Saturday, October 18, 2014

Zombies! Max Brooks!

Woodbury University is having a “One Book, One Community” program with a ZOMBIE theme.


Join in a Zombie Panel Discussion, from 6:00-7:30 p.m. in the Library on the Woodbury University Campus. It features:

Amy Converse on Zombies + Avant Garde
Rossen Ventzislavov on Zombies + Philosophy
Phil Pack on Zombies + Biology


Max Brooks, author of World War Z, will be the featured guest at Woodbury University's “One Book, One Community” program, Thursday, Oct. 23, from 5:30-8 p.m., at the Fletcher Jones Foundation Auditorium on the Burbank campus of Woodbury University. The event is free, and open to the public.

Mr. Brooks will speak for approximately 45 minutes, then allow about 15 minutes for questions and another 15 minutes for book signings.

At 7 p.m., there will be small group discussions or activities related to the book.

Max Brooks is the bestselling author of World War Z, The Harlem Hellfighters, The Zombie Survival Guide, and its graphic companion, The Zombie Survival Guide: Recorded Attacks.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Writing your Time Travel Story

Still contemplating how to write a time travel story for our October contest? Don't worry--you still have two weeks, and we have HELP for you!

Tamara Ireland Stone, author of Time Between Us and Time After Time, who taught our Time Travel Writing Workshop on October 9, has now kindly provided us with her powerpoint with thought process, ideas, examples, and tips! We are so lucky to have this. You can access it here. With a learning aid like this, you can't miss!

We look forward to reading all your stories! Remember they are DUE on OCTOBER 31st, by 5:00 p.m.! (The Witching Hour.)

Also, I know a lot of you wonder how they come up with covers for your books--Tamara has posted a step-by-step of the creation of this cover, if you want to satisfy your curiosity.

Local authors this Saturday

On Saturday, October 18, from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m. at the Buena Vista branch...


More than 50 authors of books on a variety of topics will meet you! Discover new books! Connect with new authors! What do you like to read? Mysteries or science fiction? Fantasy or romance? Fiction or nonfiction? Children's books or Young Adult?

Two Young Adult authors will be in attendance:

Nancy Lorenz, author of The Strength of Ballerinas

Julie Musil, author of The Boy Who Loved Fire

Stop by and help us celebrate the written word!

Thursday, October 16, 2014


For all of you who have "aged out" of high school book club, we now have a club for YOU! The slogan is, "Not your mother's book club," and the club demographic is aimed at "new adults"--Millennials and GenXers. The name of the club is Genre X Book Club, and it meets TONIGHT, October 16, at 6:30, at the Central Library in the auditorium. The club discussions will be led by librarians Jeff Whalen (some of you will remember him from one of our Open Mic nights when he played his guitar) and Laura McMahon.

The discussion tonight will be about Fight Club, by Chuck Palahniuk, but if you're just seeing this notice now and haven't read it, come anyway! Express your interest, hang with your reading peeps, eat some refreshments, and get pumped for next month's meeting! November's book is the National Book Award-winner Just Kids, by Patti Smith, and in December the club will read the graphic novel Black Hole, by Charles Burns. After that, the members will join in choosing future selections!

Book Club Report

There were 15 present at 6+7 Book Club on Tuesday night to discuss Lockwood & Co.: The Screaming Staircase, by Jonathan Stroud. Everyone had a lot to say about the story, the characters, the ghosts, the crime, the time period, the anomalies…and almost everyone was a fan—the book received a rating of 7.5 out of 10. Next month’s book is Uglies by Scott Westerfeld, and the following month we will read House of Secrets, by Christopher Columbus and Ned Vizzini. Other books we considered included:

Maximum Ride: The Angel Experiment, by James Patterson
The Extraordinary Education of Nicholas Benedict, by Trenton Lee Stewart
The School for Good and Evil, by Soman Chainani
The Westing Game, by Ellen Raskin
The Maze Runner, by James Dashner

Wednesday night’s 8+9 Book Club was fairly well attended (10 of 11 members made it), and we had a low-key but interesting discussion of I Am the Weapon, by Allen Zadoff. Although there was a lot of criticism of certain aspects, it ended up being highly rated: The club awarded it a score of 7.75 out of 10, and one person rushed to the stacks to check out the sequel. Next month’s book is The Naturals, by Jennifer Lynne Barnes, and in December we will read Unspoken, by Sarah Rees Brennan.

Due to an ordering problem, we didn't have copies of The Naturals to pass out Wednesday night, but the book should be in by Friday or Monday--we'll email you when it's ready to be picked up.

Other books we considered (in no particular order):

The Rules of Disappearing, by Ashley Ellston
Before I Fall, by Lauren Oliver
Every Soul A Star, by Wendy Maas
Switched, by Amanda Hocking
Also Known as Rowan Pohi, by Ralph Fletcher
Enchanted, by Alethea Kontis

What we're reading: Stephanie Perkins

Last year in 8+9 Book Club, one of our favorite books was Anna and the French Kiss, by Stephanie Perkins. Romance, angst, and set in Paris--how could it miss? I subsequently read the sequel, Lola and the Boy Next Door, and while I enjoyed it and thought it was cute, I definitely missed the grand Parisian setting. So I was happy to learn that the third book, Isla and the Happily Ever After, took us back to boarding school in France.

We didn't get quite the scenic glory in this book that we received in Anna. There was a lot more about events that took place in Isla's dorm room than there was about the streets of Paris! But the protagonists--Isla, who makes a brief appearance in Book One, and Josh, the moody class-cutting artist who was a vital part of the group around Anna and St. Clair--are interesting, and I lived vicariously through their eventual joint revelation that each liked the other but was deterred by assumptions that the other didn't like them. (Haven't we all been there?) Josh, of course, had an all-too-visible girlfriend in Book One, and in this book we discover that Josh thought Isla was also romantically involved, with her life-long BFF, Kurt.

Casa Battlo, Barcelona
Kurt was one of the twists I liked the best in this book--he is a high-functioning autistic boy, and his sometimes awkward honesty is refreshing! One of my other favorite elements was the description of Josh's drawings--Perkins "pictured" them beautifully and made me want to rush to the closest comic book store to see if Josh's graphic novel had been published yet! (Hint: Stephanie, make friends with a cartoonist and do a graphic spin-off!) I also loved the descriptions of Gaudi's works in Barcelona, and I even liked the (slightly cheesy) cameo appearances of Anna, Etienne, Lola, and Cricket.

I did feel that the story was a little contrived in places--a bit too black and white without enough grays. I occasionally felt manipulated, and I found some of the things that were done and said by the characters too hard to believe. But I will say that perhaps I just didn't sink far enough into my 17-year-old self when I read this one, and my middle-aged mind is being picky. I did enjoy the book quite a bit, and would recommend it without reservation! Well, with one reservation--this book is definitely for high school and up, due to mature content.

Four stars out of five from me.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Lit Crawl for Teens!

We promised you a list of teen-friendly venues at the Lit Crawl/LA NoHo next week, and here they are...remember that it's Wednesday, October 22nd, starting at 7:00, in the NoHo Arts District (mostly) on Lankershim Blvd. in North Hollywood!

ROUND 1: 7:00 pm - 7:45 pm

Presented by Unbound Productions’ Wicked Lit

Unbound Productions brings classic horror stories to new theatrical life. Join us this evening for staged readings (script-in-hand, like readers' theater!) of two of their plays: Washington Irving's lyrical "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow," and Mark Twain's hilarious "A Ghost Story," adapted by Los Angeles-based playwright Jonathan Josephson.

Featuring: Michael Prichard, Ilona Kulinska, Eric DeLoretta and more to be announced.
Location 8: The Antaeus Company Library, 5112 Lankershim Blvd.


It's literature, but with monsters! The creepiest literary event in town is taking over Blastoff Comics for a night of dark tales. Come hear some of the best horror, science fiction, and fantasy Los Angeles has to offer. We'll introduce you to the next book you're afraid to put down.

Featuring: Maria Alexander, Mike Buckley, Cecil Castellucci, Michael Paul Gonzalez, Zack Morrisette and Host Xach Fromsen.
Location 9: Blastoff, 5118 Lankershim Blvd.

Presented by Tongue & Groove

Write Club and Literary Death Match team up to let loose in the ring! Bout one is Write Club: Two opposing writers reading two opposing ideas for seven minutes, and the audience picks a winner! And in bout two, LDM creator/host AdrianTodd Zuniga (undefeated in 53 cities worldwide) will go toe to toe with rapid-fire 10-minute interviews with Lara Marie Schoenhals (NYT bestselling author of "White Girl Problems") and actor/poet Jeremy Radin (author of "Slow Dance with Sasquatch"). Don't miss it!

Featuring: Host Conrad Romo, Adrian Todd Zuniga, Lara Marie Schoenhals, Jeremy Radin
Location 10: XMA: HQ, 5140 Lankershim Blvd.

ROUND 2: 8:00 pm - 8:45 pm

Presented by The Devastator

The hilarious writers of cult comedy publisher Devastator Press will ruin your childhood with parodies of Goosebumps, The Baby-Sitters Club, and Choose Your Own Adventure.

Featuring: Patrick Baker,John Ford, Geoffry Golden and Amanda Meadows.
Location 16: Republic of Pie, 11118 Magnolia Blvd.

ROUND 3: 9:00 pm - 9:45 pm

Presented by Los Angeles Poet Society

Enter a 1957 Beatnik literary parlour fusing live jazz and spoken word. It’s a show honoring the movers and shakers of the San Fernando Valley, with the accompaniment of Julio "The Conga Poet" Rodriguez!

Featuring: Jason Brain, Julio “The Conga Poet” Rodriguez, Maja Trochimczyk, Wyatt Underwood, and host/poet Jessica Wilson.
Location 23: Literary Lane: Portico, 5250 Lankershim Blvd.

And who knows where you'll run into Melissa E., Carey or Arsine?
Keep an eye out...

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

What we're reading: Assassin, Book Two

As I had hoped, 8+9 Book Club members picked I Am the Weapon (formerly Boy Nobody, which I reviewed here), by Allen Zadoff, as their book to read for October. And now, the 10-12 Book Club has also chosen it as their December book! So given that we will be immersed in the world of a teenage assassin for a while, I decided to read the sequel, I Am the Mission, this past weekend.

Same basic plot as the first, in that there is a boy who drops into an environment in which an adult would stick out but a teen would fit right in, gains the confidence of his mark and his target, eliminates the target, and gets out without a trace. But this second in the series has an accelerated timetable for Boy Nobody (known in the first book as Benjamin and in this book as Daniel): He is walking blind into a mission at which another "operative" already failed.

Eugene Moore owns and runs an extremist military training camp for teenagers in rural New Hampshire--somewhere that maybe a parent at the end of his rope with his "difficult" teen would send him to learn self-discipline and responsibility. But this camp goes way beyond that in its scope of influence; Boy Nobody's bosses in the Program suspect Moore is training these teens to be domestic terrorists, and they want Moore taken out before his influence spreads beyond their control. They already sent in one undercover teenager to do the deed, but he went off the grid and hasn't been heard from since. Now it's Boy Nobody's turn to try his hand at accomplishing the mission.

This was a great continuation of Boy Nobody's story. Good plot, breathless thrills, interesting twists, similar writing style. In addition to the nonstop action, it continues and expands upon Boy Nobody's uneasiness and growing sense of doubt about the methods, motives, and even the identity of his employers. The only reason it doesn't get five stars for a killer thriller (pardon the pun) is something that happened in the last 10 pages that took the reader so far beyond the suspension of disbelief as to be ridiculous. I suppose you wouldn't encounter anything more unlikely in a James Bond book, made me sit back, jump out of the story and say No WAY did that just happen! (And you know it had to be pretty outrageous in the context of this book of already unlikely events to do that!) But if you excised that one thing from the story...awesome.

There is a third book in the works--I Am the Traitor--coming out in June of 2015. Don't worry, it's already on our list!

If you want to watch a trailer for the first book...