Friday, January 25, 2013

Grace's Five Books About Post-Apocalyptic Worlds

In the past couple years we have faced many predictions for the end of the world. These books are great examples of worst case scenarios in post-apocalyptic societies; from children sent into a battle to the death for the government’s entertainment in The Hunger Games, to a father and son on a journey to find hope and shelter in The Road. However, every book on this list is about more than violence and strife: they are really about love and resilience in hard times.

The Giver by Lois Lowry (Laurel Leaf, $6.99)

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (Scholastic, $10.99)

The Road by Cormac McCarthy (Vintage Books, $15.00)

Cat's Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut (Dial Press, $15.00)

1984 by George Orwell (Signet Classic, $9.99)

Grace Gottschalk, January 2013

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Quote: Jo Walton

I was rereading Among Others for this Thursday's Young Adult Book Discussion (for details see our book clubs page and/or the January YA newsletter), and I found this early passage, beautifully linking language and landscape and knowledge:

"The places of my childhood were linked by magical pathways, ones almost no adults used. They had roads, we had these. They were for walking, they were different and extra, wider than a path but not big enough for cars, sometimes parallel to the real roads and sometimes cutting from nowhere to nowhere, from an elven ruin to the labyrinth of Minos. We gave them names but we knew unquestioningly that the real name for them was "dramroads." I never turned that word over in my mouth and saw it for what it was: Tram road. Welsh mutates initial consonants. Actually all languages do, but most of them take centuries, while Welsh does it while your mouth is still open. Tram to dram, of course. Once there had been trams running on rails up those dramroads, trams full of iron ore or coal. So empty and leaf-strewn, used by nobody but children and fairies, they'd once been little railroads.

"It wasn't that we didn't know history. Even if you only count the real world, we knew more history than most people. We'd been taught about cavemen and Normans and Tudors. We knew about Greeks and Romans. We knew masses of personal stories about World War II. We even knew quite a lot of family history. It just didn't connect to the landscape. And it was the landscape that formed us, that made us who we were as we grew in it, that affected everything. We thought we were living in a fantasy landscape when actually we were living in a science fictional one. In ignorance, we played our way through what the elves and giants had left us, taking the fairies' possession for ownership. I named the dramroads after places in The Lord of the Rings when I should have recognised that they were from The Chrysalids.

"It's amazing how large the things are that it's possible to overlook."

- Jo Walton, Among Others

Monday, January 21, 2013

Janet's Five Art Galleries Honoring the Before and After of Martin Luther King, Jr.

Kadir Nelson's artwork is a treasure worth viewing. The facial expressions of his subjects, the play of light on their faces, combined with factual, informative text, tell the story of the African American Journey in such a way that all the viewer's senses become involved.

Heart and Soul: The Story of America and African Americans by Kadir Nelson (HarperCollins, $19.99)

Henry's Freedom Box: A True Story from the Underground Railroad by Ellen Levine, illustrated by Kadir Nelson (Scholastic Press, $16.99)

Coretta Scott by Ntozake Shange with paintings by Kadir Nelson (HarperCollins, $17.99)

Change has Come: An Artist Celebrates Our American Spirit, the drawings of Kadir Nelson with the words of Barack Obama (Simon & Schuster, $12.99)

We Are The Ship: The Story of Negro League Baseball by Kadir Nelson (Hyperion, $16.99)

Janet Elfant, January 2013

Friday, January 11, 2013

Bookstore Bestsellers, 2012

Happy New Year! It's time for the annual list of Big Blue Marble bestsellers -- this time we'll do the top 20 books sold in the past year, and top 25 overall.

Top 20 Bestsellers at Big Blue Marble in 2012:
1) The Buddha in the Attic by Julie Otsuka (2013 selection for the One Book, One Philadelphia program)
2) The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
3) Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
4) Swamplandia by Karen Russell
5) Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins
6) Bill from My Father by Bernard Cooper
7) Stray Cat Blues by Hal Sirowitz (local author)
8) The Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Third Wheel by Jeff Kinney
9) Bossypants by Tina Fey (onetime local author)
10) Anatolian Days and Nights by Joy E. Stocke (local author)
11) The Tiger's Wife by Téa Obreht
12) State of Wonder by Ann Patchett
13) Fifty Shades of Grey by E. L. James
14) Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes
15) The Hare with Amber Eyes by Edmund de Waal
16) Flight Behavior by Barbara Kingsolver
17) Unlikely Friendships by Jennifer Holland
18) Wild by Cheryl Strayed
19) Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel
And tied for spot 20:
a) Good Night, Gorilla by Peggy Rathmann
b) Are You My Mother? by Alison Bechdel (not P.D. Eastman)

Top 25 Bestsellers at Big Blue Marble to Date:
1) Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling
2) Body Trace by D.H. Dublin (local author)
3) Philadelphia Chickens by Sandra Boynton (onetime local author)
4) The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
5) Good Night Philadelphia by Adam Gamble and Cooper Kelly (local setting)
6) Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert (local author)
7) The Daring Book for Girls by Miriam Peskowitz (local author) and Andrea Buchanan
8) The First 1000 Days by Nikki McClure
9) Good Night, Gorilla by Peggy Rathman
10) The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson
11) Dreams from My Father by Barack Obama
12) The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie (selected as companion book for the 2011 One Book, One Philadelphia program)
13) The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan
14) Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown
15) Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
16) The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick
17) The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats
18) Blood Poison by D.H. Dublin (local author)
19) Flotsam by David Wiesner (local author)
20) Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson
21) The Paper Bag Princess by Robert Munsch
22) Zen Shorts by Jon Muth
23) Just Kids by Patti Smith
24) Ella Elephant Scats Like That by Andy Blackman Hurwitz (local author)
25) Green Jobs Philly by Paul Glover (local author)
Oh, all right... And tied for spot 26:
a) The Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan
b) Mount Airy by Elizabeth Jarvis (local author)