Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Stories to Haunt Your Socks Off, a haunting guest post by Britney

I love this time of year. The weather is starting to get chilly, everything smells like pumpkins and spiced apples, and my love of all things spooky is justified. I love horror stories. I like reading them, watching them, and hearing them. I like paranormal horror stories and thrillers that show how terrifying humans can be. I like zombie novels and ghost stories and anything that goes bump in the night. Halloween is one of my favorite times of the year because it feels like the line between reality and all the big What Ifs is at its thinnest.

One creepy genre that I love reading about are ghost stories. I grew up with a family that tried to out scare each other with ghost stories, which has made me always on the hunt for the next one. Some ghost stories aren’t necessarily scary—they can be touching and powerful in a sad, heartbreaking way—but they make for great Halloween (or any stormy night) reading.

Here are my top 5 ghost stories:

These are a Few of My Creepiest Things (Christie G)

The library can be a creepy place, and there are things they don't teach you in library school.  Here Christie G shares five of her creepiest library stories. Insert scary background music and "wooo" noises here.

SWAT is here to lock-down the building
So I've mentioned this one before, but it's got to be on a top five of the creepiest things I've dealt with in library world.  We got a notification from the SWAT commander that they would be raiding the housing complex next door.  Since our parking lot was adjacent to the fence that surrounding the complex, SWAT was going to be IN the parking lot.  We weren't to let anyone in or out of the building, and they would have an officer there in case something happened.  We had games and crafts for anyone under 18 in the multi-purpose room of the building, which was the one place that didn't have windows aside from the staff room, and the adult patrons were allowed to stay in the main part of the library as the windows did not face the complex and weren't deemed a hazard.  Five hours later, we were able to let everyone leave.

5 GNs for Halloween Scares by Karen D

5 Great Graphic Novels for Halloween Scares

Ghost Hunt
by Shiho Inada


decrepit building was condemned long ago, but every time the owners try
to tear it down, “accidents” start to happen–people get hurt, sometimes
even killed. Mai Taniyama and her classmates have heard the rumors that
the creepy old high school is haunted–possibly by ghosts from the
Second World War. So one rainy day they gather at the told school to
tell ghost stories, hoping to attract one of the suspected spirits.

ghosts materialize, but Mai and her friends do meet Kazuya Shibuya, the
handsome young owner of Shibuya Psychic Research, who’s been hired to
investigate paranormal activity at the school. Also at the scene are an
exorcist, a Buddhist monk, a woman who can speak with the dead, and an
outspoken Shinto priestess. Surely one of them will have the talents to
solve this mystery. . .  (goodreads)

Book Review: Unspoken by Sarah Rees Brennan

This is the book where Sarah Rees Brennan makes you laugh a lot; you're having the best time then she rips your heart out and grinds it into a bloody pulp in the lush woods of Sorry-in-the-Vale under the heal of her boot and you say thank you because it is a glorious reading experience!
Background: I recently attended the Autsin Teen Book Festival and, as I am often inclined to do, I kept walking up to complete strangers and asking them who they were here to see and why.  Everyone does that, right?  I was surprised when several teenage boys and men said they were there to see Sara Rees Brennan, her book covers seems so girly.  But yep, that's who they were there to see.  So I bought a signed copy of Unspoken and began reading it.

The first thing you should know is that despite the fact that this is a ya paranormal, I laughed out loud a lot.  I had to stop and read several passages out loud to The Mr. when he gave me sideways glances about how loudly I was laughing.  In fact, I give unto Ms. Brennan and honorary award for Most Hilarious Romeo and Juliet reference. Read pages 69 and 70. Also, bonus points because Kami goes to the library to do research and this is also a fun scene: "Can you tell me where I could find books on Satanism?" Twenty minutes later, she had Dorothy convinced that it was for a school project, and she really did not have to telephone Kami's parents (p. 43)  So that's two random completely made up awards, Best Romeo and Juliet Reference and Best Library Scene.  Don't worry Sarah, your awards are "in the mail."

“Hark," he said, his tone very dry. "What stone through yonder window breaks?” 

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Someone just walked across my grave: YA lit with creepy graveyard scenes

You can't talk about the scary and the macabre without mentioning books that have an edge of your seat scare you silly graveyard scene.  And this is definitely the month for talking graveyards.  So take a walk with me through the graveyard, if you dare . . .
It was the greatest night of my life.
Although I still had not found a wife
I had my friends
Right there beside me.
We were close together.
We tripped the wall and we scaled the graveyard
Ancient shapes were all around us.
(The Graveyard Poem by The Doors)

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

GN Review: Ghostopolis by Doug TenNapel

by Doug TenNapel
267 pages
Graphic Novel
Book Jacket Summary
A page-turning adventure of a boy's journey
to the land of ghosts and back.Imagine Garth Hale's surprise when he's
accidentally zapped to the spirit world by Frank Gallows, a washed-out ghost
wrangler. Suddenly Garth finds he has powers the ghosts don't have, and he's
stuck in a world run by the evil ruler of Ghostopolis, who would use Garth's
new found abilities to rule the ghostly kingdom. When Garth meets Cecil, his
grandfather's ghost, the two search for a way to get Garth back home, and nearly
lose hope until Frank Gallows shows up to fix his mistake.

TGIF: Five reasons I can't wait for Friday

My Friday will start earlier than normal and involve a commute that lasts roughly nine times longer than my usual one and I couldn't be happier about it.  Why? Early Friday morning I'm heading to St. Louis for the 3rd YALSA Young Adult Literature Symposium: Hit Me With The Next Big Thing.

Here are the top five reasons I'm excited about the Symposium.

Professional engagement!
I haven't been to a library conference or meeting since the last Symposium in 2010.  For a former-almost-conference junkie that's a long time.  I love chatting with people who do the same job I do in very different ways, or share a similar passion but do a totally different job.  I miss hearing new ideas, meeting new people with new approaches, seeing old friends and hearing what they're up to.  And I love that no mater the setting, when you get a bunch of YA librarians together you're sure to leave with a long list of new books you can't wait to read.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Book Review: Conjure by Lea Nolan

Be careful what you search for...

Emma Guthrie expects this summer to be like any other in the South Carolina Lowcountry--hot and steamy with plenty of beach time alongside her best friend and secret crush, Cooper Beaumont, and Emma’s ever-present twin brother, Jack. But then a mysterious eighteenth-century message in a bottle surfaces, revealing a hidden pirate bounty. Lured by the adventure, the trio discovers the treasure and unwittingly unleashes an ancient Gullah curse that attacks Jack with the wicked flesh-eating Creep and promises to steal Cooper’s soul on his approaching sixteenth birthday.

When a strange girl appears, bent on revenge; demon dogs become a threat; and Jack turns into a walking skeleton; Emma has no choice but to learn hoodoo magic to undo the hex, all before summer—and her friends--are lost forever. (Synopsis from Goodreads)

A "Zest" for Teen Nonfiction: Your TLT Zest Books HQ

During the month of November TLT is going to be talking about Teen Nonfiction and Science Fiction.  As part of our celebration we are doing a special project with Zest Books for the week of November 11th-17th.  During this week we will be reviewing several of their titles, giving you ready made programs to use with their books, and sharing some of our own personal stories inspired by their titles.

 *  Book Reviews  *  Teen Programs in a Box  *  Booklists  * Giveaways  *

If you are not familiar with Zest Books, these are great Teen Nonfiction titles because they are quick yet heartfelt teen reads that are packaged perfectly for their audience.

Oh, and did I mention that we will be having several giveaways during this week where you can win a package of several Nonfiction titles from Zest Books?  Well - we are!!!

Join us every day November 11th - 17th as we talk about the end of the world, our first crushes (and breakups) and share some amazing teen programming that includes fashion, babysitting and saving the Earth!

As we post new posts, they will be linked here for your convenience, making this your TLT Zest Books Headquarters.

Dear Teen Me, authors write letters to their teen selves edited by E. Kristin Anderson and Miranda Kenneally

The End, a look at books containing epidemics based on The End: 50 apocalyptic Visions from Pop Culture That You Should Know About . . . before it's too late by Laura Barcella

Tales from the Crib: The 411 on Babysitting with Don't Sit on the Baby by Halley Bondy (Teen Program in a Box) ENTER TO WIN A ZEST BOOK BUNDLE

Uncool (Book Review)
Girls Against Girls (Book Review and Discussion)

Saturday, October 27, 2012

The Sunnydale Project, a celebration of all things Buffy

Buffy the Vampire Slayer is a whole bundle of awesome.  There are few other shows that have tapped into the zeitgeist so perfectly an explained with humor, pathos and vampires - yes, vampires - the suck that can sometimes be the teenage years.  Although the TV show has ended, the vision of Buffy lives on through books and even comic books.  Joss Whedon writes brilliant characters and television, and then a whole bundle of amazing writers have expanded the verse through books and comic books to keep us enlightened and entertained.  For the months of September and October, we will be exploring that verse and what it means to us personally as librarians, as readers and as fangirls.

The original post announcing the Sunnydale Project can be found here

In celebration of the awesomeness that is Buffy, 3 book bloggers have been working hard all summer to plan this 2 month event: Rachelia @ Bookish ComfortsPatricia @ Patricia's Particularity, and Karen @ Teen Librarian's Toolbox. During this event we will be reviewing Buffy books, comics, and episodes as well and sharing some fanfic, delving into some of the characters, and looking at some topics and issues within the Buffy world (such as feminism). We will also have some guest posts from other amazing Buffy fans, hearing their thought and obsession! And what would an event be without a giveaway or two?! There will be plenty of giveaways for you to enter!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Buffy and the Reversal of Halloween, a guest post by Nancy Holder

Fangirl Moment of Introduction: You are probably aware that I am a huge Buffy the Vampire Slayer fan.  I have read almost every book and one of the worst days of my professional life was when I had to finally discard the collection because it was quite literally falling apart.  The first book I ever reviewed for VOYA in 2001 was in fact a Nancy Holder book. So this is a truly amazing moment for me as she has so graciously agreed to write a guest blog post for our The Sunnydale Project.  Ladies and gentleman (squeeeee), Nancy Holder . . .

It’s a truism among horror writers that the hardest part of a horror story is the ending. Writers know that for readers and viewers, becoming involved in the scary is like doing the tango—you give yourself, you take yourself back—as you tangle with getting frightened. One way viewers and readers do this is to try to guess the ending. Next time you’re watching Buffy, see if I’m not right—Joss and the writers start laying in the clues about the what’s going to happen as soon as you see the first image on the screen. Then they lead you through a Halloween corn maze of twists and turns (when that’s done onscreen, it’s called “schmucking the bait”) until you reach the exit. I think this underlying, so-very-intentional structure is one of the (many) reasons Buffy endures as a show.

            When Chris Golden and I pitched ideas to write the first-ever original Buffy novel (as opposed to an episode novelization), we included a Halloween story. Like the rest of the world at the time, we assumed that Halloween night would be like the Super Bowl for the Slayer, and that’s how we wrote the story, and how it was published. We had yet to come to know (and love!) Joss’s penchant for reversals.

To My Second Family, a letter from a teen volunteer

I spoke earlier about my library's teen volunteer program (read about it here).  It's one thing for me to tell you how awesome it is (and it is), but what if I let a teen volunteer tell you how awesome it is.  You see, earlier this week our teen volunteer came in and dropped off a letter.  This is only way in which libraries make a difference in the lives of teens.

Dear Second Family,
I would like to start off by saying this: I prefer to write a letter to each and everyone one of you, but since I literally have no time, I think this is a good alternative.  Now that I got that off my chest . . . you guys really are like my second family.  You guys are my fun family.  I come to you guy to be entertained.  I come to you guys because you all make me feel wanted. You make me feel like I'm doing something noticeable that isn't bad.  And I just wanna say thank you.  Thank you for being great people.  Thank you for allowing me to be your volunteer. I actually learned something from each one of you that will stay with me for the rest of my life.  I hope I'm not the only life you guys have touched. You guys are wonderful.
Then it is signed by this amazing teen volunteer, but I am withholding his name for privacy issues.  I can tell you that he has been a teen volunteer for several summers in a row now and that this summer he logged in over 90 hours working with younger children and library staff to promote reading and more.  We could not do it without volunteers like him . . .
My favorite part of the letter, however, is this:

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Why YA? Twilight (Stephenie Meyer) and Impossible (Nancy Werlin) as discussed by author Lea Nolan

Why YA? Because it’s important. And because I know what it’s like to live without it. 

Today, Lea Nolan, author of the new ya book Conjure from Entangled Publishing, shares her Why YA? story with us.  Conjure is book 1 in the The Hoodoo Apprentice.  In this awesome adventure there are messages in a bottle from the past, secret pirate bounties and demon dogs.  The fact that Nolan is writing ya is remarkable when you read what she shares in her story.
I couldn’t read until the third grade. This deficiency was likely due to my attendance at a low-performing elementary school where my teachers didn’t realize I wasn’t learning, and the fact that I likely suffered from attention deficit disorder as a child. After moving to a new school and receiving intensive remedial help, plus a lot of hard work, it finally clicked. And I promptly fell in love with books. The stories I clutched in my hands transported me to fantastical worlds where anything was possible and my imagination soared. More importantly, books provided a refuge from my chaotic childhood, which was dominated by my mother’s battle with a devastating chronic disease, and a sibling’s budding serious mental illness. Quite simply, I read to escape.  

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Book Review: My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century by Rachel Harris

On the precipice of her sixteenth birthday, the last thing lone wolf Cat Crawford wants is an extravagant gala thrown by her bubbly stepmother and well-meaning father. So even though Cat knows the family’s trip to Florence, Italy is a peace offering, she embraces the magical city and all it offers. But when her curiosity leads her to an unusual gypsy tent, she exits . . . right into Renaissance Firenze. 

Thrust into the sixteenth century armed with only a backpack full of contraband future items, Cat joins up with her ancestors, the sweet Alessandra and protective Cipriano, and soon falls for the gorgeous aspiring artist Lorenzo. But when the much-older Niccolo starts sniffing around, Cat realizes that an unwanted birthday party is nothing compared to an unwanted suitor full of creeptastic amore. 

Can she find her way back to modern times before her Italian adventure turns into an Italian forever?

GLBT History Month Author Spotlight: Alex Sanchez

October is GLBT History Month, and here on TLT, we thought we'd highlight some of our favorite GLBT writing authors and books.  Today, we're looking at Alex Sanchez.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Art in the Library: Just stay out of the way and let the moments happen

Sometimes you make moments happen in your library, and sometimes you just allow them to happen and stay out of the way.  I recently got a call from a local art teacher who wanted to know if she could up an art display in the library - and there is never a real good reason to say no.  We talked a little bit about the project and they were making art out of deconstructed books.  They basically laid a discarded book flat open and then went to town.  They rolled the pages, folded them, painted them and let creativity happen where it may.  Here's a look at their art work.

An Interview with Monster Hunters (Guest post by D. C. McGannon and C. Michael McGannon)

D.C. McGannon and C. Michael McGannon, authors of Charlie Sullivan and the Monster Hunters: The Varcolac’s Diary, are on the set of their second book Charlie Sullivan and the Monster Hunters: Witch Moon to interview characters from the books. Here they are with Darcy Witherington (Books 1 and 2) and Kerinnon (Book 1) engaged in an entertaining chat about some of the adventures from both books and what they’ve learned from their trials and sacrifices. Plus, there is an important message at the end of the interview that may just save someone’s life.

D.C.: Thanks for having us guys! D.C. McGannon here with my coauthor and son, C. Michael McGannon.

Michael: Greetings, earthlings!

D.C.: [Chuckles] We’re on the set of our second book, Charlie Sullivan and the Monster Hunters: Witch Moon, which is just about wrapped up and ready to ship out this fall. Everyone is pretty busy with fight scenes and plot twists, but we were able to pull Darcy Witherington, one of the main characters from both books, away for a short interview.

Darcy: Hey, everyone! [Waves]

Monday, October 22, 2012

Are we sweethearts or scoundrels?

Today we are featured on the Texas Sweethearts and Scoundrels blog and I may get on my soap box and talk about how I feel strongly against Accelerated Reader.

Also, check out the information on the Texas Book Festival!

The Poe in me: ya lit inspired by Edgar Allan Poe

"Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered weak and weary,. . ." - The Raven
Most teens get a wad of cash when they graduate high school, and some of them do smart things with them.  I, however, went the next day and bought 1) the ugliest flower shirt known to man, 2) The Whole Story on CD by Kate Bush and 3) The Complete Works of Edgar Allan Poe.  I love Poe so much that when I found out I was pregnant with my first and second daughter, I wanted to name her Annabelle Lee.  The Mr., however, had something against naming his daughters after dead girls in poetry.  But this - right now - is a great time of year for all things Poe so I bring you books inspired by Edgar Allan Poe.  (I wish I still had that ugly shirt and I would take a pic of me wearing it and holding my Poe anthology, but Poe was ruined in the great flood of 2011 and no one would still own that shirt.)

Steampunk Poe
First, you'll want to make sure that your teens have access to some of the original works themselves.  But you don't want no boring stories, which is why you should get Steampunk Poe.  Here the original works of Poe are presented with some very cook Steampunk pictures. (Published October 4th 2011 by Running Press Teens) (ISBN 9780762441921)
“TRUE! nervous, very, very dreadfully nervous I had been and am; but why WILL you say that I am mad?”  - The Tell Tale Heart

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Gennifer Albin talks Crewel world, which is sometimes a cruel world - especially if you're a girl

Crewel by Gennifer Albin is a unique look at a world where women should have more power than they do, but men still rule supreme.  In this world Adelice has the power to spin the web of life.  If you've ever read The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood, you'll recognize the power in reading about an alternate science fiction world to help us contemplate and discuss the issues that face us here in our real world.  Sometimes the best way to come at an issue is sideways, hence the function of parables and stories in education.  Crewel is one of my favorites of this year because it really examines close to my heart: what it means to be a woman in a world where women don't get the respect that they deserve.  Today, author Gennifer Albin shares the her insight into writing the world of Crewel (it's a Crewel world, get it - ha!).

What a tangled world Gennifer Albin weaves . . . 

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Top 10 YA Books that Buffy fans will want to read . . .

As you know, we are in the midst of our Sunnydale Project here at TLT, where we are discussing all things Buffy blah blah blah.  Today I share with you some of my favorite must reads that will definitely satisfy Buffy fans.

Rotters by Daniel Kraus

Buffy has spent her fair share of time hanging out in graveyards waiting for vampires to rise so she can stake them through the heart.  Joey spends a lot of time in graveyards at night too, but for completely different reasons.  Sure our Slayer was quipping and the show could be funny, but sometimes it was seriously dark.  And trust me, Rotters is seriously dark and twisty and reminiscent of some of the best moments and themes of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

Morganville Vampires by Rachel Caine
Glass Houses is book #1
“Run first,' Shane said. 'Mourn later.'
It was the perfect motto for Morganville.” 

Friday, October 19, 2012

TRW: Bram Stoker's Dracula vs YA Vampires

First published in 1897, Dracula by Bram Stoker is the godfather of everything vampire in today's culture.  As history tells it, Stoker was a business manager for the Lyceum Theater in London during a time when Sherlock Holmes, The Time Machine, and The Jungle Book were all the rage.  Stoker's Dracula would not gain cult and then critical acclaim until well into the 20th century, when his novel made it's way onto the silver screen.

There was the 1931 Dracula starring Bela Lugosi, which is what a lot of people think when they think of Count Dracula.  In 1992, Gary Oldman took on the titular role.  1987's The Lost Boys starring Jason Patric and Corey Haim.  This year we saw Johnny Depp reclaim Barnabas Collins and Dark Shadows, while in the past few years, Dracula has been fuzzy-wuzzied for the youth set:  Draculara of Monster High is the daughter of Dracula, while the recently released Hotel Transylvania has Dracula running a hotel for the paranormal, while trying to get his daughter to not date the human who has blundered into their mist.

You are about to enter the no-sparkling vampires zone . . .
Sink your teeth into these reads!

Are libraries a waste?

Sometimes, it seems as if we are speaking out of both sides of our mouth:
Education is important . . . wait, no it's not.
Children/Teens are important . . . wait, no they're not.
Here's the deal, we send messages - big, huge, cultural messages - to our children by what we choose to put our money behind.  You remember the old adage, do what I say not as I do.  But the truth is, today's youth see what we do and they are getting our message loud and clear!!!

Case in point, Senator Coburn (R, OK) recently put together a look as wasteful government spending in a document called The Waste Book 2012.  We all know there is a lot of wasteful spending in the government, this is not news.  In fact, I would argue that our elected public officials (aka PUBLIC SERVANTS) receiving 6 or more figure salaries is a form of wasteful spending, but I digress.  Some of the spending that was highlighted included library spending for tween and teen programming.  The money came from a grant.  One example was a Star Wars Reads program that had over 100 people in attendance and cost $365.  This is approximately $4.00 per person, if you round up.  That's not a bad deal at all.  And I for one think that our children are worth $4.00 a head. Read the full report here.  Read the District Dispatch from ALA here.
What's the value of library programming?

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Thursday Throw Down: Teen Read Week Genres

So, this week on TLT we're talking about Teen Read Week and different genres...  and we want to know WHICH genre is your favorite and why?

Is it....

PARANORMAL ROMANCE that gets your heart aflutter?


VAMPIRES that you can sink your teeth into?


ALIENS that send you into orbit?


BIOENGINEERING that tweaks your genes?

Share your favorite genre (and if you want your favorite title) in the comments below!

Teens Top 10 Winners Announced

Every year Yalsa (a division of ALA) gives Teens an opportunity to nominate and vote on their Top 10 titles for the year.  Here are the 2012 winners, as chosen by teens.

I am super excited to see Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs on the list.  I would love to have seen Myra McEntire or Ilsa J. Bick on the list.  But I am always excited to see teens reading Sarah Dessen, love her!  I adore Where She Went by Gayle Forman and The Fault in Our Stars by John Green and am glad there is some contemporary titles to help balance the science fiction.  All in all, a pretty good list.

TRW: It Came From Outer Space

Ever wonder where all the aliens are?  Back in the 1940's and 50's, during the Golden Age of science fiction, aliens were everywhere.  There were spaceman suits, and alien bazaars, and television shows.  People where rushing to see when we would meet our neighbors, and whether they would be peaceful or not.  Everyone was claiming to see UFOs or be abducted by them.  And that frenzy was reflected in our literature:  HG Wells and the War of the Worlds, Robert A. Heinlein's pulp fiction classics, Arthur C. Clark, and Isaac Asimov.  They were told by their publisher at Astounding Science Fiction to "write me a creature that thinks as well as a man, or better than a man, but not like a man."  

Now, in 2012, our space program is the victim of the economy, and young adult fiction is flooded with vampires and dystopias- another reflection of the culture around us.  Yet, if you look hard enough, there are aliens among us for those wanting to explore the darkness of space.  I've put together a list of what's popular with my teens, including movie based books and book based movies, as well as some classics and a couple you may not have heard before.

What are your favorite alien books?  Share in the comments below!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Today is Love Your Body Day!

A teen’s body is going through so many changes.  Some are welcome, some pleasant… and some anything but.  It can be hard to love something so unpredictable.  And it can be hard to love your body at any age in an image-obsessed culture where no one ever seems to measure up to the “thinspiration” pins on Pinterest, overly airbrushed magazines, and extreme transformations on reality TV.   

Over breakfast this morning, I asked my preschool aged daughter what she loved about her body.  “Because my body is awesome!” she replied.  I thought about what I love about mine, and remembered how it grew and nurtured my kids, is strong enough to run and play with them now, and wakes up healthy and pain free most days.  Then I thought about what comes between a childhood exuberance and joy in getting to the top of the slide and racing your friend around the park and an adult’s appreciation of movement, strength, and independence.  For many of us, it wasn’t great. 
Today is Love Your Body Day! Do you? Are we making sure our teens do?

How did Frankenstein become the man who created a monster? The Apprenticeship of Victor Frankenstein series by Kenneth Oppel (Reviewed by Susan Little)

Today Christie is talking about Frankenstein re-imagined for the 21st century, but how did Frankenstein become the man who created a monster?  Kenneth Oppel has written a prequel that answers that question and high school teacher by day and library aide by night Susan Little reviews it for us today.
This Dark Endeavor (The Apprenticeship of Victor Frankenstein book 1)
by Kenneth Oppel
Simon & Schuster Books 2011 (ISBN: 2403154)
“You must abandon this dark endeavor.”

TRW: Frankenstein in 2012: Bio-Engineering

So, if Mary Shelly were writing Frankenstein today, what path would she wander down?  I think that, instead of zombies or vampires, she's wander down the road of BIOENGINEERING.  According to the history, Mary Shelly was having a storytelling contest with her future husband Percy, Lord Byron of She Walks in Beauty fame, and John William Polidori, who wrote one of the first vampire stories in English. She evidently won, because she came up with a mad scientist who scavenged body parts and created a monster from death, then became horrified at what he had created.

In today's horror realm, zombies and vampires are creatures of the undead, and would well fit within the realm of Shelly's Frankenstein, but Shelly was a pioneer- during her time, everyone was afraid of the new science of embalming the dead, and she played on those fears in her story, and the fear of the unknown and the possibilities of science.  This is why I think that bio-engineering would be more Mary Shelly's thing if she were alive today.  Manipulating the essence of DNA and genes, creating new and different beings and life where there were none, discovering new abilities and their horrendous possibilities...  Definitely a 2012 version of Frankenstein...

The Teen Librarian's Terror: a Halloween special

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

TRW: Romancing the Paranormal

As a teen librarian who knows their trends, you know that books like Twilight and The House of Night series are as popular with teens as chocolate and pizza.  What you may not realize is that they have a long and distinguished history within literature dating back to 1764.  Paranormal romance, a subset of romance that has beings of the supernatural (ghosts, demons, angels, werebeings, vampires, etc.) falling in love/lust with us mere humans, actually comes from Gothic fiction.  The first Gothic stories were written by Horace Walpole, Ann Radcliffe, and Clara Barton.  The Romantics took over, with Lord Byron giving us the archtype of the hero in our current paranormal romances:  a man of loneliness and mystery, a villain that detests himself for what he is, yet seems unable to change until the heroine makes her appearance.
The Victorians added their twist on it, with The Penny Dreadful serial fictions leading the way.  Enter then Edgar Allan Poe, who brought back more of the macabre, madness, and mystery into the mix.  The Bronte sisters as well can fall into paranormal ancestors, with ghosts in various stories as well as The Madwoman in the Attic.  Most current teen paranormal fiction falls into the genre of urban fantasy, where things blend the magical and mysterious in with the supernatural.  And when you think about it, most superhero comics and graphic novels, all time travel books, and those featuring psychic abilities would also fit in paranormal romances- not just things that go bump in the night or howl at the moon.  I've listed below some of my favorite books and series; share yours in the comments!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Book Review: Dear Teen Me edited by E. Kristin Anderson and Miranda Kenneally

Every once in a while you come across an idea so genius you wish you had thought of it.  One of those ideas is Dear Teen MeDear Teen Me began as a website and is now a book published by Zest Books.  In Dear Teen Me, an eclectic variety of teen authors have written letters to their teenage selves - see, genius!  Sometimes funny, sometimes heartbreaking, these letters are all full of the wisdom that comes from getting older (and wiser they say) and looking back on the suckage that we call the teenage years. Over 70 amazing teen authors contribute their stories.

Dear Teen Me edited by E. Kristin Anderson and Miranda Kenneally
Published by Zest Books October 2012
ISBN: 978-1-9369762-1-8 ($14.99)
Serious questions will be answered . . .
Who had a really bad first kiss?
Who found her true love at 18?
Who skipped prom to go to a Grateful Dead concert?
But intermixed in all the fun are the stories that will change a teen's life.

Dear Teen Me with Christie G

Today as part of the Dear Teen Me blog tour, Christie G writes a letter to her teenage self.  Dear Teen Me: author write letters to their teen sevles edited by E. Kristin Anderson and Miranda Kenneally.  Dear Teen Me is published by Zest Books (ISBN: 978-1-9369762-1-8).  Read my review here.
Dear Teen Me,

Reading, always getting us through
Yes, high school sucks.  And yes, you’ve become extremely good at hiding that you hate it, and the fact that your inner monolog is more Daria than Disney.  You keep joining things because that is what you’re supposed to be doing, because that’s what’s expected.  And getting good grades because it’s expected.  And keeping quiet because that’s what’s expected.  And really, that’s what’s going to keep us going through high school.

Dear Teen Me: De Ja Vu with Karen J

Dear Teen Me,

The phone is ringing and you know that Curtis is calling to tell you that she died.  It is never good news when someone calls this early in the morning.  There are rules about that it seems.

For some reason, the two worst events in your life appear to have happened in a set of 2 days that are distinctly de ja vu.

When your parents sent you to get your brother at a friend's house, you knew they were going to tell you they were getting a divorce.  And as you walk down the road and knock on the door you swear that this is the exact thing that happened every step of the way when you went to that same neighbors house to get your brother.  That time, your parents told you they were "splitting up" so that they could "work on things."  You knew then what it really meant.  But you knew this day was coming when you heard your mom crying on the phone to your grandma: "I don't know where I will go or what I will do she says."  It's too much for a girl to handle.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

It's time to vote!

For months now we have been collecting artwork inspired by Books and created by Teens.  Now - it's time to vote!! One lucky winner will receive an awesome prize package as we celebrate teens, reading, and art.  The artwork is so amazing!!

To vote, stop by The Library as Incubator Project and see the amazing artwork created by teens.

This contest is sponsored by TLT, The Library as Incubator Project, The Real Fauxtographer Margot Wood, Egmont USA and their Teens Top 10 nominated authors Ilsa J. Bick and Myra McEntire. Special thanks to authors Gennifer Albin, Bethany Griffin, Beth Revis, and Veronica Roth, who generously donated signed copies of their books as prizes.

My Brother's Sweatshirt, a story of HG

This short story is a part of my ongoing efforts to raise awareness of the life threatening pregnancy illness that I suffered in three pregnancies, Hyperemesis Gravidarum.  You can read more about my HG experiences in the HG Awareness portion of TLT.  For more information and support please visit the Hyperemesis and Education Research Foundation (HER Foundation).

Somewhere along the line, I ended up living in Ohio and in possession of my brother's high school sweatshirt. I wear it everyday to keep my brother close to me (I love and miss him). Plus, it is super comfy.

Years ago, when I lived close to my family, I got to spend a lot of time with my brother. We talked. We hung out. And yes, occasionally we fought. My journey to Ohio was not supposed to last this long. I was young, engaged, and in love. Life circumstances just worked out that it was best for us to go to Ohio for college. Here I am, 18 years later. I have a husband, two amazing kids and a longing in my heart to be with my family that no sweatshirt can satisfy.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Buffy, off the screen and on to the page: seasons 8 and 9 (guest post by Maria Selke)

Buffy the Vampire Slayer appeared on TV for 7 seasons, but that is not the end of the story.  In a unique twist, Joss Whedon continued the story of the Buffy verse in comic book seasons.  So far there has been a season 8 and 9.  They are released as serial comics and then compiled into a graphic novel that works much better for libraries.  I love that Joss Whedon is using the written word to continue to spread his message even though the tv show is no longer.  Today, guest blogger Maria Selke reviews seasons 8 and 9 for us.

I have a confession to make – I didn’t start watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer until partway through season two. It was at the recommendation of some online gaming friends that my husband and I took the plunge and started to watch the series. For you young things out there, that online RPG required us to have dialup Internet access! Ahem… but I digress. 

We had a good run, Joss and I. I spent a glorious seven years watching Buffy grow up, fall in love, die, come back to life, fight off every possible form of the apocalypse, and do it all over again. I followed Angel to his show and had a son around the same time he did. Midnight feedings? You’d find me on the couch with a Buffy rerun. Saying goodbye to the Scooby gang was far from easy.

Friday, October 12, 2012

The Animaniacs guide to being a (Faboo!) young adult librarian

Remember how a while ago there were those books "everything I needed to know about life I learned in Kindergarten" or from Stark Trek?  Well, you may be surprised to discover that the Animaniacs are the perfect framework for discussing young adult librarianship.  For those of you who are young pups, the Animaniacs was an awesome but irreverent cartoon created by Steven Spielberg that appeared in the 90s.  They starred the Warner Siblings - Wakko, Yakko, and Dot - and featured their adventures on the Warner Brothers studios lot.  They were sarcastic, witty and full of snark (in other words: brilliant!).  Here are some of my favorite Animaniacs quotes presented to you as a true and accurate guide to the fine art of young adult librarianship.
How the Animaniacs Explain Teens

Yakko: "We protest you calling us 'little kids'.  We prefer to be called 'vertically-impaired pre-adults'"

That time I met Chris Crutcher and sobbed like a teenage girl who had just met R Patz

Gratituous Duran Druan Pic
SAT Question: Duran Duran is to Teenage Karen
as what author is to Librarian Karen?
When I was in High School, I went with my two best friends to see the love of our lives in concert: Duran Duran.  I remember when the show was over we sat there and all of the sudden - I started hyperventilating.  My best friend Teri reached over and slapped me.  It wasn't that bad, but after meeting Chris Crutcher, I did get into my car, call The Mr. and start sobbing.  I had just met Chris Crutcher!!

How it Came to Be
I work part-time as the teen librarian with a lady who works during the day as a High School Spanish teacher in a different school district.  She looked at one day and said that Chris Crutcher was coming to her school.  I apparently yelled and then begged her to let me come. Not only did I get to go, but they invited me to lunch and I sat right next to Chris Crutcher.  Many of you will recall that Chris Crutcher is listed as one of my favorite authors on my bio here; I have even written a Why YA? piece on Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes.  And at lunch, I didn't ask Chris one single good question.  Susan made me swear not to embarrass her.  We did, however, all talk about Stephen King's 11/22/63 and it was interesting to hear my writer hero gush over another writer.   Crutcher called this book a lesson in master plotting.  It was clear that he loved this book and admired the writing. (And yes, I really did take my Star Wars lunch box to eat lunch with Chris Crutcher.)

Chris Crutcher Speaks

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Thursday Throwdown: 80's Movie Serial Killers

We've been talking about all sorts of horror and things lately (see My Horrific Life or I Eat Cereal But I Am Not A Serial Killer), and more will come throughout October.  I am a fan of the 80's horror movies, back when you knew that the blood was fake and the killers were behind masks.  So I ask you, lovers of horror, if you put them in the ring, who would make it out to terrorize the rest of us?

My Cybils 2012 Wishlist (and what I've reviewed so far)

This year, I am excited (and honored) to be a first round panelist (judge) for the Science Fiction and Fantasy panel of the 2012 Cybils.  The Cybils are the Children's and Young Adult Bloggers' Literary Awards.

They are taking public nominations for awards through October 15th.  You can nominate a title published between last year's awards (late October 2011) and this year's (October 1, 2012) by filling out a simple form.

I was pretty excited to see that I had read and reviewed a few of the books nominated already:
Adaptation by Malinda Lo
BZRK by Michael Grant
Every Day by David Levithan
Every Other Day by Jenny Lynn Barnes
The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater
The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater
Seraphina by Rachel Harman
Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo
Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi
Starters by Lissa Price
This is Not a Test by Courtney Summers
Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson
Unwholly by Neal Shusterman
Velveteen by Daniel Marks
The Way We Fall by Megan Crewe
You can find the complete list of Young Adult nominations here
And you can read all of the TLT book reviews here

My Wish List

I am surprised, however, to see that some of my favorite titles haven't been nominated yet - including Timepiece by Myra McEntire and Ashes/Shadows by Ilsa J. Bick.  I also really enjoyed Fracture by Megan Miranda earlier this year and hope it will receive a nomination. Also missing? Kill Me Softly by Sarah Cross, an interesting world where people are living twisted version of the fairy tales, and Masque of the Red Death by Bethany Griffin, a post apocalyptic tale where people live in fear every day of the plague. I imagine any moment now Alice in Zombieland by Gena Showalter will appear on the list. And, speaking of zombies, there is a good chance that Rot & Ruin book 3: Flesh and Bone by Jonathan Maberry will probably be nomianted soon; I am surprised it hasn't yet given the popularity of both zombies and this series. And finally, I think that Magisterium by Jeff Hirsch will definitely be nominated sometime soon - this book steps into the worlds of both Science Fiction AND Fantasy.  Edited to add: I also think that Through to You by Emily Hainsworth is worthy of a nomination and I hope that one pops up.  It was a very emotional read.

I was excited because I was going to nominate Human.4 (or its sequel The Future We Left Behind) by Mike Lancaster in the Middle Grade category, but it looks like it misses the publication cut off date.  It also looks like Crewel by Gennifer Albin will miss it this year as well.

Well, I guess I better get reading.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Star Wars Reads Day: a recap in pictures

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away (sometimes referred to as Texas),
two library branches got together for an epic - and out of this world - day of books and fun with Tweens and Teens known as
Star Wars Reads Day
A battle was being fought between good (reading good) and evil (ignorance and illiteracy evil)