hobbit-movie

Are you a fan of the Hobbit movies? Here are some of my favorites that might hold you over until the Battle of the Five Armies is released (Dec. 17, but who’s counting?). These are my picks for live action fantasy/fairy tale/adventure/romance movies that are pure escapism. And don’t forget, you can catch up on the first two movies on the big screen here at the Niles Library over Winter Break: An Unexpected Journey and The Desolation of Smaug.

Alice in Wonderland (2010, PG)

The Borrowers (1998, PG)

The Chronicles of Narnia series: Lion, Witch and Wardrobe (2005, PG), Prince Caspian (2008, PG), Voyage of the Dawn Treader (2011, PG)

Ever After (2002, PG-13)

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Sekret-Review

“An empty mind is a safe mind.”

This quote underscores the main theme of Sekret by debut author Lindsay Smith in describing Russia’s culture. With a flair of YA touch and the supernatural, Smith isn’t someone who is incapable of spelling. In fact, this is intentional. The setting of this book is in 1960’s USSR, and I suppose by spelling “secret” as “Sekret” it reflects the Russian language.

Prior to reading Sekret, I was very interested in Russian history with regards to my European history class. I noticed the innumerable controversies linked to Russian history (Rasputin? Romanov? Babushkas?). This book does a good job of incorporating Russia’s mysteries during its communist years into the story and giving the reader an intimate perspective on its dark history.

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fandom-fest

There is only one day when Star Wars fans, Potterheads, Whovians, and Disney maniacs can all gather and mingle in fan frenzy bliss here at the Niles Library: Fandom Fest! Join us on Sunday, November 23, 2014 from 2 to 4pm for a day full of crafts, costumes, and tributes to your favorite movies, TV shows, and comics.

According to our Teen Underground poll, the top fandoms are:

– Anime
– Disney (including the series Once Upon A Time)
The Hunger Games
– Marvel Universe
Harry Potter
Divergent
Doctor Who
– DC Universe
Star Wars

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steampunk

What would the world look like if it were stuck in the late 1800s or “pre-World War I” 1900s? Steampunk is a response to that idea: Authors “freeze” society at a time when steam drives not just railroads and ships, but everything imaginable.

Electricity has not become dominant; airplanes (with fixed wings, anyway) have not been invented, and cars either have not been invented or are only owned by rich people. Instead, state-of-the-art gizmos include lighter-than-air ships (bigger cousins of the Goodyear blimps we see at NFL football games) and intelligent machinery (tank-like armored things that walk on mechanical legs).

That is what the books Airborn and Leviathan tell us: Airborn has worldwide air traffic sailing in high-altitude wind, while Leviathan has England and Germany butting heads with the help of artillery-toting “walkers” controlled by drivers inside. Society’s outlook sort of resembles Victorian England, with an emphasis on “class” (aristocrats rule – common folk serve), conformity (people think there is a “right way” to do things), and being an imperial power (making war on your neighbors helps).

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nanwrimo

To all the aspiring writers out there, November is your month to shine.

Beginning November 1st, National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo, is a 30 day-long event where you strive to finish a 50,000 word novel by midnight, November 30th. You can share your work and receive feedback from other writers on the NaNoWriMo website, www.nanowrimo.org.

Here at the Niles Library, we’re partnering up with The Office of Letters and Light Chicago Chapter to help you keep those creative juices flowing and those fingers typing. Starting November 3rd, stop by the Library at 6:30 pm every Monday in November for more information about NaNoWriMo and to think up some great ideas for your next bestseller. You can find out more info about the event here.

If you find yourself suffering from a severe case of writer’s block halfway through the month, here are some books you can check out from our catalog that might spur some creativity again:

1) Janet Evanovich’s How I Write: Secrets of a Bestselling Author

2) How Not to Write a Novel: 200 Classic Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

3) Novelist’s Boot Camp: 101 Ways to Take Your Book From Boring to Bestseller

4) Writing Fiction for Dummies

5) Writing 21st Century Fiction: High-Impact Techniques for Exceptional Storytelling

Happy writing!

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Breakfast-Review

Do we all have a dream? As human beings, we are very much susceptible to the pits of our own idealism. Lost in an imagined world of our own wonders leads us to question: What is true anymore? Sarah Combs’ debut book, Breakfast Served Anytime, questions the availability of dreams and the intangible journey of social navigation.

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Tomboy-Review

As a young girl growing up in the 1980s-90s, cartoonist Liz Prince preferred wearing sneakers, a boys’ blazer and a baseball cap instead of wearing dresses. She role-played Ghostbusters with her guy friend Tyler, and played right field on her local little league team. This preference for “non-girly” things continued through her adolescence and is the subject of Tomboy, her new memoir for teens.

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teen-read-week

Each October, Niles teens celebrate the joy of reading for fun.

Check out the display case in the Commons area to view the Teen Advisory Board’s vision of “Turning Dreams into Reality.” What catches the eye (besides the cute Halloween Teddy Bear) are local teen author Joelle Charbonneau’s Young Adult novels. Niles Library has the honor of welcoming Joelle Charbonneau on Monday, October 13th from 4-6pm in the Large Meeting Room. Charbonneau is the author of The Testing, Independent Study and Graduation Day, a dystopian thriller trilogy.

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TBR2

The Hit by Melvin Burgess began with a promising concept: a drug called Death that plagues a society in the near future. This drug provides the victim with one week of pure bliss, including anything they could ever ask for in terms of riches, power, intelligence, and romantic partners – however, after the week is up the victim dies. As the story progresses the plot becomes extremely convoluted with the addition of several seemingly unnecessary characters and a subplot of a terrorist organization that manufactures fake death. The protagonists had superficial personas, which made them unrelatable and unlikable. The fast-paced nature of the novel kept me interested in the story, but it fell short of my expectations. The idea of a world obsessed with a particularly fatal drug had the potential to be the foundation for a thought-provoking book, however Burgess should have further explored the societal and emotional effects of such a drug in order for his book to live up its potential.

– Nicolette

The book is available for check out at the Niles Public Library.

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TBR3

Much like The Hunger Games and The Testing, The True Tale of the Monster Billy Dean is a dystopian novel centered around the aftermath of a war. Living in a town torn apart by war, William “Billy” Dean is an enigmatic child whose unknown powers guide him into a world of mystery. This novel is an exceptional story suited for adults but is admired by young adults as well. With a well-paced plot, David Almond tells the story using Billy Dean’s illiterate stance so the reader can get a glimpse into his mind. You get to watch Billy grow and see his perceptions alter. Patient readers will enjoy this book to its fullest potential and will revel in its perplexity.

– Kristjan

The book is available for check out at the Niles Public Library.

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