Monthly Archives: December 2010

Goodbye 2010, Hello 2011

TO DO:

1. Blog about favorite books of 2010
2. Blog about 2010 goals
3. Blog about 2011 goals (see below)
4. Blog about books to look for in 2011 (see below, below)

How many lists can I work into one post? So far two, but I think I can manage more if I try hard enough. So here it is. After weeks (ok, fine, a few minutes) of thoughtful consideration, here are the blogging and reading related things I would like to accomplish in 2011:

1. Read 200 books. Audiobooks totally count for this. Also, I am once again going to attempt to branch out. I hope to have a nice mix of debut authors, historical fiction, realistic fiction, mystery, science fiction, and fantasy. I did ok this year, but I can do better.
2. Read and review more nonfiction. I read 8 in 2010, I can do better than that!
3. Read and review more graphic novels and manga. Can I read 1 a week? 52 is a lofty goal!
4. Read and review more “oldies but goodies.” Don’t get me wrong, shiny new books are awesome and I love being among the first to read new releases, but my shelves are literally overflowing with treasures that I have not read. Can you say Bloody Jack? Hello! Talk about buried treasure. That first book had been on the shelf for 6 years before I stumbled upon it. I can’t wait to find out what else is just sitting there waiting for me to discover.
5. Blog more. (Need I say more?) Mondays with Megan was a great way for me to make blogging a habit and I think I am ready to increase the frequency of my posts. Watch for more reviews in 2011! I may even attempt a contest or two!
I think that is enough to keep me busy. Though as a professional librarian I suppose I should say something about reading award winners and all that, but seriously, have you seen how many teen book awards are out there? No? Well, trust me, there are a ton. I do make an effort to read off those lists, but I would go batty if I attempted to read them all. Don’t worry, I will let you know when I am reading an award winner. How does that sound? Oh, wait, I nearly forgot about my author stalking plans! Ok, maybe stalking sounds a bit, um, well, stalkerish. What I mean is, I plan on renewing my efforts to meet my favorite authors. Stacey and I were on a roll there for a while, but with the holidays and all…you know. So anyway, meet authors can be number 6 on the list.

And now, for the third and final list of this post-books to look for in 2011:
1. Unearthly by Cynthia Hand
2. Across the Universe by Beth Revis
3. Plague by Michael Grant
4. Anything by Rick Riordan (more Kane Chronicles and more Heroes of Olympus are due out)
5.  City of Fallen Angels and Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clare
6. More Ally Carter
That’s all I have off the top of my head.

Finally, I would like to thank my readers. There aren’t very many of you, but I truly appreciate that you take the time to read this blog. Happy New Year! Oh, and come to my duct tape craft program on January 11th at 7pm.

˜Megan

Mondays with Megan…on Tueday, Again: 2010 in Review

Hi everyone! I hope your Christmas was as merry as mine. I ate a lot, laughed a lot, and got some lovely gifts. One of the best parts of the holiday? I finally introduced my dog to my sister’s dogs. It took a week of playdates, but they are all officially BFFs. Yay. I cooked, I cleaned, I wrapped, and I knit. I even read a teeny tiny bit-thank goodness for graphic novels! The latest Cirque du Freak manga (number 7) is available and I read that over the super busy weekend. Since I don’t really have any new titles to talk about, I think I will take this opportunity to revisit the reading goals I set for myself and see how well I did.  Here are the goals I set for myself:
Goal #1 Read 12 debut authors in 2010.
Goal #2 Read a variety of genres in 2010.
Goal #3 Read more graphic novels in 2010.
Goal #4 Read at least 150 books in 2010 (audiobooks count!)

Kind of vague, huh? I will have to be more specific next year. Anyway, time to evaluate.

Goal #1: In 2010 I read 27 debut novels!
My favorites:
Paranormalcy by Kiersten White
The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson
Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins
Cinderella Society by Kay Cassidy
All Unquiet Things by Anna Jarzab
Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver

Goal #2: I think I got a little bit more variety in this year, but still not great. The majority of what I read was still teen science fiction/fantasy (darn you dystopian/paranormal romance/vampire/zombie books!). I managed to read 8 historical fiction books, 15 mysteries, 9 plain-old, ordinary fiction, and 8 nonfiction titles. There is definitely room for improvement here.
Favorite Historical Fiction: The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate by Jacqueline Kelly with Wicked Girls by Stephanie Hemphill coming in at a close second!
Favorite Mystery: 13th Hour by Richard Doetsch (not a YA title)
Favorite Fiction: The Cardturner by Louis Sachar with The Girl Who Chased the Moon by Sarah Addison Allen coming in second!
Favorite Nonfiction: Letters to a Bullied Girl by Olivia Gardner

Goal # 3: I read 18 graphic novels this year, which is a huge improvement for me, but I’d like to read even more next year.
My favorites:
The Big Book of Barry Ween by Judd Winick
Cirque du Freak, the Manga by Darren Shan
Nightschool by Svetlana Chmakova

Goal # 4: I have read 159 books so far. I have 3 days left to read. I just got the newest book in the Drake Chronicles today and I am confident I will finish it in the next three days, so I am going to say 160 books read/listened to in 2010.
My Favorite Audiobooks:
Bloody Jack (the entire series!) by L.A. Meyer
Going Bovine by Libba Bray
The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Allen Bradley
The Hunchback Assignments (1 & 2) by Arthur Slade

Phew, that’s a lot! Overall I think I did good job meeting my goals. I can see where I need to improve and my 2011 goals will address those areas. Stay tuned for my 2011 list!

Happy Reading

˜Megan

Mondays with Megan…On Tuesday: Going Bovine by Libba Bray Review

Hi All,

Sorry I missed you yesterday but 1.) I was having a much-needed and enjoyed day off and 2.) I do not plan ahead well enough to have had a post ready in my absence. I am considering adding “do not procrastinate” to my New Year’s Resolutions list, but there’s still plenty of time to think about that later.

I know I should have spent my time catching up on reading, but I finally mastered the art of the knitting loom so I spent most of my free time watching terrible movies and knitting pretty scarves. I finally got around to seeing The Vampire’s Assistant, which is based on the book by Darren Shan. I have mentioned here before that I am really enjoying the manga version of this series, so I am sad to report that the movie was very disappointing. It just didn’t work for me. The cast didn’t line up with what I imagined, the special effects were hokey, and some major changes were made to the story line. If you don’t plan to read the books you may enjoy the movie, but if you’ve read the books you may be disappointed too.

I finished two book over the weekend. First, I finished listening to Going Bovine by Libba Bray. I can safely say this was one of the most bizarre books I have ever read. It’s the story of Cameron, a teenaged boy who is diagnosed with Mad Cow disease. With little time left to live he and his dwarf friend Gonzo set out on a quest to find a cure and save the universe. Along the way they pick up Balder, a viking god trapped in the body of a yard gnome. Their guide along the way is a  punk-rock angel. The entire time I was listening I really could not decide if I liked the book. There were hilarious laugh-out-loud moments and Cameron’s deadpan sarcasm was perfect. I loved Balder and the role he played in the quest. But did I like it? Well, it’s been almost a week since I finished and I am still thinking about it. I am still laughing about parts and I am still trying to figure out who should read it next. I miss Cameron, Gonzo, and Balder on my way to work in the morning. I find myself wondering about what happens next. After mulling things over for a few days I can confidently say that yes, I did like it. I liked it a lot in fact. It’s certainly a strange book and probably not for everyone, but if you are looking for a hilarious/touching/thought-provoking/social commentary/quest book with an angel, midget, and garden gnome than this book is for you! I am also told that it parallels the story Don Quixote by Cervantes. So if classical literature is your thing you might be interested in this modern version. This book is destined to become a cult classic. Spread the word.

I also read the much-anticipated Matched by Ally Condie. This is a love story set some time in the future. Everything is orderly and safe because everything in life is planned from birth to death. When 17-year-old Cassie learns that her life-long best friend Xander is her Match, she is thrilled. Her excitement turns to doubt when a series of events leads her to begin questioning the order imposed by the Society.

I will admit that despite my excitement for this book it took me a minute to get into it. I feel like it got off to a slow start and I had a few admittedly nit-picky issues, but about a third of the way in the pace picked up and never slowed down. I was totally sucked into the drama of the Cassie-Xander-Ky. The story is sweet and suspenseful and I can’t wait for the sequel. Fans of dystopian fantasy will enjoy this as much as romance fans. I would not hesitate to give this to tween and teen readers. The cover is pretty cool too!

Ok, that’s all for me today. Happy Reading!

˜Megan

Favorites of 2010, The Outtakes, Part 2

Before I jump into my next list I would like to share a few bits of news that I have come across this week. There is exciting news about The Mortal Instruments, the movie. The movie is scheduled for release in 2010 (oh so long a wait…) and the first character has been cast. Lily Collins will be playing Clary Fray. How exciting! There is also word out there that Taylor Lautner, who co-stars with Lily Collins in the movie Abduction (a thriller scheduled for release next year), will be playing Finn in the film version of Catherine Fisher’s book Incarceron. I should probably get busy reading this one, especially since the sequel, Sapphique, is due out December 28th. I guess I will all it to the list! Speaking of lists (not so clever segue, I know) how about some more favorites outtakes?

Hearts at Stake and Blood Feud by Alyxandra Harvey are the first two books in a vampire romance series. These books are action-packed, hilarious, and full of dreamy vampire brothers. I love the Drake family and can’t wait for the next one due out this month. A must read for vampire lovers.

A Spy in the House and The Body at the Tower by Y.S. Lee are Victorian Era mysteries featuring undercover agent Mary Quinn. Mary is an original Gallagher Girl. If you don’t know the Gallagher Girls I suggest you get to the library and find Ally Carter’s books. Seriously, go now. You can thank me later. Start with I’d Tell You I Love You, But Then I’d Have to Kill You.

Cirque du Freak, the Manga by Darren Shan is a 12 book series starring Darren Shan, a teenaged half vampire. The first 7 books in the series are available in manga format. The vampires in Darren’s world are not the he’s-so-dreamy-and-sparkly-type. These books are jam-packed with bloody battles and death-defying adventures. A must read for horror fans. Not for the faint of heart. I can’t wait for the last five books to be available!

Ok, that’s all for now, but stay tuned because there are still more books on my outtakes list. I would like to leave you with this gem:

That’s right! The cover for City of Fallen Angels, book 4 in the Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare, was revealed this week!

Happy Reading!

˜Megan

Mondays with Megan: What Do I Read Next?

Wow! All you folks having a snow day sure are lucky! I hope you have cozy blankets and slippers and a big old pile of books to read. Please let me live vicariously through you! Someone please take a nap for me and maybe enjoy some hot chocolate after you shovel my driveway…please? Ok, let me finish this so I can get back to my daydream.

This time of year is so busy that if it weren’t for audiobooks I don’t think I would get much reading done. However, I am pleased to report that I finally finished Dark Flame by Alyson Noel. Gosh, I struggled with this one. The first two books in the series were great and if I remember correctly, I enjoyed the third one as well. But book four, was not my favorite. I feel like this one was short on action and full of Ever whining. Things did pick up at the very end and I was actually surprised enough by the ending that I will eventually read the next book, Night Star. But for now, I think I need a break from Ever and Damen and all of their star-crossed lover/soul mate drama.

I am struggling to decide what to read next. As usual I have a huge To Be Read pile, but nothing is really demanding that I pick it up (how nice, I have a pile of quiet, patient books at home). I do have a couple of sequels that need my attention-Crescendo by Becca Fitzpatrick and Torment by Lauren Kate, but to be perfectly honest I am not sure I have the energy or focus to remember what happened in the first books to really enjoy the second books. So I think those will stay on the pile. I could start a fantasy book for our next department book club meeting. I am thinking about starting the Ranger’s Apprentice series, but if Matched by Ally Condie is waiting on my desk then that’s what I will be reading next!

I have a warm and fuzzy daydream to get back to so I will leave you with a reminder that tomorrow is the Teen Holiday Craft program at 3:30 in the auditorium (unless we are closed). Hope to see you there.

Stay tuned for more Top Ten List Outtakes! Stay warm and Happy Reading!

˜Megan

Favorites of 2010, The Outtakes, Part 1

It’s that time of year again! The time to look back over the year and start thinking about the upcoming new year. Here at the library we like to share our favorite reads of the year. In case you missed it, there are a weeks worth if Top Ten lists on our blog, Read it or Weep. These staff favorites are mostly adult books, but I have a Top Ten Teen List and if you look closely you will find teen titles on at least 5 lists (further proof that YA literature is amazing and fun). Can you find them all? I did!

It took me forever to make my lists for the other blog (yes, I cheated and made two lists. What can I say? I love lists.) and I am quite satisfied with my choices (please review the list here so I don’t have to retype it, thank you.). However, there were so many to choose from that I feel a little sad for some of the books that didn’t make the cut. So now, I happily get to make a few more lists, yay! Without further ado, I now present some great books that didn’t quite make the final cut but are totally worth reading!

The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate by Jacqueline Kelly

Callie Tate would rather study science with her granddad than learn to be a proper lady. This book is sweet and charming.

Wicked Girls by Stephanie Hemphill

The events of the Salem Witch trials are told from the point of view of the accusers.  This book is told in verse.

Stone Child by Dan Poblocki

A small town is haunted by the monsters from a book. This is a creepy mystery.

Paranormalcy by Kiersten White

Evie can see through paranormal glamour so it’s her job to “bag and tag” them for the International Paranormal Containment Agency. This one was on my original list, but since Stacey had it on hers I picked a different title. Loved this book!

Ok, that’s all for today. I will have more for you next week. Don’t forget next Tuesday is the Teen Holiday Craft program from 3:30-5:00 in the auditorium.

Have a great weekend!

P.S. I tried to get those pictures to line up but they would not cooperate and I am too tired today to duke it out with the computer. You win today, but watch out, I’ll figure things out one of these days. Until then it’s wonky pictures.

˜Megan

Teen Pizza Pagers Elsewhere

Yesterday was the last meeting of the Teen Pizza Pagers for 2010. Here is a summary of the book we read, courtesy of Clare:

Elsewhere by Gabrielle Zevin is about a fifteen-year-old girl named Elizabeth who is killed in a car accident. She doesn’t want to believe it is true that she is dead, but when she meets her deceased grandma, Betty, and sees her funeral, she finally starts to see the unfortunate truth. This book is about how Elizabeth deals with the change, finds love in Elsewhere, and gets to work in her dream career.

I highly recommend this book for people who like romance, mystery, and humor. Elsewhere is a must-read book! ˜Clare

Here is how everyone rated the book:
Dell-5
Maria-5
Maddie-5
Meredith-5
Spencer-3.5
Hannah-5
                                       Clare-5
                                       Total Score: 4.8/5 pepperonis
I didn’t cast a vote, but I would have given this one 4 pepperonis.
We were so wrapped up in discussing the book that I forgot to tell everyone that we got a sponsor for next year. I am so excited that Danny Boy’s Pizza will be providing us with pizza for meetings! A huge thanks to Danny Boy’s.

The discussion for this book was impressive. It was so interesting to hear everyone’s take on the book, the afterlife, and what they would miss most about Earth (family, pets, electronics, books, pizza and ice cream topped the lists). The following question is the one we had the most fun with:

At the recent book club meeting, we were asked if Elsewhere should be made into a movie. Everyone said yes. These are our castings suggestions for each of the characters in Elsewhere:

Liz- Dianna Agron (from Glee and plays Quinn)

Owen- Channing Tatum (Dear John)

Thandi- Miranda Cosgrove (from iCarly)

Betty- Reese Witherspoon (Monsters Vs. Aliens)

Curtis- Xavier Samuel (from Eclipse and plays Riley)

Emily- Bonnie Wright (from Harry Potter movies and plays Ginny)

Thank you Tori, for typing this up and for all your excellent casting suggestions. 

Casting the teen characters was easy for them, but they struggled a little with the adult characters.  I think they did a good job with Betty, but I think Curtis and Emily need to be played by older people. Maybe Jonathon Rhys Meyer and Christina Hendricks?  We all enjoyed this exercise and we will definitely do it again with other books.

We will not be meeting again until February, when we will talk about the book Double Identity by Margaret Peterson Haddix. Ms. Haddix will be visiting Rocky River in March, so we will be ready to greet her and ask her about her writing. Stay tuned for more from the Teen Pizza Pagers!

Happy Reading!

˜Megan and Crew