If I were a rat...

Firmin is a rat. He is the runt of the litter. Born in a bookstore, his mother shredded copies of Moby-Dick and Don Quixote for bedding. As the runt, Firmin finds himself more and more isolated from the rest of the rat population so he turns to books as his friend. Later in our story, he is befriended by science fiction writer Jerry Magoon. Through Jerry, Firmin learns about jazz and other human pleasures. Travel along through Boston in the 1960's in Firmin Adventures of a Metropolitan Lowlife by Sam Savage.

February Books to Film, Part 2

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The very popular The Lightning Thief: Percy Jackson & the Olympians, Book One by Rick Riordan is now a feature film (not yet rated).

This wildly popular series for young readers makes the leap to the big screen on February 12. Adapted from the first book in the series, the film is directed by Chris Columbus (who brought the first two Harry Potter books to the screen) and stars Logan Lerman as Percy Jackson.

It's the 21st century, the gods of Mount Olympus and assorted monsters have walked out of the pages of high school student Percy Jackson's Greek mythology texts and into his life. And they're not happy: Zeus's lightning bolt has been stolen, and Percy is the prime suspect. Even more troubling is the sudden disappearance of Percy's mother.

And FINALLY, the twice-delayed, Martin Scorsese-directed Shutter Island is to be released on February 19th (let's hope).

Shutter Island is an army facility turned hospital for the criminally insane. When a beautiful-and certifiably crazy-patient escapes, U.S. Marshal Teddy Daniels and his partner, Chuck Aule, are called in to investigate. Embroiled in uncertainties and mystery, the two soon learn there's much more at stake than simply finding one missing woman.

Leonardo DiCaprio, Mark Ruffalo, Ben Kingsley, Michelle Williams, and Max von Sydow star in this thriller based on the bestseller by Dennis Lehane.

Celebrate the Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief Movie Party!

Hopefully you have read the books by Rick Riordan and are ready to see the movie based on the first book in the series, The lightning thief, that hits theaters on Friday, February 12. Come dressed as your favorite Olympian, and be ready to play some games, test your knowledge of Greek Mythology and the books. We'll have prizes and CUPCAKES from the Cupcake Station for snacks! If you haven't already be sure to read the rest of the books in the series The sea of monsters, The titan's curse, The battle of the Labyrinth and The Last Olympian.

Kids and Teens in GRADES 4-8 are invited on Thursday, February 11, 7:00-8:30 PM at the Traverwood Branch. This event is FREE, and does not require registration.

The Wizard of Od (Not a typo)

In the city of Kelior, capital of the Kingdom of Numis, is the school of magic. The school was founded hundreds of years ago by the wizard Od. Once founded, she disappeared. Now she's back, with her newest student, Brenden, who has plant magic. Unfortunately, the King of Numis has total control over the wizards and has outlawed new magic. How will he respond to this latest threat to his power? Find out in Patricia A. McKillip novel Od Magic. You can also listed to the book on cd.

An Extraordinary Child with a Special Destiny

Percy Jackson and the Olympians is the story of a hyperactive pre-teen boy who discovers that his real father is one of the great Greek gods of mythology. That makes him a demigod, a half-god half-mortal with special powers and a special destiny. He is whisked away to a magically protected camp where he discovers a whole community of demigod kids learning to survive and develop their special talents in a world suddenly full of magic and monsters. Percy soon discovers that a great evil is trying to use him to return to the world, and nobody can be trusted, not even the gods of Olympus.

This series bears many strong thematic resemblances to the Harry Potter series, and its a great fit for any kids or adults who enjoyed Harry Potter and are looking for other things in the same vein. However, Riordan writes from the perspective of young Percy and uses Percy's irreverent (and often sarcastic) voice to ensure things stay light-hearted on his quests of near-constant monster battles and conflicts.

The Lightning Thief, the first book of the series, is being made into a movie which is due to be released later this year. It has the potential to be great, despite its lack of my most favorite character, Nico di Angelo. That kid is awesome. Am I right?

More Adventures for Alice

Alice is in for more adventures this year. On March 5th Alice will return to Wonderland, this time in a live action movie directed by Tim Burton, the quirky mind behind many somewhat dark children's movies. Although Alice was ten when she had her first Adventures in Wonderland 145 years ago, Burton's Alice is 19 years old on her return. The movie promises many computer generated effects.

Burton makes a habit of casting Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter in his movies. This time Depp makes his appearance as the Mad Hatter and Carter plays the Red Queen (whom Alice meets in Through the Looking Glass). The cast also boasts Anne Hathaway as the White Queen and Alan Rickman as the Caterpillar.

When you imagine Wonderland you probably think of the 1951 animated Disney version, but 2010 is not the first year in which a movie has portrayed a darker Wonderland. There was a 1966 made for television version with a decidedly Gothic spin and there was an Emmy award winning TV version in 1999, in which Alice was also portrayed by a teenager rather than a child, and which included Christopher Lloyd (as the White Knight), Martin Short (as the Mad Hatter), and Gene Wilder (as the Mock Turtle).

Happy Hogswatch

Every year the Hogfather comes to bring presents for children. What would happen if the Hogfather were killed? Who would fill-in for him? (Hint - he carries a scythe) Can Death's granddaughter find a way to defeat Mr. Teatime and save the Hogfather from the Auditor?

Only Terry Pratchett could come up with a story so original about Christmas. Be sure to read Terry Pratchett's other Discworld novels.

Garth Nix: Fantasy from Down Under

Did you like Harry Potter? If so, try the short, complex series for teens featuring magic, royal blood lines, the kind-of-but-not-really undead, and a sassy talking cat by Garth Nix, called the Abhorsen (also known as Old Kingdom) trilogy, started in 1995.

Its first book, Sabriel, features a young girl who must rescue her father from the depths of Death itself. Along the way, she is helped--or perhaps hindered--by her father's "pet" cat, Mogget, and a strange boy she released from an even stranger prison.

The second book, Lirael, introduces a new character, the dark-haired Lirael, who feels absolutely isolated in her home at the Clayr's glacier. In order to gain a friend, she has to create one out of magic she learns as a Second Assistant Librarian. With her new friend, the Dog, she must help Sabriel's son, Prince Sameth, fight to save the world.

In the final book, Abhorsen, Lirael, who is now Abhorsen-in-Waiting, and Prince Sameth face off against the evil threatening the world, with the help of their friends and families. The climactic ending to the trilogy provides interesting insight into society. Publisher's Weekly stated that it is "at once an allegory regarding war and peace and a testament to friendship...a thought-provoking fantasy."

Nix also has a few series for the slightly younger crowd, including the still-in-progress Keys to the Kingdom, vaguely reminiscent of the fantastical world of Alice in Wonderland, and the magical Seventh Tower series, starring the downtrodden and loveable Chosen named Tal.

Not Twilight…but close…

If you find yourself reading and re-reading Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight Saga, you might want to try some of these fantasy love stories:

Swoon by Nina Malkin
Dice tries to help her cousin whose body is inhabited by a ghost. She accidentally frees the ghost and so needs to kill him before he destroys the whole town. The problem: Dice falls in love with the ghost.

Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater
Grace loves watching the wolves behind her house. Sam is a wolf-by-winter and human in the summer. While human Sam meets Grace and falls in love...Sam then struggles to remain human as winter approaches.

Sea Change by Aimee Friedman
Sixteen-year-old Miranda Merchant spends the summer on a small island with her mother. She meets Leo, falls in love with him, and then realizes he might be a mermaid.

Wicked Lovely by Melissa Marr
Aislinn unlike other teenagers can see faeries. One of the fairies, Keenan, wants Aislinn to become his queen, and he is determined to make this happen at any cost.

Looking for a Christmas Read?

In previous years, I've suggested popular fiction for holiday reads. This year I have decided to concentrate on two of my favorite genres: Romance and Mystery.

Recently, I buried myself in Lisa Kleypas' Wallflower Series. The final book in this 5 part series is Wallflower Christmas. Once Lillian Bowman and the other Wallflowers are settled with beaus, it's time to find her elder brother Rafe a wife. If romance, action, mystery, and the supernatural meets your interest, try Kerrelyn Sparks' All I Want for Christmas is a Vampire part of the Love at Stake Series. If short stories are your thing try this Christmas compilation: Wish List with stories by Lisa Kleypas, Lynsay Sands, Claudia Dain, and Lisa Cach.

For good Christmas mystery reads try Deck the Halls and it's sequel He Sees You When Your Sleeping co-written by bestselling author Mary Higgins Clark and her daughter Carol Higgins Clark. Regan Reilly, Carol Higgins Clark's dynamic young sleuth, meets Alvirah Meehan, Mary Higgins Clark's famous lottery-winning amateur detective, and both embark on a desperate search for Regan's kidnapped father and then reassemble in the sequel to help a family reunite during the holidays. Additionally, there is the short story collection Wolfsbane and Mistletoe with tales by talented authors such as Charlaine Harris, Patricia Briggs, Keri Arthur, and Carrie Vaughn.

For more suggestions of Romance, Mystery, as well as other Fiction Christmas reads, Check out: http://www.overbooked.org/booklists/subjects/themes/christmas.html

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