Sunday, May 30, 2010

An Interview With Roseanne Parry: The Perfect Interview for Memorial Day

Hey, guys, I know a lot of you are celebrating Memorial Day this weekend. Some of you may have cookouts, go to the beach or the mountains, or just hang out with your family or friends. As you can see, I'm working this weekend but I'm also celebrating by hosting an interview with Roseanne Parry, author of that extraordinary book Heart of a Shepherd. It's all about a 12-year-old boy whose father gets deployed to Iraq for two and a half years. (see my review here)It's realistic fiction, which means there is no magic, worldwide conspiracies, or space battles, but it's still one of the favorite books I've read this year. (Realistic fiction is great because it deals with the issues we have to face in the real world, guys) Since this is the holiday dedicated to remebering and honoring those who serve or have served in the military, this was the perfect time to interview the author of such a story. I'm very glad and honored that she gave us this interview. But I've talked long enough. Let's hear Ms. Parry!
Why is it cool for boys to read?
It’s cool for boys to read because some of them grow up to be amazingly cool book editors and literary agents like mine. They get to work with books all day long, and nobody says, 'stop that reading and do something useful!' to
them.
My agent’s name is Stephen Fraser and he’s a book-loving boy who studied children’s literature in college. (It’s true! You can major in books!) He went on to become an editor and is now an agent, which means he helps books that he loves find the right publisher.



My editor’s name is Jim Thomas and he is also a book-loving boy who majored in English and went straight to New York City to work in the book business. He works in the Random House building, which is on Broadway. In case you were wondering, the editor is the person who takes my story apart like you would dissect a squid to see what’s really in there. And then he helps me put it together so it runs right, just like a working engine.

Why is it cool for boys to write?
Power! Writing is all about power.
Any short stroll through history will tell you so. Pick a tyrant and you’ll see a person who tried to control whether or not people learned to read and write, and what they were allowed to read and write. Nazi’s burned books. Terrorists close schools. Slave owners don’t allow their slaves to read and write.
And yet, as bad as those bad guys are, there have always been people, just like us, who paid attention to what was happening in the world and wrote down their ideas and shared them with others.
At the founding of this country, when Jefferson and Hamilton and Washington and Franklin were debating what to about the rights of Americans, there was a man who kept writing things down. He was no taller than your average fifth grader and a very shy person. Yet he had this great idea about the importance of human rights and the value of checks and balances in government. So James Madison wrote those ideas down and they became the basis of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. And this quiet and shy bookworm of a man became our fourth president. Yup, that’s power.


Why is it cool for boys to read realistic fiction--books with no aliens or magicians, no world-dominating villains, and nothing blows up?

There is a reason they make movies about cowboys. A rancher in any given day might face rattlesnakes, cattle rustlers, mountain lions, drug dealers, wolves, lighting, earthquakes, bears, or wildfires. Who needs magic when real life is packed with all these possibilities?
If you liked all the cowboy stuff in Heart of a Shepherd, you should give Bull Rider by Suzanne Morgan Williams a try. It’s got all that great cowboy stuff plus rodeo stuff!


What made you become a writer? And what made you write this particular book?
I was not much of a writer when I was in school. For one thing, sitting still was not ever a talent of mine. Also I am a terrible speller.
But I always loved making things up. My brother and sister and I spent whole summer days in the woods making up adventures with our favorite book characters. Our stories usually had sword fighting, magic, and eating blackberries. Frodo and Bilbo and the Narnia kids often came along and helped us defeat a rotating cast of dark wizards, corporate pollution makers, dragons, and Nazi spies. I continued to make up stories when I became a summer camp counselor then as a teacher and a mom.
It wasn’t until I had a houseful of kids that it occurred to me to write down the stories. I’m still not a great speller and I don’t love to sit still either. But here’s the cool part about being an author. I can write anywhere I want. Sometimes I work in my tree house and sometimes I go to Forest Park and work in a tree.


I wrote Heart of a Shepherd because there was this character in my head that I really loved—a youngest boy with a whole bunch of brothers. And he was trying so hard to be a man among the men of his family and yet he wasn’t really like them. So what’s a boy to do when he loves his home and his family even though he doesn’t really fit in? I had to write the book to find out what would happen to him.


Your book is set on a ranch in eastern Oregon. Did you ever live on a ranch or know people who did?
I went to college in eastern Washington where I met lots of kids who grew up on farms and dairies and ranches in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana and the Dakotas. I loved to hear them tell stories about their hometowns and schools. I’ve visited in Malhuer County; it’s a strikingly wild and beautiful place.




In your book, the father is deployed to Iraq for two and a half years. Do you know anyone currently serving overseas?
My husband was a veteran of Desert Storm, so he was in Iraq a long time ago. I have several relatives who have deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan over the last few years. One is there now, and one of them has recently returned from deployments to earthquake relief missions in Haiti and Chile. Being in the Armed Forces isn’t only about fighting. It’s also about providing emergency help for people all over the world. I do worry about my nephews and brothers-in-law when they are deployed, but I’m very proud of them, too.

What will do for Memorial Day?
In the last 7 years my family has made a tradition of celebrating Memorial Day by making a temporary chalk memorial in downtown Portland. We go down to Waterfront Park with a bucket of sidewalk chalk. We draw a cross or star or crescent for every service member who has died in the last year. It’s a simple thing to do. It takes about an hour and a half with all of us working together, and it makes a memorial about 150 yards long. I like it because it reminds me that each one of the chalk marks was somebody’s son or daughter or sister or dad or best friend. It’s easy to spend the weekend on picnics and the beach and buying clothes on sale, but really Memorial Day is for remembering that war costs us something precious and irreplaceable.

Aren’t you writing another book? Would you tell us about it?
Second Fiddle is my next novel. It will be out in the March of 2011. It’s a road trip adventure story about three girl musicians who live in Berlin right when the Berlin Wall is coming down. They see some Soviet officers murdering one of their enlisted men, so they rescue him and run away to Paris! It was tons of fun to write.
I lived in Germany from 1990-1992 when the story takes place so it was great to revisit my memories of Berlin and Paris. It was also a fun book to work on because music is an interest I share with my agent and editor. I play the violin. My agent sings and my editor plays guitar and drums and has his own rock band. See, I told you those guys were cool!
What do you like to do when you’re not writing terrific books?
I love to ride my bike and hike and ski and paddle and sail. One of the great things about Oregon is that I can do all those things right here. Portland is a great town for bikes, so in the summer I try to have 2 or 3 no car days a week.

Which do you like better—cheeseburgers or pizza? What do you like on them?
Golly, do I have to pick? Here’s the perfect compromise: Cheeseburger Pie! The boy reader in my house has been making this recipe since he was about 9 years old. Here’s how he makes it.
Pie crust
1. Mix 1 1/3 cups flour and ½ teaspoon salt together with ½ cup of shortening.
2. Squash this up with a fork or pastry blender until it looks like a bowl full of tiny white peas.
3. Add 3 or 4 tablespoons of cold water and mix until the dough sticks together in a blob.
4. Get a pie plate and squish the dough flat on the bottom and up along the sides.
5. Bake the crust at 450 degrees for 15 minutes.
Filling
6. In a skillet, cook 1 pound of ground beef plus 1 chopped up onion and 1 clove of chopped up garlic until it is brown and good smelling.
7. Turn off the heat and stir in ¼ cup of flour, 1/3 cup of dill pickle liquid, 1/3 cup of milk, ½ cup of chopped up dill pickles and 1 cup of shredded cheese. (you can use any kind of cheese. My boy likes cheddar. He also likes to add a little celery salt.)
8. Spoon this into the pie crust and bake for 15 minutes.
9. Sprinkle the top with another cup of shredded cheese and cook it for about 5 minutes more. (When we have tomatoes in the garden my boy likes to slice them thin and put them on top of the filling, but he hides them under the cheese.)
10. You can decorate the top with pickles and ketchup. It serves 6 normal people or 4 very hungry people.

You seem very cool. Could we make you an Honorary Guy?
Yes! I would love that! Thank you!

We thanks YOU, Ms. Parry! In honor of your terrific books and for this wonderful interview, we're going to give you the greatest honor we can possibly bestow and make you an Honorary Guy. No, no--don't go all modest on us and say you don't deserve this amazing award! If anyone has earned it, it's you!
Thanks once again, Ms. Parry, and enjoy your Memorial Day! And you, too, all you reader guys. Don't forget that, as Ms. Parry pointed out, reading is the key to power and freedom--and be sure to remember the brave men and women who have fought throughout our history to make sure you have the freedom to read what you like.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

The 48 Hour Book Challenge: A Chance to Help the Library

The CARLMAN is going to participate in a test of endurance and reading next weekend. It's the 48 Hour Book Challenge, a weekend in which a lot of kidlit bloggers try to read as many hours as they can in 48 hours. This year it'll be the weekend of June 4--6. The rules are simple: You have a 48-hour time period. It can be from 7:00 am Friday--7:00 am Sunday or 7:00 am Saturday--7:00 am Monday. (I'm going to do the second one) During that time you can read as many hours as you can stand. You should post your results by noon on Monday, June 7.

A lot of kdillit bloggers do this every year, but this is my first attempt. Why did I choose this year to start? Because they're going to do something new; they're going to let bloggers use this as a fundraising event for charities. When I heard about that, I went, "DUUHHH!" because I know exactly where the money should go--the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library.


The library is in trouble, guys. With the recession, Mecklenburg County is not getting as much money as they thought, so they're having to cut services. Since the library receives most of its money from the county, we're looking at cutting way back. WAY back!! I mean, WAY, WAY back! The current plan is to cut

45.5 % of the library's budget. That's almost half! We plan to close 16 of our 24 branches and lay off a lot more people!! It also means no more new books. Maybe no more cool programs. It's bad, guys! That's why we need your help. What can you do? Donate however much money you'd like for every hour I read next weekend. The amount is up to you. And your parents, of course. You could drop money off at your local branch or your parents could write checks or donate online. I'll put all that information in a post next week. In the meantime, talk this over with your family and decide how much you'd like to give per hour. And tell all your friends. Your teachers. Your school. Any extraterrestrials you know. (they have to use Earth currency, though) If you want to find out more about the library's situation and what you can do to help, go to Charlotte Mecklenburg Library's home page and also their Call to Action site.


As I said, check back next week and I'll give the info on how to donate. Then check back again after noon on Monday, June 1 to find out how many hours I actually read. My goal is 12 hours. NO--don't gasp in amazement!! The CARLMAN is willling and completely able. I've already started lifting heavy books to build up my arms. I've got fresh cleaning cloths for my reading glasses. And I'm developing powerful muscles that enable me to sit for long hours without tiring! Yes, when it comes to marathon reading, the CARLMAN is indeed--


THE IRON GUY!

Meanwhile, While Blastin' the Blues...

Wow, there's so much going on this weekend that I had to post twice again! (the opther post will come up an hour after this one) This is GREAT!! We have two reviews today from our faithful reader guys. The first is from AXEL SIMONE:

blasting the blues
after the payne family learns there is a mole on the team they try to figure out who it is. i loved it. i recommend the series to everyone. bye.

Thanks, AXEL! You only two books away from getting your prize package!

The second is from Michael:

Meanwhile
by Jason Shiga
"I'm ready to order."
"What'll you have, kid?"
"Chocolate."
"Vanilla."
Which one would you choose? What if I told you that choosing one of those ice cream flavors either saved the world or destroyed it? Now it does! In Meanwhile, you choose an option and follow the tubes to a random panel on a random page, and the story continues. Meet a proffessor, and play with his inventions. Be the only person left alive in the universe. Know all about people's lives without them telling you. Go back in time and find out all the secrets of the book! Meanwhile never gets boring! Why? Because there are 3,856 story possibilities!!! There are secrets behind the proffessor, the ice cream man, your parents, even yourself that you don't know about! So what are you waiting for? Check it out and dive into the exciting comic book world of Meanwhile today!!!!!


And thanks to you too, Michael! This is one I haven't read but am dying to try now. We have several Choose Your Own Advnetures books but never had one in comic book form before. I'll go look for it. I hope you guys go and find them too. After all, these books are Guy Tested--Guy Approved!!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

The Leviathan Book Club

Hey everyone, I hate to post twice in one day, but we just got a comment from Tommy Donbavand, the Scream Street author, on Lord Vader's review of his books:

Hey!Thanks for the great review! Delighted to hear you're enjoying the books!

Tommy Donbavand
author, Scream Street

We appreciate it, Tommy! We're always glad when authors write in to us.

I also have been trying to put up this post about the Leviathan book club since last week but have had trouble uploading one of the videos. Fortunately, one of our computer wizards came down to wave his wand and fix it. Here you go.

Greetings and Achtung! all you Clankers and Darwinists out there! This is Carl, aka Baron Karl von KARLMAN, and we had a great time at the Boys Book Club on Saturday the 15th of May. Our book was Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld, one of my very favorites from 2009. Unfortunately, we had only 3 guys there that day. Several others had wanted to come, but two had to much homework, another couldn't make it, and one didn't like the book! (What???!!!) Well, next time, if you don't like the book, come anyway and tell us WHY you didn't like it! Anyway, the three of us had a good time. The first one to arrive was the Amazing Alex (aka AXEL SIMONE from the March Madness Contest). I was afraid he would be the only one but, in true CARLMAN fashion, I decided not to give up and have some discussion with Alex. Here's a video of that terrific talk. (it's about 5 minutes long, so be patient. It's good stuff)

video

But after we talked for a while, Crazy Cat Kyle and Legendary Leland showed up. Now we were ready for some fun! The first thing I did was to ask if they were Clankers or Darwinists. Leland said he was a Clanker and Kyle and Alex were Darwinists, so that meant it was Leland against Kyle and Alex. Our game was to have the Darwinists get the airship Leviathan across the room. It couldn't touch the ground or they lost. They moved it by hitting it with their hands. (A big balloon/globe was the mighty airship Leviathan) The Clanker had to try to knock it out of the the air but he had to move slowly, like a World War I machine. His weapon was a big cardboard tube. Here's a short clip of the game:

video

Then we had snacks and some more good discussion. Finally we had one more game. One of the best things about this book was the made-up slang expressions such as "barking spiders!", so we made up our own expressions. I put out two cups with slips of paper in them. Each slip of paper had a word on it, either a noun or a verb. One cup held verbs and one held nouns. Each guy pulled a slip out of each cup, put the slips together, and that was his expression. Someone might get "Dancing Giraffes!" or "Jumping Workboots!". Kyle got "Baking Pepperoni!" and Alex got "Running Gorillas!". Here's a video:

video


Our book clubs are always fun. We hope we can have another one this summer. If so, hope to see you there!

HUZZAH! HUZZAH! For Home of the Brave

Did you ever reach the end of a favorite movie or TV series and then sit back and say, "Ahhh!" because you were so satisfied? That's how I felt yesterday after turning the last page of Home of the Brave by Phil Bildner and Loren Long. It was a great ending of a terrific series, the kind of ending that makes you feel good, having come to the end of a wonderful journey. This book takes place in Baltimore and marks the final confrontation between the Payne family and the totally evil Chancellor, only now the bad guy has the magic baseball that the Paynes have depended on for so long. Can they possibly hope to withstand the Chancellor and his thugs without it? There's an epic baseball game, plenty of suspense, and some major surprises. This is one you've GOT to read, guys! (If you want to find out what we've said about these books, click on the "Sluggers" and "Barnstormers" tabs under this post)

And to encourage you to read all 6 books, don't forget there are prize packages for any guy who does! Look at the box in the top corner of the left-hand side of the page to find out more.

Speaking of prizes, guess who's giving out one more--it's Phil Bildner himself!! He saw that Michael read the series and won the prizes a couple of days ago and made a comment:

Way to go, Michael! I'd like to donate a prize, too: An autographed SLUGGERS poster.

Please email me at my website!

Congrats!

Phil

Wow, thanks, Phil! That was extremely nice of you. And the Phil and Loren have an excellent website at http://www.readsluggers.com/ Be sure to check it out.

PS--One last question. What is it about baseball that makes it go mythic? I likefootball and really enjoy basketball but it's hard to imagine a series about a magic football or basketball. Why does the game of baseball lend itself so well to epic stories and magic? What do you think, guys?

PPS--OK, one more thought (grownups love to do this) This is a great book for Memorial Day. There's a very moving chapter called "A Pause in the Action" in which veterans from the Mexican War, the Civil War, and Spansih-American War (which included the Traveling Nine) come onto the field and everyone salutes them. Kinds choked me up. Hope something like that happens in your town over this holiday.

Old and New Friends Write to Us

This is great! We got 2 new reviews yesterday. One was from our old friend Lord Vader (aka Mikie), who used to write to us all the time. Let's hear what he says:

Hello,It's me, Lord Vader (a.k.a. Mikie).
I read two books in a series called Scream Street by Tommy Donbavand. The first was Fang of the Vampire. It's about a werewolf named Luke Watson. The government forced him to move to a street where the other residents are all monsters (vampires, mummies, witches, etc.). Luke and two of his friends from Scream Street have to search for 6 relics to get his parents off of Scream Street. There is a guide book that can help them, but a ghoul and a shape shifter try to stop them.
In book 2, Blood of the Witch they continue to look for relics. It turns out one of his friends is not a real monster, just his parents are. As they look for the relic, the same evil characters (one of them is the landlord), try to stop them. One of his friend's father runs out of blood (he's a vampire), so he runs into the sewers and turns rats and a cat (this cat has way more than 9 lives) into vampires.
I think other kids that are into stories that have undead characters in them will love this series. I read the books in just a few days - I couldn't wait to read them. I'm waiting on book three right now.

Thanks, Lord Vader! It sure is good to hear from you again. Whew, these books sound scary!

The second review is from our good friend AXEL SIMONE. He's talking about the fourth book in the Sluggers series.

water water everywhere
in the continuing adventures of the payne family they are heading to minneapolis after happy is not allowed to play anymore.meanwhile ruby recruits preacher wil who divides the team due to racism. i loved it. i recommend it to anyone who has read the other books.
bye.

And thanks to you, AXEL! I think this may be the best book in this series, although it's too soon to say because I'm reading the last one now. You've got only 2 more books to read in this series to claim your prize package!

All right, guys, we love to hear about what you're reading. Keep those cards and letters and reviews coming!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Michael Reads the Sluggers Series and Gets His Prizes!

Yes, indeed, guys, our good friend and completely awesome reader guy Michael has just finished reading all 6 books in the Sluggers series by Phil Bildner and Loren Long. (the library has some of these books under their old Barnstormers name) I'm such a huge fan of these books that I said on April 15 and April 28 that I would give away prize packages to any guy who read all 6 of them. Michael has been the first one who did. (even though, if you read yesterday's post, AXEL got a prize for reading the first two)

Michael really enjoyed these books. Here's what he had to say about them:

Sluggers, books 1-6
by Loren Long and Phil Bildner

Griffith, Graham, and Ruby Payne live in the year 1899, a year in which all of America is head-over-heels for their new favorite pastime... baseball! When the Payne family has to pay a debt to the mysterious and evil Chancellor, the kids, along with a baseball team that their mother plays on, travel around the country to play baseball in order to win money to pay off the Payne's debt. The three kids have a magic baseball that they use to rig the baseball games in favor of the hometeam. But suddenly, the Chancellor and his men try everything they can to get the magic baseball and Graham. The Chancellor must know of the baseball's power, but why would he want Graham? As the Travelin' Nine (the baseball team) and the Payne kids barnstorm across the country, the Chancellor always seems to be gaining on them. Can they hold him off long enough to pay him the money they owe? I really enjoyed this series. It's the best baseball series that you will ever read, and you'll enjoy following the Payne kids in their escape from the Chancellor. A baseball game is played in every book, but there's a lot more to it than just baseball. This series is an amazing treat for readers, and I'd recommend it to baseball fans and non-baseall fans alike!

You are so right, Michael. These books really are an amazing treat for baseball fans and non-fans alike. If you like suspense, magic, mysterious messges, good families in desperate trouble, and creepy bad guys--in short, if you like really, really good reading, this is the series for you!!

As a reward, Michael gets a CMLibrary book bag, a CMLibrary Book Lover's Journal, some pencils, a Quizno's bag with coupons for their new downtown store, a couple of free books, a door hanger, a yo-yo, a water bottle, a t-shirt, and a couple of bookmarks! Well done, Michael! These same prizes could be yours if you read all six and tell us about them. Take a look at the the box at the top of the left-hand side of the page or click on the "Sluggers giveaway" tab under this post to find out more.

READ THESE BOOKS, GUYS!! You will like them a lot!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

AXEL Shoots! AXEL Scores!

Our good friend AXEL SIMONE, who won the March Madness Shoot-Out contest, claimed his first prize package in our Sluggers giveaway. He sent us several reviews, including one of the second Barnstormers/Sluggers book. Here you go:

barnstormers book 2.
when the paynes get a bloody letter from their uncle they realize he may be in big trouble but they still have a game. after their loss in cincinatti will they win in louisville? i loved it. i recommend the series to everyone.

barnstormers book 3
after their first win they go to chicago for anoter game and their are a few suprises along the way. i loved it. i recomend the series to everyone.

the red pyramid
when carter and sadies dad is kidnapped by set, the egyptian god of chaos, carter and sadie go on an adventure to save him and the world. my favorite character is khufu the baboon.as sadie would say it is a bloody good book. i recommend it to everyone.

the emporers code
after learning they are madrigals dan and amy are trying to find the next clue when dan is kidnapped! it is awesome. i recommend it to everyone.bye.

Thanks, AXEL! I'm REALLY glad you like these Sluggers books. I hope more of you will read them becasue the are FAN-TASTIC! BTW, he got his prize because he reviewed the first one in the March Madness contest. Here he is with his prize package:

He's got a t-shirt and a bag from Quizno's with coupons for free subs at the newest store uptown. Well done, sir! Enjoy the well-earned fruits (or subs) of your reading! He'll get the big prize package after he reads all 6 of them. Check out the box on the top of the left-hand side of the page to find out what those prizes are!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Wizards of Mickey and The Book That Eats People

Here are a copule of good quick reads that the younger reader guys will enjoy. (And I bet the older ones will too) The first is Wizards of Mickey: Mouse Magic. Mickey is a sorceror's apprentice who can't get his spells right. (sound familiar?) His master, Nereus, leaves him in charge of the Diamgic crystal that controls rainfall for his village but Peg-Leg Pete tricks Mickey and slips away with it after Mickey has created a tornado that wrecks the village. Our apprentice decides that the only way to atone is to track down Peg-Leg Pete and get the Diamagic back. But it turns out that the Lord of Deception has captured Nereus and the sorceror is counting on Mickey to rescue him. Can Mickey do it? You'll have to read to find out! Along the way you'll meet Donald, Goofy, a team of dragons, and a huge stack of dirty dishes! The artwork is good, the story is good, and I had a really good time with it. But I've got to warn you that this is only volume 1. Now you're going to be like me, tapping you foot impatiently until vloume 2 comes out!

The other book is a picture book. Yes, I know you guys have outgrown picture books, but I know you'll like this one. How can you NOT like something called The Book That Eats People? It started when Sammy Ruskin forgot to wash his hands after lunch and the book tasted peanut butter on his fingers. After him, it gobbled up the night security guard at the library and then...well, I can't write any more because the book is looking at me and licking its lips!! Be sure to get a copy because it'll make you laugh--but don't read it alone or you'll be book food!


(PS--I first learned of this book on Kinderscares, a new blog about scary books for kids, especially younger kids. Nothing on there has been terribly scary--yet!)

Sunday, May 16, 2010

HUZZAH! The Final Sluggers Book Is Here!!

This is worth cheering about! My copy of Home of the Brave by Loren Long and Phil Bildner arrived early and I've started reading it. Just to let you know HOW excited I am, I've got a copy of The Red Pyramid and The Emperor's Curse (the latest 39 Clues book) at home but I'm reading this one FIRST!! This one is supposed to be the last book in this marvelous series, so maybe they'll explain all the mysteries. Hope so!
PS--Don't forget about our Sluggers giveaway. Check out the "Sluggers giveaway" label underthis post or the box at the top of the left-hand side of the page.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

MotherReader's 48-Hour Book Challenge: A Weekend For MANLY MEN!

Hey all you reader guys in blogland, the CARLMAN has signed himself up for a challenge worthy of all MANLY MEN, especially all MANLY READER GUYS. One of the great book bloggers, MotherReader, has announced her fifth annual 48 Hour Book Challenge. The goal is to read as hours as you can in the weekend of June 4-6. Sounds like a challenge worthy of the CARLMAN! I wll also challenge you guys to read that weekend. Of course, I will give out prizes to those who also read that weekend. Not only will I challenge you to read, but I will also challenge you to donate money to the library system for every hour that I read. My goal is to read 12 hours that weekend. "TWELVE HOURS?" you say. Some may think that's a lot; some may not think it's much at all. Well, that's my goal. That's a full quarter of a weekend and that's enough to be do-able and still be enough of a challenge to prove that, when it comes to reading, the CARLMAN is an IRON GUY!! (I would say IRON MAN, but someone else is already using it)
Stay tuned, guys. I'll give you more details as it gets closer.

In the meantime, I'm looking forward to seeing you at the Boys Book Club this afternoon!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Leviathan Book Club and Iron Man 2

Here's a quick reminder--the Boys Book Club meets this Saturday at 3:00 pm in the Round here at Imaginon. Our book is Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld. We have 5 spots left, so call me at 704-416-4630 if you'd like to come.

The CARLMAN is curious if any of you have seen the Iron Man 2 movie. Did you enjoy it? Was it as good as the first one? Write a comment and let me know

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

The Whiiping Boy by Sid Fleischman: My First Blast From the Past

Hey, all you crazy reader cats in blogville, the CARLMAN has to apologize for not posting as much as I have before. With all these changes going on in the library, I'm busy with a lot of stuff, so I don't get as much time to blog or read as I used to. But it's all good--I'll get on here when I can. I've got several good books to write about eventually, like the first Redwall book. Our family also went ahead and bought The Red Pyramid and The Emperor's Code, so you'll hear about them before too long.

In the menatime, I thought I'd tell you about some terrific things I've read in the past but never blogged about. These are my Blasts From the Past. The first is The Whipping Boy by Sid Fleischman. This is one TERRIFIC book! You will REALLY enjoy this one!

Can you imagine how unfair it would be to be whipped for something someone else did? That's the situation that young Jemmy finds himself in--whenever Prince Brat misbehaves (which is all the time), Jemmy gets the thrashing since no one can whack the heir to the throne. No wonder that Jemmy runs away. But guess who's the first person he meets--that's right, Prince Brat!! The prince has run away also and wants to tag along with Jemmy. What could be worse? Well, how about being the both of them being captured by two murderous bad guys named Hold-Your-Nose Billy and Cutwater? I tell you, guys, this is a fun, fun, FUN read! There are laughs, escapes, and a circus bear. And wait until you see what finally happens to the bad guys! Go check this one out, guys! You'll truly be glad you did!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Athena: Grey-Eyed Goddess by George O'Connor...

... is another AMAZINGLY TERRIFIC graphic novel in his Olympians series. He's taking all 12 of the deities in the ancient Greek pantheon and making a graphic novel about each one. This one is the second; the first was Zeus: King of the Gods and you can read my review here. After reading this one, all I could say was--

WOW!!

George O'Connor is one extremely talented artist and writer, taking these stories, which are thousands of years old, and making them as thrilling, intense, and fun as any graphic novel you'd find at your local comics store. And what stories he has to tell, from Athena's highly unusual birth to her battle with the Gigantes! If that wasn't enough, you also get Perseus and Medusa and Athena's little weaving competion with Arachne. Guys, if you like mythology, or are a Percy Jackson fan, or simply like great stories and artwork that will knock your socks off, then you need to check out Athena: Grey-Eyed Goddess!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

The Percy Jackson Graphic Novel, The Redwall Graphic Novel, Plus Capt'n Eli, Jack Kirby, and The Incredibles

A lot of reader guys have wondered when the Percy Jackson graphic novel will come out and I got an answer last week from D.A. Tyo. She gave us a link that gives all the info, so check it out. It'll come out at the same time as the new Camp Half Blood series. As I said before, this year will be a good time to be a Rick Riordan fan! (I can't show you a cover because it hasn't been created yet)

Speaking of graphic novels, Darth Bill sent us a comment reminding us that there's a Redwall graphic novel:

I have only read the first Redwall book, but I really enjoyed it. Also just to let you know, the first book has also been adapted into a graphic novel that is available at the library. Ops, sorry gotta go. Have some darn Jedi to deal with!!!!

Darth Bill!!!!!!

Must be a tough life as a sith lord, always looking over your shoulder for Jedi. Anyway, Bill wrote about that gn a while back. I have not read the Redwall graphic novel, but Bill did and you can see his review here. Good to hear from you again, man! Send us more comments when you're not souping up your T.I.E. fighter.
Speaking of graphic novels that Bill liked, I am forever in his debt for turning me on to the Capt'n Eli series. A new one is supposed to come out his year, although the Capt'n Eli website doesn't say when. I'll be waiting excitedly until then! I've just reread the second one, The Mystery of the Sargasso Sea and enjoyed it a lot! Jay Piscopo creates a Silver Age style universe but doesn't just copy the old masters--he keeps the stories fresh and exciting. You can find a link to the Capt'n Eli website in the list of links on the left-hand side of the page.

Speaking of the old masters, none was more masterful that Jack "King " Kirby. I've been reading Marvel Visionaries Jack Kirby and, man, is that artwork AWESOME!! I mean, that word is overused these days, but no one has ever created artwork that truly inspired awe like Jack Kirby. Look at the stories about Galactus, Thor and the High Evolutionary, The Inhumans, and the Eternals and see if your jaw doesn't drop in awe-struck wonder. There are other stories too--old stories from the '40's and '5o's (including the very first Captain America story), an action-packed World War II adventure with Nick Fury and His Howling Commandos and a bit of silliness called "This is a Plot?" Nobody ever did it better than Jack Kirby! Check this out and see!

Finally, the Incredibles are back in town with City of Incredibles. Yes, Pixar's family of supers fight evil again. This time however, Jack-Jack causes a lot of the trouble. He got infected with an alien virus, so whenever he sneezes, other people get infected with super powers. The bad thing is that he's been kidnapped by the Confederacy of Crime and he sneezes all over the henchmen. Now the Incredibles have to fight not only Dr. Pixel, Tronasaurus, Roller Girl, and the rest of the Confederacy but also all their super henchmen as well! This one has all the action and humor you'd expect from the Incredibles! Don't miss it! (Darth Bill also reviewed one of their graphic novels--take a look here)

All right, guys, check these out and, as Capt'n Eli would say, "Stand by for adventure!"

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Gentlemen, Start Your Reading!

Hey, guys, it seems like an eon since the CARLMAN reviewed any nonfiction but we got some new books that looked interesting (one of the perks of being a guybrarian is getting to see new stuff before it hits the shelves), so I checked them out. All three were books about NASCAR. Now I'm not a racing fan but these books were very interesting.

The first was Race Week: Seven Crazy Days by Stephen Timblin. You'd think a racer's life would be pretty plush, working only on weekends. WRONG! The life of a race car team is as busy as an anthill during race season. Every minute is packed full of--well, you'll just have to read to find out!




The second was Pit Stop Secrets by K. C. Kelley. Man, it's amazing what the guys in a pit crew have to do! And how fast they have to do it. Incredible feats of strength and skill have to be done at lightning speed while cars zip past only a short distance away. Unbelievable! This book breaks down all the steps of a pit stop and even has pictures. A really good read!




The third was NASCAR Tech by Bob Woods. It's easy to design and build a NASCAR car, right? Just take a car off the assembly line and drop in a souped-up engine, huh? WRONG AGAIN!! That's how it was back in the early days of racing but now it's almost as high-tech as building an X-wing fighter. Well, that's an exaggeration, of course, but I couldn't believe how much advanced technology goes into building NASCAR cars and race tracks. You'll be surprised too. Check out this book and see!


If you love racing or if you simply like to find out new stuff, these are the books for you!
BTW, May is a good month if you're a racing fan, especialy if you live in the Charlotte area. The NASCAR Hall of Fame opens May 11, the annual Speed Street festival is May 27-29, and the Coca-Cola 600 takes place on May 30. Good times for fans of high speed and high tech!