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Read Karen MacPherson's essays, reviews, and interviews with authors.

October 22, 2014

All About the Books

A music video from the Nashville Public Library:

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August 27, 2014


P.S. Your Not Listening by Eleanor Craig 
reviewed by Joel 

Mental illnesses have always interested me. I've always been curious as to how certain people act under certain circumstances. P.S Your Not Listening is an excellent book that explores how children with serious mental or emotional issues function. It follows a teacher, Mrs. Craig, who is also the author. She is hired at a typical school to teach a class of so-called special and unteachable students. Their actions and reactions are incredibly interesting to witness, and her struggles with their problems along with her own add a very personal aspect to the book.

I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who likes the psychological sort of genre, but truly anyone could enjoy it.

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August 26, 2014

Real SF

Manifold:Time by Stephen Baxter 
reviewed by Isaac 

Stephen Baxter's Manifold: Time is a thrilling journey through space and time, plus loads of adventure. One of the most ambitious books I have ever read, Baxter's instant classic tells the story of Reid Malenfant, a wealthy businessman who attempts to bring man to the stars while his society, a disturbing future America, has descended into chaos. Hunted at home and faced with urgent messages from the future, he must gamble the very existence of time and space on a desperate final mission. Flying in the face of doomsday predictions with a heart-pounding romp through alternate realities and universes, Malenfant uncovers the true nature of time and its implications for the fate of humans.

Sprinkled with a bit of romance along with mind-bending science and incredibly vivid imagery, Manifold: Time is an experience not to be missed. Beyond the dazzling scenery and sudden plot twists, the book poses a chilling question about human nature: why are we here and what does our future really hold? If you are a hard-core science fiction fan or simply a casual believer in the impossible, this book is for you.

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August 25, 2014


Cold Cereal by Adam Rex 
reviewed by Gabby 

Have you ever wondered about what's in your breakfast cereal? Cold Cereal by Adam Rex exists somewhere between reality and fantasy. The Goodco Cereal company and its secrets are investigated by new student Scottish "Scott" Doe. Accompanied by his friends Emily and Erno Wilson (and possibly some mythical creatures,) Scott unfurls the secrets of Goodco.

Rex's style of writing is enjoyable because his characters are very often sarcastic, humorous, and troubled like many people are in everyday life. In addition, Cold Cereal is packed with action and secrets, along with some literal secret ingredients.

Rex uses cereal humor, often opening up sections of the book with comic-strip style commercials, and using the paper jacket of the book like a nutrition information box. He blends together fantasy characters like Mick, a "clurichaun," and Harvey, a talking rabbit, and "the Good Folk," or the "Fey," who are mythical creatures with "glamour,", magical abilities. The mix of these two elements is very intriguing, and I'd say that Cold Cereal is a page-turner that isn't easy to put down!

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August 24, 2014

12th Night

Twelfth Night by Shakespeare 
reviewed by Sara 

Shakespeare's Twelfth Night, although eloquently written and difficult for some readers, is a memorable read that will keep you laughing out loud. Sebastian is Viola's identical twin brother. His ship has sunk and Sebastian is supposedly dead. Viola finds herself in the faraway land of Illyria. Even though she is a princess, Viola decides to disguise herself as a man due to the war and she goes off to work for the Count Orsino. The Count Orsino loves a woman by the name of Olivia and will do whatever he can to woo her, but things aren't that easy. Olivia's brother has recently died and she is still overcoming the trauma of it all. In her woe, she denies the company of any man. Count Orsino grows fond of the loyal Viola who has disguised herself as a man by the name of Cesario. Count Orsino sends Cesario to woo Olivia for him but Viola is in love with Count Orsino.

As the story unfolds the reader will slowly understand the love triangle and many suprises and side stories. The play is a lot of fun to read and even funnier to watch! This a good entertaining classic that many will enjoy.

Librarians Note: We will be following the edX course, Shakespeare: On the Page and in Performance, this fall with Sunday afternoon discussion sessions. Sign up for the course now, and we will post additional information about the Sunday sessions soon.

Librarian's Second Note: Though it is indeed implied in the text that Sebastian and Viola are identical twins, such twins by division cannot be of different genetic sex. Boy/Girl twin pairs are fraternal.

How have you made division of yourself?
An apple, cleft in two, is not more twin
Than these two creatures.

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August 23, 2014

Grimm Tales

A Tale Dark And Grimm by Adam Gidwitz 
reviewed by Maya 

A Tale Dark and Grimm by Adam Gidwitz is a gruesome twist on the fairy tales we all know and love and I enjoyed every minute of it! This book is a mash-up of fairy tales like Hansel and Gretel and The Three Little Bears. Follow along in this adventurous, dark tale as they sneak their way though the dark forest meeting obstacles greater than a foolish witch. They even recruit an army to fight a drunken dragon! The narrator's interjecting comments add humorous thoughts as a break from the nightmarish stories. Great for kids with a different way of looking at the simplest bed time stories. This story is perfect for a night in front of a crackling fire.

In a Glass Grimmly by Adam Gidwitz 
reviewed by Gabby 

In a Glass Grimmly is the sequel to Adam Gidwitz's first popular book, A Tale Dark and Grimm. Both are very similar, however they are both equally different. In a Glass Grimmly follows the story of popular nursery rhyme characters, Jack and Jill, who are cousins in this book. The two cousins go on many daring adventures, based on many familiar stories like Jack and the Beanstalk, and some less known, like the tale of the Eidechse Von Feuer, Der Menschenfleischfressende, better known as Eddie.

I believe that the reason why Gidwitz's stories have been so popular is that they are very adventurous, with clever and brave characters, who often discover many things about themselves along their journeys. Additionally, the stories are (sometimes) slightly gory, so many older students and readers may find that the real story of the usually adorable fairy tales is much better and curious.

I find that the best thing about the book is the characters. Jack and Jill are portrayed as children in the age range of ten to thirteen, who are living in the shadow of their idols, and are very clever. This is proven when Jill outsmarts giants in The Giant Killer, "‘I challenge you all to show me the food in your bellies!’ Jill bellowed…[she] turned to Meas. Very slowly, very clearly, she said, ‘Bring us knives… ’ Jill raised the knife above her head. Then she brought the knife down and buried it in her stomach. It entered her body just above the belt; from there she drew it up the length of her enormous belly." Also, the children are brave, shown when they face fear in The Others. Gidwitz writes, "The walls, the ceiling, the floor were all made of bone… Jack looked at Jill. She nodded."

Lastly, Gidwitz delivers a very important message in his book: "To find what ye seek, look no further," which can be interpreted to mean that you must be happy with who you are and not let others tell you who to be. In summary, In a Glass Grimmly is an incredible book, expecially with astounding characters and an amazing moral.

Author's web site
Previous post about the Grimm books

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