When the going gets tough. . .

24 11 2008

Wow, you think you have it rough? Apparently, when times are tough readers seem to enjoy books about adversity. At least that’s Erica S. Perl’s thinking. She’s the author of a recent article on slate.com about books to read in a financial downturn.

There are plenty of great ones, including

Bucking the Sarge, by Christopher Paul Curtis

Luther’s mother is a major scam artist who doesn’t mind dumping on her son or the indigents she is supposed to be caring for. Sad and funny, with memorable characters.

Lock and Key, by Sarah Dessen

Ruby’s alcoholic mother abandons her, and she winds up living with a married sister whom Ruby thinks also turned her back on her. Will she fit in to her new, upscale environment? Does being rich make you happy? Are outward appearances always true?

Hattie Big Sky, by Kirby Larson

An edgier “Little House on the Prairie”. . .Hattie is an orphan who nobody seems to want. When she inherits a homestead in Montana, she finds that her hitherto miserable life was nothing compared to the struggle she faces to hang on to her property. This may sound like a dull book, but Hattie’s battles with blizzards, wolves, and racists will keep you turning pages ’til the bitter end.

Brooklyn Bridge, by Karen Hesse

Joseph Michtom (rhymes with “victim“) should be happy–his family is no longer destitute since they’ve invented and begun manufacturing Teddy Bears. But life in turn-of-the-century Brooklyn is still plenty difficult for immigrants, and especially for those orphaned and abandoned children who live underneath the Brooklyn Bridge. Find out how their tormented lives intersect with Joseph’s in this fast-reading novel.

The Grapes of Wrath, by John Steinbeck

What, you haven’t read it? What are you waiting for? This is a classic tale of a family’s struggle to survive during the Great Depression.

The Jungle, by Upton Sinclair

This classic about a poor immigrant’s struggle to make a living in the meat-packing plants and stockyards of Chicago was an early wake-up call about unfair and dangerous working conditions. Graphic descriptions of the conditions under which its foods were being produced outraged Americans, who hastened to enact legislation that ensured safer foods, but not better conditions for the workers producing them. The author claimed that he had aimed at people’s hearts, but instead hit them in the stomach.

I Am the Messenger, by M. Zusak

An Australian teen helps thwart a bank robbery and then begins to receive mysterious messages about people he is supposed to help. To get the full impact of this Australian tale, try listening to the book on CD.

Need more recommendations for good reads? Come in and chat with a librarian! Remember, we’ve got movies, magazines, and manga to keep you going through the holidays!


November Coffee House: Coming right up!

12 11 2008

Don’t forget about the November coffee house/open mike night, scheduled for Thursday, November 20 at 7 p.m. Remember, you don’t have to perform to attend! Board games and refreshments will be available for those who’d rather just hang out. Questions? Call Jennifer Gillis@ (919) 774-6045.

Oh, and there’s no admission fee. . .no need to pre-register. . .just show up! See you on the 20th!

The Lee County Library–Just Get in Here!

22 10 2008

Only eight days left to sign up for “Fear Factor.” What??!! You haven’t heard about Fear Factor @ Lee County Library? This event for teens in grades 6 to 8 will be held on Thursday, October 30 from 7 to 8:30 p.m.

Do you have what it takes to make it all the way to the gross out table? Participants will munch their way through a series of disgusting treats in an effort to win the coveted Cruddy Cup.

You can bring your friends! Form a team! The event is free but you MUST register to participate. Call today!


AND. . .don’t forget. . .November Coffee House at the Lee County Library

Next coffee house will take place on Thursday, November 20 from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Come to perform or just hang out. Coffee house is for teens ages 14 to 18. There is no charge, refreshments are served, no need to register–just show up. For more information, call the library at (919) 774-6045.

Teen Read Week Kicks Off WrestleMania Reading Challenge!

9 10 2008

Area teens in grades 5 through 12 are invited to participate in Teen Read Week at the Lee County Library beginning Monday, October 13. Teen Read Week is sponsored by the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA). It takes place each year during the third week of October, and focuses on young adult literature.


This year, YALSA of the American Library Association has teamed up with World Wrestling Entertainment toextend Teen Read Week by creating the first-ever WrestleMania Reading Challenge. You can compete to earn prizes, including a trip to WrestleMania, and can also win money for their local libraries.          

All you have to do is read ten items between October 13 and January 15th, 2009 and keep track of them on a reading log. The items may include books, magazines, or graphic novels. Participants who turn in completed reading logs are eligible to design a bookmark to enter in the WrestleMania Reading Challenge. One winning bookmark from each grade level will be chosen, and the winners in each category will be entered in the national competition.


There is no cost for this event, and no registration is required. Pick up a reading log from the Lee County Library and browse our ever-expanding Young Adult collection. For more information, contact the Lee County Library at (919) 774-6045.

‘zines for teens at the Lee County Library

27 07 2008

Next time you’re in, check out our collection of magazines. Some that may be of interest:

[ those listed below are located with the adult mags in the main reading room]

Car and Driver

Rolling Stone


[those listed below are located in the young adult area, next to the adult fiction section]

Shonen Jump [our graphic novels are located here, too]

Skateboarding Magazine

Books with Bite: Teen Read Week 2008

27 07 2008

October 12–18 is teen read week at the library, and whaddya know? This year’s theme has a little vampire twist to it. So all of you Twilight fans have a corner on the market. But if you haven’t gotten into this area of fantasy books, here’s a bibliography [list] that can get you started.

Tantalize. Cynthia Smith. (2007). Cambridge, MA: Candlewick.

Vampires open a restaurant and begin to wreak havoc on the populace of

Austin, Texas.

Pet shop of horrors (vol. 1). Matsuri Akino. (2003). Los Angeles: Tokyopop.

A mysterious pet store owner sells strangely human-looking pets to people with “issues.” [graphic novel]

Moon phase. Keitaro Arima. (2000). Los Angeles: Tokyopop.

A curious photographer learns that a beautiful little girl is really a cantankerous

Vampire. [graphic novel]

*The Last Days: sequel to Peeps [see top reads post, below]

A rock band discovers a connection to the evil that appears to be taking over

New York City.

 Books about vampires and other weirdoes

Anderson, M.T. Thirsty. (1997). Cambridge, MA: Candlewick Press.

A teen vampire struggles with his thirst for blood and his desire to remain human.

Brooks, Max. The zombie survival guide. (2003). New York: Random House.

A “nonfiction” how-to for dealing with those pesky zombies.

Bunting, Eve. The presence. (2003). New York: Clarion Press.

A mysterious boy wants to help Catherine contact a friend who died in a car crash.

De la Cruz, M. Blue bloods. (2006). New York: Hyperion Press.

A high school in-crowd discovers the dark secret behind their wealth and

Social standing.

Koontz, D. Odd Thomas. (2003). New York: Bantam.

A short-order cook sees dead people. . .and other violent creatures.

Recommended Reads at Lee County Library

25 07 2008

These are some of my top reads of 2008. Have you read any of them? If so, let’s hear your thoughts. And let’s hear what some of YOUR top reads have been so far this year.

1. I am the messenger: Zusak

This is an amazing book about an ordinary kid who starts receiving orders to interact with certain people. There’s a woman who is being abused by her husband, a young girl who loves to run barefoot, a priest trying to keep his faltering congregation going. . .it sounds like it wouldn’t be interesting, but it’s just great! I recommend you listen to the audio version. The protagonist is Australian, so the accent really adds to the whole story. Give it a try and let’s hear what you think.

2. The Book Thief: Zusak again

This is not a new title (neither is I am the messenger), but it’s an award winner and well worth reading. The narrator of this story is Death, and after reading this book you’ll actually feel sorry for him. He’s had such a tough existence, especially during World War II when he was worked nearly. . .well. . .to death. This story takes you through the war inside Nazi Germany, where a young girl and her stepfather just want to live out normal lives in a crazy world. Oh, and did I mention that the girl likes to steal books? Even though the premise sounds like a comedy, this is a powerful story that had a profound impact on me. This is also a good one to listen to on CD.

3. Lock and Key: Dessen

Sarah Dessen writes realistic fiction about teens with problems, and they’re all believable. In this story, a high school girl whose mother has abandoned her has to start her life all over again in a new home with an estranged sister, a new school, and new friends. The author is great at describing quirky people with distinct personality traits. Also, Dessen’s characters are not “precious” and perfectly behaved–the stories she tells seem like events that are happening right now to people you know.

4. Peeps: Westerfeld

This tale of vampires in contemporary New York is so believable that you’ll find yourself looking twice at some of your friends. The author is great at fast-paced action and cliff-hanger chapter endings. Also, his dry humor keeps things from getting too ridiculous or scary. This book is a couple of years old but it’s a terrific thriller.

5. The Host: Meyer

Stephenie Meyer is best known for her block buster Vampire romance, the “Twilight” saga–and I’m a huge fan (see blogroll for links to her site). But her latest book is also compelling and well worth a read. In this story aliens have been taking control of society over a long period of time, and the few “true” humans left are in rebellion against the souls, as these aliens are known. When an alien inhabits a body whose consciousness refuses to give up, even after death, things get interesting. Readers will find some remnants of Bella in the protagonist of this story, even though the romance pales next to the incandescence of Edward Cullen. The author does a great job of describing a sort of post-apocalyptic life, and some of the encounters between humans and the “souls” are really gripping.