The Morning After…the Oscars

While most people are now buzzing about how incredibly boring James Franco was as the host last night at the Oscars along with Anne Hathaway, despite all of her dress changes and his, I’d like to discuss something a little more positive. Forget the chatter about Melissa Leo dropping the F bomb during her acceptance speech or the incredibly uncomfortable moment of award presentation by Kirk Douglas! So, what is one to do?

I’m glad you asked! Let’s do something fun and take a look at the nominees for Best Picture in their book form: 127 Hours, Black Swan, Social Networking, The Fighter, Inception (House of Leaves is a book similar to the film, Inception), The Kids Are All Right, The King’s Speech, Toy Story 3,  True Grit, and Winter’s Bone. And the winner for Best Picture in the year 2010? The King’s Speech won! Yeah for language!!

Perfect Chemistry: Too Perfect or Just Right?

I saw the book cover and shuddered at the perfect couple in the perfect embrace. Puulease! But after I recovered from my initial repulsion to the cover, I did the unthinkable. I picked it up, flipped it over, and read the summary. Yep, I actually gave it a chance. That’s when I realized that it actually sounded like it might be a good read and that I’d have to give it a try. So glad I did ’cause it was a great modern twist on the classic star-crossed lovers’ tale.

What was the recipe for success? Equal parts rich, popular, beautiful girl named Brittany (what else?!) cooked at a low simmer with sexy, bad-boy Alex who knows that most females can not resist his sultry charm.

The spice in this story comes from the fact that both of these two soon-to-be lovebirds both harbor dark secrets behind their masks of perfection. Brittany goes to school each day all the while trying to hide her less than perfect home life that includes  parents who don’t get along and her mentally disabled sister that she lovingly cares for. Then there’s Alex Fuentes who’s from the South side of town, running from rumors of drug abuse, and gang violence, when in reality he’s desperately trying to protect his younger brother from these very real threats. Once this is established, the couple are partnered up in class which results in an immediate clash.

It’s only after Alex takes a bet to get Brittany to fall for him, that he actually does ends up falling for her. Now we have the couple who, moments ago couldn’t stand the sight of one another. The result is a couple who can’t stop staring into each others eyes. Capitalizing on this attraction, the author, Simone Elkeles, takes the reader on an emotional and bumpy ride, breaking stereotypes left and right. Elkeles also alternates chapters between the perspective of Brittany and Alex, giving the reader a glimpse into each character throughout the story, which is a nice technique and kept me caring about these two. So, buckle up and hang on for a ride full of sexual tension and sarcastic banter. You’ll know it’s true love and that this book is perfect!

Check out Elkeles’ website for more about her writing and book trailers by clicking here.Still not enough for you? Check this song out. She’s a big-time talented fan who created this song about Perfect Chemistry packed with teenage angst!

Would You Do It for Love?

How spontaneous do you think you really are? Would you participate in a flash mob with enough encouragement? This is a fun snippet displaying one person’s amazement which quickly turns to jealousy when someone very close to them decides to participate in a flash mob without telling them. Not to hurt but to surprise…somehow it backfires. Be careful what you choose to give your loved one this coming Valentine’s Day. Maybe some chocolate and a good book would be a yummy and surefire choice!

A to the Mazing!

When I came across this “drawing” I thought, ‘no way…that’s a photo!!’ So I did a little more poking around and found that this particular artist, Raja Cenna, actually has a video of the three+ hours that it took her to draw this image of Lady Gaga.

So, next time you can’t find your iTouch, your parents won’t let you play any video games, there’s nothing on TV, your leg is broken, or no one is texting you back…don’t despair. Life is not over! You actually have time to draw. Here are some more drawings created by teens that you can also use as inspiration. Then, if you need a little more help (and your computer is in the repair shop) visit the Burlington Library where we have an entire section of books about drawing. Just know that the library is there to help you find your A to the Mazing self!

Hey! Why Do We Do What We Do?

The human brain is amazing and as scientists try to understand it better they often just walk away shaking their heads not understanding it any more than they did before they started.

Below is a great video demonstrating our inability to walk in a straight line when blindfolded and exploring the question, why can’t we walk in a straight line? For more books that explore interesting human behavior there are some great titles below that are worth checking out.

Graphic Mess?

Well, it was bound to happen. Capitalism has crept into the market of graphic novels! Do I sound naive or merely idealistic? Can you imagine the horror of picking up the newest graphic novel and seeing a cover sporting Glenn Beck, Sarah Palin, or Al Frankin? WTF (wasn’t that funny)!!

 

 

 

 

 

Now these marketing “geniuses” are going to rework every quasi celebrity, wanna-be musician, and TV show that’s ever exsisted into a graphic novel. Where have the creators of literature gone? The need to turn a fast buck is possibly overriding common sense on the literary front. Isn’t it ironic that there was a time when those who questioned the literary value of graphic novels may actually end up coming to their defense? 

If you’ve not experienced the pleasure of reading a quality graphic novel, here are a few suggestions…

 

 

 

Who said Book Reports Couldn’t be “Fun”?

Next time that you’re asked to write the ominous “book report” think about getting creative in what you’re reading. Maybe you want to throw your teacher for a loop and introduce them to literture that they’ve perhaps not heard of before…until now!

1. How to Avoid Huge Ships by John W. Trimmer
2. Be Bold with Bananas by Crescent Books
3. Fancy Coffins to Make Yourself by Dale L. Power
4. 101 Uses for an Old Farm Tractor by Michael Dregni
5. Across Europe by Kangaroo by Joseph R. Barry
6. 101 Super Uses for Tampon Applicators by Lori Katz and Barbara Meyer
7. Suture Self by Mary Daheim
8. The Making of a Moron by Niall Brennan
9. Underwater Acoustics Handbook by Vernon Martin Albers
10. Superfluous Hair and Its Removal by A. F. Niemoeller
11. Lightweight Sandwich Construction by J. M. Davies
12. The Devil’s Cloth: A History of Stripes by Michel Pastoureaut
13. How to Be a Pope: What to Do and Where to Go Once You’re in the Vatican by Piers Marchant
14. How to Read a Book by Mortimer J. Adler and Charles Van Doren

Easy Money

Calling all teens!  Create a video promoting summer reading at your library and you could win $250!  The best short Public Service Announcement, using the theme “You Are Here,” produced by a Washington student or group of students that encourages use of their local public libraries and promotes reading all summer long will take away the contest prize.

The top video will be featured throughout 2011 as the official commercial for Washington’s Summer Reading Program.  Completed forms are due by March 7, 2011.  For more information, go to 2011 Teen Video Challenge .

If you need a little help uploading a video to youtube, check this out!

Visual Journaling Workshop

Hey! Do you have a love/hate relationship with writing? Do you love to keep a journal but hate all the writing? Well, this might be the workshop for you!!

On Tuesday, December 28 from 1 – 2:30 PM you’re invited to come experience easy techniques for keeping a visual journal. Join Bellingham artist Ellen Clark, as she shares various templates, tips, and tools that everyone will find helpful in creating their own visual journal.

Everyone will receive their own hardbound journal for the New Year. Pre-registration is required and will be limited to the first 25 teens. Call 360-755-0760 today! This event is FREE through the generous support of The Friends of the Library who help provide funding.