Category Archives: Reading

New Books News!

With March Break just a few days away, we wanted to draw your attention to some of the new books just waiting to be checked out.

Fantasy

King’s Cage and Cruel Crown by Victoria Aveyard

The third book and prequel novellas in the Red Queen series.

The Darkest Part of the Forest, by Holly Black

In the woods outside of a town where humans and faeries co-exits, there’s a horned boy asleep in a glass coffin. He’s been there for years. Until, one day, he wakes up.

Caraval, by Stephanie Garber

Scarlett has always dreamed of visiting the invitation-only Caraval, a show where the audience is part of the performance. But this year, her sister is kidnapped by the leader of Caraval, and Scarlett will have to find her to before she’s lost forever.

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Ruby Red trilogy, by Kerstin Gier

Time travel! Romance! Fancy dresses!

Steeplejack, by A.J. Hartley

In a fantasy South Africa, a chimney-repairwoman tries to solve the murder of her apprentice.

Every Heart a Doorway, by Seanan McGuire

Something goes horrible wrong at a home for children who once found their way to other worlds – and desperately wish to find their way there again.

The Weight of Feathers, by Anne-Marie McLemore.

The fates of a son and daughter of magical rival families become intertwined.

 

The Winner’s Curse series, by Marie Rutkowski

Political intrigue and star-crossed lovers.

 

Realistic

Saving Hamlet, by Molly Booth

A stage manager falls through a trapdoor her back in time to Shakespeare’s day, and the first ever production of Hamlet.

Allegedly, by Tiffany Jackson

An imprisoned teen who was convicted of killing a baby when she was 9 tries to prove her innocence to maintain custody of her own child.

Still Life With Tornado, by A.S. King

Sarah deals with her brother’s mysterious absence, her parents’ divorce, and her inability to make art as she always has.

History is All You Left Me, by Adam Silvera

Griffin deals with the death of his ex-boyfriend.

Beast, by Brie Spangler

Dylan, a boy whose exceedingly large and hairy for his age, falls for a girl in his support group.

Saving Montgomery Sole, by Mariko Tamaki

A girl who love the paranormal worries she will be bullied for having two moms. By the author of This One Summer.

The Hate U Give, by Angie Thomas

After witnessing her friend’s death at the hands of a police officer, Starr Carter’s life is complicated when the police and a local drug lord try to intimidate her in an effort to learn what happened the night Kahlil died.

The Serpent King, by Jeff Zentner

The son of a Pentecostal preacher faces his personal demons as he and his two outcast friends try to make it through their senior year of high school in rural Forrestville, Tennessee.

American Street, by Ibi Zoboi

Fabiola Toussaint is a Haitian immigrant learning to make her way at a new school in Detroit.

 

Science Fiction

The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet, by Becky Chambers

A misfit spaceship crew is hired to punch a wormhole gate to a new planet. For those who still miss Firefly.

Dreadnought, by April Daniels

A coming-out story in two parts: as a superhero, and as transgender.

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Ruby Red trilogy, by Kerstin Gier

Time travel! Romance! Fancy dresses!

Carve the Mark, by Veronica Roth

Graceling in space, by the author of Divergent

Scythe, by Neal Shusterman

Two teens are chosen to become a Scythe – grim reapers who choose who dies. Only one will succeed – the other will be killed.

 

Historical Fiction

Seeds of America series, by Laurie Halse Anderson

After being sold to a cruel couple in New York City, a slave named Isabel spies for the rebels during the Revolutionary War.

Front Lines, by Michael Grant

An alternate history where American women could be drafted to fight in World War II.

 

Graphic Novels

Trickster: Native American Tales

A collection of 21 trickster stories in cartoon form.

Black Panther, by Ta-Nehisi Coates

T’Challa, the superhero known as Black Panther and the king of Wakanda, tries to unite his nation in the face of a violent uprising.

The Nameless City, by Faith Erin Hicks

Rat and Kai bond over parkour, even though one is a native of a city that keeps changing hands, and the other is a member of the current occupying force.

Wires and Nerveby Marissa Meyer

A Lunar Chronicles story about Iko the android (with appearances from many other characters).

Lumberjanes, by Noelle Stevenson

A group of friends keep getting caught up in the strange happenings at their summer camp, from supernatural wolves and river monsters to raptors and Greek gods.

 

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Reading for Fun in 2016

Hello readers,

As Winter Break quickly approaches (4 days!), we’re taking a look back at the most popular books of 2016. These are the fiction and graphic novels you grabbed off the shelf over the past year. The numbers are a little unorthodox – no “Top Ten” here – but hey, 16 for 2016 works out pretty well.

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Fantasy continues to be a favorite genre, although sci-fi, historical, and realistic fiction also make appearances. Aristotle and Dante continues to be popular four years after its release; the sweet story of two boys coming of age in Texas is proving to be a lasting favorite. Three Dark Crowns deserves special mention: we got it at the end of September, so it’s only had three months to rack up its five checkouts. As for graphic novels, maybe Saga is cheating by having so many volumes – but each one would have had enough checkouts on its own to make the list.

No matter whether you’ve read most of these books or none of them, thank you for reading and for visiting the library! See you in 2017!

Double Feature: Pages and Popcorn

Photo credit: Lynn Friedman via Flickr

Disclaimer: For this discussion, Mr. Gette and Ms. Nicolelli are limiting themselves to book series adapted to the big screen. This discussion will exclude one-off book-to-film adaptations, such as The Book Thief or Nick and Nora’s Infinite Playlist.

JG: I blame Harry Potter and Frodo.

Sure, YA books and series were turned into movies before 2001. But the runaway success of both Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone and The Fellowship of the Ring ushered in an era of studios looking for the next big thing.

JN: Producers can expect a guaranteed audience, either book fans eager to see their beloved stories come to life. Or, book fans eager to disparage the film adaptation. Either way, money goes into pockets.

The money spent on early millennial series adaptations like Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter was money well spent, on the part of readers turned moviegoers. However, I would argue that film series adaptation has been in sharp decline ever since.

JG: Film adaptations have been divided into two categories: hot new series like Divergent and The Maze Runner; or backlist favorites like The Dark is Rising (made into the absolutely dreadful movie The Seeker). But series are a two-edged sword: on the one hand, you know what your next few films will be; on the other, no movie really stands alone.

JN: It’s nearly impossible to execute a book-to-film series that is of high quality from start to finish. And this is when the book series is actually complete, not even taking into account the adaptation of book series that are not yet finished. Look at what happened to Divergent! Or Chronicles of Narnia.

JG: Another issue is length. Some books are just too jam-packed to make a regular-length movie without lots of cuts. Which leads making multiple movies from one book. Deathly Hallows Part I & II. Breaking Dawn Part I & II. Although sometimes it’s hard to tell if the decision is being made because of length or potential profit.

JN: And then there is the opposite problem of taking a normal-length book and unnecessarily dividing it into multiple films. Mockingjay I & II and The Hobbit (I can’t even keep track of the ridiculous number of installments). And only the most optimistic, naive book lover would see this as anything other than Hollywood trying to make money.

JG: It’s one book! ONE BOOK. The Hobbit  is shorter than each of the books in the Lord of the Rings series!

JN: Peter Jackson fell from grace quite a bit with The Hobbit adaptation. And seriously, Orlando Bloom?!

JN: But going back to adapting a book series before it is finished. JK Rowling always knew the Wizarding World and Harry’s story inside and out. The filming schedule did not back Rowling into any corners and the books did not suffer for the film adaptations. However, authors like Veronica Roth (Divergent) struggle under the pressure to churn out the finalized story. Just look to Allegiant if you need evidence. Blegh.

JG: It can be ok for a screenwriter to change or cut things. Some parts of books just don’t translate well to a film. Sorry, Tom Bombadil fans. The Lord of the Rings benefited from having hundreds of pages of traveling condensed into montages.

JN: Absolutely! Do you have a favorite book-to-film adaptation moment, Mr. Gette? Perhaps one where the screenwriter(s) changed the author’s version of the scene/event/character/etc.

JG: I honestly believe Jurassic Park is a better movie than book. Maybe because I saw before I read it, so that’s the version I know best. The Hammonds in the book and movie are VERY different, and that does a lot to change the whole feeling of the story.  But the moment when Grant and Sattler see the brachiosauruses for the first time and the theme swells is pretty great (and that, too, is different from the book). You?

JN: I saw the Lord of the Rings films prior to reading the series (I know, I know!), but I remember seeing the movie trailer for Fellowship like it was yesterday (the music and Cate Blanchett/Galadriel voice over!). While I had dabbled in the fantasy genre, Fellowship absolutely hooked me. Another memorable moment was seeing Diagon Alley come to life in Sorcerer’s Stone. It was when I knew the Harry Potter films would be excellent visual adaptations. My favorite single scene of adaptation that is different from the book version is the Order of the Phoenix showdown between Dumbledore and Voldemort. The book version details specific spells, while the film version mostly features the magical manipulation of elements. It seemed so appropriate for these two magical powerhouses.

JN: What is your least favorite book-to-film adaptation moment, Mr. Gette? It can be an entire film, film series, or single scene. Or all three!

JG: When I was 10 there was nothing I loved so much as My Side of The Mountain. In the book, Sam tames a falcon, Frightful, who helps him survive. There are sequels based around Frightful. In the movie, she gets shot by a hunter. Maybe she survives – I don’t know. I shut it off after that, and never finished the movie. What’s yours?

JN: I could say everything about the Divergent or Golden Compass movies, but I was not necessarily in love with those books. Perhaps the biggest adaptation betrayal was The Giver. Just, no.

JG: Just like all movies, ones based off of books can be great or terrible. And while it’s disappointing when a favorite becomes a bad movie, at least you still have the book.

JN: Books > Movies.

JG:jurassic-park-t-rex

Book Review: The Fifth Season, by N. K. Jemisin

fifth-season

I picked up The Fifth Season for two reasons: one, it’s by N. K. Jemisin, whose Inheritance Trilogy I greatly enjoyed, and two, it recently won the Hugo Award for Best Novel. Those two reasons are why when I was tempted to put the book down and walk away (twice in the first fifty pages), I kept going.

The Fifth Season starts slow, or as slow as a book that starts with a murder and a cataclysm can. The story is told from three different perspectives, and each viewpoint character (and their supporting cast) needs to be introduced. One viewpoint is told entirely in the second person. There is a lot of setup.

Fortunately, there’s a lot of payoff, too. Jemisin is really good at fitting things together, at making these disparate accounts converge in a satisfying way. She’s a master of world-building – the Stillness feels rich and alive, with a deep history.

The Fifth Season takes place in a world that is literally coming apart. Earthquakes and volcanoes are a constant threat, and everyone knows the rules for living through a “fifth season”  – an extra-long winter brought on by the ash and dust kicked up by an event. Orogenes are people with the power to control the earth, and they are used to quiet quakes and protect the empire.

This is not a happy story. It begins with the murder of one child and the loss of another. Orogones are seen as monsters or tools to be controlled rather than human, and that attitude is reflected in their treatment.  The school for orogones is like a Hogwarts run entirely by Umbridges. The empire is built on a system of castes and oppression. And from the beginning, the book tells you this is a story of the end.

Oh, but what an end.

Read if you like: interesting magic systems, deep world-building, diverse characters.

Avoid if you don’t like: Constant impending doom.

Summer Reading Survey Results 2016

So Long Sweet Summer

Courtesy of Meg Bisson, Katie Slater Photography

Hello and welcome to another exciting year at Hopkins! Here in Calarco we’ve got new textbooks waiting to be pulverized, fresh notecards itching to become memorization rectangles, and librarians gazing wistfully at beautiful summer photos instead of shelving books.

Three years running,  we librarians asked you to tell us about the best part of your summer – that’s right, summer reading. A whopping 198 of you responded, recommending 139 different books. There was a lot of turnover this year – two of the top three books from 2015 (Paper Towns and To Kill A Mockingbird) weren’t mentioned at all. In fact, no John Green books were recommended for the first time since we began this survey.

 

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What is it about The Da Vinci Code? Is it the ciphers, the fast-paced thrills, Tom Hanks’ rumpled (no, not rugged) good looks? Whatever the “it” factor, The Da Vinci Code is Hopkins’ most recommended book of Summer 2016! Seven respondents wrote that it was “exciting,”  “incredibly suspenseful,” and that it “keep[s] you at the edge of your seat.”

Almost as popular were The Great Train Robbery and The Apothecary, both of which benefited from being assigned books. Other favorite books (or movies) were Emma Donoghue’s Room and Mario Puzo’s The Godfather – perhaps because of their film counterparts. David Levithan’s Every Day and Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood were the other two unassigned books to make appearances on the “most read” list.

This was the first year we asked for your thoughts about your favorite book(s). In doing this, we discovered that even faculty and staff enjoy ALL CAPS. Please see some of our favorite commentary below.

The Godfather

It was AMAZING. I went in thinking it would have a pace similar to other books of its time, with lots of description and thoughtshots. However, I was pleasantly surprised to find that it moved like an action film, and it kept me going despite the length.

The Girl on the Train

Unreliable narration is key. What made this book so excellent was how you couldn’t trust anyone — even the protagonist with her flawed memories.

House of Leaves

House of Leaves was the weirdest book I have ever read and it invokes mild paranoia.

Americanah

This was an amazing book about African immigration. As a child of to Nigerians I found many similarities with their struggles. When many people think of Nigeria or Africa in general, they may think of thick jungles, aboriginal tribes, and no electricity. It is seen more as a charity case. This books lets you in on the lives of the people. The struggle to make it to America and become something. The stress of stereotypes and myths continually reminding them that they do not belong. The fear of coming back to their homeland and catching “Americanah.” And international love. How years and miles cannot erase true bonds. Wow. I wrote more than you probably wanted. Sorry about that.

[editorial note: no such thing as saying too much about a book you love]

The Apothecary

I thought that this was a great book and I could not put it down. I also would have never chosen this book if it was not required.

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children

It was great because it was kind of like a lot of kids dreams written out on paper. (Running away from home with your friends.)

An Officer and a Spy

It’s a great account of the Dreyfus Affair and is riveting from start to finish. My Dad forced me to read it, and when I finally gave in and started reading it, I was hooked.

[editorial note, again: good job, anonymous Dad]

Below you will find a list of every book recommended this year. Thanks to all of our respondents, and happy reading!

 

Book Review: The Rest of Us Just Live Here

Patrick Ness proved his YA writing chops with A Monster Calls (soon to be a major motion picture!). In The Rest of Us Just Live Here, Ness flips the “chosen one” trope over and puts it on the back burner. Ever-present in literature (particularly of the fantasy genre), the “chosen ones” are known for their ability to bear the weight of the world while they battle the forces of darkness/evil/supernatural to save the day.

But what if the plights and perils of the chosen ones – or “indie kids”, using Ness’ terminology – were secondary to the real story? What if the real story lay with the never-gonna-be-chosens? The no-way-never-indie kids? The sidekicks? The acquaintances?  What if instead of Harry Potter, we had Seamus Finnigan? What if the Hunger Games was Prim’s story, not Katniss’?

In The Rest of Us Just Live Here, Ness cleverly puts the indie kids in the background. Each chapter begins with a small, bolded excerpt of the latest indie kid development before quickly turning to Mikey and his friends. Set against the backdrop of “a suburb of a suburb of a suburb of a suburb of a city that takes about an hour to get to,” Mikey just wants to get through his last month of senior year. Sure he’s worried the indie kids might have to blow up the school again, but he has bigger concerns. Will he be able to puzzle out his feelings for Henna before she leaves on a mission trip to the Central African Republic? Why is Mikey’s OCD deciding now is the right time to get worse? Maybe Mikey has more to cope with than the typical indie kid. He may not be battling blue-eyed zombie people, but he looks after his older sister Mel while she recovers from anorexia, shields his younger sister from the worst influences of his politically driven mom and alcoholic dad, and tries to support his best friend Jared: the cat whisperer (you’ll see).

Ness asks us to consider what it really means to be chosen, and Mikey must face what it really means to be a hero. I loved this book for two reasons: 1. it is good, and 2. it harks back to one of my top 5 favorite Buffy the Vampire Slayer episodes: season 3, episode 13 The Zeppo. It is the moment when Buffy, literally the Chosen One, and her apocalyptic battles take a backseat to Xander. The best friend. The one with no powers. The sidekick. The one who just gets knocked out by vampires on the reg. In that episode, Xander finds the opportunity to be a hero. Maybe Mikey finds that chance in The Rest of Us Just Live Here.

New Fiction News for March 2016

Hello readers!

We’re quickly approaching March Break, which means it’s time to come by the library and check out something to read as you sit on a beach or your couch or anywhere that is not here. May I suggest one of the new books listed below? You can click on the cover to go to that books record in our catalog. Happy reading!

calamity   red queen.jpg  broken.jpg  and again.jpg

library.jpg  thousand.jpg  accident.jpg  tlccontent.jpg

allamerican.jpg  ashley.jpg  avenue.jpg  childrens.jpg

crooked.jpg  dogs.jpg  fifth.jpg  find.jpg

forgetting.jpg  salt.jpg  since.jpg  hartgrove.jpg

truth.jpg  molecules.jpg  heart.jpg  alloy.jpg

bone.jpg  blood.jpg  gods.jpg  delicious.jpg

guest.jpg  find.jpg  people.jpg  short.jpg

simon.jpg  painted.jpg  uproot.jpg  bands.jpg

luckiest  year  rosalie