- Read about someone who doesn't look or live like you
- Read about a topic you find intimidating
- Read in a format you don't usually read in -- if you only read prose, try comics or poems
And he answered many questions from the enthusiastic audience, including "Which Harry Potter house are you in?" Gene Luen Yang is a Hufflepuff.
MCL Makers is a DIY series that highlights Multnomah County Library staff who make things in their spare time. Our first MCL Maker in the series was Anne Tran who taught us about all things soapmaking. Our second MCL Maker is Library Assistant Donna Cain. Donna is active in the fiber arts community and shared with us about her craft.
How long have you been handspinning fiber into yarn?
I've been spinning for about 25 years.
How did you learn how to spin?
In the beginning, I bought a used Ashford spinning wheel and took an eight week class at the Multnomah Center for the Arts. I've been happily turning fiber into yarn ever since. I'm a member of the Aurora Colony Handspinners' Guild, and am always learning new things about the craft. Handspinning is one of those crafts that you can learn in a day but take years to truly master. Luckily, every step along the way is a joy.
Have you used any resources from the library to further develop your craft?
I've checked out hundreds of craft books, including books on spinning, from the library over the years and we have a good selection. Even better, the library has great DVDs on various aspects of hand spinning. How cool to check out a DVD and learn a new technique from a nationally known expert. You'd have to travel and pay a substantial fee to learn from someone like that in person!
Have you taught others how to spin or shared your skill in any way?
I love bringing new spinners into the craft and have taught lots of people, mostly one on one. Currently, Librarian Judy Anderson and I are teaching spindle spinning (Drop Spindle Basics) as a library program.
What advice do you have for the new spinner just starting out?
I would encourage anyone interested in handspinning to start by taking a class. We continue to offer Drop Spindle Basics through the library. I am also available to teach drop spindle or wheel spinning at the Belmont Knit Fix program. In addition, classes are available at some yarn shops and through the Aurora Colony Handspinners' Guild. Another great beginning (activity) is to attend a fiber festival. They are listed on the Guild's website. It's a great way to see lots of spinners in action and experience the wonders of the fiber world.
For more information on all things handspinning, be sure to check out this curated list. Happy crafting!
The Picture File is a massive collection of file cabinets that you do not see when you come in to the library to the 3rd floor at the present time. In the past, these cabinets were prominently available in the Art and Music Room for library visitors to look through and make selections to check out. We are still checking out the Picture Files, but now since we have a much larger collection of books to display plus computer stations, there is simply no room for all of these file cabinets in the Art and Music Room, and they have been moved to closed stacks.
The Picture Files consist of folders on many topics, collected from books that could not be repaired, periodicals that were duplicates, and a whole myriad of images from calendars and other sources.
What use are these in our time, when we can find internet sources for images with ease? Since this collection was created in the Art and Music Room, it is particularly strong for these topics; there are hundreds of folders for the arts with thousands of pictures all together. If you are in the library looking for images of artists' works, it can be more practical to take home a manila envelope of images than a series of books. If you are working on ideas for a mural, for example, and want to experiment with combining images of different subjects, these files are useful for composition ideas.
Recently I was preparing a display of materials about the composers Bartok and Beethoven for a local festival and library concert, for which I used the Picture Files. There were some images of these composers that I had seen in books and on the internet, but a few that were a complete delight since new to me. So I suggest that it can be worth taking a look at these if you have a project. Simply ask the staff at the Art and Music Reference desk for picture files on a subject. We have an index of the subjects in this collection, and from these you tell the staff which folders you would like to look at. You can select up to 50 pictures at a time to check out from a range of folders.
These three images are samples from one of the three folders of paintings and drawings by Jean-Antoine Watteau (October 10, 1684 - July 18, 1721) whose drawings of musicians are so evocative of 18th century French baroque music.
Questions? Send our reference staff an email question or call the library: 503.988.5234.
A Volunteer Who Has Found Her Niche
by Donna Childs
It was a genuine pleasure to see Allissa Purkapile in the setting of her St. Johns library, a place she describes as “friendly and comfortable.” She is clearly comfortable with the library staff, and they seem to care as much about her as she does them. Several stopped to say hello to her as we spoke.
Allissa began volunteering with the St. Johns Summer Reading program following 6th grade. Initially, she worked one two-hour shift a week. Fast forward five years: Allissa is not only an indispensable Summer Reading volunteer, who helps coordinate the schedule, but also a dedicated helper with the storytime program and a reliable member of the library’s Teen Council.
She is the go-to Summer Reading volunteer, the one to call at the last minute if another volunteer doesn’t show up. Last summer she devoted more than sixty hours to Summer Reading. Since storytime often takes place when she is in school, her contributions to that program are more behind the scenes, but no less significant. She spends five hours most Saturdays cutting, folding, and gluing to create crafts for the youth librarian to use.
Since her freshman year, Allissa has also been a member of the St. Johns Teen Council, a group of young people who meet monthly to help make the library more teen-friendly. The group, which ranges in size from two to twenty teens, helps come up with program ideas, chooses books to display in the young adult (YA) section, and has even been instrumental in moving the YA from the back to the front of the library.
When asked what she likes best about volunteering at the St. Johns Library, Allissa said “everything, especially being able to answer questions and help people.” A true library aficionado, Allissa may apply for SummerWorks, a summer youth employment program that includes internships with Multnomah County. She also volunteers at her high school library two or three days a week and plays clarinet in her school band. Outside of school, she helps distribute food for a program called Harvest Share.
A Few Facts About Allissa
Most influential book: Harry Potter
Thanks for reading the MCL Volunteer Spotlight. Stay tuned for our next edition coming soon! Read last month's Volunteer Spotlight.
In the early years, our city was called The Clearing, but in 1845, landowners Francis Pettygrove and Asa Lovejoy flipped a coin to choose an official name. Pettygove came from Portland, Maine, and Lovejoy was from Boston, Massachusetts. Pettygrove won two out of three tosses, and so our city is Portland. This slide show will show you how Portland grew from 1851-1900.
Here are some of the historic places that make Portland special:
- Benson Bubblers: These four-bowl drinking fountains are unique to Portland.
- Pioneer Courthouse Square has been a school, a hotel, and a parking lot but is now considered the city’s “living room.”
- The Portlandia statue is the second-largest copper repoussé sculpture in the U.S. (The largest is the Statue of Liberty.)
- Skidmore Fountain was designed to be a source of drinking water for people, horses and dogs.
- The Pittock Mansion was the home of Henry Pittock, who arrived in Oregon penniless on a wagon train in 1853.
- In 1900, Portland’s Chinatown was the second largest in the country.
Because of the many bridges crossing the Willamette River, one of Portland’s nicknames is Bridgetown. Some of the bridges that connect the east side to downtown are more than 100 years old!
What did Portlanders in the past do for fun? The Rose Festival, which still happens every June, started in 1904. The next year, Portland hosted the Lewis and Clark Centennial Exposition, which attracted more than 1.6 million visitors. Children liked to visit the amusement parks at Oaks Park and Jantzen Beach.
You know it rains a lot in Portland, but did you know that our city has often flooded? In the flood of 1894, downtown Portland was flooded and people got around in boats. In 1948, the Vanport flood destroyed a housing area that was home to many African Americans.
Here's a video that shows some of the changes in Portland:
Still have questions? Contact a librarian for help!
May 1st through 7th has been designated by the American Library Association as Choose Privacy Week, and this year it is just as relevant as ever. A recent Pew Internet study shows many American adults who go online do not have a good understanding of cybersecurity. This spring, we also read about a vote to repeal rules requiring ISPs to protect customers’ privacy.
What does privacy mean to you? Is it a place where no one is watching you or listening to what you say? Thanks to our ever-connected gadgets (our phones, computers, televisions, e-readers) such places are becoming more and more scarce. Every digital breath we take is noted, collected, and recorded for future marketing or security purposes.
Should we care? After all, we get many benefits by giving up our privacy: we receive recognition from others, we can easily share and communicate with groups of friends, we get free email. But a world without privacy is also a world where you are not free to ask questions or seek information without being monitored.
Libraries care about privacy. Why? Because, according to the American Library Association, "the freedom to read and receive ideas anonymously is at the heart of individual liberty in a democracy.”
The Electronic Frontier Foundation's Privacy webpage is a good place to keep up to date with current privacy issues, especially in the online world. To learn more online privacy, take a look at Portland Community College’s Privacy Online guide: it includes videos and links about the ways that privacy is compromised online, and tips for how you can protect it.
If, like me, you’re more of a book person, I’ve made a reading list called “Privacy? What’s privacy?” - it includes current books that will help you start to answer that question. If you’d rather get your dystopia in a make-believe format, another reading list, “Surveillance stories and privacy parables,” includes books and DVDs about the privacy-less society that we just might be headed toward.
Are you taking steps to protect your privacy? Or have you already given up on the notion of privacy? Leave your comments below (and please feel free to do so anonymously).
There was a great response to Multnomah County Library's first comics contest for grades 6-12! It was very hard to choose the winners and honorable mentions, and we're grateful to Robin Herrera and Ari Yarwood, editors at Oni Press, for their help judging.
Broken Hearts, Stephanie S
Copy Cats, Delana Wilkins
Delete, Quinn Plucar
D-exorcist, Thomas Trinh
Zombie Pizza, Abraham Gonzalez
A Little Slice of Dumb Life, Naomi Nguyen
Chris and Fishy! Vol. 1, The Wizard's Gift, Daniela Sanchez
Chori and Chester: the Crazy Cats, Humphrey Hamma
Common Ground, Kay Lowe
Growing up in the Garden, Rebecca Celsi
Picture Day Disasters, Hannah Hardman
Would You Rather, Gabrielle Cohn
If you’ve selected a person for your next biographical report but there are no books about them don’t spend hours looking through Google search results; instead check out Multnomah County Library’s biographies database list. In these databases you can find quick facts, articles, encyclopedia entries, and even a search engine devoted to famous people.
Still need more information? If you are headed online be sure to evaluate the website before trusting the information. Here are some good questions to ask when doing online research:
1. Who is the owner of the site? Is it clear who the author of the information on the page is? Is there a way to contact the author or owner?
2. Is the website trying to sell or persuade you to buy something?
3. Check the website’s URL to check the authority and validity of the website. When researching, “.edu” and “.gov” are good indicator that it is an official site.
4. Is the site kept up-to-date, with current links, new material and a creation date listed?
5. Based on the information you already have, does the website appear to have accurate information? Are there spelling or grammar mistakes?
If you need more help, ask a librarian.
Emerging from an ultra conservative Jamaican childhood, Grace Jones created her own path and a life well lived. In her memoir, I'll Never Write my Memoirs she opens her life, inviting readers into a world of adventures and experiences that only her words can convey.
I’m not even going to try. Just take Grace Jones’ words for it.
Already said hello? Try this list for similar books.
By the Hollywood Teen Book Council
It has been a little over a year since we had to say goodbye to Leslie Knope and friends. This is the show that brought us Galentine’s Day, “Treat yo self,” and so many heartfelt and funny moments. Luckily, the library has all seven seasons available for checkout.
Even if there was no love loss between the Parks Department and the Library, (Leslie Knope did say once, “The library is the worst group of people ever assembled in history. They’re mean, conniving, rude and extremely well read, which makes them very dangerous.”); these are characters that continue to stay with us. Just as we are gearing up for more time in the great outdoors, recreating in our parks, we thought we’d take a moment and pick books for our favorite characters.
My Beloved World By Sonia Sotomayor
Leslie Knope is not someone to let anything get in the way of her dreams, and she is inspired by a league of powerful women. Since she is on her path to Washington, she would be interested in the paths of other women that have landed key roles in the running of different branches of government.
Adventures with Waffles by Maria Parr
With a strong love of breakfast food, especially waffles, this is a book for Ms. Knope. Where she is all about strong friendships and adventures outdoors, she will delight in the kinship and antics of Trille and Lena.
Hatchet by Gary Paulsen
Ron Swanson is an advocate for self-reliance, and he has his own fantasies of living off the grid. He will enjoy Brian’s story of surviving in the wilderness after a plane crash with only a hatchet to sustain himself.
Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers by Mary Roach
Putting Makeup on Dead People by Jen Violi
As far as working for the City of Pawnee, April’s interest and personality seems to be a better fit for the morgue than the parks’ department. We think she would be fascinated by both Stiff and Putting Makeup on Dead People.
A Dog's Journey by W. Bruce Cameron
We know that Andy has a soft spot for animals. He will enjoy this tender-hearted tale told through the eyes of a dog.
The Adventures of Captain Underpants by Dav Pilkey
We really think that this is Andy Dwyer’s actual secret identity.
Modern Romance by Aziz Ansari
Even though this is written by the actor that plays Tom Haverford, we know that Tom would appreciate the meticulous research that went into this to show how modern technology is affecting the way that we date.
Famous in Love by Rebecca Serle
Donna has all the men falling for her, just like Paige in this book. Eventually both with have to choose if they want to be with just one.
Lumberjanes by Noelle Stevenson
Ann is the ultimate best friend. We think that she would enjoy the strong female friendships and the supernatural adventures that take place in the great outdoors.
Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
Bless the ultimate nerd that is Ben Wyatt. If only this book had some more Game of Thrones references. Still, we know that Ben will love this homage to some of the best things to come out of the 1980’s.
What I Talk About When I Talk About Running by Haruki Murakami
Super fit Chris Traeger will love this contemplation about a shared passion from one of today’s greatest writers. .
Jerry Gergich (...or Garry, Larry or Terry)
What's in a Name?: Everything You Wanted to Know by Leonard R. N. Ashley
Really what is in a name? Come on, Jerry!
-By the Hollywood Teen Book Council
"I think they think I'm a bit odd, you know. Some people call me 'Loony' Lovegood, actually.” --Luna Lovegood, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
There are so many reasons that Luna Lovegood has captivated us. Her airy ways and perceptiveness bring humor throughout the series. When we first meet her in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, J.K. Rowling writes, “The girl gave off an aura of distinct dottiness. Perhaps it was the fact that she had stuck her wand behind her left ear for safekeeping, or that she had chosen to wear a necklace of Butterbeer caps, or that she was reading a magazine upside down.”
Initially, as most of us on the Hollywood Teen Book Council are all avid Harry Potter fans, we wanted to do some sort of a book project around the series. When it came time to get started, none of us could get past wanting to suggest books that we thought Luna Lovegood would love to read.
Here is what we would think she should read, if she hasn’t already . And as Luna says, , “Wit beyond measure is man's greatest treasure.”
The Theory of Everything by Kari Luna
Luna’s a little bit quirky and so is Sophie Sophia, the girl with an obsession of music from the late 80’s. Luna will enjoy Sophie’s attempt to find her father, an eccentric physicist who has disappeared suddenly. Luna will also be glad that Sophie has a friend along on the quest: her giant shaman panda named Walt.
Luna’s interests are varied and thorough, so perhaps she would like this very complete examination of city-dwelling rats and how they have evolved alongside humans.
The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
Aside from Harry, if anyone else at Hogwarts is going to go on a quest, it would probably be Luna. Unlike Coelho’s shepherd boy, she might come to a quicker understanding of what she needs to find the treasure she seeks.
The Magicians: A Novel by Lev Grossman
Luna attends a school for witchcraft and wizardry, so she might be interested to compare Quentin Coldwater’s school of magic experience in upstate New York to her own.
The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in A Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne M. Valente
Ms. Lovegood is a solid character who is always up for an adventure so she might like this story of a girl named September who’s adventure involves a quest to retrieve a witch's spoon from the terrible and unpredictable Marquess of Fairyland.
The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
Luna wouldn’t be surprised to see a circus appear with no warning, and she might also like the struggle and love story of two young illusionists.
Gutshot: Stories by Amelia Gray
With so many interests, short stories might be the right kind of fiction for Luna. This collection is human and dark, and full details of this strange world of ours.
A Pattern Language: Towns, Buildings, Construction by Christopher Alexander
Luna’s unique thought process sometimes makes communication with others difficult. Perhaps this book, which helps build a common language and coherence within systems, will help. It’s strongly recommended if she ever designs or builds a house.
Unflattening by Nick Sousanis
Luna Lovegood sees things differently than your average Hogswartian, so Nick Sousanis’s experiment in visual thinking would be at home in her hands. This graphic novel disassembles perception and will help her to find even more understanding. Though perhaps she is already ahead of the rest of us?
How do presidential elections work? What is the difference between a primary election and a caucus? How do political conventions work? What is the electoral college? Kids.gov is a great place to start learning about how presidents get elected in the United States. This handy poster walks you through the presidential elections process. When you're on Kids.gov, you can order your own free copy of the poster, then scroll down below the poster for more information about primaries and caucuses, national conventions, the Electoral College and constitutional requirements for presidential candidates.
Find news stories about the elections at Here There Everywhere News -- a news blog written just for kids by a former producer for the NBC Today Show. The Politics page presents thoughtful stories about about the elections.
And Time for Kids has an elections mini-site with news stories about the presidential campaigns.
Lewis and Clark mapped many geographic and geologic features on their expedition. They drew a picture of most and labelled them with a name. Sometimes they phonetically spelled the Native American names as best they could. Some were named after the physical properties of the feature...such as Beaverhead Rock. And many were named to “honor” 19th century political figures or members of the Corps.
The Missouri Breaks reminded Meriwether Lewis of an ancient city. Despite appreciating the rugged beauty, the Corps also suffered from holes in their moccasins created by flint fragments found at the bottom of the white cliffs.
The Great Falls on the Missouri River was an incredible impediment for the Corp of Discovery. It took almost a month for the explorers to portage around this amazing group of five waterfalls.
Lolo Hot Springs was visited both on the way west and back east. The springs provided a rare opportunity for a warm bath, but only on the return trip. They didn't have time to stop for a bath on the way to the Bitterroots. Today the hot springs bears no resemblance to the 19th century site.
Pompey’s Tower or Pillar was named after Toussaint Charbonneau and Sacagawea’s toddler son Jean-Baptist Charbonneau who had acquired the nickname “Pomp” or “Little Pomp”.
Before crossing the Bitterroots, the Corps made camp at a place now called Traveler's Rest. Most of their time was spent hunting for food for the difficult mountain crossing. Traveler's Rest is the only archaeolgically verified campsite from the expedition.
The Corps had to trek across the Bitterroot Mountains, a northern section of the Rockies, late in the season. It was a miserable journey which they just barely survived. They were probably too miserable from cold and fatigue to enjoy the breathtaking views.
As the very hungry Corps descended from the Bitterroot Mountains they spied grasslands of the Weippe Prairie. The prairie was named by the Nez Perce Indians—Weippe is their word for “very old place”.
Five different Cascade Range volcanos were seen by the Corps in the Northwest. Some of them were on a map given to them by explorer George Vancouver.
Celilo Falls in the Columbia River Gorge was a spectacular feature on the Willamette River and its history is quite controversial to the present day. Many people would like to see the Falls re-appear.
I’ve described just a handful of the thousands of geographic and geological sites described by the Expedition. It might be a fun project to map them and several more from each state on the trail. When you look at photos of the Expeditions 's trail, you can easily see the enormous physical obstacles they overcame to accomplish the challenge they received from President Jefferson.
Fashion designers, stylists, and makers! Perhaps you find inspiration in browsing images of fashion from times past, and you want to go a little deeper than the same top hits that everyone else can find on a Google image search. Perhaps you like the feel of paper. You probably know that you can page through old issues of magazines such as Vogue at the library, and of course we have many excellent books on vintage fashion. But did you know that we have files upon files of image inspiration for your projects?
In the Picture File Collection at Central Library, there are many folders containing clippings of women’s fashions: at least one for each year from 1900-2005. And that’s just a fraction of the files with subjects related to clothing! Other files contain examples of traditional dress around the world, children’s clothing, men’s fashions, school uniforms, and accessories such as spectacles, shoes, and underwear. One file is all about men's coiffure, including beards. Another focuses entirely on the American "Pioneer Mother" style of dress. There's a file for Norse (Viking) costume, one for the stock pantomime characters Pierre & Pierrot, and another for Scottish tartans. There is a folder of swimwear clippings for each decade in the twentieth century... and so on! The files in the Picture File Collection are assigned library subject headings and subheadings, much like books and other library materials. The library subject heading that encompasses these fashion clippings is Costume, with subheadings like Costume - 20th c. - 1963.
If this piques your interest, you might be interested to know that following the many Picture Files with the heading Costume come the folders with these headings: Couples, Courthouses, Covered Wagons, Crete, Crime, Croatia, Crowds, Cuba, Curaçao, Custom Houses & Ellis Island (buildings), Cyprus, Czechoslovakia, Dairies, Dams, Dancing, Day Care Centers, Demonstrations, Denmark, Deserts, Design, Devils, Disabilities, Domes, Dominican Republic, Drawings, Driftwood….
The many file drawers that contain the Picture File Collection are in a staff-only area of the library. To access the Picture Files, and to browse a traditional library card catalog file of the subject headings, please visit the reference desk at the Art & Music room on the third floor of Central Library. Images from the Picture File Collection can be checked out, too - up to 50 individual clippings. Please feel free to contact us with any questions you may have about this unique and historical collection!
It was a dark and drizzly night in Portland, Oregon...
Thanks to the magic of Roku, the hilarious and irreverent Newsradio was on my television. Nothing could have been better. Then, out of the elevator, arrived the cast of Mr. Show.
Mic dropped. Laughs ensued.
During the 90s and early 00s a collective of writers and comedians produced a body of work featuring each other in one form or another. However, when shows like this aired, the internet was merely a buffering baby - finding and watching these shows was not a click away. Well worn VHS tapes and personal retelling after a ten mile uphill walk through the snow filled the gap until the current overabundance of content was available.
The Library is Like Falling Into Heaven
by Sarah Binns
Born and raised in the San Fernando Valley, Carla later drove her VW bus all the way to Alaska - and stayed for forty years. When she and her husband moved to Nome in the early '70s, the local library association was little more than a women's social club. “Over a period of a few years we transformed into a working association with an eye toward a true lending library that was funded by the city,” she explains. Through their efforts, library funding was eventually secured, and Nome's Kegoayah Kozga Public Library continues to this day.
Shortly after Carla and her husband moved from Nome to an apartment above the Sellwood Library in 2006, she noticed a sign soliciting volunteers. She started as a paging list volunteer in 2007, pulling items that patrons have put on hold. On her inaugural day, Carla was dismayed to locate only a few of the books on the 100-book list. “It turns out it was the previous day's list!” she laughs. She says the paging list is “the ultimate Easter egg hunt” and intends to go on doing this task.
Carla also volunteers with Words on Wheels, a Library Outreach Services program which delivers books to those unable to go to the library. She's been with some of her patrons for two years now and still enjoys bringing them book suggestions. When it comes to the library and reading, Carla says, “It's like falling into heaven. I never mind waiting in lines because I always have a book with me. As long as I have a book, I'm fine.”
A Few Facts About Carla
Home library: Sellwood Library
Currently reading: The Mistborn series by Brandon Sanderson
Books that made you laugh or cry: Dave Barry's books make her laugh; “I try to avoid books that make me cry,” she says, "but The Art of Racing in the Rain was one that did."
Most influential book: Probably Lord of the Rings; “I always go back to it, I've read it at least 14 times.”
Guilty pleasure: “All books are guilty pleasures! But probably my science fiction.”
Favorite book from childhood: Little Women, Uncle Tom's Cabin, “and a story about a young girl in the Revolutionary War that I can't remember the title of!”
Favorite section to browse: New books, graphic novels, and staff picks
E-reader or paper books: Paper, though e-books are a nice option when on the go.
Favorite place to read: In bed in the morning with a cup of coffee or a chair in her apartment loft with good light.
Thanks for reading the MCL Volunteer Spotlight. Stay tuned for our next edition coming soon! Read last month's Volunteer Spotlight.
Your XBOX is broken, your iPhone is dead and, on top of all that, the power is out. You need a book to read! I recommend Press Start to Play, a new collection of short stories inspired by video games.
The stories are short, snappy and really diverse in the ways that they translate video-gaming into fiction and then use it to speculate on the future of our society. Action? Yes. Dystopia-utopia, with laughs? Sure. Horror-filled text-based-game bleeding into reality? That too. Some big-name authors are included in the book, like Charlie Jane Anders (All the Birds in the Sky), Ken Liu (Grace of Kings) and Andy Weir (The Martian), among many others. You can find Press Start to Play in my reading list Great reads for gamers v2.0.
It is a good time to be a video gamer in Portland. OMSI has an exhibit called Game Masters which is running through May 8, 2016. Local super-arcade Ground Kontrol is getting ready to expand and double in size. Multnomah County Library is in on the action, too: Troutdale Library will be holding a spring break gaming week for teens in March 2016, and local nonprofit Pixel Arts is presenting game design programs for kids and teens at libraries around the county.
So, what are my personal top 5 favorite video games of all time? I’m glad you asked.
- Curse of the Azure Bonds (1989, DOS)
- Ultima VII: The Black Gate (1992, DOS)
- Street Fighter II Turbo (1993, Super NES)
- Gran Turismo 2 (1999, PlayStation)
- Dragon Age: Origins (2009, PlayStation 3)
Share your own favorites in the comments! Bonus score if you can suggest a book match for your favorite game.
Now let's play some Curse of the Azure Bonds! (Warning: the following video contains spoilers as well as 1980s D&D awesomeness.)
Want to shake up your reading patterns? Tired of reading a book from cover to cover in a sequential order? Here are two reading suggestions from the Hollywood Library’s Teen Book Council where you get to choose the order you read the stories, and invites you to pick your own pattern.
Siena Lesher, sophomore
Ghosts of Heaven by Marcus Sedgwick
True, history goes in chronological order, but that doesn’t mean all stories flow that way. If you were to rearrange the order of certain events in life, you would wind up with an entirely different plot, and The Ghosts of Heaven proves that. A collection of four short tales, you can read them in any order and get a different story each way. It’s a very interesting set of stories, each written in a different style of writing, and I would highly recommend it.
Arden Butterfield, freshman
The Turnip Princess by Franz Xaver von Schönwerth
These German fairy tales were lost in an archive for over 100 years, and were recently discovered a few years ago. The stories are fairly short, but there is a large variety in what they are about. The stories are grouped by topic-- tales of romance, of magic, of animals and of banished princes which can make the book feel somewhat monotonous. I would recommend jumping around in this book, instead of reading it cover to cover.
This book is bland. The stories, for the most part, are told without emotion, just matter-of-factly stating whatever happens. While this contributes to the monotony of the story, I also think it makes it feel more dreamlike, in the way that in dreams the wildest things happen completely deadpan. I would recommend it to anyone interested in fairy tales, or interested in German medieval culture. It isn’t a gripping page turner, but it was very good nonetheless, especially from a historical perspective.
Looking for more great reading suggestions? Try one of these picks of the month.
Feeling a little frozen these winter months? Needing an emotional jolt? Here are three reader reviews that teens from the Hollywood Library’s Teen Book Council think will break your heart open.
Alisa Folen, sophomore
I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson
I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson is a beautifully written book that weaves together a complex story about friendship, love and a hint of magic. Noah and Jude are twins, but they could not be more different. Noah is an amazing artist, yearning to go to the highly acclaimed art middle school in his town.Jude loves to socialize and hang out at the beach, surfing and arguing with her mother. The story is told from their alternating perspectives, allowing the reader to gain a better understanding of their complex relationship. The language used in I’ll Give You the Sun creates an entire world, and makes an average California beach town seem like the most magical place on earth. Each chapter is told at a different time in the plot, which can be confusing at first. Overall, I would highly recommend to everyone, but especially those who enjoy mystical subplots and figurative language.
Elsa Hoover, sophomore
Orbiting Jupiter by Gary D. Schmidt
Orbiting Jupiter follows 6th grade Jack as his family starts fostering Joseph; a 14 year old boy with a daughter. Joseph, after spending time in a juvenile detention center, is left scared of the world and only wants to be with his daughter. Jack soon befriends him and tries to help him in any way he can. The characters in this book are multi-dimensional and not at all stereotypical, and they are written to have complex emotions and thought processes. The themes are subtle, and help to keep the book’s realistic feel. The plot is well executed--at the beginning you are dropped right into the middle of an action so the characters, background and setting are introduced throughout the first few chapters. The whole plot was executed beautifully with a slow burn that made you need to keep reading. The characters and plot were so realistic it made you feel like you were reading a news article (in a good way). So it was inevitable to feel for them and their struggles. I would recommend this book if you have three hours, and want to go on an emotional rollercoaster.
Siena Lesher, sophomore
The Bunker Diaries by Kevin Brooks
Written in the confines of a minute room, six individuals wait for their fate to be determined. They have no control - “he” has all the power there. “He” put them there. “He” holds all the cards. Told from the point of view of Linus, a sixteen-year-old boy. The Bunker Diary is an excellent representation of the many forms of human nature - from addiction to assertion, as the six try to hold onto the hope of escape. This book was a real page-turner, and very complex for such a simple situation. Just a quick note: don’t start this book late at night - you will finish it at 4:00 a.m., unable to sleep, the last events playing over and over in your head.
Looking for more great reading suggestions? Try one of these picks of the month.