Monday, July 30, 2012


The Olympics are under way!  This international event allows participants from all over the world to compete in athletic events such as archery, track and field, basketball, volleyball, boxing, swimming, diving, soccer, gymnastics, and many more.

The ancient Olympics were held in Olympia, Greece.  They were a series of competitions between representatives of different city-states and kingdoms in Greece, instead of different countries.  While the games were being held, all conflicts between the participating city-states and kingdoms were postponed.

The first Olympic Games under the direction of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) were hosted in Athens in 1896.  There were 14 different nations with over 200 athletes who competed in over 40 events.  The IOC decided that the modern Olympics would rotate among different countries, so the second Games were held in Paris. 

Most countries will miss an Olympics due to a lack of qualifications among their athletes.  However, some will choose to boycott the Games.  Since 1896, three Olympic Games have passed without any celebration: the 1916 Olympics were cancelled due to World War I, the 1940 Olympics were cancelled due to World War II, and the 1944 Olympics were cancelled due to World War II.

The Olympic symbol (the Olympic rings) is made up of 5 interlaced circles which represent the unity of the five inhabited continents: America, Africa, Asia, Australasia, and Europe.  The colors of the rings (blue, black, red, yellow, and green) over a white background were chosen as every nation had at least one of the colors on its own flag.

In 2008 the Olympics were held in Beijing, and in 2016 it will be held in Rio de Janeiro.  This year the Olympics are being held from July 27th to August 12th in London.

For more information check out these links:

For some Olympic reading, check out the titles below!

Private Games by James Patterson
Gold by Chris Cleave
The Long Journey Home by Don Coldsmith
Remember Summer by Elizabeth Lowell

Chronicle of the Olympics, 1896-2000 by Dorling Kindersley Publishing Staff
The Story of the Olympic Games, 776 B.C. to 1968 by John Kieran
Dream Team: How Michael, Magic, Larry, Charles, and the Greatest Team of All Time Conquered the World and Changed the Game of Basketball Forever by Jack McCallum
Hitler's Olympics: the 1936 Berlin Olympic Games by Christopher Hilton
The Ancient Olympics by Nigel Jonathan Spivey
The Complete Book of the Olympics by David Wallechinsky

Children's Books:
Ancient Greece and the Olympics by Mary Pope Osborne (Nonfiction)
Hour of the Olympics by Mary Pope Osborne
The Olympics: Scandals by Moira Butterfield (Nonfiction)
The World of Olympics by Nick Hunter (Nonfiction)
The Smurf Olympics by Peyo

Young Adult Books:
Rush for the Gold by John Feinstein
The Book of Olympic Lists by David Wallechinsky (Nonfiction)
In Lane Three, Alex Archer by Tess Duder

The Real Olympics
Chariots of Fire

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Monday, July 23, 2012


Have you ever wanted to join a book club, or read the same books as a book club without attending the meetings?  This entry can help with both of these desires.

It's easy to join a bookclub.  Our library's book club meets every other month at 10:30am.  The next discussion will be held on August 21st.  Read Atonement by Ian McEwan and stop on by!

Can't make our meetings?  Try forming your own bookclub.  All you need is at least one other person to participate with you, and you can be as creative as you want in selecting your books.  You can read a wide variety of works, only classics, only mysteries, only poetry, only nonfiction, or only a particular author (such as Charles Dickens, Jane Austen, or James Patterson); it's up to you.  Can't find a time for everyone to meet?  Try meeting online through instant messaging or e-mail.

Or, if you're not interested in discussing what you read, but are looking for some suggestions on what to read next, take a look at the choices below.

The Red Leather Diary by Lily Koppel -  An old, discarded diary is recovered by Lily Koppel, a young writer working at the New York Times.  The diary shows the reader what life was like in 1930s New York; from 1929 to 1934, not a single day's entry is skipped.  As Koppel reads the diary, she is captivated by the headstrong young woman whose thoughts and emotions fill the pages.  Koppel sets out to find the diary's owner, and a phone call from a private investigator leads Koppel to Florence, a ninety-year-old woman living with her husband of sixty-seven years. Reunited with her diary, Florence revisists the girl she once was.  Lily Koppel joins intimate interviews with original diary entries in order to reveal the world of a New York teenager.  The Red Leather Diary recreates the romance, sophistication, and promise of 1930s New York, bringing to life the true story of a young woman who dared to follow her dreams.

The Heretic's Daughter by Kathleen Kent is about Martha Carrier, one of the first women to be accused, tried and hanged as a witch in Salem, Massachusetts.  This is the story of Martha's defiance and death, as told by the daughter who survived.  Kent is a descendent of Martha Carrier, and she creates a portrait of Puritan New England as well as of one family's deep and abiding love in the face of fear and persecution.

The 19th Wife by David Ebershoff tells the story of Ann Eliza Young who has recently separated from her  husband, Brigham Young, prophet and leader of the Mormon Church.  Expelled and an outcast from the community, Ann Eliza sets out to end polygamy in the United States.  Soon after Ann Eliza's story begins, a second narrative unfolds, telling a tale of murder involving a polygamist family in present-day Utah:  Jordan Scott must reenter the world that cast him aside in order to discover the truth behind his father's death. And, as Ann Eliza's narrative intertwines with that of Jordan's search, readers are pulled deeper into the mysteries of love, family, and faith.

Some other popular picks include:

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
Room by Emma Donoghue
Little Bee by Chris Cleave
The Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne
The Hour I First Believed by Wally Lamb
Still Alice by Lisa Genova
The Help by Kathryn Stockett
Cleopatra's Daughter by Michelle Moran
The Story of a Beautiful Girl by Rachel Simon
Three Day Road by Joseph Boyden
Fingersmith by Sarah Waters

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Monday, July 16, 2012


I recently finished reading Cinder by Marissa Meyer.  Meyer takes the tale of Cinderella and places it in the future.  Even if you are very familiar with the story of Cinderella, this book will pull you in from the very beginning as you follow Cinder on her journey.

The story takes place in New Beijing where a deadly plague afflicts the population. From space, the Lunar people watch, waiting to make their move, and no one knows that Earth's fate is in the hands of one girl - Cinder, a talented mechanic and cyborg. When her life becomes intertwined with  Prince Kai's, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle.  Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect others.

This is the first story in a quartet, and I cannot wait to see what happens next!

Reworking fairytales is nothing new, take a look at these other Cinderella spinoffs:

The Cinderella Deal  by Jennifer Crusie
Phoenix and Ashes by Mercedes Lackey
The Fairy Godmother by Mercedes Lackey

For Young Adults:

Bound by Donna Jo Napoli
Just Ella by Margaret Peterson Haddix
Princess of Glass by Jessica Day George
Ash by Malinda Lo

For Children:

Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine
Cinderellis and the Glass Hill by Gail Carson Levine
I Was a Rat! by Philip Pullman
Bella at Midnight by Diane Stanley


For some more reworked fairytales, check out these authors: Jim C. Hines, Mercedes Lackey, Jessica Day George, and Donna Jo Napoli.