Friday, July 20, 2012

Olympic Reading

We're just one week away from the start of the 2012 Summer Olympics in London! Are you planning to watch them?

Take a look at this year's Olympics website! What's your favorite summer Olympic game? Mine's gymnastics.

In keeping with the Olympic spirit, why not spend the next few days enjoying a good book about the Olympics as well as watching the games? Here are a few ideas to get you started:

Rush for the Gold: Mystery at the Olympic Games by John Feinstein

Pankration: The Ultimate Game by Dyan Blacklock

Artemis The Loyal by Joan Holub & Suzanne Williams

Nancy Drew & The Hardy Boys: At All Costs by Carolyn Keene

In Lane Three, Alex Archer by Tessa Duder

The Century Kids, The 1930s: Directions by Dorothy and Tom Hoobler

Fire On Ice: Autobiography of a Champion Figure Skater by Sasha Cohen with Amanda Maciel

Jim Thorpe: Legendary Athlete by Barbara Long

Jesse Owens by Tony Gentry

Inside the Olympics by Nick Hunter

The 2012 London Olympics by Nick Hunter

The Olympics' Strangest Moments: Extraordinary But True Tales from the History of the Olympic Games by Geoff Tibballs


Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Laura's Book Club #2

Book Club met again this past Sunday and I figured I would again share my two recommendations, as well as the books recommended by my friends. Hope you enjoy! (Remember, many of these are adult titles!):

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

This book, written with precise detail and told in alternating perspectives, is about a circus, open only from sunset to sunrise, that arrives without warning and leaves without warning. It's called Le Cirque des Rêves, and from the outside, it is an exciting, magical, fanciful place comprised of numerous, smaller, black-and-white striped tents, as opposed to one gigantic one.

Behind the scenes, however, the circus is a different story. There's a fierce competition involving Celia and Marco, two illusionists who have been trained to compete since childhood, and who’s coaches, Hector Bowen and Chandresh Christophe Lefevre, in fact, have been battling in this kind of fashion for years.

The rules, goal, and game play of their competition is hazy at first. The two illusionists have no idea how to win or even make moves, but eventually they figure out what to do, and learn that the entirety circus was designed specifically as a stage for their battle. Then there's the other problem: the deep, passionate love that Celia and Marco have found in each other.

Even while in love, the game must go on, and pretty soon, everybody who's even visited this circus's fate is on the line.

The Eternal Smile by Gene Luen Yang & Derek Kirk Kim

This graphic novel tells three stories that perfectly border the line between fantasy and reality.

In the first story, "Duncan's Kingdom", set in a lush medieval Europe, Duncan, a brave prince, is embarking on a quest to win the hand of a fair lady... except there are peculiar and wrong-seeming details that seem to pop up in his dreams and around him, such as a modern Snappy Cola bottle. In a smooth transition between fantasy and reality, suddenly Duncan's world is confusing and may or may not be what he thought it always was.

The second story, "Gran'pa Greenbax and the Eternal Smile", seems like a witty, anthropomorphic, statement about capitalism and religion. In Frogsville, USA Gran'pa Greenbax, a rich and greedy frog has a dream: to be able to dive into a pool of money and not hit his head. Unfortunately, this is not so easy. After a lot of trying, his lackey, Filbert, discovers a giant smile in the sky. This lets Gran'pa Greenbax start a new religion and make more money, getting him a step closer to his pool dream. But, as things are with evil people, the situation is just not straightforward.

In the last story, "Urgent Request", a very regular (if not somewhat frumpy) lady starts receiving the notorious Nigerian Prince emails. With a combination of kindness, hope, and naiveness (I know that's not a word but I don't know the correct noun form of "naive"), she answers the emails and even sends money to the prince. Is he real, maybe? Or not? This, again, considers what reality and fantasy really mean.

Each story in this book is quick, yet touching and beautiful. And, even though the stories are short, the characters are deep, complicated, and easy to connect with. The whole book can be read in an hour and will leave you thinking for days. I think this would be good first graphic novel for non-graphic novel readers who are secretly afraid of them.

Additionally, here is the list of the books recommended by my friends:

Super Sad True Love Story by Gary Shteyngart
Summer of the Bear by Bella Pollen
How Did You Get This Number by Sloane Crosley
Girlchild by Hassman Tupelo
Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
What is the What? by Dave Eggers
Bodega Dreams by Ernesto Quiñonez
A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson

If you're interested in reading or recommending any books from/for my book club (and you're an adult!), leave me a comment. We can book-chat online!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Laura's Book Club #1

My best friends and I have a monthly book club. For our first official meeting we all read an old, but somewhat classic book called The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera. Or, at least we were supposed to. As it turned out, my one friend (Angela) was the only person to actually finish the book! We just weren't that into it! Despite this, we managed to hold a successful book-chat, however we decide that we should change the format of Book Club.

Book Club, now in its current state, involves each of us bringing two or more book recommendations to our group and then reading whichever of these we'd like for the next month's meeting. This way we don't get bogged down reading something we're not that into and, no matter what, we know there's at least one other person in the group to book-chat with.

Our next meeting is this Sunday but I thought, perhaps, I'd share my recommendations from last month here, in case any of you were looking for something to read. However, beware, because not all of my friends are into YA and children's literature (Some have actually grown up and moved on to adult books!) these books will run age-level gamut, as well as the genre gamut. Check your library, if you're unsure about whether or not you should read any of these recommendations.

And without further adieu, here's my recommendations for last month:

The Lost Girls: Three Friends, Four Continents, One Unconventional Detour Around the World by Jennifer Baggett, Holly C. Corbett, and Amanda Pressner

This book opens up with Jennifer, Holly and Amanda, three close friends in their late-20’s, who are on vacation in at Iguassu Falls in Brazil, discussing all the dreaded work that they have to face once they return to NYC. Jokingly, they discuss what it would be like to take off of work for a whole year and just travel around the world.

Then…they do it!

Not long after their vacation in Brazil, the three of them meet up to discuss turning their year-long dream trip into a reality. They save up for a year, sketching out an itinerary of all the places they want to visit, including how much time and money they’ll spend at each location and how much this trip will cost them regarding their careers and personal relationships as well. Not really knowing what’s in store they find themselves heading to their first stop- Peru.

In chapters that rotate between the three of their perspectives, Jennifer, Amanada, and Holly cover foreign bugs, bathrooms, people, language barriers, miscommunications, exercise, food, scenery, boys/dating, self-discovery, and pretty much EVERYTHING I like to read about. From the people they meet, to the new things they try, to the arguments and laughs that they have with each other, I think it’s the self-reflection that really makes this book so relatable for women in their 20’s and 30’s (like us!). This is the kind of book that sticks with you for a long time after you put it down. A warning, however– this book will cause extreme travelust.

When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead

It's the late 1970's, and Miranda (who’s 12-years-old and living in New York [I’m sorry, I’m a children’s librarian but I swear this book is AMAZING]) loves A Wrinkle in Time. Except for the fact that her mom is preparing to be a guest on $20,000 Pyramid, life’s pretty normal for Miranda. But then there are a few weirdish events. For instance, first, her best friend Sal, for what seems like no reason at all, is punched in the face and then decides he doesn’t want to be her friend anymore. Then, she starts getting a series of mysterious notes. As they arrive, Miranda realizes that the sender seems to know things before they happen. They are found in weird places and they are all strange, cryptic, and seeming to allude to future. For example, one note says "I am coming to save your friend's live, and my own."

The book is a quick read but also a page turner. It reads like realistic/historical fiction, but then teases you with a bit mystery too! It’s like a puzzle, the kind of book where every single word is a clue until you get to the end.

Additionally, here are a few of the books recommended by my friends at Book Club last month:

A Visit From the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan
The Keep by Jennifer Egan
The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart
Milkrun by Sarah Mlynowski
A Gate at the Stairs by Lorrie Moore
Birds of a Lesser Paradise by Megan Mayhew Bergman
Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer

If you're interested in reading or recommending any books from/for my book club (and you're an adult!), leave me a comment. We can book-chat online!

Saturday, July 7, 2012


Awww! Pinkalicious fans unite! Victoria Kann, the book's author, has created a coloring book called "Purpledoodles." Through the Harper Collins' website, 32 of the 128 pages are available to preview. Take a look for yourself!

The book is available now so get ready, get set, use your pinkermagination!

Additionally, you can follow Pinkalicious on Twitter and keep up to date with all of her newest releases!

Friday, July 6, 2012

25 Most Beautiful Public Libraries in the World

That's the Amsterdam Public Library pictured above.

I know I do these kinds of posts pretty frequently, but if you're any kind of library-lover at all, I hope you appreciate these beauties as much as I do. Flavorwire is the latest to post beautiful, international libraries. However, this batch is especially good (and nearer and dearer to my heart) because they're all public libraries! Have you been to any of the ones that they've listed? I've been to three of them.

Read their article here: The 25 Most Beautiful Public Libraries in the World

Monday, July 2, 2012

Francis Lawrence, Director of Catching Fire

Catching Fire, the Hunger Games sequel is due to come out on November 22, 2013. But there are going to be a few changes this time around. Most notably, The Hunger Games' director, Gary Ross, isn't returning to make the newer movie. Instead, the movie will be directed by Francis Lawrence (no relation), who also directed Water For Elephants and I Am Legend.

According to The Huffington Post, the new director is "looking to keep Catching Fire authentic."

To the Los Angeles Times, Jennifer Lawrence said, "The new movie will be very real, which is what I’m excited about," and then, "I really like his take, which is a lot of what I liked in Gary Ross. It’s the realistic grasp of the story instead of all the details of the imaginary things."

Catching Fire will start filming this fall!
Copyright 2009 Laura Druda