rare break, but at the beginning of the next chapter, we have jumped in time to a career-related conflict or to her thoughts about a "balletomane" fan, Matthew, with no resolution or continuity, and I have to confess this disjointed style made my mind wander as I read.

It's a first effort, and given the author's biographical data from the book jacket flap, I'd say it's hard to call it fiction! Like her protagonist, she began dance training at age seven, moved to Manhattan to dance with a premier ballet company at 15, and retired from the life in her 20s, then enrolled in college. I hope that Flack writes another that is able to draw on her admitted wealth of knowledge without sticking quite so closely to the facts. This is a case where the writing instructor's exhortation to "write what you know" may have been followed too intently. That said, if you are a ballet fan, you may disagree with me. Pick it up and judge for yourself!

Here is a video of the author talking about her book: