It's no secret that teen books over the past several years have become more popular with older (and younger) readers. And as the popularity has grown, the books themselves have gotten longer, become series, and gotten some serious cover makeovers. A Short Story in Teen Book Covers
I know we have a lot of manga readers out there... sometimes the Teen Zone is littered with random volumes of Naruto, Bleach, Fruits Basket, and Death Note. I see people carrying stacks of volumes down to the main desk for check out, using their chins to hold the pile steady. And I love reading it too... they can be quick reads, but pack a powerful punch, whether it's action, comedy, romance, or horror. Or sometimes all of those things. Shiny New Manga!
But what can make me crazy about some series is the way they go on and on. And on. For instance Naruto's 58th volume comes out today. Do you know how much shelf space that takes up? Reading some of these series is a big investment in time, space, and money. Luckily, you have a library that loves to provide you with manga! That's why I want to take a moment to tell you about some of the new series we've added over the past year, and some sleepers you may have missed. Read more
We take privacy pretty seriously in the library world. We believe in your right to freely access information, online and in print. And we're not going to share your list of checked out books, DVDs, and CDs. Don't believe me? Take a little time to read the Privacy & Google Freedom to Read Statement or the Policy on Confidentiality of Library Records on our Policies page. See? We're watching out for you.
Next week is Teen Read Week - it's a time to celebrate just how amazing teen literature is right now. It's kind of funny, but books written specifically for teens didn't always exist. After all, we didn't always recognize that there was a phase between childhood and being an adult. It was in the early 1800s that the term "young adult" was coined. And as we moved into the 20th century many novels written for adults appealed to these so-called young adults - Teen Read Week... let's be rock stars! Lord of the Flies, The Catcher in the Rye, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, and Lord of the Rings, but they weren't marketed or necessarily written with teen readers in mind.
It was in the 1980s that we first saw a strong push to write and print books for teens, with teen protagonists. And this was kind of a mixed bag. Writing for and about teens may be one of the hardest things to do - how do you capture the language and feelings of adolescence (ugh, what a blah word!) without sounding dated or like you're trying to hard? In the 90s, we saw a real boom in the teen lit market - because hey, teens do read! And they like to read about other teens, whether they're living in a fantasy world, traveling back in time, journeying amongst the stars, or right next door to us. Now we see adults and kids clamoring for teen books like The Hunger Games, The Ranger's Apprentice series, The Book Thief, Going Bovine, or The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian.
I'm a gamer, and I have been for most of my life. Puzzles, board games, pen & paper RPGs, CCGs, video games... I remember my mom setting up timers for me and my three siblings in an attempt to see we all got equal time gaming (and oh, the perils of finding a save point within our allotted time). For my sixth grade graduation, I received The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, which was replayed again and again and again. In college, I shared Final Fantasy VIII and Civilization with one of my roommates - FF8 resulted in another TV scheduling dilemma, between the two of us and the two other roommates who wanted to watch actual TV shows. Boo! Last month, I went to PAX Prime and basked in the sites, sounds, and smells of other gamers. It was awesome. Gamers solve AIDS puzzle
I think that, out of all the different types of patrons we get at the library, teens tend to be the most environmentally-conscious. I'm not saying that every teen we get is responsible with their recycling - I know I've spent my fair share of time picking up plastic bottles after the school crowd has left the library. But I think that, on the whole, they tend to be more aware of the different options out there for reducing waste and reusing items. They also have an eye for repurposing items. And so I thought it would be fun to share this video about about Theo Jansen's Strandbeest. Strandbeests: Beach creatures
Back in July, we had a geocaching program for teens, introducing many to a great hobby that combines technology with exercise. If you haven't heard of geocaching before, let me explain. A quick description would be that it's a high-tech treasure hunt. A longer description... well, I would suggestion watching this two minute video. International Geocaching Day Read more
A couple of years ago, I received what seemed like a fairly odd call from a patron. This person had found several of the library's books in a dumpster up in Seattle and had called out of concern that they might have been stolen. Sure enough, the books had been checked out and never returned. This is common enough, but to migrate up north and then wind up in a dumpster? And they were in like-new condition, which made it even more odd. I mean, the person who had checked them out was still linked to them, meaning they owed late fees and the cost of the books themselves, so why not save yourself some money and turn the books in if you're going to just throw them out? Stolen Superman found! What's hiding in your storage unit?
The good samaritan mailed them back to us and, after a quick cleaning, they were checked in. It's not the first time library books have had a roundabout journey back to us. We even had one paperback that had been found in an airport in the southwest and mailed back to us. But I get a kick out of these stories and it makes me think about all the traveling library materials must go through. Where have these books, movies, and CDs wandered to on people's summer vacations, family outings, and business trips?
I'm excited about the Hunger Games movies. I probably shouldn't be - I've been burned a little too often by books-turned-to-movies. And I'm most disappointed when books I loved turn out to be lackluster films, and my love for The Hunger Games movie - casting for Katniss The Hunger Games burns like a thousand fiery suns! Okay, fan-girl moment over.... So the latest news for the upcoming trilogy is that Katniss has finally been cast - just a couple of days ago Jennifer Lawrence of Winter's Bone won the role. Read more
Last weekend I attended Emerald City Comic Con. I'm a comic book geek. I love reading them, owning them, recommending them. It was fun to get to meet some of the artists and writers who have created characters and stories I've read throughout my life: Can comics be... dangerous? Doug TenNappel, Phil & Kaja Foglio, Mike Mignola, and Sergio Aragones, to name a few who were at the con. There was also the flood of people dressed up as their favorite characters: lots of Harlequins and Jokers, Captain Americas, and Ramona Flowers. Some of the more unusual costumes included Synergy from Jem, zombie nurses, and the Unstoppable Higgs.
It's easy to attend these conventions and revel in the costumes, the cool stuff to buy, and getting to meet the creators. This is the sort of place where you can see the influence of comics in how we read and entertain ourselves. It's also a good time to remind ourselves about the power comics can have over their readers. I was reminded of this again during the week when I read Steve Bennett's article on the world's most dangerous comic book, Martin Luther King and the Montgomery Story.