12.31.2005

Poetry Slam Success!

Last night, 18 teens came to our first ever TAB Poetry Slam. It was competitive, and nine brave teens shared their poetry with the group. We had poems about everything imaginable: friends, enemies, love, racism, and...dragons?! And, as the sacrificial first poet, I read my excellent narrative poem from seventh grade, called "The Great Pork Chop Eating Contest."

Our three judges did their best to be fair and impartial with the variety of poetry presented. Alexa was the emcee, and did a great job as the hostess with the mostest! Shakira scored the most points for her poem "Black and White," and won a $25 Barnes & Noble gift card. Other poets won funny prizes in categories like "Most Warm and Fuzzy," "Most Angry," and "Most Nonconformist." It was fun, and I hope we can do it again sometime!

12.27.2005

DIY Beauty

This afternoon, we held the rescheduled Make Your Own Beauty Products event at the library. We has 19 teens there, which was quite a crowd! Everyone made 6 products to take home. It was really hectic, especially when the food coloring didn't work as planned. I hope no one accidentally dyes their bathtub!! Anyway, it was fun (even though it totally tired me out!) and I hope we can do it again sometime.

12.26.2005

The Forbes Fictional Fifteen

Feeling poor? Here's some information to make you feel worse about yourself. Recently, Forbes released its list of the top 15 richest FICTIONAL characters. Yup. That's right. People who aren't even REAL have more money than you! Topping the list? Santa Claus, with infinite wealth. The list is full of characters from TV, movies, comic books, and even (*gasp*) novels. How many do you know?

The complete list:
  1. Santa Claus
  2. Oliver "Daddy" Warbucks
  3. Richie Rich
  4. Lex Luthor
  5. C. Montgomery Burns
  6. Scrooge McDuck
  7. Jed Clampett
  8. Bruce Wayne
  9. Thurston Howell III
  10. Willy Wonka
  11. Arthur Bach
  12. Ebenezer Scrooge
  13. Lara Croft
  14. Cruella De Vil
  15. Lucius Malfoy

12.23.2005

Books Like the Chronicles of Narnia

Maybe you read all the books several years ago. Maybe you think those books are too young for you. Maybe you just saw the movie, and want to read some other books that are similar to it. Whatever your reason, you should check out YALSA's list of Narnia Read-Alikes. There are lots of teen titles on the list, including Holly Black's Tithe and Valiant, Ursula K. Le Guin's Earthsea series, Garth Nix's Abhorsen trilogy, and Susan Cooper's The Dark Is Rising sequence. Check them out!

And as an aside, if you missed SNL last week, check out the hilarious "The Chronic of Narnia" rap!

The Twelve Days of Christmas

Let's suppose for a moment that you want to provide someone with all of the gifts listed in The Twelve Days of Christmas song. Of course, why you would want to give someone "8 Maids A-Milking" or "7 Swans A-Swimming" is beyond me. But anyway, according to PNC Bank's annual Christmas Price Index, it would cost you $18,348.87 to buy everything. This is 21-year high! Apparently, "2 Turtle Doves" are cheap, but the cost of hiring labor like "11 Pipers Piping" and "12 Drummers Drumming" is expensive. Surprisingly, it was the "6 Geese A-Laying" that really drove up the cost this year! Try to match the cost to each item in the song in an interactive game on PNC's website.

12.21.2005

Book Review: The Penultimate Peril

The Penultimate Peril (Book 12 in A Series of Unfortunate Events) by Lemony Snicket

SUMMARY: After any harrowing struggle, it is nice to consider checking into a hotel for a rest. In fact, this might be just the break Violet, Klaus, and Sunny Baudelaire could use after their wearying deep-sea adventure. A hotel can be a good choice for any family vacation. With so many floors, such a variety of rooms, and a curious array of guests, spending time in the safety of the right hotel can be the perfect learning environment for children of any age. A keen researcher like Klaus, an adept inventor like Violet, and a sharp-toothed culinary master like Sunny are all sure to find engaging diversions during their stay. Even as the series draws to a close, new questions arise--the most important one being, are the kids valorous volunteers or villains after all? (adapted from the book description and the Booklist review)

OPINION: This book came out in October, and I just got around to reading it because my pile of reading is so big! (There are usually 50 or more books stacked beside my bed...seriously!) This book is slightly darker than the others (is this possible?) because it raises questions about the true motivations of the Baudelaire children. Are they as noble as we have been led to believe in the other books?? Wait and see! As a librarian, I loved the hotel's bizarre organization according to the Dewey Decimal System. And as a fan of Indian food, the paragraph were the metric system-obsessed Mrs. Bass orders things like "one tenth of a hectogram of shrimp vindaloo" cracked me up! Anyway, I did enjoy it, but now I am totally impatient for the last book. In an interview on Amazon.com, Daniel Handler (a.k.a. Lemony Snicket) says, "I believe the thirteenth volume will be released in the fall of 2006, although something terrible could happen to the author at any moment and then the books would not be released at all."

12.18.2005

Adult Nonfiction with Teen Appeal

Recently, I have read several nonfiction books written for...(gasp!)...adults! But, since I am really a teen at heart, many of these books would interest you too. So you might want to look for:

Freakonomics by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner
Which is more dangerous, a gun or a swimming pool? What do schoolteachers and sumo wrestlers have in common? Why do drug dealers still live with their moms? These may not sound like typical questions for an economist to ask. But Steven D. Levitt is not a typical economist. Thus the new field of study contained in this book: freakonomics. In Freakonomics, they set out to explore the hidden side of ... well, everything. The inner workings of a crack gang. The telltale marks of a cheating schoolteacher. The secrets of the Ku Klux Klan. (excerpted from the inside flap) I acutally listened to the audiobook of this, which was totally cool. My husband kept trying to steal it from me, though!

Into Thin Air by Jon Krakaur
On May 19, 1953, Edmund Hillary and Sherpa guide Tenzing Norgay achieved the impossible, becoming the first men to stand on top of Mount Everest. But by May 10, 1996, climbing the 29,000-foot "goddess of the sky" had become almost routine; commercial expeditions now littered Everest's flanks. Accepting an assignment from Outside magazine to investigate whether it was safe for wealthy amateur climbers to tackle the mountain, Krakauer joined an expedition guided by New Zealander Rob Hall. But Krakauer got more than he bargained for when on summit day a blinding snowstorm caught four groups on the mountain's peaks. While Krakauer made it back to camp, eight others died, including Scott Fischer and Hall, two of the world's best mountaineers. Devastated by the disaster, Krakauer has written this compelling and harrowing account as a cathartic act, hoping it "might purge Everest from [his] life." But after finishing this raw, emotionally intense book, readers will be haunted, as Krakauer was, by the tragedy. (adapted from the LJ review) This book had me hooked from the beginning. It is a suspenseful, true account that will simultaneously horrify and amaze you.

I'm Not the New Me: A Memoir by Wendy McClure
From the creator of the immensely popular websites
http://www.poundy.com and http://www.candyboots.com, this is the memoir of Wendy McClure's odyssey-on-line and off-through the Valley of The Shadow of Her Really Big Ass. It's about the universe she created for herself when she couldn't see herself as a kicky Weight Loss Success Story, only she put it all on a website and became sort of an inspiration anyway. I'm Not The New Me is about coming to terms with a family heritage of fat and drastic surgeries, and about self-esteem issues that are nobody's business but your own. It's about the absurdities of online identities and fat girl clich├ęs, and the sheer terror of appearing live and in person in your very own life. (from the back cover) This book includes terrifying 1970s-era Weight Watchers recipe cards with her commentary. My fave is for Party Burgers, a nasty-looking tray of four rectangular burgers decorated with lemon wedges, parsley, and mushrooms: "Woo! Party burgers! Burgers that party! Bunless burgers! Four-way naked burger action! Burgers gone WILD! Naked burgers, baby! See party burgers totally garnish themselves and each other! PARTY! Woo!"

12.14.2005

Poetry Slam!

Today, I delivered flyers and posters about our poetry slam to BHMS, DHMS, and UDHS. Hopefully, we will get the word out to everyone about this great upcoming event! If you or your friends like to write or listen to poetry, sign up for the poetry slam! Here is the info:

Poetry Slam Party *** Friday, December 30 *** 6:30 to 8:30
Perform your original poetry in front of judges and audience members to win fun prizes and celebrate the new year!

Winter Schedule Sneak Preview

Wondering what we're doing this winter at the library? Wait no longer! The schedule is here!! Remember, sign-ups start one month before each event.

SPECIAL EVENTS
  • Yu-Gi-Oh Tournament--Friday, January 13, from 6:00 to 8:30
  • Monopoly Tournament--Saturday, January 28, from 12:00 to 4:30
  • Anti-Valentine's Day Party--Friday, February 10, from 6:30 to 8:30
  • Dance Dance Revolution--Saturday, February 25, from 2:00 to 4:00
  • Karaoke and Donkey Konga--Friday, March 10, from 6:30 to 8:30

CLUBS

  • Trading Card Game Club--Mondays from 3:30 to 5:00 (ongoing, registration required)
  • Knitting Club--Tuesdays from 3:30 to 4:45 (new session starts January 24, registration required)
  • Cartooning Club--Thursdays from 4:00 to 5:30 (ongoing, no registration)
  • Young Adult Book Discussion Group--Every first Friday from 3:30 to 5:00 (register one month before attending)

12.13.2005

Book Review: The Lost Years of Merlin series

The Lost Years of Merlin series by T. A. Barron
  1. The Lost Years of Merlin
  2. The Seven Songs of Merlin
  3. The Fires of Merlin
  4. The Mirror of Merlin
  5. The Wings of Merlin
SUMMARY: This series of fantasy books chronicles the teenage years of the world's most legendary wizard, Merlin. The story begins when a half-dead young boy washes up on the coast of Wales, with no memory of who he is or where he came from. At age 12, he sets out to find his past, which is bound up in the history and future of the legendary island of Fincayra. If you've ever wondered how the man in the Arthurian legend got his powers of mysticism and magic, The Lost Years of Merlin series provides some answers.

OPINION: Megan G. handed me the first book in the series as a "must read" this fall. I trust Megan's judgment as a reader, so I was excited to start the book, but I was somewhat doubtful about reading all five. But not any more! I am on book three of the series, and don't want to stop. The stories are really engaging original fantasy. You do not need to know anything about the traditional legends of Merlin to understand and enjoy these books. If you are a fan of fantasy series like Harry Potter, the Chronicles of Narnia, His Dark Materials, etc., you will enjoy reading The Lost Years of Merlin series!

12.08.2005

Book Review: Gingerbread

Gingerbread by Rachel Cohn

SUMMARY: After getting tossed from her posh boarding school, wild, willful, and coffee addicted Cyd Charisse returns to San Francisco to live with her parents. But there's no way Cyd can survive in her parents' pristine house. Lucky for Cyd she's got Gingerbread, her childhood rag doll and confidante, and her new surfer boyfriend. When Cyd's rebelliousness gets out of hand, her parents ship her off to New York City to spend the summer with "Frank real-dad," her biological father. Trading in her parents for New York City grunge and getting to know her bio-dad and step-sibs is what Cyd has been waiting for her whole life. But summer in the city is not what Cyd expects--and she's far from the daughter or sister that anyone could have imagined. (from the back cover)

OPINION: I picked this book up because I needed something short to read. That is not always the best way to choose your books, but in this case it worked! The cover is really eye-catching, and the plot sucked me in. Usually, I hate books about poor little rich kids with messed-up lives, but Cyd Charisse is a very convincing character. And, despite the "issues," this is a surprisingly funny book. But it also made me cry! Pick it up when you need a quick read. And if you really like it, Amy from book group also recommends the new sequel, Shrimp.