Sep 21, 2012

Friday Five: Book Trailers

Movie trailers work to immediately capture your attention, get you interested, and make you want to see the movie as soon as it premieres.  Usually they accomplish this by showing you the best or the few good parts of the film, set it against dramatic music, and have that guy with the epitome of a narrator voice narrating.

Librarians try to accomplish the same thing when they "book talk" books, but typically don't have the special effects.  It's hard to show all the best parts of a book because they don't function like movies, which is why people always argue that the books are better than their movie counterparts.  So we have to be more crafty in our approach.  But then some clever genius realized that he could make trailers for books, with actors acting out particular scenes or a narrator discussing the premise of the book with dramatic music in the background. We still book talk, but these come in handy when we aren't around or we want to appeal to a certain crowd. 

These trailers are typically effective for the young adult crowd, as their books tend to be more plot-based and invite dramatic portrayals.  A lot of libraries actually use book trailers as a contest program; asking teenagers to film their own book trailer for a particular book.

Here are some examples of book trailers:

1. Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children

2. The Maze Runner

3. Divergent

4. The Night Circus

5. The Graveyard Book

6. Bonus: The Hunger Games with Beanie Babies. (okay, not actually a book trailer, but it hits the points of the Hunger Games...with Beanie Babies.  Haymitch is my favorite.)

Sep 18, 2012

The President's Daughter - Part 2

Apparently, the novel was reworked for its 2008 re-release, eliminating some of the glaring differences between its original 80s publication and today.  I haven't read the newer version, but I did just read the second sequel, White House Autumn, and I am working my way through the third, Long Live the Queen, which are both the reworked versions of their original 80s and 90s publications.

I thoroughly enjoy them, because they're good at humanizing the official position.  Even in the day of constant Twitter updates (or maybe because of them), I think we forget that politicians are people with families who are heavily impacted by the political lifestyle.  While not perfect (they can sometimes get a little repetitive and characters can be excessively goody-goody), these books do a great job of guestimating what it's like to be in the shoes of a President's daughter.

But those covers...they are hideous.  Highly reminiscent of those weird 90s covers with people striking weird poses.

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Bookish People You Want To Meet

The top "bookish" people I want to meet in absolutely no order (aside from number 1)

1) JK ROWLING!!! I would want her genius to rub off on me.  Sidenote, The Casual Vacancy comes out soon!! Pre-order, pre-order, pre-order!!!!

2) Judy Blume - She practically defined young adult literature for girls.  I love her.

3) Nancy Pearl - The "celebrity" librarian who actually has an action figure modeled after her. Living the dream.

4) Caroline Cooney - One of my all-time favorite YA authors from when I was a teen.  She's still cranking out books today and drawing in readers.

5) Beverly Cleary - Another staple in my childhood reading life.  Every week, I used to check out Socks just for fun.  I don't even like cats.

6) Tina Fey - I'll allow it because she wrote her memoir, is a screenwriter, and has glasses.

7) Kathleen Horning - She is the author of my favorite library textbook: From Cover to Cover: Evaluating and Reviewing Children's Books.  She knows what she's talking about, folks.  

8) Lois Lowry - Same as Blume, Cooney and Cleary.  I lived off of Lowry's work, particularly the Anastasia Series.

9) AV Club Bloggers - This one is a little weird I guess.  But I love this blog and trust it for all TV related information and analyses.  Having a conversation with them would be interesting.

10) Jon Scieszka - I love his picture books unconditionally.  Also, his website Guys Read, while promoting the idea of boy books and girl books, is a useful tool to find books that yes, guys will enjoy.

11) Stephanie Meyers - Just so I can ask "why?"

More at The Broke and the Bookish

Sep 14, 2012

Friday Five: Favorite Library Blogs

It shouldn't be a shock that I love blogs.  They're great for finding out new tidbits of information, different perspectives, ideas, and pictures.  So here are my some of my favorite library/book blogs:

It is the best.  The Young Adults Library Services Association gives advice on everything to do with teen services.  They leave NOTHING out.

2. YA or STFU
I might be biased on this one because it's the blog of one of my favorite professors.  The blog consits of reviews of young adult literature, so I find a lot of reading reccomendations.  She can be incredibly sarcastic, so of course I love it. 

3. Librarians Classified
In the style of "What Should We Call Me," this gif blog presents library/librarian scenarios with hilarious gifs.  One of my favorites:

"When a child checks out a stack of books from the library"

Another tumblr favorite, Ryan Gosling brings his "hey girl" to the library.  And it's magical. 
Weeding is essential.  ESSENTIAL.  Yes, we librarians do throw books away!  You might be surprised, but check out this site and you'll understand why some books just need to go. 

Sep 12, 2012

#TheList, No. 591: Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH

As I mentioned before, I decided to reread Robert C. O'Brien's Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH in order to rejuvenate my compassion for little critters.  It didn't work.  But I still loved this book.

Mrs. Frisby is a mother mouse and her youngest son, Timothy is very ill.  So ill that he can't possibly make the move to their winter home.  What to do, what to do?  With some guidance from other field animals (a crow and an owl), Mrs. Frisby turns to the rats for some help.  During her quest, she learns about the rats' mysterious past: being scientifically enhanced in order to learn at an incredible speed and significantly slow down the aging process.

As a result, they are super rats and that thought scares me.  They claim they aren't evil and are even carrying out a "Plan" to clear their negative image (they don't like terms like "rat race), but I kept removing myself from this imagined world and freaking out about the possibility that rats were going to march through my front door.  NO THANK YOU.

Aside from that horrifying image (that and the prospect of rats and mice teaming together to take over the world), the book is great for children, I'd say ages 9-11 years.  I myself read this book in the fourth grade.  As a project, I made the BEST board game ever.  It followed Mrs. Frisby's path to her new home and had a bunch of obstacles and cards and really cute game pieces.  I spent hours on it and I didn't cheat like some people and just cover up the spaces on the Mouse Trap game.

Anyway, why is this book great?  It's not dumbed down at all for its readers.  O'Brien is unafraid to use phrases his intended audience won't be familiar with.  Instead, he incorporates the meanings into the characters' speech.  For instance, the owl tells Mrs. Frisby to go to the lee side of the stone.  Despite not knowing  what that is, she agrees.  A couple pages later, she asks the crow and he explains.  This is reassuring to a young reader, because now s/he is on the same level as Mrs. Frisby.

All in all, it's a great book to read and will cause you to empathize with the anthropomorphized rodents...just not real ones.

Sep 11, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday: Books That Make You Think

Thinking is generally considered a good thing.  There are those who choose to avoid it completely (i.e.: The Jersey Shore cast) and those who sometimes need a vacation from it (i.e.: everyone), but in regular doses, thinking can do wonders. Prolonged thinking is how I deciphered the foreshadowing lyrics in Wicked's "Dancing Through Life" and other more intellectual items.  

So with that, here are my 

Top Ten Books That Make You Think

1. Unwind, by Neal Shusterman
A YA dystopian novel that focuses on abortion and one's right to choose to have one vs. one's right to live. The novel doesn't pick a side.  It shows the pros and cons of both options, forcing the reader to consider alternative viewpoints from their own personal opinions.  

2. Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, by Jonathan Safran Foer
I wasn't a super huge fan of this book, especially because the different sized fonts were hurting my eyes (old age is clearly setting in - I turn 25 soon), but it definitely makes you think about the impact of one tragedy on so many lives.

3. Hero Type, by Barry Lyga
I see a lot of people post their "support" of the troops on Facebook on a daily basis.  While I don't question their support, I always question why they're posting it for their friends to know.  The troops aren't seeing their statuses.  They're the most passive way of supporting the troops.  Just like those groups that say "100,000 likes and this girl will get a surgery."  No.  There is no doctor on standby, counting the number of likes before he grabs his surgical mask.  This novel examines that problem and makes you wonder if you're just as bad.

4. Catch Me If You Can, by Frank Abagnale
You may have seen the movie or the musical, but this book is unreal.  It's a different kind of "makes you think" book.  It's a book that makes you think "I will never be this smart."

5. Hitler Youth, by Susan Campbell Bartoletti
Another nonfiction entry that makes you think, this time about the side you typically wouldn't identify as victims of WWII.  

6. The Book Thief, by Markus Zusak
This YA novel about the Holocaust is narrated by Death, giving a different outlook of the events that occurred.  It's heartbreaking, and like Hitler Youth, it makes you sympathize with a wider population.

7. My Year of Living Biblically, by A.J. Jacobs
This memoir details Jacobs' attempt to follow every rule of the Bible in one year.  Sometimes it's funny, but I found it to be more fascinating and insightful and it really made me think about what religion really means.  

8. Emma, by Jane Austen
This one is a little silly, but the only reason I read this book was because I knew Clueless was based on it and I wanted to know how that was possible.  So I read Emma, thinking the entire time what plot elements were translated into one of my favorite movies.  

9. Fifteen, by Beverly Clearly
This book about a typical teenager's life was published in the late 50s, so it provides some insight into how life was like in those years, or what the ideal life was purported to be.  Either way, it's drastically different to life now, but also drastically similar (sadly).  Reading it really made me think about how we define generations and how those definitions change.  

10. Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, by Ransom Riggs
The story is captivating enough, but the real photographs incorporated to enhance the mood are incredible.  It definitely made me think where these photos were from, what other photos are out there, and what camera tricks from back in the day were used to create such illusions.  

 Check out other lists at the Broke and the Bookish!

P.S. This might have been my first list where I didn't mention HP.  I tried really hard!

Sep 5, 2012

#TheList, No. 461: Ballet Shoes

Noel Streatfeild's novel about three young orphans pursuing ballet in order to earn money for their makeshift family is charming.  That's the best word I can think of to describe this book.  I think young girls around the 4th-6th grade will love it, even if they don't care for ballet (like me).  Yes, I was sexist and classified this as a "girl book." I'm sorry. 

Three young girls, Pauline, Petrova and Posy, all join a Dance Academy so that they can train and eventually earn money.  One actually enjoys dance, one prefers acting, and one grimaces and bears it while dreaming of working on engines.  I wish there was more focus on the engine story.  Her hatred of the arts is more of the focus, but Streatfeild does not delve into her actual interests enough for my taste.  I always enjoy a good rebel.  But her willingness to push through her discomfort is moving, and emphasizes the family values in this story. 

Some readers may find various parts of the book to be very tedious.  There are many, many, many lists of all the tasks the girls perform each day.  This includes what they wear and when, what they learn in classes, what they eat, etc. It's specific and helpful for visualizing, but only to a point.  It gets very repetitive and drags the story along. 

There's also a movie version of this book that stars Hermione Granger Emma Watson.  I haven't watched it just yet, but I trust her acting abilities (especially after seeing the Perks of Being a Wallflower trailer) so I do think I'll look into it. 

If I ever had to make a program surrounding this book, I'd have to go with any combination of the following:
-ballet/dance lesson
-designing your own tutu competition
-movie viewing
-Shakespeare lesson
-exercise program


Sep 4, 2012

Moving Woes

I just moved to a new apartment and have thrown out a disturbing number of mice that were in various stages of decomposing.  The good news is, the weird smell is gone.  The bad news is I've become a murderous twenty-something who wants to rid the world of these little animals that don't really know that what they're doing is WRONG AND SO DISGUSTING. 

So I'm going to give up my randomly generated number sequence for a short moment and jump straight to rereading Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH and Stuart Little so I can start to feel that thing called compassion once more.  Maybe I'll throw in some Tale of Desperaux while I'm at it, depending on how disgusted I still am in about a week's time. 

In other news, I'm currently reading Ann Brashares' My Name is Memory, and it's alright.  Not really my cup of tea, but I know a bunch of romantics who would love it.  She's the author of the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants if that's any indication of what this novel is like.