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Rainbow Rowell Interview & Giveaway

by Carrie - 9 Comment(s)

fangirl

2013 was Rainbow Rowell's year, with not one but two YA novels getting some major buzz. Eleanor & Park reminded John Green what it was like to fall in love with a book, and made quite a few of the year-end "best of 2013" lists. For my money, her second book, Fangirl, was even better - but I guess you'll have to read them both and decide for yourself. Read on for our interview with my new favourite author, Rainbow Rowell, and leave your name & contact info in the comments for a chance to win your very own copy of Fangirl!

Q: I wanted to start by just telling you how very much I loved Fangirl – as soon as I was done I wanted to start reading it again! It’s been a long time since I felt as connected to a character as I did to Cather. How much of Cath did you pull from your own experience?

A: Thank you so much!

There’s a lot of me in Cath. I was also terrified to leave home for college. I had decided not to, actually – then a friend from high school said she’d be my roommate. Cath’s social anxiety, her fear of change, her desire to escape into fiction – those are all mine.

And of all my characters, Cath is closest to who I am as a writer. We both love to write dialogue. We both worry that we won’t have anything new to say. And we both crave collaboration.

Q: You’ve said on your blog and in interviews that you always create a playlist when you start writing a book – what’s the connection between your music and your writing?

A: The playlists help me stay emotionally consistent when I write. Sometimes I use a specific song to help keep me inside a scene, even if it takes a few days or weeks to write it. The song becomes an emotional anchor for me.

Also, I build the playlists as I write – and I usually make one for each main character – so I’m always thinking about the emotional arc of story as I go along.

You can see all of my Eleanor & Park playlists on my blog! I’ll be posting Fangirl playlists soon.

Q: There’s this great line in Fangirl: “Sometimes writing is running downhill, your fingers jerking behind you on the keyboard the way your legs do when they can’t quite keep up with gravity” (p.396) – is that what it’s like for you? Can you tell us a bit about your writing process?

A: Thank you. That is what it’s like for me. Exactly. Pretty much everything Cath says about writing is how I feel, too.

I have to really focus when I write. For four to six hours at a time, for four to six days in a row. I don’t like to have any other commitments on those days, if I can help it. My goal is to submerge myself in the story and stay there as long I can without coming up for air.

rainbow rowell

I’ve written all of my books so far in coffee shops, but I’m trying to write at home now that my kids are in school all day.

Q: Your first book, Attachments, was published as an adult book, and Eleanor & Park and Fangirl are both YA; was it a conscious decision for you to write YA, or is that just where those stories seemed to belong?

A: It wasn’t a conscious decision. When I started Eleanor & Park, I didn’t even realize I was writing a YA novel; it was just, “This is the story I want to tell.” I was a bit more savvy when I wrote Fangirl. By that time, I’d sold Eleanor & Park as YA, and I was working with a YA editor.

I love writing books about teenagers – and I love that teenagers are finding my books. (I really love the YA community.) But I don’t shift my approach to the story based on who might read it. It’s always: Get inside the characters’ heads, try to make it feel real.

Q: It seems to me that the reaction to Eleanor & Park has been all about extremes – John Green loved it (seriously, how much did you freak out when you heard that JOHN GREEN loved your book?!), and then there were the parents who hated it enough to get you banned from a planned author reading (and they’re still trying to get it banned from the area libraries, AND punish the librarians who recommended it – and you – in the first place). What do you think it is that makes people react so strongly to this story?

A: That’s a good question – and I’m not sure I can answer it. I mean, I was feeling extreme things when I was writing Eleanor & Park. The story definitely came out of me in an extreme way. (I felt gripped by it.) But it was still a huge surprise when people responded so passionately to the book. I never would have predicted that.

As for what happened to the book in Minnesota, I hate to give too much weight to that controversy. The negative response there came from one child’s parent. That parent was able to rally support and eventually influence the school and county boards -- but it was such an unusual and unprecedented response to the book.

Q: You have a new book, Landline, coming out this spring – can you tell us a bit about it?

A: Yes! I’m very excited about Landline. It’s another adult book (not YA) and it comes out in July 2014 from St. Martin's Press. Here’s the pitch:

Georgie McCool knows her marriage is in trouble. That it’s been in trouble for a long time. She still loves her husband, Neal, and Neal still loves her, deeply — but that almost seems besides the point now.

Maybe that was always besides the point.

Two days before they’re supposed to visit Neal’s family in Omaha for Christmas, Georgie tells Neal that she can’t go. She’s a TV writer, and something’s come up on her show; she has to stay in Los Angeles. She knows that Neal will be upset with her — Neal is always a little upset with Georgie — but she doesn’t expect to him to pack up the kids and go home without her.

When her husband and the kids leave for the airport, Georgie wonders if she’s finally done it. If she’s ruined everything.

That night, Georgie discovers a way to communicate with Neal in the past. It’s not time travel, not exactly, but she feels like she’s been given an opportunity to fix her marriage before it starts . . .

Is that what she’s supposed to do?

Or would Georgie and Neal be better off if they never got married at all?

You can see the cover for Landline here.

Q: Apart from your own work, what books or authors would you recommend to a YA reader?

A: I really love Cynthia Voigt. I read Homecoming in college, then inhaled everything she'd written about the Tillerman family. (There's a Dicey Tillerman reference in Eleanor & Park.)

I also love The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman and The Magicians by Lev Grossman . . . . Those books are hard to categorize, but I think you could call them YA.

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins is my favorite YA love story. Where She Went by Gayle Forman was impossible for me to put down. And Will Grayson Will Grayson (David Levithan/John Green) has my favorite YA character – Tiny Cooper.

eleanor & park dicey's songgraveyard bookthe magiciansanna and the french kisswhere she wentwill grayson

This contest is now closed - congratulations to our winner, Rina!

Zinio for Teens

by Courtney N - 0 Comment(s)

Calgary Public Library recently added Zinio, an online database that grants members access to hundreds of free magazines, to its E-Library. Members can download an unlimited number of magazines for free and keep them forever.

For those of you who have a long bus ride to school, you can download magazines the night before and read them on your phone or tablet on the way to school. Once magazines are downloaded, Wi-Fi is no longer required to read the magazines. Anyone traveling over the holidays or for spring graduation trips can make use of this feature, too.

There are just a few simple steps to accessing Zinio and you can read about getting started here: http://calgarypubliclibrary.com/books-more/ebooks/zinio

While there are over 350 magazines you can access with your library card, here are a few teen-worthy recommendations:

Nylon

Car and Driver

Seventeen

Rolling Stone

Sportsnet Magazine

Transworld Snowboarding

Popular Science

Zinio

YA Lit Pick — December

by Monique - 0 Comment(s)

 

While her parents are on an extended vacation over the summer, Kiri is left to her own devices. She plans to spend time with her best friend/bandmate/crush Lucas making music and competing in battle of the bands. She also plans on practicing the piano since she is quiet accomplished and wants to improve her skills even further. This all changes one fateful day, when she receives a call from a stranger who has her sister's belongings. The problem is that her sister died 5 years ago. It isn't until after she picks up her sister's belongings that Kiri learns how her sister actually died.

This debut novel, draws you into Kiri's life as she learns about family secrets, her relationship with Lucas and about herself. I found myself drawn to this book and wanting to know if Kiri would be ok, if she would sink or swim in the end. Although I throughly enjoyed the novel, I found that I was disappointed in the ending. It left several questions unanswered for me. Don't get me wrong, that is a good thing as it could lead to many possible conclusions. I'm looking forward to reading other material that Hilary T. Smith publishes in the future.

 

 

 

 

Victorian Girl Spies!

by Carrie - 0 Comment(s)

a spy in the houseI'm thrilled to announce that award-winning Canadian YA author Y.S. Lee is visiting CPL next week, and two lucky fans at each reading will win signed copies of her latest book, Traitor in the Tunnel!

Ms. Lee writes really excellent historical mystery/adventure and has so far published three books in The Agency series, with another one on the way. It's hard to find proper historical fiction in YA lit - not steampunk, not paranormal, no time travel - I love all of those things but sometimes you just want to immerse yourself in days gone by, the way they actually were.

Travel with me back to Victorian London and meet Mary Quinn - she's twelve years old and about to be executed for thievery, until a last minute rescue finds her instead ending up at Miss Scrimshaw's Academy for Girls. Finding herself alive is extraordinary enough, but to be given an honest chance at a good education and a real, worthwhile life is even more amazing. At age seventeen, Mary discovers that her school is also a cover for an all-female investigative agency, and that is the beginning of a life that is quite simply astonishing, full of adventure, peril, and the chance to make a real difference in the world.

I have loved The Agency series since the first book came out; the historical detail is spot-on, and the characters are engaging and many-faceted. I admit that a Victorian girl spy agency is probably not exactly the way things were, but it's within the realm of possibilty, and Y.S. Lee will have you convinced that it's the way it should have been.

Y.S. Lee will be at two library locations on Thursday, November 28th:

Crowfoot Library, 11 a.m. - 12:30 p.m

Village Square Library, 2 - 3 p.m.

Register now or just drop by; if you would like her to sign a book, please bring your own.

This program is generously sponsored by the Canada Council for the Arts.

body at the towertraitor in the tunnel

Don't Blink — Read!

by Tomas - 4 Comment(s)

neil gaimanIf you’re a Whovian, I don’t have to explain the significance of November 23rd. To those not yet initiated, this date marks the premiere of the 50th Anniversary special episode: The Day of the Doctor. If you're new to the phenomenon of Doctor Who, long-time fan Neil Gaiman recently shared a succinct synopsis of the show so you can dive right in:

“No, look, there’s a blue box. It’s bigger on the inside than it is on the outside. It can go anywhere in time and space and sometimes even where it’s meant to go. And when it turns up, there’s a bloke in it called The Doctor and there will be stuff wrong and he will do his best to sort it out and he will probably succeed ’cause he’s awesome. Now sit down, shut up, and watch ‘Blink’.”

In another post, Gaiman expands on his thoughts on the literary quality of the series:

“Doctor Who has never pretended to be hard science-fiction. At best, Doctor Who is a fairytale, with fairytale logic, about this wonderful man in this big blue box, who at the beginning of every story lands somewhere there’s a problem.”

The appeal to Doctor Who naturally extends to lovers of fiction (writers and readers). From a wardrobe that is bigger on the inside, to the wibbly wobbly act of Tessering, many books offer similar mind, space and time-bending experiences.

Over the years, a number of celebrated authors have contributed stories—in both television and book form—including Douglas Adams, Jenny Colgan and Neil Gaiman.

nenshiFans of the series also include our recently re-elected mayor Nahed Nenshi. In our centennial publication, His Worship wrote how he devoured every copy of the Doctor Who novels he could get his hands on.

“One of the things I really loved were science fiction novels and in particular I was a fan, and have been for a long time, of the British science fiction show Dr. Who,” ...

“There must be hundreds of Dr. Who paperbacks and I would always be awaiting them. I would always know which ones the Forest Lawn library had and which ones I had read.

“Whatever was there I would grab so I would read them wildly out of sequence which was ok because they were self-contained stories.”

In anticipation of the 50th Anniversary episode, Penguin Books commissioned 11 writers to come up with short stories. These were published monthly as e-books, one for each for one generation of the Doctor. So far these are only available as ebooks for sale, but hopefully will be added to our collection soon. In the meantime, you can check out the links below for samples of each writer’s story, courtesy of The Guardian, as well as interviews where they speak about their inspiration and enthusiasm for their particular Doctor:

 

Eoin Colfer - A Big Hand For The Doctordoctor who

Michael Scott - The Nameless City

Marcus Sedgwick - The Spear of Destiny

Philip Reeve - The Roots of Evil

Patrick Ness - Tip of the Tongue

Richelle Mead - Something Borrowed

Malorie Blackman - Ripple Effect

Charlie Higson - The Beast of Babylon

Derek Landy - The Mystery of the Haunted Cottage

Neil Gaiman - Nothing O'Clock

 


If the thrilling prospects of time and space exploration leave you wanting more, check out these other great reads.

A Monster Calls mister monday hitch-hikers guide hourglass wrinkle in time garden of iden

Steampunk H.G. Wells, Wollstonecraft and Poe? Yes please!

by Adrienne - 0 Comment(s)

Not had enough of things that creep in the dark post-Halloween? Ready to start designing next year's costume? Zdenko Basic's New Steampunk Series puts the ghostliness into the steam. It includes Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, H. G. Wells' War of the Worlds, and Edgar Allen Poe's The Raven, amongst others.

Each book features a SHORT insightful introduction which gives some interesting tidbits about each author's life as well as some historical context. Lushly illustrated with which creep their mood from mechanical to ghostly to gory, there's plenty here to fuel the steam engine of your imagination. Especially if you are a Steampunk fan. And if you've never heard of Steampunk before but like horror and gore this might just turn your crank enough to start dreaming of making Next year's Halloween costume involve gears, lace and, rivets.

I'm sure you can imagine and design your own steampunk characters or dress up your favourite YA Hero/Heroine. What would a Steampunk Katniss or Harry wear???

Soooooo... design a costume and photograph yourself or draw your favourite YA character Steampunk style and submit these to our TeensCreate page! These books may help: Steampunk Fashion & How To Draw Steampunk. For further inspiration check out CPL's great and growing Steampunk Collection. Then continue the adventure by reading Kady Cross's Steampunk Chronicle's trilogy starting with The Girl in The Steel Corset, (which includes many descriptions of awesome Steampunk outfits...) and finish with Legacy of the Clockwork Key by Kristin Bailey. May your engines be well oiled!

Kelley Armstrong is visiting CPL!

by Carrie - 0 Comment(s)

kelley armstrong

Next Wednesday, November 6th is your chance to meet bestselling Canadian author Kelley Armstrong! She will be visiting Shawnessy Library at 12 pm, and will be on the main floor of the Central Library at 7pm for a reading and book signing.

Even as a child, Kelley loved to write about creepy things - in her own words, "If asked for a story about girls and dolls, mine would invariably feature undead girls and evil dolls, much to my teachers’ dismay. All efforts to make me produce “normal” stories failed. Today, I continue to spin tales of ghosts and demons and werewolves, while safely locked away in my basement writing dungeon."

Kelley is the author of the Darkest Powers series for teens, the Otherworld series for adults, and quite a few other titles, all of them featuring characters you'll wish you knew - but might be glad are at a safe distance.

spellcasters the rising omens loki's wolves werewolves

Carrie & Other Scary Movie Favourites

by Kim - 1 Comment(s)

Everyone’s favourite supernatural misfit prom queen is back! The brand new remake of Carrie, the frightening 1976 film about a tormented, telekinetic teenager is sure to be a scary thriller hit this fall. Centred around the daughter of a domineering, ultra-religious and mean old mum, this remake is sure to be the scary thriller hit for fall. The film is based on the original book by Stephen King. Written when he was living in a trailer, Carrie was his first published novel and helped make him a household name in horror. In the spirit of the season of All Hallow’s Read, get ready for homecoming by getting a hold of Carrie here!

Trivia: Some of Carrie derived from Stephen King's own experiences as a teacher. The name of the high school is Bates High, a reference to Norman Bates from another horror classic, Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho!

A lot of great horror movies are based on even scarier books. One of our favourites is the original Bram Stoker's Dracula, which has been adapted for film over a dozen times (take that, Twilight!). And, All Hallow's read would not be complete without paying homage to the event's creator: Neil Gaiman's original Coraline is every bit as much creepy as the movie - maybe even a little bit creepier.

It's not too late to enter our All Hallow's Read giveaway - read this post and leave your contact info in the comments to win two scary books: The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman and Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake. The draw is October 25th so enter now!

Fall into Graphics - Bleak Bizarre & Beautiful continued...

by Adrienne - 0 Comment(s)

For the purposes of this post let's expand "Graphic Novels" to include books that have Great Graphics in them, and are a cabinet of curiosities in and of themselves! Admittedly, these are not technically graphic novels, but are still well worth it!

Let's start with The Curiosities, a collection of stories compiled for the most part from a blog started by 3 YA all-stars: Maggie Stiefvater, Tessa Gratton & Brenna Yovanoff. Its purpose is to challenge the authors with weekly writing exercises outside of their current novels in progress; this great collection of short stories includes many drawings and, fun, hand-written notes by fellow authors commenting (often sarcastically), on the writing of their peers.

Highlights include..... A diagram of Brenna's brain, 5 signs of a Maggie story (angst, cars, sarcasm, kissing, geniuses), drawings of each of their respective work spaces; (Yovanoff's includes just a ghost, a chair and, a monster coffee mug...), and comparative charts of their average story lengths (Tessa's being a ladder to the sky that never ends); complete with snide comments on the side. ;0)-

And if you're squeamish... this book is not quite as creepy as the original Cabinet of Curiosities. Trust me...

Venturing into fairyland; Wish by Beth Bracken & Kay Fraser includes sumptuously illustrated pages in full colour making you feel like you are reading through someone's fancy fairy journal.

Once Upon a Time in the North by Philip Pullman, features black & white engravings by master carver John Lawrence, as well as photos of newspaper clippings and bills giving it an old time, 1800's, steampunky feel. This short book gives you some unknown background into the characters featured in Pullman's His Dark Materials Series (The Golden Compass).

Unnatural Creatures is a great new book of short stories out by Neil Gaiman dealing with curious creatures such as griffins, sunbirds and werewolves. Titles include such curiosities such as "The Cartographer Wasps and the Anarchist Bees" & "Ozioma The Wicked".

And speaking of Mr. Gaiman... Guess who's coming to town on February 24th to speak for the Calgary Distinguished Writer's Program?..??? for FREE! Yes, that's right folks - get your (Free!) tickets on-line on October 24th at 12 noon sharp to make sure you don't miss out!

Mr. Gaiman recently presented a speech about the importance of imagination and science fiction to our culture. Check it out here! And remember to enter our All Hallow's Read contest for a chance to win one of his books, plus another scary title to give away.

Based on the acclaimed animated film Amaqqut nunaat = The Country of Wolves is a centuries old Inuit folktale that is beautifully retold by Neil Christopher and hauntingly illustrated by Ramon Perez.

Being so close to Halloween I would feel somewhat amiss if I failed to mention that we also have 2 brand NEW Graphic novels versions of two of Edgar Allen Poe's classics; The Pit and The Pendulum, & The Tell-Tale Heart . Happy Hallowed Reading!

nevermore

All Hallow's Read Giveaway

by Carrie - 0 Comment(s)

all hallow

It's time for one of my favourite new traditions - All Hallow's Read!

This marvelous event started when author extraordinaire Neil Gaiman decided that there just aren't enough traditions that involve giving people books. To rectify this oversight, he invented his own, reasoning that Halloween would be an excellent time to give someone you love a terrifying tale. That's all there is to it - just pick a book, whether spooky, creepy, or downright frightening, and give it to a friend or family member for Halloween.

Great idea, right?

To help you get in the spirit, we have six sets of scary stories to give away - one to keep for yourself, and one to give to a friend. Just tell us your name, phone number, and closest library branch in the comments (we won't publish your personal info), or send an email to teenservices@calgarypubliclibrary.com. We'll pick the winners on October 25th (so you can have the books in hand for Halloween).

Meanwhile, make this mini-book of Edgar Allen Poe's haunting poem The Raven to hand out to trick-or-treaters (you decide if it's a trick or a treat), read one of our recommendations, or tell us what frightening book you would give a loved one in the comments below.

anna dressed in bloodgraveyard bookreplacementmonstrumologistmiss peregrine's home

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