Monday, July 28, 2008

Author Websites and Blogs

Some of my favorite websites are the websites to some of my favorite authors. Author websites and blogs are a great way to drop in and see what your favorite author is doing (unless your favorite author is, let's say Jane Austen- she is not blogging as she has been deceased for many years).

Let's take as an example Janet Evanovich. At www.evanovich.com you can get information about the books in the Stephanie Plum series, see pictures from the Fearless Fourteen tour that Janet did, go to Ask Janet and Alex to see what questions people have emailed, and sign up for the newsletter. Before the latest book gets published, they also post an excerpt of the first two chapters, which is a great way to get your fix while awaiting the next Plum adventure.

Meg Cabot is another favorite. She's primarily a YA and adult Chick Lit author, and her blog is interesting to both teens and adults. That's one of the reasons why I like it so much- she doesn't talk down to either side. The latest post is about her response to a New York Times article about YA fiction, but she also writes about hurricane weather, her crazy cats, looming deadlines, tv shows, books she loves, celebrity breakups- whatever she feels like, usually throwing in comical pictures. She updates pretty frequently, which is amazing considering how often she publishes.

I love this amazing YA series called Kiki Strike. They're written by Kirsten Miller, and it's the story about a group of teen girls, each who has a special gift (disguises, lock picking, chemistry) who discover an underground city under Manhattan and look to solve the mysteries around it. The author maintains a blog where she writes about weird things she's found in the papers, TV, or online- ghosts, real underground cities, the unexplained. It's definitely worth checking out and reading up on some strange oddities. Access her blog from the site and scroll on the left hand side till you see Ananka's Diary, then click on that.

All of these authors' books can be checked out from the Des Plaines library.
Janet Evanovich
Meg Cabot
Kirsten Miller

It's fun to find out about what a favorite author does when he/she isn't writing books. Does anyone else have a favorite author website or blog they like to visit?

Monday, July 21, 2008


Dawn Turner Trice is talking about race.

Are you now asking, who isn’t? Or maybe who is Dawn Turner Trice?

If you read the Chicago Tribune, you have probably seen her weekly column in the Metro section on Mondays. Her subject matter tends to relate to social issues. This year she has embraced the national conversation of race with thoughtful observations and commentary. She has also developed an online public forum called Exploring Race. While newspapers and television pundits address social issues, fiction takes on those themes with gusto as well.

The 2008 novel, Mudbound , by Hillary Jordan is a highly readable story set in Mississippi at the end of World War 2. It is the story of two families, one black and one white. While the difficulties of farm life and unhappy relationships are illustrated, the bond between two returning soldiers from each of the families gives this novel the its power.

A twist on the classic The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is found in the novel Finn by Jon Clinch, our book club choice for discussion on August 14th. This story centers on Huck's father. The ne'er-do- well, alcoholic is fleshed out in full, unabashed prejudicial form.

Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison chronicles a black man’s journey in white society during the mid 20th century. Orville Prescott of the New York Times reviewed Invisible Man on April 16, 1952. He wrote “Invisible Man is the most impressive work of fiction by an American Negro which I have ever read.” Clearly he wasn’t the only one who thought that. The Invisible Man went on to win the National Book award in 1954. Read Ellison’s acceptance speech.

An interesting fact – these were first novels for all three of the authors noted. Have an interesting fact of your own or a book suggestion - please comment.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

That's Bond - James Bond

Author Ian Fleming was born in 1908 so 2008 is the 100th anniversary of his birth. Since Fleming died in 1964, it’s been a long time since there’s been a new James Bond novel. But if you’re a fan of Ian Fleming’s 007 series you’re in for a summer treat. Sebastian Faulks, writing as Ian Fleming, has written Devil May Care, a new James Bond thriller. And just in case you’ve forgotten any of the old story lines, check out Kate Westbrook’s The Moneypenny Diaries. Miss Jane Moneypenny kept secret diaries of her years working for “M” in the Secret Service. Who knew? Anyway, her diaries serve as a great overview of the series. She even provides footnotes explaining who’s who!

Just in case these two new books don’t satisfy your need for a 007 fix, SilverFin and Blood Fever by Charles Higson are two books in our High School collection featuring a young James at Eton, a famous British boarding school. (If you work crossword puzzles you’ll recognize Eton as the prep school attended by James Bond. It’s frequently an answer in the Daily Herald’s crossword puzzle.) Ian Fleming also went to Eton and had wartime experience in British Naval Intelligence that gave him the background for the James Bond series.

And just in case that’s not enough there is also a graphic novel featuring James Bond called Shark Bait, written by Jim Lawrence.

(If you’re a fan of the movies you may be surprised at the grittiness and political “incorrectness” of the novels.)

Another bit of trivia – Ian Fleming also wrote the children’s book Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.

Enjoy your summer reading! Linda K.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Teens Read in the Summer?

You bet! Just like there's a youth summer reading program and an adult summer reading club, the teens have "Escape to Paradise." Teens in grades 9-12 can read books, attend programs, or both, and be entered into our grand prize drawing! The amazing prize? Wii don't really want to give it away but it is AWESOME.

We're winding down to the final weeks of summer reading, but there are still a lot of great teen programs left!

  • Game On! meets July 8, 15, and 22 (all Tuesdays) from 12pm to 2pm in Friends Room B. Each week we play a different game- DDR, Guitar Hero, Wii, Karaoke. Snacks are provided, just drop in and have fun!
  • Teen Movie Night- Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark. Teens get to hang out in the Storytime Room on July 9th at 6:30 pm and watch this awesome (and my personal favorite) Indiana Jones movie. Snacky foods will be served- can't watch a movie without snacks!
  • Taste Test: Breakfast at Nite. We'll sample toaster pastries, waffles, syrup, coffee and more and decide- which is better, Brand A or Brand B? Taste Test meets Wednesday July 16th at 6pm in the Storytime Room on the 2nd floor. Come hungry.
  • And finally.....Battle of the Books! The Teen Advisory Board has been begging for this program, and it's finally here. Teens have to read 5 books- Uglies by Scott Westerfeld, Looking for Alaska by John Green, Twilight by Stephenie Meyer, American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling. Then they'll battle it out to see who knows the most! The 5 books are available at the 3rd floor Readers' Services Desk, but supplies are limited and you have to register for this program to receive the books.
Interested in the programs or want more information about the Teen Advisory Board (TAB)? Check out the Teen Page on the library's website, or email me at TAB@dppl.org.