Sunday, December 26, 2010

Christmas Gifts and Musings

Things have been crazy. I didn't realize my last update was in October. My thought was the last update was in November sometime. A lot happened in November.

What has happened since that last update? Well, in the whirlwind that was the end of October I made a professional move from teen services to all youth services, changed libraries, changed counties, got an apartment with the Philosopher Musician, moved (am still moving stuff over), and found myself basically being an adult. All in the span of about two weeks. It was impressive. It has been a great move.

Now, according to last week or so, I finished grad school. Yes, I'm done (with a few exceptions). I can focus on my life again, whatever that is. One thing I've discovered as of late is that I'm a gamer. Yes, a video gamer. I purchased a Red Nintendo Wii (anytime I can get a red electronic, I do) which came with the awesome Super Mario Bros Wii. We lucked into a cheap, working Xbox and picked up a few games for that. I was getting into Steam again until my old computer tower (at least 10 years old) decided it wasn't going to see the Slave Drive. SimCity 4 was just on sale (I "have" it, but can't play it). The Netbook is just not good for gaming.

That's where I'm at and what I've been up to. The Philosopher Musician is coming on as a full partner here when we can get focus.
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For the goodies! For Christmas, The Philosopher Musician got me...COMICS! (I had figured out one of these things because he said he looked at my comic collection! HA!)

Ruse Issue 16, which I may or may not have all ready. Catwoman Issue 2 since I have number 1!

Catwoman Issues 25 and 34. Filling in some story arcs. Very well done.
YES YES YES YES. The store, he says, was surprised they even had this one! One of the few that I willingly own the Issues AND the book. :)
My apologies for the bad pictures. My camera took a dive a few weeks ago (it rattles) so these were taken with a cheaper camera.

I got him Axe Cop vol. 1 for Christmas which we're both pretty excited for.

Life is good.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Machine of Death: a book (or [oh, see in the post])

(Or what to do when customers asks if you bought the book yet or they donate a copy...or five).

It all started last week (maybe before then, but last week it was on my radar) on Twitter when David Malki ! (of Wondermark fame who gave away books to LIBRARIES a while back) and Ryan North challenged the Twitter-verse and web comic fans alike to make their upcoming compilation book the number 1 seller on Amazon for at least one day, which was yesterday. Well, you can see here, here, and here (not sure that link will hold) that it happened, and it has gone into today. Impressive. Many, many kudos to the fact it is an Indie Book and it topped.

Well, today, the story just got a little more interesting. According to David Malki !'s Twitter here and continued here, Glenn Beck (of this book fame [I do not endorse this book, I just know that you may only know who he is by his book*]) called the book "an example of our 'culture of death.'" The Twitter-verse is just RUNNING with this and challenging the fans to buy MORE copies or convince more people to buy copies.

So, as a librarian do I purchase this book for my collection or not?

Non-librarians, here is the dilemma: there are no professional reviews backing this up (that I've seen) and it hasn't reached the NYTimes Best Seller list. These are two factors in most libraries when determining whether or not to purchase a book. While it is a talked about book, I find that the audience for this book will be small. The concept is different, but sight unseen, this is one of the few books I honestly can't say I'd pick up for my Library Collection. I'd be likely to pick it up if I knew that there was a huge Glenn Beck fan base in the area (Banned Book, anyone?), but a quick search of the county I work in** shows me this is not necessarily the case. A search of Worldcat also shows me that no one has purchased Machine of Death yet, and judging by what it is, libraries won't even start getting it until a month from now (if they do).


So, non-librarians, you now know why it might not be in your libraries and librarians, you are prepared if you should decide to purchase this book (due to all the suggestions) or know why you might suddenly end up with 1-5 copies of the book (guys, if you do donate, PLEASE don't donate more than 1, also, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE check with your librarians about their donation policy before donating).

I'm willing to review Machine of Death for this here blog, but I just want to warn you, I'm in a state of upheaval considering I'm hoping to move next week and am starting a new adventure shortly thereafter. If you want me to review before the end of next week, please annoy me (comment below or e-mail me at ReadsRantsRaves [at] gmail [dot] com or @me on Twitter.com/readsrantsraves) and I will get a copy one way or another.

For an added bonus, I challenge everyone to get this thing on the NYTimes Best Sellers list because then EVERYONE will be talking about it. :)
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*In fact, I'd like to go to DC this weekend for the Daily Show/Colbert Report March.

**Not for much longer. It's bittersweet.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

So Farmville is a country!

This is probably old news by now, but I just couldn't help linking to this.

XKCD has made a map of the Internet as countries (at least that's how I see it). Either way, it is a nifty representation of web sites from Facebook to blogging and how "popular" one site is from another. It is pretty wicked cool. Although, book blogs don't rank anywhere...

In other news, I'm going to do some blog cleanup one of these days and move the blog to a better (more logical) address (I have it! I'm squatting!). I've got a small vacation (translation: lots of time at grandmom's house) coming up and hope that I can put some "blog" stuff on the agenda. My time has been eaten up by little things such as my job (yay school visits) and school work. Here's hoping I get a better handle by the end of next weekend!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Manga Moveable Feast: Yotsuba&! - Discussion

In my head Saturday: YES! I finally did it! I can finally participate in the Manga Movable Feast! Good Comics for Kids (at School Library Journal, many kudos to Robing Brenner on this one) this time is the host it and it doesn't start until August 30, and I have read the title and...oh drat, I've posted the review all ready... 

PS: I haven't read any of the other discussions this week, so be prepared for an addendum.

Little Librarian:
I am surprised to think about Yotsuba&! as a kid's title. Honestly, I would not suggest to put it in my children's collection at the library I work at and I almost always find it in the teen and adult collections at libraries. Why? I'm not exactly sure. Considering the creator behind the work (he wrote Azumanga Diaoh), I'd suspect that somewhere along the way, the creator would sneak something "questionable" in, but I haven't read past volume 1.

When I think of Yotsuba&! I don't think of kids reading the title, I think of adults reading the title. I learned about Yotsuba&! in college, from my college friends. Those in the web comic community know that a particular artist really loves reading Yotsuba&! so I link all of those things up to a teen and adult readership. In fact, if this is to be billed as a children's story, then why does it say in this post that Yotsuba&! is "seralized in Dengeki Daioh (Japanese website here), a magazine aimed at adult men[.]" I'm sorry, but that does not help the cause that this should/could be a kids' title. I honestly did not know that "While Yotsuba! is not officially a children’s series, as noted above, it has been embraced by young readers here in the United States as well as older readers." (Same post as above). I'm not one to go recommending this title to children. That's despite, if I remember rightly, the All Ages stamp on the back of the book by ADV.

Now don't get me wrong. I loved Yotsuba&! and think it is fantastically funny, adorable comic. I enjoyed her sense of wonder and her abandonment of her safety in the name of exploration, but some of the situations  make me feel it is better suited for a teen and adult audience (although, that's not to say kids won't discover it).

This is a place I'm willing to hear your thoughts. Why kids? Do you picture it or is it located in your library's children collection? If it is not, why do you think that? Why are kids picking this up (I'm pretty sure I know why...) Please discuss. I'm willing to be convinced.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Manga Movable Feast: Yotsuba&! and Chi's Sweet Home (Review Part)

SWEET! I'm excited to finally join in on a Manga Movable Feast. This time around it is the adorable comic: Yotsuba&! which I actually reviewed Volume 1 of way back in May. Basically, I loved the title and highly recommend it as a different title that will give your manga collection something fun to read. I enjoyed the first volume because of Yotsuba&s wild and crazy antics and that she is such a child and everything is new to her. Although, I wonder why I haven't picked the rest up...too many comics really.

As part of the Manga Movable Feast, people were asked to include a kids manga pick and seriously, what better title than my new all time favorite: Chi's Sweet Home volume 1. Enjoy!

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Title: Chi’s Sweet Home Vol. 1
Author: Konami Kanata
Illustrator: Konami Kanata
Publisher: Vertical
Copyright: 2010
Price: $13.95
ISBN: 978-1-934287-81-1
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Summary and Quick Thoughts: It all starts with a bird and a little kitten. Chi, the kitten,  grew interested in a bird and forgot to follow her mother and siblings back home from a day out walking. As Chi struggles to find her way home, she discovers a world full of scary things. Just as she gives up, luck would have it that a child falls in front of her and both have an understanding the other is unhappy. Chi is taken in by the Yamada family, despite the apartment complex rule that no pets are allowed. In quick, short and colorful chapters, it tells the story of Chi’s development and eventual adoption by the Yamada family. For any cat lover, or anyone who has raised a kitten who strayed from its family, this story will remind the reader of those days and elicit laughter and “awwws!”
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Will Teens Like It? This is a great all ages title!
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Things to be aware of: Nothing.
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Further Thoughts:  Chi’s story covers everything from her attempts to get home, to settling, to her first bath (with lots of growling), to her litter training, to discovery of bouncy balls (one of many favorite cat toys), to her first vet trip (which reminds me of the story of a cat I know) and many other firsts and developments with the Yamada family. In this book, instead of just having the cat go “meow” or “miu” the reader also sees what Chi is thinking or saying with those meows and it is spot on with those thoughts.

The artwork is what really makes this particular work special. Chi’s fear, frustration, anger, excitement, and other expressions are clear and mimic a real cat in a cartoony way. Combined with the words, this is one of the few titles that I often found myself laughing out loud or grabbing one of my family members to show and say “isn’t that like a cat?”

Chi’s story also sometimes parallels Yohei’s (the son), story as he learns to use “the potty” and when he has a growth spurt. Many times I thought, this would be a perfect book for a child who is growing up and needs positive stories about how “this child could do it, so can you.”

Overall, I’d highly recommend this title as it is feel good story about a cat and her family as she grows and explores a little. Cat owners everywhere should be able to relate to many of these stories and fondly remember times with their own cats (or chuckle at moments such as the cat clawing the couch). It almost makes you want to have a kitten again…almost…(please do not offer me kittens. We have 2 cats who are entering the “senior” years plus a temperamental cat that lives with the dog on the main floor with my mum).
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Bonus: This title is pricy, but you’re getting color which is a rarity in manga. If and when I get funds for myself, I’m getting this for my personal collection. And I might get a stuffed Chi too if I find one…oh dear, I've reached fan girl status....

Source:  Library copy.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Things Librairans Should Unlearn: Comic Book Edition!

[This week's review will be posted in a few days so I can join in on the Manga Movable Feast! YAY!]

I was inspired by Joyce Valenza's post (which was inspired by this post) earlier this week about what Teacher Librarians Should Unlearn and her challenge to create a meme based off of this was almost impossible to resist.

So I present to you, Things Librarians Should Unlearn: Comic Book Edition. This collaborative effort by me, The Philosopher Musician, and Sir Shanley hope to enlighten you about some common misconceptions about comics and the library.

Things Librarians Should Unlearn: Comic Book Edition
  1. Graphic novels are not literature
  2. Graphic novels and comic books do not belong in the library
  3. All graphic novels should only be shelved in the [adult, teen, or children's] collection.
  4. The ALA Great Graphic Novel Lists, professional titles, and professional journals are the best and, in fact, only graphic novel collection development tools out there.
  5. Book to graphic novel adaptations are usually awesome and a must have. Especially classic books and authors.
  6. Pokemon, Yu-Gi-Oh, and DragonBall Z are the best examples of manga.
  7. Anime and manga titles we don't recognize are probably dirty, violent, and pornographic.
  8. Only social outcasts and reluctant readers read graphic novels.
  9. Only children read comics.
  10. Librarians don't read comics.

Friday, August 27, 2010

ALA Great Graphic Novel Nominations for 2011 (1)

I wrote this way back when the list was first published and am only now getting around to posting this. Yay for Grad School distraction! I have since read some of the titles, which I will post reviews of soon.

Somewhere on my Twitter feed, I saw this Tweet that the Nomination for the Great Graphic Novels of 2011 is available. While this is excited news, can I be honest with you? As a librarian and an avid graphic novel reader, even though I'm not as in touch as I have been, about 80% of these titles are no where to be found on my blog rolls nor what I have seen circulating in the library. I mean, where's Gaiman's Whatever Happened To the Caped Crusader? (Ok, a little research shows this should have been on the 2010 list. I nearly CRIED over the brilliance of it). Where's Chi's Sweet Home which looks like it is going to be everyone's favorite all-ages GN (DAWWWWWWWWWW! Expect a review!). I find it uneasy that I don't recognize even half of the nominations.

I honestly feel like I shouldn't complain. I'm not on the committee (yet, but intend to after grad school), but honestly, I'm not that excited about this list. I mean, 2010 had many titles I recognized, wanted to read, and were, I thought, good picks, but this list? I recognize more titles as I look at it, but then I notice all the "book-to-graphic-novel" suggestions, which are seriously hit and miss. I just read a Marvel adaptation that almost killed the book for me (except there are great movie adaptions-expect a review) and one title on this list, when I post the review, isn't pretty as well. And speaking of book-to-GN adaptations, where is the infamous (I didn't/couldn't finish it) Twilight GN? Didn't the book make it to one of the other lists?  Or Maximum Ride?

Maybe as a GN reader, I have different expectations of the Great Graphic Novel list, but I think there should be more to the list than book adaptations, or just what looks like it'll work. Yes, plot is important, but we also like pure fluff and sometimes the really zany.

Comics and Education: Links

First, I must say that the following has nothing to do with my politics. In fact, I'm not even in this particular state, so I assume it doesn't really matter, but just wanted to let you know.

When I first clicked on this link ("An Open Letter to Maryland State Senator Nancy King", ReTweeted by J. Torres from Dean Trippe) in my twitter feed today, I could not stop laughing at the picture. Seriously, the link that laying off teachers means kids will go off and read comics and not learn anything? I just had to laugh.

Unfortunately, I can't believe this stereotype is still around today. I mean, this stereotype goes way back (thinking the stuff from 1950s/1960s). I link it to you today because Dean Trippe has a lot of good things to say about comics and education. In fact, he even links to a non-profit that is linking educational comics to teachers.
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Speaking of comics, tomorrow is International Read Comics in Public Day. I'll find a way to participate even though I'm working...

Sunday, August 22, 2010

A Little Librarian's View: PA to YA Fest

Any excuse to go to West Chester, PA, is a good excuse to me. West Chester is a lovely college town with a ton of history, lovely buildings, awesome downtown, great book stores such as Armadillo Books and Chester County Book Company, the fantastic West Chester Public Library, and so far, has great food. My trek to West Chester on Saturday, August 21st, though was to visit the PA to YA Festival which was next to the University.

The PA to YA Festival was an event hosted to help raise money to give to librarians to build YA collections and to get books into the hands of librarians (as I understand it). It was also a great event to meet up with authors and bloggers, partake in the book sale, and maybe win some raffle prizes.

Basically, I’ve known about the Bring YA to PA initiative for months after accidentally finding it from, well, “blog surfing.” As a librarian, I was a bit surprised this initiative has existed for a while and I had yet to hear of it in my three official years as a Teen Person. As to the event, when I first saw hints of it, I had thought “YAY! But it is in Philly and I refuse to drive in Philly.” When I saw it was in West Chester, I thought “I’m SO going” and my schedule actually allowed me to!

The event itself was enjoyable and for arriving late (1:30 PM or so) there was still enough for me to feel that I hadn’t missed much. I do regret not partaking in the raffles, but I couldn’t decide if I wanted to pay for chances or not.  I also regret not bringing my ARC of Watersmeet to finally get it signed by Ellen Jensen Abbott, but I did get to catch up with her. That was probably the first highlight.

The second highlight was the room for librarians. Yes, a room for librarians. With books. Lotsa lotsa books. The librarian that traveled with me was excited to learn that she could take 20 books back to her library to put into the collection. For her, this is perfect as her library seems to have spent a good portion of their book budget, which means, technically, no new YA. This situation also was perfect for her since I’m somehow this walking encyclopedia of what is popular and what is not, what the book is probably about, and how the reviews for the books were, both blogosphere and professional (re: Voya). This in and of itself, is the most useful part to librarians here in Pennsylvania because of all the budget cuts happening. I’m not going to go into it here but you can read more here (PA Library Association).

But here is the only downside to the festival that I noticed: Many authors and bloggers, very few librarians. From my own library system, I ran into only one other person and not in Youth Services. From there, I only ran into a total of maybe 2 or 3 more library people. West Chester has perfect access to three library systems and for surrounding areas, West Chester is only an hour to a few hours’ drive to there. I can only blame myself for not seeing more Library System people since I didn’t send out an e-mail. Bad, bad me. I also may have missed people because I was half an hour late, but I did stay the whole time so I keep thinking I should have seen some friends!

Except for that small issue, I enjoyed the event and am hopeful and excited for the possibility at the event next year. My only hope for next year is that the venue is 1.) bigger and/or 2.) has an area for socializing as everyone kind of just fell into places in the tiny hallway between the rooms.

For librarians, it would have been the perfect event to get favorite books signed, network and socialize, and pick out books for their libraries and some ARCs for themselves. For bloggers and authors, I could tell that it was a great social event. I hope that the organizer (Harmony) behind the event saw this as a successful event and I’m sure that the money raised Saturday, from a large amount to even the smallest amount, will help the libraries who need it. We librarians are quite the thankful bunch. I just love the fact that this exists to help supplement YA Services in PA.

Pennsylvanian librarians, I urge you, that the moment you find out when this event happens in 2011, clear your calendar (like you do for your conferences). I know I will find a way to attend next year for the authors not signed up yet, the book sale, and maybe I’ll be able to socialize a little more. This is just too nifty of an event to miss out and it is so rare to have an event like this that I can actually drive to!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

The Color of Heaven by Kim Dong Hwa (Book 3 of 3: Conclusion of the Color Trilogy)

Title: The Color of Heaven
Author:
Kim Dong Hwa
Illustrator: Kim Dong Hwa
Publisher:
First Second (:01)
Copyright: 2009
Price: $16.99
ISBN: 978-1-59643-460-8
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Summary and Quick Thoughts: Ehwa and her mother are pining for their respective men to return. Ehwa is waiting for Duksam to return. Her mother is waiting for The Picture Man to see if he’ll stay or go again. When Ehwa’s mother finally understands her daughter is pining, she decides it is time for Ehwa to learn how to keep house, for if she is to wait, she might as well stay busy. Ehwa doesn’t enjoy this, but what else is there to do? This volume concludes the story and does so in a soft, bittersweet, yet hopeful way. The Color Trilogy is a must have for any graphic novel collection as it is a lovely trilogy.
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Will Teens Like It? This is a mature title. It is advertised to teens by ALA, but is really an adult title.
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Things to be aware of: Sexual situations, nudity
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Further Thoughts: As I closed the last book, I couldn’t help but feel sad and hopeful as this was the end of the book, but it was only the beginning for Ehwa. One of the best parts is that she revisits everything in the last two titles and closes doors so that she may face her future happily. Again, I cannot stop saying how wonderful the art was to evoke such strong emotions and again, I picked up this title as long as I had it from the library and just browsed the pictures, reflecting on the story, the scenes, and more. The only downside is the Reader’s Guide in the back, as great as it is to include, is almost exactly the same as the last. I would have liked the guides to be more focused on the book that was in hand. Overall, this is a series every library should have.
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Bonus: ALA’s Great Graphic Novel List 2010

Source: Library copy.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

The Color of Water by Kim Dong Hwa (book 2 of 3)

Title: The Color of Water
Author: Kim Dong Hwa
Illustrator: Kim Dong Hwa
Publisher: First Second (:01)
Copyright: 2009
Price: $16.95
ISBN: 978-1-59643-459-2
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Summary and Quick Thoughts: Ehwa’s story continues in this second book of The Color Trilogy. Readers follow Ehwa as she ages from about 13 to 17 and falls in love for a third time. Duksam, a young servant from another village, has stopped by Ehwa and her mother’s house looking for someone to repair his broken belt. After Ehwa is frightened by his forward comments, she fixes his belt and throws it back at him. His admiration of the stitching leads to comments about his admiration. With her gaze, Duksam feels he is able to win the wrestling match in town and thus begins the courtship of Ehwa and Duksam.

The parallels in this story of the mother and daughter continue as Ehwa continues to grow into more of a woman. The simple art still makes the story feel timeless and even have a fairy tale quality as you watch Ehwa grow from a teenager to a woman. This book includes a detailed reader’s guide that can be used for novice readers or more advanced readers.
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Will Teens Like It? This is still more of an adult title, especially with the content.
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Things to be aware of: Masturbation, sexual situations
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Further Thoughts: How can I explain what I love about this series? The illustrations, although line and in black and white evoke love, spring time, hope, and dreams. I cannot stop picking these titles up (at least while I have them) and looking over pages and scenes and smiling at how simple lines portray the strong man Ehwa loves. Issues of romance and marriage are brought up from arranged marriages to marriage for love. Lastly, it is the little details in this story that I enjoy. In prepping for this review, I picked up the book only to realize that somewhere in the story, Ehwa begins letting her hair grow, which I believe is a signal that she has become a woman in the villagers eyes.
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Bonus: First Second (:01)'s blog this week has a fantastic picture from San Diego ComiCon that features this title! Do visit the link and see what I mean. :)

An ALA Great Graphic Novel 2010


Source: Library copy.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

The Color of Earth by Kim Dong Hwa (book 1 of 3)

Title: The Color of Earth
Author: Kim Dong Hwa
Illustrator: Kim Dong Hwa
Publisher: First Second (:01)
Copyright: 2009 (2001)
Price: $16.95
ISBN: 978-1-59643-458-5
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Summary and Quick Thoughts: In rural Korea, seven-year-old Ehwa starts learning about the differences between boys and girls, men and women. Every situation brings more questions answered the way children answer them followed by a clear explanation by her widowed mother. Ehwa continues learning about men and women as she grows and falls for her first two crushes. Her mother on the other hand, has met a traveling salesman who awakens something dormant for a long time. The Color of Water is a simplistically drawn yet detailed tale about Ehwa, her mother, and taking a moment to recognize the parallels in life. This edition provides a “readers” guide which helps the reader understand the parallels in the story.
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Will Teens Like It? Only the mature reader. This is an adult title with adult themes.
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Things to be aware of: sexual situations, nudity
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Further Thoughts: I was drawn to this title when I read a review of it in Voya ages ago. I promptly forgot about the title until the last two books were reviewed recently and then when I saw it on ALA’s 2010 Great Graphic Novels. Again, we have a title that is picked for teens but is not actually appropriate for them. It discusses a lot about sex and romance. While the romance is something everyone will understand, sex in literature is something that develops with a reader at different times, some can read it early, others can’t.

Yet, for the reader who can read this, it is a delightful and poignant read. First, Kim Dong Hwa has created art that is timeless and speaks volumes from detailed flowers to sweeping scenes on a whole page or two page spread. The black, white, and gray tones provide enough for my mind to create the colors as needed. This is a prime example of “reading a movie” for me.

Ehwa awakens sexually in this story as she learns and sees things that she does not yet understand. The seven year olds are pretending to be older, but don’t really understand how it all works. As Ehwa gets older, she starts to understand and develop appropriately. Ehwa is a character that will grow and you hope the best for her. I cannot wait for the last two parts.
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Bonus: This particular trilogy (next two posts will be the other two) has been getting a lot of interesting blog posting lately and it is similar to the whole "Twilight Feminism Thing" going on out there. Here is one example from The Manga Curmudgeon and showed up in my RSS feeder. At the end of June, there was a Manhwa Moveable Feast where you can check out essays, reviews, and comments about the trilogy (the earlier post was included). Honestly, I'm on the fence about the whole thing because while I enjoy a good love story with stereotypes, I'm not interested in having that in my life. It is escapism.

Months ago, the publisher, First Second (:01) posted this interesting blog post about the covers of The Color Trilogy and frankly, I'm glad the English covers got such a lovely makeover.

A 2010 ALA Great Graphic Novel choice


Source: Library

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Otomen Volume 2 by Aya Kanno

Title: Otomen vol. 2
Author: Aya Kanno
Illustrator: Aya Kanno
Publisher: Viz Media
Copyright: (Originally 2007) 2009
Price: $8.99
ISBN: 978-1-4215-2187-9
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Summary: Asuka continues his double life, but is feeling better that the girl he likes is “ok” with his girly side. Volume 2 is a collection of three stories. In the first story, Asuka fights with a gang of boys to protect a smaller, weaker boy. This boy decides to adopt Asuka as his mentor, believing he is the ultimate picture perfection of manliness. The boy spies on Asuaka, so what will happen when he spies on one of the lunches Ryo, Juta, and Asuka share?! In the second story, Chritsmas comes but once a year and poor Ryo has never celebrated Christmas! The friends decide that together they will celebrate, but then a blizzard arrives possibly ruining all of Asuka’s plans for a romantic Christmas. Lastly, Asuka’s mom returns from her trip bringing news that Asuka is to be married to the cutest, girliest, rich girl so he doesn’t make any mistake and have his heart broken like she did.
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Thoughts: This volume feels more episodic than the previous volume, but it is still a fun read. Asuka is starting to come to terms with who he is until his mother comes home. He feels he has to please her in her perceptions, which provides parallels to teens who feel they have to please parents. The stories are completely over the top, but it is their craziness that makes me want to keep reading. In this volume, there is an interesting throwback to Snow White and the ideals of fairy tales.
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Will Teens Like It? Probably. It is way too wild and quirky.
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Things to be aware of: Don’t remember anything…
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Bonus: Why didn’t ALA put volume 2 in their list? It was published in 2009 but they only list volume 1. Other series have multiple volumes. If you know, please comment because I’m interested.

Source: Library.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Batman: Death Mask by Yoshinori Natsume

Happy Father's Day! In honor of my Father and Grandfather, I present you a Batman Graphic Novel Review (old format >.<). In the Bonus, I explain why I this is fitting to Father's Day! Onto the review!
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Title: Batman: Death Mask
Author: Yoshinori Natsume
Illustrator: Yoshinori Natsume
Publisher: DC Comics (CMX)
Copyright: 2008
Price: $9.99
ISBN: 978-1-4012-1924-6
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Summary: Bruce Wayne’s dreams are taking an odd turn as he faces, in his dreams, a shadow version of himself in a dojo from twenty years before. In his business and waking life, new business partners from Japan arrive and in their midst is a lovely young woman that looks similar to a woman he knew. For Batman, a serial killer is out on the loose, looking like him and taking the faces of dead men. How is everything connected? As The Dark Knight’s past in Japan catches up with his future, he must solve the crime and protect the future.
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Thoughts: The story is different and I enjoyed the development and exploration of Bruce Wayne’s experience in Japan. There is in interview included in the back of the book that further explains this book was published stateside before being published in Japan, despite the very manga-like look the book has. Die hard Batman fans will enjoy this new look at an older and more mature Bruce Wayne and the manga style will open the doors to possible new Batman fans.
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Will Teens Like It? Depends on the teen. Those who like classic superheroes or Batman will enjoy this work, as will those who like action manga.
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Things to be aware of: graphic violence, stylized violence,
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Bonus: The interview included in this book explains a little behind the scenes, which is very interesting.

PS: I’m a third generation Batman fan starting with my grandfather (who read the original, first ever Batman story), to my father, to me. If it wasn't for my dad and grandfather, I wouldn't be such a Batman Nerd and love when writers and illustrators create new aspects of the Batman myth. :)

Source: Library.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Alison Dare by J. Torres and J. Bone (Alison Dare - Double Blog Dare Tour

(Or How Alison Dare Explored My Basement Instead of Crossing a Famous River)

Welcome! Today is the second to last day (day 9) of The Double Blog Dare Tour (week 2, more links in the link) and boy has Alison Dare had many an adventure around the world! She even took the time to visit my house where she immediately took off to explore my basement (just a word about my basement: half of it is solid rock that they had to "blast" out in the 1900s when they moved the house to its current location). Onward to Alison's Basement Adventure. Here we see her beginning to climb in the dark:

Alison Dare in the Dark.


After a moment of uncertainty Alison continues her climb:

Alison Dare hanging on!
Barely hanging on, Alison Dare continues her way up the cliff edge to find:

Alison Dare on the Edge!
She can tell there is something in the dark up there, but what? Now that her feet have found better footing, Alison makes her way up to discover:
Alison Dare and the Mysterious Cave!

A cave! What could be in the cave? Well, readers, this is where YOU come in! Tundra Books is sponsoring a contest to enter and win an Alison Dare Prize Pack, which could include signed copies of Alison Dare: Little Miss Adventures and Alison Dare: The Heart of the Maiden and much more (They have all kinds of Alison Dare GOODIES!). Visit here for details on the photo contest.

Now onward to the review!
------------------------------

Title: Alison Dare: Little Miss Adventures and Alison Dare: The Heart of the Maiden
Author:
J. Torres
Illustrator: J. Bone
Publisher:
Tundra Books
Copyright: 2010
Price: $10.95 each
ISBN: 978-0-88776-934-4 (Little Miss Adventures) and 978-0-88776-935-1 (The Heart of the Maiden
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Summary and Quick Thoughts:
Alison Dare: Little Miss Adventures sets the stage to introduce Alison Dare, the 12 year old daughter of Alan Dodd, librarian and Superhero Blue Scarab, and of Alice Dare, archeologist with a taste of adventure. This first volume collects individual stories of Alison as she finds a genie and makes three wishes, tells the love story of her parents and the Blue Scarab’s true identity to her best friends, and how she tries to set her parents up for a picnic, except Baron Von Baron stops by to pick up a prized possession.

The first half of Alison Dare: The Heart of the Maiden collects a few more of Alison’s adventures. The first is her story of what she did over summer vacation, quickly followed by an “issue” explaining what really happened. Alison celebrates her birthday and thinks her father gave her a magical stone for her birthday, but was that really the gift and did it really do what Alison used it for? The second half of the book is a full story about Alison and her friends, Wendy and Dot as they discover the nuns of their Catholic school have a secret that they are trying to guard as well as find before the wrong hands do. With Alison’s help, someone discovers the secret, but is it the right group?
---------
Will Teens Like It? This is a GREAT all ages title. There’s something for parents and something for children.
--------
Things to be aware of: none (unless you don’t like that her parents are separated).
----------
Further Thoughts: Alison Dare is a strong and smart 12 year old girl. She knows what she wants to do and often goes out to do it, without thinking through all of the consequences. Luckily for her, she has her friends, her parents, and the mysterious Uncle Johnny to save her at the right moment.

When this book was first introduced to me by the publisher, I automatically thought “Indiana Jones,” but as I read the stories, I actually didn’t see that as much. The stories have a bit of action, adventure, suspense, and mystery to them. Even though I know there are only these two books, I keep wondering “Is there more?” I am curious as to Uncle Johnny’s story, there is something about Dot’s Dad I want to know about, and there seem to be more hints dropped “in passing” that I’m curious to see how they play out. Also, do Alison’s parents ever get back together?

In an interview with Publisher’s Weekly, J. Torres mentioned that the separated parents was an addition of his own because it provides a different dynamic. I applaud this, but at the same time, wish her parents were together and was a bit surprised when I came across this information in the story.

Now, to the characters! I’ve had The Philosopher Musician read these books and we both agree each character is a stereotypical character. Typically, I don’t  mind this, especially since it can work. Alison is the adventure type, always poking her nose somewhere she shouldn’t. Wendy is the book and nerdy type who always offers the right bit of information at the right moment. Alan Dodd is the typical male librarian stereotype (that I’ve seen in comics). His superhero side is like other popular superheroes. As you can see the list goes on, but this is not a bad thing. In fact, the characters all have slightly different quirks than the typical “stock” characters and help to add interest to the stories. For kids, this adds into what they are all ready reading and all ready know. For parents, this can add a sense of reminiscence. For librarians, this opens the doors to how and where you can recommend this title (J. Torres in the same interview mentioned earlier said Tintin was an inspiration).

My only issue with the books is that in Heart of the Maiden, it seems the stories are out of order as a story with Alison and her “gift” is in the middle of the story arc about her birthday party, which confused me after I read it. This may be my copy though, or there may be something I missed. This is a strong graphic novel title fit for all ages and could even be in school collections.
------
Bonus: This blog tour is a bonus! Visit the Author and Illustrators links for more information about what they do (such as J. Torres who writes all kind of comics, including one that I can say was part of my teen years: Teen Titans Go!)

Source: Publisher provided copies as part of Blog Tour!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Pride of Baghdad by Brian K. Vaughan, Illustrated by Niko Henrichon

[Well, I honestly thought the last review was the last in this format but it seems there are a few more. I'll see if I can get through those first]


Title: Pride of Baghdad
Author: Brian K. Vaughan
Illustrator: Niko Henrichon
Publisher: DC Comics
Copyright: 2006
Price: $19.99
ISBN:
1-4012-0314-0
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Summary:  For the lion Zil, lionesses Noor and Safa, and cub Ali, freedom is a topic often discussed, but often discarded in favor of their comfortable life in Baghdad Zoo in Iraq. When the Americans bomb near the zoo, freedom is forced quite suddenly upon the four lions and they must quickly figure out how to survive and where to go. Together, they explore their new world and the destruction of war, dodging tanks and more bombings and questioning what is right, what is wrong, and is freedom given or earned?
----------
Thoughts: Pride of Baghdad is based on the true story of lions in Iraq who are freed after bombings. Unfortunately, I do not know the extent of their freedom except what is on the back of the book. The lions converse about varying aspects of human society, creating a commentary about society’s good and bad sides as well as its morals. One scene in particular that stands out is the discussion about eating an already dead human. They each present a reason why or why not, and one lion’s view is changed because of this. The dialog between the lions often leaves the reader forgetting they are lions but the beautifully done art work will show that they are obviously lions. Colors are used in the illustrations to evoke peace, destruction, and fear as needed in the various scenes. Be prepared though, for a heart wrenching ending that will make sensitive readers cry.
---------
Will Teens Like It? Probably high school teens.
--------
Things to be aware of: sex, blood, violence
------
Bonus: 2007 ALA Top Ten Great Graphic Novels for Teens.

The first time I heard about this title was either through ALA’s Great Graphic Novel List or through The Philosopher Musician. I can say that it was The Philosopher Musician who continually reminded me that I absolutely needed to read this book. I almost didn’t read this one after my preliminary skim through and seeing the ending, but it is a worthwhile tale that needs to be told.

Source: Library

Monday, May 31, 2010

Review Format

If I have learned anything in the short time I've been blogging, it is that a blogger must find her voice. Yesterday's review post marked the end of that particular review format. I'm still tweaking it to what I like, but I think the new format will be better for the "busy librarian" as well as more informative as I'm forcing myself to focus less on the plot and more on the details as well as giving you the information most relevant to you first.

Remember, if you ever have any question, please e-mail me or leave a comment. I'd love to be of help. :)

Here's to June!

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Owly 1 and 2 by Andy Runton

Title: Owly: The Way Home & The Bittersweet Summer (vol. 1) and Just a Little Blue (vol. 2)
Author: Andy Runton
Illustrator: Andy Runton
Copyright: 2003-2006
Price: $10.00 each
ISBN: 1-891830-7 (vol. 1)
1-891830-64-3 (vol. 2)
-----------
Summary: Owly is a little happy owl who takes care of the little animals of the woods. One day, during a rain storm, Owly find a little worm, shivering and unconscious from the storm. Owly takes Wormy to his home and nurses him back to health. What follows is a journey to reunite Wormy and his family in The Way Home. Two hummingbirds enjoy the garden Owly prepares for them, but something happens to the other hummingbird in The Bittersweet Summer.
Volume 2 is dedicated to a nasty blue bird, his family, and Owly and Wormy’s determination to become their friends while providing the family with a safe shelter. Most of the stories are told without words, except those on signs or written by Owly.
----------
Thoughts: I have known about Owly for a while now, but never really looked at it until a friend of mine, started squealing over how adorable this book was. Naturally I picked up two of the copies at my library. If you do not have this book, you should. The Owly books have little to no words which means the story is implied with symbols, punctuation marks, and actions. As I “read” these, I couldn’t help but think how perfect these books are for reluctant readers and those with other learning concerns because the images speak for themselves. This is another series, I happily, recommend to any library because of the cuteness and the learning opportunities this work provides.
---------
Will Teens Like It? Yes. What’s not to like about a cute owl with big eyes?
--------
Things to be aware of: Clean, unless you’re scared of cute stories of friendship.
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Bonus: Watching The Philosopher Musician croon over how adorable this comic is adds more appeal to this. If it makes adults melt, teens will enjoy it, and again, this is a wonderful learning tool. Expect more reviews of this adorable title.

Source: Library.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Yotsuba&! 1 by Kiyohiko Azuma

Title: Yotsuba&! Vol. 1
Author: Kiyohiko Azuma
Illustrator: Kiyohiko Azuma
Publisher: ADV Manga
Copyright: 2005
Price: N/A
ISBN: 1-4176-9231-6
-----------
Summary: Green haired, young girl, Yotsuba and her dad have just moved into a new neighborhood. For Yotsuba, this means new friends with the three sisters next door and more exciting adventures. In her first day exploring, Yotsuba pretends to be a cicada, on an electrical pole, and learns who her new neighbors are in a surprising way. The next day, Yotsuba forgets that her and her father has moved. After a word from her father, she remembers and starts another day of adventures, by climbing out the bathroom window. Throughout the volume, she learns about air conditioning and global warming while the readers learn that Yotsuba was adopted by her father and that Yotsuba loves life.
----------
Thoughts: What isn’t there to love about crazy, life loving Yotsuba? From the creator of Azumanga Daioh, Yotsuba&! is a story about a young girl learning the ways of the world. She is comedic in her naivety and loveable for the same reason. This is laugh out loud, good clean fun (with a little bit of sexual humor) prompting the reader to look at the world the way Yotsuba does. This is, to me, a classic manga title that every collection should have.
---------
Will Teens Like It? Probably. It is a funny story and you just can’t put it down until you know Yotsuba is safe and back at home.
--------
Things to be aware of: slight sexual humor
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Bonus: Reviewed a library copy (which is a library edition).

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Azumanga Daioh: The Manga 1 created by Kiyohiko Azuma

Title: Azumanga Daioh: The Manga vol. 1
Author: Kiyohiko Azuma (creator)
Illustrator: N/A
Publisher: ADV Manga
Copyright: 2000
Price: $9.99
ISBN: 1-41-390000-3
-----------
Summary: In this work, a collection of comic strips tell the story of high school and the difficulties of being a student or a teacher. A wide array of characters enter the scene, each a stereotype, but with a deeper, hidden side that fleshes them out. Some characters include a male teacher who is only a teacher because of the high school girls, and a tall, cool student named Sakaki, who just wishes for a cute cuddly friend of her own.
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Thoughts: This title came to me as a recommendation from a friend and is one of those titles that is a must read for manga fans. The format of this book is similar to Garfield with 4 panel “strips” instead of a story book. While they are separated, the strips do seem to have a coherent plot line and build upon each other. The characters in the book are hilariously stereotyped, but with a different side the reader sees. It is a laugh out loud, humorous book and cornerstone piece for manga collections.
---------
Will Teens Like It? Probably, but this might be a little more adult in nature. There is teacher drama, student drama, and relatable situations.
--------
Things to be aware of: sexual humor, drinking
------
Source: Library copy.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Queens Library in New York

Foolishly I've been relatively quiet on the issue of Queens Library. I really shouldn't but lately I haven't felt any hope that my own state's libraries (or my job at the end of the year) could be saved so why should I care about Queens Library in NY?

Because I know a fantastic woman who works there. Through a good librarian friend, who met the Queens Librarian thanks to a shared Harrison Ford obsession, I met this librarian when she visited my area and had a fantastic lunch at a new favorite restaurant where we talked libraries, meetings, and just other fun stuff. It was a great lunch and a warm memory.

This librarian also has a lot in relation to my mom, which could be why I'm quite frankly begging you to pass the petition along. Oh and I think they won some award from Library Journal a while back. Why are the award winners the first to go?

Please sign the petition. You don't have to live in NY to do so.

Thank you.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Vimanarama by Grant Morison, Philip Bond, et al.

Title: Vimanarama
Author: Grant Morrison, et al.
Illustrator: Philip Bond, et al.
Publisher: Vertigo
Copyright: 2005
Price: $12.99
ISBN: 1-4012-0496-1
-----------
Summary: Meet Ali, the scholarly son of a Pakistani family living in London. His biggest concerns at the moment are saving his brother from a box of Turkish Delights that fell on him when the floor disappeared and whether or not his father chose an ugly future wife for him. After his brother is in the hospital, Ali visits him and declares he’ll kill himself if his future wife is ugly. Ali is interrupted as he has to rescue (I believe) his nephew who unwittingly releases the dark forces upon the Earth. To complicate matters, Ali and the beautiful Sofia, his future bride, release the good forces including Prince Ben Rama, who loves Sofia immediately as she is the exact genetic makeup of his past love. All this and more occurs as the world faces certain end and the rebirth of a new culture.
----------
Thoughts: What a fun story! The more I think about it, the more I enjoy the fun artwork, the quirky superhero story, and the adventures of Ali. I am a little confused as to their background/culture (which is supposed to be Pakistani) but I actually looked past that just for the story. Overall, a good fun read with a little moral about being kind and caring for the environment. Although, I am a little unsure about its place in a YA graphic novel collection as I can see both sides. It is up to you, but I recommend a glance thru.
---------
Will Teens Like It? Probably. Grant Morrison has a following (“W00t!” – The Philosopher Musician) and it will definitely appeal to high school teens as there is the question of what happens in the future.
--------
Things to be aware of: Nudity (in a non-sexual way), a head is ripped from the body, suicide (of the hanging variety)
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Source: Library.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

May the 4th Be With You: Linky Linky

May is the ULTIMATE month for Geeks it seems. First, we comic geeks have Free Comic Book Day (pics of my goodies soon to come. Probably Thursday) and today is May the 4th Be With You Day (for Star Wars Nerds/Geeks which includes one of my best guy friends). And there just seems to be a lot of good articles, although, some may be from last week a.k.a. April.

I'm predicting a trend toward graphic novels soon. I was at a workshop on Thursday where I brought this up in a discussion about words and how teens and the younger set use text messaging more and more than older communication forms (Pew Research Center). There just seems to be more graphic novels than ever since I started reading them at the tender age of 14 or 16 (really longer than that, but I became serious then). First, the bookstores had one shelf section, now there's 3-5 sections and it is overwhelming and growing. With text messaging, I think that graphic novels will be the next book craze simply because less text, more images. There's also a different reading skill involved, although it is the same (it's very hard to explain). I'm also noticing a trend in the kidlit blogosphere that every once in a while a graphic novel pops up where I'm pretty sure there wasn't any before (but I've only been in this for 6 months to a year).

This is interesting. The trends of high school students from those at School Library Journal. The real reason I link to it though, is look at the center blurb. Graphic novels and the appeal is explained well. Although, the zombies in the top blurb are interesting...

Publishers Weekly had a great article, which I think every librarian should see. Here's a Google Cached version (please tell me if it doesn't work). The article talks about a librarian and an ALA rep who spoke at the Chicago Comic and Entertainment Expo about censorship, library policies to include dealing with graphic novels, and more. The article also covers the recent issue over the 11 yr old and League of Extraordinary Gentlemen Black Dossier challenge from a library staff worker, Tin Tin In The Congo, and Blankets. Overall, I thought this was a very informative article and includes what librarians need to think about when supporting graphic novels (and please do!).

Lastly, CNN's Geek Out! Blog has made the rounds on my Twitter feed because of the Shirt Discussion. Basically, this article talks about how Geeks really enjoy fun shirts such as the shirt featured on the blog. These shirts connect us Geeks in various ways. Let me explain. First, I own that shirt and in fact, I own many other "Geek Shirts" to show my geek cred. I've mainly aquired bookish shirts such as Bibliophabian (gift), She Blinded Me With Library Science Tote (gift), Science Is a Verb Now (gift) and more from Unshelved's Store Threadless (not mentioned in the article, but should be because I have two Batman shirts from there). Just to throw it out there I want White Text On a Black Shirt. It showed up in Questionable Content (NSFW) and it was just brilliant. Many of his t-shirts come from his comics, i.e. She Blinded Me With Library Science.

The She Blinded Me With Library Science Story to illustrate the above article.
In the comic, the character who is technically Marten's Boss at the All Girls School College Library is a lesbian and first appeared in the series with a text shirt saying "She Blinded Me With Library Science." At the time, this became a heavily requested shirt to be made and when it was, everyone was excited!

In 2008, I went to the state library conference and on the first day, someone was wearing this shirt. I told my mom excitedly I knew about that shirt and I admired her for wearing that t-shirt! Unfortunately, I didn't introduce myself to her and she could have been a good friend. She actually wore pretty awesome clothes and was in many of the workshops I was in. This Christmas, my best guy friend got me the bag and the Science is a Verb Shirt (and Bibliophabian a few Christmases ago). Basically, I recognized a fellow Geek and QC reader. These shirts do more than make a statement for Geeks, it connects us. If you still don't get it, think about your library themed shirts. Same thing.

May the 4th Be With You Today!

Friday, April 30, 2010

Stitches: A Memoir by David Small

Title: Stitches: A Memoir
Author: David Small
Illustrator: David Small
Copyright: 2009
Price: $24.95
ISBN: 978-0-393-06857-3
-----------
Summary: When David Small was 11, a lump suddenly grew from in the side of his throat. No one knew what it was, but it wasn’t until he was 14 that the family finally dealt with it. Given no information and the loss of a vocal cord, David was left to find the truth on his own: he had cancer. It was gone after the surgery, but the discovery that his family kept this from him sent him spiraling even further from himself until he found help. It was then, things fell into place.
----------
Thoughts: It’s a beautifully done memoir. I was sucked in immediately by the images followed by each person’s way of talking. It is horrible to think this happened, yet I could easily believe it. The images are simplistic, the art solid, and the text smooth. Stitches is one of those graphic novels that will be mentioned everywhere and recommended. It is also one that, if I owned it, I would read again and again, thinking and re-reading different parts. While this book did enter many young adult award categories, it can only be recommended to mature, older readers.
---------
Will Teens Like It? This is not a teen title. Here is the thing: teens will read it, but these particular teens will be mature enough to handle this title as well as know their boundaries at that point. This title is adult in nature and geared more to that age, despite a child lead.
--------
Things to be aware of: familial abuse, swearing, compromising situation. Heavy emotional material.
------
Bonus: David Small is known for his children’s books.

Source:
Library.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

In My Mailbox (1)

(More like "What's On My Bookshelf") The Story Siren's In My Mailbox is a post where one shares what they got that week. For me, it's more like What's On My Bookshelf as everything to read congregates there

From the library:
  • Bride of the Water God by Mi-Kyung Yun, vol. 1& vol.2. - Plot: Soah is sacrificed to the Water God by her desperate family and villagers. As they send her away, they hope her being offered as a bride will please the God and give them rain. My thoughts: Water God = *DROOL* I cannot wait for the next two!
  • Fables by Bill Willingham (writer), Mark Buckingham, et al. Vol. 10-12 - Plot: Fairy tales turned upside down. In these volumes, the characters are teaming up to fight against the enemy who has taken over the homelands. My thoughts: These will probably not be reviewed, but it's high time I finish this series.
  • Scott Pilgrim vol. 4: Gets It Together and vol 5: Versus the Universe by Bryan Lee O'Malley- Plot: Will Scott finally grow up? What about his relationship with Ramona? My thoughts: I've looked ahead and I'm confused...and excited...
  • Foiled by Jane Yolen, art by Mike Cavallaro - Plot: Aliera is not normal and she knows it. When her mom gives her a foil with a jewel on it, strange things start to happen. My Thoughts: I'm intrigued.
  • Ooku The Inner Chambers Vol. 1 by Fumi Yoshinaga - Plot: A strange disease has killed the majority of the men in this historical "what if" story forcing the women to enter roles traditionally for men. My Thoughts: Came at the recommendation of a classmate
  • Nothing by Janne Teller - Plot: Pierre Anthon climbs a tree and won't come down until someone can prove that life has meaning. My Thoughts: First it is a translated novel. Two, it is small. Three, it reminds me of a Ben Folds song and I'm curious to see if this book will end well or not.
  • Green Witch by Alice Hoffman - Plot: Green's life changed in an instant and now she is living with the pieces. Sequel Green Angel. My Thoughts: Green Angel was fantastic. I honestly want to see where this sequel can go.
 Gift
  •  Grown-ups Are Dumb (No Offense) by Alex Kitchn (The World's Youngest Professional Cartoonist) Plot: A collection of comics about family stuff. My thoughts: Cute.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Happy Earth Day!

Apparently it is Earth Day. I only knew that it was sometime this week with no specific date because this week also saw 4/20, Administrative Professionals Day, and catch up from National Library Week. Oh and the release of the movie trailer Beastly.

So Beastly since I haven't seen Scott Pilgrim enough recently to comment. Have you watched this trailer:


(Yes it is a YouTube video from user ClevverTV. The official and much more HD trailer is at the movie site.)

I can honestly say I am excited for this movie.  The trailer does a good job of showing enough to get my interest, but not giving away all of the plot points (unless you read the book, such as I have). At first, I wasn't sure if this movie could live up to my expectations. Every book-to-movie runs the chance of ruining a favorite book or enhancing a not so good book (re: Twilight) or taking a completely different direction with the book (League of Extraordinary Gentlemen). In Beastly's case, when I heard Mary Kate Olsen was to play a character, I was pretty sure I'd wait until the DVD release. Luckily, I like Mary Kate Olsen playing Kendra after watching this trailer as she adds an interesting spin to the character.

Now to the guy who plays Beastly. Simply put: Eye Candy. Admit it, everyone of us has a soft spot for the built, beach bummy looking blonde guy. I am absolutely excited over this guy. While he doesn't look like a true monster (he looks pretty in his "ugliness"), I love the artistic direction with his "Beast" side. Also, this guy seems to personify Kyle/Beast and I look forward to the transformation. I also like the fact it looks like the people who made this movie took every chance they could to have the actor take his shirt off. *drool* (If you notice, he is shirtless as he works out in the trailer, then he takes off his shirt after the transformation. Why? I don't know, and I don't care).

My only worry is that when July comes, I won't be able to find this movie. Remember Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist? It took me forever to locate a theater, and then it disappeared and I had to wait until the DVD which took forever to come out.

I'm hoping this movie does relatively well and that I can see it in one way shape or form this summer with The Philosopher Musician. He has agreed to take me because it looks "intriguing" and I asked (This man saw August Rush and Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist. Am I lucky or what?). He and I are also excited because Neil Patrick Harris of Dr. Horrible fame is also in this. I just wish I could determine if he is playing the blind teacher or not. If you can clear that up in the comments I'd appreciate it.

PS: For Earth Day, I have inadvertently celebrated it by starting a Scrap Quilt.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Plagarism around Blogosphere

The Story Siren has a great post and links to other fantastic posts (to even more fantastic posts...) about the problems of others stealing reviews and paraphrasing. It is depressing that this exists and people do this. I just have to point this post out because 1.) the information is well done and 2.) the more we know, the more we recognize, the more we discuss this, the more chance we can solve this problem somehow, eventually.

My own personal rule it is to avoid reading reviews of books I intend to read. It isn't fair and I'm worried I'll inadvertently copy something.

So, how do you locate reviews that may have been copied? Just put in a Google search here and go from there?

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Scott Pilgrim's Precious Little Life (Vol. 1 of Scott Pilgrim)

I have got to quit promising things. An event today, plus hours of school work over the weekend resulted in my just having the review ready to go. My thoughts on the trailer and a link soon (although, really, I have one tiny complaint). When, I can't promise, it is the end of the term which means CRUNCH TIME. *sigh*

Onward to the review:


Title: Scott Pilgrim’s Precious Little Life (vol. 1)
Author: Bryan Lee O’Malley
Illustrator: Bryan Lee O’Malley
Publisher: Oni Press
Copyright: 2004
Price: $11.95
ISBN: 978-1-932664-08
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Summary: Rocker Scott Pilgrim has the life dating a high school girl (*gasp*), playing in a band, and generally “floating.” All is good until his dreams are interrupted by new girl Ramona Flowers and suddenly he’s trying to find her. As luck would have it, he meets her at a party, learns where she works, and gets her to come to him. The chemistry hits and they consider dating, but there is one little problem: Scott Pilgrim must defeat her 7 evil exes.
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Thoughts: Scott Pilgrim is a title that I’ve been hearing periodically as a “must read” title for a while now. What a crazy mix of action, romance, fantasy, and just plain oddity. The drawing style is different as it is a cross between manga and the artist’s style, but really works well for the story. The first fight scene of 7 is introduced here and honestly is my favorite part. The plot holds up well and while you are wondering about the 6 other evil exes, why Ramona can do what she does, I wonder about Scott’s high school girlfriend and how she’ll be a part of the story later. This would, depending on the school, be a good addition to a high school graphic novel collection.
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Will Teens Like It? Probably and is a great boy and girl title as there is action/rock for the guys and romance for the girls. Generally something’s there for everyone.
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Things to be aware of: Sexual humor, sexual situations, language, drinking
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Bonus:  Movie trailer is out!!

Source: Library.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Diana Wynne Jones

Boy am I out of the loop. I'm always surprised when an author dies (someone died recently, at what I thought was young, but now I can't remember who it was...) Now it seems Diana Wynne Jones has cancer is and undergoing treatment (via Bookshelves of Doom). If you love her work and want to send her well wishes, follow the link above. There is an e-mail address there and on Bookshelves of Doom, there is a "snail mail address."

The only Diana Wynne Jones I've read...
I adored Howl's Moving Castle. I had decided to read it when I really wanted to see Howl's Moving Castle, the movie, but had to wait. It was worth the read. I laughed out loud, I rooted for Sophie and I just enjoyed the "typical fairy tale turned upside down." Plus, I adore Howl, like literary crush adore (but really, it was the anime that made me fall for Howl because while he is a pompous jerk, he actually cares). Either way, the book was fantastic and I'm glad that Miyazaki was inspired to create the anime from the book (although, there are a few liberties).

While I haven't read any of her other work, I recognize she's a great author and inspires kids to read. I wish her the best and am thinking of her.

P.S. Weekly post should resume soon, with SCOTT PILGRIM VOL. 1 and my thoughts on the trailer/upcoming movie.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Time Out - One Week or about.

I really hate to do this so early in this Blog's life, but as you can see, I didn't update yesterday and have realized that I won't be able to update this week.

Why I didn't update yesterday: We lost one of our dear cats this weekend to complications of heart disease. The Philosopher Musician and I were at the Emergency Vet (I'm so thankful that place exists) late Saturday into the early morning Sunday. I had to get up Sunday to face school work, which I restlessly worked through my "quota".

Why I'm taking time off: Seeing as I leave for my required term trip to school in the next few days, I'll be mad busy getting everything ready as I am also visiting family during this trip. While said family has an Internet connection (we hope it'll be fixed), there is no decent working printer. I'll also be visiting, prepping for school work and of course going to school. I'm also revamping and rethinking the reviews a bit, so I have to look over all that stuff.

Basically, not fun and March has been a wild and crazy month for me with a ton of projects the first week of March, a program last week, trip this week, and this sudden "blow" to my family. See you soon!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Challenge Number 2 and 3 - Audio Book Challenge and Terry Pratchett Challenge

Since I'm not getting to the reading I should be getting to (like the latest Printz book) and with an hour ride to work, I'm jumping into the Audio Book Challenge at Royal Reviews. I'm going to start with the "Fascinated" category of 6 audio books (realistic) but strive to make the "Addicted" level (not so much).

Since I'm currently listening to it, the first one will be Going Bovine by Libba Bray (the latest Printz!). Two more discs! After that, I'm picking a John Green one. The Philosopher Musician and I have to go to the other side of the state in two weeks so we're planning on picking up some Terry Pratchett for the ride.

Which actually leads me into the next challenge: ReadingAdventures: Terry Pratchett 2010 Challenge.

The Philosopher Musician just told me he's read 35 of Pratchett's work, mostly in high school. I come in at a measly 4 or so (two Johnny Maxwell's, one Tiffany Aching, and Nation [which I LOVED] after college). I'm going for the "Cashier at Ankh-Morpork Mint" level which is 1-3 books. I'm pretty sure we could listen to two on our trip, but we'll see.

Now I can see how people wind up with so many challenges...

Challenges 2010 - An Intro and my first sign-up.

A few weeks ago, when I was "blog hopping," I stumbled upon the concept of reading challenges, which was semi-new to me. A friend of mine and I tried to start one last year that fell on its face. I can easily see why. It was not an issue of keeping up with the challenge ourselves. It was site organization. As I look at each site I can see a link widget is necessary, organization, organization, participation, and promotion are necessary. I know organization is listed twice. This is an important concept because it does take a massive amount of organization to keep people interested and informed about the challenge. The ones I'm seeing that have massive amounts of participation are cool looking and interesting. The ones with a few challengers, are not as active, interesting, or cool looking, although, that won't stop me.

The amount of challenges that exist are nuts. There is seriously a challenge for anything you are interested in from romance, to sci fi, to history, and Graphic Novels.

You can see where I'm going here, huh?

My first challenge announcement is that I'm signing up for the Graphic Novel Challenge. I was waiting until I was listed before I announced it, but I'm there and I'm EXCITED. I'm one of the few Experts listed and since I consider myself expert, my spin on the challenge is to work through the ALA GGNs 2010 list. You remember this post?

Yep, so that's my spin and that's the first challenge I've signed up for. I've found a few others so once I get the details figured out, I'll tell you which others I'm participating in.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Review: Love*Com volume 10

A review in which I include sarcasm.


Title: Love*Com (Lovely Complex) Vol. 10
Author: Aya Nakahara
Illustrator: Aya Nakahara
Copyright: (2001 – Japan) 2009
Price: $8.99
ISBN: 978-1-4215-1743-8
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Summary: As college plans materialize for Otani and her friends, Risa realizes she needs to do something with her life. In a small attempt to stay close to Otani, Risa lands a job in a nearby restaurant, but to her surprise, meets a fellow, short, and male, co-worker who loves her favorite musician. Her co-worker Kohori obviously likes her, but Risa loves Otani and is loyal to him. Unfortunately, a poor decision, misunderstood situation, and stress lead to Otani breaking up with Risa. Is this relationship over? Far from it.
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Thoughts: [Sarcasm] Oh no! Risa did something stupid and now Otani breaks up with her? Whatever shall we do? [/sarcasm] Fear not, fair reader, this is your typical manga shojo where the characters are split and true feelings arise. Finally, Otani declares his love to Risa and all is well. I think I can continue with the series now, although, I was hopeful that Risa would grow a little bit since the series started. Honestly, I was finding it hard to push my way through the last two volumes and I was thinking about giving up on this one.
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Will Teens Like It? Yeah. This is the same drama as the last few volumes, but the romance at the end will make hearts melt.
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Things to be aware of: There is one curse word in a tiny bit of thought text. Oh, and an old lady kissing Kohori at the Christmas party.
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Bonus:

Source: Library.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Linky Link: Plagiarism and Copyright for this week

Part 1: Hot Topic, the store
First, flying around on my [private] Twitter Feed this week was the accusation that Hot Topic (popular teen "punk/goth" store) ripped off yet another Indie Artist with a t-shirt design. Since this is buried so deep in Twitter now (and was Retweeted [RT] often by web comic artists who fall under the "Indie Artist" category), see this link for thoughts and links to the original design. It seems Hot Topic did keep to their word and took the work down.

Now, just two days ago I saw this RT from web comic artist Rene Engstrom (of AndersLovesMaria fame - NSFW) saying Hot Topic had ripped off artist Kawaii Not by using her images in two buttons without her permission. Kawaii Not's images are difficult to link to as the buttons were all listed on the same page and hard to find without serious searching, but the images were basically the same as the Hot Topic buttons. The Hot Topic image links are in the RT and it seems, just two days later that Hot Topic has taken these buttons down as well (they are "Error Links").

I bring this up because one of my favorite web comic artists (Jess Fink - def. NSFW) had a design of hers taken about 2 years ago which was already a Threadless shirt at that point. Here's an excellent write up about that issue.

While I seriously should be more angry at the designers (and I am), it is Hot Topic's fault to be selling it. Hot Topic has been very good at taking stuff down when asked, but I can't help but wonder what is or isn't original about the stuff that isn't Twilight, Invader Zim, Lenore or "brand names" any more.

Part 2: Bleach Vs. Incarnate
I'm really not going to go into this one mainly because I have not read Bleach yet and Johanna Draper Carlson (I hope I'm attributing this to the right author) does a beautiful write up at Comics Worth Reading. She's included most of the links I've seen just browsing on this topic and I think it brings up a great point about "scanlations" (scans of titles unreleased in the U.S.A. [usually Japanese Manga] available freely on the Internet that may be in the original language or "fan subbed" [translated into English by fans]). I honestly did not know all of the history about scanlations or how the Japanese felt about plagiarism until I read this article.

Why bring these up? As I write these, I realize they are more relevant plagiarism cases for teens. Here are some great "real world" examples of what happens when you are caught and how fast this stuff moves. Basically, I think lessons like the two above are more likely to stick with students than those of "don't copy an author's work for your paper."

Part 3: Books too!!
Music, movies, TV shows, and other general media aren't the only things getting pirated any more and as librarians we need to be aware of this. Books are going that way too. Laurie Halse Anderson recently posted about "Book Pirates": Part 1 and Part 2. I suspect that the more we see eReaders coming out, the more book pirating will happen. I believe that as librarians, we need to be aware that this exists and try to do our little part in educating users.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Review: Otomen volume 1


Title: Otomen Vol. 1
Author: Aya Kanno
Illustrator: Aya Kanno
Publisher: Viz Media
Copyright: 2009 (2006 Japan)
Price: $8.99
ISBN: 978-1-4215-2186-2
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Summary: Asuka Masamune may be the manliest man anyone knows, but he harbors a secret: he loves cute and girly objects and hobbies. When he first encounters boyish Ryo, she is facing a gang of bullies and defending a boy. Asuka immediately falls in love with her and realizes he has to face his identity while keeping his reputation intact. Enter Juta, a flirt, a playboy, and secretly one of the most popular shojo manga artists whose muse is Asuka. Juta can see the attraction between Ryo and Asuka and decides to provide a little divine intervention, while enjoying delicious bento lunches prepared by Asuka. In this volume, Asuka helps Ryo as she prepares to celebrate her manly father’s upcoming birthday. When her father discovers that he can bake, Asuka is challenged to fight with Ryo’s father.
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Thoughts: Asuka, Juta, and Ryo provide a delightful and funny group to observe in this shojo manga. Immediately from the start, you know that one of the major plot points will be about Asuka as he works through his identity crisis and learning to please himself and not others. Juta provides great comic relief in the story, causing me to laugh out loud (at least once). Also, the fact that he is secretly the author behind the parallel manga in the story provides a great plot point. This is a deeply layered shojo manga that isn’t just about romance and I look forward to reading more of this series.
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Will Teens Like It? Probably. The identity crisis occurring, the comedy, and the quirky story are all great points to this title.
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Things to be aware of: Possibly mild language.
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Bonus: ALA Great Graphic Novels 2010

Reviewed a library copy.