Reading Room Blog
BY TED KOOSER, U.S. POET LAUREATE
This marks the fourth time we’ve published a poem by David Baker, one of my favorite writers. Baker lives in Granville, Ohio, and teaches at Denison University. He is also the poetry editor for the distinguished Kenyon Review.
Old Man Throwing a Ball
Some books seem to fly under the radar. They don’t garner the big awards or make the bestseller lists, they’re just quietly checked out of libraries over and over again. One of my new favorites in this category is “The Thumb in the Box” by Ken Roberts.
It begins, “This is a story about a fire truck being driven into the ocean and two people taking off their thumbs. Don’t worry, though. Nobody gets hurt.” No self-respecting third grade audience will let you stop reading after that!
On Thursday, March 25, 2010, Caroline Weber of Barnard College and author of Queen of Fashion: What Marie Antoinette Wore to the Revolution, will give a talk on the style icon.
She was one of the world's most famous chefs, but in her long life she had also been a high school basketball player and top secret researcher, as well as making appearances on TV shows ranging from her own myriad cooking series to The Cosby Show to Sesame Street to a beloved parody on Saturday Night Live. She was as much a cultural institution as a culinary artist.
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?”
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.
This readalike is in response to a patron's book-match request. If you would like personalized reading recommendations, fill out the book-match form and a librarian will email suggested titles to you. See our other Book Matches.
Eragon by Christopher Paolini
In Aagaesia, a fifteen-year-old boy of unknown lineage called Eragon finds a mysterious stone that weaves his life into an intricate tapestry of destiny, magic, and power, peopled with dragons, elves, and monsters. (catalog summary)
If you are a teen, and enjoyed Eragon here are a few other titles to look into:
Dragon Rider by Cornelia C. Funke
After learning that humans are headed toward his hidden home, Firedrake, a silver dragon, is joined by a brownie and an orphan boy in a quest to find the legendary valley known as the Rim of Heaven, encountering friendly and unfriendly creatures along the way, and struggling to evade the relentless pursuit of an old enemy. (catalog summary)
Eon: Dragoneye Reborn by Alison Goodman
Sixteen-year-old Eon hopes to become an apprentice to one of the twelve energy dragons of good fortune and learn to be its main interpreter, but to do so will require much, including keeping secret that she is a girl. (catalog summary)
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.
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.
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.