Monday, February 24, 2014

The Magicians

Quentin Coldwater, as his name might suggest, is not happy with his lot.  When Lev Grossman’s novel The Magicians begins, he is on his way to an interview with a Princeton alumnus as part of his application process.  He is with his two best friends, also gifted and talented, but more bonded to each other than they are to him.  Nothing, that day or at any other time in this novel, goes as he expected.  He does not find exactly happiness, at least not lasting happiness, but he finds a lot of other things he never expected to see.  And he doesn’t go Princeton. 

I’ve heard The Magicians described as Hogwarts for grown-ups.  I don’t know that I would agree with that.  It is certainly full of magic and learning.  If you like it as much as I did, you'll want to read the sequel, The Magician King, also available at Peter White Public Library, and the third book, The Magicians' Land, which will be available at PWPL when it comes out in August. 

~E.M. Reference Department

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Counting by 7s by Holly Goldberg Sloan

What is life like when you think on a different plane than anyone else your age, focusing on the small details around you while compiling them all into a larger picture of the world? You can count by 7's.

This is Willow Chance's world until her parents are killed in a car crash and she's left in the care of five very different people who try to make her life manageable. However, they all have challenges of their own to overcome, which makes them all the more interesting. There's a guidance counselor lacking in self-esteem, an industrious Vietnamese family living in poverty, and a taxi driver who dreams of going to college. One of the side plots involves Willow's penchant for gardening which highlights the personalities of the leading characters based on their approaches to the planting process.

Sloan has delivered a unique story that will delight and inspire middle school readers.


Friday, February 14, 2014

Exclamation Mark by Amy Krouse Rosenthal

Look beyond the minimalist cover to Tom Lichtenheld’s brilliant characterization of the exclamation mark, all illustrated on elementary school penmanship paper. With the help of question mark, and very clever dialogue, exclamation mark finds purpose on the page and joins in the conversation. Educators will enjoy reading this story aloud and spinning off into a mini-lesson on punctuation.

~Lynette Suckow

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Literary Knits

I love to knit. Recently I discovered two new types of knitting that might interest other knitters in Marquette. One is called arm knitting. Rather than using needles with yarn to create scarves, hats and lap throws, the knitter uses his/her own arms to “knit” yarn into an item. The other type, yarnbombing, is more fine art. For those knitters and readers of this column who don’t know this type of knitting, yarnbombing is a term for graffiti knitting. Visualize a tree trunk wrapped in lights at Christmas; that’s the same colorful look presented when one knits graffiti for that same tree, or a light pole, sign post, or whatever item needs a bit of color in today’s stark, urban environments like Houston, TX where it began. Knitters do similar knitting when we create clothing or accessories; we create colorful decoration for our loved ones or ourselves.

Try out Literary knits: 30 patterns inspired by favorite books, written by Nikol Lohr, who blends her love of classic literature and knitting to create some fresh new projects. The book’s patterns are designed  for intermediate knitters, but the detail is explained with excellent photographs if a knitter needs help to complete. Among the lovely patterns are two different mitten patterns based on what might have been knitted by Marmee for Jo or Meg from the book Little Women, a cloche hat inspired by the ladies of The Great Gatsby, shawl patterns influenced by those worn by Emma and Jane Eyre and many other projects for the entire family.


Monday, February 3, 2014

Cold weather escapes

Reading can provide an escape from this biting cold weather gripping the UP. Local resident and award-winning author, John Smolens knows cold and that single word is the title of his book about a prisoner who escapes during a snow storm. Cold captures the lives of six people who face love, greed and the promise of a last chance set against the unforgiving terrain of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

One of my favorite authors, mystery writer Steve Hamilton uses UP weather like a character in his Alex McKnight novels set in Paradise, Michigan. Hamilton’s A Cold Day in Paradise is the first book in this series of mysteries featuring a retired cop turned reluctant private eye. Is Alex imagining things, or is the man who shot him and killed his partner on the loose and stalking him?

Warm up with a good book from the library.

~Pam Christensen