11.28.2005

Book Review: Godless

Godless by Pete Hautman

SUMMARY: Fed up with his parents' boring old religion, agnostic-going-on-atheist Jason Bock invents a new god--the town's water tower. He recruits an unlikely group of worshippers: his snail-farming best friend, Shin, cute-as-a-button Magda Price, and the violent and unpredictable Henry Stagg. As their religion grows, it takes on a life of its own. While Jason struggles to keep the faith pure, Shin obsesses over writing their bible, and the explosive Henry schemes to make the new faith even more exciting--and dangerous. When the Chutengodians hold their first ceremony high atop the dome of the water tower, things quickly go from merely dangerous to terrifying and deadly. Jason soon realizes that inventing a religion is a lot easier than controlling it, but control it he must, before his creation destroys both his friends and himself.

OPINION: I like conventional religions. I am part of one myself. But that doesn't stop me from wondering why we believe what we do. I mean, how did it all start? Did Jesus know that people would still be talking about him 2000 years later? Did Buddha intend to have devotees all over the world? Did Mohammed think that his teachings would be handed down in a holy book? What about newer religions, or older ones that celebrities make popular? In Godless, Jason and a few friends worship "The Ten-Legged One," write its holy book, and even have special cermonies on top of the tower. But that doesn't mean their parents, friends, or the local police force are also believers. Many people struggle with issues of faith, but this book takes questions about religion to a whole new level.

RELATED INFORMATION: Recently, a man fed up with the Intelligent Design debate demanded that his satirical religion, Flying Spaghetti Monsterism, be taught in Kansas schools alongside the theory of evoluion. Visit his personal website, or check out the Wikipedia article about his religion!

11.22.2005

Random Factoid

What do early video games have in common with Chuck E. Cheese? The same guy founded the companies! Nolan Bushnell invented Pong (the first video game), then founded the Atari company, and later went on to create the pizza party chain that is home to both videogames and creepy animatronic characters. Now you know.

11.21.2005

Nutrition Websites

For many Americans, the weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas are spent overeating. Even if you don't celebrate those holidays, you know how tempting sweets and junk food can be.

To learn more about nutrition and healthy eating, why not play some games? Lots of websites have excellent games where you can have fun and learn something at the same time.

Here are my favorites game pages:


If you just need nutrition information, try

11.20.2005

Book Review: Uglies

Uglies by Scott Westerfeld

SUMMARY: Tally is about to turn 16, and she can't wait. Not for her license--for turning pretty. In Tally's world, your 16th birthday brings an operation that turns into a stunningly attractive pretty and catapults you into a high-tech paradise where your only job is to have a really great time. But Tally's new friend Shay isn't sure she wants to be pretty. She'd rather risk life on the outside. When Shay runs away, Tally learns about a whole new side of the pretty world--and it isn't very pretty. The authorities offer Tally the worst choice she can imagine: find her friend and turn her in, or never turn pretty at all. The choice Tally makes changes her world forever. (adapted from the back cover)

OPINION: This book is 425 pages long, but I couldn't stop reading it! The idea of a dystopian future based on appearances is really creepy. If you think we are brainwashed to aspire toward unreal body images now, then you will be absolutely stunned by the practices in this book and the society it creates. Don't think it's like a sermon, though. There is plenty of action and adventure (and lots of plot twists) to keep your interest. Think it would be nice to be gorgeous? Think again...

NOTES: This is the first book in a trilogy. The second book, Pretties, is out now, but the final volume, Specials, hasn't even been announced yet. : ( If you like Scott Westerfeld's writing, look for So Yesterday, Peeps, and the Midnighters trilogy at the library! Also, check out Scott Westerfeld's website and blog.

11.19.2005

Winter Teen Schedule

Hey Everyone!

The TAB is thinking about events for the months of January, February, and March. Here are some ideas for winter teen events:
  • Monopoly Tournament
  • Yu-Gi-Oh Tournament
  • Anti-Valentine's Day Party
  • Karaoke and Donkey Konga Night
  • DDR Party
  • Dr. Seuss program for younger kids

Do you have any more ideas? Respond to this post, email Gretchen, or talk to Gretchen in the children's room!

11.18.2005

The 70s Online!

Tonight, 18 teens showed up for 70s night. We learned cheesy disco moves, watched movie clips, designed platform shoes, took a TV show theme song quiz, and more! If you missed it, or if you want more 70s knowledge, check out the links below!

Classic 70s Movies
Shaft (1971)
The Godfather (1972) and The Godfather: Part II (1974)
The Exorcist (1973)
Blazing Saddles (1974)
Young Frankenstein (1974)
Jaws (1975)
Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975)
The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975)
Rocky (1976)
Saturday Night Fever (1977)
Star Wars (1977)

Random Sites:
Learn how to do some hustle dance steps
Expand your vocab: use some 70s slang

A Few Photos

Here are a few photos from 70s night that were on my camera. The rest will be up when our guest, Nancy Trimbur, gets her film developed. Thanks to Nancy for taking a whole roll of film at 70s night!!


Platform shoes!


Punk lives.


Can you dig it?

11.16.2005

Book Review: Invisible

Invisible by Pete Hautman

SUMMARY: Lots of people think Doug Hanson is a freak--he gets beat up after school and the girl of his dreams calls him a worm. Doug's only refuge is building elaborate model trains in his basement and hanging out with his best friend, Andy Morrow. Andy is nothing like Doug: He's a popular football star who could date any girl in school. Despite their differences, Doug and Andy talk about everything--except what happened at the Tuttle place a few years back. As Doug retreats deeper and deeper into his own world, long-buried secrets come to light--and the more he tries to keep them invisible, the looser his grip on reality becomes. (excerpted from the inside flap)

OPINION: This book is only 149 pages long. You can easily read it in under 2 hours, and you won't be able to put it down. From the beginning, you know Dougie is messed up. But you have no idea exactly how much until the very last page. Don't think you know what will happen in this book because the plot twists just keep coming. This book may be a contender for the Printz award this year, so read it now before the rush!

11.12.2005

Arthurian Reads

In case you didn't pick up the list last night, here are some books that draw on the legend of King Arthur. Look for them next time you visit the library!

HISTORICAL

  • Sword of the Rightful King: A Novel of King Arthur by Jane Yolen
  • The Dragon's Boy: A Novel of Young King Arthur by Jane Yolen
  • A String in the Harp by Nancy Bond
  • The Once and Future King by T. H. White
  • The Book of Merlyn by T. H. White
  • Ard Righ: The Sword on the Stone by Ray Cattie
  • I Am Mordred: A Tale from Camelot by Nancy Springer
  • I Am Morgan Le Fay: A Tale from Camelot by Nancy Springer
  • The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley

SERIES

  • The Seeing Stone, At the Crossing-Places, and King of the Middle March by Kevin Crossley-Holland
  • The Winter Prince, A Coalition of Lions, and The Sunbird by Elizabeth E. Wein
  • The Lost Years of Merlin, The Seven Songs of Merlin, The Fires of Merlin, The Mirror of Merlin, and The Wings of Merlin by T. A. Barron

MODERN

  • The Extraordinary Adventures of Alfred Kropp by Richard Yancey
  • The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown

11.11.2005

You Have Chosen Wisely!

Tonight, 27 teens came to Camelot Night, which was really great! We watched short movie clips from the movie musical Camelot, the action flick Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, and the comedy Monty Python and the Holy Grail. We also talked about the legend of King Arthur, staged swordfights, designed Chex Mix castles, gave prizes for costumes, took pictures with Kara's posable knight, ate theme food, and had a holy grail contest. Cool thing: Giselle came back to visit us, which was totally fabulous!! Thanks to the TAB for all of their hard work and planning for this event, and for hanging in there when we had to cancel and reschedule it! Also, the library's Friday night staff deserves big thanks for helping me clean up.

11.09.2005

Camelot Night

Don't forget that Camelot Night is this Friday from 6:30 to 8:30! This event was planned for last August, but had to be cancelled and rescheduled because of the air conditioning issue. So now we are ready to go! The TAB has been working hard on this event, and it should be a lot of fun.

Remember to wear your costume! Any medieval-themed outfit will do. Think royalty, knights, peasants, Arthurian legends, or Catholic church. You could even come as a Monty Python-esque witch, coconut, or shrubbery!!

Why I Still Don't Like Anne Frank's Diary

Sometimes studying novels in school can totally ruin your reading experience. Such is the case for me with Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl. Obviously this is an important piece of literature from a terrible historical period. But my 7th grade English teacher really ruined it for me.

I know I told some of you this before, but I found some proof this week when I was going through the contents of my 7th grade box. I found vocabulary sheets where we had to write out dictionary definitions, worksheets where we had to match times of day to events Anne recorded, and sheets of inane questions to answer like "Anne, Margot, and Peter take a correspondence course in what subject?" I found very few references to important issues like...oh, I don't know...NAZI GERMANY for example!?

As a former teacher, I understand that teaching a book is different than reading a book for pleasure. BUT...I am really glad to be a librarian doing book discussion groups. We read what we want, discuss it thoroughly, and never have to get graded! Yay for book groups!!

11.06.2005

vampires: quotes, books, nd poems

I have been obsessing over vampire books for weeks! On thursday (11/3) it all paid off. We read Dracula in PLAYWRIGHTS nd everything clicked! lolz . . . n e ways, i wanted to recommend 2 books, Twilight by Stephanie Meyers nd Shattered Mirror by Amelia Atwater-Rhoades. My friend recommended Shattered Mirror. I got it frum BH Library, but ill try to remember to pink-slip it for Sellers!

Quotes:
Twilight - (Edward: to Bella) So, you're ready for this to be the twilight of your life, even though your life has just begun, you're ready to give up everything (something to that effect)

Shattered Mirror - (Christopher: to Nikolas) "I want it," Christopher said softly. "I want it as much as humans want to breathe, but I have control."

Poems: from Shattered Mirror
Skin like ivory, perfect; A goddess she must be.
Slender fingers, unadorned; beautiful simplicity.
A single teardrop; when did it fall?
Could this goddess be mortal, after all?

another:

Cold as winter, strong as stone;
She faced the darkness all alone.
A silver goddess; a reflection.
A mirage; a recollection.
No return; no turning back.
The past is gone, the future black.
Serpents gather in their nest,
And she stands above the rest.
Shadows hunt; she hunts the shadow.
The moon is risen; she stands below.
She views her world through the eyes of others.
Black and white; there are no colors,
As she looks down upon a shattered youth.
A shattered mirror shows a shattered truth.

11.05.2005

thee TWILIGHT of MY life

Hey Heyz!!
Well, i was over here, head-banging to Nirvana (yea, wut a site?!?!?!) nd on the blog reading the new nonfiction books frum idk wen, but i came across the name Stephanie H. Meyers (she edited a book), nd i remembered the book Twilight that Gretch had lent me abt 2 wks ago . . so, i searched google for Stephanie Meyers, the author of Twilight (my now favorite book, well, tied w/ Comfort, by Carolee Dean, incase u wanted to read tht 1 too!) nd found her site ( or it was abt her nd the book) nd its a really cool site, too bad idk wut it is, lolz, n e wayz . . i just wanted to recommend it to yous . . it's out already, seeing as it was released in Oct.
i read it like 3 times in a week . . i'm in awe of Steph b/c shes an amazing writer, Gretch told me there's a sequel nd i'm estatic, i plan on buying them both, nd n e others that follow . . lolz
nd also . . check out the band: smile empty soul . . .theyre so f***ing awesome . . . yea, bad mouthed me
to the YA bk group . . . we're reading Breathing Underwater by Alex Flinn (one of my FAVORITE authors . . read Breaking Point, Nothing to Lose) . . . nd i wanted to say good choice, i LOVE this book, its really raw nd it relates to yous . . its not the sci-fi we've been stuck on for the last few months ! ! wOOt . . cant wait til we discuss it ! ! lolz

11.04.2005

70s Flashback!

If you need to get in the mood for 70s night, try to catch some of the What's Happening? marathon on the TV Land cable channel this weekend. It starts at 6 a.m. tomorrow and goes until 6 a.m. Monday! Outta sight!!

Bar Code Craziness

The YA book group met this afternoon to discuss Suzanne Weyn's The Bar Code Tattoo. Best moment: Megan brought us a Band-Aid box that seemed to have 666 in the bar code, just like the book mentioned. CREEPY!! As usual, we covered diverse opinions on semi-related topics like evolution, George Bush, DNA testing, and Moses' parting of the Red Sea. It was actually a very interesting conversation...er...shouting match. Seriously, it was one of the best discussions we've had in a while.

Next month, we will be reading Breathing Underwater by Alex Flinn. Join book group now!!

11.01.2005

Notes from 10th Grade

As you know, I have been going through my old middle and high school stuff trying to do some housecleaning. So for your entertainment, here are some quotes from notes written by my 10th grade boyfriend, David. I have to wonder...WHY DID I SAVE THESE?!?!?!?

1. "I'm so happy! This has been a good day! I actually turned in my Spanish homework!"

2. "Be sure to put your notes from me in a safe place. I can see your brother finding them. And we know him."

3. "I did not know that my lack of grammer made you unhappy." (Note that "grammar" is spelled wrong! Oh the irony!)

4. "So I guess you liked my my last note. I might have spelled your last name rong, but I was close." (If he can't spell "wrong," how could he spell "Schneider"?!?)

5. "I would like to know who in Sam Hill made up all this math junk."

6. "Are you going to invite Ken to your New Year's Eve party? If you invite him, can I invite my X's? I didn't think so."

7. "Hola! Kelley looks neat with her new green teeth. I have 22 days left until I get half of mine off! Can't wait!"

8. "It just occured to me, it is cold out here! At least you wore pants today!"

I hope you had a good laugh!! Life lesson: throw stuff away. Don't be a pack rat like me!