Posted by emather on 12.09.13

 
 
Now that it's all snowy and wintery outside, my very favorite thing to do is to light a fire (preferably in a fireplace) and cuddle up under a blanket with a warm drink and (most important ingredient) a good book.  My favorite books to do this with are often fantasies or science fiction (The Dark is Rising, The Magicians, and A Wrinkle in Time are perfect examples.) I really enjoy anything long and involved with a completely unique world that I can get completely lost in.  (Even better if the unique world exists just beneath our own reality.)  It's super-extra fun if the book takes place in winter. (Think along the lines of City of Thieves, Blankets, and The Golden Compass.) That way, I can feel all lucky and superior to the characters freezing their tails off.
 
In addition to the books posted here, we’ve got a display in the HUB of more “Books to Keep You Warm.” Come in and grab some great titles to take home and make your own magical toasty story cocoon.  You’ll just need to provide your own fire, blanket, and cocoa/cider/coffee.
 
How about all of you?  What books keep you warm when the snow is falling all around? Keep the convo going on our Facebook page, send us a Tweet, or just stop by the HUB to chat books.




Posted by emather on 11.18.13

This past Saturday, people all over the world celebrated International Gaming Day, and we had our own fun in the HUB.  We had a mini-Mario Kart tournament and a passport guide that steered us through an insane amount of classic and modern board games.  A big congratulations to Mason M., who won the Mario Kart tournament, and Rosy W., who won our prize drawing of completed passports.  Check out all the fun bellow!
gaming, programs




Posted by emather on 10.21.13

"I love you," he said.
She looked up at him, her eyes shiny and black, then looked away. "I know," she said.
He pulled one of his arms out from under her and traced her outline against the couch. he could spend all day like this, running his hand down her ribs, into her waist, out to her hips and back again...If he had all day, he would. If she weren't made of so many other miracles.
"You know?" he repeated. She smiled, so he kissed her. "You're not the Han Solo in this relationship, you know."
"I'm totally the Han Solo," she whispered. It was good to hear her. It was good to remember it was Eleanor under all this new flesh.
"Well, I"m not the Princess Leia," he said.
"Don't get so hung up on gender roles," Eleanor said.
 
Eleanor is a smart but shy outcast, struggling with enough personal and family problems to fill three after-school specials, the least of which is starting a new school. Park’s issues are less dramatic, but he still struggles with fitting in and getting along with his parents.  The two are forced to sit together on the bus, and end up bonding over comics, music, and a dislike for the idiots who also ride their bus.  Soon they form an unlikely friendship, and eventually a romantic relationship blossoms, though not without ever-growing complications.

Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell is a romance for people who don’t like romances.  (It’s still really good if you like romances, too.)  The novel boasts funny-but-realistic dialog and incredibly likeable characters.  The two narrators are so three-dimensional that you feel you’ve known them for years; it’s less like reading a romance and closer to simply watching two good friends discover how cool and amazing you already know they each are. On top of that, it features some of the steamiest hand-holding scenes put to paper. Seriously, it’s like the Fifty Shades of Grey of holding hands. (If you really think about it, though, holding hands is pretty steamy if you really like the hand you’re holding.)
 
The novel deals with issues of bullying and difficult family circumstances in very honest and direct ways, with all of the tough language and mature situations that those entail.  Because of this frankness, the book and its author garnered some extra attention last month, facing challenges in a Minnesota school district which ironically enough became news during Banned Books Week. It’s this honesty that makes the book so refreshing, though.  It’s the ability of Eleanor & Park (both the book and characters) to find happiness and connection in the midst of all the ugliness that life can throw at us that lifts the book above standard romantic cliché and become something simultaneously funny, honest, and beautifully life-affirming.
 




Posted by emather on 09.30.13

Last week was Banned Books Week, where people all over this great land of ours oppose censorship and celebrate intellectual freedom and the right to read. It's really one of our favorite weeks of the year, and we kind of couldn't shut up about it: we wrote about it on our blog AND read some hilarious/terrifying stories of book-bannings both past and present.
 
We also took to Instagram to share "mugshots" of the HUB staff with their favorite banned books:
 
 
Speaking of Instagram, we had some amazing submissions for our two social media contests.  Check out this winning review of a banned book we received on Twitter:
 
 
 
And maybe our favorite thing from this past week is the BBW-themed Instagram submission celebrating intellectual freedom from AH teen Delia L.:
 
 
Congratulations to both winners!  Swing by the HUB any time to pick up your prizes.
 
All in all, it was a great Banned Books Week (except for, ya know, all those books getting banned). So keep exercising your independence, and fight the system by reading banned books.  (For some reason, that really irritates the system.  We're still not sure why.)




Posted by emather on 09.16.13

 
 
 
“Grown-ups don't look like grown-ups on the inside either. Outside, they're big and thoughtless and they always know what they're doing. Inside, they look just like they always have. Like they did when they were your age. Truth is, there aren't any grown-ups. Not one, in the whole wide world.”
 
 
The Ocean at the End of the Lane is the newest book from acclaimed author Neil Gaiman (the Sandman comics, The Graveyard Book, Coraline, American Gods, two of the very best episodes of Doctor Who, and a zillion more awesome things). It is told in the form of a flashback, where the narrator (never named in the book) sits and remembers incidents from his childhood that had been long forgotten. He recalls an adventure he had after meeting his neighbor, Lettie Hempstock, who claimed that the pond behind her house was in fact an ocean.  Lettie, along with her mother and grandmother, while loving and welcoming, are also magical and mysterious (like the body of water in their backyard).  They lead the seven-year-old narrator on an adventure that begins wondrous and enchanting, but becomes increasingly fraught with peril and foreboding.  Soon, his life, family, and in fact all of existence become endangered.

Gaiman’s narrator, a major bookworm, explains of his preference for myths over tales of other sorts: “They weren’t adult stories and they weren’t children stories. They were better than that. They just were.” Gaiman has written books for the very young and books for adults, but all have an almost timeless and ageless quality to them, and Ocean is no different. At under 200 pages, the book is a quick read, and while it’s currently marketed for adults, it’s perfect for teens.  In fact, it’s perfect for anyone who’s searching for a fantasy book filled with the requisite magic and monsters, a story where terrifying beasties intrude on the quiet English countryside, or those looking to relive their childhood while realizing that you never really can, and probably shouldn’t.




Posted by emather on 09.03.13

Banned Books Week, September 22-28, 2013
 
In honor of Banned Books Week, we are celebrating our intellectual freedom by having TWO social media contests during the month of September.
 
FIRST CONTEST!
 
Tweet us @Hub500 a review of a banned or challenged book and Tag it #Hub500BBW. You can read a brand new banned or challenged book, or one you've read before.  (I promise you've read at least one before; here are several frighteningly long lists...and they are nowhere near complete!).
 
SECOND CONTEST!
 
Post a photo to Instagram promoting intellectual liberty and the freedom to read.  Make sure to mention us (@hub500) and tag it #Hub500BBW.
 
The winner of each contest will be announced September 27th.  
 
So think freely, get creative, and READ BANNED BOOKS!