Monday, September 28, 2015

Banned Book Week

It's often the premise of a dystopian story - somehow, the powers-that-be have learned to control the population by controlling the people's access to information, even seemingly innocuous works of fiction. This is a popular plot point for authors, though it is developed in very different ways. In the US, we live in a society that protects our right to read, learn, and access information - which some argue is the most important component for a successful democracy. Reading diverse books allows us to see characters facing problems similar to our own, letting us know we are not alone. Reading diverse books also enables us to see characters from different walks of life, giving us greater empathy for our fellow neighbor. Not every book is for every person, but there is a book for everyone. So READ! Pick up a mystery or science fiction, a graphic novel or nonfiction, a biography or realistic fiction, a magazine or a newspaper - just READ!

Some of my favorite books that remind me just how good we have it include We by Yevgeny Zamyatin (the guy who started it all!), The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood, and Delirium by Lauren Oliver. Plus, you can't go wrong with Brave New World by Aldous Huxley, 1984 by George Orwell, or Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury! What books make you appreciate your right to read?

Monday, September 21, 2015

Happy Fall!

It's my favorite time of year, when the air feels a little crisper, caramel apples are abundant and everything is pumpkin flavored. It's also the perfect time to find an outside reading perch under a canopy of brilliantly colored leaves - stop by the library for some inspiration!

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

The Family Romanov

YALSA Reading Challenge Book 2

Even though it is off of the Nonfiction list, The Family Romanov: Murder, rebellion, and the fall of Imperial Russia by Candace Fleming is a page-turner!  While familiar with the time period, this book is rich with nuances that are often overlooked.  Fleming allows the reader to join the Romanov family in their final years, understand them as rulers, and connect with them as people.  It is easy to grow frustrated with the decisions made, though there is a deeper level of understanding with expanded knowledge of events.  While the end was unsurprising, I found myself hoping the myth of Anastasia may somehow have been true.  Every student of world history should read this book!

The Story of Owen

YALSA 2015 Reading Challenge - Book 1

A snow day is a cherished opportunity to catch up on some reading - and finally start some of this year's books!

From the Morris list, The Story of Owen: Dragon slayer of Trondheim by e.k. Johnston is a clever, humorous, and heart-warming account of a young high school dragon slayer living in rural Ontario as told by his new friend and bard, Siobhan.  Owen and Siobhan soon realize the number of dragon attacks in their little town has been increasing and work to discern the reason for this shift.  Ultimately, they must decide if it is worth risking everything to stop the dragons from taking over.  Rich in detail, Johnston's writing is filled with snippets of history and references to pop cultural events re-told with the presence of dragons. There are also undertones warning of the real dangers of environmental changes.  Great as a stand alone book or ripe for a sequel, this fun book was a great read!

Wednesday, May 28, 2014


Unbelievably, this marks the 25th book of the YALSA challenge!  While I will continue to read as many of the list as I can, this book was truly the perfect note to end the challenge.  Each chapter reads as a stand-alone short story, yet each one is interconnected as the reader is steeped further and further into the history of this remote norther island, following the ancient roots of the complex relationship between Eric and Merle.  With inexplicable sensations of déjà vu for the characters, the reader is given small clues to help weave the experiences together, making the book captivating as well as haunting, a love to withstand the test of time.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Zombie Baseball Beatdown

This peculiar story of the zombie apocalypse stemming from contaminated cow livestock is laughable and oddly lighthearted.  Still, Paolo Bacigalupi captures the frustration many children feel regarding mean, foolish, or absent adults as well as highlighting the much more serious societal issues of illegal immigration and the food industry.  Listening to the audio book of the story only added to the humor and enjoyment of the book.  While definitely geared towards younger readers, it was definitely a fun read.


While not my typical book selection, Winger by Andrew Smith was impossible to put down.  Beyond the rugby team nuances of boarding school culture, Ryan Dean is an instantly likable character with problems any teenager can relate to.  Making choices that are sometimes foolish and sometimes selfless, the journey of Ryan Dean and his friends is an emotional one.  Mixed with funny cartoons and drawings, Winger is a special book that shouldn't be missed!