Thursday, July 29, 2010

The Incredible Journey, a Terrific Audiobook!

Audiobooks are great for guys. Audiobooks also are great for summer, when guys are often in the car traveling on vacation. (The CARLMAN likes to listen to them as my starcruiser makes the jump through hyperspace) Nothing makes the time go by as quickly as listening to a good story. That why I love to tell you when I find a good one and I certainly heard a terrific one this weekend. It was The Incredible Journey by Sheila Burnford.

You've probably seen the two Disney movies with the talking animals that were based on this book. (There was an even older version from waaayy back in the day, but I bet you haven't seen that one!) Well, those were good but they don't give ANY idea of how thrilling and rough and rugged the original story is! This isn't some cutesy animal tale but real nature, "red in tooth and claw", where survival does not come easily!

There are three animals, a bull terrier, a Labrador Retriever, and a Siamese cat, who are staying with a man up north in the Canadian woods. He's taking care of them while their real owner is gone and, when he goes on a hunting the trip, the three are accidentally left by themselves. Their instinct to return to their real home overtakes them and they head off. The problem is that their home is 300 miles away through the untamed Canadian wilderness! And this is back before there were cell phones or GPS, so no one knows they're gone! How can three pets possibly survive alone in the dangerous wilderness? Well, you'll find out when you listen to this truly incredible story! Megan Follows reads this story perfectly, pacing the action just right to give it maximum excitement. If you have to spend some time in the car this summer, I couldn't think of a better way to pass the time!

And if you want to find out about other good audiobooks, look for the "Labels" section on the left-hand side of the page and click on "audiobooks." Happy listening!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Batter Up! An Interview with Wes Tooke

Hey, everyone, this is the still-very-busy CARLMAN coming over the blog wires with a fabulous interview. Today we're honored to have Wes Tooke, author of that terrific book Lucky: Maris,Mantle, and My Best Summer Ever. (see my review here) It's the story of Louis May, who becomes a bat boy during the 1961 Yankees season when Roger Maris has a chance to pass Babe Ruth's record for most home runs in a single season. Does he make it? Ah, reader guys, you'll have to check it out to find out! You'll really enjoy it if you do, though. As a matter of fact, I just looked it up on the library's catalog and almost all our copies are checked out! So a lot of you already know how good this book is!

But enough of me; let's hear what the author has to say:

Why is it cool for boys to read?

When you watch a movie or play a video game, your imagination isn’t really working. You’re letting someone else tell you how to picture a character or see a scene. But when you read a book, your own brain is filling in the details—you get to see your own unique version of the story in your head.

Why is it cool for boys to write?

For a similar reason. You have a chance to show people your vision of the world. And when you’re writing a story, you get to control everything. What people say and do. Where the story takes place. Whether the world has monsters and dragons or whether it looks just like your hometown. The only limit is your own imagination.

What books did you like to read as a boy?

I read everything. Some of my favorites were Swallowdale, Treasure Island, the Hornblower series, and The Hobbit. When I was a little younger I loved everything by E.B. White. Especially Trumpet of the Swan

I’ve never heard of Swallowdale—sounds interesting! Did you read any comics? Did you have any


I didn’t read a lot of comics, but my best friend and I would go out and buy every new issue of The Punisher

1961 feels like ancient history to most of us. What made you write about something so long ago?

I think it’s interesting to realize that people who lived before us aren’t actually that different. Maybe they didn’t have the internet or cell phones in 1961, but kids faced a lot of the same challenges. It’s also fun to travel to a different world and imagine what it would have been like to live there.

Baseball was more popular then than now. Can you tell us about how incredibly popular it was in 1961?

Baseball was by far the biggest sport in America. The Super Bowl hadn’t even been invented yet, and professional hockey and basketball were played in small arenas and rarely seen on television. Meanwhile, more than sixty percent of the televisions in America would tune in to watch the World Series. In 1961 every kid in the New York area had an opinion on Maris and Mantle. It was huge.

Why do you like to write about baseball?

Because I love the game.

Could you tell us about the new book that you are writing?

I’m writing about Satchel Paige. He was one of the best pitchers in America, but he couldn’t play in the major leagues because it was during segregation and he was black. One summer in 1935 he played for a team in North Dakota. My story is about a young pitcher who befriends him and their wild adventures that season.

Which do you like better, pizza or cheeseburgers? What do you like on them?

Tough question. I love them both, but I guess I’d have to say cheeseburgers. I like mine western style, which means with cheddar cheese, grilled onions, and bbq sauce. But I’ll eat them almost any way—including with a fried egg.

Well, you live in San Francisco, so it’s only natural that you’d like them western style. Come over to Charlotte and I’ll get you a Carolina style burger! Thanks for the interview. We’ll look forward to your new book!

So if any of you haven't read Lucky yet, go to your local library or bookstore and get a copy. And take a look at the fun stuff about baseball, 1961 Yankees, Roger Maris and more on Mr. Tooke's website. And besides that, for you reader guys who are on Facebook, Louis May has his own page. Check it out here.

So, guys, have any of you read this book? Then write in and tell us what you thought of it!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The MANLIEST Books From the MANLIEST City! And Chances to Claim Prizes For Reviews of MANLY Books For Boys!

Greetings from the very busy CARLMAN! I've spent the last two weeks learning the ins and outs of the Myers Park branch library and haven't had a lot of time for blogging. That's why today's post deals with an old news story.

In June there was a poll to see see which city was the MANLIEST city in America and guess what?? CHARLOTTE made the #1 spot!! Woo hoo!! You can't see my now, but I'm beating my chest and giving a big Tarzan yell. The poll used a lot of criteria, like the number of pickup trucks and closeness to MANLY sports like football and NASCAR to determine the manliness of cities but they didn't mention this blog. It was obviously just an oversight. After all, how many blogs out there are devoted to books for MANLY MEN like us? And how many of them are in Charlotte, North Carolina, the officially-recognized Manliest City in America?

So that got me to thinking--what are the MANLIEST books for boys? My MANLY brain couldof course, think of dozens, but I decided to narrow it down to eight. Here you go:
The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan. Percy Jackson jumps on a minotaur's back and kills it with its own horn! And later he has a one-on-one sword fight with the god of war. How much more macho can you get than that?

The Last River: Major John Powell and the Colorado River Exploring Expedition by Stuart Waldman. Major Powell lost his right arm in the Civil War but didn't let that put him on the sidelines of life. In 1869, he became the first person to lead a team down the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon, an area so wild that the naitve people wouldn't take their canoes into it. An incredible feat! And a fantastic book.

Black Whiteness: Admiral Byrd Alone in the Antarctic by Robert Burleigh. Another incredible feat of endurance and survival. In the the 1930's, Admiral Byrd attempted to live by himself in the coldest palce on earth. Did he make it? You'll have to read to find out! But what a story!

Hatchet by Gary Paulsen. A ficitional survival story and probably the best. Brian crash lands in the Canadian wilderness and has to survive all alone with nothing to help but a hatchet. And winter will be there soon. A terrific book!

The Adventurous Deeds of Deadwood Jones by Helen Hemphill. Two African-American boys, Prometheus Jones and his cousin Omer, have to flee Tennessee after the Civil War when some racist creeps cause trouble. They go to Texas, where Prometheus looks for his father. They join a cattle drive to make money and have to face wild raging rivers, a possible Indian attack, and all the other dangers of the Old West. Truly MANLY adventures and a rip-snorting good read!

How to Eat Fried Worms by Thomas Rockwell. One boy bets another $50 that he can't eat 15 worms in 15 days. Could you do it?? Hmmm?? Are you MANLY enough? This is a really funny book guaranteed to make you laugh out loud.

Call It Courage by Armstrong Sperry. Mafatu is the son of a chief of a South Sea island but he's also afraid of the ocean. Which is a bad thing for the son of a chief. When the taunting gets bad enough, he slips out one night, steals a canoe, and sails off to see if he can survivie. Along the way he fights a hmmerhead shark and tries to escape from cannibals! I had to read it all at one time because I couldn't tear myself away from this action-packed story.

Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson. Pirates. More pirates. Buried treasure. And young Jim Hawkins is caught up in the middle of it. At one point, a pirate climbs up the rigging with a knife in his teeth after Jim. The boy points two pistols at the pirate and says, "one more step and I'll blow your brains out." Does he do it?? Oh, man, you won't know if you don't read! But you'll be sure to thrill to one of the most exciting pirate books ever written.

So what do YOU think? Can you think of any other books that should go on this list? If you can, hit that "Comment" tab and tell us!

And to give you incentive, any boy who sends us a reivew of a MANLY book for boys can come to the Myers Park library and claim a prize out of our ultra-cool giveaway box! We have t-shirts, free books, reading journals, and other great stuff. Can't get to the Myers Park library? Call me at 704-416-5800 and I'll find a way to get it to you. (same thing if you live outside of Charlotte) Here is just a smaple of the things we have to give away.

All right, men, send those reviews and claim those prizes!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Check Out the Books Every Guy Should Read

The CARLMAN has been a very busy guybrarian lately so I haven't posted much but wanted to pass something on. Yes, there is a new blog in town devoted to guy read reading and it stars three faces you might recognize. It's called Boys Rock, Boys Read! and there's a post you ought to check out called Books Every Guy Should Read. Take a look! Especially if you're looking for some good reading over the summer. And if you can think of any other books to add to that list, send them a comment.
Later, guys!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

The Red Pyramid... another winner from the mind of the great Rick Riordan. How does he do it??!! First he comes up with the Percy Jackson books and now this one. Well, I don't know how he keeps thinking up all these terrific books but I hope he never stops!

If you've been hiding under a large rock this last year, let me fill you in. The Percy Jackson books are based on Greek mythology and the Kane Chronicles (The Red Pyramid is the first book in that series) are from Egyptian mythology. In The Red Pyramid, the main characters are Carter and Sadie Kane. Their father is a famous Egyptologist but Carter and Sadie were separated when their mother died, so Carter travels around the world with his father while Sadie lives in London with her grandparents. When their father brings Carter with him to London for the annual Christmas visit, they notice he's acting strangely. He insists on taking them to the British Museum to see the Rosetta Stone but ends up chanting a spell that releases Set, the god of chaos. Set imprisons their father in a sarcophagus and then...well, you'll just to read to find out the rest, won't you? But let me tell you, it'll be one wild ride! There is slam-bang action, magic, killer villains, mysteries, characters with hidden agendas, secrets that come out slowly, and LOTS of humor. In other words, everything you expect form a Rick Riordan book! Plus, there are lots of things that blow up--a sure sign of a great guy book! Really, though, if you like adventure, thrills and laughs, this is the book for you!

BTW, here are a few extra thoughts:

There's a Kane Chronicles website. Check it out here.

Something to think about--some of the ancient Egyptian deities were just plain weird. Some were grotesque and may creep some guys out. Some of the bad guys' magic can be rather dark. If that sort of stuff bothers you (and it does bother some reader guys), keep this in mind when you get it.

Rick Riordan still comes up the best chapter titles anywhere. Some examples:

"I Drop a Little Man on His Head"

"I Face the Killer Turkey"

"When Fruit Bats Go Bad"

"I Have a Date with the God of Toilet Paper"

"Men Ask for Directions (and Other Signs of the Apocalypse)"

If these don't make you laugh, then you can't laugh!

Friday, July 9, 2010

New Books Worth Getting Excited About!

Hey, hey, reader guys, I'm sorry that I haven't posted anything lately but the CARLMAN has been as busy as buys as a single X-wing fighter taking on the Imperial fleet! It's been a big learning curve, but I'm settling into the Myers Park branch library and enjoying it very much. I've already talked to three or four boys about the blog and hope to have some new reviews from them one day. In the meantime, let me fill you in on some books coming out this summer and a couple that we'll see later this year.

The first is Erec Rex: The Three Furies by Kaza Kingsley. I am a HUGE Erec Rex fan and am almost counting the days, if not the hours, until this one gets here! No one does fantasy,excitement,and imagination like the great Kaza Kingsley. This one is scheduled for release on August 10. The library takes longer to get books out, but I've got my copy reserved already! Take a look at the "Links" section on the left-hand side of the page to read what we've said about Erec Rex.

The next book I'm waiting for with mucho impatience is Into the Gauntlet by Margaret Peterson Haddix. It's the final book in the absolutely fan-tastic 39 Clues series. This series has provided me with more hours of fun than I can count. Not only are the books incredible, but the website is a blast,with games galore and lots of inside Cahill information.

Then, on October 5, the second Brixton Brothers book comes out. The first one made a BIG imporession on me (click here to see my review and here to see an interview with the author) and to think that I can read another one this year is almost too good to be true. Action,mystery,comedy--it's got it all. Don't miss this one!

And finally, this may be the biggest news yet. Rick Riordan's new series starts this fall! It's called The Lost Heroes and continues the adventures of the demigods of Camp Half Blood. Percy Jackson will make an appearance,never, fear, though I think this will bemore about the next generatiuon of campers. Rick Riordan writes nothing but winners, so I'm getting thrilled already,even if it doesn't come out until October 12. You can find out more here.

OK, reader guys, keep those pages turning!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Cowboy CARLMAN Moves to a New Ranch--I Mean, Branch

Well, hey there, all you readin' and ropin' cowpokes. This here's Cowboy CARLMAN with an announcement fer you:

That's right, pardners, I'm moving to the MYERS PARK BRANCH of the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library system. With all the changes going on, they needed to move some cowboys and cowgirls around to different places. I was lucky enough to get sent to Myers Park branch in the old historic Myers Park area. It's a friendly little neighborhood library where all the patrons and librarians get to know each other, so I'll be really glad to be there. My first day will be next Tuesday, July 6. Come on over and say, "HOWDY!"