Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Recommended Reading: Ready Player One

Full of 80’s movie, television, video game, and cultural references, Ready Player One takes the reader on an enjoyable ride through a dystopian version of the United States of America. Wade, the main protagonist, sets out on an adventure through the virtual reality video game, OASIS, to solve a puzzle left by the game’s late creator and gain the power and wealth that comes with running a system on which the world relies. Throughout the quest the reader laughs and cries as Wade displays moments of genius, snarkily responds with humorous dialogue, and exhibits romantic failures that epitomize teenagers today.

I can honestly find zero faults with this book. I did have to look up some of the references about which Cline writes, but these were few and did not take away from the completeness of the novel. It was an absolute joy, both as a geek and 80’s baby, to learn and relive moments of the past. It was also sobering to read about the destroyed world in the novel and wonder just how far away our civilization is from such a reality.

Book Description:
It’s the year 2044, and the real world is an ugly place.

Like most of humanity, Wade Watts escapes his grim surroundings by spending his waking hours jacked into the OASIS, a sprawling virtual utopia that lets you be anything you want to be, a place where you can live and play and fall in love on any of ten thousand planets.

And like most of humanity, Wade dreams of being the one to discover the ultimate lottery ticket that lies concealed within this virtual world. For somewhere inside this giant networked playground, OASIS creator James Halliday has hidden a series of fiendish puzzles that will yield massive fortune—and remarkable power—to whoever can unlock them.  

For years, millions have struggled fruitlessly to attain this prize, knowing only that Halliday’s riddles are based in the pop culture he loved—that of the late twentieth century. And for years, millions have found in this quest another means of escape, retreating into happy, obsessive study of Halliday’s icons. Like many of his contemporaries, Wade is as comfortable debating the finer points of John Hughes’s oeuvre, playing Pac-Man, or reciting Devo lyrics as he is scrounging power to run his OASIS rig.

And then Wade stumbles upon the first puzzle
Suddenly the whole world is watching, and thousands of competitors join the hunt—among them certain powerful players who are willing to commit very real murder to beat Wade to this prize. Now the only way for Wade to survive and preserve everything he knows is to win. But to do so, he may have to leave behind his oh-so-perfect virtual existence and face up to life—and love—in the real world he’s always been so desperate to escape.

 A world at stake.

A quest for the ultimate prize.

Are you ready?

Daniel Tackett
Young Adult Librarian

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Recommended Reading: Clementine by Sara Pennypacker

Clementine cracks me up. These books are witty, with humor both kids and adults will enjoy. I absolutely love Clementine's unstoppable spirit and optimism. So cute and funny.  These would make good read-on-their-own books for 3rd and 4th graders and excellent read-alouds for bedtime with even younger ages. There are five books currently available in the series with a new title being released in March. 

North Shelby has copies of these books in print and in downloadable audio book form. Stop by the library to pick up a copy or click here to reserve one through our catalog. I've listened to the audio books through our OneClickDigital system and the reader does an excellent job. I think these would be wonderful for riding in the car with kids.

Book Description:
Clementine is having not so good of a week.
-On Monday she's sent to the principal’s office for cutting off Margaret’s hair.
- Tuesday, Margaret's mother is mad at her.
- Wednesday, she's sent to the principal... again.
- Thursday, Margaret stops speaking to her.
- Friday starts with yucky eggs and gets worse.
- And by Saturday, even her mother is mad at her.
Okay, fine. Clementine is having a DISASTROUS week.
Children's Librarian

Friday, February 22, 2013

The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was our February bookclub book. There was only a couple in the group that completely disliked the book. Most of us agree that we struggled through about half of it because of the excess of philosophical musings in the characters ruminations, which severely hampered the plot. However, once Mr. Ozu was introduced, things picked up.

We discussed a lot about our "invisible self" or instances where we know someone isn't revealing everything about themselves to the world at large. This book really is about every person's invisible part. Renee was hiding how smart she was because she was just a lowly concierge in an uptown building and it would upset the class structure if people knew she read Tolstoy and other great literature. Paloma had to hide how intelligent she was and eventually was going to "show them all" by committing suicide. Then Mr. Ozu moves into the building and can see right through their charade, befriends both of them heedless of society's class system.

The book was also difficult to read for some of us, because we kept stopping to copy lines. It is full of metaphors and witty observations of life and the people in it, you just eat it up. I recommend reading it twice. The 1st time to absorb it all and the 2nd to enjoy. Most of us agreed we would read it again.

A few great lines:
Paloma describing her sister - "...a hostile lesion of a sister" pg. 85

Renee - "We are good primates, so we spend most of our time maintaining and defending our territory, so that it will protect and gratify us; climbing - or trying not to slide down the tribes hierarchical ladder." pg. 97

Renee - "I press the start button, sip my jasmine tea. From time to time I rewind, thanks to this secular rosary known as the remote control." pg 99

Each member had there own favorites, too many to put here. We recommend.

View all my reviews

Monday, February 18, 2013

Recommended Reading: Green Rider

Green Rider is an admirable beginning to a fantasy series that Kristen Britain continues to write to this day. Karigan G’ladahon, the novel’s protagonist, provides the reader with a strong female lead, a rarity in fantasy literature, and journeys throughout the world of Sacoridia in unexpected ways. The plot is well thought out, and the prose is generally seamless in its description of events.

The novel falters in its description of certain battle scenes, leaving the reader wanting more, and its lack of a map of Sacoridia, hindering the reader’s immersion into the world.  Despite these detriments Green Rider remains an enjoyable read for all ages and is recommended from a longtime, heroic fantasy bibliophile.

Book Discription:
Karigan G'ladahon has fled from school following a fight which would surely lead to her expulsion. As she makes her way through the deep forest, a galloping horse pounds up to her, its rider impaled by two black-shafted arrows. With his dying breath, he tells her he is a Green Rider, one of the legendary magical messengers of the King, and makes Karigan swear to deliver their message he's carrying, giving her his green coat, with its symbolic broach of office. This promise given to a dying man changes Karigan's life forever. Pursued by unknown assassins, following a path only her horse seems to know, she unwittingly finds herself in a world of deadly danger and complex magic, compelled by forces she cannot understand.

Daniel Tackett
Young Adult Librarian

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Recommended Reading: The Secret History of the Pink Carnation

I adored this book. The characters were brave, witty, humorous and intelligent (even *gasp* the female characters). The plot was fast-paced and engaging. The setting was painted with careful attention but not so detailed you start skimming for the next section of dialogue. This is a great read for anyone who enjoys light-hearted historical romances with plenty of humorous banter.
Book Description: 
Deciding that true romantic heroes are a thing of the past, Eloise Kelly, an intelligent American who always manages to wear her Jimmy Choo suede boots on the day it rains, leaves Harvard's Widener Library bound for England to finish her dissertation on the dashing pair of spies the Scarlet Pimpernel and the Purple Gentian. What she discovers is something the finest historians have missed: a secret history that begins with a letter dated 1803. Eloise has found the secret history of the Pink Carnation the most elusive spy of all time, the spy who single-handedly saved England from Napoleon's invasion.
The Secret History of the Pink Carnation, a wildly imaginative and highly adventurous debut, opens with the story of a modern-day heroine but soon becomes a book within a book. Eloise Kelly settles in to read the secret history hoping to unmask the Pink Carnation's identity, but before she can make this discovery, she uncovers a passionate romance within the pages of the secret history that almost threw off the course of world events. How did the Pink Carnation save England? What became of the Scarlet Pimpernel and the Purple Gentian? And will Eloise Kelly find a hero of her own?
North Shelby has copies of this book in print and audio book. Stop by the library to pick up a copy or click here to reserve a one through our catalog.
Children's Librarian

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Flat-Out Love - Book Recommendation

 Flat Out Love by Jessica Park                                                        
I read this last year, when it was just available as an ebook and absolutely loved it. I was working my way through the Beautiful Disaster read-a-likes and this title kept popping up.(which if you haven't read Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire and enjoy reading books filled with angst, featuring super possessive alpha males and the girls who love them-you have to read this) . Flat-Out Love surprised and delighted me and I'm so glad our library has now acquired some print copies available for check out now. It is labeled as a young adult novel, but adults will enjoy it as well. It is not filled w/ anxiety or super possessive males, but it has a lot of heart and might even make you tear up.

Book description: 
Something is seriously off in the Watkins home. And Julie Seagle, college freshman, small-town Ohio transplant, and the newest resident of this Boston house, is determined to get to the bottom of it.

When Julie's off-campus housing falls through, her mother's old college roommate, Erin Watkins, invites her to move in. The parents, Erin and Roger, are welcoming, but emotionally distant and academically driven to eccentric extremes. The middle child, Matt, is an MIT tech geek with a sweet side ... and the social skills of a spool of USB cable. The youngest, Celeste, is a frighteningly bright but freakishly fastidious 13-year-old who hauls around a life-sized cardboard cutout of her oldest brother almost everywhere she goes.

And there's that oldest brother, Finn: funny, gorgeous, smart, sensitive, almost emotionally available. Geographically? Definitely unavailable. That's because Finn is traveling the world and surfacing only for random Facebook chats, e-mails, and status updates. Before long, through late-night exchanges of disembodied text, he begins to stir something tender and silly and maybe even a little bit sexy in Julie's suddenly lonesome soul.

To Julie, the emotionally scrambled members of the Watkins family add up to something that ... well ... doesn't quite add up. Not until she forces a buried secret to the surface, eliciting a dramatic confrontation that threatens to tear the fragile Watkins family apart, does she get her answer.

Flat-Out Love comes complete with emails, Facebook status updates, and instant messages

Reference Librarian