Friday, March 27, 2009

Steinbeck's Ghost

Steinbeck's Ghost by Lewis Buzbee

"Rule number one when saving the world: always have cookies" - Lewis Buzbee

Here is a very recent historical fiction novel that plays homage to a man who helped create public libraries in the United States: John Steinbeck. A few years ago, Salida Regional Library, the first public library system in America, almost had to shut it's doors forever because of financial problems. Sounds familiar, right? This book tells the story of how a community united together to fight against its destruction. The fight is led by a young man named Travis who had the courage to stand up for what is right. We see how one person really does have the ability to make life altering changes in his community, especially if we can push fear aside and take a chance. It's even more vital when the choice is not easy and the odds are stacked against you. After all, isn't that the truest definition of success?

Talk about your library lovers book.

White Lies never hurt any one

"Tell me lies, tell me sweet little lies" - Fleetwood Mac

Finally, a band with class.

I was watching David Letterman the other night, when I saw the greatest band play. It was kismet. I was meant to see that performance. I never watch Dave; I'm a Jay/Jimmy/TMZ girl. But OMG! I may be flipping to CBS more often.

Usually I'm disappointed when a band gets some cred before they are even a blip on my radar, but not this time. Not only were the band members foxy, the music rocked. And the band rocked it out. I don't know what was better, the sultry Doors-ish sound they had, or the fact that everyone was wearing suits, even the drummer. It's nice to see a band that can class it up, both is artistic style and fashions style.

Normally I pick a song of the week, but White Lies is too good to be picky. I downloaded the album from iTunes, and it is one amazing song after another. So instead of a song of the week, I invite you to listen to the album of the week.

They are in a class all of their own.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

They say McDonald's are everywhere...

They say McDonald's are found everywhere in the world, and while that's true, when you look at their ad campaigns it's almost as if they are selling a different product. I'm sure by now everyone has seen the Filet-o-Fish commercial. For some reason it is a fan favorite, and I see that commercial more than I see my reflection. If you love that commercial and think the ad people know there stuff, then check out what McDonald's runs in Japan. Both are about the sandwich. Tell me, is it really the same?

Standing at a creepy Crossroads

The Crossroads by Chris Grabenstein

I'm a scaredy cat. A big, huge baby. I don't handle suspense well and am so the person who will flip to the end of the book early to see if a character is still around. Yeah, I know, ridiculous, but having that pit-in-the-bottom-of-your-stomach fear is a rush that I love to hate. It's my own personal horror-coaster.

So when I picked up Grabenstein's book and saw this creepy tree on the cover, of course I couldn't walk away. It was like the cover was calling to me. The tree reminded me of one outside my parents house on West 84th that would bang againsy my window for no apparent reason. That house was nuts, with cold pockets and creepy sounds everywhere. Possessed by the memory of that place, I flipped open the cover and the first sentence sent shivers down my spine: "Have you ever seen a face hidden in the bark of a tree and known that the man trapped inside wanted to hurt you?" Creep-py! And I hate to admit it, but yeah, I have felt that way. It's why I can't do haunted houses.

But wait, it gets better. The main character lives on West 84th. No need to do a double take. My old street. My old tree. The rest of the book was one random coincidence after another. Street names, store names, character names. All things from my past but with a crazed ghost floating around. I wanted to put it down, but I was so horrified I couldn't. This is a book about a haunting, and I think it's safe to say, it haunted me.

Want to be haunted? Check it out. Since all good ghost stories should be read out loud, be sure to get the audio.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Battling for Miss Independent

Ne-Yo or Kelly Clarkson.... Ne-Yo or Kelly Clarkson...

Yesterday I was cruising downtown to see the parade when the Ne-Yo, "Miss Independent" song came on. I really dig that song. I can't listen to it and not head groove a little. So while I'm rocking out St Paddy's style, I realized that the little computer on my car stereo said Kelly Clarkson, "Miss Independent". Weird, but I figured it was a glitch or something. Not exactly. That satellite link must have just been early because the very next song that came on was Kelly Clarkson's version of women who can do their own thing their own way, her "Miss Independent".

First off, who knew? Had it not been for my car stereo, I may have never noticed. Now that I have though, I have just one question. Why didn't the independent Clarkson get upset when Ne-Yo bogarted her song title? It seems a little shocking that a woman who wrote a song about standing up for herself and being her own person wouldn't want to stand up for her title. Now I'm not saying Ne-Yo stole anything. Miss Independent is a someone popular phrase, and the songs sound totally different. His is more fun, dancy, and appreciative, while hers is about angst, betrayal and despair. Not the same at all. But still. There's a lot to be said about a name.

So this week it is a battle of the Miss Independents for the song of the week. Give them a listen and let me know, which lady takes the cake?

Monday, March 16, 2009

You thought you knew suburbia...

Tales from Outer Suburbia by Shaun Tan

Missiles in every yard, an alien as a foreign exchange student, blind reindeer. Just your every day suburban neighborhood. It's the land of Make-Believe that would give Mr. Rogers a panic attack.
I'm not the biggest sci-fi gal. I'm more of a fantasy fan. But it is the flavor of the month, so I figured, why not, I'll give it a go. I love getting my flavor fix because I always find a treat I didn't expect. This author had me so enraptured by these short stories that as soon as I closed the book I was looking for Tan's earlier stuff. And the art! A-MAZE-ING! I keep going back to the story about the foreign exchange sure would explain some things.

Want to enter Outer Suburbia? Check it out.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Dying for more Edward? Watch Twilight for free

So I'm a genius. Despite the fact that I have been counting down the days for the Twilight movie to be on DVD, I just realized today that I forgot to pre-order it. Stellar.

Luckily for me, on Wednesday, March 25, MPL is having a special screening of the movie at the Main Library. And it's free. I am so excited. Because as happy as I am to take the Cullen's home with me, I really, really, really like seeing Robert Pattinson's face projected on the big screen.

If you love all things Twilight as much as I do, stop by on March 25 at 6:30. There's no registration needed to get lost in this amazing movie. Again.

My sister said it best, "I really want Bella to be a vampire already!" Well I really just want to see this movie again!

An America Next Top Model shocker!

This past Wednesday most horrendous, unspeakable, and evil thing happened on America's Next Top Model. It was makeover day and *gasp* Tyra cut off the hair of one of the contestants! OMG!

Bleh! Every season it is the same thing. Tyra cuts someones hair off because she "loves their bone structure" and every year these girls are surprised and devastated that it happened. Have they never seen ANTM? It's the same every year. Two girls go short, two go blond, one goes red and white girls learn how painful it is to wear weaves.

I don't know, maybe it's because of my fabulous Jay Leno chin, but I dig short hair. I have never burst into tears because a cut wasn't quite what I expected. And let me tell you, I have had some wicked styles over the years. I want to be trendy, so I try the fads. My life is a 50/50 split of good cuts versus bad cuts. I should mention that I grew up during the days when perms were hot, so if that doesn't tell you about some of the disastrous photos that have been taken of me, I don't know what will. I would have killed to have a fashion icon like Tyra Banks tell me how I should style myself. She may be annoying, but she knows her stuff.

As much as I gripe about this episode every season, I do love it. It's the only time during the cycle that I look at those girls and think I've got more going on then they do. Talk about a shocker!

Monday, March 9, 2009

Falling into Garth Nix

The Fall by Garth Nix
Imagine that you live in a world completely encased in darkness because a magical Veil blocks out the sun. The world is so cold and destitute that the land is covered in ice. They only way to destroy the Veil is to dismantle the Keystones that keep it in place found at the top of a castle's towers. Oh yeah, and that castle has a room for people to be punished, called the Hall of Nightmares. Ever wonder it would be like to not be able to wake up from your worst dream? Talk about punishment.

If you think your life is rough, check out this series. The Seventh Tower books were recommended to me by a guy who knows the difference between good fantasy and a wonderfully consuming story. Nix creates a world so complex and intriguing that you actually get chills as you read them.

Want to climb the towers? Then check this series out.

One Tree Hill is not lying!

One Tree Hill has been playing the good stuff!

This past Friday was my birthday, so I treated myself right by catching up on some quality trash TV. You know, Gossip Girl, America's Next Top Model, Make Me a Supermodel and my new fave, One Tree Hill. I know OTH has been around for years, but I never was able to catch it. Once I checked out the boxed seasons sets I became obsessed, and now my TiVo is on overdrive.

Much like these other pseudo-soap operas, I think it's the music that takes it to the next level. I swear that once I heard Carolina Liar's "Show Me What I'm Looking For" come on into some unnecessarily dramatic scene with Payton, Lucas, and a doctors office, I got a little choked up. There may have been some tears, I'm not gonna lie. Good music will do that to you; it makes even the most ridiculous scene seem fantastic. Talk about knowing your audience!

So the song of the week is the song that had me reaching for the tissues.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Jimmy Fallon on Late Night

If you love SNL, then you are like me and are thrilled to see Jimmy Fallon taking over Conan O'Brien's place on Late Night. The video of the week is the opening segment of his first show, and I have to say, I love the classy funny vibe Jimmy's giving off.

Miraculous Journey of Edward Trulane

"Miraculous Journey of Edward Trulane" by Kate DiCamillo.

The heart breaks and breaks
and lives by breaking
It is necessary to go through
dark and deeper dark
and not to turn
- Stanley Kunitz

I was visiting some friends of ours at Fairfax when someone recommended I review Edward Trulane. I love this book, and I'm glad they brought it to the front of my mind.

I could tell you that the reason why this book is so exciting is that you watch a toy bunny go all over the world, or that I'm fascinated by the fact that people can be connected to one another over generations by a solitary item. Or maybe confess that as a kid I secretly thought my stuffed animals were alive and couldn't let the unicorn be next to the elephant on my bed because, well, you know, they had "issues". But really, I think this book is rocks beause of the poem that starts off the whole book. It says it all.

It is necessary to go through the hard stuff to get the good stuff. One is not mutually exclusive to the other. And deep down, we all love it. There's a reason why people watch dramas. I was talking to a friend last week who told me that he thought my life story was really interesting and that on some level he was jealous. And the whole time he said it, I was thinking how I was jealous of his life story. I think its safe to say that everyone who reads this book will be a little jealous of Edward's story. We all want to be taken on an adventure.

So thanks to my Fairfax friends for helping me get refocused. As always, I love hearing suggestions on what book I can't live my life not knowing, so please keep them coming.
That is my necessity for going through the dark.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Is Ryan Seacrest crossing a line?

They say it's a fine line between love and hate, but it's an even finer line between censorship and non-censorship.

I was driving into work today listening to Top 40 with Ryan Seacrest when the Katie Perry song, "Hot and Cold" came on and I noticed that a line was missing. Normally, when a word is deemed "inappropriate" for whatever reason, radio stations just switch it out for another one. But today, they just skipped an entire line. At first, I thought I wasn't paying attention, but then I noticed the same thing happened to Rihanna and T-I's "Live Your Life". You have to be kidding me, Mr. Seacrest!

I don't know what it is about this that has me so riled up. I know I'm a little biased since fundamentally libraries don't censor. We believe that it is your right to read what you want, and listen to what you want. We rejoice that we live in a nation built on freedom of speech and Right to Read weeks. It's what libraries are all about. But on the other hand...I get it. Somethings should not be shared with everyone all the time. It's not just that I don't want a bunch of 4 year olds hearing dirty words on the radio. That creep factor pops up everywhere. I still get uncomfortable when I'm watching a movie with my dad and two people kiss. The devils advocate in me gets how somethings should not be experienced with your dad. I'm just saying!

Someone told me this week that devils advocates aren't really advocates, they are just people who like to argue. I hate to be that girl, but I think this issue warrants discussion. So here's my question, how far is to far on the censorship scale? Would you rather hear an altered word in a song, or a song that has a whole phrase taken out? Is there really a lesser of two evils?

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Aliens Attack At Mentor Public Library!

Do I have your attention now? Bad news, my friend. The Aliens aren’t attacking us. We are attacking them. Well, the books they are in. It’s Science Fiction Month at good old MPL.
Have you said hello to an alien lately? Or maybe you are more of a “What if computers were fused with our brains?” kind of Reader. Or maybe “Deadly Virus sweeps through the world!” is your cup of tea. Any Way you like your sci-fi is fine with us.

Here some of our suggestion for you:

Dangerous Days of Daniel X by James Patterson
Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card
Saga By Conor Kostick
Genius Squad by Catherine Jinks
Uglies by Scott Westerfeld
H.I.V.E. by Mark Walden
Maximum Ride by James Patterson
Dragon and the Thief by Timothy Zahn
Feed by M.T. Anderson
House of the Scorpion by Nancy Farmer

Graphic Novels
Any and Every Super hero novel done by Marvel, DC, Dark Horse, etc….
Neon Genesis Evanglion by Yoshiyuki Sadamoto
Dragon Drive by Ken-ichi Sakura
Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind by Hayao Miyazaki
Full Metal Panic by Tomohiro Nagai
GetBackers by Yuya Aoki
Serenity by Joss Whedon

For more Info about Sci-fi check out the display in the Teen area and pick up a book mark or two.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Edgar and Ellen are really Rare Beasts

Rare Beasts by Charles Ogden
You know you're in for a delightfully decrepit story when you open a book and the main characters live in a house called Schadenfreude (which is a German word that basically means that you get a rush from watching other people suffer. Think CBS's Survivor). I have to admit, I kind of enjoy seeing how the bad people devise their master plans. My mind just can't bend that way, so seeing their plans in motion sets my nerve on edge. That's why I love 24.

This series had me jumpy from the get go. Have you ever read the Lemony Snicket books? Think about an entire series based around the villainous relatives that the Baudelaire children are forced to live with. Pure, delightful evil. In Ogden's books, Edgar and Ellen are twins whose sole purpose is to find new and ingenious ways to torment their neighbors. They make you're worst enemy seem as sweet as candy. You have to experience their horror for yourself. Without giving too much away, all I can say is you do not want to be in a game of hide-and-seek them!

Watching the downfall of these siblings is unbelievably entertaining. Who said schadenfreude was a bad thing?

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Right for a Reason

"I hate to say I told you so. I do believe I told you so" - the Hives

Remember the other month when I told you to check out this hot new prog-rock band, Ruled by Reason? I'm pretty sure I said it just a matter of time before the world caught on and they would start making waves. Well, it's good to know my music instincts are right. I just got word that this amazing band is opening up for Mushroomhead March 7 at Peabody's. Ruled by Reason has rocked my socks since day one, and it's fantastic to see them playing with the greatest metal band to come from Cleveland.
That's what we do here, we discover and uncover the things that deserve to be exposed. So if you see, hear or read something that's worthy of some extra attention, let us know. We love being on the cutting edge. And we are thrilled to be see our friends tear it up with Mushroomhead.

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