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Ultimate Pi Day Eve

2015 March 13
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Image via flickr user koka_sexton

Image via flickr user koka_sexton

Happy day-before-Pi-Day! You may be familiar with Pi Day (March 14 or 3.14) from the internet or from Carli Spina’s 2013 post. But did you know that tomorrow is an extra-special version? Math fans, it is our once-in-a-lifetime chance to revel in Ultimate Pi Day — that is, the day, the year, and even the second can align to the first few numbers of our favorite constant. Be alert at 9:26 a.m. and 53 seconds for the collective squee.

Book lovers can celebrate Pi Day in a couple of different ways. The most obvious, of course, is via math-related books. I’ve written a couple posts on some favorite titles, and the good news is, there are even more to check out! The latest ones I’ve found have an interesting theme: the math prodigy.

  • In Nearly Gone, by Elle Cosimano, it’s Nearly Boswell trying to stay one step ahead of a serial killer by solving cryptic math- and science-themed clues.
  • In On A Clear Day, by Walter Dean Myers, it’s Dahlia Grillo joining a group to resist multinational corporations in the year 2035.
  • In In Real Life, by Lawrence Tabak, it’s Seth Gordon, who is so good at videogaming that he’s invited to play professionally — which means a move to Korea for training.
  • In Running Scared, by Beverley Terrell-Deutsch, it’s Gregory using numbers and equations to avoid thinking about the car accident that killed his father.
  • In The Cipher, by John C. Ford, it’s Ben as the geeky best friend of the charismatic protagonist, Smiles — but Ben has the genius code-cracking ability that sets the plot in motion.

The other way to celebrate Pi Day? Pie, of course! My search for teen books about pie came up with precious few, other than the peach pies in Chasing Jupiter and the “dangerous pie” in Drums, Girls, and Dangerous Pie (although I’ll leave it up to the jury if we really want to count a pie made from a “zesty blend of coffee grounds, raw eggs and their smashed shells, Coke, uncooked bacon, and three Matchbox racing cars”). Previous Hub posts have covered the plethora of baking fiction in terms of sweet treats and delicious desserts, and no one can argue with the trending cupcake.

Since baking really is a form of math, and math-related books seem to be on the upswing, perhaps more teen fiction about pies is a trend that’s just around the corner. Happy Ultimate Pi(e) Day to one and all!

–Becky O’Neil, currently reading Station Eleven, by Emily St. John Mandel

Tweets of the Week: March 13th

2015 March 13
by Traci Glass
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Happy Friday the 13th, Hub Readers! While you are trying to stay one step ahead of those pesky people in hockey masks, be sure to check out these tweets of the week with news about the upcoming movie sequel to the Maze Runner, Ellen Hopkins & Night Vale!  In case you missed it…I’m here to compile it all for you!

tweets of the week | the hub

Books & Reading

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Cinderella Retellings

2015 March 12
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With a new movie of Cinderella coming out, it’s a great time to round up some book adaptations.

 

Ash by Malinda Lo (2010 Morris finalist and 2014 Popular Paperbacks for YA Top Ten)
Ash lost both her mother and her father. Now she’s stuck in a world with an evil step mother and two wicked step-sisters. She finds solace in the fairy world and with her new friendship with the King’s Huntress. Can she find happiness on her own terms?

Before Midnight by Cameron Dokey
Cendrillon’s mother dies in childbirth. The death of her mother forces her father to abandon her, leaving her to the care of the housekeeper. Her father remarries and sends his wife and two daughters back to the cottage, without telling her about his daughter. Everything changes once the truth comes out.

read more…

Jukebooks: The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black

2015 March 11
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DarkestPartoftheForestFairfold is a strange place to grow up in. As the children play games in the woods, the climb upon the glass coffin of the horned prince. He has bee asleep there for as long as can be remembered. And it is well known that faerie folk live in those same woods. One or two tourist disappears every year. The townspeople have convinced themselves that they are safe, as long as they don’t act like tourists.

Hazel and her older brother, Ben, have spent their childhoods slaying monsters. Ben is a magically talented musician, thanks to an encounter his mother had with a elf woman when Ben was small. Now Ben plays no music at all. And Heather spends time kissing boys instead of killing monsters. Nevertheless, the supernatural beings have plans for the two siblings, plans that will require strong hearts.

Although Ben no longer plays his own music, he continues to drown himself in the music of others. At a coffee house/thrift store/vinyl record emporium, Ben puts on a Nick Drake album. As Hazel describes, Drake’s “…sonorous voice filled the shop, whispering about golden crowns and silence.” The lyrics are actually:

Summer was gone and the heat died down
And Autumn reached for her golden crown
I looked behind as I heard a sigh
But this was the time of no reply

Nick Drake’s song, “Time of No Reply,” was not released during his lifetime. Drake’s first album, Five Leaves Left, was released in 1969, when Drake was just twenty-one years old. Five years later, Drake was dead as a result of an overdose of anti-depressants. Since that time, there have been a number of resurgences of Drake’s music. “Time of No Reply” was part of an album that came to be called Made to Love Magic, released in 1986.

For more insight into the music of Nick Drake, check out this podcast from 99% Invisible, featuring an interview with Drake’s producer, Joe Boyd. http://99percentinvisible.org/episode/three-records-from-sundown/

-Diane Colson, currently reading an advance reader’s copy of Tear You Apart by Sarah Cross

 

 

Narrators You Love to Hate in YA Lit

2015 March 10
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upauthors.com

upauthors.com

Unreliable, whiney, un-likable, liars—we’ve all read characters like this!  I love to read a good book with a “bad” (and/or unreliable) narrator. This kind of flawed storyteller reaches to the reader and asks us to question, look deeper, and ponder truth and lies. It is a sign of an excellent author who can manipulate you to love the book and hate the character. Skilled writers make the reader believe the lies and then accept the truth.

Here are some favorite examples of protagonists I love to hate.

I'll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson

  • In this year’s Printz Award recipient I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson twins Noah and Jude lie to each other, lie to their parents, and lie to themselves (and by extension to us: the reader). With all the lies it’s no wonder there was so much to reveal in this tale. The sneakiness and bad treatment of each other made me distinctly dislike them. But Nelson also juxtaposed the twins’ nastiness with descriptions of how deeply they love each other.
  • Cadence from We Were Liars by E. Lockhart (2015 Top Ten Best Fiction for Young Adults). Here is what I consider to be a likeable character and one whom I really felt for. But what if I knew the truth of what really happened that summer at the beginning of this book? Would I still have felt so sympathetic towards Cady?
  • Froi and Quintana from Melina Marchetta’s Lumatere Chronicles. Only Melina Marchetta (Printz Award winner) could take a predatory lowlife like Froi was when we first met him in Finnikin of the Rock (2011 Top Ten Best Fiction for Young Adults) and turn him around so distinctly then lead him to star in his own story. Froi is redeemed in Finnikin of the Rock; grows in Froi of the Exiles, and become a hero in Quintana of Charyn. In the second installment of the Lumatere Chronicles Marchetta also introduces Quintana: one of the grossest characters I have ever imagined in a book and quickly made me love her. Quintana is prickly, deranged, damaged, paranoid, abused, and abusive. But she becomes a hero too—fiercely protective and thoroughly decent.

read more…

Reading List for International Women’s Day

2015 March 9
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The UN's theme for International Women's Day this year is Empowering Women, Empowering Humanity: Picture it!

The UN’s theme for International Women’s Day this year is Empowering Women, Empowering Humanity: Picture it!

Yesterday, March 8, was International Women’s Day, a holiday born out of women protesting their work in garment factories, trying to get the right to vote, and later just celebrating and trying to better the roles of women in the world. In fact in the United States, the U.K. and Australia, the entire month of March is identified as a celebration of Women’s History.

For many people, celebrating women’s history and women in general goes hand in hand with being a feminist. In 2014, feminist – being a person who believes in gender equality – became a cultural concept very much in the spotlight. Reporters and bloggers asked celebrities if they identified as feminists; Beyonce performed at the MTV music awards in front of a giant “FEMINIST” sign; and Time magazine controversially added the word to a poll of words to be banned. Other serious issues such as campus rape and Gamergate harassment made the lives of women and their treatment take center stage.

I didn’t self-identify as a feminist until middle or high school because I didn’t know that there was a word for what I had felt my whole life: that women and girls were unquestioningly the equal to men and boys and that we had the right to exciting, meaningful, and amazing books. I feel so happy and privileged to go up in a house where my 8 year old intention to be a brain surgeon during the day and a concert pianist at night was met with a supportive, “Ok.” I didn’t quite reach those heights but my family never made me feel like I couldn’t do that because I was a girl. Sadly, this is not the norm throughout the whole world, and not even in the United States.

Tangibly, materially, and in terms of rights and freedoms, there is a lot to be done for women and girls throughout the world and our country. But one of the things libraries and bookstores and readers can do is to read about lives of women and girls. By reading and sharing stories of women and girls we can show others the amazing things women can do. We can also share the struggles of women and girls and help inspire change.

Here are just a handful of books I’ve read recently that have a strong, pro-women message. They present women and girls who are strong without being caricatures; emotional without being a harmful stereotype; and most of all, full realized characters with hopes, dreams, and struggles.


gabiGabi, a Girl in Pieces
by Isabel Quintero (2015 Morris winner and Amelia Bloomer Project list): Gabi is a girl that I simultaneously wish I knew in high school or had been in high school. She doesn’t have all the answers but is still so confident in herself even when dealing with sexuality, her weight, family tragedies, her friends’ pregnancy and coming out, and more. She has a wonderful message of power and sense of self that speaks well to girls both struggling and not. This is also one of the few YA books I’ve read with abortion as a plot point.

Girlchild by Tupelo Hassman (2013 Alex Award): Rory Dawn has a hard life growing up in her Nevada trailer park and desperately wants to be a Girl Scout. This is a great meditation on the expectations of girlhood and poverty.  read more…

The Monday Poll: Teen Tech Week

2015 March 9
by Allison Tran
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monday_pollGood morning, Hub readers!

Last week, we asked you to choose the YA book that would make a hit on Broadway. Topping the votes with 43% was Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan. (It’s all about Tiny Cooper, isn’t it?) Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell followed with 25% of the vote. You can see detailed results for all of our previous polls in the Polls Archive. Thanks to all of you who voted!

This week, YALSA is celebrating Teen Tech Week – when libraries showcase all the great digital resources and services that are available to help teens succeed in school and prepare for college and 21st century careers. So we want to know about your favorite YA book featuring current tech. Choose from the options below, or suggest another title in the comments!

What’s your favorite YA book that features social media or current technology?

  • TTYL by Lauren Myracle (45%, 32 Votes)
  • The Future of Us by Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler (27%, 19 Votes)
  • Gimme a Call by Sarah Mlynowski (14%, 10 Votes)
  • My Life Undecided by Jessica Brody (10%, 7 Votes)
  • The Boyfriend App by Katie Sise (4%, 3 Votes)
  • Hung Up by Kristen Tracy (0%, 0 Votes)

Total Voters: 71

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2015 Hub Reading Challenge Check-In #4

2015 March 8
by Carli Spina
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2015_reading_challenge_logoNot signed up for YALSA’s 2015 Hub Reading Challenge? Read the official rules and sign up on the original post. Anything you’ve read since February 9 counts, so sign up now!

Now that we are a few weeks into the 2015 Hub Reading Challenge but still have more than three months before the deadline, I thought it would be interesting to discuss strategies for completing the Challenge. Personally, I’ve had a busy winter, so I haven’t been able to get started yet and I am already thinking about how I am going to catch up. So, I want to hear from all of you. What approach do you take to the Challenge? Have you already finished all 25 books? Are you just reading down the list or are you organizing your reading list by genre or favorite authors? Do you try to move outside your comfort zone when you are picking books from the list? Or do you stick to familiar territory? Do you have a goal for each week or month? Do you review the comments from other Hub Challenge participants on Twitter using the #hubchallenge hashtag or have you joined the 2015 Goodreads Hub Reading Challenge group to find out what to move up on your to-be-read pile? Are you at the mercy of your library’s hold list? No matter what system you are using, I would love to hear more about it and the books you’ve read so far. And, even if you haven’t gotten started yet like me, let me know in the comments if you have a plan for how you are going to finish in time for the June 21st deadline.

Don’t forget that books you read for the Morris/Nonfiction Reading Challenge count for this challenge as well, but if you’ve read any of the other books prior to February 9, you’ll have to re-read them if you want to count them towards your total.

2015 reading challenge logo - participantYou have until 11:59 PM EST on June 21st to finish at least 25 books. When you read the weekly check-in posts, again, please don’t forget to read the comments and keep track of your progress by commenting yourself! If you review books online, please include links to your reviews. Also, don’t forget to post the Participant’s Badge on your blog, website, or email signature, and, as always, if you have any questions or problems, let us know in the comments or via email.

If you are a particularly fast reader and have already completed the challenge by reading or listening to 25 titles from the list of eligible books, be sure to fill out the form below so we can send you your Challenge Finisher badge, get in touch to coordinate your reader’s response and, perhaps best of all, to notify you if you win our exciting grand prize drawing! Be sure to use an email you check frequently and do not fill out this form until you have completed the challenge by reading 25 titles.  read more…

Women in Comics: Manga

2015 March 6
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For March, rather than focusing on a specific genre, I thought I would take a look at a wide range of manga created by women. Though I think many readers assume that most of the top manga creators are men, in fact there are a number of famous and important works created by women. Here are just a few examples.

Fullmetal AlchemistFullmetal Alchemist by Hiromu Arakawa – Featuring two main characters, one with a prosthetic arm and leg and the other a disembodied soul in a metal body, Fullmetal Alchemist is a fun series set in a world where alchemy offers practitioners the ability to transform the world around them, but not without a price. The story offers a perfect combination of a steampunk setting, compelling characters, humor, and adventure. Told over the course of 10 volumes, the story is one that has gone on to spawn two anime series, video games, and a series of Japanese novels. This is a great manga for serious manga fans and new readers alike. read more…

Tweets of the Week: March 6th

2015 March 6
by Traci Glass
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Happy First Friday in March, Hub Readers! Just remember…Spring will be here soon (I hope!)! Lots of great tweets around Teen Tech Week – be sure to check it out by searching for #ttw15. For now, look at these tweets of the week with news about the new book by Lauren Oliver, Avengers! Trailer! & the bad boys of YA fiction.  In case you missed it…I’m here to compile it all for you!

tweets of the week | the hub

Books & Reading

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