More retro gaming!

Come to the library for some old school gaming.  Are you wicked good with the Master Sword and Light Arrows?  Handy with a blaster or a hexagonal reflector?Play Nintendo Gamecube – Smash  Bros Melee.  Want to wing some fireballs or giant bananas at top speed?  Check out Mario Kart Double Dash.

Or is close quarter combat more your style?  Hit the PS2 for Street Fighter II and Street Fighter:  Third Strike.  Are you good enough to make it to the bonus round?

Show your face and your mad skillz.   Snacks provided, since wielding the Sword of Seals is hard work.

Saturday, October 16th, 2 – 5 pm in the Community Room.  Ages ~12+.  Smash Bros Melee and Mario Kart Double Dash are rated All Ages; Street Fighter games are rated T for Teen.  Please email Kate with any questions (kmusselman at ivpl.org)

Catching Fire

Katniss and Peeta have done the impossible:  they’ve survived the Hunger Games – together – and it’s made them famous.  The “star-crossed lovers” are a hit in the districts and in the Capitol – except in the office of the President.  On the day their Victory Tour is to begin, President Snow pays Katniss a secret visit, and makes it clear that she now has an agenda:  to put down the rebellion brewing in the districts – the rebellion for which she has become an unknowing figurehead.

In Catching Fire, the sequel to the Hunger Games, it quickly becomes clear that the Games don’t end when you leave the arena.  Katniss is still fighting for her life, and Peeta’s – but now she’s also fighting for the lives of her mother and her sister.  Snow has made it clear that if she fails to end the rebellion, everyone she loves is forfeit.  But it doesn’t end with the Victory Tour.  It’s the 75th Anniversary of the Hunger Games -75 years since the districts’ failed rebellion against the Capitol, and the Hunger Games serve as a brutal reminder that the Capitol is still calling the shots.  When the Reaping comes, the announcement shocks everyone:  this year’s Tributes will be chosen from the Tributes of the last 25 years.  Which means that Katniss and Peeta are back in the arena, and the Games are on – again.

Catching Fire has plenty of action.  Katniss, Peeta, and the other Tributes are trapped in that arena fighting for their lives in a world where the players, the rules, and the Games themselves are constantly changing.  The survival techniques she honed in the first  Hunger Games still serve Katniss well, but this time around, she’s had time to train, and she has a better idea of what to expect.  Or so she thinks.

Katniss is also still torn between Gale and Peeta, and the Capitol’s insistence on having them play the “star-crossed lovers” is only making that decision more difficult.  When she goes back into the arena, Katniss has only one objective:  to keep Peeta alive.  Unbeknownst to her, however, there are other people with their own objectives.  She thinks she knows the rules, but the rules are always changing – and so are the people in charge.

Sometimes the middle book in a trilogy is the least exciting.  Maybe that’s because it’s often just filler – a bridge between the beginning and the grand finale.  I’m happy to say that’s not the case with Catching Fire.  It’s exciting and full of action and intrigue – but Collins never shies away from what’s really underneath these stories:  the chilling and awful effect of violence.   Still, as grim as the world of the Hunger Games is – and it IS grim – it’s also fascinating.  I loved having a chance to get to know Katniss better in this second book, watching her change and adapt with each new twist.  Whether she’s strategizing in the arena, trying to understand the motivations of her fellow Tributes, or trying to understand her own heart, Katniss is a great character; I think she’s one of the best literary heroines I’ve encountered in a long time.

Catching Fire is another fast read – simply because you can’t put it down.  It also ends with one heck of a cliffhanger – so count yourselves lucky that Mockingjay, the final book in the trilogy, is out now!

If you love this series and want a chance to talk about it, email me at kmusselman@ivpl.org – a discussion group is in the works and the more the merrier!

Retro Gaming Night

Play Nintendo Gamecube – Smash  Bros Melee!  Are you wicked good with the Master Sword and Light Arrows?  Handy with a blaster or a hexagonal reflector? Maybe you don’t know, but you’d like to find out.   Show your face and your mad skillz.   Snacks provided, since wielding the Sword of Seals is hard work.

Tuesday, September 21st, 6 – 9 in the conference room (ages 12+)

Fall programming

OK, so the air isn’t so crisp and it’s still as hot as August, but it’s September, and that means fall.  Which means fall programming!  Kick things off with Teen Read Week.

Teen Read Week is all about reading for the fun of it. Think reading is boring? Think there aren’t any good books out there? Think again!

Check out the list of Books With Beat (online and at the library), or make some suggestions of your own. Then vote for your favorites. The top ten most popular books will be displayed in the teen room at IVPL. But wait – there’s more!

Make a ‘movie poster’ for your favorite book with beat &  enter to win prizes (books, free ice cream, and more!)  Winners will be announced at the Teen Read Week Kick-off Event on Sunday, October 17 – a day of Glee-related fun!

Voting on the Top Ten Books With Beat begins on Tuesday, September 7. You can vote in the teen room at IVPL or by emailing Kate at kmusselman@ivpl.org.

And check back for other great fall happenings!

The Hunger Games

Life is not easy for 16-year-old Katniss Everdeen.  Since her father’s death in a mine accident, she’s been the sole provider for her mother and her little sister, Prim.  Life is always precarious in District 12, the poorest district in the country of Panem (a post-apocalyptic version of the United States) ;  food is scarce but hunting outside the fence that surrounds them is forbidden.  That doesn’t stop Katniss and her best friend Gale, though, and the game they bring in is food on the table and something to trade on the District’s black market.   Things are difficult under the Capitol’s harsh rule, but Katniss is as happy as she can imagine being, until one moment in the town square changes everything.

The Hunger Games is the first book in a trilogy by Suzanne Collins.  It tells the story of Katniss’s choice to submit herself as a Tribute in her little sister’s place.  She will enter the Hunger Games, in which 24 children, a boy and a girl from every district, go into the arena to compete in a prolonged televised fight to the death.   There can be only one winner:  the last tribute standing.  The Hunger Games have been going on for over 70 years, a reminder to the districts that their long-ago rebellion against the Capitol had a price; they will never win, and their lives can be forfeit at any time.

The Hunger Games is gripping, fast-paced, and exciting.  Katniss is truly one of the best literary heroines I’ve encountered.  She’s strong and brave but she still gets scared.  She doesn’t want to do this, but when Prim’s name is called at the Reaping, the annual announcement of which children will be entered into the Hunger Games, she instantly volunteers to take her sister’s place.  Katniss knows she has no real hope of coming out of this alive; other, wealthier districts train their children to be killing machines, whereas Katniss and the others in District 12 have been too busy simply trying to keep from starving to death.  But Katniss goes to the Games determined to come back alive, or at least go down fighting.

I loved this book.  I loved watching Katniss blossom from a scared but determined young girl to a strong, capable heroine, and I loved that nothing is predictable.  Katniss enters the arena scared and she stays scared – her life is at stake, after all – but the story only deepens as we get to know the other players, including Peeta, the other District 12 Tribute, and Rue, an 11-year-old girl from District 11 who reminds Katniss of her own little sister.  The Tributes form uneasy alliances as they figure out their strengths and weaknesses, and it’s Peeta’s unexpected strength – and his best kept secret – that starts them down a path that ensures that neither they nor the Hunger Games will never be the same again.

The Hunger Games has something for everyone – a touch of romance, plenty of dystopian adventure – but it’s not always an easy book to read.  People – children – die in this book, and their deaths are not easy.  The Hunger Games is dark and scary but not gory; there’s graphic action, but Collins doesn’t linger on the violence.  She treats it in a very matter-of-fact way.  She shows us the toll that violence takes, not just on the person who suffers but also the one inflicting the suffering.  The story never gets heavy-handed, and it never feels like you’re learning a valuable lesson at the expense of a great story.  But Collins shows us Panem’s hunger for violence, a hunger that could be seen as a mirror image of our own.  She also shows us the disposable nature of humanity in a world that values only a chance for distraction from their own misery, regardless of the pain of others, a world where we we can no longer distinguish between “reality” TV and the very real horrors happening around the world.

The Hunger Games is smart, fast and intense, and ends in one heck of a cliffhanger.  I found myself gasping out loud or cheering these characters on as they fought to stay alive and not lose their own humanity in the process.  Luckily, the sequel, Catching Fire, and the third and final book in the trilogy, Mockingjay, are both out, so you can see how the story ends!  Check back for reviews of both books.

School Library Journal rates this Grade 7+

It’s almost here …

I know I’m not the only one who can’t wait for the release of Mockingjay, the third and final book in The Hunger Games trilogy!  I loved The Hunger Games and Catching Fire (if you haven’t read them, check back for reviews of both, coming soon) and I’ve been waiting impatiently for Mockingjay for what seems like forever.  And now it’s almost here!  Mockingjay comes out on Tuesday, August 24th and you can reserve a copy.  Stop by the reference desk to have your name added to the list.

Catching Fire left so many questions unanswered, and I can’t wait to find out what happens.  Katniss has become one of my favorite characters – she’s strong and brave, but she still gets scared and confused; she’s a normal girl dropped into seriously abnormal circumstances.  She’s had to learn to deal with everything from fighting for her life to the craziness of fame to being the target of a violent and greedy government – not to mention some romantic conflict.

So – are you Team Peeta?  Team Gale?  Or Team Katniss?  Come into the library to talk about it!  Let me know if you’d be interested in a book discussion group.  We supply the food, you supply the conversation.  Let us know which team you’re on – or why you’re not on any team at all!

Summer Reading Wrap-up and Totally 80s Flashback party!

It’s the big Summer Reading wrap-up this weekend!  Stop by the library for a chance to use your Free Toss Tokens to get your favorite librarians wet in our dunking booth (extra tosses may be purchased, 3 for $1.00).

You can also meet our very special guest, NBC 10 Investigative Reporter Lu Ann Cahn at 1:00 pm. Say hello and send her into the tank. She has never before been dunked and would like to add this experience to her One Year of Firsts Project. YOU can help her out!

Last but not least – join us for the Totally 80s Flashback Party from 3-5 pm in the Community Room!  Play vintage Atari games on the big screen and old-school Nintendo too.  Sing along to 80s music videos – and how about a lip synch contest?  Dress in 80s clothes and listen to 80s music – and have some fun making cut-up t-shirts with fabric paint and more.