The Azle Memorial Library is proud to announce its cupcake decorating class for teens! If you’re 12-18 years old, come learn how to make tie-dyed cupcakes, frosting, and then get a chance to decorate one on your own! We’re starting the fun at 4:30 p.m. on Thursday, May 31st, in the Library Community Room.
Monthly Archives: May 2012
My father did a good job reminding my brothers and I as we were growing up that Memorial Day was about much more than a day off from school. Now that I’m on my own, I want to make that day special, too. I decided I wanted to learn more about the holiday, and I thought I’d share a few things I’ve learned from my research.
Memorial Day was originally known as Decoration Day and was meant to honor those killed during the Civil War. In the years following the war, towns began their own remembrances in the springtime, some closing their businesses, hosting parades, and decorating the graves of those who were lost. States started declaring their own official Decoration Days.
As the U.S. fought more wars, Congress saw fit to create a day that honored all who had been lost in military conflicts, not just the Civil War. In 1968, Congress passed the Uniform Monday Holiday Act and created Memorial Day as a federal holiday to be celebrated on the last Monday in May. There is actually a designated time for rememberance – 3:00 p.m. local time. Flags are typically flown at half-mast until noon.
I hope everyone has a wonderful, safe weekend. May we all pause at some point on Monday and think about the men and women who gave so unselfishly for our country.
“The brave die never, though they sleep in dust: Their courage nerves a thousand living men.” – Minot J. Savage
I wanted to share a book with you that I finished over the weekend, called Ready Player One by Ernest Cline. This is a fantasy novel about the world of 2044, where people have unplugged from reality and live their lives in the OASIS, a virtual utopia. The creator of the OASIS, James Halliday, has died and left his billion dollar fortune and control of the virtual society in the hands of whoever wins the contest he has cooked up. Anyone can enter the contest, which takes place in the OASIS. It consists of solving several puzzles. People all over the world devote their lives to winning the contest, which means studying Halliday’s life and making his obsessions (one of them being games, movies, and music from the 1980’s, the decade of his childhood) their own. Perhaps no one knows him, and 1980’s cultural references, better than brilliant teenage gamer, Wade Watts. He, too, has devoted his life to figuring out Halliday’s contest, not only for the money but also to protect the integrity of the OASIS. However, there are people much older, powerful, and more ruthless than he who want to win the contest just as much. They are called Sixers, and if they win, they will force people to pay to access the OASIS. The contest goes on for years, with no one making much headway. Suddenly, though, Watts stumbles on to the first puzzle, and his life changes overnight.
I enjoyed this story, though a lot of the gaming references went over my head. I liked it because it’s a cautionary tale about what happens to society when we try to escape reality. I think a little escape every now and then is a good thing. However, as Watts found out, that can quickly become an addiction. This is kind of how I feel when I’m out to dinner with friends, who spend half their time on their phones – instead of enjoying the experience and engaging in it, they’re sharing it – either via Twitter, Facebook, or text. It makes me wonder how far away we are from being the kind of society that would want to escape the real world and live our lives in something like the OASIS. I’m always thrilled to lose myself in a world created by a good writer, but I’m always happy to return to real life. Now, my tune might change if I somehow entered the land of Jane Austen and found myself married to Mr. Darcy…
Who would have thought we would have reached 100 blog posts by now? It’s a milestone I couldn’t help sharing with you. When we started this blog, I didn’t have any grand ideas about writing so many blogs by such-and-such a date. I just committed to myself that I would try to blog at least two or three times a week. However, I’ll let you in on a little secret: Blogging is addictive. Once you’ve written ten posts, what’s ten more? And I’ve loved sharing our library news and book reviews with you. We so appreciate you, dear readers! Thank you for your feedback and support. Here’s to 100 more.
Summer is fast approaching, and kids will be out of school, ready for fun. I invite you to make SUMMER READING part of that fun! School aged kids can join our Summer Reading Club and read as much as they want about anything they want to know. Check out all the details here, to get your kids started.
Here is just a sample of the fabulous fiction books available for your children to check out:
Darth Paper Strikes Back, by Tom Angleberger J FIC ANGLEBERGER
Angleberger first captivated young readers with his The Strange Case of Origami Yoda (chosen by young readers for the Bluebonnet Award of 2012), and continues the “saga” with this new edition. A funny look at the trials and tribulation of middle school, which is why kids, especially boys, have embraced this series. Put it into kids’ hands and watch them smile as they read.
The One and Only Ivan, by Katherine Applegate J FIC APPLEGATE in New Arrivals
A lovely, poignant story about a gorilla and an elephant kept at a mall and how the gorilla finds a way to broadcast their plight, resulting in their transfer to a zoo. Based on a true story. Ivan’s narration will tug at your heart as he speaks about his imprisonment, at the same time acknowledging that humans can be good at times.
It is a well written work that allows the reader to think about the issue from more than one angle. The chapters, sometimes, are only one sentence long. But that sentence really invites the reader to PONDER. I think it is so well written that it could be a candidate for the Newbery Medal.
Wildwood, by Colin Meloy J FIC MELOY
A captivating fantasy about the age old forces of good and evil, set right outside modern Portland, Oregon and drawn with excruciating detail. Meloy clearly knows how to tell a good yarn; he kept me interested in his world building throughout the whole novel, and I was always eager to get back to it. He also inserts biblical, mythological, and historical references, and is very unapologetic about using big words. Readers can understand some of them from context, some from actually consulting a dictionary! In the tradition of Lemony Snicket, Meloy every so often uses the dialogue to define a word, and does a decent job of it. So kids learn as they are having fun reading. And isn’t that as it should be?
I loved the characters, a combination of humans and animals. There’s just about every species represented here, including the flora a la Avatar. I had no trouble visualizing the landscape. Carson Ellis’ illustrations are wonderful – very detailed and folk arty. As an aside, Meloy is the lead singer of the band, The Decemberists. You can tell that he loves storytelling, and I think many readers will like this particular story of his.
Earwig and the Witch, by Dianne Wynne Jones J FIC JONES in New Arrivals
This is a quick and easy read for kids that introduces them to Diana Wynne Jones’ fabulous fantasy writing. Magic and witches are no match for Earwig, whose expertise in making authority figures do her bidding is renowned. The bad guys are stereotypically bad, and Paul O. Zelinsky’s illustrations are wonderful. Fun all around.
And of course we have all the popular series, like Hank the Cowdog, Diary of Wimpy Kid, Ramona, Babymouse, Ranger’s Apprentice, Magic Tree House, Judy Moody, Stink, Pendragon, Redwall, Dragonbreath, and more. Much, much more!
So bring your kids to the library so they can READ TO GO FAR!!
The Azle Memorial Library receives a variety of patron requested materials on a regular basis. We encourage these requests because they are your way of telling us what you want the Library to offer! Last month an item was requested that I had never heard of – series one of the British TV series, “New Tricks.” Being a bit of a British TV fanatic, I was shocked to find a series that was new to me. After reading reviews and discovering that this show is not only very popular, but already has seven series (the British term for seasons) on DVD, I placed the order for series one. The show features a police detective who has had a bit of bad luck in her career and is assigned to a new cold case unit. Unfortunately the police department does not have enough personnel to staff her department so she is forced to re-hire retired detectives. Although the retirees have a multitude of experience to draw on, their techniques and skills are rather…out dated. Their various age-related health concerns also throw a curveball into the plot. Yet they get the job done! Each episode features a new cold case that the team solves using unique skill and a bit of humor. So if you like detective shows, or are just a fan of British television, check out “New Tricks” from the Azle Memorial Library. And let us know what you think! Your requests (just fill out a Library Material Request Form at the Information Desk) will help determine if we purchase more seasons of this show and other DVDs in the future.
Did you know the library has a book club? Well, it’s true, and if I do say so myself, we tend to have a pretty good time! Book clubbers always engage in a thought-provoking discussion, and they’re nice enough to let me get the monthly baking bug out of my system that always seems to hit around book club. I think it’s important to have a night to look forward to each month that’s more than just going out to eat or seeing a movie. Book club members come with great questions and discussion points, and they always help me consider aspects of the book’s characters and plot that I hadn’t before. Plus, I think we’ve all made some good friends!
This month we’re reading what is probably the best book I read in 2011. Laura Hillenbrand’s Unbroken has been on the New York Times bestseller list since it came out. It’s so popular that more than a year after its release, it still isn’t out in paperback (always a sign of a very successful book). It’s the story of an Olympic runner who becomes a POW in a Japanese prison camp after his plane is shot down during WWII. Louis Zamperini’s story is truly incredible, and I think he’s one of the best examples of what a human being can survive and overcome. Join us for our discussion on Tuesday, May 15th at 6:30 p.m. in the Library Community Room.