Monday, February 26, 2007

New York Comic Con

On Thursday morning I drove to New York City with a librarian friend from RI. We were on our way to the ICv2 Graphic Novel Conference at the Jacob Javits Convention Center. The city was an easy destination without much traffic on the drive.

The conference was open to anyone with a professional interest in graphic novels so the audience was filled with retailers, librarians, reporters for trade journals and publishers. It was a lively afternoon filled with discussions about manga and its impact here in the States. Manga is a way of life in Japan. It's just how books are written. According to the industry people, people in Japan read manga if they're pregnant or play mah jong or just want a good book to read.

Unfortunately manga and graphic novels aren't as readily accepted here in the U.S. But with the recent publication of the 9/11 Commission Report as a graphic novel, maybe the tide is turning. Stop by the Teen Zone to get a bookmark or poster from Comic Con.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Buried by Robin Merrow MacCready

Right now I'm reading Buried by Robin Merrow MacCready for RI Teen Book Award consideration. By next month we will have the final 20 titles for students to vote on in 2008 and we will know which book won for favorite in 2007.

In the meantime I've been diligently reading during Teen Movie Night (sorry to say that Employee of the Month with the stellar acting of Dane Cook, Dax Shepard and Jessica Simpson didn't keep my attention as well as New Moon by Stephenie Meyer) and Club Anime at work as well as while waiting for my oil to be changed and during lunch and dinner breaks at work. (OK, truthfully, I did read through this month's InStyle magazine while in the staff room on Wednesday night...what can I say, celebrities, clothes, and parties are a pleasant distraction from life.)

Back to Buried, this is the second book I've read recently about a teen with an alcoholic parent. This time we meet Claudine and wonder how any parent can treat such a good kid the way her mother treats her! For starters, the mother has left town without telling Claude where she has gone and that's just wrong. Claudine is a good student who tries so hard to do the right thing for everyone she knows but it may not be enough to keep up with her lack of a positive parental role model.

I haven't finished this one yet but I'm trying to hurry so I can pass it on to my teen readers here.

Friday, February 02, 2007

An Abundance of Katherines by John Green

Just yesterday, as I was waiting in the doctor's office, I finished reading An Abundance of Katherines by John Green. Some of you may know that he won the Printz Award for excellence in young adult fiction for Looking for Alaska. Because of this and since John Green is one my MySpace author friends, I wanted to read his new one. So a few months ago I started it and I was having trouble finishing it so I gave up. Recently the title was added to the RI Teen Book Award list of titles to be considered so I got the book again and this time I finished it!

John Green's prolific use of footnotes was distracting for me but since I had just completed Drawing a Blank by Daniel Ehrenhaft, which also uses footnotes liberally, the reading went mor quickly. It may be a generational thing...kids are used to reading in a non-linear fashion, with the Japanese graphic novels, manga, which read back to front, for example.

The characters in Katherines were interesting. Two friends, Colin and Hassan, set out on a road trip from Chicago and get as far as Gutshot, Tennesee. They get offered summer jobs and decide to stay and work. Colin is a guy who has exclusively dated girls named Katherine. He inevitably gets dumped and his loyal friend Hassan is there to listen to his stories.

But as the summer progresses, the two friends start to re-examine their lives and their friendship.