Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Spandex City, Update on the Sluggers Giveaway, and New Rick Riordan Books Coming Soon!

Before Darth Bill left us to tyranize planets in the Outer Rim, he wrote about a new comics store. It's Spandex City and their grand opening is this Saturday, May 1. It looks like a very cool place--check out their website here. They'll give out free comics on Saturday (while they last) AND they'll donate 10% of their opening day sales to Charlotte-Mecklenburg Library. So go see them, pick up some good stuff, and support the library! BTW, Darth Bill got a superhero to endorse the opening. Take a look:

On another subject, I've decided to add a little more incentive to the Sluggers giveaway. (see this post for all the details on the giveaway) Not only will I give a prize package to any guy who reads all 6 books in the Sluggers series, I'll give a mini-prize package after you've read the first two! Here's what you'll get:
A Quizno's bag, a coupon for free Quizno's food (but good only for the new one uptown), a "Catch the Reading Bug" water bottle, and maybe a couple of other goodies.

If you read all six you'll get--

--a "Be a Power User" library bag, a Book Lover's Journal, your choice of one of our t-shirts, and a couple of free books. Of course, you can't just tell me you've read the Sluggers books; you've got to prove it. And the best way is to send me reviews! This offer will be good all summer or until we run out of prizes.

Lastly, being Charlotte's #1 Rick Riordan fan, I'm very excited that The Red Pyramid comes out this Monday! It's the first book in the new Kane Chronicles series that brings ancient Egyptian mythology into the modern world. Of course, the library takes longer than bookstores to get copies on the shelves, but I'm on our waiting list! The newest 39 Clues book, The Emperor's Code, is already here and kids are checking them out. The last two, Storm Warning and Into the Gauntlet, come out this summer. We have endless discussions in our house about who can be trusted and what will happen to Amy and Dan. Plus the new Camp Half-Blood books arrive in October! The new series is called Heroes of Olympus and the first book is The Lost Hero. Read about all this stuff at Rick Riordan's blog or his main website. It's a good time to be a Rick Riordan fan!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Review of the Latest Redwall Book

Hey, all reader guys everywhere, the CARLMAN is back from a great 3-day weekend. We planted tomatoes in the back yard and, I tell you, there's nothing better for a GUY than digging in the dirt and planting the stuff you'll eat in a few months! Puts you in touch with all the MANLY MEN who've gone before us. (Makes you SMELL like them too! P-U!)

Anyway, we have a review by Val. She's Darth Bill's wife and loves guy books. Of course, Bill would marry only a superwoman, so the Val stands for Valkyrie. Here's her review of the latest Redwall book:

I finished the latest Redwall book "The Sable Quean". by Brian Jacques. In the beginning of the story the Abbey-goers are having a singing/speaking contest to see who will become the offical Redwall Bard. A Bard is a poet-singer who writes verses about heros and their deeds. Outside in the Mossflower Woods something evil is happening. Zwilt the Shade and his troops, known as Ravagers, are kidnapping youngsters and babes by order of their leader, Vilava, the Sable Quean. (British spelling) A Sable is related to weasel only slightly larger with thick, black fur and undertones of rich dark brown. Her plan is to force the Redwallers to exchange living in the abbey for the lives of their little ones.

Of course with any Redwall story there are subplots going on that interweave with the main story. In this book, the blademaster (instructor of sword fighting) at Salamandastron has been sent on an adventure with his sidekick to deliver a gift to Redwall. Buckler Kordyne and Diggs are hares from the famous Long Patrol and are use to hearing stories, but have never taken part in any of the battles the Long Patrol is famous for being a part of. This is soon to change. The book also has Guosim shews, anyone who has read a Redwall story have come to look forward to hearing about them. This time along with the usual Redwall creatures, mice, squirrels, and moles, Brian Jacques introduces a Warrior Mole, Axtel Sturnclaw, who carries a war hammer as his weapon of choice. There is also a Badgermaid, Ambrevina Rockflash of the Eastern Shores, Ambry for short. There are battles, comedy and songs to move the story along. The book is aimed at ages 9 and up.

Thanks, Val ! I'm embarassed to say that I've never read a Redwall book. I know a lot of you reader guys have written and told us how much you like them. Maybe it's time for me to check one out. I'd like to start with the first one, although this one sounds really good. How about all of you out there? What's your favorite Redwall book?

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Once Again! The Boys Movie and Book Club!

Hey, hey, all you reader guys, we have good news! The CARLMAN is going to host another Boys Movie and Book Club. We did one in January and it was a lot of fun, so we'll have another one in May. Here's how it works--I pick a really good guy book and then pick a good movie that ties in with it. We watch the movie, I hand out copies of the book afterward for you to check out, then we meet two weeks later for our book club. If you've ever been to one the CARLMAN'S book clubs, you know we do more than sit around and talk! We always have snacks and some kind of activity along with some really good discussion. January's book was N.E.R.D.S. by Michael Buckley and the movie was The Absent-Minded Professor. May's book will be Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld and the movie will be Back to the Future III (rated PG).

Leviathan is a truly terrific book. It's an "alternate history" story about what would have happened in World War I if the Germans and Austrians had walking war machines and the British and their allies had evolved animals into flying and fighting units. There are battles, escapes, and things blow up. As I said, it's a truly terrific story. And it's also an example of "steampunk" science fiction, which means the characters use modern technolgy with old-fashioned power sources. If Sherlock Holmes had a computer, for instance, he might have used a steam machine to generate electricty. That's why our movie will be Back to the Future III. It's the perfect steampunk movie. The characters are stuck in the Old West and have to get back to the present but their time machine (which is installed in a car) won't work because there is no modern fuel. It's a really, really fun movie!

OK--here are the times and place:
The movie will be on Saturday, May 1 at 2:00 pm in the Round at Imaginon.
The movie lasts two hours. Becuase we close at 6:00 pm, we have to start the movie on time, so please be there by 2:00! Bring your library cards to check out a book. If you come to the movie, we expect to see you at the book club!

The book club will be on Saturday, May 15 at 3:00 pm in the Round at Imaginon.
If you can't get to the movie, you can still come to the book club. There are plenty of copies of the book in the library system, but if you have a problem in getting one, call me. If you already own a copy, you can birng it.

Registration is now open for the movie. Call 704-416-4630 to register. There are 12 spots avavilable. You need to be from 9-12 years old. Registration for the book club begins on May 1, but if you sign up for the movie, I'll sign you up for the book club also.

Hope to see you there! This will be a good time!
(PS-click here to see my original review of Leviathan)

Thursday, April 15, 2010

The Sluggers Hit Another Homer!

Yes, indeed, I really liked Blastin' the Blues by Phil Bildner and Loren Long. It's the fifth book in the Sluggers (formerly known as Barnstormers) series and, as anyone who has read this blog for a while knows, I am a HUGE fan. These books have magic, mystery, suspense, and sports. What more could a guy want?

Here's the basic story. It's 1899 and the Payne family is trwaveling across the counrty. The father didn't come home from the Spanish-American War and Uncle Owen owes $10,000 to the Chancellor, a very bad bad guy. The Payne kids, Graham, Griffith, Ruby, and their mom, have joined the father's fellow veterans to form a baseball team in order to raise the money. The kids have a baseball, the only thing left of their father, which appears to be magical. The Chancellor wants that ball and will do whatever he has to, including kidnapping Graham, the youngest, in order to get it. In this book, the team heads to St. Louis and New Orleans but the Chancellor is, as always, one step ahead of them. He made the St. Louis team cancel their game. How does he always know where they will be? There's a mole on the team! How can they hope to win against the Chancellor and his thugs if someone on their own side is working for the bad guys?

I liked this book a lot but for a very different reason. This book wasn't as suspenseful or exciting as the other four but I liked it every bit as much. That may sound strange, but listen up for a minute. The pace is slower because this books explains a lot of things, like who the mysterious old man with different-colored eyes is or why the Chancellor is so evil. There weren't the turn-the-pages-as-fast-as-you-can thrills in this book until...


...the very last chapter! Because the very last chapter changes EVERYTHING!! Wow! The story turns on the proverbial dime and now the Payne family, if not the whole country, is in more danger than ever! Phil Bildner and Loren Long are masterful storytellers, making me all excited about this book becuase of the very last chapter! What happens? What has made me so excited? There's only one way to find out!! You've got to read it!

Only one problem, though. Well, two, actually. First, this book would be confusing if you hadn't read the others, so it wouldn't be a good place to start. Second, if you started here, you'd miss out on all the excitement of those other four terrific books!


I'll give a prize package to any boy who can show me he's read all the books. The best way is to write a review of each book as you go. That may seem like a big task, but I'll give everyone all summer (prime baseball season) to do it! OK? The prize package will be a CMLibrary book bag with some cool giveaway stuff and a couple of free books of your choosing. Sound good? Then start reading! The library system has plenty of copies (although the first ones may be under the old Barnstormers label) and you can find them in the J fiction section under the author's name of Long. (Loren Long is actually the illustrator but the library has the books under his name)

So what are you wiaitng for? Get strated and I'll look forward to hearing from you!

PS--The Sluggers have a very cool website. Check it out at

There's alot of good stuff about the books, the authors, and even some original songs! The site also says that the sixth and final book of the seires, Home of the Brave, will come out on May 4. That's les than three weeks!! Woo-hoo!! Or, as the Sluggers would say, HUZZAH!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Rocket Man, Another Review From Michael, and Great Audiobooks For Guys

Hey, everyone, the CARLMAN is back from spring break, rested up and feelin' groovy--although I have to admit it's VERY weird being here without Darth Bill or Master Jedi Zack. Wow. I really miss them. But, like all MANLY MEN everywhere, I'll soldier on as best I can. Actually, Master Jedi Zack stopped by here on Monday. He looks pretty refreshed himself. Rather than mope about being laid off, he spent last week playing video games. Now THAT'S stress management!! He's got an job interview in Texas soon, which great for him becuase he's from there. I also heard that Darth Bill has had a couple of interviews already. Good luck, guys!

Well, I spent part of spring break in sunny Florida. We took a couple of days to go to Disney World (and everyone knows how much fun that is!!) but we also visited the Kennedy Space Center and saw a space shuttle launch. What an extremely cool event!! The launch was scheduled for 6:21 am and we had to be there at least 5 hours before the launch, so we got there at 10 pm the night before. We were lucky because the Space Center was open all night! It was like having an amusement park open for you all night. It was especially great for me because I grew up with the space program. I can remember where I was when Neil Armstrong took the first steps on the moon. I can even remember when John Glenn first went into space. For that matter, I remember when they sent monkeys into orbit! Anyway, after staying up all night and seeing very cool things like a full-size model of the space shuttle, the original Mercury command center, and live video of the astronauts getting into the shuttle, I got in place to see the launch. It was AMAZING!! The sky lit up like an artificial dawn. The rockets roared and raced into the sky in a magnificent display of fire and smoke. It was exhilarating. If you guys EVER get a chance to see the Kennedy Space Center, and especially for a launch, DO IT!!

We always take audiobooks with us when we travel and this time we took two really good ones, One False Note and The Black Circle. Both of them are from The 39 Clues series and both were first-rate. The reader, David Pittu, knows how to pace a story and get the most from a book. He makes you feel the danger and laugh at the comedy. And there is plenty of both in these books! Amy and Dan have to outwit clever, ruthless bad guys while racing all over the world to find old secrets that could lead to world domination. These audiobooks are good if you're on a road trip, have to spend a lot of time in the car going to school, or if you happen to have a personal CD player. And the really cool thing about the 39 Clues audiobooks is that they have bonus material you don't get in the books or the website. The Black Circle, for instance, has an intercepted phone call between Grace Cahill and Grand Duchess Anastasia Romanov and One False Note has a recording of Grace Cahill on trial for stealing Nannerl Mozart's diary! Really good stuff.

Before I go, we have a review from our good friend Michael. He sent this as a final review for the March Madness Slam Dunk contest but didn't make it in time. It's still a good review, though, so let's see it:

The Time Machine
by H. G. Wells
One night, some friends come over for dinner. Suddenly, the host, only known as the Time Traveller, stumbles in, all dirty and bloody. He has an amazing story to tell. He has gone to the future and only barely escaped. But although he has escaped the enemy, can he save his futuristically primitive friends. I love this book, mostly because this is the first book that introduced the concept of time travel. H. G. Wells is called the Father of Science Fiction. He also wrote War of the Worlds and The Invisible Man. The Time Machine is perhaps THE BEST book with time travel that has ever been written!

Thanks, Michael! I think you're right--The Time Machine may be the best time travel book ever, just as The War of the Worlds may be the best alien-invasion book ever. Would you all agree? Or not? Do you know of any others that are better? Send us a comment or a reivew and let us know! (And if you want to see a post about The War of the Worlds, click on the label underneath here)
I hope that all of you who had spring break last week had a good time too. It's good to be back. Keep sending in those reviews and comments!

Friday, April 2, 2010

Spring Break Timeout

Yes, the CARLMAN is caling a timeout for the next week. Spring break is here and I've had plans for this week long before all these changes took place. I hope to read Blastin' the Blues during that time and maybe a few other cool things. How about you all? Let me know what you're reading over spring break!

Well, I've got to clean out the Blogger files, so that means I've got to clear out the files with the reviews you sent during the March Madness contest. Blogger allows only "Publish" or "Reject," so if you get a note that your review got "Rejected," don't be upset. It means only that I cleaned out of the files. Your reviews were all published during the contest and you can go back and see them anytime.

Library Planet is going to be a lonely place without Darth Bill and Master Jedi Zack. But I don't think we've heard the last of them yet!

If you're on spring break this week, ENJOY it and keep reading!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Do I really have to do this?!

I have been putting off writing this, but I know that isn't going to make it any easier to do. Tomorrow will be my last day with the library and my last day as an official Boy Rule! Boys Read! blogger. Working with the CARLMAN and Darth Bill (despite his despicable sithness) has been a blast. Thank you both for inviting me to be a part of this awesome project, I've learned a lot and had a lot of fun in the process.
Also, a big thank you to all the guys, parents, teachers and just other super awesome folk who have been reading the blog. Keep reading, and I'll do what I can to keep letting you all know what is going on out there.

Now I'm off to explore that great big galaxy out there. May the force be with you all!

Farewell to the Best

Today is Darth Bill's last day with the library and Master Jedi Zack will depart this sector of the galaxy tomorrow, so let me take this time to say how much I've enjoyed working with you two and how much I'll miss you. It's been a real job, trying to keep the light and dark sides from slicing each other in two--

--but it's been a WHOLE lot of fun. Bill and Zack have been the best that any guy could ask to work with. You don't know it, Zack, but you taught me a lot about blogging. I tend to go on and on and you taught me to be concise. A good skill to have! And, becuase of you, I will always think of myself as a "guybrarian."

And now, since we've worked side by side for so lang, let me give a special shout out to Bill. We've done a lot of great stuff together, like the Hero and Villain festival:

and giving out lots of free books to deserving guys.

Your humor and spirit always made this place a lot of fun--

--and your reviews of graphic novels opened me up to a whole new world. (I would have never heard of Bone or Capt'n Eli if not for you)

As a fitting final tribute, here's a side of him that many people will long remember--Bill, the master storyteller:

So here's to you, Bill. It's been great! Good luck wherever you land. And you too, Zack. PLEASE keep writing in! We will want to hear from you.

My sincere wishes for the best are with both of you and whatever you do--