Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Cosplay Party

Our last Anime Meeting featured a Cosplay Party. Look at the great characters and skits.

Our winners were Baily Scribner, Catherine King and Saskia Spector.
Our name that character winner was Courtney Senior

View slideshow

Monday, October 24, 2011

What did you think? Once upon a Time . . .

TPIB: Once Upon a Time
upon a time, there were tales . . . and today, those tales are being re-told. With a twist.

One of my very favorite fairy tales retold is Enchanted by Orson Scott Card. It is a retelling of Sleeping Beauty; but what I really love about it is the way he portrays the magic of womanhood. What we call women's intuition he calls magic and as he weaves his world you know that you are a part of something special.

Some of my other favorites include Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine (great book, horrible horrible movie) and Beastly by Alex Flinn (ditto). It is fun to read these twisted takes on old stories and see how they can be re-imagined.

And how can you overlook the always fantastic The Princess Bride by William Goldman. And the movie, a perennial classic that still should work with the teen audience . . .

The Grandson: A book?
Grandpa: That's right. When I was your age, television was called books. And this is a special book. It was the book my father used to read to me when I was sick, and I used to read it to your father. And today I'm gonna read it to you.
The Grandson: Has it got any sports in it?
Grandpa: Are you kidding? Fencing, fighting, torture, revenge, giants, monsters, chases, escapes, true love, miracles...
The Grandson: Doesn't sound too bad. I'll try to stay awake.
Grandpa: Oh, well, thank you very much, very nice of you. Your vote of confidence is overwhelming.

Just, brilliant. (More The Princess Bride quotes at IMDB)

Soon there will be 2 shows debuting on TV that focus on retelling classic fairy tales: Once Upon a Time and Grimm.

The zeitgeist is right to start pushing those teen fiction tales, old and new, by making displays and doing programming tie ins.

There is a pretty good list of fairy tales old and new at GoodReads.


Wednesday, October 19, 2011

"What's the deal with zombies anyway?"

Is this why you like or don't like zombie books?

Right now the dead have risen - both from the grave and in popularity. There is no denying that right now zombies are, erm, hot? Sure technically I guess they should be cold, being dead and all, but as far as pop culture trends go - they are HOT. World War Z by Max Brooks is being made into a movie starring Brad Pitt as we speak. Two nights ago the second season premiere of The Walking Dead aired. Zombies have made an appearance on almost every Disney show (trust me, I watch a lot of Disney so I know). In fact right now you can go play a Wizards of Waverly Place zombie themed game (Zombies on the 13th Floor) at Disney.com.

On Saturday, October 15th, I went to the Dallas Zombie Walk and saw zombies of all ages - from babies to teens to grown ups - walk the streets of downtown Dallas, some of them going all out in their costumes. That night they showed a sneak peek of The Walking Dead. And this month the Dallas Children's Theater is doing an all teen production of Night of the Living Dead, which I think is immensely cool. And libraries everywhere are having zombie proms and zombie programs. My library is even having a zombie themed event next Monday, October 24th. And there is no shortage of awesome zombie themed reading available at your library.
I have a tweenager, however, that is not necessarily on board the zombie train. So yesterday she asked me the question I am sure that is on a lot of people's minds: What's the deal with you and zombies anyway? (Note: zombie author Jonathan Maberry has a panel discussion up on his website that also attempts to answer this question.) And I wanted to give her a good answer and it went something like this:

What I like about zombie fiction (and I think it applies to dystopian fiction, too) is the underlying discussion of good versus evil. And the question we must all ask ourselves: who do you become in the face of extreme adversity. After a brief discussion of what adversity is (she is a young tweenager), I think she started to understand. You see, it is easy for those of us who are basically good people to do good when life is easy. The question, however, seems to be will we continue to be good in the face of extreme circumstances? Who would you, or I, become if we woke up one morning and found that there were only a few 1,000 people left on the planet and we had to spend our days scavenging for food and water while trying not to be eaten by zombies? When the tables are turned, do we still choose to be good people? Does what it means to be a good person change in these types of situations?

For example, in the second season premiere of The Walking Dead (spoiler warning!!!!), our merry band of survivors find themselves stuck on a freeway surrounded by deserted cars and decide to search them to find the necessities of life. One of the characters feels uncomfortable with this proposition because it is "grave robbing." In the movie Zombieland, the survivors often go in and "rob" stores. But the rules have changed. It's like the age old question posed in Les Miserables, is it okay to steal to feed your family. But pushed to the extreme, is it even really stealing if everyone else is dead? (To be honest, I didn't really mind the survival need to rob the store, but I was bothered by the way the trashed everything in it - although I did understand the extreme stress and release that it conveyed).

Zombie fiction (and again, dystopian fiction) is a great spring board for discussions of ethics and compassion and humanity. If my tweenager woke up one morning a zombie, what would be the compassionate thing to do? Could I be the one to pull the trigger and keep her from becoming a mindless need to feed motivated monster? (See Rot & Ruin for a great discussion of monsters vs. men.) Can we, as educators, draw parallels between this concept and discussions regarding quality of life and euthanasia and end of life decisions? Why yes, yes we can. And you need look no further than your zombie and dystopian fiction for discussions on violence and society, human psychology, government structure, etc. There is rich discussion and thought in zombie and dystopian fiction, all packaged within some fun, tense thrills and chills.

And I think apocalyptic fiction is so hot right now in part because, well, it often feels culturally like we are in fact on the verge of an apocalypse, probably more so to teens. You can't help but read every day in the news a variety of stressful news stories: we are on the verge of economic collapse, we are on the verge of environmental collapse, we are on the verge of overpopulation and a deficit of adequate resources. These are stressful and scary times for adults, they must be tremendously overwhelming for kids and teens. Even if they don't understand it all, they can't help but notice that they are living in a climate of fear and stress. And many of them are being personally affected as their parents are being laid off at worse, or at least tightening the proverbial belts and life is being lived much differently. As a nation our spirits are worn out, and we sometimes must appear as spiritual zombies just going through the motions of life as we wait for the next shoe to drop.

Many of these themes come up in teen fiction. Scarcity of resources. Check. Environmental disaster. Check. Good vs. Evil. Check. Government corruption. Check.

One of my favorite series in the zombie fiction is Rot & Ruin by Jonathan Maberry. Don't read this next part if you haven't read it. You have been warned. In Rot & Ruin, society has collapsed and enclaves have been formed behind large walls designed to keep the monsters, the zombies, out. Resources are scarce so everyone has to start working at 15 and their rations are decreased if they don't. Rot & Ruin is the story of Benny, just turned 15 and his attempts to find himself in this new world. But it is also the story of Tom, a zombie hunter with a twist. Don't worry, I won't tell you the twist. But it is also a great discussion of good vs. evil and who we become in the face of great adversity: what makes a monster and who are the monsters?

In most zombie fiction today, zombiism (probably not really a word, but we're going to go with it) is a result of a virus that has wiped out most of humanity and caused them to re-animate. These are barely living dead people with no real brain function. They are not necessarily acting so much as they are being acted upon. But the people who live in a post apocalyptic world, the people like you and I, they are forced to make extraordinary choices in a world we could never imagine. It is interesting to see what choices they make, how they shape both their inner selves and their outer worlds. Can their choices make them monsters?

In some ways, the survivors of a post apocalyptic world are like the settlers of old - they have an opportunity to build (or in this case rebuild) a new society. Can they learn from the mistakes of the past? What would that new society look like? Will they strive for justice and freedom, or is there really an overwhelming tendency for societies to be greedy and corrupt and always on the brink? What type of people rise to power? Can ordinary people become extraordinary heroes? These are just a few of the many questions that zombie and dystopian fiction allow us to ponder. When we read it we get to go outside of ourselves and yet examine ourselves at the same time.

Plus, let's not forget, sometimes a little scary tension is just fun. Seriously, there have been studies here and there looking at why people like scary movies. I personally prefer my zombies slow and shambling, that's enough tension for me thanks. Let me put my request in right now, should the zombie apocalypse happen please let them be the slow and shambling type so I have a chance of surviving. Those 28 Days Later fast zombies scare me; unless I start marathon training in the next few days I don't have a chance of surviving that type of zombie apocalypse. I think I'll just read about it instead.

Zombies at Halloween

For those of you who love zombies, check out these books, thanks to Naomi, http://naomibates.blogspot.com/2011/10/zombie-books.html many have Book Trailers!!

My Boyfriend is a Monster: I Love Him to Pieces (graphic novels)

Cold Kiss by Amy Garvey

Can You Survive the Zombie Apocalypse? By Max Brallier

Bad Taste in Boys- Carrie Harris

Zombies Vs Unicorns- Holly Black

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies—Seth Grahame Smith

The Forest of Hands and Teeth. The Dead Tossed Waves. The Dark and Hollow Places. by Carrie Ryan.

The Zombie Survival Guide: How to live like a King after the Outbreak. by Etienne Guerin DeForest

World War Z by Max Brooks

Boneshaker by CheriePriest

Generation Dead series by Dan Waters

Zombie Haiku by RyanMecum

The Maze Runner series by James Dashner

Rot and Ruin; Dust and Decay by Jonathan Maberry

Z by Michael Thomas Ford

Ashes by Ilsa J. Bick

Never Slow Dance with a Zombie by by Ehrich Van Lowe

The Cellar by A.J. Whitten

Dust by Joan Frances Turner

The Boy Who Couldn't Die by William Sleator

The Enemy by Charlie Higson

The Reapers are the Angels by Alden Bell

The Zombie Autopsies by Steven Schlozman

I Kissed a Zombie and I Liked it by Adam Selzer

Zombie Blondes by Brian James

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

BNR @ New York Comic-Con 2011

BNR @ New York Comic-Con 2011: Halo CE, Skyward Sword, and More!
By jourdy288 on 18 October 2011 in Featured, Games, News/Events with No Comments

In a plot-twist so shocking, my head still spins, I managed to go to the New York Comic-Con (NYCC). How this happened involves a wonderful librarian, an awesome family and a very friendly man working the ticket counter. As you may guess, this was a completely last minute affair, but with the help of my father I managed to obtain some awesome footage of upcoming games, along with photos and video from within Comic-Con, along with (surprise!) an interview with Jerome Jones of Robot Entertainment, the studio behind Orcs Must Die!

So what did I check out? As you may have guessed, I primarily focused on video games, and got to preview several. I started with Halo CE: Anniversary. I was greeted by a game of Slayer (team based deathmatch) and overall, it felt like the same Halo experience we all know sells, year after year. Visually, the game’s been overhauled from the original version, and while I must admit that while I haven’t played the original Halo, the other games in the series I have played feel pretty much the same as this one. Seeing as it is a remake, I wouldn’t expect much else. I am (a little) disappointed there was no Kinect at that booth, otherwise I would have had the opportunity to see how well it works with the new version. It’s quite a pity that something that’s being touted as such a big new feature was excluded!

I also took a (brief) look at Sonic Generations on the 3DS. The game is a return to its simple, side-scrolling roots, and controls rather well. The 3D effect is well used and the game is, graphically, quite appealing. Quite like Halo: CE it’s a nice update to existing gameplay.

As I made my way through the Nintendo area, I also got to try out the latest Legend of Zelda, Skyward Sword. Overall, it was a similar experience to most of the other games (surprise?), but it seems that the formula still works: the game’s still fun. I got to try out a minigame that involved catching a bright yellow bird (whilst riding a bird of one’s own) and overall it felt good to control, though I couldn’t catch the bird. Blame it on the crowd, the pressure, the urge to check out more stuff, I just couldn’t catch the thing. So, I left, letting the kid behind me enjoy the game. I suspect this will be the last big release for the Wii; I can honestly say that at least with this, the system will get to go out with a bang.

I had the chance to check Wakfu, an upcoming tactical MMORPG from Square Enix. I honestly didn’t find it particularly exciting, but it still felt like a solid game, and visually it was absolutely gorgeous. The aesthetic was rather like SNES games of yesteryear (yesterdecade?) and overall it was a good game.

I got to try out Dance Central 2 (stick with us for a full review), and had the opportunity to try the new version of multiplayer that involves simultaneous two-person dancing. It was mostly the same experience as the first game, really, but was still quite an improvement. I also got to try out the Black Eyed Peas Experience from Ubisoft, and I found it a little confusing, though graphically it is quite a marvel. The digitized Black Eyed Peas were impressive, faithful replicas of their real counterparts.

I believe it’s worth noting that this was my first con, here’s hoping I see many, many more! It was… Chaotic and beautiful, and it was jam-packed with every nerd from the tri-state area! Seriously, if you can imagine every Naruto character in real life, if you can visualize cosplayers of the last seven Final Fantasy games, and if you can possibly conceive somewhere deep within your consciousness the presence of a thousand Spider-Men, Batmen, Deadpools and Wonder Women, you have the vaguest clue of what it’s like to attend NYCC! My only regret is not planning better (I would have tried to get into more previews and such) but it was a spur of the moment affair, and still an excellent experience.


Thursday, October 13, 2011

Oops! National Book Foundation Unveils Six YA Finalists

By SLJ Staff

October 12, 2011

And then there were six. For the first time in recent history, the National Book Foundation unveiled six finalists yesterday in the Young People's Literature category. What happened? Someone screwed up.

NBA(Original Import)Typically, there are five finalists in four categories—fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and young people's literature. But after Wednesday's announcement, a sixth book was added to the list.

"It was our mistake, and we take full responsibility," says Harold Augebraum, executive director of the National Book Foundation, sponsor of the prestigious National Book Awards. "For security reasons, we do everything by phone, and we don't write things down when [the judges] transmit the titles to our staff. And someone wrote it down wrong."

Due to confidentiality rules, Augebraum says he can't reveal the books involved in the mishap, but in order to "not take anything away from anybody," a decision was made to make an exception and include all six titles this year.

The finalists for the 62nd National Book Awards were streamed on Oregon Public Broadcasting's morning radio program, "Think Out Loud," in front of a live audience at the new Literary Arts Center in Portland, OR.

Virginia Euwer Wolff, a 2001 National Book Award winner, announced five Young People's Literature finalists: Debby Dahl Edwardson's My Name Is Not Easy (Marshall Cavendish); Thanhha Lai's Inside Out and Back Again (Harper); Albert Marrin's Flesh and Blood So Cheap: The Triangle Fire and Its Legacy (Knopf); Lauren Myracle's Shine (Amulet) and Gary D. Schmidt's Okay for Now (Clarion). Only later was Franny Billingsley's Chime (Dial) added to the National Book Awards's website.

Author Marc Aronson, who chaired the panel of judges for the Young People's category, says two judges who were listening to the broadcast immediately realized the mistake and spread the word. Other judges included Ann Brashares, Matt de la Peña, Nikki Grimes, and Will Weaver.

Lai, whose book is based on her own childhood experiences, tells the story of Hà, who is 10 when Saigon falls and her family flees Vietnam. "This is so much more than I ever could have expected from telling a story based on a piece of my life," she says. "I'm truly honored."

Myracle, whose gritty novel involves a vicious hate crime, poverty, and drugs, says she received a phone call from Augebraum earlier this week and felt "amazed and honored and incredibly humbled" by her nomination.

"Shine is a book that didn't get a single starred review (we author types keep track of these sorts of things), and though I've always felt accepted in the great and wonderful world of kids' books, I've never felt as if I were in the Cool Kids Crowd," says the best-selling author. "So from where I stand—not only as a writer for young people, but as writer for young people perceived to be pink, fluffy, and depraved—I have to say that it feels pretty damn good to be told that this year's panel of NBA judges read my book and said, 'Yeah. We like it.' Because they're my peers, you know?"

In Billingsley's Chime, 17-year-old Briony Larkin blames herself for all her family's hardships. Now Briony has worn her guilt for so long it's become a second skin.

Edwardson's My Name Is Not Easy is a survival tale involving a group of young Alaskan natives who are transplanted from their home villages to a parochial boarding school in the Alaskan wilderness.

Marrin's Flesh and Blood So Cheap is a gripping account of one of America's most tragic workplace fires, the New York City Triangle Shirtwaist Factory on March 25, 1911, in which 146 people, mostly women—perished when they were trapped behind the locked factory doors.

Schmidt's Okay for Now is a coming-of-age tale about a 14-year-old who moves to a new town, with no friends and a louse for an older brother.
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Friday, October 7, 2011

Whatcha' Reading Now?

Whatcha' Reading Now? has a new feature on our blog -- Five in Five Fridays. The deal is that every Friday an author will answer five uncommon questions and it shouldn't take our followers any more than five minutes to read it. Today's interview is with Jay Asher. Hope you have time to stop by and enjoy it!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Geek the Library

I geek fashion and books. What do you geek?

Whatever you geek, the public library supports you. Join Geek the Library in spreading awareness about the value of libraries and the critical funding issues they face.


Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children

Although I haven't had a chance to read this book because it is so popular, and always checked out--it is definitely on my Must Do list. Let me know what you think?

By Ransom Riggs, Quirk Books, 2011

When he was young, Jacob loved his grandfather's stories about his life, especially the ones about the peculiar children. They all lived at Miss Peregrin's Home for Orphans on a tiny island in Wales, and each had different talents. They ranged from being able to lift huge boulders, to being invisible, to being able to float through the air. And there were also the monsters that were chasing Jacob's grandfather....

But as Jacob grew older, the less he listened to his grandfather's meandering tales. They were for children, and he knew his grandfather, in his old age, didn't make as much sense anymore. But one day, while Jacob was trying hard not to work in his family's business, he got a call from his grandfather. And this call changed Jacob's life.

Now, at sixteen, Jacob hears a cryptic message from his beloved grandfather, now deceased. He has a recurring dream about his grandfather telling him to "find the bird, find the loop, find the grave." His other dreams are about monsters, whose mouths are lined with dangerous teeth and tentacles. Now, he sits in Dr. Golan's office, telling him about these dreams, along with the stress of finding his grandfather's dead body and the monster he truly saw, which his doctor says is trigged by this stress.

The best curative for Jacob, under Dr. Golan's orders, is to find out about his grandfather's past, and now Jacob has a chance to find out what exactly his grandfather was talking about by going to this mysterious island in Wales. But are they truly tales or the truth?

Riggs writes a fantastical story about the modern world and those that reside beyond imagination. Not only is the story an amazing adventure, but how Riggs manages to incorporate old and unusual photographs into the story is what makes this book stand out from any other I've read. The photographs are part creepy, part intriguing, but the mash-up of both the narrative and images makes for an excellent read for adults and young adults alike. Riggs keeps the reader engaged with Jacob's discoveries about the truth behind his grandfather's stories and the possibility of leaping across time. Perfect for fantasy readers and highly recommended by this reveiwer. Publisher book trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XWrNyVhSJUU

Monday, October 3, 2011

Chaos Walking Movie

Lionsgate Acquires Chaos Walking
Source: Lionsgate

October 3, 2011

Lionsgate announced today that the studio has acquired worldwide rights to Patrick Ness's award-winning young adult novel trilogy "Chaos Walking":

LIONSGATE®, a leading global entertainment company, announced today that it has obtained worldwide rights to develop, produce and distribute films based on the award-winning, best-selling and critically acclaimed "Chaos Walking" young adult novel trilogy by Patrick Ness. The announcement was made by Lionsgate's co-COO and Motion Picture Group President Joe Drake. Doug Davison (THE DEPARTED, HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON, THE GRUDGE) will be producing through his Quadrant Pictures.

The Carnegie Medal winning books are set in a dystopian future with humans colonizing a distant earth-like planet. When an infection called the Noise suddenly makes all thought audible, privacy vanishes in an instant. In the ensuing chaos, a corrupt autocrat threatens to take control of the human settlements and wage war with the indigenous alien race, and only young Todd Hewitt holds the key to stopping planet wide-destruction.

Read more: Lionsgate Acquires Chaos Walking - ComingSoon.net http://www.comingsoon.net/news/movienews.php?id=82862#ixzz1ZjULYaE5

Dotti Enderle

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