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Monthly Archives: October 2011

Review of “Triangles” by Ellen Hopkins

Posted by Nancy Novak, Children’s Librarian.

I received this Good Reads giveaway and was eagerly awaiting Hopkins’ first foray into adult fiction.  She brings her well established YA novel-in-verse format to this story of 3 women and their rather trouble- laden lives. Unfortunately, I felt that Hopkins missed the mark with this effort.  But full disclosure here: this qualifies as somber chick lit, and I like very few chick lit novels.

The book is set up with sort of chaptered vignettes with each woman narrating.  They each have kids, two have husbands.  Any particular section concludes with a free verse poem which tries to encapsulate the thematic contents of the narration.  A couple of those were fairly well done, but most did not work for me.  They felt sophomoric and unnecessary, and by the end I was just passing them by. I kept thinking, Hopkins, you really can’t write poetry because these are just awful.

Only Marissa’s character held any appeal to me; Holly and Andrea were clearly stuck in high school – their actions and choices were so adolescent it was embarrassing.  Holly, as a sexual outlier, never captured my empathy, sympathy, or even pity.  Hard to do that when her reaction to her husband treating her as a possession equates to joining swing groups where she’s a mere object of other men and people.

In fact, there are only two male characters who are respectable in this book – Marissa’s longtime friend, Drew, and her son, Shane, who by the way is gay.  And Hopkins takes full advantage of that fact to preach about homophobia.

Marissa herself has been forced to grow up because of her daughter Shelby.  The rest of them, well, their lives are train wrecks of their own making.  I do understand Holly’s lifelong search for self as an adoptee, but I don’t think most adoptees pursue that search in such a manner.  I felt a lot of the explicit sexual encounters were totally unnecessary, and diminished whatever power her story might have had. Those parts of the narrative felt to me as if Hopkins were aiming at titillation and controversy, bordering on soft porn, and not the mark of a great writer.  Perhaps Hopkins was trying to show that Holly had no talent for writing, although I am not an expert on the erotica genre.  Those parts just felt pointless, when one can often create more lasting impressions with less explicit words.

Many times, especially at the end, I think Hopkins started in on preaching.  She didn’t really need to do that; could have let the story show the lessons.  The relationship lessons that Andrea’s and Marissa’s hippie/free love parents try to impart felt accurate.  But I am not really sure what her whole point was anyway –  I think it was something about love, but what, really?  There were clearly triangular relationships throughout the novel, although the one triangle I was expecting – where all 3 women are connected in a triangle – never happened.  Andrea is actually the center between Holly and Marissa, not a triangle.

All in all a very disappointing book.  I do, however, appreciate the giveaway from Simon and Schuster!! Perhaps the next one will warrant a better review.

 

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Posted by on October 31, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

Let Your Voice Be Heard

We’ve just finished our library survey, and we want to hear from you!  If you make your way to the library in the next few weeks, you can pick up a paper copy (located at the Information Desk).  Or, if you click on this link, you can conveniently take it online. 

Please seriously consider taking our survey.  We ask that everyone only take it once, but this is really your chance to tell us how we’re doing.  Without customers, we wouldn’t have a library.  YOU are the very reason for our existence, and our mission is to provide you with the information and entertainment you need and want.  So, if you have a great idea for a new program or you think we need to improve in some area of service, please let us know.  Everything we do, from every program we offer to every book we buy, is with you in mind, so please let us know how we can do it better!  And I promise it’s quick – it shouldn’t take you more than a minute or two.

 
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Posted by on October 28, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

Here’s What We’re Reading…

I always love to find out what my coworkers are reading – it generally turns out to be a pretty diverse range of literature.  Here’s a snapshot of our current reading choices.   

  • Tracey:  “Love on the Line” by Deeanne Gist. It’s a romance set in the early 1900’s with the advent of the telephone. 
  • Megan:  “Catching Fire” by Suzanne Collins.  Megan has read the series and enjoyed it so much that she is currently listening to it on audiobook.   
  • Brandi:  “Best of Me” by Nicholas Sparks.  Brandi enjoys his other novels, and this one does not disappoint.  According to her, it’s a mix between “The Guardian” and “Nights in Rodanthe.” 
  • Nancy:  “Triangles” by Ellen Hopkins (this is her debut novel for adults).  Nancy actually received this copy from the publisher to review on GoodReads.  She said it’s definitely an adult novel that touches on very adult themes.
  • Curren:  “The Death Cure” by James Dashner.  Curren just finished the last book in the Maze Runner trilogy.  It brought the series to an end, but she said that she preferred the first two books.   
  • Meg:  “Lionheart” by Sharon Kay Penman.  This novel is exceedingly interesting, yet I find myself being weighed down by some of the detail.  I can’t be the only one who finds royal lineage next to impossible to keep straight, right?  Everyone is related in ten different ways, and they all seem to have multiple names and titles.  It’s a tome, so it will take me a while to wade through, I’m sure.  When I do, I’ll be posting a review of it here.     

We’d love to hear what you’re reading, as well!  Be sure to post a comment about your latest book and whether or not you’re enjoying it.

 

 
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Posted by on October 26, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

We Love Azle!

I just wanted to say thank you to everyone who made our 2nd annual Fall Festival such a rousing success!  To our many volunteers who manned booths or worked behind the scenes to those people who came to enjoy the Festival, we want to offer our most heartfelt thanks.  Events like these take months to plan, with several people coordinating what seems like a million details.  We couldn’t have it done without you!  Thank you for your hard work, generosity, and great attitude!  And we had perfect weather, which meant we didn’t have to put our rain plan into effect, for which we were all grateful 🙂  We hope to make next year even better!

 

 

 
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Posted by on October 24, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

It’s a Good Old-Fashioned Pie Bakeoff!

I love to bake.  I suspect it’s partly because of the way I was raised – my mother believed in making everything from scratch, from chocolate chip cookies to macaroni and cheese.  I can still remember being slightly surprised that you could get mac and cheese from an orange box. 

I’ve baked a lot, but I’ve never tried a pie.  And that’s probably due to the fact that I am a fan of a lot of things, and pie isn’t one.  I’ll go in for a lemon or chocolate pie, but I loathe all fruit pie – something about the texture.  However, I like the idea of pie.  It’s homey and warm and puts me in mind of fall, my favorite season.  There’s something reassuring about a home that smells of apple and cinnamon and warm pastry. 

So, in the spirit of our upcoming Fall Festival and our Pie Bakeoff that we’re sponsoring, I’ve decided to try my hand at pie making.  I’m a little bit nervous, but I can’t put it off any longer, especially with all of the wonderful cookbooks we’ve been adding to our collection.  Some recipes demand to be tried, and so far I’ve found several in the adorable “Pies & Tarts” cookbook (the book is actually circular shaped, which gives you a great bird’s eye view of what your pie will look like) and the simple and lovely “Desserts from the Famous Loveless Cafe.” 

So if you’ve been dying to try out a new pie recipe, here’s your chance.  Or, maybe you want an excuse to make one of your tried and true favorites.  We’ll have a winner in three different categories – “Best Looking Pie,” “Most Unique Pie,” and “Best Tasting Pie.”  You can drop off your pies in the library lobby this Saturday, Oct. 22nd, starting at 11:00 a.m., and judging will take place at 1:30 p.m.  Winners will receive a certificate and have the satisfaction of knowing that they possess some seriously stellar pie making skills.

 
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Posted by on October 20, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

Review of “Falling Together” by Marisa de los Santos

I like Marisa de los Santos’ books.  So when I heard she had a new one coming out, I couldn’t wait to grab it off the shelf.  I’d read her other two novels a few months ago and was pleasantly surprised by what a good writer she is.  “Falling Together” is about three people who share an intense and very exclusive friendship during college.  After graduation, Pen, Cat, and Will all move to the city, but when Cat decides to get married, they make the decision to go their separate ways.  Their reasoning is that admitting another person into their circle would inevitably degrade the friendship, and they’d rather have nothing than less than what they had.  So, Pen has a daughter, Will becomes a famous children’s author, and Cat gets married.  Pen and Will see each other again at their college reunion after having received an email from Cat asking them for their help.  What follows is their attempt to find Cat. 

I’ll admit, I can’t say that I enjoyed de los Santos’ novel quite as much as her first two.  Here’s why:

  1. I actually didn’t really like any of the characters.  This is a problem for me – it’s why I loathe “Crime and Punishment.”  If I can’t like at least one of the characters, I’m not going to like the book.  The story is mostly told in Pen’s voice, and I found her snobbiness to be increasingly annoying.  Cat simply came off as a selfish, needy person, who didn’t care how her choices affected others.  Will was harmless and underwhelming.  And I’m a little tired of precocious children who always get their way because they’re just so charming and cute, which is why I didn’t like Pen’s daughter.  
  2. One of the main themes of the books is friendship, and I found the main characters’ friendship to be incredibly annoying by the end.  One of the reasons why I like de los Santos’ novels so much is that she adds these very intimate details about people and their interactions with each other so that you feel like you know them.  Her relationships are always very rich and beautiful, something to which the reader can aspire.  However, this friendship just came off as being selfish, unbelievable, and excessive.  The really good friendships should elevate you, and this one didn’t seem to do that.
  3. Marisa de los Santos usually creates these worlds that you’re either “cool” or not.  Now, she probably wouldn’t use the world “cool,” but there’s a clear delineation between the characters who “get” it and those who don’t.  Either you’re quirky and witty and like old movies or you’re a bumbling moron (as portrayed by Cat’s husband, Jason, whom Will and Pen dislike greatly).  Her characters are just sometimes too extreme for my taste, and that was definitely the case here.  Jason gets frustrated with the different language that Pen and Will speak, but so does the reader! 

Now, all that being said, I have to say that one thing I do appreciate is that de los Santos is one of the few contemporary novelists who actually portrays families as being happy together.  According to writers today, no one is happy, and no one seems to actually like their family very much.  I also particularly enjoy the way she portrays maternal love – it’s poetic and lovely and puts into words something that I imagine is very hard to express.

 
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Posted by on October 17, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

It’s That Time Again!

The end of October is coming up, which means that the library’s annual Fall Festival is just around the corner!  We would love for you to join us Saturday, Oct. 22nd from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.  We’ll have booths inside the library and in Central Park – there’ll be face painting, balloon animals, a bounce house, cotton candy, and information about nutrition, diabetes, beekeeping, emergency preparedness, gardening, and lots more.  And it’s all FREE!  Bring your coolest carved pumpkin to compete in our contest, and be sure to dig out your favorite pie recipe because we’ll be having a pie bakeoff!  If you have any questions, we’d love to answer them, so call us at 817-444-7216 or come in to the library and ask one of our friendly librarians.  We can’t wait to see you next weekend! 

Want more info?  Check out our flyers: Contest flyer   FallFestivalFlyer2011

 
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Posted by on October 14, 2011 in Uncategorized

 
 
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