Monday, September 29, 2014

Celebrate Teen Read Week

Teen Read Week (theme: Turn Dreams into Reality) is October 12-18, 2014, but we're celebrating it all month long! 

Stop by the Teen Desk beginning October 1, 2014 and pick up a Teen Read Month activity card and booklet. Complete it by October 31 and be entered in a drawing to win special prizes.

Friday, September 26, 2014

What If, by Randall Munroe

What If: Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions, by Randall Munroe, is pretty much the most awesome book I've ever encountered.

Know this about me: Mythbusters is my favorite show, which, I suppose, makes me a nerd/geek/dork of the highest degree...but a sort of hip nerd/geek/dork, since the Mythbusters show still has a certain amount of cool associated with it (but for how long since Kari, Grant, and Tory are no longer going to be a part of the show?). This book is Mythbusters--and then some. In fact, What If attempts to use science (hypothetical, of course) to answer all the questions and quandaries the Mythbusters crew couldn't tackle because nearly all actual experiences would result in global annihilation...or, at the very least, certain and painful death.

So... what would happen if you sealed a running hair dryer up in an airtight box?

Or created an actual periodic table where each block was actually made out of the element it represented?

Or placed a nuclear bomb into the heart of a volcano in attempt to stop it from erupting? 

Or strapped C4 (see any Mythbusters episode) to a boomerang?

Or attempted to change the color of the moon's surface with 5 billion of the most powerful lasers in existence?

Of course these are just a select few of the things to ponder in this nearly 300 page book. There are, of course, silly questions as well. My favorite having to do with the actual energy output of Yoda's Force (I told you I was a nerd). And ones that would have far less devastating results (but still, you probably shouldn't try this at home).

Enhancing most Q & As are stick figure illustrations. Simplistic, but funny...and just graphic/accurate enough to drive the point home. 

So if you've ever wondered what will happen to your Facebook account after you die...or if it's possible to create a tornado by swinging a heavy object in a circle really fast (think the Thor movie)... or what would happen if all your DNA suddenly disappeared...

If you've ever wondered any of that, this book is for you.

Or if you've ever pondered the mysteries of the universe, this book is for you.

Heck, this book is probably for you anyway. Just check it out. --AJB

Through the Woods, by Emily Carroll

Don't go into the woods. There are things waiting there. Strange things. Monstrous things. Hungry things. Things waiting to pounce on the unsuspecting traveler foolish enough to wander off the path.

Artist and writer Emily Carroll's Through the Woods is a collection of five deliciously creepy stories about things that happen to those who dare to venture into the woods. 

A young woman trapped in her house during a snowstorm does the only thing she can: Wait for the thing that took her sisters to return for her

After marrying a wealthy man, a new bride learns too late the awful truth her husband's last wife. A fate that will soon be hers as well?

Two brothers enter the woods to stop a monster that has been terrorizing their village. One brother comes out. The monster is not what the reader first believes.

Two young women make a living fooling people into thinking they can communicate with the dead (they can't really). Then one of them really does become haunted. 

A young girl, home from school for the summer, visits her brother and his pretty new fiancee in their pretty new home. Then the girl wanders into the woods...and learns the horrible truth.

The girl walked safely through the woods at night. It was lucky the wolf didn't find her. Or did it?

Through the Woods is shivery, creepy, and lots of fun to read. The illustrations are gorgeous and vivid. Pick it up and read the stories all in one sitting, or savor them one by one. Either way, you've got a treat in store.

And maybe next time you're faced with the choice of taking the shortcut through the woods, you'll think twice and take the long way around. Because there are things in the woods. Strange things. Monstrous things. Hungry things.

Waiting to pounce.

On YOU! --AJB

The Lonely, by Ainslie Hogarth

Easter Deetz is dying, but she's not wasting away from cancer or any other tragic condition popular teen literature has romanticized as of late. No, Easter's demise is coming about from something much more gruesome: She's slowly bleeding to death, alone in the woods, after a boulder has fallen on top of her, crushing her legs.

Or is she?

Easter is a chronic liar. She admits as much early on in Ainslie Hogarth's debut novel, The Lonely. Of course, this confession could also be a lie, leaving readers locked in the paradox of whether you can trust her or not... But for the sake of argument, let's say she's dying under a rock, legs crushed and blood and guts soaking into the forest floor for insects and worms and other things to feast upon (Easter is very graphic). For this horrible, bloody death, Easter blames her sister, Julia, who apparently dropped the boulder on her.

Julia is the only thing that stands between Easter and what she calls The Lonely, a debilitating mental condition that cripples all the women in her family (her mother, her witch of a grandmother). Julia also makes Easter do horrible things like shut the neighbor's cat in a garbage can to die in the summer heat...like vandalize her grandmother's neighbors' lawns with obscenities...like set fire to the cabin her parents are renting one summer. 

Another important thing about Julia: She only exists in Easter's imagination.

And what an imagination! Stephen King would sell his soul (maybe) for the sort of horrid thoughts and images that regularly pop into Easter's head.

But then one day Easter walks into the upstairs bathroom and sees Something Terrible. Something even more Terrible than she could ever dream up. Of course she's wished for it more than a few times, but to see it in cold, hard reality... It's too much.

This is what sends Easter fleeing into The Woods where she encounters Julia and the fateful boulder. 

As Easter lies under that boulder, watching her body slowly bleed out and decay, she reviews her life with hamburger-eating, cigarette-smoking squirrels to bear witness.  And when the sun finally sets and darkness takes over the woods, she must finally face the Something she knows has been coming for her all day.

The Lonely is a very different sort of story. Easter is the ultimate unreliable narrator, and she will keep you guessing until the very end. And even after you've finished the book and set it aside, you'll still be wondering what exactly happened. A great choice for those who like a little horror and mystery and confusion (in a good way) mixed with their weird and bizarre reading choices. Awesome! --AJB 

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Upcoming Teen Department Events

Stay tuned: There is much awesomeness in store for Teen patrons in October. 

Teen Read Month
All Month Long
Pick up a Teen Read Month activity card starting October 1. Complete it by October 31 and turn it in for a chance to win awesome prizes.

Franken-Toy Workshop
Saturday October 4 @ Noon-3 p.m.
Drop in and create creepy new toys from pieces of old ones. We'll have on hand a huge selection of action figures and Happy Meal prizes that you can disassemble, dismember, and reconfigure into new and bizarre creations. We'll post photos of the best Franken-Toys on this blog and on our Facebook page. No registration necessary.

LEGO Program for Teens
Tuesday October 14 @ 6:30-7:30 p.m.
While the Youth Lego program is on break, we're giving our Teen patrons the chance to have some fun...so stop by and make something! Prizes will be awarded for height, originality, and functionality (your creation does something). Creations will be judged by on-duty library staff. Registration required.

Halloween Spooktacular Film Festival
Saturday October 25, beginning @ 10 a.m.
Looking to scare up something fun to do? We'll be showing creepy, scary, and generally ghoul-ish movies all day long the Saturday before Halloween. Drop in and watch a while...if you dare! Movies will be PG & PG-13. No registration necessary.

Do YOU Have a Card?

September is Library Card Sign-Up Month, and there's still plenty of time to get yours (if you haven't already). Get more info here.

Or just ask your friendly local librarian. 

Monday, September 22, 2014

Down A Dark Hall, by Lois Duncan

When Kit is accepted into the ultra-exclusive Blackwood Academy, she is thrilled! But upon arriving, things start to feel "off". Kit is only one of four students, the place itself is creepy (that constant feeling of being watched), and there are rumors that the school is haunted. Plus there are no cell phones or any of the usual connections to the outside world...so Kit feels completely cut off and isolated.

Then, one by one, the students begin displaying sudden and extraordinary talents that weren't present before their arrival at Blackwood. Lynda can create beautiful paintings, Ruth can solve complex math equations, Sandy can compose poetry, and Kit experiences an unusual boost in her previously awkward musical abilities. The teachers won't explain it, and school's creepy headmistress vaguely credits Blackwood's unique environment. This is partly correct. Kit learns that those who run Blackwood are using the students (hand-picked for hidden psychic abilities) to channel the restless ghosts of artists, writers, and musicians who died before their time. Problem is, all the previous hosts have gone insane. Or worse. Can Kit and her friends escape Blackwood before it's too late? Or are they doomed to the same fate as those who came before?

Lois Duncan's Down A Dark Hall is one of the author's creepiest titles! Originally published in 1974, the new edition has been updated for 2014 and includes, among other changes, mentions of advancements in technology (cell phones, computers, flat-screen TVs, etc.). Unfortunately, these new inclusions make the story feel awkward and inconsistent (there is an instance where two characters are discussing a song on a CD being played...but a few paragraphs later, the media source is referred to as a 'tape'). 

Down A Dark Hall has been picked up by Lionsgate to be adapted into a movie (no release date set as of this blog's publication). My advice is to grab the book NOW before it becomes so popular there is a mile long wait list to get it. --AJB