Just wrapped up another great Guitar Hero Tournament! We had 22 kids entered in the tournament with a handful of the less brave just hanging out to watch. Grand prize winner today was Danny M. Congrats! Our 2nd and 3rd place finalists were Cory W and Andrew G. Good job guys! And thanks to Danny for bringing Guitar Hero III today. It was a nice change of pace to hear some different music this time. People were asking when the next one will be. We'll probably have one or two open play GH and DDR days in the summer, but the next tournament won't be until fall. Watch this site for details!
Wednesday, March 26, 2008
Tuesday, March 25, 2008
Ok, I finally got around to reading one of A.J Butcher's Spy High series. It took this long because they're never on the shelf. Anyway, just finished Spy High: Mission One. This is another one that won't be considered classic literature 20 years from now, but it's a quick, fun read - essentially the book equivalent of a mindless, action flick. It's another series about a group of kids being trained to do spy work, this time in a futuristic society in England. It has the team that doesn't quite gel and keeps screwing up practice missions because egos keep butting into each other. Plenty of action, minimal character development. If you want a little more character and plot development, I'd recommend the Cherub series or the Spies Like Us series ahead of this one. But this is a great introduction to this type of book, especially for reluctant middle school readers. I can see why they've been so popular with middle school guys. Enjoy!
Tuesday, March 18, 2008
Ok, not the actual last book in the universe, but Rodman Philbrick's The Last Book in the Universe. I'm a big fan of Philbrick's Freak the Mighty, so I'm not sure what took me so long to get around to this one. It's the story of a young boy, Spaz, who lives in a futuristic society, long after a cataclysmic earthquake has rendered most of the world a rubble-filled wasteland. Spaz has epilepsy, so the seizures make him a bit of an outcast. Areas are controlled by, essentially, gang leaders, who rule by fear. Spaz's life is changed when he is sent by the local gang leader to steal whatever an old man named Ryter has of value. This usually happens right before an execution order. Most of the people regularly use mind probes, that are actually, physically stuck into your brain, as a virtual reality escape, but the probes tend to fry your brain over time. Ryter is the only person left who has any knowledge of life before the earthquake, only because he can read, and he doesn't use the probes. He wants to write as much as he can with what time he has left. Ryter irritates the bejeebers out of Spaz, but he finds himself drawn to the old man. When Spaz gets word that his old foster sister is deathly ill and wants to see him, he and Ryter, along with a feral child that lives near Ryter, set out on a quest to find and try to save the foster sister. The book uses a lot of futuristic slang. It bugged me a little at first, but I got used to it quickly. I thought that maybe Philbrick let up on the slang after the first couple of chapters, but I went back and reread the first chapter after I was done, and apparently I just got used to it. Anyway, it moves well, with characters that you care about. It also gets you thinking about how society treats different segments of the population, how greedy we can become based simply on where we were born, and what would really happen to society if there was a truly devastating event. Very good book, and fine for both middle and high school students.
Thursday, March 13, 2008
Just want to put another last minute plug in for the Teen Advisory Group's fundraiser at the Five Below in the Camp Hill Mall. Take a voucher with you, and give it to the cashier, this Friday, Saturday or Sunday, and 10% of your purchase will go to the teens. All funds raised will be used for either teen space furnishings at the library, or teen materials. Vouchers are available at the library or on this blogsite on the right. If you get to the store and realize that you forgot your voucher, just ask the cashier for one - they'll have some at the counter.
Thanks for your support!
Thanks for your support!
Once again, I'm behind on posting and finished 2 books before I got to the posting. Here goes...
The first one was Geraldine McCaughrean's Not the End of the World. It's a different look at the story of Noah and the Ark. If you're a strong believer in the Bible being absolutely, literally correct, I probably wouldn't recommend this one to you. It would just get your blood pressure up to unacceptable levels. On the other hand, if your reaction to the Noah story was to ask questions like: Why didn't the lions eat half of the other animals? Weren't they quickly up to their armpits in animal doodoo? If you wipe out all but one family, don't you need to violate another one of God's laws in order to go forth and multiply? then you'd probably enjoy this book. It tells the story from several people's (and occasional animals') perspectives, but primarily from the point of view of Timna, a daughter of Noah that is not named in the Bible. An unnamed daughter wouldn't be beyond the realm of possibilities in a time period in which women were essentially considered property rather than people. Timna tries to maintain her sanity, as well as her health, while stuck in an unsanitary, confined space, trying to hide two young stowaways from her father. I really enjoyed it. Judge for youself, whether it might be for you.
The other one I just finished was Daniel Ehrenhaft's 10 Things to Do Before I Die. At the beginning of a school break, Ted's friends, Mark and Nikki, decide that Ted needs to live a little, and start a list of 10 things he should do before he dies. Little did they know that shortly after that, the disgruntled fry cook in their favorite diner would spike the fries (which Ted loves and eats virtually every day) with a poison that kills you in 24 hours. They decide that it's now or never on the list. The first few items on the list involve alcohol and women, but they are actually handled quite well. On the surface, this sounds like it should be pretty depressing, but the book is well-written, with plenty of humor and likeable characters. I thoroughly enjoyed it! Not for younger middle-schoolers, but otherwise I'd highly recommend it, especially for reluctant readers, since it's a quick read that flows well.
Friday, March 07, 2008
Thursday, March 06, 2008
Wednesday, March 05, 2008
A big, big thank you to Coy Wire and Jim Launer from Most High Sports Complex for a wonderful program last night on sports nutrition. It ended up being an open Q&A session, which was good because the audience brought lots of great questions. Another big thank you to Frank Morrow, who came along with Jim and Coy. Frank has a bunch of degrees in various sports and nutrition disciplines including, if I remember correctly, a doctorate degree in nutrition from Harvard. So we not only had the brawn and the professional sports experience, but plenty of brainpower, too. It was a great evening! I just can't seem to wrap my little head around the fact the Coy essentially makes a living knocking really big people on the ground - he's just too darn nice! We're working out the details to try to bring both Jim and Coy back during Teen Summer Reading this summer, possibly to do a mini-training workshop. Watch this site for details!
Just finished David Lubar's Hidden Talents. I liked it! It's a quick read, and there's nothing in it that would make it inappropriate for younger middle school kids. It flows well, and you care about the characters. It would be easy to give away a little too much of this one, so I'll just give a brief description of the story. Martin has been kicked out of a couple of public schools and is being sent to an alternative boarding school. When he gets there, he finds himself rooming with Torchie, a kid who is accused of constantly starting fires. That can make for an uneasy first night in unfamiliar surroundings. Anyway, as Martin gets to know a handful of other kids at the school, he begins to think that there may be a whole lot more to their behavior than what it appears on the surface. This book ends with the wrapup of most of the storyline, but you can definitely see a whole lot more coming. I may actually get the sequel, True Talents. Those of you who know me know how rare it is for me to read more than one book in a series. I'll keep you posted. In the meantime, check out Hidden Talents. Enjoy!
Monday, March 03, 2008
Just finished John Green's An Abundance of Katherines. Wasn't too crazy about this one. I finished it, so it's not that it was bad, but it wasn't one that I was anxious to get back to between readings. It's the story of just-graduated, former child prodigy, Colin, and his slacker friend Hassan. Colin has only ever had girls named Katherine as a girlfriend. He has just been dumped by Katherine XIX, as he refers to her, and decides to go on a road trip to nowhere in particular with Hassan. They end up stopping in a tiny town in Tennessee. In an attempt to make his mark on the world, and fill the void left by Katherine XIX, Colin decides to try to mathematically model relationships, so that one could accurately predict the length of the relationship and who would be the dumper and dumpee. There's actually a fairly lengthy explanation of the math in the appendix. Because you're dealing with a child prodigy who is fluent in a number of languages, you learn a few good insults in languages that the people you hurl them at are unlikely to understand. There also some interesting bits of trivia in the footnotes, if you're into that sort of thing. I guess what knocked this book down a couple of points in my book, was that the author threw some mildly crude stuff in there, for no really good reason - just to try to be cool. Just because it seemed forced, it annoyed me. Otherwise, I think I would have liked this book more. All in all, not bad, just not on my list of favorites.