Information, Answers & Reviews

2011 Michael L. Printz Award

ShipbreakerEvery year the Michael L. Printz award is given to recognize excellence in Young Adult Literature. The American Library Association's publication, Booklist, is the sponsor of the award which was announced two weeks ago. The announcement slipped my notice, but both the winner and several of the honored titles look too good to not pass along.

2011 Printz Winner:
Ship Breaker by Paolo Bacigalupi
In a futuristic world, teenaged Nailer scavenges copper wiring from grounded oil tankers for a living, but when he finds a beached clipper ship with a girl in the wreckage, he has to decide if he should strip the ship for its wealth or rescue the girl.
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One Book One Bloomington 2011

Let the Great World SpinLast night, the 2011 One Book, One Bloomington Community Read title was announced on WFHB's Interchange radio program.

This year, the community voted for Let the Great World Spin by Colum McCann.

Frank McCourt had this to say about this National Book Award winner, "trust me, this is the sort of book that you will take off your shelf over and over again as the years go along. It's a story of the early 1970s, but it's also the story of our present times. And it is, in many ways, a story of a moment of lasting redemption even in the face of all the evidence....I didn't want to stop turning the pages. I'm really not sure what McCann will do after this, but this is a great New York book, not just for New Yorkers but for anyone who walks any sort of tightrope at all. And yes, it doesn't surprise me that it takes an Irishman to capture the heart of the city." This novel captures the spirit of America in a time of transition, promise, and soon-to-be-ended innocence.
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Winter Reading Program!

Winter ReadingIndulge yourself with two favorite wintertime pleasures--a good book and a yummy treat! Adult, high school and middle school readers are encouraged to participate in our annual Winter Reading Program. It's easy to enter - read a book, submit an entry. Every week, winning names will be drawn to receive prizes. At the end of the Winter Reading Program, we'll choose three lucky names from all the entries submitted to receive grand prizes. The more delicious books you read, the more chances you'll have to win.
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Scott Pilgrim vs. the World

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I wasn't sure what to expect when I first put Scott Pilgrim vs. the World in my DVD player. It was not even close to what I got. For those who are not familiar with the plot Scott Pilgrim [Michael Cera], the bass player in a small band, has fallen for the new "cool girl" in town, Ramona Flowers [Mary Elizabeth Winstead]. In order to date her he must first defeat her seven "evil exes". Read more »

The sweethearts of the prison rodeo

Last Friday I decided to scan the shelves in the library and pick up something random but interesting. I came across a DVD called, "The Sweethearts of Prison Rodeo." The title alone is interesting. This documentary film is about inmates housed in the Oklahoma State Penitentiary. Once a year, every since 1940, the male inmates have been allowed to participate in a rodeo that serves as a short reprieve for them and entertainment for non-inmates. Anyone is welcome to attend. In 2007, a decision was made to give women the opportunity to participate in the rodeo. A group of women decided to put together a rodeo team and compete head-to-head with the men. This documentary shows both the men and women's competitions but it is mainly about the lives of women in the Oklahoma State Penitentiary and their rodeo team. Please be advised that some of the scenes in the rodeo portion contain severe injuries, blood, broken bones and others have compared this to a "Gladiator-Like" atmosphere.

Where the God of Love Hangs Out

God of LoveAmy Bloom, who used to be a practicing psychotherapist, has won many awards for her short stories. Her latest collection Where the God of Love Hangs Out examines love in many aspects. Bloom shows how it's possible to fall for an older man with a beer belly who suffers from gout and a life-threatening heart condition. The book features two sets of interrelated stories, the first about two couples--close, long-term friends--whose lives are broken apart and rearranged in new and unconventional ways. The second set of stories explores the lives of a jazz musician's widow and her young adult son, Lionel. These four stories reveal how grief makes some people emotionally vulnerable and susceptible to poor life choices.
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Shoot 'Em Up

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Sometimes there is nothing better than a good shoot 'em up movie. I love to watch what I know are impossible stunts and a lone man or woman going up against impossible odds and coming out ahead. Die Hard was the first movie I remember seeing of this type, though I'm sure there were earlier ones.
My new favorite in this genre has the honest title of Shoot 'em Up. This 2007 movie stars Clive Owen as a man named Smith who accidentally finds himself in the middle of everything after he comes to the aid of a pregnant women in labor Read more »

The Writing Circle

The Writing CircleThis novel examines the writing process itself especially that nerve-wracking period when an author first shares her work with other people. Nancy writes for a medical newsletter for a living; how ironic, she often thinks, that a doctor's daughter researches articles about prostate health, skin cancer, even empty nest syndrome, and then makes pronouncements about them in the voice of a medical practitioner rather than her own. Her novel is a deeply personal story, one that imagines her father's life beginning with the night he watched a couple say good-bye to their newborn daughter. Nancy has waited until after her father's death to imagine his story. And as in all fiction, the bare biographical facts are merely a springboard to the tale, not its actual foundation.
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Hoarders

Hoarders is an A&E reality television show that focuses on people that engage in compulsive hoarding. I watched the first four episodes and could not believe my eyes. There are people that collect things, store things and buy knick-knacks, and then there are hoarders. Hoarders are the extreme versions of those that like to collect and store things in their homes. Read more »

Graphic Novels for The Afraid

MercuryI will come right out and say that I do not like superheroes (movie or print) and I didn't read comic books as a kid, so I am not naturally drawn to the graphic novel format. Because I'm kind of a nerd, what I do like is big fat novels and dusty historical non-fiction. So color me surprised when recently I've been enjoying more graphic novels. Last night as I finished Mercury by Hope Larson I began to wonder and hope that the reason went beyond the fact that I can read on in a single sitting -- though that is very satisfying too! My rationale is that I've been craving something different. I have read enough fiction to be somewhat bored with a traditional storyline. I want to think while I read -- to be engaged! And picking up some graphic novels has been the way to do that recently. I've tried to compile a list of graphic novels for the hesitant -- for anyone who thought that they weren't interested. Give one a try, you might be pleasantly surprised.
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