February 28, 2012

February 2012 Wrap-up / Blogging break

My new Nook cover. I love it!


Here's what I read in February: 


1. Room by Emma Donoghue
2. Fallout by Ellen Hopkins
3. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
4. Welcome Caller, This Is Chloe by Shelley Corriell
5. The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne   Valente
6. A Northern Light by Jennifer Donnelly
7. Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
8. The Game of Triumphs by Laura Powell
9. The Master of Misrule by Laura Powell (ARC)


Formats: 5 audiobooks, 2 eBooks, and 2 print books


Sources: 5 library books, 2 owned books, and 2 review copies


Challenges: I know it's only the beginning of the year, but I think I'm going to drop out of most of the blog challenges I signed up for. I don't want to feel like I have to read something just because it fits into a particular category. I always get excited about challenges in January and then regret signing up for them later! haha. So for now I'm just going to work on my own personal challenge of reading the books already on my shelves (or on my Nook).


Book clubs: Our staff book club read Room by Emma Donoghue. I had to miss the book club meeting so I could celebrate belated Valentine's Day with my hubby (he had to work on V-day), but I was really intrigued by the audiobook and couldn't stop listening. The FYA Book Club met at Orange Leaf to eat delicious frozen yogurt and discuss The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater. We liked this book much better than last month's pick!


Favorite book of the month: The Hunger Games! I've read the series before, but I'm re-reading them (as audiobooks this time around). I'm enjoying it just as much as I did the first time. 


Currently reading: I'm listening to Mockingjay and am still working on finishing the Tatiana and Alexander eBook. I like it, but I just haven't made time to sit down and finish it. 


Work: Our big event of the month was our annual Anti-Valentine's Day party (a fun alternative to red hearts and roses). We had around 60 teens show up. We kept them busy with games, crafts, and snacks. 


Blogging break: 
I think it's time for another extended blogging break for me. Blogging has started to feel less fun and more like work, so it's time for me to step back from my personal blog for awhile. I maintain the blogs at the library and review books for a teen librarian magazine, and I don't want to burn myself out by trying to keep up my personal blog too. I need to have some time to just read for fun instead of for a challenge or to write a review. I'll probably pop in every once in a while with a blog post, but I won't be keeping up a regular schedule for the near future. Thanks for understanding! 


How was your February? 

February 16, 2012

Library Blackout Poetry

One of the teen activities my library has have planned for this spring is blackout poetry - this is a simple activity that doesn't require much material or preparation in advance. We're doing this in April to celebrate National Poetry Month. I've seen several examples of blackout poetry online, and I decided to try it out myself and share my first attempt at it. 

You can use newspaper articles, book pages, or magazine/journal pages. Since February is Library Lovers Month, I decided I wanted to do a library themed blackout poem, so I picked up an old edition of College & Research Libraries News that I had in my office and opened it to a random page. 

I went through the page and underlined or circled words that I wanted to use to make a poem. 

I used a black marker to color in the rest of the page, leaving only the words in my poem visible. 
Here is my completed blackout poem (with a little added punctuation): 

Come to the library!
Our job - 
Value our patrons
Guide to resources, books
Promote content
Select
Ask questions
Provide information
Envision
Proceed
Explore
Think
Librarians: We're significant.

Ok, so it's a little cheesy, but I had fun doing it. A twist on the blackout poetry is to turn it into a work of art with color and designs. Here is one example that I found on Pinterest:


How cool is that? I would definitely frame this and hang it on my wall. 

Have you ever tried blackout poetry? 

February 15, 2012

Fallout by Ellen Hopkins

Fallout is the final volume of the Crank Trilogy. Crank and Glass followed Kristina, a meth addict, as her life spiraled out of control. Fallout takes place about 18 years in the future and is told from the point of view of Kristina’s three oldest children – Hunter, Autumn, and Summer. They all have different fathers and live in different homes.

Hunter, the oldest, is nineteen years old and working at a radio station. He struggles to accept why his mother left him to be raised by his grandparents, and he fights to make his relationship with his girlfriend work despite the mistakes he has made. A chance meeting with his real father complicates Hunter’s life even further. Autumn lives with her alcoholic grandfather and her aunt, who has always taken care of her. When her aunt gets married, she feels like she’s losing her closest family member, and begins to drink in order to drown her feelings and deal with her compulsive habits. Autumn’s drinking leads to some poor decisions, and she has to learn to face the consequences. Summer has moved from one foster home to another after suffering abuse from her father’s girlfriend. She doesn’t even know that she has biological brothers and sisters.

Hunter, Autumn, and Summer are all learning who they are and how their mother’s legacy has affected them. They each face difficult decisions and long to know their true family. This novel in verse is a heartbreaking but fascinating read. The three voices are unique, and they feel very authentic. The stories of Kristina’s children really highlight the pain and suffering that family members of addicts must endure. Thankfully, the ending provides readers with a little bit of hope that these children might break the cycle of addiction. 

February 14, 2012

Sh*t Book Reviewers Say

This cracks me up - just thought I'd share it with you! 

February 5, 2012

In My Mailbox (61)

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi at The Story SirenIt's a time for everyone to share what books they acquired over the course of the week. I'll share what I received in the mail, bought at bookstores, downloaded to my Nook/iPad, or picked up from the library.

From VOYA
The Master of Misrule by Laura Powell (ARC)
Fury's Fire by Lisa Papademetriou
Ghosts in the Fog by Samantha Seiple (finished copy of a book I've already reviewed for the magazine. Thanks!)

From Harper Collins: 
Paperback of The Pioneer Woman: Black Heels to Tractor Wheels by Ree Drummond


In addition to getting these wonderful books in the mail, I also won all of Heather Wardell's books for finishing the 111 in '11 contest hosted by Jennie at Life is Short. Read Fast


What's in your mailbox this week? 

February 3, 2012

Across the Universe by Beth Revis

Description: 
"Seventeen-year-old Amy joins her parents as frozen cargo aboard the vast spaceship Godspeed and expects to awaken on a new planet, three hundred years in the future. Never could she have known that her frozen slumber would come to an end fifty years too soon and that she would be thrust into the brave new world of a spaceship that lives by its own rules.

Amy quickly realizes that her awakening was no mere computer malfunction. Someone - one of the few thousand inhabitants of the spaceship - tried to kill her. And if Amy doesn't do something soon, her parents will be next.

Now, Amy must race to unlock Godspeed's hidden secrets. But out of her list of murder suspects, there's only one who matters: Elder, the future leader of the ship and the love she could never have seen coming." 


I'm not usually a fan of stories set in space, but the concept for this book stood out to me as original and very interesting. The dystopian world building was fantastic. I could really imagine this fictional ship's society in all its intricate detail. It brought up a lot of questions about power, leadership, and trust in authority. I enjoyed getting both Amy and Elder's perspectives as alternating narrators. I connected more with Amy, but Elder kind of creeped me out! I didn't really feel a strong sense of chemistry between them as their relationship developed, so that was a bit disappointing. As more and more secrets of the ship were revealed, I became more intrigued. The ending was left unresolved, so I'm really curious to find out what happens in the next book of the series. 


February 2, 2012

Library Love (18)

I noticed that when I talk about libraries with friends and family members, they often say, "I didn't know libraries offered that!" Library Love is a feature in which I share many different reasons for people to use and love their local library. Some things I mention may be obvious to those of you who routinely use your public library, but others may be new to you. Either way I hope that this feature inspires you to visit and support your local library! 


18. Research your family history. 

If your library has subscriptions to databases such as Ancestry.com and Heritage Quest, you can use these resources to get started with researching your family history. In these databases, you'll find historical maps, the Social Security death index, free chat forums, U.S. Federal Census records, family and local history books/periodicals, and much more. 

Some libraries have a designated Genealogy Librarian, while others do not. Either way, a librarian should be able help you to organize your research and point you in the right direction toward more sources of information. 

Have you ever used library resources to research your family history? 

February 1, 2012

Wide Awake by David Levithan

In the not too distant future, a gay Jewish man named Abraham Stein has been elected President of the United States. Sixteen-year-old Duncan, who is also gay and Jewish, is thrilled. He and his friends have helped support the election campaign because they believe in the President’s vision of tolerance and community. Unfortunately, the governor of Kansas decides that the results of his state’s election are invalid, and therefore the other presidential candidate (who just so happens to belong to the same political party as the governor) should be the rightful winner of the election.  Duncan and his boyfriend Jimmy join in with other Stein supporters and travel to Kansas to protest the governor’s decision and stand up for what they believe in.  

This is a coming of age story about a teen exploring his political beliefs and experiencing the ups and downs of first love.  The characters are easy to empathize with, and the subject matter is thought-provoking. The message of love, respect, and acceptance is inspiring, but it does feel a little preachy at times. It was nice to read a novel set in the future with an optimistic tone for once! 



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