Paper Covers Rock is a new Young Adult novel by Jenny Hubbard. It has recently been named a finalist for the William C. Morris Award which honors first-time authors that write for teens. The setting of the book is an all boys’ boarding school on the east coast in 1982. It is narrated by Alex, a 17 year old boy who has just witnessed the drowning of one of his friends, Thomas. The reader is privy to all of Alex’s thoughts which he records in his journal that he keeps hidden behind a copy of Moby Dick in the school’s library. It is obvious from the first couple of pages that there is more to the drowning than meets the eye. Although the drowning has been ruled accidental, there is way more to the story than Alex and his friend Glenn are telling. The reader watches as Alex struggles with guilt and must decide whether to keep secrets and protect himself and Glenn or to confide in his teacher, Miss Dovecott who recognizes that Alex is withholding the truth. The secrets that Alex is keeping are gradually revealed in his journal over the course of the book. However, the reader is kept guessing up until the very end which direction Alex will choose to take. As an added bonus, the book is filled with original poetry that Alex writes in his journal which is quite good even aside from the rest of the book. If you enjoyed A Separate Peace by John Knowles give this book a try.
Mitch Baker is a single man–a political cartoonist–enjoying life when his world is turned upside-down. His closest friends are killed in an auto accident and he and Thea Wyndham are named as guardians for three young children. Thea is no where to be found in the aftermath of the accident, leaving Mitch to make a home for the children and try to help them through their grief. When she finally arrives on the scene, she is terrified to accept the responsibility of helping to raise the children. Both Mitch and Thea are involved in romantic relationships, and their partners are not thrilled with the idea of accepting three children into their lives. As the story unfolds, Mitch begins to understand the reasons for Thea’s reluctance to become part of the children’s family, but he insists that their friends wanted both of them to be involved in raising the children. As Mitch and Thea struggle to be the parents the children need, they learn about themselves and what they truly want from life. A Place Called Home is a touching romance with lots of laughter and tears, and characters who come to realize that love is the foundation of a family–a heartwarming novel from author Jo Goodman.
It’s a good time of year to curl up with a cup of tea and a book to escape from the pressures of the world for awhile, and what better place is there to escape to than the Irish countryside. In Born in Fire, Nora Roberts tells the story of glass artist Maggie Concannon who copes with her painful past by keeping to herself and living for her art. Gallery owner Rogan Sweeney sees her potential in his plan to promote Irish artists and determinedly pursues her. You know how the story will end, but getting to know Maggie and Rogan, along with Dublin and the Irish countryside is a delight.
Still Missing by Chevy Stevens
In her debut novel, Still Missing, Annie’s life is great: she has a handsome, attentive boyfriend; loyal friends; and a real-estate career on the upswing. Then, at an open house one sunny afternoon, a stranger with tousled blond hair and a pleasant manner kidnaps her, takes her to a remote cabin, rapes and enslaves her. It’s the beginning of her year-long ordeal. Annie finally manages to escape. Afterward, during sessions with her psychologist, Annie takes the reader back to her abduction and narrates how she struggled to survive during and after the horror. Stevens’ dark, mesmerizing character study follows a twisted path from victim-hood toward self-empowerment.
In Chevy’s second novel, Never Knowing, the setup is tantalizing. Sara Gallagher has always known she was adopted, but she suddenly feels a sense of urgency about tracking down her birth parents. She is about to marry the love of her life and also because she is the mother of a six-year-old and would at least like to know her own medical history. Then Sara learns that her birth mother is the only surviving victim of the notorious Campsite Killer, who was never caught, and that the Campsite killer/rapist is her father. When the news is leaked on the web, Sara’s life becomes surreal, especially after her birth father starts calling her.
By Marcia Allen
Technical Services & Collections Manager
City fathers decided the city of London required a new county hall in 1910. When construction crews began excavating the site, they stumbled upon the immense ruins of a Roman galley.
The bombings of London during World War II obviously caused massive destruction. From the ruins, however, were exposed the foundations of an ancient Roman fort. Further reconstruction revealed a complete Roman bath-house located beneath Thames Street.
Treasure-seekers frequently stumble upon dusty mugs and other half-hidden artifacts near the Fleet River. The site once housed the Gaol of London, an 800-year-old prison that was leveled in 1845.
Those fond of reading history, archaeology, or travel literature will find a rare treasure in Peter Ackroyd’s new book entitled London Under: The Secret History Beneath the Streets. This thin book is an astounding guide to the unexpected ruins left behind by the passing of the years. As Ackroyd says in his opening paragraph:
“Tread carefully over the pavements of London for you are treading on skin, a skein of stone that covers rivers and labyrinths, tunnels and chambers, streams and caverns, pipes and cables, springs and passages, crypts sand sewers, creeping things that will never see the light of day.”
Given that caution, who could resist the promise of Ackroyd’s expertise? What follows immediately captures readers’ attention. There is, for example, an entire section on London sewers. The oldest known treatment of sewage is said to have occurred during the thirteenth century, when pipes were installed in some areas to carry waste underground. As early as 1531, London had a formal board of officials who supervised the sewers and authorized the installation of new ones. That was certainly an improvement over the open fetid pits previously used, but still there were some serious problems. Methane gas explosions and “the great stink” of 1858 were major setbacks for human hygiene. And the horrifying tales of cholera outbreaks and the reports of gargantuan rats roaming the dark tunnels go on and on.
Yet another section describes the burial grounds, some of them quite old, located throughout the city. The grave of Celsus, a policeman from long ago, was located in Camomile Street. Ackroyd assures the reader that there were as many as 200 separate burial sites located within the city, many of which are no longer marked. He reminds us that the cemetery of Christ Church, Spitalfields, was open for 130 years beginning in 1729, and that during that time, an unbelievable 68,000 people were interred within its walls.
Obviously, London has undergone great cosmetic change. The first established community, for example, began to sink almost before it was completed. This was due to the mixture of sand clay, chalk and gravel upon which the city was built. As a result, above-ground housing soon became basement-level dwellings. How did the citizens deal with the sinking? They continued to build atop ground level, so that now the original dwellings lie some 30 feet below the surface. Of course, old roadways, houses and personal belongings became part of the well-packed detritus of history.
Ackroyd’s accounts of found treasure are perhaps the most fascinating tales of the book. He reminds us that a huge stone head, crafted to resemble the emperor Hadrian, was discovered in the bed of the Thames in 1832. Further, an intact crypt of a long-forgotten monastery was exposed when workers were digging on Bouverie Street in 1867. A long-hidden trap door was uncovered in 1865 when workers were repairing Oxford Street. Curious investigators pried open the door to reveal a large room, in which a formal pool or bath was still being fed by a bubbling spring.
Ackroyd’s London underground is surely a place of evil, of trepidation. Prisons, he reminds us, were originally built underground. And the tunnels beneath the city were used extensively by criminals for hundreds of years. A natural fear of the unknown adds to uneasiness toward what lies beneath the surface.
But Ackroyd’s underground is also a place of grand adventure. The forgotten booty of another age frequently astonishes those who find such treasures. And the old reminders of past lives tell their own wonderful stories. This lovely little book is a brief glimpse of the world as it once was.
It’s never too late to read a Christmas story of love and good cheer. At this time of year our complicated, harried world can be overwhelming. Take a few minutes to relax with a book such as Journey Into Christmas and Other Stories by the beloved writer, Bess Streeter Aldrich. Her uplifting, short vignettes of holiday memories during times of a less hurried generation are just what I needed. I particularly enjoyed “Christmas on the Prairies” from her classic A Lantern in Her Hand.
The Christmas fiction and non-fiction display books have been flying off the shelves as though they were trying to jump into Santa’s sleigh. We still have a few available for check-out and the early December check-outs are beginning to come back in. Stop by for a seasonal read and have a very Merry Christmas!
Nick Heller, private “spy”, is called upon to investigate the kidnapping of Alexa Marcus, the daughter of a friend and billionaire. Heller is a former Navy Seal/Black Ops agent with connections in various government agencies, and he uses those contacts in his efforts to learn why Alexa was taken, who are the kidnappers and what do they want? As a video feed comes into her father’s computer showing Alexa buried underground, and left with a limited supply of air, food and water, Heller realizes that this is a life-or-death race to locate her. In a shadowy world of secrets and conspiracies, Heller fights to find the truth and is drawn into a world of international subterfuge and deadly opponents. This is a fast paced, suspenseful thriller with interesting characters and many plot twists and turns. Author Joseph Finder has created a fascinating and complex main character in Nick Heller–first introduced in the book Vanished. Buried Secrets is a novel that will draw you in from the start and will keep you glued to the pages until the end–a wonderfully written story!
Are you stressed out and overworked from all of your Christmas shopping, baking, decorating, and other holiday activities? Bring the fun back into Christmas by checking out the hilarious Ugly Christmas Sweater Party Book by Brian Miller, Adam Paulson, and Kevin Wool. It will have you laughing all the way through and by the end you will be much more relaxed and jolly. The book is purported to be a “how-to” book on throwing an ugly Christmas sweater party. There are a few short chapters with party suggestions such as games, music, food and drinks, and awarding prizes. The majority of the “how-to” section is very tongue in cheek, and not intended to be serious suggestions. For instance, there is a particularly humorous section on how to pick out that perfect Christmas sweater. If you want to win the prize for the ugliest sweater, the authors suggest that your sweater must not only be ugly, but also engage the five senses. Some ways to do this are by adding 3D effects, bells or chimes, edible items, and other interactive items such as pinecones or reindeer fur. You could even add some vanilla extract or rub yourself with pine scented air fresheners! The real star of the book, however, is the number of pages of over-the-top ugly Christmas sweaters with hilarious titles and descriptions. It’s a short book, so if you still haven’t gotten enough, check out the authors’ website UglyChristmasSweaterParty.com to peruse more ugly Christmas sweaters.
In 1962, Manhattan’s Douglass School was closed, allowing for the complete integration of Manhattan elementary schools. The 2012 Martin Luther King, Jr. Art, Writing, and Video contests focuses that 50-year anniversary with the theme: Looking Back, Looking Forward: 50 Years of Change. This theme encourages contest participants to look at their community, their family, and their lives and how the past 50 years have changed, or not changed, in regards of Dr. King’s overriding message of non-violence, social justice, and building bridges between racial and ethnic divisions.
Each year, the MLK Contest Committee directs the contest with support from Manhattan’s MLK Memorial Committee and sponsored by Manhattan Public Library, the Caroline Peine Charitable Foundation, Manhattan Library Association, and The Gallery for Peace and Justice.
For 2012, the Contest Committee decided to add two new aspects to the contest: 1) a video category, and 2) a group entry option.
Video submissions will be accepted written to disc to be played on computer or DVD player. Three to five minute videos can be in any style. While the Contest Committee envisioned short narratives, interviews, reenactments, or even something set to music, this category will allow budding videographers to express their creativeness in numerous ways.
Group entries will be allowed for the first time, allowing for small groups or classrooms to work on a project together and submit the work. After much consideration, the Contest Committee decided group entries could, in many cases, be the easiest way for teachers or group leaders to get many kids involved in a teachable project at the same time. All members must be listed on the entry form but only one prize will awarded per entry. The group should enter grade category based on average participant age.
As always, all participants must live or attend school in Riley or adjacent counties in Kansas.
Participants of all ages are encouraged! This includes KSU students, parents, teachers, and community members who can enter the post-High School age group. Entries will be judged in five age groups: K-2nd grade, 3rd-5th, 6-8th, 9th-12th grade, and post High School.
Entry deadline for all entries is 6 p.m., Sunday, January 8, 2012 at Manhattan Public Library, 629 Poyntz Avenue. Entries will not be accepted after this time as judging will take place the following day.
All submissions must be original works created by the entrant. A completed entry form must be attached to the work. Only one writing in each category will be accepted by any person or group.
Entries can be in any medium on a two-dimensional scale and must be no larger than 20 inches by 30 inches.
Artwork is judged based on: artistic quality, originality, creativity, presentation of theme, content, and relevance.
May be a letter, poem, memoir, story of a personal experience, or other appropriate form no longer than 500 words. Entries must be typed or legibly written. Writing is judged based on: writing style, originality, creativity, presentation of theme, content, and relevance. Writing entries will be subject to plagiarism checks.
A three to five minute piece, which may be an interview, reenactment, musical or theatrical performance, movie short, animation, or other appropriate form. Entry should be written to disc to be played on computer or DVD player. Copyright laws must be followed and all persons appearing must give consent.
Videos are judged based on: production value, originality, creativity, presentation of theme, content, and relevance. Video entries will be subject to copyright checks.
First place and honorable mention awards given in each of the five age groups, with one Best of Show winner recognized from all entries for each of the three categories.
Winners will be contacted by Wednesday, January 11. Creators of winning entries will be asked to participate in the MLK Youth Celebration sponsored by HandsOn Kansas State on Sunday, January 15, and an awards ceremony during the Martin Luther King, Jr. community celebration on Monday, January 16 at Manhattan Town Center.
Thanks to a generous grant from the Caroline Peine Charitable Foundation, over $1000 worth of prizes will be awarded through individual prizes and educational supplies for winners’ classrooms.
With signed permission, selected entries may be published, broadcast and/or displayed throughout the Manhattan community. Winning and selected entries may also be used for publishing in a calendar and/or greeting cards developed and distributed by The Gallery for Peace and Justice.
For more information, click the MLK Contest link on the MPL homepage, or call 776-4741 ext. 170.
The United States of America no longer exists. The western states are now known as the Republic and the east is known as the Colonies. The two have been fighting for as long as anyone in the Republic can remember and all resources are devoted to the war effort. June was born into privilege and had all possible advantages growing up. She is a military prodigy and will likely achieve a high military post when her training is completed. Day was born into the slums of Los Angeles and is now a wanted criminal for his activities hindering the military.
June and Day are thrown together when June’s first assignment is tracking and catching Day. June may be certain she wants to catch Day in the beginning, but as time goes on, it becomes less and less clear to her that the Republic is always right and Day is the one committing the most serious crimes.
Legend is Lu’s debut and is a taut dystopian thriller, the first in a planned trilogy. The book has received positive reviews from The New York Times and the Los Angeles Times. This one will appeal to readers who liked the Uglies series by Scott Westerfeld. Definitely a series to watch. Fast-paced, exciting, and has the potential to make a great trilogy.
by Winifred Watson
Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day is a charming story originally written in 1938. As Miss Pettigrew arrives at Delysia LaFosse’s flat to interview for what she thinks is a governess position, she is whirled into the dizzying pace of Miss LaFosse’s social life. Even before a how-di-do, Miss LaFasse presents Miss Pettigrew with a problem that must be solved immediately. The man in her bedroom must be gotten out without a trace of his being there and he mustn’t know Miss LaFosse desires him to leave. Now, before I go any farther, you must know that Miss Pettigrew is a dowdy non-worldly woman who blushes at even the thought of a couple’s kiss, while Miss LaFosse is a world wise woman with three men on the line. With determination (this may be her last chance at a job) Miss Pettigrew resolves to do what she is asked, even if it goes against her upbringing. Almost before the breeze of the man’s passing is gone, a second man appears at her door with great suspicion & searches the flat for evidence of the other man. Miss Pettigrew doesn’t miss a beat when he finds a cigar butt in the kitchen, “‘Young man…if there’s one thing I completely abominate it’s the effeminate type of man that snaps round a house like an old, peeking busybody….If I want to smoke cheroots, I’ll smoke cheroots,…Have one. I can recommend them.’ Miss Pettigrew opened her bag. She took out a worn packet of cheroots.” As Miss Pettigrew continues to help Delysia out of her many self made predicaments, Delysia turns Miss Pettigrew into a beautiful companion for her day filled with social affairs. This Cinderella, from rags to almost riches, story is a delight to read. I’ve heard the movie is fun too.
For years, Lady Poppy Smith-Barnes has pined for her true love, the Duke of Drummond. At least that’s what she’s been telling all her suitors so that she could maintain her spinster status. The imaginary duke that her cook created for the use of fairy tales and love stories served Poppy well, until the day the man himself walked into a ball and asked her to dance. Drummond, who has come to London from his quiet life in the North because he has been ordered to find a bride, sees his opportunity and quickly traps Poppy in her own lie. Their betrothal pulls them both into a world of deception and intrigue, forcing them to work together and revealing their common thirst for adventure. With plenty of spice and wit, Dukes to the Left of Me, Princes to the Right continues Kramer’s Impossible Bachelors series in fine form.
This simply but beautifully illustrated graphic novel tells the story of Marzi, a young girl coming of age behind the Iron Curtain. Marzena Sowa was born in 1979 in Stalowa Wola, Poland. The majority of this graphic novel, written as a series of vignettes, takes place in the years leading up to the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989. Ms. Sowa manages to demonstrate both the uncertainty of the time and the joys and wonder any child can find in the world. She and her friends often act out the visit the Pope made to Poland. She talks about her anxiety when her father is away from home for days at a time when he and his fellow factory workers go on strike. She also describes carefree summer days visiting her grandmother and playing with her cousins in the country. Presenting this story as a series of vignettes is very powerful. These snippets of a childhood spent in a country with stores filled with empty shelves and celebrations where people only show up and cheer because that’s what’s expected provide a unique perspective of a country that was shrouded in secrecy for decades.