Thursday, October 16, 2014

Percy Jackson's Greek Gods--The Second Terrific Book of the Season

Hey, you truly rocking reader guys, you may remember that I said that I love this time of year because that's when the coolest books come out. As proof of how right I was, I offer as evidence Percy Jackson's Greek Gods by the incomparable Rick Riordan. This is one TERRIFIC book that guys everywhere will enjoy. If you're a Percy Jackson fan, like me, this is the book you MUST read! And if you're not (and it's hard to imagine anyone who's not a Percy Jackson fan), this is still the book you've gotta read. It will make you laugh, thrill and choke and shudder at some of the stuff those old Greek gods did.

Where to start? There's so much good stuff to say. Well, why do we love the Percy Jackson books so much? Because of the action and the adventure. Yet there's one thing more. The one thing that Mr. Riordan does better than anyone else--the humor! And that's what this book has LOTS and LOTS of! This book is LOL with capital L's. I Laughed completely out Loud while reading this thing. So will you! I mean, just look at some of the title chapters--"The Golden Age of Cannibalism"---"Athena Adopts a Handkerchief"---"Apollo Sings and Dances and Shoots People"--"Dionysus Conquers the World with a Refreshing Beverage." How great are those? And then you get into the stories of those old Greek myths with heaps of Percy's trademark humor. For instance, when Demeter, the goddess of agriculture disguises herself as an old woman and takes care of a mortal baby. "She sang him nursery songs from Mount Olympus, like 'The Itsy-Bitsy Satyr' and 'I'm a Little Cyclops.'" Or when Apollo goes to slay Python, the giant snake and says:

"Yo, snake!"

Python opened his eyes. "What do you want?"

"To sing you a song about my awesomeness."

"Oh, please, just kill me now."

"Okay!"  Apollo drew his bow and shot the snake between the eyes.

There are so many more examples. Just wait until you hear Athena and Arachne trash talk either other before the weaving contest. But there's more than just humor. We must remember that these old myths were stories. There are still reasons we tell them thousands of years later. They are still great stories. They still excite and move us. We want to find out what happens next. Take a look at the story of Typhoeus. Or the story of Persephone. And no one tells a story like Mr. Riordan. This book will keep your attention, make you laugh, make you thrill, make you disgusted (some of those gods were disgusting--more about that in a minute) or do all those things at the same time. I haven't enjoyed a Rick Riordan book this much since I first read The Lightning Thief these many years ago and a whole new world of enjoyment opened up for me. This is it, guys! Get to your local library and check one out.

BTW, did I mention the totally great illustrations by the fantastic John Rocco, the guy who's done the Percy Jackson book covers? Well, he has created the absolutely perfect pictures for this book. Drama, awsomeness, creepiness, more awesomeness. That's what you'll see in these illustrations.

OK, I do need to add a NOTE TO THE YOUNGER READER GUYS AND OR THE GROWNUPS. If you are a seven or eight or even a nine-year old or if you're the parent of one, this may not be the book for you. These old Greek myths dealt with some revolting stuff, like the stories dealing with the Titans and their encounters with the gods. And the gods themselves were pretty disgusting at times, willing to transform poor mortals into yucky things or put them in awful tortures for the pickiest reasons. And they spent most of their time chasing around for...well, you know. The brilliant Mr. Riordan presents all those stories entirely appropriately for older kids. I'd call them PG rated. If you are or have a younger reader guy, you might want a book such as D'Aulaire's Book of Greek Mythsa G-rated book and an oldie but goodie and maybe the best intro to Greek mythology for kids ever.

All that said, however, reading this book has been some of the most fun I've had all year and that's why it gets--

The Iron Guy Seal of Approval as One Terrific Book

(Not to mention it's a really big book and great for building up your muscles!)

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

The Return of Sammer!

Sammer and T. A. Barron
Hey everyone, one our old friends has written to us after a long absence. His name is Sammer and he used to write to us all the time, telling us about terrific books. He even used this blog to help bring author T. A. Barron to Charlotte! Let's see what he recommends to us today:

Hey, I haven't checked in on this blog in forever! I just thought this would be a good way to get out a realy goodbook series that not a lot of people read,Wereworld. Wereworld is a book series based on WereWolves, but Curtis Jobling(The Author) goes in much further with it. He creates a 6 book series about WereLords. WereLords are called therianthropes. Therianthropes are humans that have the ability to change into animals. In the first book Rise of the wolf , we meet the main character Drew Ferran. Drew is a simple boy who lives on the farm with his Mom, Dad, and brother Trent. One day Drew is out in the field collecting crops, when he feels as though he is being watched. He goes inside to go to safety. Soon, the beast that was in the field with him, jumps in through their window and kills his mother. Drew gets angry while the beast is still there and starts to change, his body becomes bigger, hairier and bulkier. He doesn't know what is going on with him, but he starts to fight the beast in front of him. The beast is too powerfull for Drew, but Drew manages to rip a scar across the beast's chest. The rest of Drew's family comes in and think Drew killed his Mom. Drew then flees and lives in the forest as WereWolf in the forest until he comes upon two people named Master Hogan and Whitley. From there on you must read the book to find out what happens next.

Thanks, Sammer!  These books sound good and the library has several of them--in fact, I think we have the whole series. Take a look, guys, check some out and tell us what you think!

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Help Us Get Rid of These Fried Worms!

View full imageThat's right. Our library is overrun with fried worms--that is, copies of the book How to Eat Fried Worms by Thomas Rockwell. There are several copies left over from Monday night when Miss Laura showed the movie, so I need your help getting them out of here. Here's the deal: you check out one of our copies of the book, read it, and then write to us and tell us how you liked it. You can be honest--if you liked it, didn't like it, thought it was lousy, thought it was better that a large pizza with everything, you could tell us. Just put your thoughts in the Comment section below this post and I'll publish them in a future post. But not only that, I'll also give you TWO FREE PRIZES from our ultra-cool prize box. Good stuff in there. There are books, of course, but also posters, a t-shirt, and lots of other cool things.    . Come by the Myers Park library and check one out. Don't live near here? Not a problem--just contact your local librarian and I send her or him a copy. And I'll also send your prizes to that person. Don't live in Charlotte? Also not a problem. Just include an address (which I won't publish) with your review and I'll find a way to send the prizes to you. All the instructions on how to leave comments/reviews are on the left-hand side of this blog. If you still don't understand, call the Iron Guy at 704-416-5800 and I will help you. All right, check out one of these books before I'm totally engulfed in them!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Fried Worms at the Library!

That's right, guys--fried worms, right here at the Myers Park library next Monday, September 22 at 6:00 pm. Actually, we're hosting the movie How to Eat Fried Worms here this Monday night. My coworker, Miss Laura, will show the movie and I'll say a couple of words about this blog before she starts. As you may know, the Iron Guy thinks this is one of the great guy books of all time (see my original review here). I bet the movie will be good too. (although I've never seen it) I hope a lot of you reader guys come out and watch it. Be sure to call 704-416-5800 to sign up for it--we have room but space is limited. If you've never read the book, there will be copies to check out. And if you read a copy and send in a review, I'll give a prize out of our ultra-cool prize box. Hope to see you there!

By the way, you may bring your own drink. We'll provide a snack. Guess what it'll be??  Come on, guess.

Popcorn, of course!

What did think it was going to be????

Thursday, September 11, 2014

First Terrific Book of the Season!

After-summer greetings, all you reader guys! Summer's over now and, even though the Iron Guy is always somewhat sad to see summer go, he's also always glad at this time of year because that's when many of the coolest books come out. For example this fall we get The Blood of Olympus, the latest and final book in the Percy Jackson's The Lost Hero series. We also get The Copernicus Legacy: The Serpent's Curse, the second book in Tony Abbot's unbelievably good new series. I've also ordered  Alvin Ho : Allergic to the Great Wall, the Forbidden Palace, and Other Tourist Attractions by the fabulous Lenore Look--which actually came out in August, so it's technically a summer book. No matter. The Alvin Ho books are possibly the funniest books out there and I can't wait for this one!!

But today I want to tell you about Flashpoint, the latest and last book in the Unstoppable series from The 39 Clues. And is it ever good! Exciting, funny and intense, this book is a fitting end to the adventures of Dan and Amy Cahill. Here we go, everybody--J. Rutherford Pierce, the ruthless media tycoon who took the Cahill serum that gives super strength and intelligence, is about to announce his plan to run for president. But that's not all--the presidency is his first step to world dictatorship. And he's manufacturing enough serum for an army at a secret chemical plant. The only way to stop him is complete the formula for an antidote. Pierce knows about this, however, and has sent out not only his serum-enhanced goons but also his own serum-strengthened son, Galt, to stop them. On top of that, Amy has taken the serum also--but this one is the original Cahill concoction, which kills whoever takes it in seven days. And Amy took it five days ago! Even if they manage to find the last ingredient for the antidote (unlikely), could they avoid the Pierce minions (more unlikely) and get the antidote to Pierce on his heavily-guarded island (most unlikely of all) before Amy succumbs to the serum's effects?  Oh, man! Oh! Man!!! The only way you'll find out is by reading this book! But I guarantee one really good,wild and exciting ride if you do!

This book gets the Iron Guy Seal of Approval as ONE TERRIFIC BOOK!!

And let me know if you've read it and liked it. Leave your thoughts in the "Comment " section under this post. And also tell me which branch of the Cahill family you belong to, if you're also an agent. I don't mind saying that I'm a Tomas--only fitting for a MANLY MAN like the Iron Guy!

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Legos at the Mountain Island Library!

This wasn't me but it gives you an idea of what parasailing's like
Hey, hey, hey all you reader guys in Charlotte and everywhere else.  The Iron Guy finished up his summer in high style, going to Cherry Grove Beach in North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina over the
Labor Day weekend. Had a great time and even got to do some parasailing, a truly MANLY sport. It was a good summer, especially for the library. We broke records with our Summer Reading program this year. We had 26 million minutes worth of reading over the summer--and a lot of it done by BOYS, no doubt! Thanks, guys, and keep it up.

Mountain Island
The beautiful Mountain Island library
jijohnson's picture
Ms Jionne Johnson
A lot of kids and a lot of Legos!

Alex and his impressive Lego

One of the most fun events of the summer was the Iron Guy's visit to the Mountain Island library. The fabulous Ms. Jionne Johnson held a Lego building competition and asked me to pick the winner! She also asked me to talk to their kids about this blog, which, as a truly helpful MANLY MAN, I was glad to do. There were a lot of kids there and a lot of great Lego creations. How was I going to pick only one out of all great designs? But, with the help of the kids, I finally chose one by Alex (I think that's his name) and it was very impressive. Thanks to everyone at Mountain Island and I hope to hear from you! Write in some book reviews and I'll post them on this blog.
Here I am (along with evidence of how well I've eaten over the summer) with one of the runners-up in the Lego competition.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Recommendations From Other Library Guys (and One Honorary Guy)

Hey, everyone, this is the Iron Guy, doing what he does best in the summer--taking it easy and reading lots of  good stuff. Of course, much as I hate to think about it, August is more than halfway over and that means summer will be over before too long. (of course, in Charlotte, summer's not really over until after Labor Day)
That's why the Iron Guy uses all his iron determination and willpower to squeeze every last bit of enjoyment out of the last of summer. That includes reading lots of cool  books. I'm in the middle of some really great reads and hope to tell you about them soon but in the meantime, I thought I'd ask some of the other guys in the library system to tell us about the books they've liked. We got some great responses, so let's get right to them.

The first one is from a really good guy, Malcolm Plummer at the Hickory Grove library. He says:

The Encyclopedia Brown Series has always been a favorite of mine. When I was younger, I used to like watching detective shows on television. So when I picked up one of Donald Sobol's books it was just like watching a Columbo episode on tv. Solving mysteries is fun for the inquisitive mind. And guys with curious minds will like this series

Thanks, Malcolm! The Encyclopedia Brown books have been around for a long time but they are still challenging guys to use their brains

The next is from another really great guy, David Singleton, the Director of Libraries for the Charlotte Meckelenburg libraries. That's a fancy way of saying that he's in charge of the whole library system's day-to-day operations. Quite a big job! Here's what he likes:

While the Clock Ticked by Franklin W. Dixon.   I was a big fan of the Hardy Boys series, and this one, about a secret locked room in a spooky mansion, kept me on the edge of my seat.
·     Henry Huggins by Beverly Cleary.   Henry is an ordinary boy who finds himself in hilarious situations, often accompanied by his dog Ribsy.   I found myself laughing every time I read this book.
·      Hatchet by Gary Paulsen.    After a crash in a small plane, a 13-year-old boy is left to survive alone in the Canadian wilderness with little except a hatchet, a recent birthday gift from his mother. An exciting book about survival and becoming a man.
·      Wonder by R.J. Palacio.   10-year-old August Pullman is average in almost every way, except for a severe facial deformity.    As he enters public school for the first time, he learns about cruelty as well as the true meaning of friendship.   If you’ve ever felt different from other people, you will love this book.

T    Thanks, Mr. Singleton! These are indeed great reads. Boys have been thrilling to the Hardy Boys and Hatchet for many years and Beverly Cleary's books are still funny.

      Our next set of good reads comes from a truly exceptional guy, Lee Keesler, the Chief Executive Officer of the Charlotte Library system! Here's what he has to tell us"

 Our Mom used to take us to your library in the summer to get books.  Once I had learned to read, I read primarily biographies of historical and sports figures.  I remember reading a biography of George Washington; of Benjamin Franklin; of Thomas Jefferson; and of Willie Mays; Jackie Robinson; Mickey Mantle.
T    Thanks, Mr. Keesler! We really appreciate your taking time form your very schedule to share with us. (btw, when he talks about "your library," he means the Myers Park library, where the Iron Guy works!) The library system has lots of good biographies of these people and one of the most popular series for boys is the "Who Was... set of biographies. (in fact, I saw a couple of boys in here yesterday, going excitedly through the Who Was... books) All of the books I've read from this series have been interesting, full of good information and quick to read. (they're what I call Good Quick Reads) Here are a few:

                     Who Was George Washington?
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       Who Was Ben Franklin?
            Who Was Thomas Jefferson?

      Who Was Jackie Robinson?
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Unfortunately, Willie Mays and Mickey Mantle aren't in this series but the library system does have biographies of them. And there is a chapter book about Mickey Mantle that I really enjoyed--it's Lucky: Maris, Mantle and My Best Summer Ever by Wes Tooke. As I said, I really enjoyed it and you can see my review here--and an interview with the author here.
      And, finally, we have a recommendation from Sandy Nicholls of the South County library. She's been with the system a long time and is really cool. You see her picture here--she is holding up a shark's tooth that she doubtlessly pulled straight out of a shark's mouth. Quite a gal! She recommends two books for all the reader guys out there. One is Mountain Dog by Margarita Engle and the other is Squish, Super Amoeba by Jennifer Holm. She reviewed them on the library's great BookHive site, which is a terrific place to find great reads, and here's what she said about Mountain Dog:

Book CoverTony is sent to live with his great uncle in the Sierra Nevada Mountains after his mother was sent to prison for training fighting dogs. It is a different world for this city boy. His great uncle Tio Leonilo is a search and rescue dog trainer and Tony quickly becomes fast friends with a search and rescue dog named Gabe. Written in a prose format, the story alternates between the voices of Tony and Gabe the rescue dog. The facts about search and rescue dog training, the wilderness of the Sierra Nevadas, and Tony’s newfound friendship with a classmate named Gracie make this story honest as well as charming.

      And here's the one for Squish, Super Amoeba:

View full imageFollow Squish the Amoeba on his many adventures in middle school with his family and also with his microorganism friends, Pod and Peggy. Discover how different the life of an amoeba truly is! This story has science facts throughout which makes it fun to learn about global warming and various types of molds. This is a great first time graphic novel for the reader looking for something different. The simple black and white illustrations with a hint of green will delight the eyes.

 Thanks, Sandy! As you see, we don't mind when girls write in to our boys read blog. In fact, we're happy about it and we encourage it! Indeed, we are so happy when they do that we give them the greatest honor we could possibly give and make them Honorary Guys.
      Yes, Sandy, you are now an Honorary Guy. That means you can crack all the dumb jokes you want, make obnoxious noises at sporting events and eat insane amounts of food with no nutritional value. No, no--you don't have to thank us! We do this because we're guys and that means we're by nature generous and sharing. So we don't need thanks--knowing we've shared our great honor with you is thanks enough!

 GUYS--that's what we are and that's what we do!

   Seriously, though, I hope you check out these books and also go and see Sandy and Malcolm at their libraries. And tell them Iron Guy Carl sent you! And write in and tell us if you've read these books! I'll publish YOUR reviews on this blog! All the instructions are on the left-hand side of the page. Hope to hear from you soon!