CHECK THIS OUT!– The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling

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The_Casual_Vacancy

If you’re like me, you saw the name J.K. Rowling and said “More Harry Potter?!” Nope, (we’ll both have to wait for the Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them movie in 2016), but it’s almost as good. The Casual Vacancy is written for an adult audience and focuses on people and personal connections rather than magic.

The Casual Vacancy follows the lives of the people in the small town of Pagford after Barry Fairbrother, member of the city council, dies. During the race to replace his seat, secrets start to appear online about the candidates from someone who claims to be the Barry’s ghost. Though the first secret is posted by one of the teenagers in town, the online persona quickly begins to take on a life of its own.

One of the things that’s interesting about this story and keeps it from slipping into soap opera-esq drama is that the story isn’t told from one person’s point of view—it’s told from everyone’s point of view. The point of view character switches at the beginning of each new chapter, which keeps the story moving at a brisk pace. Not all the characters are likable, but they are realistic, and the opportunity to see the motives behind the behaviors contrasted with how other characters see them is intriguing. The varied perspectives makes for an interesting story about how people relate to one another, and whether they can repair the town’s sense of community after everything that’s revealed during the race.

Check this book out from the leisure reading section of the library on the first floor!

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Check This Out: Zombies in the Library

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Braaaaiiinnnnsssss… braaaaaiiiiinnnssss…

I know, I know what you are thinking.  You all are using your brains so much during the semester that you cannot bear to read a blog post about them.  Well, you’re in luck!  This here is a post about zombies.  Zombies that are IN THE LIBRARY and you should totally check them out!

In the past few years we’ve seen zombie films and television series abound and along with that comes books about zombies.  Here are a few that you may want to take a look at if you have a thing for zombies and want to mix up your love of them with your academic pursuits.  It is possible.  I swear.

Jacket.aspx Zombie Economics takes the reader through the origins, consequences, and implosion of a system of ideas whose time has come and gone. These beliefs–that deregulation had conquered the financial cycle, that markets were always the best judge of value, that policies designed to benefit the rich made everyone better off–brought us to the brink of disaster once before, and their persistent hold on many threatens to do so again. Because these ideas will never die unless there is an alternative, Zombie Economics also looks ahead at what could replace market liberalism, arguing that a simple return to traditional Keynesian economics and the politics of the welfare state will not be enough–either to kill dead ideas, or prevent future crises.”
Thinking Dead: What the Zombie Apocalypse Means , edited by Murali Balaji, examines various aspects of the zombie apocalypse scenario from the perspective of a variety of theoretical frameworks. Essays in the collection shed light on why we are so obsessed with the undead. This is a cutting-edge volume for the growing scholarship on media representations of zombies. jacket2
jacket3 This hardcover features the first 12 issues of the hit series along with the covers for the issues in one oversized hardcover volume. Perfect for long time fans, new readers and anyone needing a slightly heavy object with which to fend off the walking dead.

Finally, don’t forget that we have a zombie librarian among us! Check this out!

Zombie Maura

CHECK THIS OUT! – Ms. Marvel Vol. 1: No Normal by G. Willow Wilson and Adrian Alphona

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ms marvelKamala Khan’s life has gotten tricky.  She’s already trying to balance the expectations of her strict-but-caring Muslim-American family, the misconceptions of her classmates, the desire to hang out with her friends, and still find the time to write a little fanfic on the side.  Then a strange mist causes her to develop bodymorphing powers and sets off a chain of events that involve her with a crazed scientist’s plot to kidnap and enslave teens from throughout Jersey City (some of whom don’t actually seem to mind it).  So she does what anyone would do in her shoes… pull together a makeshift costume, carry on the legacy of her favorite superhero, save her friends, and hope she doesn’t get busted by her parents.

If the mix of high school humor and melodrama, characters who sound the way teenagers actually talk, multiculturism, and superpowers is at all appealing to you, this is your book.  G. Willow Wilson (herself Muslim) has a great ear for dialogue and a knack for balancing humor, action, and pathos (sometimes all in the same scene) that is tough to match.  The artwork by Adrian Alphona is the perfect accompaniment, equally at home conveying the funny (especially Kamala’s funky power set) and the serious.  This book has won a lot of acclaim and a very vocal online fanbase.  Check this out and see why.

There’s still time for leisure reading!

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Were you looking to squeeze a little reading-for-pleasure in toward the end of Break and/or Winter Session, before the Spring semester hits you straight in the brainstem?  Don’t worry, there’s still time!  And here are a few suggestions for you, all of which you can find right here at the library.

Revival by Stephen King

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New Stephen King is always a call for celebration, right?  Especially when he returns his storytelling to its creepy roots, which is very much the case here. Here’s what the inside cover blurb has to say: “In a small New England town, over half a century ago, a shadow falls over a small boy playing with his toy soldiers. Jamie Morton looks up to see a striking man, the new minister. Charles Jacobs, along with his beautiful wife, will transform the local church. The men and boys are all a bit in love with Mrs. Jacobs; the women and girls feel the same about Reverend Jacobs—including Jamie’s mother and beloved sister, Claire. With Jamie, the Reverend shares a deeper bond based on a secret obsession. When tragedy strikes the Jacobs family, this charismatic preacher curses God, mocks all religious belief, and is banished from the shocked town. Jamie has demons of his own. Wed to his guitar from the age of thirteen, he plays in bands across the country, living the nomadic lifestyle of bar-band rock and roll while fleeing from his family’s horrific loss. In his mid-thirties—addicted to heroin, stranded, desperate—Jamie meets Charles Jacobs again, with profound consequences for both men. Their bond becomes a pact beyond even the Devil’s devising, and Jamie discovers that revival has many meanings.”

As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales from the Making of ‘The Princess Bride’ by Cary Elwes

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Inspired by a 25th anniversary reunion of the movie’s cast, Cary Elwes (a.k.a., Westley, farm boy turned Dread Pirate) wrote this recollection of the film’s creation, including reactions, anecdotes from filming, behind-the-scenes photos, interviews with the cast and crew, and so on.  As one of the most beloved movies of the past few decades – and certainly among the most quotable films ever made – this is definitely worth checking out if you’re a fan. And if you’ve never seen it, well, get on that, and then come back and give this a read.

Silver Surfer: New Dawn by Dan Slott and Mike Allred

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Silver Surfer has traditionally been one of the more mopey comic characters… downright emo at times. This book, reprinting the first 6 issues of the Surfer’s current monthly comic, tosses all that aside in favor of wild cosmic adventure and bizarre-but-fun situations.  Writer Dan Slott takes more than a little inspiration from Doctor Who – cosmic know-it-all who needs to lighten up meets spunky-but-sheltered human woman, travels and antics ensue – and the art by Mike Allred (and the eye-popping coloring by his wife Laura) is poppy and kinetic enough to keep up. You don’t need to know years of comics continuity to enjoy this one. Just enjoy the ride.

You Are Here: Around the World in 92 Minutes – Photographs from the International Space Station by Chris Hadfield

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Looking for something more visual than even a graphic novel? How about this collection of photographs of the world taken by astronaut (and Twitter / YouTube sensation) Col. Chris Hadfield during his tenure as Commander on the International Space Station? Hadfield’s perspective (in both the figurative and literal senses of the world) is unique and eye-opening, and you just may learn to look at the world in an entirely new way.
These titles and many more available for your perusal. Swing by and check them out, and as always, if you have any questions or requests, please let us know.

Graphic Novel Display on the Second Floor

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comic display signWe’ve bought a lot of graphic novels (and scholarly titles on topics related to comics and graphic novels) to add to our collection in the past few years, so in order to call attention to our acquisitions the latest book display at the rear of the 2nd floor “quiet area” is devoted to comics of all kinds. Memoir, history, music, science, food, horror, science fiction, fantasy, humor, super heroes… if there is a topic or genre that appeals to you, you’re likely to find something that will appeal to you either on these shelves or elsewhere in the collection (we own way too many now to put them all on display now).

If you’re a fan of the comics format, check it out.  If you’re new to or are just curious about comics, also check it out! And if you have any questions or are looking for some suggestions, feel free to ask.  We always like connecting people with new things to read, and I pride myself on being able to find comics that will appeal to just about anyone.

And to answer a question we often get about these book displays: yes, OF COURSE you can check these out!  We set these things up to draw your attention to the books we set up, and we hope that results in people giving them a shot.  Personally, I love seeing big empty spaces in previously full displays… that means it’s working.

And if you check out and request a lot of graphic novels, we might get to buy more. Everyone wins.

Celebrate Banned Books Week, September 21-27

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We read banned books! And sometimes pose with them!

We read banned books! And sometimes we pose with them for promotional purposes! But mostly read!

The week of September 21st through 27th marks Banned Books Week, the annual campaign by the American Library Association (ALA) dedicated to protecting intellectual freedom and the right to read whatever you choose. Every year, individuals and groups throughout the country occasionally demand that access to certain titles be restricted, or that they be removed completely, leading to an event ALA calls a challenge. Sometimes these efforts end up being successful, leading to an outright ban. Challenges and bans of books can occur in public, K-12, university, or special libraries; retail outlets where books are sold; classrooms; and anywhere else thoughts and ideas can be encountered and considered.

To give you an idea of the scope of this, over 11,300 books have been challenged since ALA started the event in 1982. In 2013 alone, there were 307 challenges reported to ALA’s Office of Intellectual Freedom. The total number of challenges may be higher still, but many go unreported. This year’s most frequently challenged books include a diverse group of titles ranging from Dav Pilkey’s Captain Underpants series to 50 Shades of Grey. Click here for the list of the top 10 most frequently challenged books for each year since 2001.

This year, the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund is also heavily involved with Banned Books Week, highlighting the fact that comic books and graphic novels of all topics and age ranges are frequently the victim of library and classroom challenges. You can follow this link to their website for more information, frequently asked questions, and a PDF handbook featuring a cover by Bone cartoonist and author Jeff Smith (who also finds himself on this year’s Top 10 challenges list).

We know this is a busy time of year for students, faculty, and staff alike, but take the time to celebrate your intellectual freedom. Read a banned book, have an unpopular idea, and embrace the freedom of thought and expression the Constitution allows.

Banned Books Week

We’re blinding you with SCIENCE!

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Have you been watching Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey on Fox or National Geographic?  If not, get on that.  But if you are, and the desire is burning inside of you to make sure you are as scientifically literate as possible, we’re here to help!  There’s a wide variety of science-related books on display on the shelves facing the rear stairs up to the quiet area on the second floor.  There are personal works by and/or about renowned scientists (Albert Einstein, Marie Curie, Carl Sagan, Neil deGrasse Tyson, and Richard Feynman to name a few), informational texts on many fields of scientific inquiry (physics, chemistry, ecology, biology, astronomy, etc.), books on a variety of important and interesting issues (evolution, biogenetic ethics, global warming, quantum mechanics, science denial, famous feuds within scientific communities) and more.  Check it out!  And I mean that literally… books you see on display are available to be checked out, so don’t be shy and certainly don’t worry about upsetting the aesthetics of the thing.  We highlight these things so you’ll notice them.  Seeing empty spots on the display shelves actually makes us happy.

Add a little science to your reading diet… just because you might learn something doesn’t mean it won’t be fun.