Reading Room Blog

Silver Medal Winners

    The gold medals get all the attention at the Olympics, but winners of the silver and bronze medals are proud, too.  So it goes with children’s book awards as well.  Anyone would be thrilled to win the Newbery or Caldecott Medals, but earning an Honor (as the runners-up are called) is nothing to sneeze at.


    This year’s honor books – and yes, they earn a silver medal – include one of those fascinating true stories that makes readers say, “how come I never knew that?”

 

A History of Classic Science Fiction: Isaac Asimov

No discussion of twentieth-century science fiction writing can be complete without mention of Isaac Asimov, the biochemistry professor and visionary writer who was responsible for creating the popular characterization of robots and incorporating themes of social science into “hard” science fiction. His most popular works, the Foundation trilogy and the Robot series, are considered landmarks of science fiction to this day. 

American Life in Poetry: Column 257

BY TED KOOSER, U.S. POET LAUREATE

Often when I dig some change out of my jeans pocket to pay somebody for something, the pennies and nickels are accompanied by a big gob of blue lint. So it’s no wonder that I was taken with this poem by a Massachusetts poet, Gary Metras, who isn’t embarrassed.

 

Lint

The Forest of Hands and Teeth

Experience a minute in the Forest of Hands and Teeth:

 Heart pounding yet? The Forest of Hands and Teeth, a novel by Carrie Ryan, is about a young woman named Mary and her life in her village. Sounds bucolic, doesn't it? Until you learn that the village is guarded by a high fence, which is surrounded by hordes of mindless, flesh-eating zombies called the Unconsecrated. Mary can hear their moaning all day and night, and she doesn't dare get too close to the fence, for the infection that turns you into an Unconsecrated is passed by a single bite.

Deliciously Creepy Graphic Novels

    What did you read during the Snownami/Snowpalooza/Snowmageddon?  Judging by the armloads of books people were checking out from the library before each of the storms, the most popular items were picture books, mysteries, best sellers, historical fiction, biographies… in fact, people were, as usual, reading everything!


    Among those armloads were plenty of graphic novels for young readers.  Defined as novels with complex storylines told in the form of a comic book, these books are finding increasing recognition in the form of awards.

Great Lives Series: Edgar Allan Poe

"We are not impotent- we pallid stones.
Not all our power is gone- not all our fame-
Not all the magic of our high renown-
Not all the wonder that encircles us-
Not all the mysteries that in us lie-
Not all the memories that hang upon
And cling around about us as a garment,
Clothing us in a robe of more than glory."
---From "The Coliseum" by Edgar Allan Poe

If you like books by Victoria Thompson...

If you like books by Victoria Johnson, you may like these suggestions. Here are some other historical mystery series, most of which can be described as novels of manners, with strong period details, and relationships which grow despite societal class distinctions. Enjoy!

Cordelia Frances Biddle - Martha Beale/Thomas Kelman series

If you like "The Da Vinci Code"...

If you liked The Da Vinci Code because of its thrilling chases and suspense, you may enjoy these titles:

Sandstorm
by James Rollins
“Ubar, a lost city buried beneath the Arabian Desert, is more than mere legend, and something astonishing waits there.”—catalog summary.  This is the first in the Sigma Force series by Rollins.

Stitches:--A Memoir by David Small

Five Scenes from David Small's "Stitches" from Stitches: A Memoir... on Vimeo.

As if David Small's graphic autobiography Stitches:--A Memoir wasn't powerful enough on its own, five scenes have been turned into eleven minutes of heart-wrenching video.  If you've read the novel, is it worth it?  Absolutely.  Hearing 'mama's little cough," slamming of cupboards and moving her "fork a half inch to the right" further enhances the viewers understanding of David Small's traumatic, childhood home.  If you haven't read this book, which was nominated for the 2009 Young People's Literature Award by the National Book Foundation, place a hold today!  It's worth enjoying in all formats!