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Thursday, August 30, 2007

Hungry? Need a Study Break?

If you're in the library, especially after school, and either have a minor case of the munchies or just need a study break, go to the Teen Area and look for the crate of puzzles. There are Sudokus, crosswords, and word finds in there. Just complete one and take it to the Information Desk to get a Jolly Rancher or a mini candy bar. Is there a type of puzzle you like, that I didn't include? Let me know (either e-mail me, post a reply to this posting, or leave a message for me at the Information Desk if I'm not in my office) and I'll probably add them. I'm always on the lookout for good ideas.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

What Mrs. N's Been Reading - What Happened to Cass McBride?

I am way behind on my reading, but am finally get back into it. Just finished Gail Giles' What Happened to Cass McBride? It's actually a pretty quick read - only took me about 2 hours and I'm not a particularly speedy reader. It's a good book, but a bit unsettling. It's told from three different points of view in alternating chapters, in very different timelines. That sounds like it should be confusing, but it was actually an excellent way to tell this story and works quite well. Kyle is a college student whose younger brother has recently committed suicide. His chapters are presented during his interrogation by police. Cass is a very manipulative, but popular high school student who was kidnapped from her home and buried alive. Most of her chapters are presented during the time that she is being held captive. The third point of view is that of one of the police officers, with his chapters taking place primarily from the time the kidnapping is reported until they bring Kyle in for questioning. Boy, if you ever think that your parents are driving you nuts, and/or that your life is pretty miserable, hopefully it's nothing like Kyle's or Cass's. Over the course of the story, they each realize what they have become and why, as well as what part they might have played in Kyle's brother's suicide. Like I said earlier, unsettling, but fast-paced and quite good.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

What Mrs. N's Been Reading - Benny and Omar


Just finished Eoin Colfer's Benny and Omar. When I ordered this book, I kind of wondered why it didn't seem to be a popular one, since Colfer's other books (the Artemis Fowl series, The Wish List, etc.) generally are. Reading the book, I understand why, but still thinks it's a shame. The publisher seems to be targeting a slightly younger audience (lower middle school) or reluctant readers. Unfortunately those are the people who would bail out on this book after the first chapter. And that's too bad, because if you get past a few potential difficulties, it's a very good book. Benny is a 12-year-old Irish (living in Ireland, not Irish-American) kid who's father is transferred to Tunisia for a year and takes the family with him. Benny's live revolves around hurling (no, not what you do when you eat bad sushi or Mexican food), a sport that is really only popular in Ireland. Unfortunately, the beginning of the book is really heavy in both Irish references and hurling terms, so a reluctant reader may be confused and turned off. (If you do a little quick research first, the reading will be easier. Wikipedia, which I usually don't recommend, has a nice brief explanation of hurling at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hurling ) The story gets going in Tunisia, when Benny meets a local orphan named Omar. The only English that Omar speaks is names and phrases he's picked up from watching American television, and Benny speaks no Arabic. Somehow, they manage to communicate and start up a friendship that Benny has to keep secret, because the European kids aren't supposed to mingle with the locals. There are really funny moments when Benny and Omar are trying to communicate, and some really sad ones when you are introduced to Omar's sister. There's also plenty of action as the story progresses. If you can get by the heavy use of Irish references and hurling terms as well as a bit of untranslated Arabic, it's a wonderful story. Unfortunately, it probably won't get read nearly as much as I think it should.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Murder Mystery - Bigger and Better

Our murder mystery, The Cracks in the Wall, was even bigger and better than last year's. This year 31 teens showed up to examine evidence and try to determine who killed the fictional Marcus Walker, how and why. Either this year's mystery was easier than last year's or this year's group was a little sharper, but about 3/4 of the participants correctly identified the murderer. Congratulations to Rishika G. for having the most completely correct solution. If you missed it, here are a few pics.