Monthly Archives: April 2013

Calarco Presents “A Celebration of Poetry”

2013 Poetry Month

photo credit: Manchester Library via flickr

The Calarco Library invites you to A Celebration of Poetry Tuesday, April 20, from 6:30 – 7:30 pm. For an hour, listen to original poetry and translations by Hopkins students and recitations in Modern and Classical languages.

The event was originally designed to honor the Ann Kneisel Library Fund – established in 2002 by William J. Kneisel ’65 HGS in honor of his mother, Ann Henningsen Kneisel, to provide for the acquisition of new works of literature and poetry for the Library. This year, A Celebration of Poetry is the flagship Hopkins event celebrating National Poetry Month.

Please stop by for poetry, a light supper, and (of course) the Library.

Participating Students

Vikram Amar

Lucy Balcezak

Samira Bandura

Lindsay Blake

Molly Bodurtha

Ben Capasso

Chris Cappello

Jenn Corradi

Meera Dhodapkar

Rose Etzel

Saiyara Fahmi

Joshua Felizardo

Philip Geanakoplos

Alec Gewirtz

Chloe Glass

Yohan Kim

Jack McLean

Chrisshara Robinson

Gleeson Ryan

Griffin Shoglow-Rubenstein

Abigail Soloway

Bret Stepanek

Juliette Verlaque

Sarah Wagner

Kill or Be Killed: I Hunt Killers vs. I Am Not A Serial Killer

serialkillers

What is it about serial killers? From The Following on FOX to everything ever related to Hannibal Lecter or Jack the Ripper, serial killers are a part of popular culture. Two books. One similar theme. Which one will win, and which will end up in a shallow grave?

I Hunt Killers, by Barry Lyga

Jazz Dent knows far more about serial killers than the typical teenager – probably because his father is one. But Dear Old Dad has been in jail for years, so when people turn up dead in a very familiar manner, Jazz needs to convince the police that there’s a new killer in town – and it’s not him.

I Am Not A Serial Killer, by Dan Wells

John Wayne Cleaver thinks he’s doomed to become a serial killer – and not just because of his name. He has a set of rules that he follows to keep himself on the straight and narrow – and to keep the monster inside him at bay. But when bodies start appearing – accompanied by a strange black sludge – John knows that what he’s read about, what he’s fascinated by, has come to town.

The Verdict (dun dun dun):

These two books are stunningly similar in some ways. Both boys have to convince the authorities that there’s a serial killer in town. Both have odd friends that help them feel normal. Both are worried about what they might become: John because of what he feels (or doesn’t feel – he’s a sociopath), and Jazz because of what he was taught by his loving father.  And, of course, both of them decide to track down a murderer what is wrong with you you are a teenager haven’t you ever seen Criminal Minds?

Ahem.

On the whole, I preferred I Hunt Killers. Both were page-turners, but I was surprised and a little disappointed by [SPOILER] the supernatural element in I am Not a Serial Killer. Jazz’s demons are purely human, which is more what I was looking for. However, if you’re into killers that are literally inhuman, IANASK may be more up your alley.

Winner: I Hunt Killers. 

Note: Both books are available on the Kindles. So judge for yourself!

-Signing off, Kit Gette (who most certainly did not have nightmares after reading these books. Nope.) 

Book Review: The Matched Trilogy, by Ally Condie

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It all happened so fast.

I was reading these critically acclaimed books – The Dinner by Herman Koch and Miles from Nowhere by Nami Mun – and next thing I knew, my reading brain was swirling with romance triangles, dystopian near-futures, and slightly whiny female narrative.*

There are those VERY SERIOUS READERS out there who want to make other VERY SERIOUS READERS feel ashamed when they succumb to the inexplicable draw of YA Fiction. Well guess what? Those of you with upturned noses and derisive snorts of disapproval, THIS librarian is incapable of [reading] shame**. Which is why I read the entire Matched trilogy in 4 days.

Basic Plot: Dystopian near-ish future. The Society is entirely based on statistical calculations culled through data mined daily from citizens. There is only limited, pre-selected culture and an appearance of content sameness. The first glitch appears when 17-year-old protagonist Cassia is Matched with her statistically determined perfect mate (cue Xander: totally handsome, all-Society boy-next-door best friend) AND a second, seemingly imperfect mate (cue Ky: the loner, mysterious neighbor with eye-windows of his soul…or whatever).

And cue the story. When Cassia experiences this glitch in an otherwise perfect Society, her utopian life begins to unravel as she is exposed to the hidden realities of her world. There’s a wise all-knowing grandfather in Matched, who first introduces Cassia to words written on paper and the glimmer of a world that exists beneath and between the Society. There’s an epic adventure and introduction to a rebellion in Crossed. And there is an actual rebellion, plague and ending in Reached.

I have to admit, YA fiction is a little heavy on the dystopia and love triangles lately (and manic pixie girls, but I digress). This trilogy was predictable – even the part when the rebellion (the Rising) is not as upstanding as it appears (sound familiar?). And let’s be serious – who has a hunky neighbor in high school? Who is secretly in love with you? Psh. There was also a noticeable deterioration in plot structure and narrative in Crossed and Reached. So why? Why did I, an often VERY SERIOUS READER, persist?

Because why not? Because Cassia is not helpless, and she does not even come close to the levels of whininess achieved by Katniss Everdeen in Mockingjay. Because I like the gramps, a lot. Because it was vacation. Because the premise is solid. Because the characters are engaging. Because Condie put forth a respectable effort in the world of YA trilogies.

I may not feel [reading] shame, but I do harbor [reading] pity. I feel genuinely sorry for those VERY SERIOUS READERS who feel the pressure to maintain a VERY SERIOUS REPUTATION every day of their reading lives. That must be exhausting. I would need a green pill.

Inside joke. My apologies, VERY SERIOUS READERS.

-Signing off, Jenny Barrows (who is now reading Junot Díaz, because the pendulum is meant to swing)

*No, not my own.

**KG: Which is why we still haven’t seen a review of Great Expectations.

Fines for Food

food and books

photo credit: Silvia Sala via photopin cc

KG: Welcome back from Spring Break! One of the nice things about having two weeks off is that Spring has suddenly arrived on the Hill. Yes, spring. The trees are budding, the birds are singing, the flowers are starting to bloom, and a young librarian’s fancy turns to fines.

Yes, fines. Those unfortunate side effects of overdue books (return your books)

JB: Woah, let’s not jump right into being all judge-y and blame-y. That’s not how we convince people, Mr. Gette. Do over.

KG: <smiles, grabs pitchfork>

JB: <smiles, holds puppy and lamb>

…wait, why are we on a farm?

…annndddd do over.

KG: Welcome back from Spring Break!

JB: We welcome you with pitchforks, puppies, lambs and farm stuff!

KG: …I thought we were starting over.

JB: Right! Ok. We welcome you with the Canned Food Drive!

(if this was an English paper, we would already have a C- for avoiding the point for this long)

KG: I know what you’re thinking. “Canned Food Drive? That was in the fall. Now we’re in spring! Don’t you ever leave the library?”

JB: Yes, proverbial audience, we do. We leave to eat. Eating happens year round. Even when the leaves grow instead of fall.

<pun>

KG: …right. Anyway, because eating is an every-season activity, Mrs. Prendergast had the grand idea of donating to the Connecticut Food Bank all library fines collected this month.

JB: So instead of groaning at us humble librarians when we mutter phrases like “overdue books” and “library fines,” rejoice! Cheer and skip merrily down the hill with arms linked a-la The Wizard of Oz (NOT the Great and Powerful…they were not as joyous).

KG: Yeah, he doesn’t look like the skipping type.

JB: And when you get to Oz…or the library, happily donate your fines to the Connecticut Food Bank. And forget the metaphor. We are basically wizards.

KG: Yer a wizard, Barrows.

JB: Don’t joke about that, Mr. Gette. I’ve been waiting for that letter since 1998.

KG: My apologies. But now I know what I should have done for April Fools’ Day.

JB: The devastation of discovering the falseness in such a potential joke would have warranted a convalescence…somewhere.

KG: So please, return your books and pay your fines (if you owe any). Calarco Library is proud to be putting them towards such a good cause (even though it will eat into our hovercraft fund).

JB: We support eating, and believe that everyone has a right to it…seriously, it’s a human right. Also, we can scrape by for the hovercraft fund and Hogwarts tuition.

KG: (You know they’re not going to pay in Galleons, right?)

Happy reading and happy eating, everyone!*

*comma to prevent cannibalism