30 Dec
2011

The Giver by Lois Lowry

*Marlie's Pick*

The Giver is a remarkable and memorable sci-fi story about a boy named Jonas. Jonas lives in a seemingly utopian society, there is no poverty, no sickness, no war, no bad memories and everyone is equal and alike. (Very reminiscent of 1984 and Brave New World). ‘The elders’ choose Jonas for a very important task within the community -- he will study under the oldest man in the village and become the keeper of all memories. As he accumulates more memories, he longs to feel real emotion, to be stimulated and inspired, and to be different than everyone else. The Giver is a beautiful, touching and compassionate tale of finding one’s self both emotionally and spiritually. It’s about fitting in while still finding a way to stand out. (…Junior High anyone!?) I read this book years ago as a school assignment and have found myself rereading it almost every year since. (…and yes, I still cry every time).

30 Dec
2011

203 Ways to Drive a Man Wild in Bed by Olivia St. Claire

*Jessi's Pick*

Okay, I know what you’re going to say…”a sex book? Are you kidding me?” Sex is a constant in our lives, so why not have fun with it? This book offers some great tips for the open minded. You can read it straight thru cover to cover or just dip into it every now and then. Whether you’re a novice or a pro, this book has something for everyone.

30 Dec
2011

Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbit

*Kristen's Pick!*

Why don’t people read this book anymore? Natalie Babbit’s books were hot commodities when I was a girl, with Tuck Everlasting topping the list (I would also recommend The Search for Delicious, and The Devil’s Storybook, although I think it’s out of print). This book has so much to say about different kinds of love, and why what you want isn’t always the best choice. Along with Bridge to Terabithia, this book taught me empathy and that it’s ok to feel sad sometimes.

30 Dec
2011

The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster

*Blair's Pick*

This book, for better or worse, is responsible for my entire college career. This is one of those books that I read when I was young and revisited it when I was older and has become one of the five books, along with my cat, that I would rescue from a fire. My love of language began here and is still with me. It is with young Milo that I learned how wonderful and strange language can be, which led me to pursue poetry, philosophy and linguistics in college. In Dictionopolis I learned that letters taste different. I learned that Conclusions is an island that can only be reached by jumping. I learned that war is what happens when rhyme and reason are nowhere to be found. I learned that meaning in language is never exhausted, but always open to new and imaginative possibilities.

30 Dec
2011

A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius by Dave Eggers

*Andy & Blair's Pick*

I can’t even begin to say how awesome this book is. Eggers plays with the reader from the start by sneaking into the copyright page and adding funny snippets to it-a very post modern move-to always remind the reader not to take the thing in their hand for granted. Eggers broke new ground with this book; it hovers in free space between several poles- truth and fiction, youth and adulthood, popular and underground cultures; they all flow through this story of Eggers’ move to California with his younger brother following the deaths of their parents-31 days apart from each other. Moments like this are the heartbreaking side of this book, and the staggering genius comes in when he describes such heartbreak with his unique postmodern mix of humor and irony.  He was a candidate for the first MTV Real World, and the transcript of the interview is included. I mean c’mon. That’s pretty neato.:)

30 Dec
2011

A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle

*Henry's Pick*

This book threw a bomb into everything I knew when I was young. At that time I only knew how to wrap my head around my backyard, and this book gave me the entire universe. It was my introduction to infinity. No longer was it just something I drew in the margins of my homework. A Wrinkle in Time made infinity as tangible as I think it will ever be for me, folding it into something that I could fit in my pocket. Even after delving into the world of theoretic physics and theories about multiple dimensions, the ideas in this book still hold. However, I think the greatest lesson in this book dealt with the opposite of infinity, which to me is fate. A mysterious character named Mrs. Whatsit compares fate to a sonnet. A sonnet has a strict form. There are 14 lines, all in iambic pentameter, but within these lines you can write whatever you want. I think this is as hopeful an outlook on fate you will ever find in print.

30 Dec
2011

The Art of Modern Rock by Paul Grushkin & Dennis King

*Jessi's Pick*

Being an artist, how could I pass up an opportunity to review this book? Also being a complete music geek on top of that…well forget it! Obviously, I recommend this book, both from an artist’s standpoint and a lover of rock n roll. It’s interesting to see the progression of poster art, the details and complexity can be quite amazing. Even simplicity itself can be wonderous if used in the right context. You may even catch me flipping the pages on a slow day (shh…don’t tell my boss!).

30 Dec
2011

I Love You, Beth Cooper by Larry Doyle

*KRISTEN’S PICK*

The day I got this book I was meeting my husband for dinner, and (as usual) he was late. Which was okay, for once, as I got to start reading at the bar. My husband paid the price for being late, there was no loving chit chat at dinner, but a lot of “shushing” from me, along with assorted remarks like “I am trying to read”, and “where’s your book” (I love the guy, don’t get me wrong). When we got home, I stayed up reading until the end and I bet you will too. Larry Doyle (an ex Simpson’s writer) has crafted an uproarious love letter to geeks everywhere. With a definite Simpson’s flair, (and I mean that in the best of ways - I’m a huge fan!) right down to the obligatory “Millhouse” of a best friend (read gay) who also, no matter what the situation, cannot stop spouting movie quotes, including their directors. Who doesn’t have a friend like this? I have two (you know who you are). I can’t imagine anyone not liking this book!