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Archive for December, 2010

Great Winter Reads

Posted by Kristi on December 20, 2010

Looking for something new to read over the holiday break? Why not celebrate the snowy weather with one of these great winter-themed reads? From a sweet Christmas romance to a creepy mystery on the ice to a holiday classic, there’s something here for everyone. Unless, of course, you’re a Grinch who hates the snow and cold, in which case maybe my next post of book suggestions should have a tropical theme.

Dash and Lily’s Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan

I just finished reading this new book from the authors of Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist, and I think I like it even better than their first.  It’s a great Christmas romance featuring two teens stuck by themselves for the holidays in New York City.  Lily starts everything off when she leaves a red notebook full of challenges on a shelf in her favorite bookstore, The Strand.  Dash finds the notebook and decides to take her up on her dares, adding a few of his own for her to complete.  With that, they’re off, passing the notebook back and forth all over the city, enlisting friends, relatives, and complete strangers in their battle of dares.  But what will happen when the two finally meet face to face?

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

If you’re really looking to get into the Christmas spirit, then maybe you should try dipping into one of the best-loved holiday classics ever.  You’ve probably seen at least one of the umpteen movie adaptations of this one, but have you ever actually sat down to read the original 1843 story?  If not, then maybe it’s time to join Ebenezer Scrooge, Tiny Tim, and the Ghosts of Christmases Past, Present, and Yet to Come in this celebration of the season.

As Simple as Snow by Gregory Galloway

Maybe you’re not so much the bright and cheery, joy-to-the-world type.  If that’s the case, then you might like this creepy winter mystery.  Told by an unnamed high school boy, this is the story of what happened when he met Anna, a new girl and part of the school’s Goth crowd.  Anna is completely unlike anyone the narrator has ever known, and she soon draws him in with her wordplay, obscure facts, and weird hobbies.  Then Anna disappears, leaving behind nothing except a dress placed neatly near a hole in the frozen river, and a string of unanswered questions.  Now the narrator, determined to find out what happened to Anna, must retrace the five months of their acquaintance, looking for clues to her disappearance.

Let it Snow by John Green, Maureen Johnson, and Lauren Myracle

This collection of three interconnected stories by three of the best YA authors around takes place during a massive snowstorm on Christmas Eve.  In Maureen Johnson’s tale, after Jubilee’s train becomes snowbound, she seeks shelter at a nearby Waffle House, along with a squad of hyper cheerleaders. In John Green’s story, a guy summons three friends to the Waffle House, where the combination of cheerleaders and cheesy waffles prompts big realizations. Finally, in Lauren Myracle’s entry, self-absorbed Addie atones for cheating on her boyfriend (who was stuck on Jubilee’s train) by proving she can be an angel for someone else, even if that someone is only a pet pig.

The White Darkness by Geraldine McCaughrean

You might think we’ve been having some nasty winter weather lately, but wait until you read this 2008 Printz Award winner, set in Antarctica.  Sym Wates has long been obsessed with the Antarctic.  She even considers herself in love with Captain Lawrence “Titus” Oates, a member of Scott’s doomed expedition to the South Pole who died more than 90 years ago.  So when her uncle Victor offers to take her on a dream trip to Antarctica, she jumps at the chance.  But her uncle has an obsession of his own – one that will turn Sym’s dream vacation into a nightmare and threaten her life.

East by Edith Pattou

If you like fairy tale retellings, then this is the winter read for you.  This retelling of East of the Sun and West of the Moon is the story of Rose, the last born of seven children to a family living in a tiny village in northern Norway.  In Rose’s community, children are believed to inherit the qualities of the direction in which they were born.  Rose was a North-born baby, said to be wild, unpredictable, and likely to travel far from home.  Rose’s mother has always told her that she was born of the safe and obedient East, trying to keep her home-bound, but when an enormous white bear appears on the family’s doorstep asking Rose to come away with him, she agrees, and sets off on the adventure of her life.

Wintersmith by Terry Pratchett

In this third book of the Tiffany Aching series, young witch-in-training Tiffany accidentally draws the amorous attentions of the Wintersmith towards her.  Now he wants her to stay forever in his gleaming, frozen world.  Tiffany needs the help of the legendary witch Granny Weatherwax and her old friends the Wee Free Men if she’s going to survive until spring.  Because if she doesn’t, spring will never come and the world will be stuck forever in winter.

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A little holiday treat for you…

Posted by Kristi on December 14, 2010

Check out this classic video from 1977, in which English rocker David Bowie drops by American crooner Bing Crosby’s house to talk about Christmas traditions and sing in one of the strangest duets that somehow works that I’ve ever seen.  Enjoy!
 

 
And for extra holiday goodness, try the cartoon update on the song offered by comedians Jason Segal and Jack Black.
 

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Green Christmas: Recycled Holiday Crafts

Posted by Kristi on December 3, 2010

Does the holiday season bring out the crafter inside you like it does for me?  If so, then join us at the library next Monday, December 6, from 4 to 5:30 at the Teen Craft Club.  We’ll be making beautiful, unique ornaments, using recycled plastic water bottles and burnt-out lightbulbs.  You won’t believe what creative things you can turn old trash into!

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New Science Fiction

Posted by Kristi on December 1, 2010

Brain Jack by Brian Falker 

In the near future, neuro-headsets have replaced computer keyboards – just slip on a headset, and it’s the Internet at the speed of thought. For teen hacker Sam Wilson, a headset is a must. But as he becomes familiar with the new technology, he has a terrifying realization. If anything on his computer is vulnerable to a hack, what happens when his mind is linked to the system? Could consciousness itself be hijacked? Before he realizes what’s happened, Sam’s incursion against the world’s largest telecommunications company leads him to the heart of the nation’s cyberdefense network and brings him face to face with a terrifying and unforeseen threat.

The Unidentified by Rae Mariz 

Katey (aka Kid) goes to school in the Game—a mall converted into a “school” run by corporate sponsors. As the students play their way through the levels, they are also creating products and being used for market research by the sponsors, who are watching them 24/7 on video cameras. Kid has a vague sense of unease but doesn’t question this existence until one day she discovers an anonymous group that calls itself the Unidentified. Intrigued by their counterculture ideas and enigmatic leader, Kid is drawn into the group. Then Kid decides to do something even bigger—something that could change the Game forever.

Monsters of Men by Patrick Ness 

As a world-ending war surges around them, Todd and Viola face monstrous decisions. The indigenous Spackle, thinking and acting as one, have mobilized to avenge their murdered people. Ruthless human leaders prepare to defend their factions at all costs, even as a convoy of new settlers approaches. The consequences of each action, each word, are unspeakably vast: To follow a tyrant or a terrorist? To save the life of the one you love most, or thousands of strangers? To believe in redemption, or assume it is lost? Becoming adults amid the turmoil, Todd and Viola question all they have known, racing through horror and outrage toward a shocking finale.

Virals by Kathy Reichs 

Tory Brennan, niece of acclaimed forensic anthropologist Temperance Brennan, is the leader of a band of teenage “sci-philes” who live on an island off the coast of South Carolina. When the group rescues a dog caged for medical testing on a nearby island, they are exposed to a strain of canine parvovirus that changes their lives forever. As the friends discover their heightened senses and animal-quick reflexes, they must combine their scientific curiosity with their newfound physical gifts to solve a cold-case murder that has suddenly become very hot – if they can stay alive long enough to catch the killer’s scent.

Wired by Robin Wasserman 

One year ago, Lia Kahn died. A few days later, she woke up. She had a new body: Mechanical, unfeeling, inhuman. She had a new family: Mechs like her, who didn’t judge her for what she could no longer be. She had a new life, one that would last forever. At least, it was supposed to. But now everything Lia thought she knew has turned out to be a lie; everyone she thought she loved has been stolen away. And someone is trying to get rid of the mechs, once and for all. Lia will risk everything to save herself and the people she can’t live without.

Empty by Suzanne Weyn 

It’s the near future – the very near future – and the fossil fuels are running out. No gas. No oil. Which means no driving. No heat. Supermarkets are empty. Malls have shut down. Life has just become more local than we ever knew it could be.  Nobody expected the end to come this fast. And in the small town of Spring Valley, decisions that once seemed easy are quickly becoming matters of life and death. There is hope – there has to be hope – just there are also sacrifices that need to be made, and a whole society that needs to be rethought. Teens like Nicki, Tom, and Leila may find what they need to survive. But their lives are never going to be the same again.

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