Let’s Talk About Dust Jackets

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about books and how I treat them as I read them.

If I am reading a hardcover I remove the dust jacket to read the book. If I have the option I do not buy books with damaged dust jackets. I want my book to look pristine. I check under the dust jacket to see what publishers did to the front and back boards as well as the spine.

(I also do not dogear pages. I don’t even crack the spines for paperbacks. If I am reading a paperback/arc it usually goes into a plastic bag before it goes into my purse.)

That said, the hardcover usually gets tossed into my bag and sometimes gets smudges or discoloration on it (Loop it turns out is a white book and now has a grey blotch on the back cover). If the book is black or another dark color I usually end up with stained fingers.

Recently it occurred to me that some people actually use the dust jacket to protect the book or leave it on when they are reading. If I receive a copy that’s already a little worse for wear, that’s okay. I’ll keep it. If it’s special to me I won’t “upgrade” to a new one (see my mismatched copy of Megan Whalen Turner books comprised of discared library copies and a used arc).

But if I get a book in new condition I want it to stay that way. Especially the dust jacket.

What about you? Do you read with the jacket on or off? Do you treat your books carefully? How do you carry books in your bag? (This last one is especially of interest to me as I feel like there has to be a better way than my totally busted used shopping bag strategy.)

Let’s talk about it in the comments!

Let’s Talk About: Reading Habits (Especially with Series!)

A few weeks ago two of my coworkers who I am going to call “Forrest” and “Thor” (because this is my blog and I do what I want) were talking about reading different science fiction series. Forrest was surprised that Thor hadn’t read Douglas Adams’ Hitchhiker books because they are totally his speed.

I joined the conversation late and seconded Forrest’s assessment. That’s when something interesting happened that got me thinking. Forrest asked if I had read the series. I said I had read the first one and never gotten invested enough to continue the series. Forrest expressed no surprise at that and said something along the lines of “You read everything.”

Anyway, that got me thinking more generally about reading habits.

I read widely. Not always in a variety of genres (I don’t enjoy thrillers and I don’t enjoy pure romances–such is life) but I do try to cover a variety of authors. If you check my review index by author you can see pretty quickly that a lot of the authors only have one or two book by their names.

What does that mean exactly?

Aside from reading widely, I tend to be pretty ruthless. I walk away from books I am not enjoying by the 50-100 page mark. I walk away from authors after three unsatisfying books by them. I cut books from my to read list constantly. I do not finish every series I start.

That last one and the thoughts from my coworker are what really got me thinking. I’ve seen a lot of people say that they are “bad” series readers. Many new years resolutions among bloggers have included plans to finish more series (serieses?).

I never feel remorse about leaving a series. Sometimes I will feel regret and wish that the series had continued to enthrall me, but most times I am okay considering the first book a standalone. In fact, if the first book does not function as a standalone that is an immediate strike against it because I do not like being manipulated or teased by my books.

So what is the difference that pushes a series into that “must finish” category? I’m much more likely to read a series I started from the beginning (ie a series I follow the pub schedule with). Loving the first book is also an obvious factor.

Beyond that I’m not sure what makes the difference. I know I am less likely to start a series if I know it’s going to be more than 4 books. There are exceptions but not often. I also generally read more fantasy series than I do contemporary.

(This also doesn’t address the marketing machine aspect of supporting books by buying a series of course but if you want to talk about that too, go for it.)

So let’s talk:

  • What kind of series reader are you?
  • What are some factors that guarantee you will finish a series?
  • What are some book series that you read and loved or are currently working on?

How to: Reader’s Advisory

(This post has been adapted from a handout I made for a presentation on Reader’s Advisory that I gave with a fellow YA Librarian at my place of employ on October 22, 2014 at a YA Specialist’s meeting. While you are welcome to reference and use the ideas and resources listed here, please do not quote or otherwise use this text without credit/linking back to this blog. I have also made this post into a page for easy locating.)


What is Reader’s Advisory?

  • Reader’s Advisory is the “art” of Library Science where librarians talk with patrons to determine the best reading recommendations possible—like a reference interview where there is no specific question or right answer.

Before You Start: Things to Consider

  • Know Your Collection: What books are generally in stock at your branch? What is always checked out? What books can you recall without being near the teen space? Which ones require shelf browsing?
    Remember: You don’t need to know the entire collection for effective RA interactions.
  • Know Your Strengths: What genres do you read or have wide experience with? Which authors can you talk about confidently? Is there one section in particular from which you often recommend?
    Remember: You don’t have to read every book to recommend it but it is a good idea to have a few in your wheelhouse outside of your default reading choices.
  • Know What Else is Out There: Where can you go to find other books outside of your chosen reading areas? Who can you trust for read-alike suggestions?
    Remember: You don’t have to know everything. You just need to know how to find it. The Resources section on the back of this handout offers several ideas about where to look for information.
  • Know Your Space: Where do teens congregate in your library? What books have strong browsing appeal? Set up displays and fliers in high traffic/visibility areas where teens can find them. Keep displays fresh and interesting by changing them regularly.
    Remember: Not everyone wants to talk to a librarian when they come into the library. Displays or fliers are a great way to suggest titles without requiring one-on-one interaction.

Reader’s Advisory in Six Easy Questions

It is very rare for teen patrons to talk about books in terms of genre preferences or literary terms. Instead, it is sometimes easier to try and set up RA conversations in terms of binaries as posed in these easy questions.

  1. How do you feel about books set in a realistic setting or with plots that could happen in real life?
  2. How do you feel about fantasy books? Is a little fantasy okay?
  3. Do you like books with a romantic aspect?
  4. How do you feel about books with historical settings?
  5. How do you feel about mysteries?
  6. Have you read X books?—Couch this in terms of what’s popular now whether it’s If I Stay, Divergent or something else. (Asking in terms of The Hunger Games or Divergent is especially helpful to gauge the level of gore or violence that younger teens are comfortable with.)

Reader’s Advisory Resources

  • The Age of YA: A Timeline of Historical Fiction: http://www.epicreads.com/blog/the-age-of-ya-a-timeline-of-historical-fiction This site is a great list (in infographic timeline form of historical fiction by decade and period.
  • Blogs: Provided you can find bloggers you trust who are consistent in posting, blogs can be a great resource to stay on top of new and current titles. School Library Journal’s blogs are a great combination of professional library evaluation and conversational analysis. (Of course, I’m a fan of my own blog but the key here is really finding bloggers you can understand and trust whether that means you know that you generally agree with their tastes or even if it means that you disagree.)
  • Cozy Mysteries List: http://www.cozy-mystery.com/Cozy-Mysteries-by-Themes.html If you are looking for cozy mysteries, this site has them parsed out by author, theme and even new releases.
  • Cybils: http://www.cybils.com The Cybils Awards recognize children’s and YA authors/illustrators whose books combine literary merit and popular appeal. The award has two rounds which offers a shortlist and then an actual winner in a variety of categories for all ages (and even for book apps). This award is also judged and organized by bloggers so if you want to find some quality blogs, the participants here are always a good start!
  • Disability in Kid Lit: https://disabilityinkidlit.wordpress.com “Thoughtful portrayals of disability require more than memorizing a list of symptoms; we hope that sharing people’s day-to-day experiences, pet peeves, and thoughts on various disability-related topics will help readers and writers learn about the realities of disability, which are often quite different from what you read in books or see on TV.”
  • Diversity in YA: http://diversityinya.tumblr.com Created by authors Malinda Lo and Cindy Pon, this site posts guest posts from authors about their books and writing process to “celebrate young adult books about all kinds of diversity, from race to sexual orientation to gender identity and disability”.
  • Edgar Awards: http://www.theedgars.com/nominees.html The Edgar Awards are given to the best mysteries in a variety of categories including Children’s, Young Adult, Best First Novel and more. In addition to a winner, the Edgars also include a shortlist of nominees. It’s a great way to stay on top of what’s new and worth notice in the mystery world.
  • Fantastic Fiction: http://www.fantasticfiction.co.uk This site is a great one-stop shop to check out all of the books an author has written (including new titles) as well as seeing which series they have written and their order.
  • Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/ This is another great way to find read-alikes and know if a book is worth recommending before you read it (especially if you add a lot of other librarians as your friends!).
  • KDL’s What’s Next Database: http://ww2.kdl.org/libcat/whatsnext.asp A one-stop shop to find series order for a variety of titles.
  • Lost Titles, Forgotten Rhymes: http://www.loc.gov/rr/program/bib/lost/novels.html This site offers some helpful information on how to go about tracking down a novel (or other written works) when you do not know the title or author.
  • Nebula Awards: http://www.sfwa.org/nebula-awards The Nebulas are an award given for science fiction and fantasy and are a great way to keep up with what is new and noteworthy for speculative fiction in a variety of categories including Young Adult and Best Short Story among others.
  • Review Resources: Review journals like Kirkus, Publisher’s Weekly or School Library Journal give detailed book summaries as well as a rundown of what does and doesn’t work in a title. If you don’t subscribe to all of those or want to look at every site, another trick is to search for a book on BarnesandNoble.com or Amazon.com and then check out the editorial reviews section where all of the reviews will be compiled in one handy spot for each book.
  • Sci-Fi Vs. Fantasy Flow Chart: http://static02.mediaite.com/themarysue/uploads//2011/09/Optimized-SFSignalNPR100Flowchart-1-1.jpg This chart was made by Sci-fi Signal to navigate NPR’s Top 100 Science Fiction and Fantasy books and serves as a great primer for the different sub-genres found in both sci-fi and fantasy.
  • We Need Diverse Books: http://weneeddiversebooks.tumblr.com/ This site is the official home of the We Need Diverse Books movement that started as a hashtag. A great place to look for titles that are both diverse and often lesser-known.
  • What’s That Book?: http://www.whatsthatbook.com/ An online community where members help each other find forgotten book titles.
  • Which Book: http://www.openingthebook.com/whichbook/ This search site offers sliders that allows you to find books based on content (happy or sad? Beautiful or disgusting?) as well as options to search based on setting (including imaginary) as well as on character attributes (race, age, sexuality, gender).
  • YALSA Book Lists: http://www.ala.org/yalsa/bookawards/booklists/members If you are looking for a book in a specific category or demographic, chances are the Young Adult Library Services Association has either an award list or annual book list that can help ranging from the Alex Award for adult books with teen appeal to Popular Paperbacks for Young Adults which offers thematic lists each year.

Is there a resource you use that is not listed here? Let me know in the comments!

Afterworlds: A Chick Lit Wednesday Review

Afterworlds by Scott WesterfeldDarcy Patel has put everything on hold to be a writer. A real, published writer. She moves to New York City with a contract to publish her novel “Afterworlds” and its as yet unwritten and untitled sequel, part of her advance, and the dazzling title of soon-to-be debut author.

Darcy does not have plans for college. She does not have an apartment. She does not have any idea what happens next.

But somehow, in the world of writers–both seasoned and new–Darcy finds her people. Over the course of one tumultuous year in the city Darcy will learn about writing, publishing and even love. More than anything, she’ll learn if she has what it takes to really do this thing that she loves so much.

Interspersed with Darcy’s story is the story that brought her to New York in the first place: Afterworlds. After surviving an unthinkable attack, Lizzie realizes she has the ability to slip into the afterworld–somewhere that exists between life and death. With her new ability, Lizzie discovers that ghosts are everywhere as are other, darker things. Everyone seems to want something from Lizzie but even her new gifts might not be enough to keep those she loves safe.

Darcy and Lizzie’s worlds blend together in this story about facing your fears and finding yourself in Afterworlds (2014) by Scott Westerfeld.

Find it on Bookshop.

The first thing to know about Afterworlds is that it reads like two books. Odd numbered chapters focus on Darcy’s “real world” story of moving to New York and revising Afterworlds. Even numbered chapters detail the “story within the story” of Lizzie and her journey into the afterworld. While this book clocks in at over 600 pages (hardcover) really it’s two stories–two books even–in one both told to excellent effect.

In addition this book features a truly diverse cast in a casual/accepted way. While it’s important to the story, the diversity never becomes the story.

The premise sounds too lofty. It sounds highly un-writerly. A novel about writing a novel? With the full text of that self-same novel? Surely it can’t work. Yet Westerfeld pulls it off beautifully. Although the story is highly self-aware (and often very meta), every detail works here. Darcy’s new experiences feed into her revisions of Afterworlds. Her growth as a young woman and author mirrors Lizzie’s growth. Both girls, in their respective arcs, accomplish great things.

While not for everyone, Afterworlds is astonishingly successful on every level. Sure to have high appeal for all aspiring authors or sci-fi/fantasy fans. Highly recommended.

Possible Pairings: The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi, Graffiti Moon by Cath Crowley, The Lost by Sarah Beth Durst, The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde, The Strange Maid by Tessa Gratton, Guardian of the Dead by Karen Healey, The Truth Commission by Susan Juby, Undercover by Beth Kephart, Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell, The Archived by Victoria Schwab, Or What You Will by Jo Walton, Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia, The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

*This book was acquired for review consideration from the publisher at BEA14*

Let’s talk about book baggage (figurative not literal)

I’ve been thinking about books I didn’t enjoy. In particular two books I read last winter come to mind. (And I’m going to have spoilers below so if you see the book title and know you want to read it just skip the next paragraph.)

One book I know I didn’t enjoy because of personal hangups. Golden by Jessi Kirby is about a lot of things but the thing that felt most weighty to me was the fact that the main character was applying for a huge full-ride scholarship to a very expensive college. And she proceeded to sabotage herself at every turn up to and including the moment when she walks out of the big scholarship speech competition. At which point I was done with the book. I have no patience for certain things in books (one is reckless driving) and I was furious watching the heroine throw away this opportunity. Now, other people loved this book. And that’s fine. But as someone who struggled and worked really hard to get scholarships for college and grad school, I just couldn’t identify with the main character here at all.

The other book was Wither by Lauren DeStefano. I actually really enjoyed this book. But I read a good chunk of it while my mother was having her brain surgery for twelve hours last year. I finished the book after the surgery while I was commuting to and from the hospital and work. But every time I think about it now I get a horrible feeling which I recently realized stems from bad associations that have nothing to do with the book. I liked the book as much as I could in those circumstances. And I like the author. But I’ve been hesitant to continue the series because I don’t really want to go to that emotional place again.

Which brings me to the crux of this discussion post (which I’m calling Let’s Talk): How do you separate your own personal baggage from a book? Or is it something that does have to be separated? Do you think these kind of hang ups have to be disclosed or is the subjective nature of book recommending and reviewing implied?

Let’s talk about it in the comments.

What to read after or instead of: The Fault in Our Stars

Even if you have never read a YA book in your life, you have probably heard about The Fault in Our Stars by John Green (TFIOS for short). Whether you have seen the movie, are number 594 in the hold queue, or just want more tear-jerking reads, these books should have you covered (spoiler: bring some tisssues!):

If you want more books about sick characters who transcend their illness (and maybe some tears):


  • Zac & Mia by A. J. Betts: Zac and Mia meet at the hospital. They would never be friends friends in the real world. But different rules apply in hospital.
  • Before I Die by Jenny Downham: Tessa knows she is dying. Instead of waiting to disappear without a trace, Tessa decides to complete her “before I die” list in the precious weeks she has left.
  • Cures for Heartbreak by Margo Rabb: After her mother’s sudden death, Mia isn’t sure how to go on. Or even if she wants to.
  • Somebody Up There Hates You by Hollis Seamon: Richard and Sylvie are the youngest people in the hospice. While everyone else tries to define them by their sickness or their treatments, Richard and Sylvie want to use the time they have left to live on their own terms.
  • Catch & Release by Blythe Woolston: Polly and Odd barely knew each other before they became the only survivors of a MRSA outbreak in their town. Dealing with the aftermath of the outbreak and the mental and physical scars they now carry, both Polly and Odd have to figure out who they are now that they’re supposedly recovered.

If you want to cry but in an achingly beautiful sort of way:


  • The Vanishing Season by Jodi Lynn Anderson: A ghost is tethered to the house on Water Street. She can see the danger circling. But even the ghost isn’t sure why she is still here watching the season unfold to its final, disastrous conclusion
  • Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher: Hannah Baker killed herself a few weeks ago. Clay Jensen has no idea why until he receives a package of tapes in the mail detailing the thirteen reasons that led to Hannah’s suicide.
  • We Were Liars by E. Lockhart: A wealthy, respected family. Summers on a private island. Four friends, the Liars, who have the world at their fingertips. Until one accident–one mystery–changes all that and nothing can ever be the same
  • Me and Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews: Greg is a master at blending in with his best friend Earl until his parents force him to rekindle his childhood friendship with neighbor Rachel who is dying of leukemia. When Rachel stops treatment, the obvious thing to do is make a film for her.
  • Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein: A plane has crashed in Nazi-occupied France. The passenger and the pilot are best friends. One girl might be able to save herself while the other never stood a chance.

If you want a book that’s all about grieving:


  • If I Stay by Gayle Forman: Before the accident Mia had a lot of decisions to make about her future. Should she follow her first love–music–to Juilliard in New York? Should she stay on the West Coast to be with her boyfriend? But after the accident, Mia only has one choice. Should she stay?
  • Falling Through Darkness by Carolyn MacCullough: There was a crash. Something everyone else is calling an accident. Aidan is gone. But Ginny is left behind to piece together the shattered moments of her life with, and now without, him.
  • A Map of the Known World by Lisa Ann Sandell: Cora’s life fell apart with a sudden crash. The Bradley family had been falling apart for some time, but when Cora’s older brother Nate dies in a car crash, everything is irreparably and irrevocably broken.
  • The Edge of Falling by Rebecca A. Serle: Caggie should have everything she could want growing up as part of New York City society. She had everything until she lost the most important thing. Nothing seems to matter quite so much now that her younger sister is dead. Drowned.
  • In the Shadow of Blackbirds by Cat Winters: In 1918 the world is falling apart as the Spanish influenza runs rampant and the government sends young men to war. Mary Shelley Black watches others flock to seances and spirit photographers for comfort. Then her own boyfriend, dead in battle, appears to her as a spirit.

If you want a book with transformative friendships:


  • And We Stay by Jenny Hubbard: Vacillating between guilt and anger, Emily Beam is sent to an all girls boarding school in Amherst, Massachusetts in the aftermath of her boyfriend’s death. Surrounded by history from Emily Dickinson’s life, Emily delves into poetry and her new life hoping to escape.
  • The Tragedy Paper by Elizabeth Laban: When Tim finishes school he leaves behind a stack of CDs for Duncah. The CDs chronicle his own downfall and explain Duncan’s actual or perceived role in the final moments. Tim hopes Duncan can appreciate the rarity of this treasure and its ultimate value not just as an explanation but as the substance of Duncan’s own tragedy paper.
  • Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta: Taylor Markham is used to having no one. But when the only person she can trust disappears Taylor discovers there is more to her own past, and the relationships she has with the other students at her school, as she becomes enmeshed in the annual territory wars between her school, the townies and a neighboring academy.
  • Fracture by Megan Miranda: Delaney was pulled out of the water by her best friend Decker after eleven minutes. That’s long enough to die. Long enough to change everything.
  • The Beginning of Everything by Robyn Schneider: During a year spent redefining himself in the wake of his own tragedy, Ezra has to decide what it means when some people can’t–or won’t–move past their personal tragedy .

If you want another story about a character falling in love with a grenade:


  • The Impossible Knife of Memory by Laurie Halse Anderson: Hayley and her father Andy have been on the road for the past five years. Sometimes riding in Andy’s rig. Sometimes laying low while Andy tries to hold down a job and Hayley does her version of homeschooling. But then everything stopped and Hayley has been moved back into a life she doesn’t want in a childhood home she refuses to remember.
  • Salt & Storm by Kendall Kulper: You can beat a Roe Witch within an inch of her life, you can sicken her with strange magic and scar her, but you cannot kill a Roe Witch. If Avery Roe can unlock her magic in time with the help of a mysterious harpoon boy named Tane, she might be able to change her fate before she is murdered.
  • The Astonishing Adventures of Fanboy and Goth Girl by Barry Lyga: Fanboy knows exactly what he wants and he has a plan: a secret scheme that will get him out of his lame little town and prove his worth to everyone once and for all. When the mysterious and angry Goth Girl bursts into his life, he might even have an accomplice.
  • Damaged by Amy Reed: Kinsey Cole knows people can only bear so much bad fortune. That’s why everyone knows Kinsey’s best friend Camille died in a car accident when Kinsey was driving. It’s also why Kinsey hasn’t cried since the accident and is trying to avoid Camille’s boyfriend, Hunter, all while quietly falling apart.
  • Unspoken by Sarah Rees Brennan: Every town in England has a story and Kami Glass thinks she knows hers. All of that changes when the Lynburns come back to Sorry-in-the-Vale. Their return brings many questions, as well as something more sinister, forcing Kami to question everything she thought she knew about her town, her friends, and even herself.

In which I have thoughts about steampunk as a genre.

I love Steampunk. There is something very appealing about the steampunk aesthetic that combines modern technology with very Victorian sensibilities. I like that the books have a historical feel without quite being historical but also fantasy elements without quite being that either.

You can browse my “steampunk” tag to see all of the related reviews and posts (there are some book lists and Linktastic! posts as well). Yesterday I reviewed Etiquette & Espionage which is my most recent steampunk read.

Keeping in mind my deep and abiding love for the genre in general and the Leviathan series in particular, I’ve noticed something.

Steampunk books usually involve an English setting and in order to get in the right head-space, the narrative also involves a certain tone–you know, an English/Victorian tone. (It sounds made up but, trust me, if you read enough steampunk books you will see it.)

The problem I’ve noticed is that in adoption that tone and talking about those things that are inherent to steampunk (the clothes, the manners, the steam-powered inventions) it feels like a lot of steampunk books also become somehow flippant. Not that the writing is low quality or that anything about the book is cut-rate. It just feels, sometimes, like because the book is genre fiction (sub-genre fiction really since steampunk is so specific) that it isn’t allowed to take itself seriously. Instead of a deadpan (as it were) presentation of events we get a tongue-in-cheek kind of story.

Then I consider the fact that I didn’t notice that flippancy in Leviathan or its sequels. Which brings to mind other gender issues. Does Leviathan come across as more serious because it’s written by a male author? Does it come off that way because of a male protagonist? Does the focus on a military airship necessarily preclude elements that might create a flippant tone in other novels?

I don’t really have any answers here but it’s just something I noticed and wanted to talk about.

Do you ever think books don’t have permission to take themselves seriously? Does it matter? Is this all in my head?

Let’s talk it out in the comments!

Is all of this just in my head?

Synchronized Reading Roundup: Imaginary Girls by Nova Ren Suma

Synchronized Readings are a semi-regular feature The Book Bandit and I will be running together every few months.

This month Nicole and I read Imaginary Girls by Nova Ren Suma.

Here’s a rundown of all the posts I wrote up for the Synchronized Reading:

You can also head over to Nicole’s blog to see her posts:

I’m also giving away a copy of Imaginary Girls. Details here!


Imaginary Girls Synchronized Reading Post #1: Local Legends

Synchronized Readings are a semi-regular feature The Book Bandit and I will be running together every few months.

Our current Synchronized Reading is Imaginary Girls by Nova Ren Suma.

Since the mythical town of Olive plays such a big role in Imaginary Girls, we decided a fun post for this Synchronized Reading would be one on local legends.

Now, you would think I would have a lot since New York City is filled with cool and historically significant places.

What I do have instead of a pile of urban legends, are building that I am constantly drawn to.

One of them is my local library: Jefferson Market. This branch is where my library career started when I was in high school. It’s where I got my first library card. It’s where I spent many a summer day picking up books for me and (mystery) books for my mom.

I also have some fun facts about this building including that, contrary to popular belief, the building was never a church. Instead it was a courthouse where Mae West infamously appeared during the “lady on the swing” court case. The garden next to the library used to be a women’s house of detention as featured in David Duchovny’s film “House of D.”

There aren’t a lot of rumors about the library being haunted. But with that kind of energy, you do wonder. In a fit of peer induced hysteria myself and two fellow pages managed to convince ourselves that we saw a ghost or some kind of unnatural presences in the reference room in the basement. Now, years later, I’m comfortable saying that probably wasn’t true. But I also still don’t like being in the references room. So you can draw your own conclusions.

The other building that I refer more than any other is the Flatiron Building. It is my mom’s favorite building (possibly mine as well although I also quite like the Chrysler Building). It is probably the building I photograph most when I am wandering the city.

The building has a unique shape (reminiscent of an old-time flatiron) thanks in part to the nature of real estate in New York City. It was one of the city’s first skyscrapers and even created a wind tunnel when it was first built.

As far as I know there aren’t any ghosts in residences but with so many occupants coming and going, who can really say?

Speaking of spooky stories in libraries, I recently learned that my new place of employ, Brooklyn’s Central Library, has a local legend of its own. (True story, this was the second thing I learned on my first day at the new job. It’s that important!)

Let me direct you now to the story of Agatha Cunningham who disappeared on her school’s trip to the library in 1977: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CSO946WWjSY

You may be thinking, surely this can’t be real. And, being the age of the Internet, you might find articles online debunking this story. Then again, you might also find people disputing the reality of the tree octopus.

I’ll leave you all to draw your own conclusions (as long as that conclusion is that Brooklyn Public Library did not in fact lose a child in the lower decks and instead helped some very talented teens make a documentary about it).

Synchronized Reading: Imaginary Girls

Synchronized Reading is back! This time Nicole and I will be reading Imaginary Girls by Nova Ren Suma.

Be sure to check here this week and also check out Nicole’s blog to get the full reading picture! I’ll also be running an interview with Nova. And you might want to check her blog out since this week also marked the third anniversary of the publication of Imaginary Girls.

I can’t remember everyone on the panel, but I saw Nova talking about Imaginary Girls shortly after its release at Books of Wonder during one of the first book events I attended (with Nicole obvs) so it feels a bit like coming full circle to be talking about the book here.

As is tradition now I also had a manicure to match the cover:

imaginary girls nails

In summary: Nicole and I will be reading Imaginary Girls by Nova Ren Suma together. We will be blogging about it. It will be awesome. You, too, can read Imaginary Girls by Nova Ren Suma as it is now out in both hardcover and paperback.

I’m also giving away a copy of Imaginary Girls. Details here!