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Use Your Pencil Hugo- Bleak, Bizarre, Beautiful cont..

by Adrienne - 0 Comment(s)

Sometimes opening something has such a velvety quality, the unknownness of it so black, the mystery so tangible you can almost feel it; like rubbing paper between your fingers. Opening The Invention of Hugo Cabret: a novel in words and pictures is like that. And the adventure unfolds from there. The biggest discovery being how Brian Selznick has almost single handedly reinvented the form of the novel and what a book can be. The story is told in pictures and then in words, back and forth, never repeating scenes. Words and pictures move the story along sequentially; they are not meant to expand on one another nor elaborate. Yet enhance each other they do. Different in this way from a graphic novel, the pictures take up the whole page adding unimaginable layers of depth. Each speaks 1000 words or more, describing both setting and scene with lush pencil strokes, sturdy in execution yet exquisite in detail. It just makes me want to run my fingers over the page, flip them back and forth, back and forth... The quality of the paper is rich as well, reminding me of the the lushness of Vida Simone's art and the memory I have of a personal performance with miniature puppets she performed for me in my apartment (among others) as part of her show at The New Gallery years ago. Telling stories in her own personal way. Hugo Cabret does the same thing.

So flip through the pages I did! And discovered, much to my delight, that the individual sequences of images throughout the book act like mini flip books, animating individual scenes, imitating the earliest animations and stop motion film sequences of silent movies. This adds a physically tangible metaphor to the history of cinema that the book probes to a certain depth; satisfying in metaphor of not breadth. To this add steampunkish elements tying clockwork magicians to the mysteries of the human heart and human bonds. It's no wonder it won the Caldecott Medal in 2008.

Et tu parle Francais? Since the book does take place in Paris.. get the the French version here. The book has so many layers. Its very form is half of it! This leaves me wondering if a film on the book can truly do it justice. Yet the story is so strong in and of itself, and.. it does deal with the invention of cinema, so a film MUST have something to add to the discussion of itself... "Hugo" In theatres TODAY (November 23rd) you can watch the trailer here. One thing I don't doubt= I am excited to see it!

I'm even more excited to read and experience Selznick's next adventure in the re-invention of the novel = Wonderstruck. Here he talks about how he wanted to tell 2 stories. One about Rose, set in the past, told in pictures and one about Ben, set in the present, told in words. At some point the stories meet in the middle and either a puzzle is solved and/or a new mystery evolves. See the website here.

Let the mysteries begin. Perhaps all is not lost to e-books and cyberspace. Selznick has given us something in these books akin to the realization that the specialness of a handwritten letter or home made card can never equal an email or Facebook Message. So go ahead - use you pencil!

Coverage

by Jilliane - 0 Comment(s)

I was reading this article from Leaky News the other day, which decries the most recent covers of the "Alanna" series by Tamora Pierce. Basically, the argument is this: Alanna is a kick-@$$, rough-and-tumble, heroine of EPIC proportions, but you would never be able to tell that by the new covers, because they make her look like a boy-crazy girly-girl. This argument is not new. People have been disgusted by this from the moment they first saw the covers, when they opened the box this past summer.


But what you have to understand here, is that I have read this series at LEAST a dozen times, almost every year since I was a kid. I grew up with Alanna. I watched her go from this:

--> to this --> then this --> and this

and finally, heart-breakingly, to this:

You will note, of course, the lack of her beautiful and faithful horse, Moonlight, who is present in ALL of the previous covers, in favour of two simpering, broody boys who are both pining after Alanna. Don't get me wrong, Jonathan and George DO both love her... but that drama only happens for like 20 pages. Honestly. She has a much more interesting relationship with her horse.

And look, I get it. These books get a new print run every couple of years because they really ARE that good, and they really DON'T age as time goes on. I love them just as much now as I did 15 years ago. And the esthetic trends of books are changing faster than most people can keep up with. I mean... When I had to replace my first copies of the books (I had worn them completely out) I was STOKED to upgrade from the third image on that list to the fourth. The last set of releases (before these horrifying new ones) were really, really good.

Especially in YA Lit, where publishers are always looking for the latest and greatest trend, and have to distinguish their books from the myriad of other books just like it, covers are especially important. And despite the age-old adage to "Never judge a book by it's cover", taking one look at a book is enough to tell me whether or not I'm going to pick it up off a shelf. I mean, it's not the ONLY reason I'll read a book, but if I'm just browsing, not looking for something specific, I am DEFINITELY drawn towards the cooler covers.

So here's what I want to know:

Do you have a beloved favourite that you feel was butchered by a new print-run with terrible covers?

What books have you avoided based purely on their appearance?

What books have covers that are totally appealing to you, that you'll pick up regardless of what it's about?

Have you ever taken a book out, or bought one, just because of the cover, and then never read it? Or pretended to just because it looked cool?

What's your favourite book that lived up to it's cover?

What books are awesome and deserve way better covers than the ones they got?

I know that's a lot, but I really want to know! Leave your comments above!

And if you want to see what I'm talking about with this book covers trends thing, check out these lists based on genre:

http://old.calgarypubliclibrary.com/teenzone/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=115

You'll be shocked to see how similar the covers of books in certain genres are! (My faves are the fantasy covers!)

What do we do when the world falls apart?

by Jilliane - 4 Comment(s)

Although I can't explain it, teen publishing trends clearly demonstrate that we are obsessed with our own destruction.

The truth is, I'm getting a little tired of dystopic reads, but there isn't a lot I can do about it because publishers just keep churning them out. And, truth be told, there are a lot of great dystopic reads out there. Let me tell you about just a few of my favourites:

Bacigalupi paints a bleak future for earth--a world where fossil fuels have all been used and the oceans have risen to drown coastal cities. It is here that we meet Nailer, a ship breaker. He and many others are foreced to scavenge beached oil tankers for things like copper wire and fuel. When Nailer finds a beached clipper he is forced to decide if he will strip the ship of its wealth and become a rich man, or try and save the ships only survivor--a rich girl, daughter of a shipping-company's owner.

Book CoverGeneticists have developed a vaccine for all physical ailments and administered it to a whole generation. What they didn't know, was that their vaccine was a time-bomb. The children of this generation are now susceptible to a virus that claims the lives of men at 25 and women at 20. There are few remaining first-generation individuals who are now aging, and working hard to develop an antidote. Meanwhile, perpetuating the species is of the utmost importance. The need for new births has spawned an ugly breeding program where young women are kidnapped and forced into polygamist marriages. Rhine, a 16-year old, has been taken from her Manhattan home and thrust into the hands of a wealthy young man as his fourth wife. Her determination to escape never wavers, despite the privilge and comfort of her husband's mansion.

book coverCassia Reyes lives in a perfect society. What's more, she is perfect--a model student, daughter and citizen who has everything she needs: food, shelter, education, training and even a future husband that has been carefully chosen just for her. Cassia even knows when she will die--after all, every citizen in this perfectly controlled, perfectly monitored world dies at 80--the perfect age to die.

At Cassia's Match Banquet she is paired with Xander, her best friend and definitely her soul mate, and everything seems fine. But when a computer error shows Cassia Ky's face instead of Xander's, Cassia starts to have questions. Her mind begins to work differently and and suddenly Cassia's society doesn't seem so perfect anymore.

Matched has been compared to Margared Atwood's Handmaid's Tale, Lois Lowry's The Giver as well as George Orwell's 1984. Definitely worth the read.

Book Cover

It is time for Tally Youngblood to party. Her sixteenth birthday is coming up and soon she will be transormed into a great beauty. Scott Westerfeld paints a world where people are perfectly proportioned, perfecly groomed and perfectly lovely. Modern science has developed a surgery that has elimited all forms of ugliness--but at what expense?

Right before her surgery, Tally meets Shay, a wild, willful girl who decides she doesn't want the surgery. To Tally, this is unheard of--or is it?

Tally discovers a group of runaways who have all chosen not to have the surgery and live at a refugee camp -- the Smoke. It is there that Tally and the other refugess start to learn more about the perfection surgery and the price you pay for beauty.

Book Cover

Years ago a grand experiment led to the development of Incarceron -- a gigantic prison made of metal and designed with cutting edge technology. Incarceron was created to lock away all undersirables, resulting in a perfect utopia.

The experiement failed and Incarceron became self-aware, sentient and tyrannical, and generations of inmates have been struggling to survive. Technolgy has now been outlawed and society has reverted to a feudal state.

Claudia, daughter of Incarceron's warden has an arranged marriage to an impending heir. When the marriage is moved forward, Claudia vows to do whatever it takes to avoid it --i ncluding helping a prisoner of Incarceron to escape.

Book CoverIn order to end war, society has been divided into five factions: Abnegation (selflessness), Dauntless (fearlessness), Candor (truth), Erudite (intellect), Amity (friendship). At sixteen, you are allowed to decide which faction you will spend the rest of your life in.

Beatrice Prior was raised as an Abnegation, but is certain she does not want to remain there. She takes her aptitude test to discover which faction she is best suited to and surprisingly, is given several options. Beatrice is Divergent -- a fact that she cannot reveal to anyone. She chooses to join the Dauntless faction and undergoes an exhausting initiation ritual which will determine if she can remain with the faction or must go factionless.

Beatrice slowly discovers what it means to be Divergent and learns more about how her society has maintained peace.

This is such a popular topic, Tyler posted on it just last year, so if you want to hear abour more dystopic reads check out his post.

Now, one final thought. Because thoughts of our impending destruction (or not) have been on my mind, I've started collecting dystopic songs to make a little 'The world is going to be destroyed and we're all gonna die' playlist. There are tons of great tunes on this topic--clearly people have been thinking about the end of the world for a long time. This is what I've collected so far:

  • You and the Candles Hawksley Workman
  • Tables and Chairs Andrew Bird
  • It's the End of the World as We Know It (And I Feel Fine) REM
  • The Beginning After the End Stars
  • The Eve of Destruction Barry McGuire
  • Animals andThe Wall Pink Floyd
  • They Are Night Zombies!! They Are Neighbors!! They Have Come Back From the Dead!! Ahhhh! Sufjan Stevens
  • 2+2=5 Radiohead
  • Citizens of Tomorrow Tokyo Police Club
  • Silent Running (On Dangerous Ground) by Mike + The Mechanics

What am I missing? Tell me all your best end of the world songs so I can beef up my list!

POETRY SLAM! OBOC & The Calgary Spoken Word Society Team Up Sat 2-3:30

by Adrienne - 0 Comment(s)

This Saturday get ready for a special Second Saturday Slam. This month One Book One Calgary teams up with the Calgary Spoken Word Festival 's crew to deliver a slam with a twist. Come enjoy, compete and/or listen and judge. Bring some of your poems that explore some of the rich themes in Canadian author Steven Galloway's novel "The Cellist of Sarajevo". This could be something related to music or art, the enduring power of the human spirit, diversity, or war and peace. Contestants will be chosen on a first come first serve basis. AND CSWF always offers really valuable and encouraging feedback. I've learned a lot as a poet in the ones I've attended (yes I DID dare to read some of my poems in public - therefore... I dare you!). Thanks to Sheri - D Wilson, Andre Prefotaine, Jen Kunlire and others!!!

And by the way if you haven't checked out the poetry of these guys and gals - they are fantastic!

The OBOC website also has some great books on it as well as book lists. My favourite being the ones that relate to the Human Spirit and Art and Music. Additional suggestions for great verse novels would be Orchards by Holly Thompson and Roses and Bones which includes Psyche in a Dress by Francesca Lia Block.

And as a side note - For the whole month of November we have a cool painted piano that you can see inside of downstairs on the main floor of the library! Come play a tune on your way up or down to the John Dutton Theatre.

Halloween for Scaredy Cats*- aka Bleak, Bizarre & Beautiful Continued.

by Adrienne - 4 Comment(s)

So it's a well known fact that I DON'T do horror! No books, no movies, no tapes (especially NOT of The Ring..), no campfires ghost stories, no nothing, - etc, etc. add into infinitum. It's not so much what the actual books and movies do themselves to creep me out.. but what my imagination does to itself afterwards... for like 6 months, or a year, or however long it takes to make me sleep NOT at night & behave like jitter bug all day. Call me a wimp. I Don't care. I know there are others out there like me. As they say "You are Not Alone..." . So... If you are looking for someone to recommend you the most gruesome, fearsome, awesomest scares... that would NOT be me. Hence the title "Halloween for Scaredy Cats"

I DO however love weird, strange and slightly scary things, like pet vampires, spider fairies, and Harry Potter. The Wikkeling by Steve Arnston falls into this category. Scary - but not, the illustrations however are cool and strange enough for all. A mix of twisted B/W silhouettes ala Arthur Rackham and detailed pencil/watercolour collages in the vien of Tony Diterlizzi (Spiderwick), illustrator Daniela Jaqlenka Terrazinni does a good job of making the book absolutely intriguing.

Speaking on DiTerlizzi his black line ink drawing in Mary Botham-Howitt's 1829 poem "The Spider and the Fly" are definitely shall we say... juicy.

And Vampires? Well if you like Vampires you might actually hate this book. but if you can twist your head around a Vampire being CUTE, yes as in cuddly, then Hipira - a collaboration of Katsuhiro Otomo & Shinji Kimura (who collaborated on Steamboy) is for you. Funny and visually delightful especially if you like square spirals, square spirals, square spirals, square...

HAPPY HALLOWEEN! * this blog is dedicated to all my fellow scardy cats out there - I know you're there ;)-

Teen Read Week Photography Contest

by Jilliane - 0 Comment(s)

Teen Read Week Contest Banner

Teen Read Week is from October 16th -- October 22nd.

To celebrate we are having a photo contest with the YALSA (the Young Adult Library Services Association)

The Challenge: Choose an awesome book and take a photo that visually represents it in a interesting, unique way.

Prizes:

  • YALSA prize: an e-reader loaded with all sorts of awesome books as well as a signed copy of Jay Asher's new book Future of Us.
  • CPL prize: A gift package from Calgary Public Library including a gift certificate to Chapters Indigo.

Contest rules: Because we are running the contest with YALSA, we are following their rules.

How to enter: You need to enter your photo in both contests to be eligible for both prizes. To enter YALSA's contest send your photo here. and to enter CPL's contest upload your photo to Teens Create and email it to teenservices@calgarypubliclibrary.com , please include your name in the email.

For more info email teenservices@calgarypubliclibrary.com

Deadline: October 31st

Banned Book Contest

by Alexandra May - 3 Comment(s)

Today marks the start of Banned Book week -- a week where we celebrate our freedom to read whatever we want... even if some people think it is unpopular, unconventional, or just plain wrong.

In honour of our right as Canadians to read ANYTHING and EVERYTHING, Calgary Public Library is holding a contest. There are three ways to enter:

  • Choose a book from this list and find an article about why it was banned. Respond to this article with counter-arguments for why it should NOT have been banned. If you've read the book, tell us what you thought of it!

  • Find a different example of censorship in Canada (other than book-banning) and comment on it.

  • Make a poster advertising for Banned Book week and upload it to Teens Create.

Winners of this contest will receive a Gift Certificate to Chapters/Indigo (so you can buy ANY book you want!) and will be announced on Monday October 3rd

Shiver our Timbers --Int'l Talk like a Pirate Day

by Alexandra May - 1 Comment(s)

What started out as a search for one or two books to tweet about on International Talk like a Pirate Day (Sept 19th 2011) has totally renewed my intense love for the whole scallywag genre.

Here are our top picks for Best Teen Pirate Fiction, and a couple of other fun things from Calgary Public Library. Avast-Ye!

Pirates: The True and Remarkable Adventures of Minerva Sharpe and Nancy Kington, Female Pirates – If Historical Fiction is your thing, check out this exciting book about two young women from the 18C who are both trying to escape lives of subjugation in the West Indies. They travel the world, they look for treasure, and it’s historically accurate! Look for it in Electronic Resources, too!

Steel – This is a fantasy novel about Jill, a high school student and competitive fencer who finds herself magically transported onto a Pirate Ship when she’s SUPPOSED to be on family vacay in the Bahamas. All I can say is it’s a good thing she’s a fencer and not a Cosmetology major.

Vampirates: Demons of the Ocean – Yeah, you read that right. It’s a paranormal fiction cross-over. But it’s got everything you could possibly want from either genre! Orphaned twins separated by miles of tempestuous ocean, swashbuckling swordfights and treasure hunts, and a crew of bloodsucking undead. Like Miley always says, you get the best of both worlds!

The always-hilarious and super-fun “One Piece” is a great example of pirates in Manga. Monkey D. Luffy’s body has the wonderful properties of rubber, which are super handy in some situations, but not so much when it comes to swimming. Still! He’s not gonna let that stand in the way of him becoming a pirate, or finding the greatest treasure in the world, the legendary One Piece.

We also have all the classics, like Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island (available in hardcover, electronic copy, graphic novel, audiobook, DVD, Muppet-version… you name it!) and the popular standard Pirates of the Carribbean – we have all the DVDs and Blu-Rays (with the new one on order so you can already place holds), Soundtracks, Visual Movie Guides, The Pirate's Code --Guidelines, and the awesome children’s books about Young Captain Jack (on the paperback spinners).

And one last tidbit… if you’re struggling with your Arr’s and Aye’s, your Calgary Public Library card gets you a free subscription to Mango Languages, including their pirate translator!

Great Graphix of Ginormous Proportions

by Jilliane Yawney - 0 Comment(s)

Graphix are great…Ok, maybe not quite in the “ginormous” way that I've said, unless it is relatively large book, but it is a cool word that starts with G!

Book CoverMost of us grew up with comic books in one form or another. My earliest memories of comics, like many, included following the adventures of Snoopy, one of the many recognizable characters from Charles Schultz’s Peanuts. And then there was the mischievous Calvin from Bill Watterson’s Calvin and Hobbes series (which, by the way, we also just happen to carry in the library.) Calvin and Hobbes is an irresistible mix of a little boy with a big imagination, who faces everything from evil babysitters to dinosaurs, teachers and a mild mannered little girl named Susie Derkins, all the while combating boredom. So if you ever need to combat boredom yourself, Calvin might be just the ticket.

Our Graphix collection gets more sophisticated than a mere collection of comics, however. There are many book series that are now Graphix, including the famous Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys book series, and the Warriors series, based on a popular book series about a group of feral cats. We also have tons of Manga, with series such as Naruto, Dragon Ball Z, and Shaman King, to name but a few. My favorite Graphix happen to be our non-fiction graphix.

Book CoverNon-fiction you ask? Yes, non-fiction. I recently read Alia’s Mission Saving the Books of Iraq by Mark Alan Stamaty (YA Graphix 020.92 BAK). It is inspired by the real life story of Alia Muhammad Baker, a librarian who became the chief librarian of the Central Library in Basra, Iraq. When she heard about the possibility of a war being ravaged on her city, she begged the Iraqi officials to let her relocate some of her books, for fear they would be damaged. While Iraqi officials refused her request, she did it herself – finding places through friends throughout the city to house thousands of books (including a book that was hundreds of years old.) When war did break out, bombs destroyed the library, but not the books, thanks to Alia’s heroic efforts. You can read non-fiction in our graphix collection, including in our teen zones at your local public library!

Book Cover Book Cover Book Cover

Tired of vamps, but lovin' the paranormal?

by Jilliane Yawney - 2 Comment(s)

I don't know about you, but I'm sick and tired of reading about vampires and fairies and pixies and werewolves and robot-humans.

It's just getting a little old and repetitive. Like your favourite jeans that were great when they were stiff and new, but are now worn, shredding and full of holes.

The trouble is, I do enjoy the mystery and fantasy of a new species. I love delving into a world that takes me out of this world. And most of all, I crave getting just a little bit freaked out and a little bit scared by a suspenseful, frightening plotline (but not too frightening!).

So, if you are like me, I have two books to recommend to you. These are books with a paranormal twist but they do not have vampires and they are interesting, exciting and based on a fresh, new idea.

book coverThe first book I recommend for the non-vamp, pro-paranormal folks out there is Neil Gaiman's The Graveyard Book.

The Graveyard Book transports you to the world of ghosts and life(?) after death. It opens on the scene of a crime, wherein a two-year-old boy manages to escape the bloody hands of a murderer who kills his family. Mercifully, miraculously, the boy ends up in a graveyard, where the ghostly residents adopt him and raise him as their own. Unfortunately, the boy is being relentessly pursued by the murderer and the safest place for him is in the confines of the graveyard.

Three words I would use to describe this novel: dark, witty, mysterious. Check out the book trailer.

You'll love it. It will keep you reading.

book coverMy second non-vamp, pro-paranormal pick is Miss Perengrin's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs.

As a child, Jacob's grandfather told him stories about growing up on a small island in a home with friends who...had special "abilities," like the levitating girl on the cover of the book. Jacob believes his grandfather, until he gets to old for "fairy stories." The trouble is, Jacob wants to believe the stories are true--or does he?

A levitating girl, an invisible boy, a young woman who can hold fire, and a bird who is actually a old woman are just a few of the people Jacob encounters in his search for the truth about his grandfather's stories.

The eerie characters in this book gave me chills and the mystery kept me glued to the pages. Riggs uses old victorian photos to illustrate the book and they lend a spooky mood. You will love it.

Watch the trailer here.

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