Saturday, July 21, 2012

Dream on...

What a fun (and enlightening) time we had on Friday afternoon with Forest Nui Cobalt at our dream interpretation workshop! Forest was great about giving the traditional explanations of dream themes--the archetypal meanings of flying, water, and those "unprepared" dreams (like, there's an algebra final this morning and you suddenly realize you haven't attended the class in weeks, haven't studied, and are standing in the quad in your underwear)--and tying in Elisabeth Kubler-Ross's five stages of grief as an example of how our subconscious mind works out issues in our dreams.

Then we all shared some dreams from our journals or from memory, both one-time and recurring, some positive and some nightmarish, and discussed what their meanings could be. We also talked about the role dreaming can play in creativity--if your dreams are telling you a story, write it down and see where it leads. It was a fascinating exchange! Our conclusion? Pay attention to your dreams and see if they are trying to tell you something about your waking life that it would help you to know! After all, one-third of our lives are spent sleeping...but that doesn't mean there's nothing going on...

Friday, July 20, 2012

Hip-Hopping in Burbank

Wednesday night we got to break, pop and lock with CULTURE SHOCK L.A. at the Northwest Library, not to mention doing the Funky Chicken and the Wave. We had some enthusiastic dancers in our audience, and some that preferred to hang back and be cool, but everybody seemed to enjoy the show, whether they danced or observed. Four very happy people went home with some great PRIZES, and fans of the group scored autographs on their program flyers.

Here are a couple of photos--go to our Facebook Page to see the rest of the album.

Now we're building up to all the FINALES of Teen Summer Reading:

  1. Friday your TRIVIA CONTEST is due--turn it in at any reference desk (or to me or Anarda personally) by closing time (6:00!).
  2. Friday is our DREAM ANALYSIS WORKSHOP--if you wrote down any memorable DREAMS this summer, come and have them INTERPRETED by Forest Cobalt at 3:30 at the Buena Vista Library.
  3. Tuesday is our final BIG PROGRAM, which is the OPEN MIC NIGHT and POETRY SLAM. Sign up to perform (sing, dance, play an instrument, do stand-up comedy, or read a POEM), or just plan to BE THERE to support your friends! (Call 818 238-5589 or email one of us.) We will have refreshments, we will have a PRIZE DRAWING as usual, and we will also announce the WINNERS of the Trivia Contest. NOTE: You MUST BE PRESENT to WIN!
Remember that we also have TWO more weekly drawings for READING LOG prizes--one this Friday (the 20th), and one next Friday (the 27th). So KEEP READING, keep logging, keep coming by for tickets, and good luck!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Author Talk!

HELEN KEEBLE (author of Fang Girl, reviewed below) says...

I have just placed an order for Hold Me Closer, Necromancer, which I hadn't heard of before now. Thank you for both the recommendation, and the lovely review!

(P.S. The next book isn't its working title is NO ANGEL, you can probably guess the subject matter *grin*)

Awesome ARCs

As mentioned before, Anarda and I and our three teens scored a bunch of Advance Reader Copies of soon-to-be-published young adult fiction when we went to the American Library Association convention a couple of weeks ago. For those who don't know, ARCs are bound uncorrected proofs (yes, there may be typos) of a book, circulated before the book's release (to reviewers, mostly) to create early buzz. Here's a review of one I just read:

by Helen Keeble
351 pages (in ARC form, who knows for the final?)
Ages 13 up
Reviewed by Melissa

Fifteen-year-old Xanthe Jane Greene (call her Jane if you value your life) has been an enthusiastic fan of vampire fiction and a regular post-er, so when she wakes up in a coffin, it's not like she's totally unprepared, although she can't quite figure out how she got there. It's a bit of a shock to her family, but they quickly get on board and decide they should all become vampires in solidarity--NOT. Jane has enough problems, what with a psycho "sire" and a hunky vampire hunter getting a little too close for comfort, not to mention the adjustment to her slightly freaky powers, to need her parents and her weird little brother complicating things to that extent. Also, remaining 15 forever isn't exactly what she had in mind when she pictured her undead life of angst and intriguing relationships. She can't even drive! But boy, she can do a lot of other cool stuff...

Yes, it's ANOTHER VAMPIRE BOOK. I almost didn't pick it up, because I'm so over it. Then I didn't read it for a couple of weeks, until I found myself at loose ends on a weekend, with no other new books in the house. But speaking of being over it, GET over it, because this is a funny, funny book. The blurb copy is comparing it to Ally Carter (I'd Tell You I Love You, But Then I'd Have to Kill You, etc.) and Heather Brewer (the Vladimir Tod series), and while I can see that the "voice" is similar to those--15 years old, wry, witty--the book actually made me think more of one of my faves of last year, Hold Me Closer, Necromancer, by Lish McBride. This is a big compliment, because I loved that book! And coincidentally, McBride's second book (Necromancing the Stone) comes out on September 18, a week after Fang Girl on September 11. So I suggest a reading weekend "double feature" of supernatural goodness. Keeble and McBride should be friends!

Since ARCs can't be cataloged for the library or sold at the book sale, we're going to GIVE a stack of them away as one of our prizes at the Teen Summer Reading Program finale, our "Own the Night" Open Mic Night and Poetry Slam, on July 24. So if you want to read Fang Girl BEFORE September, come to our program, and put your ticket into the drawing! And don't forget to call this week to sign up to perform at the finale!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

What We're Reading: The Raven Boys ARC

When I saw the title The Raven Boys on my Advance Reader Copy (ARC) of Maggie Stiefvater's new novel, my imagination immediately went to author Charles de Lint's raven girls, who were girl-to-bird shapeshifters, so I was initially a little disappointed when I found out the raven boys in Maggie's book were called that because their private school, Aglionby Academy, has a raven insignia on its uniform. (I guess after Mercy Falls, I was expecting more shapeshifting!) But once I started reading, my disappointment quickly subsided!

First of all, the opening chapters in particular reminded me of Alice Hoffman's early writing. This is a good thing--I'm not saying Stiefvater is being derivative or mimicking Hoffman in any way, I'm just saying that in this book she has that tightrope balance of magical realism DOWN, like in Hoffman's early books in particular (Practical Magic, Turtle Moon, Seventh Heaven). If you don't know quite what I mean by magical realism, here's Merriam-Webster:
A literary genre or style...that incorporates fantastic or mythical elements into otherwise realistic fiction.
I don't know what it is about this particular book of Stiefvater's that makes me invoke this label--certainly you could say it about her other books, too. Grace and Sam in the Mercy Falls books attend school and interact with regular folks when they are in human form; Sean and Puck live in a very real (and difficult) world that also happens to be inhabited by the capaill uisce (water horses); but for some reason I have thought of them as fantasy/sci fi while this one feels different. Maybe it is the utterly prosaic tone taken by her narrator, Blue, when she explains her life as a psychic's daughter in small-town Henrietta, Virginia. Maybe it is the style--the previous books went back and forth between two narrators, while this one has such a rich cast of characters--the raven boys (with their teachers, families, friends), the psychic cohorts of Blue's mother, the weird aunt--and so many stories that lead back to the central one, with both factual and fantastical elements incorporated everywhere. Maybe it's that Maggie is getting better with every book?

Whatever it is...when the book arrives in your library, CHECK IT OUT! (Published September 18, available shortly thereafter. Not shortly as in the day after, shortly as in a couple of weeks. Sorry, we're a library, not a bookstore, we have to process and catalog and cover and label before we lend. But...FREE!) You won't be sorry...

(And there will be more to enjoy--according to Stiefvater, this is the first book in a four-book series.)

Check out Maggie Stiefvater's hand-drawn animated
book trailer for the book! 

Sunday, July 15, 2012

What We're Reading: Fantasy

Daughter of Smoke and Bone
by Laini Taylor
418 pages
Genre: Fantasy/Paranormal
The first in a series; the second title is Days of Blood and Starlight, due out on Nov. 6, 2012
Reading level: 8th grade and up
Reviewed by: Anarda

Karou is a tall, lovely, 17-year-old girl with long blue hair and a variety of unusual tattoos, not the least being a hamsa, an “evil eye” tattoo, on each of her palms, a part of her for as long as she can remember. Enrolled as an art student in Prague, Karou hides an enormous secret from the very few people she befriends, a secret that is about to be blown wide open. Karou has been raised by a quartet of extraordinary beings who live in a hidden space “elsewhere,” located behind seemingly ordinary doorways that are found throughout the world but which can only be opened from the inside, and only for her and for a very select group of “hunters” and “merchants.” And what do these hunters bring to Karou’s home, and what is she, too, sent out to find? Oddly enough, she and the others are tasked to bring the healthy teeth taken from all manner of animals, including human, to the head of her “family,” the grim and powerful Brimstone. But why, Karou wonders for the millionth time, does Brimstone need all these teeth, and why won’t any member of her family answer any of her important questions, including the most basic questions of who she is and where she's from? And meanwhile, who is mysteriously placing blackened handprints on all the portals?

Thus begins a tale of startling twists and turns, romantic and harrowing, and always adventurous. I do not want to spoil any of the surprises of the book--and there are many--so I’m merely scratching the surface about this extraordinarily enjoyable novel. I did not want to put down and, once I finished it, I shamelessly started it over again! I wanted once more to savor the wonderful descriptions of Prague and Karou’s “family,” be astounded by her friend Zuzana’s marionette show, and relive the tension that grows between Akiva and Karou as they slowly realize what exactly it is that binds them to one another. I’ve promised myself a trip to Prague based on the vivid descriptions in this book, but alas, I don’t think I’ll be meeting Kishmish or Brimstone, the glorious Akiva or the tiny Zuzana, or the intrepid, courageous Karou-of-the-blue-hair. But I do plan on seeing a marionette show! And I am definitely waiting impatiently for the sequel; I’m calling dibs on the first check-out!

The cover art does have a certain relevance to the story, but you won’t find out why until the last part of the book.

Rating: 4.5 to 5
I’m not sure it could have been better written, and while I’ve read my fair share of this “genre” or trope (you’ll understand what I mean once you’ve started to read it), I’ve never been so intrigued by a back story like this one; this book could not have been predicted by its predecessors in the genre.

Note: Universal Pictures announced last December that it has acquired worldwide film rights to the novel.

Also, here's a cool trailer from Johnston County Public Library in Indiana, and...

Want to know what people on Goodreads are saying? Go to Laini Taylor's author page.