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Tales of the Madman Underground by John Barnes

Tales of the Madman Underground by John Barnes

Tales of the Madman Underground is not the feel-good read of this or any other year, and yet I am completely enchanted with its accuracy of teenage desperation. It fills me with hope to see how author John Barnes has so succinctly summed up the powerlessness and determination of youth.

Life After XP

Life After XP

Come April 8th, Windows XP will no longer be supported or updated by Microsoft. Windows is dead—long live Windows! Seriously though, what are so many of us going to do? We avoided Windows Vista because, well, it stank, and Windows 7 just seemed unnecessary when XP was still officially supported and time-tested. Now at the end of its life, XP leaves us with a hole in our hearts as we consider where to go next.

This Belongs to Me: Cool Ways to Personalize Your Stuff by Anna Wray

This Belongs to Me: Cool Ways to Personalize Your Stuff by Anna Wray

This Belongs to Me is a DIY designer's dream, offering ideas and suggestions to transform your ordinary belongings into unique, personal reflections of you.

Using paints, pens, clay, and more, Anna Wray offers 14 different projects for you. From a barcode t-shirt to customized earbud headphones, Wray gives you the chance to use your imagination and make a statement with your clothes, accessories, and furniture.

The Dark Age of Animation

Scooby-do

From the mid-1950s to the late 1980s, the world of animation in the United States experienced a severe quality drought. Television animation was cheaply and quickly produced and loaded with errors. Feature-length animation experienced severe budget cuts, and the number of animated movies being released was drastically reduced. Cartoons that many generations grew up watching were made with “limited animation”—a style that utilized as few frames as possible, which resulted in choppy, simplified character motions.

You Don't Know Me But You Don't Like Me by Nathan Rabin

You Don't Know Me But You Don't Like Me by Nathan Rabin

You Don't Know Me But You Don't Like Me documents Nathan Rabin's journey into two vastly different but equally mocked musical fan bases. Phish and Insane Clown Posse are about as far away as you can get from each other in terms of sound, lyrics, and subject matter. The one thing that they do have in common is that their fans have very few qualms about conscious-altering substances.

That's how Rabin finds his ticket in. He's been going through some issues lately—actually he's been going through issues his whole life. Lower-class with a foster-home upbringing, Rabin managed to carve a niche for himself in Chicago writing for the A.V. Club, a cultural review publication that belongs to The Onion. Despite that success, it certainly cannot help to be diagnosed bipolar, which is exactly what happened to Rabin on his journey.

Early Chapter Books

Battle Bunny by Jon Scieszka

It is vital for early elementary aged children to read introductory chapter books that they enjoy.  Reading is fun, but when you’re just learning sometimes you need encouragement that the hard work is worth it!   Even if your young person isn’t ready to tackle the following books independently, they are great read alouds that you both will enjoy while reinforcing the message that--you guessed it--reading is fun!

The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert

The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert

What I’m about to say will be blasphemy to many of you. I DIDN’T like…no, actually, I hated Elizabeth’s Gilbert best-selling book Eat, Pray, Love. BUT, before you vow to never again read one of my blog posts, let me quickly assure you that I wholeheartedly embrace her latest epic offering, The Signature of All Things.

Englishman Henry Whittaker was born into a dirt-poor family. By combining an innate entrepreneurial spirit with an equally impressive knowledge of botany, Whittaker succeeds in amassing an early fortune. He and his Dutch-born wife move to Philadelphia where they build an opulent estate, and Henry assumes a position as one of America’s richest men.

Please Ignore Vera Dietz by A.S. King

Please Ignore Vera Dietz by A.S. King

The Vera Dietz of Please Ignore Vera Dietz is smart, hard-working, and haunted by the ghost of her best friend. Well...ex-best friend if you want to know the truth.

The Adventure Time Encyclopaedia by Martin Olson

The Adventure Time Encyclopaedia by Martin Olson

The Adventure Time Encyclopaedia is an ancient and magical tome, or maybe it's just designed to look that way. The book explores the characters and situations that occupy the popular Cartoon Network series. There are few cartoons as imaginative or strange as Adventure Time, in which a boy and his dog fight evil in various forms, including an Ice King, monsters, demons, giants, and the hideous creature known as The Lich.

The Lady of the Rivers by Philippa Gregory

The Lady of the Rivers by Philippa Gregory

Lady Jacquetta inherited the gift of Second Sight from a long-ago river goddess, or so the family legend went. What is obviously true is that she does get glimpses of what will happen to her and those around her. For example, Joan, the innocent, brave peasant girl her family has held captive to trade to the English, is almost certainly doomed. As for her own lot, the beautiful teenager who will be called The Lady of the Rivers has captured the attention of a powerful man twice her age and in time she will be his—but not as she imagines.