Monday, October 25, 2010

Boston Book Festival and National Novel Writing Month

It took me a week, but at last there is time to share my experience attending the very worthwhile, and fun, 2nd annual (free and open to the public) Boston Book Festival. Choosing which BBF event to attend was difficult, there were so many that were tempting.  I picked three: True Story: The Art of Non-Fiction; My Mother She Killed Me, My Father He Ate Me; and It Books: YA Authors Discuss What's Hot.  I was rewarded with entertaining, and enlightening, windows into the writing process, and the quirkiness of authors; their worries and success. Here (in no particular order) are a few highlights and ideas from the events I attended:
It is an essential exercise for any writer to be able to say what his/her book is about, while generating interest in reading the book, on nothing larger than a 2 inch square paper (or in a 140 character tweet), even if the novel is about the history of the sun or Being WrongKristin Cashore writes all her books using a pen (and sometimes pencil because then she doesn't have to press as hard) and notebooks (which she numbers), and then she uses word recognition software to put them in electronic format (oh, and she hides from the mailman);  do we really only want perfect (seeming) (and consequently bland) people serving us in the world of politics and law? or do we need, and can we tolerate flawed risk takers?;  fairy tales are mini-myths;  Kathryn Lasky is writing a new series about wolves that takes place in the same world as the Guardians of Ga'Hoole;  Francisco Stork (a personal favorite) goes to bookstores in June to see what is on the summer reading table, and he hopes to one day find one of his books among the chosen;  Noni Carter, a 19 year old at Harvard, just published her first book, Good Fortune.

Which brings me to the second part of this post: National Novel Writing Month (nanowrimo) starts November 1.  The goal is to write a 50,000 word novel by midnight November 30.  Teens are welcome to participate in all of the nanowrimo write-in sessions scheduled on Saturdays here at the Library.  Come when you can, leave when you like, snack, socialize, and boost your word count.  You can sign up in the Young Writer's Program of the National Novel Writing website, and set your own word count goal.  Sarah Lauderdale, our Reference Librarian, is organizing and running the nanowrimo write-ins here.  Stop by the Reference desk or call her at 978-468-5577 x19, if you want more information.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010


The Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA) announced the 2010 Teens' Top Ten winners yesterday; nominated and selected by teens from libraries across the country :  "More than 8,000 teens voted in the 2010 Teens' Top Ten, with Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins topping the list. Teens' Top Ten is a "teen choice" list, where teens nominate and choose their favorite books of the previous year (published in 2009). (Nominators are members of teen book groups in fifteen school and public libraries around the country.)  Nominations are then posted (online) on Support Teen Literature Day during National Library Week (in April), and teens across the country (read and) vote on their favorite titles (from May to September) each year."  The 2010 winning titles listed below are linked to the library catalog to make it easy to find and request these books.

The 2010 Teens' Top Ten Winners are
  1. Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
  2. City of Glass by Cassandra Clare
  3. Heist Society by Ally Carter
  4. Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater
  5. Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick
  6. Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
  7. Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen
  8. If I Stay by Gayle Forman
  9. Fire by Kristin Cashore
  10. Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson
What do you think about this list?  Have you read these books?  Do you agree or is your favorite missing?  Did you vote?  Post your comment or review below.  I have read all but 2 of the books on this list. Wintergirls and Heist Society are on my list to read next.  What's on your list to read?
To see the list of all 2010 nominations click here.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Young Adult Library Collection Circulates!

The graph below reveals a dramatic 4 year increase (from October 2006 to September 2010) in the Young Adult fiction collection circulation at the Hamilton-Wenham Public Library - a 93% increase.  Over the same 4 year period, teen nonfiction circulation has increased 37%, and graphic/manga book circulation has increased 60%.  Overall, the circulation in the Young Adult collection has increased 78% in 4 years. (Numbers on graph are total number of items in a category in the Young Adult collection that circulated over a 12 month period, Oct.-Sept.)

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Winter Shadows by Margaret Buffie

Winter Shadows, by Margaret Buffie, 2010.  
Connected by family, situation, and location, Cass and Beatrice find and help each other across the space of 150 years.  Both girls have lost their mothers, and are struggling with a new stepmother, and the loss of their secure place in the family home.  It is the beginning of winter in Canada, a few weeks before Christmas, and the holiday brings troubles to a boil for both girls.  Fortunately, Cass and Beatrice both receive support from other family members, from each other across time, and from budding romances.  Beatrice has her Cree grandmother and lives during a time of frontier and social integration, and Cass who lives in the present time has her mother's sister nearby.  This book is a little predictable but is very enjoyable on many levels particularly for the historical information that is interwoven through the story about the life of the people living in Canada during the 19th century.  There are many Cree Indian words sprinkled throughout the book with a glossary at the back.  Though I could guess that everything would resolve positively I still wanted to know who Beatrice finally marries, and whether life at home improves for sassy Cass.
My rating 3 and a half stars.

Books by Margaret Buffie available through the Library's online catalog.
Margaret Buffie's website.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Featured Author: Cassandra Clare

Clockwork Angel, by Cassandra Clare, 2010.  
Clockwork Angel is the beginning of a new series called The Infernal Devices, by Cassandra Clare.  It takes place 150 years before Clare's Mortal Instruments series:  City of Bones, City of Ashes, & City of Glass. The fourth book in the Mortal Instrument series: City of Fallen Angels is scheduled for publication in April 2011.  If you liked Stephenie Meyer's Twilight series you may also enjoy reading Cassandra Clare's books.  Personally I like The Mortal Instruments series more than the Twilight series.  Compared to the Twilight series the Mortal Instruments are similarly dark and romantic (with a love triangle), however, there are more twists, mystery, and magic in the Mortal Instruments, with a large cast of characters including vampires, warlocks, werewolves, shadowhunters, and demons.

Clockwork Angel is a supernatural urban fantasy, and since it is set in the Victorian era with futuristic technology, in this case automatons (robots), it also falls into the steampunk genre.  The story begins with 16 year old Tessa Gray, who has traveled from New York to London in search of her older brother.  As soon as she steps off the ship in London she is kidnapped by the Dark Sisters.  The Sisters force her to begin training to use a rare ability to shape shift; an ability of which she was previously unaware. Tessa is soon rescued from the Dark Sisters by the Shadowhunters.  Shadowhunters are warriors, half angel and half human, dedicated to ridding the world of demons.  Tessa is sheltered by the Shadowhunters in their hidden London Institute, where she continues the search for her brother, her own identity, and battles further abduction attempts. Clockwork Angel is like an excellent box of dark chocolates, with just the right amount of crunchy and smooth filling.  My rating 4 stars.

Cassandra Clare books and audiobooks available through the Library Consortium.
Cassandra Clare's website

Holly Black interviews Cassandra Clare. July 28, 2009:

Cassandra Clare answers questions from her fans. October 9, 2009: