The "Novel" Young Adult

Changing perspectives on reading Classic Literature and other genres

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Conversation Starter--Is the Library Just an Illusion?

Recently, in my class I gave an essay test with a prompt asking them to pose an argument on the role of public libraries for the Internet age, as advancements in technology continue. My avid readers voiced that public libraries will always have a role, as a they are good places to find quiet and a printed book, with some mentioning the technology and e-book services offered at some libraries. For my students who are not avid readers, but casual or only if you force them to read kind of readers, painted a similar picture of a place for quiet and tons of books, they voiced that they are no longer needed as you can get everything through your computer/phone for information and entertainment. After all, who reads a printed book these days?

As I graded them I found myself struck with devistation, all types of readers in my class painted a similar picture for libraries. An instution that houses information in print form, where people can find quiet. They even depicted their school library the same way, when we very recently just opened it, and it is a far cry from the library of my high school day. Outlets, views, some stacks are out in the general circulation, mostly fiction, with some non-fiction, however there is more space for collaboration, meeting up, hanging out with friends, plug into cyberspace, using smart tech to advance your learning and/or entertainment experience, and the non-fiction collection are housed in the back in reference stacks, accessible only to the librarian and clerical staff, which makes more space for students to congregate, or find a space for quiet reflection. Its a mixture of the traditional library and the Techy age. So, I asked myself, why do students...scratch that. Why does the general population see the library as a place to keep quiet and find old books?

The answer my friend is complexly simple, we have portrayed it this way. We have created an illusion that to have knowledge is to be among the highest of men and women, whom thrive on philosophy and wisdom. However, today is not so much about wisdom and more about experience. Technological advancements have given us another way to experience the world around us. It can disconnect or reconnect us with people and/or nature, depending on the experience we desire. Yet, even as technology advances, we still see in our media, news, and entertianment a contemplation of the by-gone era where libraries meant knowledge and with that knowledge you gained prestige. Knowledge does not necessarily mean prestige, as I have a myriad of knowledge about the Harry Potter Canon, but it doesn't mean I should have my Ph.D. in Wizard Litrature.

Although the library was meant to provide a central location of diverse and abundant information for the public and/or academics of the world, its central purpose was to create open access to information. Many areas today consist of a low income population, where ensuring food is on the table is more important than wi-fi or the newest tech, so where do they get their information? Furthermore, ever wonder where your club can meet and enjoy fellowship with each other without bombarding someone at their home, libraries often host organization meetings and events. Book signings, workshops, classes, and so much more goes on at the library.

Yes, every library has the wonderous shelves, filled with the traditional ancient texts of Shakespeare, Shelley, Rowling, Patterson, and more. You can breathe in the melodious scents of the printed page and curl up in a corner of peace and quiet. However, do not be drawn into the illusion that this is all the library has to offer. It provides safe sanctuary to many people for many different reasons. It may be the age of technology, but it is also the age of connection. Just go to you local library and ask the librarian, "How can I connect to my world?"

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Let's BookTalk: Jennifer Donnelly's Lost in a Book

So, we all know the story of Beauty and the Beast. Belle, a strong and intelligent young woman from a French village, takes her father’s place as a prisoner at the castle of the Beast, a vapid prince who was cursed by an enchantress. They fall in love, go through conflict, overcome the conflict, and then live happily ever after.

Jennifer Donnelly’s Lost in a Book, tells the story of what happened while Belle was a “prisoner” of the Beast, as well as gives us a glimpse of why the enchantress cursed the peace and who she really is.

“Reading became my sanctuary,” Belle continued. “I found so much in those books. I found histories that inspired me. Poems that delighted me. Novels that challenged me…” Belle paused, suddenly self-conscious. She looked down at her hands, and in a wistful voice, said, “What I really found, though, was myself.” (p. 19)

After the Beast gives Belle the library and all its collection, Belle discovers a book within the library that shows her a world of adventure, knowledge, and freedom. However, the enchantress who created the book, Madame …, is more than she seems.

Love and Death are in a competition that has gone on since the beginning of time. Love, believes the Beast can be saved and that Belle will be the one who saves him, through love. Death, knows she is all powerful, because sooner or later, everyone journeys with death. And so, Belle and Beast are caught in the middle of the ongoing game of Love versus Death.

“Love is not for cowards.” (p. 111)

“Something There" from Disney's Beauty and the Beast

Friday, June 9, 2017

Let's Booktalk: Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me (And Other Concerns) by Mindy Kaling

Book cover taken from

“If I’m at a party where I’m not enjoying myself, I will put some cookies in my jacket pocket and leave without saying good-bye.” from Mindy Kaling's Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns)

Sometimes you just need to have a conversation with yourself about where you fit in, in your life. Other times you need to share your revelations about what you've learned from trying to fit in and make it in this world.

Mindy Kaling is a writer, actress, comedian, daughter, and so much more. Or at least that is what she shows you throughout her memoir regarding growing up, trying to make it as a comedian in the "Big Apple," and dealing with the monster that is fame.

Giving us nuggets of truth and morsels of comedy that only the reality that is life can bring you, Mindy takes the reader on a journey through snippets of her life whether she comes off as a bad ass or the poster child for the definition of "awkward".

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Let's Booktalk: Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl

Book cover taken from
Beautiful Creatures is about a sixteen year old boy that has always thought he was different from others, but he still has a decent amount of friends.

Ethan Wate is from Gatin, South Carolina. He really dislikes the town and wants to move away. Lately he has been having dreams about this creature, well more like human, but he dreams of her like someone who is different from any other person in the world.

Lena Duchannes is also a very different girl. She has different traits, or let's just say she is unique. Lena also dreams about a guy who is different. Well, Lena had to move to Gatin with her uncle. After she moved and started school, she observed everyone. And, BOOM! She saw the guy she's been seeing in her dreams, his name was Ethan Wate. Yes! The boy that also has been dreaming about a girl, Lena.

Well they met in a class, but Lena had people talking about her because of her family. They were saying her family were freaks or devil worshipers. What they didn't know is that what they were saying was half true. They were just starting to gossip and being jerks. But, Lena's family weren't devil worshipers or freaks, they were so much more.

Ethan and Lena finally met in a road where her car broke down and Ethan saw her there, offering her a ride home. When they got to her house, Lena's uncle came out and kicked Ethan off of the property without so much as touching him. Lena was told to get into the house. Her uncle said she was not aloud to ever see or talk to Ethan again, but she didn't understand why. Ethan, who had never done anything to the uncle didn't understand why. He never did anything bad and he was a really good kid. It wasn't until their live's changed and their paths united that they without knowing...

Well, let's just say without each other, the world itself could be ruled by darkness.

Booktalk written by Alexis Cano

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Let's Booktalk: Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad

“I don't like work--no man does--but I like what is in the work--the chance to find yourself. Your own reality--for yourself not for others--what no other man can ever know. They can only see the mere show, and never can tell what it really means.” from Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness

Marlow is a man of philosophy, skepticism and independence. As such he craves escape within his employment that will take him away from the mundane life amidst "civilized" society. So, when he is hired to be captain of a crew bound to enter the heart of the Congo he believes he has found what he wants. Yet, he becomes infatuated with the idea of the man Kurtz. Kurtz is the object of his exploration, as he is to deliver aid to a man who is overcome with illness. But is it a sickness of the body or of the mind?

Kurtz is the chief of the central station, however he has fallen ill from some sort of disease. He is known to be a man of artistic talent, but he has the power to bend men's wills in order to follow him. He is also a conspirator against his employers, and perhaps more. 

Is Kurtz's ability and prowess what has caused his illness and hunger for power? Or, has the illness caused this great man to become a representation of darkness itself? Can Marlow put a stop to the man he has come to admire? Or will he join him?

Apocalypse Now, a film by Francis Ford Coppola (1979) 
and based on Conrad's novel.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Let’s Booktalk: Dreadfully Ever After by Steve Hockensmith

Four years after their union, Darcy and Elizabeth are in marital bliss. They go for walks together, visit family and friends together, decapitate flesh eating zombies together, just your typical couple stuff. Things take a turn for the worse though when Darcy becomes infected with the unmentionable decease, and Lizzy is forced to enlist the help of Darcy’s aunt.

The deal. Aunt Catherine will only help Darcy if Lizzy agrees to never see him again. The dilemma. Darcy awakes to find his wife gone on the hunt for the cure, and his infected cousin trying to seduce him. The truth. Zombies love to eat brains.

What will fate bestow upon our two lovers? Can there be a happily ever after, even when your undead? Or, is it best to just chop your head off?

 Get your nerd on!!! Think zombie preparedness is just a pop culture fad? Think again, the CDC takes it seriously because it is more than just preparing for a zombie apocalypse. Check out the CDC!

Let’s Booktalk: Confessions of a Murder Suspect by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro

“Are you familiar with the phrase unreliable narrator? Maybe from English-lit class? It’s when the storyteller might not be worthy of your trust. In fact, the storyteller might be a complete liar. So given what I just said, you’re probably wondering: Is that me?”

A person could say the Angel family name was a false advertisement, which may be why the Angel children are suspected of murdering their parents.

Tandy was roused from sleep by the buzzer of her family’s apartment located on Dakota near Central Park in New York City. The police were waiting to be let in for some reason, and all she knew was that if they didn’t quiet down her parents would be mad for having been disturbed. But, then a horrifying reality ensued when she found out that her parents were dead and the police were looking to set up one of the Angel children with the murder.

Tandy along with the help from her siblings will find the terrible truth of their parents death, and what it means to be an Angel.

Let’s Booktalk: Trouble Maker, a Barnaby and Hooker graphic novel by Janet & Alex Evanovich

“For the record, I didn’t kill the guy I just found him.”

Alex Barnaby, Barney to most, is a blonde bombshell racecar mechanic living in Miami. Sam Hooker is a sexy racecar driver that knows how to push her buttons. Together with their Saint Bernard dog Beans, they will find themselves facing down a whole lot of trouble as they work to save a friend, find buried treasure, and avoid being cursed by a voodoo priest.

Rosa and Felicia are Barney’s good friends, but even good friends know how to get you in trouble. Rosa has been kidnapped for reasons unknown, and Felicia enlists Barney’s help. Hooker comes along for the ride, how much trouble can they get into anyways? But when a woman is carrying a bazooka you can expect trouble.

“I prefer the term ‘Bazooka.’ If things start to go bad with Nitro, one shot from the old equalizer here will change his mind fast.”

Let’s Booktalk: Sense and Sensibilty and Sea Monsters by Jane Austen and Ben H. Winters

After losing their father, the Dashwood sisters and their mother find themselves in need of new living quarters, as they cannot inherit the house or money left by their father. Sea monsters though can make finding suitable living quarters difficult, not to mention they do cramp a girl’s style when it comes to looking for romance.

England’s greatest triumph, the Submarine Station Beta. A dome structure located in the deep sea of the English channel, where the good citizens of England can live in harmony and safety from sea monsters. But it does not protect the Dashwood sisters from the pain of a broken heart. Will the Dashwood women find happiness and love? Or, will defeating a sea creature from the deep prove to be the easier task?

Let’s Booktalk: Chupacabra by Roland Smith

Nine is a creature of legend. But, he was made a captive by Noah Blackwood, a supposed animal conservationist with a secret taste for collecting the endangered and dangerous. Nine is one of the few Chupacabras in existence, and he is being used by Noah to hunt and kill those who come between him and his dark intentions.

Marty and Grace are twins, who are searching for their parents. Their Uncle Ted has vendetta against his former father-in-law Noah, and they will have to navigate through a terrifying world of prehistoric creatures and their masters.

“Nine licked the dried salty blood. Hunt! Fast! The commands shouted in his head. He hated the woman. He hated the box. He wanted to kill the woman. He wanted to drink the woman’s blood. But he could not.”

Get your nerd on!!! So, you've never heard of a chupacabra? Well the following is just one link to information about this creature. Is it real or is it just a legend?
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