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Cowtown Concert Reads

Cowtown Concert Reads

by Alyssa - 0 Comment(s)

Calgary is one of the absolutely best cities to be in during the summer. Not just because of the (mostly) nice weather, and not just because our general populace is receiving tons of greatly needed vitamin D from the big yellow thing in the sky "they" call the sun, thereby increasing happy-making chemicals in our bodies. I will assert that Calgary's summer greatness is primarily due to one simple phenomenon: music concerts.

Calgary has a rich musical culture. We seem to get everyone from major headliners playing stadium shows (Queen, Arcade Fire, Cher), to Indie Music power houses (Modest Mouse, The Weakerthans, Neko Case), to brand new baby bands clawing their way out of obscurity (your best friend's brother's band with the weird name you can never remember). But one thing is vitally true - if you want to hear it, Calgary will have it....most likely during the summer.

Folk Festival kicks off tonight ( where I'll be after I leave the Saddletowne Library) and I have packed my backpack full of festival going essentials: bug spray, sunscreen, sunglasses, rain coat, ipod, towel, and a book. Yes, you read that correctly. I bring books with me to music festivals. This is maybe not so much a novelty as you would expect - waiting happens a lot at concerts. In particular, I like to read biographies and autobiographies. I don't want a book that I get so engrossed in I won't want to put it down, but I do want to keep myself in the feel of my surroundings - trees, birds, people, sun, grass. Sometimes books of poetry written by musicians (afterall, lyrics are just poetry put to music). I'm also fond of reading short story collections as well. But the books I read at concerts have to be three things: brief, interesting, and somehow musically inclined (whatever you take that to mean).

Here are some book recommendations for you or the concert go-er in your life. As always, you can pick them up here at Saddletowne.

1. Stranger Music: Selected poems and songs
by Leonard Cohen

A prolific collection of some of Cohen's most beautiful, honest, and simple wordsmithing. Truly wonderful poems to ponder in the sun, while waiting to discover your next favourite band.

Leonard Cohen

2. This is Your Brain on Music: The Science of a Human Obsession
by David J. Levitin

An interesting, thought-provoking exploration on our relationship with music, and how music shapes our every day lives - both positively and negatively. If you're interested in the technical, brain-related data of music, this is your book.

This is Your Brain on Music

3. Love is a Mix-Tape
By Rob Sheffield

Before I wanted to work in a library, I wanted to write for Rolling Stone. No joke. Rob Sheffield is, in essence, the marriage of my two loves: books and music. Sheffield recalls his tragic first marriage through the mix tapes he and his wife made throughout their marriage (and her life). From washing the dishes, to folding laundry - they made mix tapes for everything. This book will make you want to take out your tape deck and craft someone a musical interpretation of your soul. For any occasion.

Rob Sheffield

4. Take Another Little Piece of My Heart: A Groupie Grows Up
by Pamela Des Barres

A sequel to her first book, I'm With the Band, this is the more mature, down-to-earth Pamela Des Barres. Accounting her life after groupie-hood, Des Barres writes about marriage, motherhood, and inspiration. But don't worry, there's still plenty of Rock N' Roll gossip to recount at your next dinner party.

Pamela Des Barres

5. Honky Tonk Girl: My Life in Lyrics
by Loretta Lynn

Chances are, if you've made it to the bottom of this blog, you have enough of an interest in music to have read (or seen) Coal Miner's Daughter. This book, dare I say it, is even better. Here, Loretta Lynn explains her artistic process song by song. With beautiful photos, heartbreaking honesty, and a glorious sense of humour, Loretta Lynn tells the stories behind her lyrics, as life was happening to her. This ain't your mom's autobiography.

Loretta Lynn

Saddletowne thinks teens are great!!

Saddletowne thinks teens are great!!

by Alyssa - 0 Comment(s)

Youth Read has been in full swing, and the Saddletowne teens have created some amazing, wonderful things!! Come check out what's happening for teens in our library!!

  • We have a new display featuring Saddletowne Youth Read artwork over by the checkout machines:

Youth Read Art

  • We also have a Youth Read Recommendation display located at the front of the library, right next to our staff picks!

    Youth Read recommendations


  • If you are inteterested in Youth Read Challenge events, come to the Saddletowne Library every Monday evening at 6:30 p.m.!!

Youth Read Challenges!

Summer Reading for the Whole Family!

Summer Reading for the Whole Family!

by Alyssa - 0 Comment(s)

Well, it's finally summer. And goodness, has it taken its sweet time in getting here! While it's hard to actually see summer for all of the rain, summer vacations are looming, the end-of-school is nigh, and our fair city is about to take a giant, well-earned, collective sigh of supreme relief. We made it!

We have written about the very real effect of the summer slump, so I won't belabour emphasizing it here. But the Calgary Public Library has a reading program for you and your entire family. Listed below are our programs by age and the details about participation.


Summer Reading Club

0-5 years
6-11 years

What it is: This fun and easy summer program encourages your children to read everyday in increments of either 15 or 20 minutes. Pre-registration is NOT required for this program - simply come to the Saddletowne Library and sign-up at our Summer Reading Club table. We will give you a booklet full of games, your reading notebook, a welcome sticker, and the reading ballot for the week. For children 0-5, we encourage friends and family to read to them, and to help them start to read themselves! For ages 6-11, we encourage them to find books that will challenge them and make them even better readers!

How it works: Return each week throughout the summer to submit a completed ballot, and pick up the ballot for next week. Each time you submit a ballot, you will receive a sticker, and your ballot will be entered into prize drawings for free books and GRAND prizes, like a Mad Science Party!

Yes, it really is that easy!


Youth Read 2014

12-18 years

What it is: A creative program for your teens done through email and on the Calgary Public Library website. While you do need to sign-up for this program (we need to know where to email your challenges), you do NOT need a library card to participate! Go to our Youth Read page here to sign-up, or come to the Saddletowne Library and our staff will assist you!

How it works: Five new challenges are emailed to you every Wednesday throughout the summer. Follow the link to the challenges, and complete each challenge (remember, read the instructions carefully!). Once a challenge is completed, you will be entered into prize drawings for $250.00 gift cards to the Cadillac Malls (Chinook and Market Malls!), $50.00 gift cards to the movies, an autographed John Green box set of books, and many more prizes all summer long!!

Bonus Time: Every Monday night at 6:30 pm, teens can come to the Saddletowne Library and participate in the Challenge Yourself! event. There will be a bonus challenge, and our staff will help you with any other challeneges you want to finish. Don't have a digital camera? Need some glue? Confused about instructions? Challenge nights will help with anything you need. Oh, and we'll also have snacks.

Summer. Read.

18-500 years

What it is: Why should the kids get to win all the prizes?? An easy and communal reading program for adults. There will be new themes each week, and you can come into the Saddletowne Library for a ballot, or go here to find the ballot online. Check back to see what other people around Calgary think about the books you're reading and to get the new themes each Wednesday on the Reader's Nook Blog!

How it works: Fill out the ballot, and return the bottom portion with your information to enter to win one of three iPad Minis, and many other prizes as well!

Oh....and PS. All of these programs are free. And you don't even need a library card to play! Though you do need a library card to take out books.

The Hoopla about Hoopla!

The Hoopla about Hoopla!

by Alyssa - 0 Comment(s)

As of Monday, June 9th, Calgary Public Library's newest service HOOPLA, is live, active, and ready to use!

What is HOOPLA?
HOOPLA is an online streaming and downloading platform, which works much like our OverDrive app for E-Books. Offering thousands of movie, music, audiobook, and hard-to-find titles, the only thing you need to logon to this awesome new service is your library card. You can use HOOPLA on most Android, Apple, or Kindle Fire HDX devices.

Here are some quick facts about HOOPLA:

  • You can borrow up to 12 of any HOOPLA items per month. Item limits are reset on the first day of each new month
  • Movie and TV content can be borrowed up to 72 hours (3 days)
  • Music albums are available for 7 days (one week)
  • Audiobooks are available for 21 days (three weeks)
  • No need to "return" any items, all content will be deleted from your account when they expire! Which means...
  • There are no late fees!


How do I sign up for HOOPLA?

1. Register your library card and email address at the HOOPLA page here!
2. Start searching for items to watch and listen to
3. Enjoy!

For additional help, please come to the Saddletowne Library and ask our staff about any questions you have!

Three Books for Teens That are NOT About Love!

Three Books for Teens That are NOT About Love!

by Alyssa - 0 Comment(s)

So I'll just come right out and say it: I hate books about love.

I really do. This is not to say that I dislike love as a feeling, or as an event in my life - love is wonderful. Love helps our brains create chemicals that make us feel really, really good. I also acknowledge that love, and falling in love, is a major part of growing up and our development as human beings. This is all supremely wonderful, and I love love in real life. I just don't want it in my literature.

Now you might be thinking, "Well, someone called the party pooper!" And maybe you're right. But it drives me crazy when a strong protagonist, either male or female, is forced into falling in love with the object of their affection - because once this madness happens, the protagonist goes from being an autonomous, independent, interesting character, to being more concerned with another person. The coupling ruins independence! The love ruins self-awareness! The angst makes me see red!

Now here's my problem: I really love reading teen fiction. The writing is good, the plots are interesting, the metaphors are vivid and poignant. And I'm not the only one; fiction for young adults is being read by everyone - adults included! So, if you're like me, and want a healthy serving of teen fiction - hold the love stuff - here are three excellent books that will satisfy your palate and leave you craving more!

(Click the titles to find them in our online catalogue!)

Going Bovine
by Libba Bray

All 16-year-old Cameron wants is to get through high school—and life in general—with minimum effort. It’s not a lot to ask. But that’s before he’s given some bad news: he’s sick and he’s going to die. Which sucks. Hope arrives in the winged form of Dulcie, a loopy punk angel/possible hallucination with a bad sugar habit. She tells Cam there is a cure—if he’s willing to go in search of it. With the help of a death-obsessed, video-gaming dwarf and a yard gnome, Cam sets off on the mother of all road trips through a twisted America into the heart of what matters most.

Going Bovine by Libba Bray


Witchlanders

by Lena Coakley

Laced with rich, imagined histories; miles of catacombs; and prophecies true and false, Witchlanders takes place in an evocative, tantalizingly vibrant world and raises equally evocative questions: Who gets to defines history? When does a legend become a crutch? And why does the enemy in war look a lot like the hero? Lena Coakley’s first novel is a lush, chilling story that is sure to send shivers through your finger bones.

**I highly recommend this book. Don't let the cover fool you - it looks romantic, but it isn't! At all!
Witchlanders by Lena Coakley

Luna
by Julie Anne Peters

Regan's brother Liam can't stand the person he is during the day. Like the moon from whom Liam has chosen his female namesake, his true self, Luna, only reveals herself at night. In the secrecy of his basement bedroom Liam transforms himself into the beautiful girl he longs to be, with help from his sister's clothes and makeup. Now, everything is about to change-Luna is preparing to emerge from her cocoon. But are Liam's family and friends ready to welcome Luna into their lives? Compelling and provocative, this is an unforgettable novel about a transgender teen's struggle for self-identity and acceptance.

Luna by Julie Anne Peters

Check out these, and more non-love-centric teen books at the Saddletowne Library! Also, sign up for Youth Read 2014 while you're at it!

If you're looking for some more ideas, here are a few websites that may help:
Babble: 20 Young Adult Books Parents Will Love
GoodReads: 2013 Best Young Adult Choice Awards

Mashable: 23 Books for Your Perfect Young Adult Summer Reading List

Books and Blockbusters!

Books and Blockbusters!

by Alyssa - 0 Comment(s)

Summer is just around the corner, which means summer blockbuster movie season is almost here! Here is a list of books we love, and can't wait to see on the big screen (and not just superheros, either!):

The Million Dollar Arm by JB Bernstein

The Million Dollar Arm by J.B. Bernstein
In Theatres: May 23
Trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EiC8o7i_ZqE

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
In Theatres: June 6
Trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9ItBvH5J6ss

How to Train Your Dragon Series by Cressida Crowell

How to Train Your Dragon Series by Cressida Crowell
How to Train Your Dragon 2 in Theatres: June 13
Trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z9a4PvzlqoQ

A Long Way Down by Nick Hornby

A Long Way Down by Nick Hornby
In Theatres: July 11
Trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gyhfZZupU7c

Guardians of the Galaxy by Marvel Comics

Guardians of the Galaxy by Marvel Comics

In Theatres: August 1
Trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=89q_HH-3ghk

The Hundred-Foot Journey by Richard C. Morais

The Hundred-Foot Journey by Richard C. Morais
In Theatres: August 8
Trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z8yVhwNS0i0

The Giver by Lois Lowry

The Giver by Lois Lowry
In Theatres: August 15
Trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oYZxZups06w

Dark Places by Gillian Flynn Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

Dark Places & Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
Dark Places In Theatres: September 1
Gone Girl In Theatres: October 3
Gone Girl Trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1INjRchY69A

The Maze Runner by James Dashner

Maze Runner by James Dashner
In Theatres: September 19th
Trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mjQROqddxiY

Here Be Monsters! by Alan Snow

Here Be Monsters! by Alan Snow
"Boxtrolls" In Theatres: September 26
Trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cDr_ZY37RFg

Come to the Saddletowne Library and check any of these books out!
And while we know The Fault in Our Stars has a hold list the size of North America, you never know what could be lurking in the paperback sections...

To check out more Books-to-Movie gems, check out these links!
EarlyWord: Books to Movies & TV
BuzzFeed: 16 Books to Read Before They Hit Theatres

Fight the Summer Slump!

Fight the Summer Slump!

by Alyssa - 0 Comment(s)

Summer learning loss is a real and widely documented problem amoung our youth.

Statistics released by the National Summer Learning Association estimate:

  • children lose about two month's worth of knowledge and learning over the summer
  • this loss is cumulative! By the time your child leaves high school, they will have lost more than two year's worth of education
  • only 25% of students are able to engage in summer learning programs, often due to financial circumstances
  • parents continually cite summer as the most difficult time of year in which to keep their children engaged and active

But the Saddletowne Library can help you and your kids fight the slump!

Youth Read - Summer Program for teens ages 13-17

Your teen can sign-up for Youth Read online here, or at the Saddletowne Service Desk. Reading challenges are released every week and prizes are given out throughout the summer! Every time your teen logs on and completes a challenge, they are entered into drawings for grand prizes - $250, $150, and $75 gift certificates to the Cadillac Malls (Chinook and Market Mall). They also have the opportunity to win free books, $25 gift certificates, and a BONUS prize - a signed boxed set of John Green novels!

Also, every Monday night at 7:00 p.m. beginning June 23rd, the Saddletowne Library will be hosting Youth Read Challenge nights. Your teen can come to the library and participate in creative challenges with other teens (which also enter them into the prize drawings!). This is a great way for your teen to keep active, stay engaged, and most importantly, continue reading!

Summer Reading Challenge - Program for children ages 4-12

Many of you have heard of TD Bank's Summer Reading Challenge before, but in case you are unaware, Summer Reading Challange is a drop-in program that your children can participate in throughout the summer, complete with scavenger hunts and other fun activities. Collect your maker notebook and read all summer to win awesome prizes! Come to the Saddletowne Library on Saturday, June 21st from 10:30 am-4:00 pm to get your summer reading started!

To read more about Summer Learning Loss, here are some additional articles:

Canadian Council on Learning
How to Curb Summer Learning Loss
Primer on Summer Learning Loss

George the Youth Read mascot!

Citizenship and Civic Preparation Class

Citizenship and Civic Preparation Class

by Alyssa - 0 Comment(s)

Come to Saddletowne's upcoming program! Learn about Canada with the purpose of preparing yourself for the Citizenship Exam! In partnership with Immigrant Services Calgary.

WHAT: Citizenship and Civic Preparation Class

WHEN: Thursday, May 15, 2014 @ 5:30-8:30 pm

WHERE: Program Room at the Saddletowne Library

HOW: Register online here, or at the Service Desk at the Saddletowne Library! Registration is limited to 40 participants.

WHO: YOU!

What Are Your Cautionary Reads?

What Are Your Cautionary Reads?

by Alyssa - 1 Comment(s)

This might be an obvious statement to make, but we are really big fans of reading here at the Saddletowne Library.

And because we are such cheerleaders of the written word, we have created multiple ways to help you find your new favourite book. From our Staff Picks display, to Novelist Plus, to looking up suggestions on Good Reads; if you are stuck for a new great book suggestion, we can find you that new book to love. We have the power!

However, the subject we don't spend a lot of time talking about are books you hated. Whether they were boring, poorly written, or offended your sensibilities, we don't often get the opportunity to discuss the books you really didn't like. Sometimes, the books you hate can be even more informative than the books you loved. And let's face it - sometimes hating something is just so much fun!

The first book I remember really hating - and I mean truly hating: I couldn't find any redeemable value in whatsoever - was The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood by Rebecca Wells. It was 2003, and I had just seen the movie. I liked the movie well enough, and knew that it was based on Well's New York Time's Best-selling novel. I assumed that the book (as is usually the case) would be better than the movie; that it would go more in-depth into the story of these endearing, if somewhat misguided, characters. On top of that, every woman I knew seemed to be recommending this book to me! So I read it. And I hated it. I thought the writing was trite and cliched, the plot-line just seemed to meander in multiple spots to no apparent point, and in this case, I can safely say that I thought the movie actually made the book better - and I can't remember ever saying that before or since! I am sure there are many people in the world who will adamantly disagree with me, but I stand by my disgust!

So come on, everybody - jump in! What are your most hated books?? Leave your comments for us below!!

If you get stuck and can't remember your most reviled reads, here is a link to a bunch of Good Reads user lists entitled "The Worst".

Twilight ? Fifty Shades of Grey ? The DaVinci Code ?

Embracing the Graphic Novel

Embracing the Graphic Novel

by Alyssa Bradac - 0 Comment(s)

I didn't read many graphic novels as a kid. Occasionally I'd buy a Batman or X-Men "comic book" if the mood struck me and had enough money left over from my allowance. I always seemed to read these books in the middle of the story, and didn't have much of a clue as to what was happening, who was allied with whom, and most importantly, why I should care. Also, as a child, most of the graphic novels I found seemed to all be marketed for boys - I didn't see myself on the cover or even as secondary characters in the plot. I had no one to relate to.

Yet the graphic novel has evolved greatly in the last 20 years. No longer are they "comic books" (Garfield, Funky Winkerbean, Blondie), now they are graphic novels - literally, novels with graphics. The themes found in a contemporary version of Wonder Woman, for example, examine not only Wonder Woman's inherent (and somewhat over-developed) sense of justice, but she is no longer the school marm of the world, shaking her finger at those "pesky, trouble-making boys". Now she is the ultimate agent for change. Female novelist Gail Simone (who is almost single-handedly responsible for Wonder Woman's fierce conversion) said:

If you want to stop a meteor, call Superman. If you want to solve a mystery, call Batman. If you want to stop a war, call Wonder Woman.

This is but one example. The face of graphic novels is changing drastically, and not just for superheros. There are many wonderful graphic novels commenting on everything from culture and politics, to climate change and relationships. Want to read about the childhood of a female protagonist set amid the Islamic Revolution in Iran? Read Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi. Want to learn about dual perspectives during China's Boxer Rebellion? Read Boxers Saints by Gene Luen Yang. Moreover, graphic novels help to foster visual literacy, support English language learners, motivate reluctant readers, and are an all around excellent teaching tool (Sean Connors, The ALAN Review, 2010). Did you know that most major universities now offer courses dedicated to the graphic novel artform? With wonderfully expressive artwork and common themes in humanity, let graphic novels become your new favourite read in 2014.

Who should read graphic novels?
- Anyone learning English as a second language
- Anyone who is intimidated by reading literature and novels
- Anyone who appreciates wonderful writing and beautiful artwork
- Anyone at all!

Great Graphic Novels for Adults and Teens, I recommend:

- Persepolis by Marjane SatrapiPersepolis by Marjane Satrapi (also watch the movie!)

- Boxers Saints by Gene Luen YangSaints by Gene Luen YangBoxers/Saints by Gene Luen Yang

- Blankets by Craig ThompsonBlankets by Craig Thompson

There are also some wonderful graphic novels for kids. I recommend:
- Percy Jackson and the Lightning ThiefRick Riordan's Percy Jackson Series (yes! Now in Graphic Novels!)
- Hilda and the Bird ParadeThe Hilda Series by James Pearson (Hilda and the Shadow Giant, Hilda and the Troll, Hilda and the Bird Parade)

- Olympians Series by George O'ConnorThe Gods Series by George O'Connor

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