Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Book of Lost Things

The Book of Lost Things
by John Connolly

2007-2008 Tayshas Reading List

As David tries to cope with the death of his mother, books begin to speak aloud to him. Other odd things happen too...he keeps blacking out and seeing strange people in a strange land. Through the window, David sees a man in his bedroom, but when he and his father go into the room, they find only a bird. Then late one night, when David hears his mother calling to him from the garden, he follows the sound of her voice through a hole in a wall and finds himself in a new world with no way home.

Set in the early years of World War II, the Book of Lost Things tells a compelling story of a young man, who is angry at the death of his mother, angry at his father for remarrying, and angry at his stepmother and half brother for offering a new life that David wants no part in. His selfishness and courage are put to the test though when he finds himself in a strange world where wolves walk, the Seven Dwarfs are communists repressed by Snow White, and where other myths and fairy tales have been confused and distorted.

Despite re-using many traditional magical creatures, Connolly's use of them is fresh and interesting. The supporting characters are engaging, such as the Woodsman who first helps David. David makes a wonderful hero fighting not only dragons and bad guys, but his own fears and weaknesses. His character develops substantially throughout the story, so that the final resolution feels true and important.

Friday, October 26, 2007

The Closers

The Closers
by Michael Connelly

2007-2008 Tayshas Reading List

Detective Harry Bosch is hot on a case that went cold fifteen years before. Bosch is a detective in the Open-Unsolved, Cold Case, unit of the Los Angeles Police Department trying to right wrongs from decades before. In 1988, a 16 year old girl was taken out of her bed in the night and murdered. The case was never solved. When a DNA match comes through, Bosch and his partner take over the investigation.

"The chorus of forgotten voices," [the Police Chief] said.

"Excuse me, Chief?" [said Bosch]

"That's what I think about when I think of the cases down there in Open-Unsolved. It's a house of horrors. Our greatest shame. All those cases. All those voices. Every one of them is like a stone thrown into a lake. The ripples move out through time and people. Families, friends, neighbors. How can we call ourselves a city when there are so many ripples, when so many voices are forgotten by this department?"

Bosch is a likable character. Just back from a three-year retirement, he has the questioning uncertainty of a new recruit trying to learn departmental procedures plus a desire to prove himself. However, he also has the insight and instinct of experience to guide him in the investigation. The story drifts into police department politics just enough to make things interesting without weighing the story down. Bosch is like a dog on a scent when it comes to his cases and nothing distracts him. An all together fun read.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Vampire Romance

For the last several weeks, we've had a display of YA fiction featuring Vampire romances. Since this display has been so popular, I thought I'd post a list of some of those books here. These are all books that we have here at Moore Memorial Library.

Amelia Atwater-Rhodes:
--In the Forests of the Night (YP FIC ATWATERR)
--Demon in My View (YP FIC ATWATERR)
--Shattered Mirror (YP FIC ATWATERR)
--Midnight Predator (YP FIC ATWATERR)

Rachel Caine:
--The Dead Girls' Dance: The Morganville Vampires, Book II (YP FIC CAINE)

P.C. Cast:
--Marked: A House of Night Novel (SF CAST)

Melissa de la Cruz:
--Blue Bloods (YP FIC DELACRUZ)
--Masquerade: A Blue Bloods Novel (YP FIC DELACRUZ)

Annette Curtis Klause:
--The Silver Kiss (YP FIC KLAUSE)

Katie Maxwell:
--Got Fangs? (YP FIC MAXWELL)
--Circus of the Darned (YP FIC MAXWELL)

Robin McKinley
--Sunshine (YP FIC MCKINLEY)

Richelle Mead
--Vampire Academy (YP FIC MEAD)

Stephenie Meyer

Serena Robar:
--Braced2Bite (YP FIC ROBAR)

Ellen Schreiber:
--Vampire Kisses (YP FIC SCHREIBE)
--Vampire Kisses 2: Kissing Coffins (YP FIC SCHREIBE)
--Vampire Kisses 3: Vampireville (YP FIC SCHREIBE)
--Vampire Kisses 4: Dance with a Vampire (YP FIC SCHREIBE)

Cynthia Leitich Smith:
-Tantalize (YP FIC SMITH)

R. L. Stine:
--Dangerous Girls (YP FIC STINE)

Bram Stoker:

Vivian Vande Velde:
--Companions of the Night (YP FIC VANDEVEL)

Scott Westerfeld:


Booklist May 2006 Issue
YA Librarian TeenLib Wiki

*In some cases we also have the audio book. Audio books are designated with the letters "AD" in the call number.

Friday, October 19, 2007

A book without words...

The Arrival / Shaun Tan
Let me start by saying that this book is really amazing. Shaun Tan takes a familiar story, that of an immigrant leaving all he knows to enter a strange land, and makes it so fresh and immediate that you'll feel like you've experienced it personally. And he does this without writing one single word.

Tan's book is composed entirely of pencil drawings that resemble old-fashioned sepia-tinted photographs. His drawings take us through the main character's poignant separation from his family when he leaves his home country to his arrival in a strange, new land. There he must decode an unknown language, customs, and new technologies. Tan manages the pacing of his story through the size and number of his drawings -- small drawings organized in a grid advance the plotline, while lush, double-page drawings give the reader a moment to absorb hundreds of details about the fantastical land that Tan has imagined. Subtle color changes indicate shifts in time as characters relate their backstories.

It took the author over four years to complete all the drawings for this book. He has an interesting website where you can view more of his beautiful, slightly off-kilter art at www.shauntan.net.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

National Novel Writing Month

(X posted to the Moore Musings blog)

Ever wanted to write a story or a novel, but felt like you needed a little push? A growing international phenomenon, which last year included almost 80,000 registered participants, declares that November is the month to begin!

National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo as it is affectionately called by participants, begins in November. The idea is to write a 50,000 word book in the thirty days of November. For those of you counting, that's about 1,670 words a day. Or, in simpler numbers, 2,000 words a day means finishing a rough draft in 25 days.

Participants can register at the NaNoWriMo website which also includes message boards, word meters, posted drafts, and more to support the writers. You can even order supportive emails from best selling authors including Neil Gaiman, Sue Grafton, Garth Nix, and Tom Robbins to name a few.

Begun in 1999 with a total of 21 participants, National Novel Writing Month is the brainchild of Chris Baty, who has written a book-No Plot? No Problem (808.3 Baty)-that tells the story of how NaNoWriMo came to be and provides many useful tips for writing a novel in just thirty days.

In his book, Baty explains that after his first experience trying to write a novel in only 30 days he realized, "The biggest thing separating people from their artistic ambitions is not a lack of talent. It's the lack of a deadline." He also states that writing at such a crazy pace helps people to overcome their need for perfection in their writing and to take risks that they wouldn't otherwise.

The book is positive and upbeat. Included with the writing tips are time management tips (make large dishes with lots of leftovers so you don't have to cook every day), questions to ask yourself about your writing style and about the story that you want to write, week-by-week information about potential pitfalls, and ideas for revising your messy rough draft once you finish.

So are you thinking you may be interested? Let us know here at the Moore Memorial Library. We'd be happy to set up a writing group/support group for anyone interested.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Two Series for Tolkien Fans

We recently received new titles in two series that might appeal to fans of Tolkien's trilogy, the Lord of the Rings.

Ranger's Apprentice by John Flanagan

Ever wanted to be like Aragorn, living the life of a nomadic Ranger? Or even just wondered what such a life would entail? Flanagan's series borrows from the tradition of Rangers established in LotR.

Will, a young orphan who wants to be a soldier, is dismayed when he is chosen to be an apprentice for the Ranger, Halt, instead. His dismay grows as he spends day after day cleaning for Halt. When will he learn how to fight? When Will does eventually learn the ways of the Rangers, he gains enough confidence and smarts to face old rivals and new enemies.

Currently three titles in this series--The Ruins of Gorlan, The Burning Bridge, and The Icebound Land (YP FIC FLANAGAN)--are available here at Moore Memorial Library . We expect the fourth book in the Spring of 2008. Fans may also want to visit Flanagan's website, RangersApprentice.com, where readers can read character sketches, view maps, and see book covers from around the world.

The Books of Pellinor by Alison Croggon

In this Lord of the Rings for girls, Maerad has lived as a slave for as long as she can remember. She has little hope of escape knowing too well the obstacles she would face. Then one morning, she finds a strange man in a barn. Her surprise is nothing to his, though, and he soon realizes that there is more to Maerad than he first believed. So begins her new life. While fighting against seen and unseen foes, she travels with Cadvan, a Bard of Lirigon, learning what she can about her talents and her place in the world.

Though Croggon borrows heavily plot-wise from LotR, these books are well worth the read. Croggon began her writing career as a poet, which is frequently evident in her almost lyrical fiction writing. The characters are entertaining, and if the plot twists aren't that surprising, they at least go off with a bang.

Currently we have three titles from this series--The Naming, The Riddle, and The Crow (YP FIC CROGGON)--available here at Moore Memorial Library. Also, Croggon has posted the first few chapters of the remaining books in the series on her website, AlisonCroggon.com.

For Teens: Tayshas Reading List

Looking for good YA books? You may already be familiar with the Texas Bluebonnet Books, an annual reading list for elementary school children. The Texas Library Association, which oversees the Bluebonnet books, puts out several recommended reading lists including one for teens.

The list for high school students is called the Tayshas* Reading List.
The 2007-2008 list includes fifty-five books which represent a wide range of genres and topics. We have most of these books at Moore Memorial Library.

Here are just a few:

by Pete Hautman

A Sci-Fi Thriller about a young man in a futuristic society who must escape from prison with the help of an artificial intelligence program.

A Brief Chapter in My Impossible Life
by Dana Reinhardt

Simone's life and beliefs change when she contacts her biological mother who is dying from cancer.

Born to Rock
by Gordan Korman

Straight-laced Leo is surprised and dismayed when he learns that his biological father is a punk rock legend.

by Chris Wooding

Poison must rescue her infant sister from the band of faeries who kidnapped the baby.

For more titles included in this list, visit Tayshas on the TxLA website or come by the reference desk.

*The word "Tayshas," according to the TxLA website, comes from a Caddo Indian word for "friends or allies."

Monday, October 8, 2007

The Golden Compass / Philip Pullman

The Golden Compass is the first book in Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy. Although it has been around for a few years, I decided to read it now because there's been a lot of hype about the movie version that's going to be released in December, starring Nicole Kidman as the uber-glamorous but evil villian, Mrs. Coulter.

This book is a thought-provoking fantasy, set in a parallel universe populated by distracted scholars, an ultra-powerful church, gypsy-like boat-dwellers and armored polar bears. Most of the action takes place in England and the North Pole. The main character is a young girl called Lyra. This book traces her journey from England to the North Pole to rescue her friend Roger, who has been kidnapped by a mysterious, government-backed group of scientists who perform gruesome experiments on the children they steal. With the help of the strange "golden compass" of the book's title as well as the assistance of a variety of unusual and mystical folk she encounters on her journey, Lyra uncovers her destiny, which influences the course of mankind.

The trilogy continues with The Subtle Knife and concludes with The Amber Spyglass. The author also wrote a companion volume to the trilogy called Lyra's Oxford. We have all four books at the library, and the trilogy is available on audiobook as well.