Wednesday, February 27, 2008

librarything vs. goodreads

Is anyone else really bummed that librarything costs money? I really like their site and I like their features/widgets better than goodreads but I use goodreads because it is FREE. I have 200 books on my librarything account here but after that you have to pay. I keep waiting for them to announce that they've done away with the subscription rate but I think I ought not hold my breath. :(

Don't Call Me Ishmael

Ok usually I don't complain about non-literary elements in a book but I have to say that I really dislike the cover for Don't Call Me Ishmael by Michael Gerard Bauer. The whale with the spring on it is never discussed in the book. I realize the whale part has tie-ins to Moby Dick but why does it say Ahoy Sucker! on it?

Digression over. This book reminded me a lot of The Wednesday Wars which I loved. But this one just didn't have the spark for me that WW did. I can see a high school class using this and comparing themes with Moby Dick but are there really high school classes that read MD?

Another bothersome part for me is all the bullying. I don't have personal bullying memories from my own middle/high school years but I knew a few tiresome folk who liked to nag others. Unfortunately, I've yet to read a YA novel that really nails 'the bully'. Too many times they are over-the-top in my opinion and this book was no exception. The bully, Barry Bagsley was very predictable and unrealistic.

I liked Scobie...he was a great character. I liked to picture him "screwing up his face" as Bauer put it. It even made me flinch a few times.

Don't Call Me Ishmael made it onto my to-read pile because it was picked as one of the top 20 for the Thumb's Up! award this year in Michigan. I have to say I think there are many stronger contenders in the bunch.

Monday, February 25, 2008


Chosen is the first book in Ted Dekker's newest Circle series book. The series is called The Lost Books. My guess is that if you have read any of the other Circle books, this one will make a lot more sense. But I don't think it's imperative because I got along just fine.

It follows 4 teens as they set out on a quest. Their quest becomes much larger than anyone could ever imagine. They encounter the Horde, the Shataiki bats and a few Roush (good, white bats).

Fans of Lord of the Rings and/or Eragon will be pleased with this new series. There aren't extensive battle scenes but I'm sure there will be later on in the series when the huge Horde (orc-like creatures) encounter the Forest Guard (the good guys).

I don't know anyone else who has read this one yet, so I am anxious for some feedback. All in all, I thought it was pretty darn good.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

The Mystery of the Fool and the Vanisher

David and Ruth Ellwand have put together a very believable graphic novella with The Mystery of the Fool and the Vanisher. I received this as an ARC from Candlewick just today at the library and I finished it before we opened the doors. It is only 100 pages and is filled with photos both by the author and by the character Isaac Wilde.

Set mostly in 1889 the book follows a photographer as he documents an archeological dig. Strange things begin to happen and rocks with holes seem to play an important role. Looking through these rocks affords you a look into the world of pixies.

I love the use of photographs in the book. It's a very exciting mystery. I can't wait to hear what others have to say about it!

Monday, February 18, 2008

Fun Program Idea

This would be a load of fun to do with a group of teens. It's called "CD Cover Meme".

I got the instructions from the YALSA blog here.

First, you go to the wikipedia random articles page here.

The name of the article is the name of your band.

Second, you go to the random list of quotations on here.

The name of your album is taken from the last four words of the final quotation on the page.

Third, you go to the interesting photos from the last 7 days page on Flickr here.

You use the third image as your album cover.

Lastly, you use Photoshop or an online image editor like Picnik or Splashup to create your album cover with the above ingredients.

Here is my creation:

Saturday, February 16, 2008


Laura Weiss has outdone herself with her second YA novel called Leftovers. I read Such a Pretty Girl and was pretty unhappy with it. I thought the characters were a little far-fetched and the storyline was a bit of a stretch. But Leftovers is fantastic!

The 2-person narration style is well suited for this novel. It is a story of 2 girls from opposite parts of society. But they are best friends and their friendship drags them through the mud and then some. What they endure is hard to imagine yet believable. I think Weiss's characters tend to be a bit stereotypical but other than that, I have no complaints.

Leftovers is a great mystery that brings you through a few years in the lives of two strong young women. I've read a few other reviews of this book and it sounds like lots of people are reading it in one sitting. Maybe it will be on the quick picks list? One can hope.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

2008 MLA Thumbs Up! Top Twenty

Because a coworker is on the committe, I got to see the list before they published the ballots for the '08 MLA Teen Thumbs Up! Award.

I made a bookshelf of the top twenty on my goodreads account here.

Check it out.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Another story about my dog

Well my dog is now famous. Sort of. His picture graced the pages of the Lowell Ledger since my mother-in-law sent in his picture when the paper asked for pictures of cute dogs. The story is hard to read but it's about how I told my storytime kids that Foster likes to read (he's pictured above with his paw on Where the Wild Things Are) and the only problem the kids saw with that was "But how does he turn the pages?"

And just because Fost is so darn cute, he might even end up in the annual report my library system publishes every year :)

Monday, February 11, 2008

The Dangerous Book for Dogs

I took a break from YA books and read The Dangerous Book for Dogs by Rex & Sparky. It is a very enjoyable read for dog lovers written from the perspective of two dogs.

My favorite part was called "A Special Note on Fake Throws" where the dogs address those people who find it funny to act like they are throwing their dog a ball but just do the wind up with no release. I agree with the dogs that this is mean and should be avoided at all costs.

Above is a picture of my dog, Foster reading another one of his favorites, Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

A Room on Lorelei Street

After reading Mary Pearson's book The Adoration of Jenna Fox and loving it, I decided to go back and read her previous YA book, A Room on Lorelei Street.

Boy am I glad I went back to read it! What a great book. I can't think of a single flaw in this title. Zoe Beth Buckman is a strong young woman dealing with incredibly rough (though believable) circumstances.

So many YA titles have great characters but their circumstances are often far-fetched.

I will be handing this one off to other strong young women as often as I can.