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Friday, September 29, 2006

What Mrs. N's Been Reading

Just finished Michael Simmons' Finding Lubchenko. It's the story of Evan Macalister, son of an older, widowed, multi-millionaire pharmaceutical business owner. Dad doesn't think kids should be handed everything so he keeps a pretty tight rein on Evan. To get the money that he thinks he's entitled to, Evan steals office equipment from dad's company and sells it on-line. Suddenly, dad is arrested for murder in what appears to be part of a larger deal involving illegal sales of smallpox virus. Evan has the dead man's laptop, which could help free his father, but that would expose his theft scheme, so Evan and 2 friends set out to find a man known only by the name Lubchenko, mentioned in e-mails on the stolen laptop. I really wanted to dislike this book at first, because of Evan entitlement attitude, but it was actually a pretty good book. If you're looking for a lot of action, this book may not be for you. But it is a very good character study as you get to know some of the background about Evan's dad and their prior relationship. And even though Evan is still a spoiled rich kid, you see that he has a lot of universal teen issues that are played out nicely. One thing I really did like about the book, was that it didn't have a sugary ending, and it could very easily have gone that way. The ending, although leaving some unanswered questions, was believable.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Video Game Tournament and Game Day

Just a friendly reminder that this Saturday, September 30, will be our next video game tournament and game day. If you haven't been to one before, you've been missing out on a great time! The guys from EBGames will bring 3 game systems - one will be projected onto our 10' screen. EBGames will also supply prizes for tournament winners as well as some other giveaways. Board games will also be available, and thanks to the Friends of Fredricksen there will also be drinks and munchies. To give you an idea what its all about, here's a photo from a previous tournament.

Thought for the Week

We're starting to see people working on those infamous science fair projects. If you're feeling a bit overwhelmed and like you really don't have a clue what the heck you're actually doing, you're in good company.

"Research is what I'm doing when I don't know what I'm doing."

Wernher Von Braun

Friday, September 22, 2006

More New YA Books

Wow! I left my desk for a while on Wednesday, and when I returned some great stuff had magically appeared! For fans of Anthony Horowitz, the second installment of the Gatekeepers series is in. Also we now have Michael Skelton's Endymion Spring. For more info. go to New YA Books: The Latest "Gatekeepers" Plus a Bestseller

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Newest "A-List"

American Beauty, the latest in Zoey Dean's The A-List series is now in - sort of. As usual there were holds on both copies already, so get in line. For details go to New YA Books: Latest "A-List" Is In

Monday, September 18, 2006

Last Reminder for International Talk Like a Pirate Day

Just a friendly reminder that tomorrow, Tuesday, September 19, is International Talk Like a Pirate, so of course we're celebrating. Just find me down in the YA section, anytime between 3:30 and 5:30 and talk like a pirate to get a treat. Tis yer last warning ye scurvy bilge rats! Get in here, else I be placin' a black spot on ye!

Thought for the Day

After watching a sailboat race this weekend with the boats designed and built by first year naval architecture and marine engineering students, using only 1/4" plywood, 2x2's, nylon zip-ties, and caulk, I couldn't help but be thinking of sailing today. But of course a lot of sailing principles can be applied to life in general, and this is a good one.

"We cannot direct the wind, but we can adjust the sails. "
Bertha Calloway

New "Chick Books" On the Shelf

Readers of what I refer to as "chick books" - good news. Two new ones are in, including the latest Gossip Girls installment. For details see New YA Books: New "Chick Books" .

Thursday, September 14, 2006

What Mrs. N's Been Reading

Wow, I've been picking some really good ones recently. I just finished Marjorie Blackman's Naughts and Crosses. This one has a bit of everything - a romance, social unrest, racial issues, disfunctional families, a kidnapping, terrorism, political intrique, you name it. It's written from two characters' viewpoints in alternating chapters - something that isn't always pulled off well, but in this case it was. It's billed as a thriller and I have to tell you that when I did need to put it down because I was propping my eyelids open in the middle of the night, I couldn't wait to pick it back up again. Some reviewers have thought that it starts out slow. If you agree, just hang in there a little bit, it picks up speed quickly. I would highly recommend it, but only to high school students, not middle schoolers, due to some mature content that was, however, handled tastefully and in context.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Monday, September 11, 2006

What Mrs. N's Been Reading

I just finished Neal Shusterman's Dread Locks, the first in the Dark Fusion series. This is another one that I've been eyeing up for a while, just because the concept sounded interesting. Basically he's taken fairy tales and/or myths and put a modern twist (and I do mean a twisted twist) on them. If you like horror that is just creepy enough to make you go "eww" but not so creepy that it keeps you up at night (I'm kind of a wuss about these kind of things anymore, and I read it at bedtime without a problem), check this one out. And if you like this one, there are 2 more in the series, Red Rider's Hood and Duckling Ugly.

Thought for the Week

When I ask kids how school is going, the response I generally get is, "Pretty good, but the math is tough this year." With that in mind, this week's thought for the week is a math (and science, actually) quote.

"Black holes are where God divided by zero."
Steven Wright

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Thought for the Week

This past weekend was the beginning of the season for most high school and college fall sports. If your team started off with a win, great. If not, the following may be appropriate:

"We didn't lose the game; we just ran out of time."
Vince Lombardi

What Mrs. N's Been Reading

One of the perks of making up new book lists, is that I get to look at all of the books and add some things to my "I gotta read this" list, that I might not notice otherwise. One of those books was Vicki Grant's Quid Pro Quo. It's one of the Orca Soundings books that I've been hearing so much about. If this one's any indication, they're quite good. They are billed as high interest, but lower reading level. This one is a mystery. Cyril McIntyre's mom has disappearred and he sets out to find her on his own. Mom is quite a character - a former street kid who had Cyril when she was 14, and made a lot of bad lifestyle choices along the way, but pulled herself up and put herself through law school, dragging a then 10-year-old Cyril along to night classes. Mom's background and behavior are described in plain, direct, but not graphic (her obsenity-laced rants are "bleeped") terms. You get a sense of Cyril's combination of love and admiration for his mom along with his being sick and tired of some of her nonsense and their bare-bones lifestyle. Each short chapter starts with an easy to understand definition of a legal term, so it will help you better understand some of those courtroom dramas. The story takes place in Canada, so there's an occassional "Canadian-ism", but they aren't frequent enough to be confusing. It's a quick, funny, read that really is good for those older readers who want some action and plot, but have difficulty with a longer book with higher level vocabulary. I'll be picking up some more books in this series. They definitely fill a void.

Friday, September 01, 2006

International Talk Like a Pirate Day

Wow! It's September already! You know what that means. Yes, only 18 days until International Talk Like a Pirate Day rolls around once again. To celebrate, from about 3:30 to 5:30 on September 19, I'll be handing out treats to anyone who talks like a pirate to me. Just come on in and wander down to the YA section where I'll be doing some much needed cleaning, purging and straightening of that section, and talk like a pirate. The start time is a bit flexible since I'll be coming from a workshop on the East Shore, so beltway traffic could delay me a bit. If you get here and I'm not here yet, talk to the Reference Librarian on duty instead.
So get in here ye scurvy dogs! Arrr!

4-Star Booklist Now Available

There are now nice printed copies of the list of YA books that you guys rated as 4-star during Teen Summer Reading 2006, available down in the YA area. Enjoy!