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The Foundation Trilogy: Foundation – A Review

Posted on August 5th, 2013 by Anna in Books, Reviews - Staff

the foundation trilogy

The Foundation Trilogy: Foundation (Book 1) by: Isaac Asimov

Read by: Anna/ Central Library Teen Room

This is an epic story. It has been called The Lord Of The Rings for Science Fiction. The first book starts off with a man predicting the demise of a galactic empire that has already survived for twelve thousand years! He predicts its downfall in three hundred years, yet, no one wants to believe him. Nor do they want to care. Why should they? They certainly won’t be around in three hundred years to care. Leave it to the future people to bother with the bad stuff. But this scientist will not back down. And as he predicts, things start to fall apart. Each section of the book jumps forward in time several decades, with new characters each time trying to solve the galaxy’s problems by creating war or by trying to avoid war.

I wasn’t sure what to expect when I started the first book in the trilogy. I’d been told that readers of science fiction (and writers as well) should not miss this epic, so I bought a copy and then it sat on my coffee table for a few years before I got around to starting it. But now that I’ve started it, and finished the first book, I’m actually looking forward to reading the second book, Foundation and Empire. It is a very political book and also deals with a lot of mathematics and science, three topics I usually prefer to avoid at all costs. That being said, I really enjoyed this book. It’s a quiet read. There isn’t much action, no space ships gunning for each other as some of the covers might have you believe. But there is just enough to keep you wondering what’s going to happen. It’s also interesting to read a book where you have some idea of what’s going to come because it’s already been predicted. One would say that doesn’t make for a good book. Readers like to be surprised, but it works here, and I was surprised. A lot. The way some of the characters handled the different situations they got themselves into was interesting and not at all what I was expecting.

In short, if you love Science Fiction, you should not miss out on this classic which was first published in 1951, over 60 years ago! Talk about a series that’s lasted! This trilogy (and the related books that followed the trilogy) are still very much popular today as they were back then. Of course, in reading these books, one must remember the time period in which they were written. There are almost no women or girls in the first book, Foundation. In the 1950′s this was a man’s world, and women stayed at home, cooked, cleaned, and looked after the children. They didn’t have jobs or anything like that. Thus, I’m assuming that Asimov assumed in the future they would be the same as in his world, staying at home and out of trouble. That was the biggest similarity to the 1950′s I could find. If you get a chance to read it, see what others you can find. They shouldn’t ruin your reading experience. They’re just a bit of an example of how people used to live and how things might be in the future, as seen by someone 60 years ago.

The Art of Racing in the Rain – A Review

Posted on July 30th, 2013 by Anna in Books, Reviews - Staff

the art of racing in the rain

The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein

Read by: Anna/Central Library Teen Room

Our Teen Book of the Month group is reading this book for our August 14th book discussion at 3pm in the Central Library Teen Room.

Enzo is a mixed breed dog named after the founder of the Italian car company, Ferrari. He’s also owned by a professional race car driver, Denny. The story is told through the point of view of Enzo as he recounts his life with his human family on the night he realizes he won’t be making a round trip ride to the vet the next morning. His mobility issues are making it increasingly harder for him to move around as he gets older and older.  Enzo learned a lot about life through Denny and his racing tips and tricks and he applied them to the obstacles in his way whenever he could. Their family life wasn’t the greatest. Denny’s wife died from brain cancer and Denny ended up in a legal battle with her parents over the custody of his daughter. Enzo knew the grandparents were not nice people and didn’t like the fact that Zoe, the daughter, had to spend so much time with them. Money is tight for Denny, he’s lost his wife, might lose his daughter to his in-laws, but he’ll never lose Enzo. Enzo is always there for him and for Zoe, when he can be, helping to keep their spirits up and to keep them going when things get tough.

This was an AWESOME book. But don’t read it in public. Unless you don’t mind bringing a large hanky and a bucket to collect your tears in. This book will have you bawling your eyes out and laughing hard in certain places. You will learn a lot about life, as Enzo did, and have a good time doing it. There are a lot of references to racing cars, but you don’t have to have a love of cars to read this and enjoy it, which is another reason it’s a great read. I highly recommend it to everyone who loves dogs especially.

The Realm of Possibility – A Review

Posted on May 15th, 2013 by Anna in Books, Reviews - Staff

The Realm of Possibility

The Realm of Possibility by David Levithan

Read by: Anna/Copley Teen Room for the TBOM group meeting on May 8th, 2013.

This is the stories of multiple teens struggling to find themselves and figure out who they are in the world. It’s told from their multiple points of view in poem and song lyric formats.

This was an interesting read for me because I wasn’t expecting it to be in poetry format. I was expecting a novel. On the other hand, I really enjoyed the way these stories were told. Each poem and song interwove themselves seemlessly with each of the others. Some responded to what had happened in other poems, some wrote their poems to another person who had a poem in the book. It was a unique take on writing a book in verse. Obviously, each person who “wrote” a poem was a character that came from David Levithan’s head, but he did a really great job with the characterizations and making each one as unique as the next. The first poem and the last poem are connected, which was a nice circle back to the beginning once you got to the end. I really felt that the emotions of the teens he was writing about were clearly stated, or were just as confusing for the reader sometimes as they can be for teens in real life. It was realistically done, and a book I would highly recommend to anyone who enjoys stories told in this fashion or thinks they would like to try one for the first time. The fact that some of the characters are gay is not stated in such a way as to hit the reader over the head with it, and there are some who appear straight. Some are lesbian. There is a good mix of characters and experiences to round out the story over all.

My Forbidden Face – A Review

Posted on May 10th, 2013 by Anna in Books, Reviews - Staff

my forbidden face

My Forbidden Face by Latifa

Read by: Kevin/Copley Teen Room Intern

My Forbidden Face is the story of sixteen year old Latifa who is from Kabul, Afghanistan. Latifa’s story focuses mostly on how the Taliban’s occupation of Kabul resulted in the loss of women’s freedom and the atrocious degradation women and men received from the Taliban. Yet when she describes her journey to Paris for an interview with Elle magazine, Latifa becomes representative of the fact that the Taliban were outmaneuvered by the women they thought so little of in the first place.

Terrorism in America is usually portrayed by the media as an act of meditated violence that results in the victim’s lost sense of safety, security and sometimes results in death.  However, Latifa’s story provided me a much clearer understanding of how terrorism affects a person’s psychological well-being, more than any form of media I had seen or read before. Throughout the book, Latifa refers to herself as a prisoner in her own home. The only way she could think of rebelling at the time was to not go outside, which is essentially what the Taliban wanted. With this picture in mind, Latifa showed me that terrorism can do much more than make one lose their sense of security. It can lead to self-imprisonment.

Another thing I found interesting about Latifa’s story is that she hardly mentions Osama Bin-Laden in her story at all. In the media here in America, we tended to view Bin-Laden as the symbol that stood for terrorism. Yet, as seen in Latifa’s story, he is merely an after-thought, just some rich guy who gives the Taliban money. And with that in mind, Latifa shows what the daily life of being occupied by a terrorist group is like. I have not read a single newspaper article or seen a news broadcast that brings this reality to life as well as Latifa’s story. You should really read this book. Your perspectives on what terrorism really is all about may change the way you think about it.

Looking For Alaska – A Review

Posted on May 5th, 2013 by Anna in Books, Reviews - Staff

looking for alaska

Looking For Alaska by John Green

Read by: Kevin/Copley Teen Room Intern

John Green’s Looking for Alaska focuses on Miles Halter’s first year at a prestigious boarding school in Alabama. Miles decides to leave his family and “school friends” in Florida to find what he describes as the “Great Perhaps.” In other words, he wants to find adventure, excitement, girls, and true friendship. Miles narrates the reader through his experiences with sex, smoking, alcohol, love, friendship and death.  He also meets “The Colonel” (his roommate) and Alaska. Both of whom smoke cigarettes way too much, love sex and drama, and drink alcohol as if it were water.

By coming into contact with The Colonel and Alaska, Miles is placed into a tight group of friends that will seemingly do anything for each other.  And there lies the importance of Green’s novel. He shows us that by developing true friendship with others, we have to take on the responsibility to uphold the loyalty, and trust that comes with real friendship.

This book made me laugh hysterically and I am not ashamed to say (this is a grown man typing, mind you) that it made me want to cry. The characters go through so many ups and downs in this novel. And I couldn’t get over the fact that everybody’s life is filled with ups and downs and we have to rely on our friends and loved ones to get through those tough times and celebrate and enjoy everything when we’re feeling invincible. Green has written a true to life novel in Looking for Alaska. Check it out, read it, and experience this story. I suspect you will not be disappointed when you finish.