Category Archives: Uncategorized

It’s Banned Books Week!

Censorship is still more of a problem than many people realize. In order to do my part in helping bring attention to this problem, and to catch up on some of books I need to review, I have decided to do a bunch of posts this week — all on books that are likely to be challenged/banned. For more information about Banned Books Week, check out the official BBW website @ http://www.bannedbooksweek.org/ … Or for more information about what Capital Region libraries are doing for BBW, check out the articles @ http://www.examiner.com/young-adult-fiction-in-albany/jennifer-mcintosh

Happy Reading!

Sex: a Book for Teens: an Uncensored Guide to Your Body, Sex, and Safety by Nikol Hasler

The moment I saw the cover of this book, I knew two things:

  1. This book belonged in the Teen Area of my library!
  2. I had to read this book to make sure I was prepared to defend its place in my collection.

That being said…  I loved it!  There’s nothing quite like talking about sex to make teenagers and their parents COMPLETELY uncomfortable, so I think it is very important to provide teenagers with access to credible, factual resources.  The best part about this book, in my humble opinion, is that everything is presented in a light and humorous way without sacrificing the integrity of the information.

Just browsing the chapter listing gives you a good idea of both the humor and the depth and breadth of coverage:
Chapter 1 — Your Body: How it works and how to treat it
Chapter 2 — Sexual Identification: Who are you?
Chapter 3 — Masturbation: The greatest love of all
Chapter 4 — The First Time: What to know, what to expect
Chapter 5 — Foreplay: Getting it on before getting it on
Chapter 6 — Oral, Vaginal, and Anal Sex: You’re going to put that where?
Chapter 7 — Protecting Yourself: How to steer clear of disease
Chapter 8 — Birth Control: The art of NOT making babies
Chapter 9 — Dating and Relationships: What’s sex got to do with it?
Chapter 10 — Kinks, Fantasies, and Fetishes: Not just in your imagination
Chapter 11 — Communicating About Sex: Mouths are also for talking

Between the information provided in each chapter and the resources listed in the back of the book, readers have no excuse for remaining uneducated.  Hopefully the silly cover art will be enough to grab teens’ attention and the simple presentation of information will be enough to keep them reading until they find the answers they need.

Happy Reading!

Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver

People often wonder if their lives would have been different if they had changed some tiny, seemingly insignificant, part of their daily routine somewhere along the line.  Most people are left to wonder, but Samantha Kingston gets to find out for herself!

Cupid Day is a big deal at Sam’s school.  HUGE!  It’s a chance for the popular people to show off via the roses they collect all day, and Sam is among the elite crowd who plan on collecting the most roses from their friends & admirers.  Add that to the fact that Sam and Rob Cokran (her super-popular boyfriend) are supposed to have sex for the first time that night, and the importance of this day goes right off the charts for Sam.

The day starts off well for Sam and her BFFs — Lindsay, Elody, and Ally — as they go about collecting their roses and attending classes.  Since they are classic “mean girls,” though, they can’t just enjoy their own popularity.  They have to go and send a rose with a cruel message to Juliet “Psycho” Sykes, reminding her that she has no friends.  Their perfect day starts to unravel before they even arrive at Kent McFuller’s party, and things get progressively worse after they arrive at the party.  Juliet Sykes crashes the party to tell them off and ends up being taunted and having drinks dumped on her by nearly everyone in the room (reminded me an awful lot of the prom scene in Carrie — minus the whole supernaturally murdering her tormentors thing).  Rob ends up passed out [drunk], abandoning his plans with Sam.  And then Sam, Lindsay, Elody, and Ally end up in a horrible car accident as they leave.  Sam KNOWS she died in that accident… but she woke up, and it was February 12th again!

Sam spends her second Cupid Day experiencing a whole lot of déjà vu, and starts to freak out when she realizes that she is hurtling down the same path and will likely end up dead again at the end of the night.  When she wakes up to experience Cupid Day for the 3rd time, though, she realizes that this strange phenomenon has given her an amazing opportunity.  She can try to make things right for herself and maybe even some other people, like Juliet Sykes.  Will Sam be able to save herself and/or Juliet?  Is one day enough time to right all the wrongs of a lifetime, or is Sam destined to repeat this day forever?  Just TRY to put this book down before you know how it ends!

Happy Reading!

Haiku Contest

For those of you who didn’t get enough haiku writing time during our 2010 contest in April (National Poetry Month), there is an awesome contest on Eric Luper’s blog!  Yeah, I wrote one…  And you should too!  You can win some really cool prizes, including a new iPod Shuffle, an iTunes gift card, and your choice of a signed copy of the hardcover, paperback, or Playaway version of Seth Baumgartner’s Love Manifesto.  For complete contest details, go to Eric’s blog: http://eluper.livejournal.com/140526.html

Happy Reading!

Not much longer…

As my East Greenbush library patrons have probably noticed, I am just about “ready to pop,” but I am not sure the rest of my readers are aware…  So, I thought it was only fair to warn you all that I am doing my best to tear through the crazy pile of books I’ve been meaning to read and will (hopefully) be posting about those books as well as finally getting around to a bunch of back-logged reviews.  I don’t anticipate having a ton of time to read during my maternity leave, so you should feel free (as always) to check out the “blogroll” on the right side of the screen once my blog goes quiet.  Rest assured, though, I will make an announcement when maternity leave kicks in and then I will be back in May…

Happy Reading!

I have a professional Facebook page now…

So I will now happily accept “friend requests” from my library teens!  Happy Reading!

The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom

I often wonder, as I listen to an audiobook, whether the author ever finds anything “wrong” or “missing” when they listen to spoken interpretation of their text.  I guess Mitch Albom didn’t have to worry about that, though, since he WAS the narrator of his book!  (I didn’t even realize this until I got to the end of the book and there was an author interview…  So much for paying attention to details when I pick up an audiobook!)  Anyhow.  I think Mitch’s reading was very well done.  The pacing was great and the voices were always distinct.  Sometimes, I have a hard time understanding a narrator when they add an extra gruffness or accent, but this audiobook was nothing but smooth sailing.  Enough about the narration, though.  I should say a little about the story.

Eddie led a pretty simple life.  There were some major events — like going off to war and getting married — but most of his life was rather standard fare.  Eddie grew up in a working-class family and ended up becoming a working-class man.  He and his wife were unable to have children of their own, but Eddie always loved kids and was well-loved by the kids who knew him from his job at an amusement park called Ruby Pier.  On his 83rd birthday, while attempting to save a little girl from the runaway roller coaster car of a broken ride, Eddie died.  He immediately moved on and began a journey to meet 5 people whose job it was to help Eddie understand the happenings and the people in his life.

I liked the fact that the story strayed from traditional ideas of heaven and angels.  I also appreciated the multiple “twists” that came with the explanations from the 5 people.  And, while no one knows the “truth” about heaven, I can only hope that Mitch Albom’s ideas of heaven are not too far off.

Happy Reading!

A Brief Chapter in My Impossible Life by Dana Reinhardt

Simone is 16-years-old, and she is not exactly your typical teenager.  She wakes up early to volunteer for the ACLU on Saturday mornings, gets along really well with her younger brother, and has an incredibly good/open relationship with her parents.  As a result of this open relationship, Simone has always known that she was adopted.  She has never been curious to know anything about her birth mother, Rivka, although her adoptive parents have made it perfectly clear that Rivkah has stayed in touch with them throughout the years.  To put it plainly, Simone is content with the family she knows and loves.  When her parents start to pressure her about making contact with Rivkah, though, she realizes that it may be easier to just get it over with.  Needless to say, Simone’s pre-conceived notions are completely torn apart, and Rivkah ends up becoming an important part in her life.  That short summary doesn’t seem to be nearly enough to warrant an entire book, but that’s only because there is so much more that I can’t tell you about without spoiling the whole plot…  Trust me when I say that this book is awesome!  It’s not just a story for kids who have been adopted; it’s a great story about one teenager’s struggle to define family, friendship, love and faith…

Happy Reading!

I WON!!!

The Office Dynamics Inc./NMRT Professional Development Award!  What does this mean?  Well, I get a nifty little announcement in the NYLA newsletter, money to defray the costs of attending the NYLA conference this fall, and the opportunity to be the chair of next year’s MNRT Professional Development Award Committee.  Woohoo!!!!!  I am so excited!

Happy Reading!

An Inconvenient Truth: The Planetary Emergency of Global Warming and What We Can Do About It by Al Gore

I have been meaning to read the book or watch the movie for quite some time now, so I finally took out the audiobook. I have been a “tree hugger” for quite some time now, so it didn’t exactly have to convince me of the need to “go green” or the fact that humans contribute a lot to global warming. Still, some of the facts and statistics were rather staggering. If you get nothing else from this book, at least you can come away with some tips to cut down on your own energy use in order to save money.

Happy Reading!