Today’s featured books are part of a series that I discovered through the Sync Audiobook program. Either last summer or the summer before, one of the books included in that program was the first in this series. And I LOVED it. Then someone donated the second book to our library, so I decided it was time to get them all.
The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place series tells the story of three feral children. They had been left in the woods (by whom, we don’t really know) and were presumable raised by wolves. One assumes they were raised by wolves because when they are discovered and brought into Ashton Place to live, they behave very much like wolves and communicate through barks, growls, and howls. Miss Penelope Lumley is hired as their governess and must try to “civilize” them.
Each book puts Miss Lumley and her three wolfish charges in situations which challenge the children’s new-found human behaviors and which present a mysterious problem for them.
I’ve only read (well, listened to) the first book, The Mysterious Howling, but it was awesome…especially if you’ve ever wanted to ditch the fancy clothes and run wild through a stuffy party. I assume the rest of the books will be just as much fun to read. We have the first four, which include The Hidden Gallery, The Unseen Guest, and The Interrupted Tale. A quick look on Goodreads tells me there’s a fifth book out now (The Umapped Sea) and a sixth book in the works.
If you’ve been through my Info Skills class, you know that one of the things I emphasize is using good search terms. Here is my librarian confession. When ordering one of today’s books, I had a total search term fail. I had read excellent reviews of the book and jotted down the title. When it came time to order it, there was one problem. The title of the book is X. And I hadn’t bothered to write down the name of the author. Luckily, I remembered she was Malcolm X’s daughter, and just needed to DuckDuckGo her (because you know I don’t use Google) to get her name.
So, Ilyasah Shabazz, daughter of Malcom X, is the author of today’s two books. One is a memoir, Growing Up X. Ms. Shabazz was only 3 when her father was assassinated. She grew up in a house with her mother and 5 sisters. This is the story of her life, and particularly her relationship with her mother.
Not to leave her father unaccounted for, Ms. Shabazz’s most recent book X is a novel based on her father’s childhood and teen years. Malcolm Little’s father was murdered and his mother was sent away. No one took him seriously when he said he wanted to be a lawyer, so he stopped trying. He starts down a path that soon becomes out of control. X is available in print and as an MP3 CD. And, maybe, if you pay attention, you’ll soon hear how you can own your own audio copy of this book.
For me, there are two things I like best about my smartphone. First, I like being able to look up answers whenever I want. (That’s not surprising is it?) Second, I like having a camera on hand all of the time.
Continuing to look at “fun” apps for the summer, I tend to gravitate towards photo and video apps rather than game apps. This week I discovered one called Fyuse. This is essentially a “spatial photography” app. Once you load Fyuse and create an account (either with your email or through Facebook or Twitter), you can start taking pictures. Except, these are not your standard pictures, they’re 360 degree pictures.
Here’s how it works. You turn on your camera and there’s a “Press and Hold” button at the bottom. You press and hold that (surprise!) and then press one of the arrows so Fyuse knows which direction you’re going. Then you slowly walk around your subject or move your camera in that direction. When you’re done, release the Press and Hold and click on your thumbnail. It may take a little while to process the image, but when it’s done, you will now have an interactive picture. Bring the picture up to full screen and either tilt your phone or swipe across the picture and you’ll get a view from different sides.
It’s very, very cool. I’m going to waste a lot of time and a lot of memory on this.
Fyuse is free and is available for iOS and in Beta for Android. Even though the Android version is in Beta, I didn’t have any problems with it (well, except that my first picture was probably too large and was taking forever to process, so I just quit the app and started again).
I’m a little more clam this week, not shouting. But it’s still cool and fun. And especially because I LOVE one of this week’s books.
Orphans and Charles Dickens are the themes that tie this week‘s books together. The classic book is Charles Dickens’s Great Expectations. There’s a lot of cultural knowledge in this one. Being able to understand references to Pip and Miss Havisham make this worth reading. Some people even think it’s a good story. (I, however, am not one of those people…I’m still a little ticked off at Mrs. Suppa for making me waste precious summer hours reading this in 9th grade.)
Great Expectations is paired with Terry Pratchett’s very funny novel Dodger, in which Pratchett imagines Charles Dickens meeting the inspiration for his character The Artful Dodger. I love this book and have listened to the audio and it is incredibly well done.
Both books can be downloaded until next Wednesday at Sync.
While I’m out learning all of the ins and outs of Google (and Mrs. Falcone and I have lots of stuff to bring back to you), Patrick B graciously offered to handle New Book Wednesday for me. Today’s book, Phineas Gage: A Gruesome but True Story About Brain Science, is an older book, but it’s brand new to our library.
From the publisher: “Phineas Gage was truly a man with a hole in his head. Phineas, a railroad construction foreman, was blasting rock near Cavendish, Vermont, in 1848 when a thirteen-pound iron rod was shot through his brain. Miraculously, he survived to live another eleven years and become a textbook case in brain science. At the time, Phineas Gage seemed to completely recover from his accident. He could walk, talk, work, and travel, but he was changed. Gage “was no longer Gage,” said his Vermont doctor, meaning that the old Phineas was dependable and well liked, and the new Phineas was crude and unpredictable. His case astonished doctors in his day and still fascinates doctors today. What happened and what didn’t happen inside the brain of Phineas Gage will tell you a lot about how your brain works and how you act human.”
YES, I KNOW I’M YELLING, BUT I’M REALLY EXCITED ABOUT THIS!!!!
Sync has started their summer audiobook program *really* early this year. For those of you who haven’t heard of this before, every Thursday, from today through August 13th, the fantastic folks over at Sync will make two audiobooks available for download. Typically one is a contemporary YA book and the other is a classic book that fits thematically. Each set of books is available for download for only one week, so from Thursday to Wednesday (but once you download them, the books are yours to keep).
The first set of books is up and available today through May 13th. The contemporary book is Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl. The classic book is Daphne duMaurier’s Rebecca, which is one of my all time favorites.
For the full list of books that are available this year, pickup a flyer from in front of Mrs. Neft’s desk or go to Sync’s list. You can listen to excerpts from each book here. On the website you can also sign up for text or email alerts to remind you to download each week’s book. You can also “like” them on Facebook.
To download the books, you’ll need the Overdrive app (desktop, phone, tablet apps area all available here). You’ll also need to enter your name and email address for each title you download. I’ve been downloading books through this program for 4 years now and I don’t get junk mail from it.
I loved the cover of John Corey Whaley’s Noggin from the first time I saw it. It’s a little hard to see in the picture, but it’s like someone took the body of one action figure, removed its head and replaced it with the head from an entirely different action figure. I totally did not do stuff like that what I was kid. Nor did any of my friends.
But, it’s the perfect picture for this story. Travis Ray Coates is sixteen and he’s dying. That’s when someone offers to cryogenically preserve his head until science catches up and makes a full-body transplant possible. Turns out, that’ll be five years later. So, for all of the world, five years have passed. For Travis, he went to sleep and then he woke up. It was only like a nap to him. He’s still 16, but the rest of the world has aged five years. So not only does Travis need to adjust to a new, healthy, and totally fit body, he’s got to navigate a whole new life.
I also have this available on CD if you’d prefer the audio book!