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When Zombies Attack

by Alexandra May - 0 Comment(s)

Would you...

Barricade yourself in a farmhouse? Move to Antarctica? Pretend like you're already a zombie so the other zombies will accept you instead of eating your brains? When it comes to zombie apocalypses there sure are a lot of survival options. It's a good thing there's so many stories out there to help us prepare!

Zombies are unique among monsters as unlike vampires, werewolves and ghosts, they did not really begin to show up in literature until after they had already been popularized in film. Therefore, while the shambling, decomposing, brain-eating, virus -plagued, irradiated, mindless zombies of the silver screen barely resemble their Voodoo origins, it is this depiction on which most zombie literature is based. Some claim it is the purely physical nature of the zombie which has made them great for film, but rather limited on the written page (they don't usually have much dialogue), yet despite these limitations several authors have come out with some fantastic stories which can be found at the Calgary Public Library.

Here are a few scenarios you can check out:Zombies: Hungry, but slow and unintelligent. Except for those pesky hungry, intelligent fast ones...

Forest of Hands and Teeth

The Forest of Hands and Teeth: Carrie Ryan

The Defense: Large fences to keep the zombies out of town, platforms in the trees in case the fences don't work, praying in case the platforms don't work.

Generation Dead
Generation Dead: Daniel Waters

Zombies: Some are slow, some are fast, but these zombie teens don't want brains, they just want to fit in.

The Defense: Bigotry and baseball bats.

Boy Who Couldn

The Boy Who Couldn't Die: William Sleator

Zombie: With his soul is 'safely' hidden outside his body he's invulnerable. He isn't evil when he's himself, but without his soul is he still himself or zomething elze?

The Defense: Well... umm.... uhhh...?

If zombies are your thing, don't forget to submit your zombie themed artwork or writing to our Teens Create contest.

Shakespeare.... but it's manga!

by Alexandra May - 0 Comment(s)

The Manga Shakespeare series can be enjoyed both as a fresh approach to discovering Shakespeare and as a great way for lovers of traditional literature to discover manga. Each of the nine titles presents a truly original adaptation of the Bard's work, setting the stage in dystopian futures, the North American frontier and even modern Tokyo. The text is abridged to fit the format, but the best speeches are still intact while the illustrations themselves fill in for the missing text. The drawing ranges from the wide-eyed, illustrations of traditional manga in Romeo and Juliet, to the unconventional scrawlings of Julius Caesar (my favourite of the series).

If this sounds like a series for you, here are a few suggestions to get you started:


Samurai from post-apocalyptic future kills his King and usurps the throne after hearing the prophecy of three aliens. Four-armed mutant not "born of woman" disagrees with this arrangement.


Fair Verona gets yet another makeover whilst two star-crossed lovers defy their warring Yakuza families. Maybe this time it will end happily?

King Lear

An Algonquin chief decides to leave the largest part of his kingdom to the daughter who loves him most. Hilarity does not ensue.


It's Othello..but he has wings, Iago shoots magic daggers and Roderigo is a giant fox... coyote... wolf... thing.. it's awesome!

When Steam Gets Fed Up With the Establishment

by Alexandra May - 1 Comment(s)

Steampunk is kinda like cyberpunk, only steamier, but not steamy as in romance; more like stLeviathaneamy as in steam engines, but not steam engines like in historical fiction; more like steam engines as in science fiction, which doesn't have many steam engines, which is why there's steampunk. Got it? Good...

Like a lot of genres and sub-genres steampunk isn't exactly new, (it's arguable how long it's been around) but there are always new entries and new people (like you!) to discover the old ones. Scott Westerfeld's Leviathan, Kenneth Oppel's Airborn series and of course Fullmetal Alchemist are some of the more recent and popular examples of Steampunk which combines historical settings (usually 20,000 LeaguesVictorian) with technology beyond what was available at the time. For example, a steam powered airship or... even more steam powered airships! (there's a lot of steam powered airships). Sometimes the plot is set in an alternate world, or sometimes just an alternate reality, but in either case it's always fun to see the ways in which society is reinvented through this clanky, gear driven, yet futuristic technology.

The roots of this genre go very deep, as such classics as H.G Well's War of the Worlds and my personal favourite, Jules Verne's 20,000 Leagues UFull Metal Alchemistnder the Sea (giant squid vs. submarine what's not to love?) can be regarded as inspiration for Steampunk as they introduced extremely advanced technology into a Victorian setting while actually being published during Victorian times! (1898 and 1867).

Will similar genres emerge about our own time? What would we call it? Gasolinepunk? ipunk? e-punk? Let's hope so... or not... but check out one of these titles in what is definitely a quirky, imaginative and very fun genre.

" "

by Alexandra May - 0 Comment(s)

So, I was reading the encyclopedia the other day when I stumbled across a...

Let's start that again.

So I was looking something up in the encyclopedia the other day, because I had to, not because I read encyclopedias for fun or anythiDictionary ng, when I found something interesting in the Britannica online. A dictionary of quotations!!! I know awesome right? Well if you still need convincing then check this out:

"People from a planet without flowers would think we must be mad with joy the whole time to have such things about us" -Iris Murdoch

After reading oh... about 30, some of which were great and some of which were... to quote my old home-ec teacher: "just awful," I starting wondering about what makes a quote worth remembering. (Words from the wise, baking powder and baking soda are not interchangeable)

"You know everyone is ignorant, just on different subjects" - Will Rogers

The quotes in Britannica’s dictionary come from an interesting variety of sources. There are authors, comedians, tyrannical dictators, musicians, people I've never heard of so I don't know what they do, religious leaders and politicians. Some of them are funny, some of them not so funny, some are inspirational and some serve as warnings. In fact the only thing which seems to unify the quotes we choose to remember (or at least write down in gigantic quote dictionaries) is their ability to sum up a big idea, very succinctly and with style.

"The person who knows “how” will always have a job. The person who knows “why” will always be his boss." - Diane Ravitch

Twitter Wit
Great quotes are great to add into great essays to make them greater. Especially if you have trouble expressing an idea without using the same word four times in the same sentence. Quotations are also great if you have to write a speech and you need a little extra zing to emphasize your point.

"It is only the wisest and the very stupidest who cannot change" - Confucius

So the next time you're writing a paper, or a speech, or an ad for your used rollerblades on Craigslist check out the Merriam Webster's Dictionary of Notable quotations or one of the great quote books in our collection. You might find something you can use.

Homework Helper Hours Expanding!

by Alexandra May - 0 Comment(s)

This April we will be expanding Homework Helper Hours! Homework Helper will now be available seven days a week during business hours, which means that you don't have to wait until after school to log on and ask a question!

If you've never used this service before, Homework Helper is an instant messaging service which allows you to chat with a librarian. We can help you find the information you need to complete your homework assignment, whether it be a book in our catalogue or an online resource. To use Homework Helper you will only need two things: a Calgary Public Library card and a question.

Talk to you soon!

You + Tube = Fun!

by Alexandra May - 0 Comment(s)

For awhile it seemed that when something became available on the internet we would just put an "e" in front of the word. Examples include: e-mail, e-commerce, e-library, ummm... did I use e-mail already? O.k. well maybe it was just those three things. Well my point is that over the years a LOT of things we used to have to go somewhere for, or mail something to or wait in line in order to pay are now available to us online with the click of a mouse (number of mouse clicks may vary). Some feel this makes life easier and more socially connected; others feel it makes us lazy and isolated. Regardless of how you feel, there is one important factor to consider... there are awesome shows on the internet!!!

E-book! That’s another one. online

Ok, so if you don't know already, there is this site called YouTube where you can watch videos and upload your own videos for others to watch. If you're thinking wow, this would have been informative...5 years ago!! Bear with me. YouTube was launched (e-launched?) in 2005 with the idea that people would be interested in sharing their own home videos. Turns out they were! In less than a year people were watching more than 100 million videos a day and the number of videos being uploaded was increasing. That's a lot of "cutest cat moments" uggghh.....


In addition to "cat meows at baby" and "cat doesn't meow... at umm.. baby?" YouTube has seen the emergence of several popular video series. Web based shows such as The Guild, Homestar Runner and the continuing efforts of online duo Smosh have developed strong followings, proving that in today's e-environment popular entertainment is no longer dependant on large studios and executive say-so.


Every conversation I have with someone about YouTube or shows online usually leads to a long list of people's favourites. Do you have one? If so, let us know!

Ghost Stories

by Alexandra May - 0 Comment(s)

Ghost: “Soul or spectre of a dead person, usually believed to inhabit the netherworld and to be capable of returning in some form to the world of the living.” - Encyclopedia Britannica

Ahhhhhhhhhhhh!!!! No one can send chills down my spine quite like the Encyclopedia Britannica! That’s some scary stuff in… ok, well maybe the encyclopedia isn’t the best place to go looking for ghost stories, but here are a few places that are.

Breathe: A Ghost StoryBreathe: A Ghost Story by Cliff McNish

Jake and his mother move into an Old English farmhouse which turns out to be more haunted than quaint. The ghosts who live there (or dead there?) are definitely not the Casper kind.

My rating: Three Nights of sleeping with the lights on.

The Shining

The Shining by Stephen King

I can't have a list of ghost stories without this one. The Kubrick film is also a must-see.

My rating: Buying a new night light, a big one...

Haunted Canada Haunted Canada by Pat Hancock

"True" Stories about hauntings across Canada.
Fortunately none of these stories are set in my house.

My rating: Two nights of hiding under the covers
with your old teddy bear and a baseball

Curious GeorgeCurious George Rides a Bike by Margret Rey

Oh George, why did he have to be so curious?? Ok, this one isn't a ghost story, I just wanted to read something happy after Haunted Canada.

My rating: A great night's sleep

Do you like scary stories? If so let us know your favourite one, and don't forget to include your rating!

Freedom to Read Week Feb 21 - 27

by Alexandra May - 0 Comment(s)

Freedom to Read Week

It's Freedom to Read week again, and if you're thinking, "so what, I can read whenever I want, I don't need to have a week about it" think again!

Freedom to read week is an annual event which challenges us to think about intellectual freedom in our society. Even in a nation such as Canada books and magazines are pulled from shelves, removed from classrooms, banned or otherwise challenged almost every day. Whether it's The Anarchist's Cookbook or Judy Bloom's Are you there, God? It's Me Margaret, Freedom to Read Week encourages us to take a closer look at the reasons books are banned.

For more on banned books check out this post by one of my favourite bloggers. Be sure to check out Freedom to Read Week's website by clicking the image above.


by Alexandra May - 1 Comment(s)

What is it about a good mystery that we love so much? Is it the clever titles? The way they combine the crime with the profession of the victim in a way which is not lame at all?

Supermarket Cashier = Murder in Aisle 3

Optometrist = Is This One Clearer, Or Is It Murder!!??

Ok one more

Fast Food Employee = Would You Like to Murder Size that!?

That was one too many…

Mysteries are a staple of the top seller lists. Authors like Agatha Christie, John Grisham and of course, Dan Brown, have sold a lot of books... a whole lot. So why do so many of us like mysteries? Many believe it all boils down to a need in us to see reason triumph over uncertainty and chaos. We like to know we’re in control and tying up loose ends is a great way to unwind. Others just like a good puzzle. A mystery can get you thinking, and a well written one can be a satisfying challenge like a crossword, a Sudoku or my arch nemesis… Origami.

Whether you like to read mysteries, watch mysteries or just act mysteriously sometimes, the Calgary Public Library can help you out. We've got mysteries for adults, mysteries for children and mysteries written with a teen audience in mind. The next time you visit the Library take a look at the mystery section, you might find something you'll love!

p.s. Don't steal those mystery titles, I'm definitely going to write those someday... well maybe not the last one.

Here are a few suggestions to get you started:

As Simple As Snow

I love talking about this book because I still haven't figured out what happend. If you think you're up to the challenge, give this one a try. Then E-mail me with the answer cause it's really really really bugging me... seriously I can't figure it out.

Something Rotten

The first entry in the Horatio Wilkes series, Something Rotten is based on your favourite play, Hamlet!
If Hamlet isn't your favourite play, then don't worry, it's only BASED on Hamlet. If you like this one be sure
to check out the next in the series: Something Wicked (can you guess which play that one's based on?)

Drawing a Blank: or How I Tried to Solve a Mystery, end a Feud and Land the Girl of My Dreams.

Ummm.... what the title said. Also, it's good!


by Alexandra May - 0 Comment(s)

When you see an acronym do you spell it out, or do you try to pronounce it the way it's written? Personally I like to try to pronounce it, so when I talk about M.M.O.R.P.G's I'm talking about mmmorpgeh's... mmorpjeh's... mmmorpguh's?

Well what I'm really talking about are Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Gamescontrol. Of course you knew that already though right? If you didn't, you might not know what a Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game is, so let's start there. A MMORPG is a video game which is played online massively... role-playing multi... it's an online game where you can play with others in a virtual (usually fantasy) environment. Many such games like Blizzard Entertainment's World of Warcraft require you to create a character which you then improve upon by gaining experience, earning money and acquiring items within the virtual world. This is done by completing quests and killing things and killing things some more.

MMORPG's have become a social and anti-social (yep apparently that makes sense) phenomenon over the past decade. Game addiction has been compared to an addiction to gambling or even alcohol, as cases of divorce, job dismissal and even death have been tied Epic Coverto an excess of online gaming. In Shanghai a player was convicted of murdering another in real life over a disputed piece of virtual property after an attempt to involve the police failed. (They don't have laws which cover virtual property) The question of virtual property itself is creating economic interest, as these virtual items can sometimes be sold for real money on auction sites such as eBay.

With millions of players online worldwide (an estimated 30% of the population of South Korea is registered), MMORPG's are becoming more and more relevant each year. So what do you think? Do you play? If so, then which game? Will virtual life replace real life in a dystopian future ruled by robots?

Or, as in Conor Kostick's Epic, maybe a MMORPG will control every facet of real life: your school, your job, how much money you make... until a rebel teenager upsets the balance, of course.

Also, don't forget to check out some of our real life resources on virtual reality. Mmorpgeuh!

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