Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Witchy Reads: Tiffany Aching Series by Terry Pratchett

Are you looking for something to read that is Halloween adjacent? I'm all for a good scary book, however sometimes I like to be able to sleep without a night light...and I do like to sleep, not stay awake all night waiting for the monsters to come.

Then I present to you a very spooky series that doesn't take it's self it too seriously: The Tiffany Aching Series by Terry Pratchett. This six book series is part of the larger Discwold series, but can be read alone, and even out of order!

Tiffany is a young witch, who doesn't often use magic. When her brother was taken away by the Queen of the Faeries it is her job to rescue them, armed with nothing but an iron pan and some of the brave Nac Mac Feegles, a tribe of blue people who live in the hillside. Over the course of 6 books she grows up, and makes all kinds of mischief, including making Winter fall in love with her, in my favorite of the series, Wintersmith.

Fans of fantasy with a bit of humor will find a lot to love is these off beat books. Tiffany is a hero, however she still makes mistakes, and always finds her way out of all sorts of trouble. Also, if you can find these in audio they are brilliant to listen to as well!

First book in the series is the Wee Free Men, so if you are looking for a book about a good kind of witch who is not quite scary, check it out!

I'll see you @ the library!

Friday, October 21, 2016

Book Reviews Re-Visited: This Dark Endeavor by Kenneth Oppel

Back in 2011 we reviewed the book This Dark Endeavor by Kenneth Oppel, with Halloween quickly approaching, now is a good time to revisit this origins story for Dr. Frankenstein. This book review was originally posted on October 25, 2011 and written by Megan.

When twins Victor and Konrad Frankenstein and their beautiful cousin, Elizabeth, stumble upon a secret library full of ancient alchemy texts hidden deep beneath their Lake Geneva chateau, it is only the beginning.  The dusty volumes call to a fiery passion lying deep with Victor.  Though their father, a powerful magister, forbids his sons and niece to have anything more to do with what he declares to be a corruption a knowledge, Victor cannot rid himself of his obsession with the Dark Library and its ancient alchemical secrets.

When Korad falls deathly ill with a mysterious illness no doctor can cure, Victor will do anything to cure his brother - including defy his father's wishes.  Desperate, he convinces Elizabeth and their friend Henry to accompany him to the Dark Library at midnight.  There, they find a recipe for Vita Elixir - the Elixir of Life.   Written in the Alphabet of the Magi, it is untranslatable except by an alchemist.  But with the practise of alchemy forbidden (by Victor's father) in Geneva, it will be some trick in finding one.

After eavesdropping on a conversation between his mother and Maria, one of the servants, Victor discovers that exiled alchemist Julius Polidori may still be in the city.  Desperate for a cure, Victor sets out the next morning with Elizabeth and Henry to seek Polidori.  When they find the man, he agrees to help them with the translation.  Slowly, the rare and dangerous ingredients to the Elixir of Life are revealed, and Victor, with the help of his friends, sets out on a quest for life and power filled with darkness, danger, and death.

For fans of The Monstrumologist, Gothic horror, tales of alchemy, and Kenneth Oppel's Airborn series, this prequel to Mary Shelley's Frankenstein is a dark, eerie adventure full of very scary things that go bump in the night.  Young Victor Frankenstein is ambiguously creepy - though he narrates the events, you are never quite sure of his motivations.  Jealous of his twin's charismatic ease, intelligence, and especially of his and Elizabeth's passionate affection for one other, it is never clear if Victor desires the Elixir for love of his brother - or for love of fame, power and glory.  Light a few candles on a dark and stormy night and curl up with this hair-raising, spooky read that's perfect for Halloween!


Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Friday Fun: October 21st, 2016 3:30-5:30 PM

It's time for Friday Fun again! This is the time where teens can come to the library, have snacks and hang out and play games. We'll put out coloring things too, for those of you who may be more artistic!

Like all Friday Fun events, this one is open to teens (students in grades 6-12 or ages 12-18) who live in Milwaukee County.

I'll see you @ the library!

Monday, October 17, 2016

Boo-kish Distractions: October #2

It's almost a month until Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them comes out in movie theaters, and they are already announcing more movies in the series? According to J.K. Rowling herself there will be four more movies in the same world. (

Here's some more awesome Harry Potter news, Ithaca New York will become Hogwarts from October 28th to the 30th. So now would be a great time to plan college visits to Cornell or Ithaca University. Who wouldn't want to go to college in such a pro-Harry Potter town? (Huffington Post)

If you aren't prone to travel and 5 movies into to the future is too much, here's a list of all the spells in Harry Potter and how often they are used, by book. This might come in handy for interactive Harry Potter movie night November 15th, were you will be casting spells along with the characters! (Mashable)

In non-Harry Potter news, here's a list of books from the 90's you should read. There is a ton of great YA or YA adjacent books, comics and poetry on the list, some of my favorites include Holes by Louis Sacher, The Golden Compass by Phillip Pullman and Weetize Bat by Francesca Lia Block. If you are looking for short stories the collections by Lorrie Moore (Birds of America) and Sherman Alexie (Tonto and the Lone Ranger Fistfight in Heaven) are both things I read and loved in college! (BookRiot)

I'll see you @ the library!

PS- Friday Fun is this Friday, October 21st!

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Teen Read Week!

Did you know that it is Teen Read Week? Every year libraries across the country celebrate all the great books that are published just for teens!

One of the many things you can do is Vote for the Teens Top Ten over at ALA. This is short list of titles where you choose the ten best books. Don't worry if you haven't read them all, find a few you have and share the love!

If you are looking for some awesome teen books to read, look no further than the library! Our teen space has tons of titles just for teens! I've even pulled a special display right in front of the reference desk of some of the best teen titles I've read...or want to read!

Want a bit more guidance? Check out this list from Book Riot of 100 Teen books where romance is not the main point of the book.

Stop by the library this weekend to check out some teen books and celebrate Teen Read Week!

I'll see you @ the library!

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Haunted Gingerbread Houses: October 13th, 6:30 PM

The weather outside is... frightful? But the library is so...frightful? And if you have no place to go, come to the library on Thursday night to make a Haunted Gingerbread House!

We have tons of candy, and building materials to make the Spookiest Gingerbread House ever. All you need to do is bring a bit of inspiration! We'll show a spooky Christmas movie to help figure out what kind of spooky house you want to make.

This event is for Teens and Tweens, or students in grades 4-12/ ages 8-18, who live in Milwaukee County.

I'll see you @ the library!

Friday, October 7, 2016

Bookish Distractions: October Edition

Happy Friday! This has been a busy week at the library, and I am still recovering from Mean Girls on Tuesday and the Laurie Halse Anderson visit on Wednesday! Don't worry the month of all the things continues with 2 more teen programs: Haunted Gingerbread Houses on October 13th and Friday Fun on the 21st.

While I'm recovering from all the events, here are some bookish things from the Internet:

Here are 131 YA books that come out in October-December this year. I'm not going to lie, I didn't even read the whole list...but if you are looking for new books it's a place to start! (Book Riot)

Harry Potter fans have a lot to celebrate this fall, first off Fantastic Beasts opens next month, and in anticipation you can see all 8 Harry Potter movies in IMAX! Okay, it's for one week, and that's a lot of time, but it's Harry Potter, right? (Hollywood Reporter)

For those of you short on the time and funds to see the movies in IMAX, you can check out this list of tweets Harry Potter fans have written in response to people who just don't get it. (Buzzfeed)

And tangentially related to Harry Potter, here are some stills of the new Beauty and the Beast movie featuring Emma Watson as Belle. (io9)

For those of you who are 18 and ready to vote, here are some YA authors talking about their first time voting. Even better, check out the Rock the Vote page for more authors/ people and find out what you need to do to vote! (Epic Reads)

I'll see you @ the library,

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Next Week: Haunted Gingerbread Houses

Thursday October 13th, at 6:30 PM get ready to make the spookiest (and most delicious) gingerbread house you can think of! We have all the supplies you need to make a creepy house, decorated with all kinds of scary things! All you need to do is bring inspiration!

This events is open to teens and tweens living in Milwaukee County, so you need to be in at least third grade to come (but not out of high school yet). We are going to show a movie that borrows from Halloween and Christmas just like the event so you have some inspiration for your house!

I'll see you @ the library,

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Laurie Halse Anderson: October 5th, 2016 6:30 PM

Today is the day! You can come to the West Allis Public Library and hear author Laurie Halse Anderson speak and even buy her new book Ashes!

The event starts at 6:30 PM, and is in the main part of the library, near the teen space. Boswell Book Co. will have books available for purchase, and Laurie will be signing books after her presentation.

I'll see you @ the library!

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Count Down to Laurie Halse Anderson: 1 Day

Are you ready for a visit from Laurie Halse Anderson? It's tomorrow! (October 5th, 6:30 PM)

Check out the review I wrote way back in 2009 for the book Wintergirls:

Lia and Cassie are (were) best friends.

Lia and Cassie were not the smartest/ prettiest/ best girls in their class, but they were the thinnest.

And now Cassie is dead.

Wintergirls is a story of a broken girl, in a broken family who has a very broken relationship with food. While Lia has been in and out of treatment for her issues with food, she still struggles with food. Things for Lia will not go back to "before" when her parents lived together, when she was a "real girl".

It is hard to talk about Wintergirls without trivializing the story. What could just be another book about anorexia ends up being a lyrical internal struggle one girl has. Laurie Halse Anderson writes the story in a way that you feel as conflicted as Lia: Should she have called Cassie? Should she drink the hot cocoa? Should she listen to her mom? Should she keep going to the next goal on the scale?

While this is not one of those "nice" stories, I think that most readers will agree it is a powerful story about ghosts that we hold onto, and how those ghosts might be more powerful that what is real.

Originally Posted 4/17/2009