Friday, March 29, 2013

Re-Inventing the T-Shirt

Lately I've been really into taking the stash of favorite old T-shirts at the back of my closet (you know, ones that are stretched, holy, stained, etc., but you can't stand to throw away because, well, you just can't) and transforming them into creative-looking new shirts I can actually wear out in public again without looking like a total bum.  

Sound fun? Two great books for inspiration are Tease: 50 Inspired T-Shirt Transformations and Generation T: 108 Ways to Transform a T-Shirt. Both books are filled with patterns and ideas for stitching, snipping, sewing, appliquing, dying, tieing, and just about everything else that can be done with a piece of fabric. In addition to showing you how to re-design your favorite old T-shirt, you'll also learn to make: a skirt, a purse, a scarf, a headband, a cover for your iPod or Smart Phone, and many more awesome ideas that are fun, flirty, and fantastically easy to do. Several of the projects are even no-sew, meaning no needles required! Perfect for a gift or to keep for yourself!

With warmer weather on the way, T-shirts will be making a welcome comeback. Why not check out one of these books and create a one-of-a-kind item everyone will be asking about? All you need is your imagination! --AJB

Library Closed

Oxford Public Library will be closed Sunday March 31, 2013 for the Easter holiday. Normal hours of operation will resume Monday April 1 (no fooling).

p.s. The library's online catalog will also be down 3-31-13 for routine maintenance.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Drama, drama, drama

Normally, I don't read a lot of graphic novels. I've never really gotten the hang of manga (Although I can respect the mass appeal of it). That back-to-front thing is just weird to me. And I tend to favor text over pictures because I like to paint my own images of characters, settings, etc. It's an imagination thing. You understand. But I absolutely loved Raina Telgemeier's Smile, the true story of the author's recovery from an accident in which she lost some permanent teeth and delt with seemingly endless surgeries and drama. It was funny, it was cringeworthy, it was heartbreaking (Seriously! Kids can be so cruel to people who are different), and the drawing style just rocks. To date, Smile is one of the best graphic-format books I've read.

So imagine my excitement when the author released a second graphic just a few weeks ago! I checked it out and found Drama to be just as good as Smile. It's the story of 7th grade theater buff, Callie, and her first fumbling foray into the world of boys and crushes. After her first kiss ends in disaster (the guy totally doesn't like her back), Callie is devistated. Then she meets twins Jessie and Justin, who, at her prompting, become involved with the school's theater production of Moon Over Mississippi, of which Callie is a member of the stage crew. Callie is absolutely smitten with her new friends-who-are-boys. But the road to romance is never easy--especially in middle school!

Drama is believable and funny and possesses the sweet innocence of first love and first crushes (there's nothing heavier than kisses). Combine this with a whole heaping of teen angst, friend drama, family drama, and stage drama, and you've got another winning book from Raini Telgemeier. Oxford doesn't yet own Drama, but if it sounds good, we'll be happy to request it for you from another library. --AJB

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Shades of Grey

Popular, beautiful Lexi has always counted on her pretty face getting her exactly what she wanted from life. And that's been true. Then comes the night of that party. The night Lexi witnesses an encounter between her best friend and her boyfriend and, blind with rage, demands a ride home from a party-goer who'd been drinking. Lexi wakes up in the hospital, the victim of a terrible accident that's left her once-pretty face permanently disfigured. As the weeks pass, Lexi learns that her physical injuries are the least of her worries. The difficult part will be coming to terms with what happened and learning to see past physical appearance. Fortunately, with the help of new friends, a surprising new hobby, and a potential love interest, Lexi is able to do so.

My Life in Black and White is a positive, life-affirming story that's all about growing up, self-acceptance, and learning what's really important (it's definitely not those trendy jeans or designer purse, that's for sure!). Lexi comes across as extremely shallow and unlikable at first, but as she comes out of her narrow world view, she matures significantly and her character grows on you. By the story's end, you'll be glad to know her. Highly recommended! --AJB

Dark and Deadly Secrets

Welcome to Wyndriven Abbey, Mississippi 1885, where dark and terrible secrets lurk just beneath the lavish surface and nothing is as it seems.

After the death of her father, Sophie, 17, is invited to live with her mysterious godfather, Monsieur Bernard de Cressac, at his sprawling Mississippi mansion, Wyndriven Abbey. At first, everything is idyllic: The mansion is beautiful, and Bernard is charming and doting and gives Sophie everything she could possibly want (and many things she didn't even know existed). But then cracks begin to appear in this seemingly perfect exterior. Bernard is prone to violent temper tantrums when things don't go his way, and Sophie begins to feel an omnious fear of the man. As Sophie digs deeper into the mystery of Wyndriven Abbey, she learns a deadly secret involving Bernard's ex-wives--a fate that might be her's as well, if Bernard has anything to say about it. With the help of Gideon, a naturalist-type she meets and bedfriends while walking in the woods, Sophie might be able to escape the Abbey with her life. Then again, if Bernard catches on to the plan (and he's got spies everywhere), Sophie might be doomed.

Currently located on the New Book Shelf, Strands of Bronze and Gold is an atmosphereic, fast-paced historical thriller with a touch of romance and fairy-taleesque twist. This will especially appeal to fans of VC Andrews (Flowers in the Attic). Sound good? As of the writing of this blog entry, it's currently checked it's yours for the borrowing. --AJB

Monday, March 25, 2013

Life & Times of the Invisible Boy

Ever have one of those days when you seem to be going through life unnoticed? Sometimes it's a good thing. Other times...well, not so much. Meet Calvin Schwa: The kid who seems to be invisible all the time and has the unfortulate effect of blipping off everyone's radar, social and otherwise (Or maybe you already have met Cal and you just don't remember it). When neighborhood troublemaker Anthony (a.k.a. Antsy) Bonano discovers this so-called "Schwa Effect," he and his friends decide to test its limits by daring Calvin to get himself into increasingly mischievous situations without getting caught. And it works...until the day Antsy & Co. dare Calvin to break into the apartment of mean Mr. Crawley, the neighborhood recluse, and steal a dog bowl. Long story short, The Schwa Effect doesn't work and the guys find themselves in a world of trouble.  Hilarious, awkward, unbelievable trouble.

Like its sequel, The Schwa Was Here by Neil Shusterman is both funnuy and serious. The plot, characters, and humor are geared more toward boys, but this story can be enjoyed by everyone. --AJB

Sunday, March 24, 2013

After School Movie: Pitch Perfect

After School Movie: Pitch Perfect (PG-13)
Monday April 1 @ 4:30 p.m.

Looking to add a little excitement, adventure, suspense, or romance to your typical Monday experience? Drop by the Teen Department @ 4:30 and catch an afternoon movie. These aren't your typical after school specials, though. Only newly-released (within the past 12 months) blockbusters will be shown here! Registration not required. Just show up and enjoy!

This month's movie is Pitch Perfect (PG-13). Arriving at college, Becca doesn't feel she fits in anywhere--and she's miserable. Then she's invited to be a member of her school's ultra-prestigious a cappella singing group and life finally begins to turn around. Comedy, romance, drama, and a killer soundtrack! Fans of Glee will especially enjoy this one.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Free Prom Dresses @ Hope Closet!

It's no joke: Prom can be expensive! The cost of the dress, the shoes, the jewelry, the misc acessories can quickly add up to hundreds of dollars! And that's not even including salon services for hair and nails. And we won't even get into limo rental. Long story short, affording all that on an after school/weekend job budget can be scary, but there is help!
Hope Closet, a local non-profit organization, sympathizes with this plight and provides free formal dresses, shoes, and acessories to local girls. Hope Closet Botique is open for one week every April, by appointment only. To shop, one must show a recent report card or valid school ID. Now in its 10th year of operation, Hope Closet has given thousands of dresses to local girls who, otherwise, may not have been able to afford to attend prom.
This year's Hope Closet Botique will be held at Royal Oak First Methodist Church, April 13-20. Appointments can be made 9a.m.-9p.m. by calling 248-374-1309.
For those who donated dresses, shoes, or other acessories, you may get a reciept for your contribution by sending a SASE to:
Hope Closet
P.O. Box 530413
Lavonia, Michigan
For more information: Hope Closet.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Cinderella Story

Set in 14th century China, Donna Jo Napoli's Bound is a re-imagining of Cinderella that's sure to please fans of both fairy tales and historical fiction.

Following the death of her beloved father, young Xing Xing, 14, is doomed to a life of servitude at the hands of her cruel stepmother and spoiled stepsister, who was crippled by a botched foot binding operation. Xing Xing's only joy comes from her daily encounters with a beautiful white carp, who lives in a nearby pond (this carp, we learn, embodies the spirit of her deceased mother). When Stepmother kills the fish to punish Xing Xing, the teen secretly retrieves the bones from the trash and, in doing so, learns the hidden location of a beautiful silk gown and slippers. Dressed in this finery, Xing Xing sneaks out to attend an annual festival and, there, encounters a prince who, of course, is enchanted with her beauty and naturally tiny feet. In effort to beat Stepmother and stepsister home, Xing Xing flees, leaving a single slipper behind. And, well... you know the rest of the story.

As a fairy tale retelling, Bound is particularly interesting in that it incorporates historical details of life in ancient China. And author Donna Jo Napoli manages these small history lessons without drying up the greater story. Even though the story is decidedly predictable (everyone knows what happens in Cinderella), it's still very worth reading. --AJB

p.s. Bound is currently being featured on our Staff Picks shelf, located next to the New Book Shelves at the entrance to the Teen Area.

Today I'm Feeling....

Not sure how to define your mood today? Need a sympathetic character to share your happiness, rage, indifference, uncertainty, or whatever else you're feeling? A book might help!

This week, the Teen Department is featuring a display spotlighting Emotional Books. That is, books whose titles are also feelings or emotions. For example: Torn, by Amanda Hocking, Invisible, by Pete Hautman, Unafraid, by Michael Griffo.... The list goes on and on! Sound interesting? Stop by and browse the display.

As always, display books may be checked out. And, as always, if Oxford Public Library doesn't own a particular book or if the book you want is checked out, just ask the librarian on desk. We'll do our best to get you the book you need! --AJB

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Happy Spring!

It may not seem like it outside, but Spring is officially here (Seriously! I'm not kidding. Check your calendar if you don't believe it). But if you're looking for something to get you through until the spring temperatures kick in, check out the Spring Break display at the entrance of the Teen Area, right on top of the New Book shelves. Here you'll find an abundance of beachy books that will appeal to both your sense of adventure and your craving for warm weather.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Wallflower Read-Alikes

Ever since word got out that Stephen Chbosky's edgy teen novel Perks of Being A Wallflower was being adapted into a film, it's been impossible to keep the book on the shelf (much less the movie). Now, by popular demand, are some read-alikes to check out while you patiently wait for your turn to read this classic novel:

Looking for Alaska, by John Green: Miles (a.k.a. "Pudge") leaves his predictably boring life for Culver Creek Boarding School. Here he makes friends with a quirky bunch of troublemakers and misfits. But none stick in his mind more than the doomed Alaska Young.

13 Reasons Why, by Jay Asher: Clay comes home to find a box on his front porch. A box from classmate Hannah, who committed suicide a few days earlier. Could the box hold a clue about why Hanna did it? And did Clay play a role in her demise?

Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist, by Rachel Cohn: Two teens, both recovering from bad relationships, meet by chance and discover they have much in common. But first this potential couple must survive an unforgettable night.

The Outsiders, by S.E. Hinton: If you haven't read this classic coming-of-age novel, you need to! Ponyboy and his greaser friends are at constant odds with the town rich kids. But when his best friend kills a rival in self-defence, the two must flee or face the consequences.

Going Bovine, by Libba Bray: Cameron is content to coast through life--until he is given only a few weeks to live. But with this diagnosis comes an otherworldly ultimatum: Save the world, and you'll be cured. Can Cameron ditch his slacker ways for this? Funniest! Book! Ever!

Hold Still, by Nina LaCour: Caitlin's best friend, Ingrid, commits suicide, leaving Caitlin aftaid to make new friends or even experience anything fun. Then Caitlin discovers Ingrid's journal and learns what was going on with her friend. Eventually Caitlin opens herself back up to the world--and learns to heal.
Still not finding what you want? Stop by the Teen Desk and ask the librarian on duty for more recommendations--AJB

Friday, March 15, 2013

Book 2 Movie

All this month, the Teen Department will be featuring a display of books that were so popular Hollywood nabbed the storyline (with the author's permission, of course) and morphed them into movies. Sometimes these movies turned out pretty well. Other times... well, due to the professional nature of this blog, we'll just play it kosher and say something BIG was lost in the translation.

It may come as a surprise to learn this book to movie thing is not a new concept that started with Harry Potter and Twilight (although these titles did fuel a recent insurgence of movies inspired by books topping bestseller lists). Movie studios have been borrowing from popular literature as far back as Frank L. Baum's Wizard of Oz, originally published May 1900 and adapted into a movie in 1939. There are countless more examples of books made into movies--or even TV shows. Too many to list in this blog, however. For more examples, this might be a cool subject to research. And you could check out our display, located in the window between the graphic novel shelves.

Movies adapted from books can be a really cool thing, if only to compare your idea of characters and settings with what the writers and directors envisioned (note: everyone interprets books differently). Same goes with people you know. For example, your BFF might have loved the movie adaption of Alex Flinn's Beastly while you might have thought it shamed the book. Movies from books make a great discussion topic if nothing else. The final word: While we highly encourage you to check out many of these movies, we recommend reading the book first! --AJB

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Happy Pi Day

March 14 is National Pi Day! (named such because the date, 3-14, is the same as the first three digits in Pi, that endless mathematical decimal number that's near impossible to memorize). To celebrate, why not read Yann Martel's 2001 classic fabel Life of Pi, about a highly unusual young man who, following a deadly shipwreck, becomes stranded on a lifeboat with a 450 pound Bengal tiger. Or, if you want something more visual, take in the 2012 movie of the same name.

And, while you're at it, cut yourself a slice of your favorite pie!

Monday, March 11, 2013


File this one under the "Don't Judge A Book By It's Cover" category! Romance, intelligent humor, and science blend nicely in Connie Willis' 1996 classic Bellwether, one of the Teen Department's hidden treasures you won't want to miss.

Sandra and Bennett, both scientists at Hi-Tek, have a hit a brick wall in their research. She is attempting to discover the elusive ingredient as to why certain clothes, styles, products, etc. become popular while others do not. He is studying chaos theory (yes, that's a real field of study). Could a sudden aquisition of a flock of sheep be the key to both their research projects (not to mention that much-coveted grant funding)? What they don't realize is there's no scientific formula for falling in love...or is there?

Despite being quite dated (yes, this one was published before cell phones, MP3 players, and even the internet became mainstream), Bellwether is still an exceptionally entertaining story. Added bonus: Each chapter is started with information on fads throughout history. --AJB

Friday, March 8, 2013

Seeing Double?

Think you're seeing double? No need to get your eyes checked: the Teen Department is just featuring a display this month of books with the same titles (or: Same Title, Different Story). This is one reason why it helps to also know the author of a title you're searching for: to be sure you get the right book! We find it interesting how so many different stories can have the same title and how some titles are much more popular than others. Why? Maybe, by using a title of an already popular book, the author feels she will attract more attention to her own story. Or it just could be that a certain title is fitting to many different stories. For example: How many books boast the title of "Twilight"? Stop by the Teen Department and find out! --AJB

Which program is in YOUR future?

Thinking about participating in OPL's Teen Spring Programming, but not sure which events to attend? Let the fates decide!

Stop by the Teen Department and pick up a Spring Programming Fortune Teller, and discover which of our many fun events is in your future! Will it be the Prom Pretty Lock-In? An After School Movie? Or one of our ongoing teen-run programs (We Cause Scenes, Otaku Central)? Only the fortune teller knows for sure!

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

She likes him, but he likes her best friend

There's bound to be trouble when you meet your BFF's new boyfriend and there's an immediate connection to the guy. And when you discover he feels the same about you? This can't end well.

In Susane Colasanti's romantic drama, Something Like Fate, shy Lani is content to march to her own beat, attending meetings of her environmental club, hanging out with her BFF Erin, and never leaving the house without checking her horoscope. But even the stars didn't predict the mutual sparks that fly when Lani meets Erin's new boyfriend, Jason. Then Erin leaves town for a summer at camp. Sure, it's easy to predict what happens next: Plenty of drama and plenty of romance. Either way, this book's light and lots of fun.

Get a head start on your beach reading this year and pick up Something Like Fate. --AJB

Preom Pretty March 15! Register Today!

There's still space to sign up for next week's (Friday March 15) Prom Pretty Lock-in!

For this fashionably fun event, Amy Schodowski of Salon 113 Hair Designs will be stopping by the library to talk about the latest in hair styles and makeup colors--and to help you find which works best for you! She will be doing free style demos on all who attend. Additionally, Emily Baker of Hope Closet will be on hand to tell you how to get your entire prom ensemble (dress, shoes, accessories) for absolutely free!

Prom Pretty Lock-In is scheduled for 6:30-9 p.m. Friday March 15. Space is limited, so sign up today so you can secure the few remaining spots! Register online or at the Teen Reference Desk.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Monday Movie: Men In Black 3

Looking to add a little excitement, adventure, suspense, or romance to your typical Monday experience? Drop by the Teen Department @ 4:30 and catch an afternoon movie. These aren't your typical after school specials, though. Only newly-released (within the past 12 months) blockbusters will be shown here!

This Monday (March 4) we'll be showing Men In Black 3 (PG-13). Agent J must travel back in time to the 1960s to prevent his partner, Agent K, from being assassinated by an alien. While teaming up with a younger version of Agent K, Agent J learns secrets about the Men In Black and how he really came to work for them. A fun adventure that nicely wraps up the MIB trilogy! --AJB