Sunday, September 29, 2013

Don't Let it Make You Crazy...

October is nearly here, and all month long this blog will be focusing on creepy books and movies.

Look no further than the New Book Shelf for Asylum, by Madeleine Roux. When Dan, Abby, and Jordan meet at a summer program for gifted students, they have no idea they're in store for the most terrifying five weeks of their lives. Brookline Dorm, where they're staying, used to be a psychiatric home (that is, an insane asylum). Before long, the three friends are deep in the asylum's disturbing and murderous past. 

Fans of Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children will enjoy the format of Asylum, which has short chapters illustrated by (totally creeptastic) historic photos from real asylums. --AJB

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Don't Live a Boring Life

Is your life stuck in a boring rut of sleep, ear, school, homework, and Facebook? STOP RIGHT NOW!!!  Break from that routine that's eating up valuable moments that could be spent doing something awesome! And Jessica Hagey's How to Be Interesting is a quick start guide on how to do just that in 10 Easy Steps! This book discusses how to Explore and Discover. Why it's important to embrace your individuality, no matter how quirky or weird (hint: weird is good!). When and why you need to turn off/unplug from that TV/computer/iPhone/whatever and Do Something (and I don't just mean signing up for a different social networking website)...and do something often! And don't be afraid to try something new. And don't follow the crowd.

But better yet, put down the book and actually get out there in the world and experience life as it was meant to be. You'll be glad you did!

Friday, September 20, 2013

The Teen Avengers

The Teen Avengers 
Teen Volunteer Group
Wednesday September 26 @ 4:30 p.m.

Hey Teens! Want to have a say about what goes on in the Teen Area? Have an idea for a program or a book purchase? Need volunteer hours for NHS or scouting? Attend a meeting of the Teen Avengers and discover how to have fun and make friends with other community-minded teens while helping out at your library.

The Teen Avengers meet monthly on the fourth Wednesday, 4:30-6:30 p.m. Interested? Stop by or call 248-628-3034

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Planning for College

Planning on attending college but not sure you're readyExpert Sheryl Krasnow will be on hand to answer your questions on everything from standardized testing to applying for $$$ (financial aid, scholarships, grants). 

The first of this annual two-part workshop, College Planning: Strategies & Timetable, is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Thursday October 3

A second workshop, Dollars for College, will be 6:30 p.m Thursday December 5.

Register online, at the teen desk, or by calling 248-628-3034.

Arrgh! It's "Talk Like a Pirate" Day!

Avast ye scurvy dogs! Today be Talk Like a Pirate Day! So to celebrate, today's blog digs up a treasure trove of pirate-y books that ye won't even need a map to find. Can you say, "Arrgh"?

In The Captain Jack Sparrow Handbook: A Swashbuckler's Guide from Pirates of the Caribbean, everyone's favorite pirate, the infamous Captain Jack Sparrow, teaches you everything you ever wanted to know about being a pirate. It begins with basics like establishing an identity and acquiring a ship and crew and progresses through to more advanced lessons like what to do with the booty once you've pirated it and how to survive if marooned. There are even overviews on how to deal with the various creatures one may encounter whilst sailing the seven seas. Is that a Kracken off the port bow? Not a problem if you have this guide handy.

Dealing with an angry Kracken is nothing compared a curse, which does exist in the world of pirates. And notorious buccaneer Emer Morrisey is about to discover this particular sting when, upon her dying breath, she is cursed to live the lives of 100 dogs. When she finally re-emerges in a human body almost 100 years later, she finds her pirating instincts and ambitions are still very much intact. But digging up buried treasure and seeking revenge on the one who cursed you aren't so easy when you have to deal with homework, school, and curfew.What's a girl to do? Find out in Dust of 100 Dogs.

Everyone with even the basic knowledge of pirates has heard of Captain Hook, the pirate who lost his hand to a hungry crocodile and had a vendetta against Peter Pan. But thus far, we only know one side of the story--and it's not much of a story at that. From troublesome school days (where we learn there's more to his dislike of the Darling children than just their association with Peter) to his failed love affair with a princess to how he came to be the notorious villain we all love to hate. This story holds nothing back. Want to know more about this terrible pirate? This book's for you! 

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Back to Scarborough Fair

Lucy Scarborough might have broken the curse that plagued the women in her family for 400 years, but Fenella Scarborough (the girl who started the whole mess in the first place) is still stuck in the Faerie Realm, impossibly long-lived and taunted by the very creature who cursed her family. Desperate to become mortal so she can die, Fenella strikes a bargain with the Faerie Queen: If she can commit three acts of destruction to counter the original curse's acts of creation, she will become 100% mortal and be free of all ties to Faerie. Fenella agrees--even after she discovers the destructive acts must be committed against her own family. Thus, Fenella returns to Earth and, after she gains the trust of Lucy and her family, instantly begins to do whatever she can to sabotage their safety, their love, and their hope. And if she refuses or fails? The Scarborough women will once again be victims of the original curse. Eventually Fenella succeeds in the destructive acts, freeing herself and, by association, her family from all ties to Faerie. But how can her family accept her after all the terrible things she's done? The fact Fenella got herself into such a terrible mess is Unthinkable.

This sequel to Impossible (2008) fails to measure up to its predecessor. Unlike Lucy, who the reader can certainly root for, Fenella is a selfish, untrustworthy, unlikable character who never manages to redeem herself in the eyes of the reader. How can one feel anything but scorn for a character who purposefully does terrible things (arson? kidnapping? attempted murder?) to characters the reader already knows and likes? Worse, beloved characters are reduced to cardboard cutouts of their former selves. Even spotty romance feels forced. The one bright spot is Fenella's faerie feline helper, who is snarky, funny, and does a complete 180 by the end of the book.  If you liked Impossible, my advice is to skip Unthinkable. It'll only spoil the original story for you. --AJB

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Last Dragonslayer

Action, adventure, fantastical creatures, imaginative places, humor, complete and total awesomeness... Jasper Fforde's The Last Dragonslayer has it all!
In orphan Jennifer Strange's world, magic was once of paramount importance. Wizards were regarded among the highest members of the society which depended on them for everything--from fixing a clogged drain to keeping the world safe from the dragon menace. But no longer. Magic has been fading, and wizards have fallen from their once lofty favor. And Jennifer? She's been left in charge of Kazam Mystical Arts Management, a floundering magical business employed by the most rag-tag, misfit group of wizards this side of Hogwarts. When mysterious magical power surges begin, Jennifer, accompanied by her terrifyingly adorable pet Quarkbeast, investigates. She learns that the magical surges are due to the impending death of the last dragon...and that she, of all people, will be the one to end that dragon's life. Not one to crave the public eye, Jennifer wants nothing to do with any of the dragon drama. But the more she seeks to avoid it, the deeper she falls into it. But wait! There's a twist at the end. And you definitely won't see it coming!
The Last Dragonslayer is one of the most creatively awesome books I've read in a long time! And I'm ecstatic for the sequel, Song of the Quarkbeast, which was just released. Check this series out when you can. You'll be happy you did! --AJB

Forbidden Romance

Forbidden romance is not a new topic to the world of Teen Literature, but author Sara Farizan puts an unusual spin on the concept with her first novel, If You Could Be Mine. Set in Iran, where laws strictly govern personal freedoms and ways of life, this story centers around Sahar...and Sahar's forbidden romantic feelings toward her best friend, Nasrin. In Iran, homosexuality is not just frowned upon by the conservatives. It is a crime punishable by death. So the girls carry on in private, careful to keep their feelings and activities a secret. Then Nasrin's family announces she is to be married. And Sahar's world falls apart. Then comes a surprising, albeit highly unorthodox, solution to her problem: Gender reassignment surgery, which would be both supported by and paid for by the government. If Sahar went through with such a thing, she could be with Nasrin. Legally. But first she must prove she's actually a male trapped in a female body (which she isn't). As the date of her friend's wedding approaches, Sahar has some serious thinking to do. Will she be willing to sacrifice everything about herself for a relationship that may or may not work? No spoilers here. You'll have to read the story for yourself to see what Sahar decides to do.

If You Could Be Mine serves as a cautionary tale in tackling (in a very extreme way) an issue that teens often face when it comes to relationships: Trying to change who they really are in order to be with someone who may not be best suited for them. It could be something as simple as saying they hate Mexican food when their favorite restaurant is Taco Bell or feigning interest in video games when they, in reality, can't stand them.  Or, in the case of Sahar, actually considering life-altering surgery. And the moral of the story? You guessed it: Being true to yourself above all else, even if it means you can't be with your crush. 

If You Could Be Mine isn't a book for everyone. It addresses some very controversial topics and situations that may make some readers highly uncomfortable. So fair warning! Just the same, If You Could Be Mine is a beautiful and well-written coming of age story. 

If You Could Be Mine can be found on our New Book shelf.--AJB

Saturday, September 7, 2013

A version of the truth

A colonial village, a tortured young girl.  It doesn't sound compelling, but All the Truth That's in Me is a definite page turner.  Judith is a 16 year old girl, recently released after being held captive for two years. At the same time Judith went missing, another young girl was found dead in a river. Only Judith knows the answer to her disappearance and the other girl's death - but she isn't talking.  The story unwinds in tense chapters.  The villagers treatment of Judith leaves the reader feeling dread, while her love of her neighbor Lucas adds tenderness to the story.  Julie Berry's debut novel showcases a compelling heroine in Judith. 

All the Truth That's in Me is being released in September and will be in Oxford Public Library soon!


Friday, September 6, 2013

After School Movie: Beautiful Creatures

Back to School also means the Teen Department will be restarting its After School Movie program, slated to happen the first Monday of each month. We'll be kicking things off this Monday (Sept. 9) with Beautiful Creatures (PG13), the movie based on the wildly popular book by Kami Garcia. Showtime is 4:30 p.m. Snacks (popcorn) will be provided.

Beautiful Creatures (PG13)
Monday September 9
4:30-6:30 p.m.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Show Your Card!

Did you know that September is National Library Card Sign-Up Month? To celebrate, several local businesses are offering either special discounts or free items when you show your Oxford Public Library card throughout the month of September. Don't have a library card? Stop by our circulation desk (the one across from Winston's tank) and pick one up. They're free!*

Participating Oxford Businesses Include:

A & A Flower Shop: 15% off any purchase, excluding wire orders, weddings & funerals

Beadifferent Botique: 10% off purchase under $25, 15% off purchase over $25.

Funky Monkey Toys: 10% off entire purchase, excluding sale items.

Great Lakes Mercantile: Free item.

Harvest Time: 10% off pumpkins, gourds, cornstalks & straw bales.

Lori's Pet Paradise: $5 any service.

Marathon of Oxford: 20% off food or beverage purchases.

Oxford Wine & Beverage: 5% off purchase.

Patterson Sav-More Pharmacy: 10% off purchase & free bookmark (perscription items not included).

Pink & Charlie Botique: $5 off purchase over $25.

Sweet & Savory Bake Shop: Buy 1 cupcake, get one free (closed through Sept. 10).

Uncle Boomba's & Dairy Queen: 20% off chicken, pizza, subs, DQ & Orange Julius.

Vendetti's Pizza and Pasta: $2 off purchase over $10.

Victoria's Delights: 10% off bill.

*If you are under 18, you must have a parent or guardian present when you apply for a library card.