Halloween is just around the corner, so I’ve packed the library’s display shelves with creepy reads (and listens) to send a chill down your spine. Highlights include a great selection of graphic novels and nonfiction, such as an illustrated Macbeth by the great Gareth Hinds; Emily Carroll’s spooky and gorgeous fairy tale collection, Through the Woods; and the weird and wonderful The Faceless Ghost and Other Macabre Tales from Japan by Sean Michael Wilson and Michiru Morikawa. If you’re looking for an audiobook, check out The Diviners by Libba Bray, or dive into the history and sociology of cadavers with Mary Roach’s Stiff. Ready to take on a classic? Step into the world of Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood or Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. Don’t forget your flashlight!
Two completely unrelated suggestions for today. The first is a series that looks like a lot of fun!
The Cold Cereal series follows the adventures of Scottish Play Doe, known as Scott, a leprechaun named Mick on the run from the Goodco Cereal Company, and their friends, the twins, Erno and Emily. Each book pits the four of them against the evil Goodco Cereal Company, run by a fairy named Nimue, who are trying to used breakfast foods to take over the world. These are by the same author of my perennial favorite The True Meaning of Smekday, which was the basis for the movie Home.
Since there’s a big good versus evil story out today, I thought I’d highlight a book that’s a little more ambiguous about good and evil. Victor and Eli were college friends who stumbled on an idea…near-death experiences imbue people with extra-ordianary powers. What starts out as purely theoretical research quickly moves into experimental trial. And Victor winds up in jail. Ten years later, Victor is out of jail and wants to stop his old friend. I read this over the summer and could not put it down.
And a package arrived yesterday afternoon containing most of the Morris and Non-fiction Award nominees for this year.
Happy Halloween! I love this time of year. Horror movies. Creepy stories. As someone who likes a good fabricated scare…I’m in my element. So, for those of you who are like me, and like a good creepy story, I’ve got two new books for you.
I read The Nest by Kenneth Oppel in about an hour. Because I couldn’t put it down. Because if I did, my heart my have exploded from the suspense and anxiety. I could hardly breathe while reading this story. The story is about a boy named Steve who has been working on dealing with his severe anxiety. Then his little brother is born with serious health issues that have his parents constantly worried. Steve has always had nightmares. But suddenly, his dreams are more calming and soothing. Until they’re not. There are some illustrations in the book by Jon Klassen who does adorable children’s books like This Is Not My Hat and I Want My Hat Back. His illustrations for this book. Terrifying. I may never be able to give a child one of his books again.
The second book is probably more for the high schoolers. The blurb on the cover of Daughters Unto Devils by Amy Lukavics says, “Imagine Stephen King writing Little House on the Pairie” (Cat Winters). I really can’t add anything beyond that except that I finished this book before going to be and had to pick up a light and funny book to calm myself enough to go to sleep.
And, if you’re like me, and enjoy creepy things, try looking up the singer Jonathan Coulton and his song “Creepy Doll.”
Happy Halloween. And if anyone wants to share their Reese’s Cups on Monday, you know where I am.
So, for those of you who prefer reality reading, I have three new nonfiction selections for you. All three of these books were nominated for Best Nonfiction by YALSA.
James L. Swanson’s “The President Has Been Shot!” is an account of the assassination of John F. Kennedy. He starts with an overview of Kennedy’s life and his political impact. In the second half of the book, Swanson gives a detailed account of November 21st through the 25th. The book is packed with photos, diagrams, and resources for anyone who wants to learn more. And this isn’t Swanson’s first foray into presidential assassinations. He also wrote Manhunt: The 12-Day Chase for Lincoln’s Killer about the search for John Wilkes Booth (which is also available in the library).
Imprisoned: The Betrayal of Japanese Americans During World War II looks at the treatment of Japanese Americans after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. Author Martin Sandler looks at what life was like for the families sent to relocation camps. He includes a lot of pictures and other artifacts including poems written by people in the camps.
Finally, there’s the Nonfiction Award winner, The Nazi Hunters by Neal Bascomb. This is the story of the hunt for Adolf Eichmann. I haven’t read it yet, but it looks like there’s a lot about spy craft, team work, and survival.
(image via Flicker user jorel314)
Friday is Pi Day! The day loved by math geeks and baked goods aficionados alike! How better to add to the celebration than with some books that celebrate pi?
First up…I mentioned this one last week: John Green’s An Abundance of Katherines. Colin has been dumped by 19 girls named Katherine. So, as a math geek, he wants to figure out how to create a formula to understand relationships and predict from the outset who is going to dump whom. Might not sound like pi is involved, but there is a place in the book where Colin explains the sentence he uses a a mnemonic to remember pi to about 99 places. Could help you take the title from Matt K! (And just to add, this was a Printz Honor book in 2007.)
The second book is Clare Vanderpool’s Navigating Early, a Printz Honor book this year. I’m not very far into it, so I can’t tell you much more than this: it’s post WWII and Jack’s mother has just died. Now Jack has been sent from Kansas to a boarding school in Maine so he can be closer to his military father. Eventually he will meet a kid named Early. And Early has a fascination with pi. I’m just on chapter two, but already they’re setting the ground for pi being integral to the story, “What is the holy grail of mathematics? Something that is so mysterious as to be considered by many almost miraculous. Something woven throughout the world of mathematics. A number that is nothing less than never-ending. Eternal” (p.16).
And this year there’s a bonus…Spirit Week. Those of you going to Florida will also need some reading materials for the plane and the van rides, right?
I’ve been reading books for the YALSA Best of the Best Challenge. These are all books that received some type of recognition from YALSA awards committees for being outstanding in their category. The two books I have to suggest today are ones that are on that list.
Prudence Shen and Faith Erin Hicks paired up on the graphic novel Nothing Can Possibly Go Wrong and landed on the Great Graphic Novels list. This is a fun story pitting the robotics club against the cheerleaders for school funding. And the school’s star basketball player is caught in between (since his best friend is the head of the robotics club and the head cheerleader is his ex-girlfriend). When things get out of hand, both groups lose any chance at getting funded. So the come up with an alternate plan…robot cage fighting…on Thanksgiving. You can’t see how that might go badly, can you?
(Faith Erin Hicks is one of my new favorites…she has lots of web comics that are worth checking out.)
On a completely different note is Sally Gardner’s Maggot Moon, a Printz Honor book. I’m not even sure how to describe this particular book. Standish Treadwell has two different colored eyes and a learning disability. He and his grandfather live under an oppressive government (could this be somewhere in Europe if Germany had won WWII?). Standish’s best friend has disappeared. A moon man has appeared. And Standish may very well topple the image the government has worked to hard to cultivate. It’s a strange little story, but definitely interesting.
By the way…if anyone is interested in doing our own best of the best challenge, please let me know and we’ll come up with our own parameters (you can also go to The Hub and sign up to do the challenge yourself).
And finally, many of the awards lists ask for input from the public. If you’ve read a new graphic novel that you think should be considered for Great Graphic Novels, come and tell me and we’ll submit it to the committee.