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Pride and PrejudicePride and Prejudice
by Jane Austen
ISBN: 9780141439518
Publisher: Penguin Classics
Date of Publication: 2002 (Originally Published in 1813)

Reader’s Annotation:
Elizabeth Bennet struggles with balancing the needs of her family when a new neighbor moves near the Bennet’s family home.

Plot Summary:
Elizabeth Bennet is the second-oldest daughter of the Bennet household. Her older sister is named Jane and she has three younger sisters; Mary, Catherine “Kitty” and Lydia. Jane and Elizabeth are the more mature sisters, while Kitty and Lydia enjoy their immaturity. Mary is the quiet one, preferring to study instead.

Mr. Bennet, the father of the girls, has a dry-wit and enjoys irritating his wife. Mrs. Bennet is an excitable woman whose only focus is successfully marrying her daughters off to single eligible men. She often pushes potential relationships at the expense of her daughters’ humility, creating more trouble than success. Her reasons for her actions do lie in necessity. Mr. Bennet has no male heirs and the house will go to his nephew, Mr. Collins, when he dies. The girls will be left with nothing.

As the story begins, news of the Bennet’s new neighbor have reached the household. Mrs. Bennet is excited in that Mr. Bingley is wealthy and single. When the Bennet household meets Mr. Bingley, he becomes instantly smitten with Jane, and she with him. During this first encounter, the Bennet family meets a friend of Mr. Bingly, a wealthier young man by the name of Mr. Darcy. A quiet, proud man, Mr. Darcy insults Elizabeth in their first meeting, leading her to have a harsh opinion of his character. At the same time, a regiment of soldiers have settled in the area. Elizabeth befriends one of the soldiers who has a past connection with Mr. Darcy.

From these different meetings, miscommunication and misunderstanding begin to emerge and all parties involved find themselves to be in a fine mess of their own doing. But who is right and who is wrong? And what does it mean for the Bennet sisters?

Critical Evaluation:
Jane Austen’s classic about misunderstandings continues to be an influence on modern literature and modern popular culture. Many romantic comedies continue to use the format, most famously Bridget Jones Diary which was an adaption of Austen’s material. Austen’s ability to observe and comment on the absurdity of class situations and the needs of society provide for witty dialogue that readers will enjoy.

The story remains interesting in that it highlights how unsure the concepts of love can be for those experience the feelings for the first time. As the characters come from a time in which physical contact in improper situations can create scandal, the power of a mere handshake can create disjointed feelings within each party. Combine this confusion with the issues of social class (only being able to marry within your economic ranking) and wealth (seeking a marriage partner that will lead to a lifetime of welfare comfort), it’s no wonder that Darcy and Elizabeth were left in a confusing state for the majority of the novel.

The issue of marriage is an interesting one for modern readers in that it again mirrors our modern times. How much pressure is there for young girls to marry, even in this more feminist driven society. Female self-worth is deemed by beauty and the success of a relationship. The question of “Do you have a boyfriend” are asked to single girls and they are looked upon as hopeless if they fail to marry. While this has slowly changed throughout the decades since Austen’s time, there is still an emphasis on the value of a woman based on her ability to marry and reproduce. The important lesson of Austen’s novel is that Elizabeth still chooses to be with who she wants to be with. She has a choice and it leads her to happiness. And that’s an important lesson to remember, no matter what era you live in.

Information about the Author:
From Jane Austen’s Wikipedia Page, born in Hampshire, England in 1775, Austen left very little information about herself due to her desire for privacy after her death in 1817. Her sister Cassandra fulfilled her sister’s wishes and burned a majority of Austen’s letters.

From what has been ascertained about Austen’s life is that Austen was born in a large family to a father who was a rector. Austen began to write at an early age and eventually published her first full novel in 1911. Austen wrote six books, with some work unfinished. She died at the age of 41 due to illness that had lingered in her body for over a year.

Genre:
Romance, Classics

Curriculum Ties:
English Literature

Booktalking Ideas:
Has your mom ever done something to embarrass you?
How important is a first impression?
Reading Level/Interest Age:
14 and up

Challenging Issues:
There are no current challenges for this book. The American Library Association’s Guide to Library Materials Challenges is a great resource if the book is challenged in the future.

Why did I include this book in the title selections?
I’ve recently have become addicted to a YouTube series produced by Hank Green, John Green’s brother. The series is called The Lizzie Bennet Diaries. It’s a video blog about Lizzie Bennet and how she copes with her parents, her sisters Jane and Lydia, and the strange boy she’s just meet, William Darcy.

The series is a modern adaptation of a classic using a format rarely used for this type of storytelling. The series is compelling and fun. Fans of the show are looking towards the original material to compare and discovering the joy that is Jane Austen’s words.

YouTube: The Lizzie Bennet Diaries
Tumblr: The Lizzie Bennet Diaries

Reference:
Wikipedia. (n.d.). Jane Austen. Retrieved from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jane_Austen

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Final fantasy crystal chronicles

Final Fantasy: Crystal Chronicles
Created by The Game Designers (Square Enix)
Released: 2004 (GameCube: North America)
Rating: T for Teen

Annotation:
The world is threatened by a dangerous gas that could kill everyone.

Summary:
The world is covered in miasma, a toxic gas that threatens villages and towns. To protect it’s citizens, brave volunteers travel to collect myrrh that powers the protective crystals. These crystals hold off the miasma gas, protecting the citizens for a year before the myrrh runs out.

There are four races that inhabit the lands:

clavats
The Clavats: peaceful farmers

Lilties-Concept
The Liltres: warriors and knights

selkies
Selkies: rugged thieves

yukes
Yukes: winged slender creatures.

Critical Evaluation:
Players can choose their own character, which then sets out from the village Tipa to find myrrh. There are obstacles and enemies along the way. As characters gain more experience, the harder the enemies strike. The game can be played with multiplayers and with the GameCube/Game Boy Advance option. The visuals for the game are beautiful, which adds to the mythology of the game’s history. Much of the game is exploration versus battle, but the exploration is still engaging.

Information about the Developer:
The Game Designers Studio is an imprint of Square Enix. The Game Designers Studio’s only release was this game and was later renamed a subsidiary to SQEX Corporation.

Genre:
Games, Science Fiction

Curriculum Ties:
Game Design

Booktalking Ideas:
What is the perfect character design.

Reading Level/Interest Age:
The game is rated T, which means the game is geared towards 14 and up.

Challenging Issues:
n/a

Why did I include this game in the title selection?
The visual style of the game was enchanting and worth the time and effort spent in play. The story is complicated enough that players will be eager enough to beat levels and gain experience.

Reference:
Wikipedia. (n.d.). Square (company). Retrieved from en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Square_(company)

Pikmin for GameCube

pikmin1

Pikmin
Created by Nintendo
Released: 2001 (GameCube: North America)
Rating: E for Everyone

Annotation:
Help Captain Olimar recover his starship parts before his life-support ends in thirty days.

Summary:
Captain Olimar has crashed landed on an oxygen-rich planet. As oxygen is an element that could kill him, Captain Olimar has thirty days before his life-support system fails. As Captain Olimar searches for his missing parts of his ship, he discovers little creatures who can help with his mission. The creatures, which Captain Olimar names Pikmin, come in three different colors.

Red Pikmin, which are more powerful than the other colors.
Yellow Pikmin, which can be thrown higher and carry bombs.
Blue Pikmin, which can swim and survive in water.

Natural enemies surround the missing parts and it’s up to Captain Olimar and his Pikmin to work together. Because if they fail to fix the ship, Captain Olimar faces certain doom.

pikmin_ssbb

Critical Evaluation:
Though the game is presented as an adventure, the story is more of a puzzle game. Players are given 30 “days” to find the pieces though it is revealed that not all the pieces are needed to leave the planet. More than one piece can be recovered in a day’s mission. Pikmin organization and growth become an important key in finding the pieces. The game doesn’t have just one solution, which allows for repeated play without becoming boring. The camera view for the game does take a while to understand but can be a valuable tool once mastered.

The game might seem childish because of the rating and content of the game, but it still is challenging and a great option for those players looking for something similar to the Super Mario Brothers franchise.

Information about the Developer:
Nintendo became a household name in 1985 with the introduction of the Nintendo Entertainment System. Games such Super Mario Brothers and The Legend of Zelda became popular culture icons. The system became the standard of video game in the 80s, after the introduction of the Atari Gaming System. Nintendo later introduced portable gaming in 1989 with the Game Boy. Today, Nintendo continues to be a leader in video gaming entertainment, providing fans with classics and new material with each new gaming system they design.

Genre:
Games, Science Fiction

Curriculum Ties:
Game Design

Booktalking Ideas:
What would you were trapped on a foreign planet?

Reading Level/Interest Age:
The game is rated E, which means it will appeal to players of all ages.

Challenging Issues:
n/a

Why did I include this game in the title selection?
When I first played the game, I thought it might have been too simple, but upon further play the game becomes a fun challenge for those who enjoy puzzles.

Reference:
Nintendo. (n.d.) Company History. Retrieved from http://www.nintendo.com/corp/history.jsp

Batgirl Year One

Batgirl: Year One
Written by Scott Beatty and Chuck Dixon
Art by Marcos Martin and Alvaro Lopez
ISBN: 978140120080s
Publisher: DC Comics
Date of Publication: 2004

Reader’s Annotation:
Barbara Gordon’s first year of fighting crime as Batgirl.

Plot Summary:
Barbara Gordon wants to be a detective like her father, Gotham City Police Comissioner Jim Gordon. The problem is that Barbara is having is that no one is taking her dreams seriously. She’s been rejected by the FBI and the Gotham City Police Academy. As Barbara continues to work at the local library, she can’t help but dream for her desired future.

At the Gotham City Police Department’s Masquerade Ball, Barbara’s costume gives her the opportunity to do what she has always wanted to do; fight the bad guys. Now she has a chance to prove her worth to the city and to Batman and Robin. That is if she can survived these first days as Batgirl.

Critical Evaluation:
Scott Beatty and Chuck Dixon treats the rise of Batgirl with care. Barbara Gordon’s portrayed as a strong willed woman with legitimate dreams and desires. Her role at the library isn’t shown as a waste of her time and provides the reader reasons why research is a detective’s best asset.

When someone else decides you are unworthy of your goals and dreams, you can either stand up and fight or walk away disappointed. Barbara’s refusal to give up is inspiring and proves to be a great example for young female readers.

The art by Marcos Martin and Alvaro Lopez is fresh and exciting, providing bright colors without making the book too flashy and girly. Readers looking to enter the comic book medium would be better served picking up this fun story.

Batgirl Martin Lopez

Information about the Authors:
From Chuck Dixon’s Amazon Biography, with over twenty-five years of comic book experience, Dixon has maintained a reputation as a talented writer. He has worked for both big comic publishers, DC and Marvel, as well as independent comic publishers. Dixon is the author of action novels as well.

From Scott Beatty’s Wikipedia page, Beatty has worked in the comic industry since the mid-90s. He has written comic book guides as well as comic book stories.

Information about the Artists:
From Marcos Martin’s Wikipedia page, Martin is a Spanish artist who has worked on projects for both DC and Marvel comics.

Beyond a credit for the book, there is no further information about Alvaro Lopez

Genre:
Superhero, Comics/Graphic Novels

Curriculum Ties:
Self-worth

Booktalking Ideas:
If you could be a superhero, what kind would you be?
Why is research important in detective work?

Reading Level/Interest Age:
15 and up.

Challenging Issues:
There are no current challenges for this book. The American Library Association’s Guide to Library Materials Challenges is a great resource if the book is challenged in the future.

Why did I include this book in the title selections?
Barbara Gordon is the Patron Saint of librarians. Her story does have a tragic background but her spirit is inspiring. Her intelligence should be admired by teens as something one should achieve.

Reference:
Amazon. (n.d.). Chuck Dixon. Retrieved from http://www.amazon.com/Chuck-Dixon/e/B001HOL26O

Wikipedia. (n.d.) Scott Beatty. Retrieved from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scott_Beatty

Wikipedia. (n.d.). Marcos Martin. Retrieved from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marcos_Mart%C3%ADn

Hairspray

Hairspray

Hairspray
Directed by Adam Shankman
Written by Leslie Dixon, based on John Waters’s 1988 Screenplay
Music Created by Mark O’Donnell and Thomas Meehan
Released by New Line Cinema
Date of Release: 2007
Rated PG

Annotation:
Tracy Turnblad is one of the best dancers in Baltimore and sets out to prove her self worth in the 1960s.

Summary:
The year is 1962. The city is Baltimore. Tracy Turnblad only wants to dance on the Corny Collins Show. She has the moves and the drive to be the best dancer in Baltimore. She just needs a chance to prove it.

Unfortunately some of the other dancers don’t believe that she’s worth anything because Tracy might be a little overweight. Thanks to her friends Penny Pingleton and Seaweed J. Stubbs, Tracy becomes the star she’s always dreamed of. But like any great star, there’s someone trying to snuff Tracy’s light. With a little help from her friends, her parents, and her love for Link Larkin, Tracy is reminded that she will always have a rhythm to call her own.


Critical Evaluation:
Hairspray was originally a film directed by John Waters. The original was not a musical but still dealt with Tracy’s overweight figure and the racism that affected television programing in the 1960s. The film was later turned into a Tony Award winning musical in 2002. Using the music from the Broadway production, This 2007 version now stands as a combination of both the musical’s success with Waters original script.

The music is contagious. One can’t help but hum along to the lyrics, which at times makes fun of the racism of the 60s as well as point out the silliness of some of the character’s illogical behavior. The film still contains tongue and cheek silliness that Waters gave in the first film version.

The actors clearly love the material, which shows in their performance. Tracy Turnblad is played by Nikki Blonsky, which was her first film role. Blonsky genuinely loves the character and one can’t help but be rooting for Tracy and Nikki at the same time.

The film is a great musical and perfect for any teen looking to branch out of the Glee mentality.

Information about the Director:
From Adam Shankman’s IMDB page, Shankman was born and raised in Los Angeles. Shankman studied at Juliard and has worked as a choreographer for various projects since the early 1990s. Shankman has directed twenty films with the most recent film being Rock of Ages.

Adam Shankman on Twitter

From John Waters’s IMDB page, Waters directed the original Hairspray from which inspired a Broadway musical and the current remake. Born in Baltimore, Waters loved the fringe culture and began to make his own 8mm and 16mm films. His films continue to be cult classics amongst the indie film scene.

Genre:
Musical

Curriculum Ties:
Racism, American History

Booktalking Ideas:
What can you do to stand up for yourself?
What can you do to get out of a “comfort zone”?

Reading Level/Interest Age:
The film is rated PG which means that it would be better suited for teens 13 and up.

Challenging Issues:
Potential Issues include racism and teen sexuality.

Why did I include this film in the title selection?
Thanks to Glee and High School Musical, drama and theatre are huge amongst teens. Hairspray is a great addition to this genre.

References:
IMDB. (n.d.). Adam Shakman. Retrieved from http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0788202/

Young, S. (n.d.). John Waters Biography. IMDB. Retrieved from http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0000691/

Confessions of a BlabbermouthConfessions of a Blabbermouth
Written by Mike Carey and Louise Carey
Art by Aaron Alexovich
ISBN: 1401211486
Published by DC Comics (Minx)
Date of Publication:

Reader’s Annotation:
When Tasha’s Mom starts dating an intensive newspaper columnist, she’s find out that truth is often stranger than fiction.

Plot Summary:
Tasha is a modern girl. With her popular blog, Tasha can connect with a large audience around the world. Her mother runs an online lingere store and suffers from bad-boyfriend syndrome.

Tasha doesn’t want to meet her mom’s new dating prospect, a romance writer by the name of Jed. Tasha isn’t quite sure that she likes him and tries to avoid any interaction when she can. Jed’s daughter, Chloe, is a young newspaper columnist and now attends Tasha’s school. As Chloe and Tasha deal with their new roles, while their parents continue to date, each discovers that there’s more to the surface they either of them first perceived.

Between Tasha’s blogging and Chloe’s column, the girls also discover that just because you use words in public, doesn’t mean that their meanings are true. Each must find their own voice and the power to speak up before their voices are replaced with another person’s words..

7878_x-9

Critical Evaluation:
Tasha and Chloe are like every other modern young girl in the world. They experience heartache, pain, and love in the harsh world of high school. Bullies threaten you during one day and parents punish you on the next day. As your emotions become more disastrous with each wrong turn, the only way out would be to find an outlet in which to express yourself.

As blogging and social networks have shown, young people use this as a means to express that frustrations or joy in their daily lives. But as it is proven in reality, and with Tasha’s experience, it can come back to haunt you. How you present yourself online versus how you present yourself in the real world can vastly different. How you deal with these situations is how you grow-up and become the person you were meant to be. The internet is a means to establish your voice, but it can also be your enemy.

Author Mike Carey’s writing collaboration with his daughter Louise provides for an entertaining read. The accompanying art by Aaron Alexovich provides a manic tone which matches Tasha’s personality.

Information about the Authors:
From Mike Carey’s Webpage, about a British author, whose works include comic books and original prose, has been a writer since the early 1990s. Carey’s work with Vertigo Comics (Sandman-spinoffs) have lead to the creation of the original series The Unwritten, which we co-collaborates with artist Peter Gross. Carey is the author of the Felix Castor novels.

Louisa Carey is the daughter of Mike Carey. An inspiring writer whose work has been featured on the London Metropolitian Archive, Louisa has recently collaborated with her parents for the soon to be published boo, The Steel Seraglio.

Information about the Artist:
From Aaron Alexovich’s Facebook page, graduated from the California Institute of Arts with a focus on Character Animation. Alexovich has worked on comic books through DC Comics and SLG Publishing as well as animation on the Invader Zim cartoon.

Aaron Alexovich on Twitter

Aaron Alexovich’s Web Page and Comic

Genre:
Realistic Fiction, Family Relationships

Curriculum Ties:
Journal Writing, Plagarism

Booktalking Ideas:
How do you connect with others on the Internet?
Is it important to be yourself or to have a fake name on the Web?

Reading Level/Interest Age:
Ages 15 and up

Challenging Issues:
There are no current challenges for this book. The American Library Association’s Guide to Library Materials Challenges is a great resource if the book is challenged in the future.

Potential Issues would include profanity and slight violence.

Why did I include this book in the title selections?
When the Minx line first came out, I thought that the selections were fun and approachable for teen readers, especially for teen girls. While the publishing line has been discontinued, the books still remain fun and approachable.

Reference:
Alexovich, A. (n.d). About. Facebook. Retrieved from https://www.facebook.com/aalexovich/infoAlexovich

Carey, M. (n.d.) About. Retrieved from mikeandpeter.com/

No Plot No Problem

No Plot? No Problem!
A Low Stress, High-Velocity Guide to Writing a Novel in 30 Days.
By Chris Baty
ISBN: 9780811845052
Published by Chronicle Books
Date of Publication: 2004

Reader’s Annotation:
A how-to guide for aspiring writers wanting to participate in the annual National Novel Writing Month event.

Summary:
National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) is an annual event that happens every November. For 30 days, aspiring writers plot their way through themes, characterizations, and punctuation to create a novel at least 50,000 words long.

NaNoWriMo began in 1999 when 21 haphazard young souls decided to binge on ambition. Some participants quit halfway through while some stuck it out to finish a first draft. The end result wasn’t great literature but a sense of accomplishment. Chris Baty, the founder, decided to try it again but this time push for an online prescience instead of with just friends. 140 people participated with 21 finishing. Guidelines were created and a movement was born. The third year grew to 5,000 participants, with each year growing bigger and bigger.

Now NaNoWriMo is an annual event with a second event devoted to writing screenplays called Script Frenzy. The 2012 NaNoWriMo event saw a word count of over three billion. Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen and The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern were a result of NaNoWriMo. The event continues to be a source of inspiration for aspiring authors with local writing programs created to support the event and the inevitable editing process.

Commentary_nanowrimo

Critical Evaluation:
Using his experience as the founder of NaNoWriMo, author Chris Baty has created a helpful mini-guide for those would-be participants.

Baty provides a simple breakdown for the event with a week-by-week analysis of what writers should expect for the event. He also provides some background knowledge on how to plan for the event and motivionational tatics to help writers stay on track. Baty’s goal isn’t for you to become a great author over night. Baty’s goal is to help you actually to start writing and to finish. Rewrites and editing naturally will come later but finishing the first draft is the more important focus.

Baty is honest in the results. About seventeen percent of participates reach the 50,000 goal but that’s more than nothing. Even those authors who might fail one year have come back to finish the next year. The book is meant to motivate and to give tips for success. Young writers looking to participate in the event will gain sound advice from Baty’s experience.

Information about the Author:
From Chris Baty’s Webpage, Baty founded NaNoWriMo after 21 of his friends decided to take a challenge of writing a novel in a month. The movement has grown since its inception in 1999. Baty expanded the event to create the Young Writer’s Program which assists creative writing programs for students from elementary school to high school.

He now is a freelance writer, having been published in the Believer and Lonely Planet guidebooks.

Chris Baty on Twitter

Genre:
Non-Fiction

Curriculum Ties:
Creative Writing

Booktalking Ideas:
What kind of stories do you like to read? To Write?

Reading Level/Interest Age:
14 and up

Challenging Issues:
There are no current challenges for this book. The American Library Association’s Guide to Library Materials Challenges is a great resource if the book is challenged in the future.

Why did I include this book in the title selections?
The teenage daughter of a friend of mine participated in this year’s NaNoWriMo event. She finished her first draft and has been recently been accepted to a creative writing program on the East Coast. Any fan of reading will always wonder if they should become a writer, even at an early age. The event is a great motivator for those aspiring authors. The guidebook is a wonderful tool to help those writers find success.

Reference:
Baty, C. (n.d.) Home Page. Retrieved from http://www.chrisbaty.com

NaNoWriMo. (n.d.) History. Retrieved from http://www.nanowrimo.org/about/history

Warrior by Ke$ha

Ke$ha Warrior

Warrior
By Ke$ha
Genre: Dance/Pop
Released by: Sony Music Entertainment
Date of Release: 2012

Annotation:
The second full studio album by dance party princess Ke$ha.

Summary:
1.   Warrior
2.   Die Young
3.   C’Mon
4.   Thinking of You
5.   Crazy Kids
6.   Wherever You Are
7.   Dirty Love (featuring Iggy Pop)
8.   Wonderland
9.   Only Wanna Dance With You
10.  Supernatural
11.  All That Matters (The Beautiful Life)
12.  Love Into the Light
13.  Last Goodbye
14.  Gold Trans Am
15.  Out Alive
16.  Past Lives

Critical Evaluation:
Ke$ha’s fun-loving, party girl musical style continues her latest album. The entire album would be better served over the speakers at an all-night party club. The tracks are fun and upbeat and you can’t help but want to get up and dance. The album still have a slight dirty tone quality that reflects Ke$ha’s devil may care attitude. The album isn’t gonna change the world but it’ll be fun while it tries.

Key Tracks:
Warrior is the opening track to the album. It sets the tone of the album with pulsing bass and catchy lyrics.

Die Young was the first single of the album. The song is upbeat tale of brief love on the dance floor. The lyrics give a slight melancholy tone as she implores her dance partner to make the most of their limited connection.

Dirty Love features a duet with famed punk star Iggy Pop. The track is a fast-paced dance track that pushes for the punk notes with guitars and drums.

Information about the Artist:
Raised in Nashville, Tennessee, Kesha Rose Sebert quit high school when she was 17. Instead of attending Columbia University to study psychology, Kesha decided to take her chances and move to Los Angeles to become a musician. Though her hard work, she made a connection with producer Dr. Luke which lead to laying down vocals for artist Flo Rida’s best selling track, Right Round.

Changing her name to Ke$ha to fit her party image, a first studio album was released when she was 20. The single TiK ToK lead to mass recognition.

Ke$ha on Twitter

Ke$ha on Facebook

Ke$ha on YouTube

Curriculum Ties:
Music, Feather Style

Interest Age:
Ages 15 and up

Challenging Issues:
Some of the tracks do contain some harsh language and sexual situations.

Why did I include this album in the title selection?
Ke$ha is my personal guilty pleasure. I have no reason why a straight-laced librarian student should love party music but here I am……a fan. When I was considering which music to include in this project, I hadn’t planned on focusing on Ke$ha at all but I noticed some very young girls were playing Die Young without headphones on their iPhones. They were singing along and dancing in line while their father was purchasing hot chocolates at my local Starbucks. Ke$ha’s music is fun and you can’t help but be happy when you find your foot tapping to the rhythm.

Reference:
Ke$ha. (n.d.). Bio. Retrieved from http://www.keshasparty.com/us/bio

Jane by April Lindner

Jane-by-April-Lindner-Book-Cover

Jane
By April Lindner
ISBN: 9780316084192
Publisher: Poppy, an imprint of Hachette Book Group
Date of Publication: 2010

Reader’s Annotation:
Forced to find work after her parent’s death, Jane Moore becomes a nanny for the daughter of Nico Rathburn, world famous rock star.

Plot Summary:
When a tragic car accident kills Jane Moore’s parents, she’s left with nothing. With no money to pay for college, Jane begins to look for work. Her luck improves when she’s hired as a nanny for a young girl named Madeline. Her father is the famous rock star Nico Rathburn.

When Jane arrives at the Rathburn mansion, Thornfield Park, she is unprepared for the beauty and size of her new home. As she learns to adapt to her new life and surroundings, Jane begins to hope that one day she can go back and finish her degree. This desire changes when Nico returns from his latest tour, sending Jane into a fit of unexplained emotions. As Jane and Nico become closer, strange sounds begin to linger in the mansion; strange things that happen in the dead of the night. And soon Jane discovers that secrets have a way of rarely staying hidden.

Critical Evaluation:
April Lindner’s modern adaption of Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre is a treat to read, especially for those readers who are fans of costume dramas. While Jane Moore might not have the harsh background that Jane Eyre experienced in her youth, there are still similarities that still lead the modern Jane to Thornfield with equal parts sadness and excitement. Modern Jane is described as plain like original Jane but still posses the previous incarnation’s desire to be from their forced situations.

Nico Rathburn is a lovely substitute for Mr. Rochester. The use of rock star mythology fits with Rochester’s own questionable background in that it allows the character to be mysterious and distant while still pulling us readers, unknowingly, into his fiery personality. The other cast of characters have been tweaked to fit the modern age, but the original spirit still remains.

The story is entertaining and well-written. Fans of the book, intrigued by the plot, might be better served seeking the original version. The original version still packs more of a punch mostly due to the gender inequality of Bronte’s time. While modern Jane still is hindered by her low self-confidence, her strength in finding her voice isn’t as strong as Original Jane’s journey. The impact of Jane and Nico’s reunion does feel like a checkpoint of the Bronte plot, though Linder still provides a great ending for those who might not be familiar with the original material. Linder’s adaption is a great gateway novel for readers to explore the classics.

Jane Eyre

Information about the Author:
From April Lindner’s Webpage, Linder is a professor of English at St. Joseph’s University. Lindner originally intended to major in art at the University of New Hampshire. She met her husband at said University. They currently live in Philadelphia area.

Lindner is also a poet and has had a collection published. She recently returned to the world of the Bronte sisters with a modern adaption of Wuthering Heights called Catherine. Lindner is currently working on a adaption of Charlotte Bronte’s Villette, called Lucy.

April Lindner on Twitter

Genre:
Romance, Modern Adaptation

Curriculum Ties:
English Literature (Adaptation of Classics)

Booktalking Ideas:
What would it be like to work with someone famous?
Have you ever wanted to escape from a relationship?

Reading Level/Interest Age:
Kirkus Reviews gives a suggested age range of 15-18.

Challenging Issues:
There are no current challenges for this book. The American Library Association’s Guide to Library Materials Challenges is a great resource if the book is challenged in the future.

Potential Issues would include language and sexual situations.

Why did I include this book in the title selections?
Having been a fan of the original book, I was wary of this new version. I was surprised to find I enjoyed it. The book is a great way to introduce a wonderful classic to those readers who might be reluctant to read classic literature.

References:
Kirkus Reviews. (2010). Jane by April Lindner. Retrieved from https://www.kirkusreviews.com/book-reviews/april-lindner/jane-lindner/
Linder, A. (n.d.). About Me. Retrieved from http://www.aprillindner.com/about

lies knives and girls in red dresses

Lies, Knives and Girls in Red Dresses
Written by Ron Koertge
Illustrated by Andrea Dezso
ISBN: 9780763644062
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Date of Publication: 2012

Reader’s Annotation:
An illustrated, poetic retelling of various beloved fairy tales.

Plot Summary:
Based on popular fairy tales, Lies, Knives and Girls in Red Dresses are retelling of those tales in poetic form. With art by Andrea Dezso, these modern adaptions show that the stories still have dark relevance in modern times.

Critical Evaluation:
Ron Koertge’s poetry is more whimsical with out a pattern. At times the poetry feels like a Beat Generation adaptation. This doesn’t detract from the poetry, but shows that poetry doesn’t have to be a conformed format.

Andrea Dezso’s art is based on wood prints and gives an unearthly feeling when accompanying the art. It adds to the poetry and serves to remind the reader that fairy tales are often horror stories as well.

Information about the Author and Artist:
From Ron Koertge’s Webpage, Koertge began to write young adult literature when his beginning writing career began to flounder. Koertge is in his early seventies and continues to write books and poetry for teens, specifically for young male readers. Koertge’s misspent youth serves as a reminder of the teen mentality, providing a solid foundation for believable characters.

Koertge has written over a dozen young adult novels. Koertge is also a poet, whose poems have been published since the early 1970s.

Ron Koertge on Twitter

Andrea Dezso is an Assistant Professor of Art for Hampshire College in Amherst, Massachusetts. She is a graduate from the Moholy-Nagy University of Art and Design in Budapest, Hungary. Her work has been published in various art magazines and has served as a faculty member at Parsons School of Design and other art schools on the East Coast.

Dezso possesses a large artistic focus from animation to paper blocking, as well as crafts such as embroidery. Her work has been displayed in various galleries across the world.

Andrea Dezso on Facebook

Genre:
Poetry, Fantasy

Curriculum Ties:
Poetry, Fairy Tales

Booktalking Ideas:
What is your favorite fairy tale?
How can fairy tales become modern?

Reading Level/Interest Age:
Kirkus Reviews suggests a reading age of 14-18.

Challenging Issues:
Koertge’s book have been challenged and/or banned in the past due to drug use, language concerns, and sexuality. This particular book has not been banned (yet). The American Library Association’s Guide to Library Materials Challenges is a great resource if the book is challenged in the future.

Potential Issues would include

Why did I include this book in the title selections?
Poetry is a genre that gets readily ignored by teens, mostly because it’s something that is forced in school instead of used for entertainment purposes. Koertge’s reinterpretations of fairy tales through poetry is a great way to introduce reluctant poetry readers into a new genre.

Reference:
Dezso, A. (n.d.). Home Page. Retrieved from http://andreadezso.com/

Hampshire College. (n.d.). Andrea Dezso. Retrieved from http://www.hampshire.edu/faculty/adezso.htm

Kirkus Reveiws. (n.d.). Lies knives and girls in red dresses. Retrieved from https://www.kirkusreviews.com/book-reviews/ron-koertge/lies-knives-and-girls-red-dresses/

Koertge, R. (n.d.). A word from Ron Koertge. Retrieved from ronkoertge.com