Skullduggery at its Finest!

Still looking for a great read for the summer? Perhaps you need a good book to take your mind off Art Fair? Look no further than Skulduggery Pleasant by Derek Landy. Skulduggery Pleasant = Ace Detective, Snappy Dresser, Razor–tongued Wit, Crackerjack Sorcerer and Walking, Talking, Fire-throwing Skeleton —as well as ally, protector, and mentor of Stephanie Edgley, a very unusual and darkly talented twelve-year-old. These two alone must defeat an all-consuming ancient evil. The end of the world? Over his dead body.

Vive La Paris

If you need another taste of the wise and hilarious Paris McCray from Sahara Special read Vive La Paris by Esme Raji Codell. In this adventure Paris meets her match in piano teacher and wise cracker Mrs. Rosen, and learns how to deal with the bullies of the world. Check out Codell's excellent children's literature Web site.

Call Me Marianne by Jen Bryant

A boy, a bus ride, a woman, and a tri-cornered hat, converge in this fictional account of what it may have been like to meet the famous poet Marianne Moore and to discover the poet within.

"When I really worry about something, I don't just fool around."

The above quote belongs to the one and only Holden Caulfield, the anti-hero of J.D. Salinger's classic, Catcher in the Rye which was published on July 16, 1951. Salinger wrote the book over a period of ten years never thinking it was good enough for publication. In this semi-autobiographical novel, Holden is a sixteen year old troublemaker who runs away from Pencey Prep School a few days before his winter break. Caulfield became an icon of alienation to generations of teenagers. Salinger's other works including his collection of short stories are also somewhat autobiographical. His World War II experiences are reflected in one of his most famous stories, "For Esme, With Love and Squalor." His Glass family books contain characters who were precocious T.V.quiz kids who are later tormented by religious and moral questions expressed with deadpan humor.

Justice League: A New Beginning

Back in 1987, following the DC Comics LEGENDS crossover event, a new Justice League was born. Not only was it under the creative team of Keith Giffen and J.M. DeMatteis (with new artist Kevin Maguire), but it featured a cast of "second stringer" heroes such as Blue Beetle, Booster Gold, Black Canary, Captain Marvel, and the macho-jerk Green Lantern known as Guy Gardner. What's more, this particular league's stories focused a lot on the humor found in the down-time between their inter-dimensional monster fighting adventures. Some have even compared the Giffen/DeMatteis run on Justice League to how a sit-com is structured. The biggest surprise of all was when it became the top-selling comic in the late '80s and early '90s. Issues 1-6 of Justice League and Justice League International 7 have been collected in A New Beginning,which is now available at aadl.

The humor and humanity of this title is further emphasized by the artwork of Kevin Maguire, master of the expressive face. Maguire's art takes comics character acting to new heights. Though they're wearing costumes and calling each other by code-names, the characters register as real people and the comedy speaks to all ages.

What if public libraries didn't already exist?

As he did in Levitt and his 2005 book Freakonomics, Stephen Dubner poses yet another interesting question on the Freakonomics blog: "If public libraries didn’t exist, could you start one today?" The post actually produced so much interest that it crashed their site.

Dubner's basic contention is that book publishers would vehemently oppose creating public libraries today, if they didn't already exist. Their response would probably mirror the music recording industry's reaction to Napster and other such peer-to-peer filesharing sites. After all, libraries, with their booksharing tendencies, may very well contribute to lower sales for book publishers. According to NCES, libraries circulated over 2 billion items in 2004. Even if only a fraction of the people who check out books bought them, that's a big chunk of change.

So what do you think? In this age of copyright disputes, could we create public libraries if they weren't already around?

New Fiction on the New York Times Best Sellers List (7/15/07)

Two new entries explore differences in race and culture and the mysteries we are to each other.

Peony in Love by Lisa See is a imaginative story of love and death in 17th century China with a few ghosts thrown in to heighten the mystery.

New England White by Stephen L. Carter is at first glance a more traditional modern mystery. Set on a college campus, the wife of its president investigates the death of her former lover. The author also delves into the issue of race and the social life of this country's black elite.

The other new entries are Bungalow 2 by Steel and Drop Dead Beautiful by Collins and The Double Agents by Griffin.

Night Stories

This week at preschool storytime it's all about stories in the dark. Baby Owl will try to convince us all that he's not cute, and there will be a few surprise guests during the telling of The Squeaky Door. See you this week at both the Downtown and Pittsfield branches!

Calling all teen Harry Potter fans!

What street do the Dursleys live on? What are Hufflepuff's house colors? Who owns the store where Harry Potter buys his wand? If you know the answer to all these Harry Potter trivia questions without looking them up in the books (or via Google!), be sure to come to our Harry Potter Trivia Night for Teens (grades 6-12) on Monday, July 16th, from 6:00 to 8:00 pm at the Pittsfield Branch. Work in teams of up to 5 players to compete for the grand prize: $15 giftcards to Borders Books & Music. You can come with your own team of friends, or we'll assign you to one. All teens who participate will also be entered into a drawing to win one of two cool tote bags with the cover art of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.

Find a New Favorite!

Read everything by your favorite author? Let the NoveList database help you find a new favorite!

Take a look at the Author Read-Alike section in NoveList -- enter an author’s name and find books from other writers with similar themes, styles, or characters.

Access the database from the Arts, Literature, & Humanities section of the Research page. Once you’re in NoveList, choose the tab labeled For Readers, then click Author Read-Alikes. You can even search the database from home with your library card.

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