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Take 10: A Geek Pride Day Book List

Did you know that May 25th was Geek Pride Day? Me neither. Geek Pride Day is a cultural holiday created to celebrate and promote all things geek, nerd, and science fiction. “The date was chosen as to commemorate the 1977 release of Star Wars,but shares the same date as two other similar fan ‘holidays’: Towel Day, for fans of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy trilogy by Douglas Adams, and the Glorious 25th of May for fans of Terry Pratchett‘s Discworld” (from the holiday’s Wikipedia page).

 

Geek Pride Day got me thinking about great books to pull together to make a display celebrating geek/nerd/dork pride. Here are 10 to get you started. All descriptions from the publisher.

 

Take 10: Geek Pride books
The Improbable Theory of Ana and Zak by Brian Katcher

ISBN-13: 9780062272775

Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers

Publication date: 5/19/2015

Summary:

Perfect for fans of Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist and The Statistical Probability of Love at First SightThe Improbable Theory of Ana and Zak is Stonewall Award-winning author Brian Katcher’s hilarious he said/she said romance about two teens discovering themselves on an out-of-this-world accidental first date at a sci-fi convention.

When Ana Watson’s brother ditches a high school trip to run wild at Washingcon, type-A Ana knows that she must find him or risk her last shot at freedom from her extra-controlling parents.

In her desperation, she’s forced to enlist the last person she’d ever want to spend time with—slacker Zak Duquette—to help find her brother before morning comes.

But over the course of the night, while being chased by hordes of costumed Vikings and zombies, Ana and Zak begin to open up to each other. Soon, what starts as the most insane nerdfighter manhunt transforms into so much more. . .

 

 

Guy in Real Life by Steve Brezenoff  

ISBN-13: 9780062266835

Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers

Publication date: 5/27/2014

Summary:

It is Labor Day weekend in Saint Paul, Minnesota, and boy and girl collide on a dark street at two thirty in the morning: Lesh, who wears black, listens to metal, and plays MMOs; Svetlana, who embroiders her skirts, listens to Björk and Berlioz, and dungeon masters her own RPG. They should pick themselves up, continue on their way, and never talk to each other again.

But they don’t.

This is a story of the roles we all play—at school, at home, online, and with our friends—and the one person who might be able to show us who we are underneath it all.

(You can read my review here)

 

 Into the Wild Nerd Yonder by Julie Halpern

ISBN-13: 9780312382520

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends

Publication date: 9/29/2009

Summary:

It’s Jessie’s sophomore year of high school. A self-professed “mathelete,” she isn’t sure where she belongs. Her two best friends have transformed themselves into punks and one of them is going after her longtime crush. Her beloved older brother will soon leave for college (and in the meantime has shaved his mohawk and started dating . . . the prom princess!) . . .

Things are changing fast. Jessie needs new friends. And her quest is a hilarious tour through high-school clique-dom, with a surprising stop along the way–the Dungeons and Dragons crowd, who out-nerd everyone. Will hanging out with them make her a nerd, too? And could she really be crushing on a guy with too-short pants and too-white gym shoes?

If you go into the wild nerd yonder, can you ever come back?

 

Geektastic: Stories from the Nerd Herd edited by Holly Black and Cecil Castellucci 

ISBN-13: 9780316008099

Publisher: Little, Brown and Company

Publication date: 8/1/2009

Summary:

Acclaimed authors Holly Black (Ironside)and Cecil Castellucci (Boy Proof) have united in geekdom to edit short stories from some of the best selling and most promising geeks in young adult literature: M.T. Anderson, Libba Bray, Cassandra Clare, Tracy Lynn, Cynthia and Greg Leitich Smith, David Levithan, Kelly Link, Barry Lyga, Wendy Mass, Garth Nix, Scott Westerfield, Lisa Yee, and Sara Zarr.
With illustrated interstitials from comic book artists Hope Larson and Bryan Lee O’Malley, Geektastic covers all things geeky, from Klingons and Jedi Knights to fan fiction, theater geeks, and cosplayers. Whether you’re a former, current, or future geek, or if you just want to get in touch with your inner geek, Geektastic will help you get your geek on!

 

The Summer I Became a Nerd by Leah Rae Miller

ISBN-13: 9781620612385

Publisher: Entangled Publishing, LLC

Publication date: 5/7/2013

Summary:

On the outside, seventeen-year-old Madelyne Summers looks like your typical blond cheerleader–perky, popular, and dating the star quarterback. But inside, Maddie spends more time agonizing over what will happen in the next issue of her favorite comic book than planning pep rallies with her squad. That she’s a nerd hiding in a popular girl’s body isn’t just unknown, it’s anti-known. And she needs to keep it that way.Summer is the only time Maddie lets her real self out to play, but when she slips up and the adorkable guy behind the local comic shop’s counter uncovers her secret, she’s busted. Before she can shake a pom-pom, Maddie’s whisked into Logan’s world of comic conventions, live-action role-playing, and first-person-shooter video games. And she loves it. But the more she denies who she really is, the deeper her lies become…and the more she risks losing Logan forever.

 

The Astonishing Adventures of Fanboy and Goth Girl by Barry Lyga 

ISBN-13: 9781606861561

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Publication date: 9/28/2007

Summary:

Fanboy has never had it good, but lately his sophomore year is turning out to be its own special hell. The bullies have made him their favorite target, his best (and only) friend seems headed for the dark side (sports and popularity), and his pregnant mother and the step-fascist are eagerly awaiting the birth of the alien life form known as Fanboy’s new little brother or sister.

Fanboy, though, has a secret: a graphic novel he’s been working on without telling anyone, a graphic novel that he is convinced will lead to publication, fame, and—most important of all—a way out of the crappy little town he lives in and all the people that make it hell for him.

When Fanboy meets Kyra, a.k.a. Goth Girl, he finds an outrageous, cynical girl who shares his love of comics as well as his hatred for jocks and bullies. Fanboy can’t resist someone who actually seems to understand him, and soon he finds himself willing to heed her advice—to ignore or crush anyone who stands in his way.

 

Geek Magnet by Kieran Scott

ISBN-13: 9780399247606

Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group

Publication date: 5/29/2008

Summary:

Everybody loves KJ. Especially the geeks. See, KJ Miller is super nice, smart, pretty, the stage manager of her high school’s spring musical . . . and a total geek magnet. She’s like the geek pied piper of Washington High, drawing every socially clueless guy in a five-mile radius. If only Cameron, the hottest guy in school, would follow her around and worship her the way her entourage of dorks do. Enter Tama Gold, queen of the popular crowd, and solution to all of KJ’s problems. KJ is too nice, and the nice girl never gets the guy. Tama’s ready to help KJ get cruel, ditch the dorks, and win Cameron’s heart. But is KJ?

 

 

The Queen Geek Social Club by Laura Preble 

ISBN-13: 9780425211649

Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group

Publication date: 9/5/2006

Summary:

If you’re somebody like Shelby Chappelle, a smart, witty, pretty geek army of one, you can’t just put a poster up at school and advertise for somebody to be your best friend. But now freakishly tall Becca Gallagher has moved to town, with her dragon tattoo and wild ideas. Suddenly Shelby’s madscientist father and their robot, Euphoria, seem normal. They become best friends instantly. But Becca wants to shake things up at school and look for “others of our kind”…and decides to form the Queen Geek Social Club.

The thing is, this guy Fletcher Berkowitz keeps nosing around, asking lots of questions about the Club. He’s cute, and interesting, and possibly likes Shelby. Therefore, she must torture him. One good thing about being a loner: no one can break your heart.

 

Adorkable by Sarra Manning

ISBN-13: 9781907411007

Publisher: Little, Brown Book Group

Publication date: 4/1/2013

Summary:

Jeane Smith’s a blogger, a dreamer, a jumble sale queen, CEO of her own lifestyle brand, and has half a million followers on Twitter. Michael Lee’s a star of school, stage, and playing field. A golden boy in a Jack Wills hoodie. They have nothing in common but a pair of cheating exes. So why can’t they stop making out? This novel is about an unlikely relationship, but it’s also about roller derby, dogs on skateboards, dogs on surfboards, dogs doing any form of extreme sport, old skool hip hop, riding your bike downhill really fast, riot grrrl, those boys you want to kiss but punch in the face at the same time, dyeing your hair ridiculous colors just because you can, stitch ‘n’ bitch, the songs that make you dance, the songs that make you cry, being a bad ass, cake, love, death, and everything in between.

 

The Rise of the Dorkasaurus by Alan Lawrence Sitomer 

ISBN-13: 9781423139966

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Publication date: 7/5/2011

Series: Nerd Girls Series

Summary:

Maureen, a thirteen-year-old self-proclaimed dork-a-saurus, is totally addicted to cupcakes and hot dogs and thinks that her body looks like a baked potato. Allergy-plagued Alice can’t touch a mango without breaking out in a rash, and if she eats wheat, her vision goes blurry. Klutzy to the extreme, Barbara is a beanpole who often embarrasses herself in front of the whole school. These outcasts don’t have much in common—other than the fact that they are often targets of the ThreePees: the Pretty, Popular, Perfect girls who rule the school.

But one day Maureen discovers that the ThreePees are planning to sit next to Allergy Alice in the cafeteria and eat peanut-butter-and-banana sandwiches on whole wheat toast with mango marmalade for lunch. And Maureen decides that it’s time to topple the eight-grade social regime. She joins forces with Alice and Barbara and the Nerd Girls enter the school talent show, determined to take the crown from the ThreePees. Will their routine be enough to de-throne the popular crowd? Or will their plan backfire and shake their hold on the bottom rung of the social ladder?

 

If you would like to recommend additional titles on this topic, please leave us a comment. We always look forward to hearing what books others value and recommend.

Take 10: Christie’s Favorite Villains

Christie tries on some villain hair!

If you take a look in my office at work, or if you take a look at my work nook at home, you will see that it overflows with villains. It’s not an accident- I LOVE villains. Halloween is my favorite holiday, and I think that villains MAKE the hero. Think about it for a minute. It’s the biggest revelation in Mystery Men that without Casanova Frankenstein there IS no Captain Amazing. If not for Ursula, there was no way Ariel would get to Erik. Without Jafar, Aladdin would never have found Genie or Jasmine. The VILLAINS make things possible, and make things interesting. There would be no NEED for the Avengers if there were no villains, no need for a HERO to be a HERO if there wasn’t someone to fight.

So, in honor of my love of comic books, I came up with my top 10 mainstream villains in comics.

If you’ve only seen him in the movies, he was pretty nasty enough- being the force behind the hatred of mutant kind, yet pumping Logan full of Adamantium and making him Wolverine AND making him forget everything. (If you don’t know the references, see X-Men 2 and X-Men Origins: Wolverine). If you follow the comics, he’s even creepier- he’s a full-out believer who thinks that mutants are the work of the devil, and actively works to destroy them from the face of the Earth. There is nothing like a true believer when you’re actively questioning your place in the world- he has some wonderfully devious plots and twists within the canon.

Karen (Left) and Christie (Second from Left) Talk Free Comic Book Day at ALA 2013

THE RIDDLER

I grew up watching the Adam West Batman series, so my first experience of The Riddler was Frank Gorshin running around with really bad riddles and puns that Batman, Robin, and Batgirl would get immediately while the Commissioner and Police Chief would marvel at their intelligence. I loved that he loved the puzzles, and would skywrite things, and just have fun causing mischief. Later in the comics and the video games, I loved all the puzzles and riddles and tricks, and how he could foil things again and again. I really admire how the game makers with the current Batman video games use him as a way to earn points and trophies throughout the games.
  
Poor Harry. He was cursed into his legacy no matter what he would have done. Blamed for the death of his mother, Harry always tried to earn his father’s love and never succeeded, and is in fact lashed out upon multiple times while he tries to earn that approval- something that a lot of teens can relate to. He falls into drugs while his father turns into the Green Goblin, and while discovering that his BFF is Spider-Man and trying to kill his dad, takes on the mantel of New Goblin and goes bonkers for a while. I mean, really, what better way to take out stress?  In the new movie, they have Harry fighting against a genetic disease that will eventually kill him, and he ends up mutating into the Goblin. I’ve always really liked Harry just because I felt for him- he was always stuck between the father that hated him (that Harry always wanted love from) and the seemingly perfect Peter. Can’t we all relate somehow?
These things just creep me the hell out, and I’m on edge waiting for the movie at the end of the month. I’ve read a little too much AI sci-fi and watched too many movies (Terminator and SKYNET, anyone?) not to be wary of robots, even as I have a Roomba sweeping the living room floor. The Sentinels always creeped me out- killer robots designed to hunt down anyone with a mutant gene and either imprison or kill (depending on the storyline), I always had it in my head that they could be out there SOMEWHERE. Didn’t help that we had a garage full of computer equipment, either. Then when the storylines in the comics went to where they went rogue and started killing off EVERYONE, yea, that was the stalker part.

  
I fell in love with Ivy when I read one of her storylines and she used the plants around her to take out Batman and Robin. No guns, no bombs, PLANTS. How awesome is that?!?!?! Yea, she might be an eco-terrorist, but she she has a really good cause (save the Earth, people- we only have one), and she might be a bit twisted, but she has really good ideas. If we gave her direction she might… well….  no….  She is wonderful girl power, and if you get her and Harley together, it is completely wonderful mayhem. I adore the fact that she was originally modeled after Bettie Page, as well.
We need some super readers to defeat some super villians!
 My first exposure to Lex was with Gene Hackman in the 70’s in the Christopher Reeve movies. I adored Gene Hackman. He was a misunderstood genius, having to put up with all these idiots around him who couldn’t understand his vision, and yet he was able to trick Superman AGAIN and AGAIN, through the movies and the TV cartoons and the comics. And nothing ever really happened to him! It was amazing! Yes, his hand got cancer because he wore a kryptonite ring at some point, and his clone turned good and hooked up with Supergirl, but he’s STILL AROUND! And since there are rumors of a Justice League movie, they’re going to have to have villains, and Lex lead the Legion of Doom…..

I adore me some Harley. She is one of the few that started in an animated series, then made her way into the comic canon, and now life cannot be imaged without her. She lives for her DOC-TOR J (think HUGE Brooklyn accent) and will do anything and everything to help- yet she realizes that he can be abusive and he needs to treat her better. Between 1992 and today, she has become her own person and her own villain. The short story that told her background in the comics won an Eisner Award, and she is beloved not only for her personality but for her mayhem as well. She’s been placed into the recent Batman games as well as the short-lived Birds of Prey series. DC Comics hit some series backlash when they had a Break into Comics with Harley contest which requested artists to draw her in one of four different suicide attempts- DC backed off, but it drew massive attention to the way they were treating their characters, especially since everyone in the Batman canon of villains gets locked in Arkham Asylum for the Criminally Insane. 



Not the Joker, just someone playing at it!
  
I don’t think anyone could do a Top 10 list of Mainstream Villains without having The Joker in here at some point. Played on the big screen by Heath Ledger and Jack Nicholson, he’s THE nemesis for Batman, and quite the mastermind for ol’ Batsy. Always with a joke or a trick or an angle, the former mobster turned arch-villain is one of the most recognizable characters around. His viciousness is always tempered with his desire to get The BAT. The green gas that will turn people smiling and his trademark purple and green colors are everywhere. While I know a lot of people who were turned off clowns due to Stephen King’s It, THIS would be the clown face that would haunt me.

The Scarecrow really can be a sympathetic villain if you know his backstory. Bullied all his life, raised by a fanatically religious grandmother who hated him, called Ichabod because of his resemblance to the main character of Sleepy Hollow, and the most beat-upon kid at school, he throws himself into the study of fear. He makes chemicals and an alter-ego for himself so that he can fight the bullies, and the alter-ego comes out during the high school Prom. Studying psychiatry during college, he lands a job at Arkham and does fear studies on the inmates- and loses his day job at Gotham College when the gun in his briefcase goes off and kills another professor. Taking revenge, he kills the rest of the faculty and the Scarecrow is born:  using fear toxins and gases to release long-buried phobias and fears in his victims. He had been little known outside of the comics until the most recent Batman trilogy of movies- he was one of the central villains in the first, then had recurring roles in the second and third movies which made the tie-ins and the lack of control in Gotham all the more apparent.
  
Christie “with” Loki at the Thor: The Dark World premeire
 For all their powers and craziness, none can take my heart for Loki has had it for years. Born in Norse mythology, Loki is the trickster god, and as such wreaks havok for Thor and the Avengers all along the timelines. According to the comic tales, Odin’s father Bor was felled in battle and when Odin found him, Bor begged Odin to find a sorcerer to save him. Odin refused, and Bor cursed Odin that he would take in the son of a fallen king. Not a week later, Odin felled the Frost-Giants, and found Loki and took him, knowing that he was one of the enemy. Loki would always be the black sheep of Asgard- he could never match the values that they held, but would surpass everyone in sorcery, and would learn everything…including the black arts. He’s been made lovable to everyone else by Tom Hiddleson in the recent Thor and Avenger movies, and I can’t wait to see where they’re going with them- because there are a number of different ways they could go, including some female possessions.
Who are your favorite villains?  Share in the comments!