Blog Posts by Trixie

Posted by Trixie on 03/24/14
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I like to think that he saw me, the loosened ends of my long bandages and the wispy tangled curls of my hair reaching out to the wind, the skirt of my nightgown billowing in the melodic waves. I like to think that he watched as I climbed over the side of the rickety widow’s walk, my toes perched on the ledge, my fingers clasped lightly to the railing behind me. Perhaps he noted, with quiet irony, that never before had anyone more resembled an angel. I like to think that he marveled at the mass of bandages that unraveled completely and tumbled to the ground, and at the pair of pure white wings, large and strong, that unfolded from my shoulder blades.
 
The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender is about love: unrequited and impossible, elation, loss, and suffering; in the midst of it, a girl is born with wings. First, readers follow the relentless suffering of Ava's immigrant family over the course of three generations. This chronicle culminates in her birth. Set in 1950s Seattle, Ava's mother and grandmother shelter winged Ava from the community in order to protect her. However, as any blossoming teen, Ava longs to fit in with her peers. In this novel, Leslye Walton writes about a teenage girl's exploration of self and her place in an unexplored world.  
 
I absolutely LOVED this book! It’s beautifully written with incredible imagery. I felt as if I opened the book and walked right into the scenes described. Walton delivers a rich and full story that provides the context for Ava's plight; she weaves together stories across generations à la Marquez. I also adored the characters and was invested in their outcome. I liked the dark, traditional fairy tale/fable feel of the novel - sobbed at the end of it, but strangely hopeful and satisfied despite tragedy. If you like magical realism or emotional stories, this is a must read!
 
Posted by Trixie on 12/25/13
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Looking for a good book to keep you company while waiting to ring in the new year? Here's my top five for 2013 - all are great picks for teens and adults. Enjoy a cup of hot cocoa while you snuggle up with any of these reads! 
 
Set in a world where dragons and humans live in harmony, Serphina finds herself in the middle of a mystery that threatens their coexistence. It starts out kind of slow, but persevere. It’s well worth it!
 
In Sussex, England, a middle-aged man returns to the town that he grew up in and is flooded by dark and mysterious memories from his childhood. Beautifully written and a magical, fantastical story - love Neil Gaiman and LOVED this book!
 
Juxtaposing the lives and backgrounds of silent movie star Louise Brooks and Cora Carlisle, her chaperone on a trip from Wichita to New York, it examines the characters' sense of self - how their experiences and actions shaped their outcome. Well written and researched, I highly recommend it!
 
This book explores the tension between new technology and old, digital versus print, working out a problem longhand instead of relying on computer assistance. Clay, his friends, and Google through employee Kat try to help Mr. Penumbra solve an age-old mystery using modern technology. This is a quick read, definitely worth checking out…AND the cover glows in the dark!
 
An expressive novel set during World War II, Verity a secret agent is captured by the Gestapo and “convinced” to reveal her mission. As her intricate story unfolds, readers are left to wonder whether her detailed confession will be enough to save her life. Wein weaves a beautiful tale of desperation, courage, and friendship. The novel is written in journal-style from Verity’s and her pilot friend Kittyhawk’s points of view. Through these characters’ perilous journeys, readers experience the heartache and anxiety of friends and family separated during wartime.
 
Posted by Trixie on 10/22/13
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All of you Walking Dead fans get your zombie fix throughout the year, but for those who prefer to save zombies for the month of October, I’ve got a great book and new movie for you: Issac Marion’s Warm Bodies.

Warm Bodies is a hilarious retelling of the classic Romeo and Juliet love story. R, zombie protagonist, is an endearing, likeable character. His narration, which is mostly through thoughts since his zombie speaking skills are lacking, is genuine and poignant. Readers get an honest view of what's on his mind, his feelings of loss and longing. Julie, daughter of the general tasked with keeping the living safe from the undead, serves as a perfect foil. She is fearless, not afraid to speak her mind and even challenges her father when they disagree. Marion tells an unlikely zombie tale, one where the “happy ending” doesn’t involve extermination of the undead.

What’s the verdict? The book is way better than the movie! Don’t get me wrong: Jonathan Levine did a great job on the screenplay and direction. It’s just tough to translate a book mostly narrated through zombie thoughts into a film. The sweet and quirky qualities of the book come across as hokey in the movie. Levine does capture the spirit of the book and presents an uncommon zombie story.

If you’re looking for a heartwarming story, creative/unique zombie tale, or enjoy classic retellings, Warm Bodies is for you! The movie is worth checking out, but the book is where it’s at!

Not enough zombies in your life? The Hub is celebrating Zombie October. Stop in and join us for one or all of our zombie-themed activities!
 
Posted by Trixie on 09/24/13
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I am the second Antone Bazil Coutts, but I’d fight anyone who put a junior in the back of my name. Or a number. Or called me Bazil. I’d decided I was Joe when I was six. When I was eight, I realized that I’d chosen the name of my great-grandfather, Joseph. I knew him mainly as the author of inscriptions in books with amber pages and dry leather bindings. He’d passed down several shelves of these antiquities. I resented the fact that I didn’t have a brand-new name to distinguish me from the tedious Coutts line – responsible, upright, even offhandedly heroic men who drank quietly, smoked an occasional cigar, drove a sensible car, and only showed their mettle by marrying smarter women. I saw myself as different, though I didn’t know how yet.

Louise Erdrich’s The Round House tells the story of a Native American family living on a North Dakota reservation and their coping with the aftermath of trauma. Thirteen-year-old Joe narrates the events following the attack of his mother. The details of the attack are slow to emerge due to the stress his mother has endured and her unwillingness to reveal her attacker out of fear and complex circumstances uncovered throughout the novel. Joe and his crew of friends work to solve the mystery of who attacked his mother and why, hoping to feel a sense of justice and bring normalcy back to the Coutts family.

The Round House can be read in different ways. On the surface, it’s a page-turner about a terrible crime: sorting out the turn of events and uncovering evidence, identifying the criminal and bringing him to justice. It also provides insight into Native American reservation life. It highlights the strife between the Ojibwe and the surrounding white residents as well as the often unjust outcome of crimes that occur on reservation land due to jurisdictional confusion. Lastly, it’s a coming-of-age story. Joe is thirteen and is suddenly thrust into the adult world. Through his narration, readers experience his struggle with grownup issues like assault, criminal justice, and rebuilding after trauma while exploring the bonds of friendship, sense of self, sexuality, and experimentation with alcohol. Erdrich crafts a superb cast of characters, a rich cultural history, and colorful imagery to deliver a riveting tale. Those with a faint heart, beware. There is graphic content in this National Book Award and YALSA Alex Award winner.

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