“A Conversation with President Obama.”

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Wenner, Jann. S. “A Conversation with President Obama.” Rolling Stone, vol. 1276/1277, 15-29, Dec. 2016, pp.  34-40.

Rolling Stone Magazine just published an interview with President Obama. It was their 10th interview with him which makes me wonder how I missed the other 9 interviews. I was very interested to read this article because most of it is in the President’s own words. President Obama shares his views on the election results of course but also on many of the issues he has worked on and the history of politics in general. There were many good quotes that I thought served as positive advice. He said, “There’s no benefit that’s derived from pulling into a fetal position. We go out there, and we work. And we slog through challenges, and over time things get better” (38). The President discussed a few times how the media and notably Facebook, has changed the way we learn about, view, and communicate about politics and how it actually divides people. If you are interested in President Obama’s viewpoint or why he thinks the election turned out as it did, or even just curious to know what it’s like to be a world leader with all of today’s issues going on, I recommend reading this article.  It’s located on the magazine shelves brought to you by your friendly LFHS library.

Dr. Hirose, LFHS Library

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What We’re Reading

Ms. Neal is listening to…

SERAPHINA (Seraphina #1) by Rachel Hartman

Four decades of peace have done little to ease the mistrust between humans and dragons in the kingdom of Goredd. Folding themselves into human shape, dragons attend court as ambassadors, and lend their rational, mathematical minds to universities as scholars and teachers. As the treaty’s anniversary draws near, however, tensions are high.

Seraphina Dombegh has reason to fear both sides. An unusually gifted musician, she joins the court just as a member of the royal family is murdered—in suspiciously draconian fashion. Seraphina is drawn into the investigation, partnering with the captain of the Queen’s Guard, the dangerously perceptive Prince Lucian Kiggs. While they begin to uncover hints of a sinister plot to destroy the peace, Seraphina struggles to protect her own secret, the secret behind her musical gift, one so terrible that its discovery could mean her very life.

In her exquisitely written fantasy debut, Rachel Hartman creates a rich, complex, and utterly original world. Seraphina’s tortuous journey to self-acceptance is one readers will remember long after they’ve turned the final page.

Ms. Neal says, “The worldbuilding and tension between dragons and humans is incredible (dragons aren’t allowed emotions), while narrator has a soothing voice with great accents for all the characters. I find myself looking forward to running errands so I can listen!”

Ms. Mobile just started….

ROOM by Emma Donoghue

To five-year-old Jack, Room is the entire world. It is where he was born and grew up; it’s where he lives with his Ma as they learn and read and eat and sleep and play. At night, his Ma shuts him safely in the wardrobe, where he is meant to be asleep when Old Nick visits.

Room is home to Jack, but to Ma, it is the prison where Old Nick has held her captive for seven years. Through determination, ingenuity, and fierce motherly love, Ma has created a life for Jack. But she knows it’s not enough…not for her or for him. She devises a bold escape plan, one that relies on her young son’s bravery and a lot of luck. What she does not realize is just how unprepared she is for the plan to actually work.

Told entirely in the language of the energetic, pragmatic five-year-old Jack, Room is a celebration of resilience and the limitless bond between parent and child, a brilliantly executed novel about what it means to journey from one world to another.

Ms. Mobile says, “I really want to see the movie but I refuse to see it before I finish the book!” Continue reading

What We’re Reading

Ms Neal is reading….

TRUTHWITCH (Witchlands, #1) by Susan Dennard

On a continent ruled by three empires, some are born with a “witchery”, a magical skill that sets them apart from others.

In the Witchlands, there are almost as many types of magic as there are ways to get in trouble—as two desperate young women know all too well.

Safiya is a Truthwitch, able to discern truth from lie. It’s a powerful magic that many would kill to have on their side, especially amongst the nobility to which Safi was born. So Safi must keep her gift hidden, lest she be used as a pawn in the struggle between empires.

Iseult, a Threadwitch, can see the invisible ties that bind and entangle the lives around her—but she cannot see the bonds that touch her own heart. Her unlikely friendship with Safi has taken her from life as an outcast into one of reckless adventure, where she is a cool, wary balance to Safi’s hotheaded impulsiveness.

Safi and Iseult just want to be free to live their own lives, but war is coming to the Witchlands. With the help of the cunning Prince Merik (a Windwitch and ship’s captain) and the hindrance of a Bloodwitch bent on revenge, the friends must fight emperors, princes, and mercenaries alike, who will stop at nothing to get their hands on a Truthwitch.

Ms. Neal says, “Brimming with adventure and an incredible magic system, my favorite part of Dennard’s story is the wit and banter between best friends Safi and Iseult. It’s cleverly plotted, so even I can’t guess where the story’s going next!”

Mr. Juliano’s reading…

READY PLAYER ONE by Ernest Cline

It’s the year 2044, and the real world is an ugly place.

Like most of humanity, Wade Watts escapes his grim surroundings by spending his waking hours jacked into the OASIS, a sprawling virtual utopia that lets you be anything you want to be, a place where you can live and play and fall in love on any of ten thousand planets.

And like most of humanity, Wade dreams of being the one to discover the ultimate lottery ticket that lies concealed within this virtual world. For somewhere inside this giant networked playground, OASIS creator James Halliday has hidden a series of fiendish puzzles that will yield massive fortune — and remarkable power — to whoever can unlock them.

For years, millions have struggled fruitlessly to attain this prize, knowing only that Halliday’s riddles are based in the pop culture he loved — that of the late twentieth century. And for years, millions have found in this quest another means of escape, retreating into happy, obsessive study of Halliday’s icons. Like many of his contemporaries, Wade is as comfortable debating the finer points of John Hughes’s oeuvre, playing Pac-Man, or reciting Devo lyrics as he is scrounging power to run his OASIS rig.

And then Wade stumbles upon the first puzzle.

Suddenly the whole world is watching, and thousands of competitors join the hunt — among them certain powerful players who are willing to commit very real murder to beat Wade to this prize. Now the only way for Wade to survive and preserve everything he knows is to win. But to do so, he may have to leave behind his oh-so-perfect virtual existence and face up to life — and love — in the real world he’s always been so desperate to escape.

A world at stake.
A quest for the ultimate prize.
Are you ready?

Mr. Juliano says, “This novel was a geek’s dream. Even if you don’t get half of the 80s references about video games, TV shows and movies, you’ll love the high-energy plot about a kid battling enemies in a virtual world and dystopian future. Impossible to put down.” Continue reading

What We’re Reading

Your library staff did a lot of reading over Spring Break! We’ve thrown together some of our favorites for you.

Ms. Pausch just finished…

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

A coming-of-age tale of fan fiction, family and first love.

Cath is a Simon Snow fan.

Okay, the whole world is a Simon Snow fan…

But for Cath, being a fan is her life—and she’s really good at it. She and her twin sister, Wren, ensconced themselves in the Simon Snow series when they were just kids; it’s what got them through their mother leaving.

Reading. Rereading. Hanging out in Simon Snow forums, writing Simon Snow fan fiction, dressing up like the characters for every movie premiere.

Cath’s sister has mostly grown away from fandom, but Cath can’t let go. She doesn’t want to.

Now that they’re going to college, Wren has told Cath she doesn’t want to be roommates. Cath is on her own, completely outside of her comfort zone. She’s got a surly roommate with a charming, always-around boyfriend, a fiction-writing professor who thinks fan fiction is the end of the civilized world, a handsome classmate who only wants to talk about words… And she can’t stop worrying about her dad, who’s loving and fragile and has never really been alone.

For Cath, the question is: Can she do this?

Can she make it without Wren holding her hand? Is she ready to start living her own life? Writing her own stories?

And does she even want to move on if it means leaving Simon Snow behind?

Ms. Pausch says, “After reading (and loving) Eleanor and Park, I decided to read Fangirl. It’s a fun read with witty dialogue, Harry Potter-esque fanfic writing, and a protagonist I quickly felt drawn to.”

Ms. Neal just finished…

Locke & Key, Volume #1: Welcome to Lovecraft by Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez

Locke & Key tells of Keyhouse, an unlikely New England mansion, with fantastic doors that transform all who dare to walk through them. Home to a hate-filled and relentless creature that will not rest until it forces open the most terrible door of them all…

Ms. Neal says, “I don’t read a lot of graphic novels, but the idea of a house with doors that can go anywhere really sucked me in–and to find it was also a murder mystery about a family trying to keep it together in a haunted house made the book impossible to put down.” Continue reading

What We’re Reading

It’s time for another What We’re Reading! It’s always fun to talk about what we’ve picked up, and we’re read a lot of good books since November. Right now, we’re reading epic fantasy, historicals, and some magical realism.

MRS. GRIGG IS READING…

The Lies of Locke Lamora (Gentleman Bastards, #1) by Scott Lynch

In this stunning debut, author Scott Lynch delivers the wonderfully thrilling tale of an audacious criminal and his band of confidence tricksters. Set in a fantastic city pulsing with the lives of decadent nobles and daring thieves, here is a story of adventure, loyalty, and survival that is one part “Robin Hood”, one part Ocean’s Eleven, and entirely enthralling…

An orphan’s life is harsh — and often short — in the island city of Camorr, built on the ruins of a mysterious alien race. But born with a quick wit and a gift for thieving, Locke Lamora has dodged both death and slavery, only to fall into the hands of an eyeless priest known as Chains — a man who is neither blind nor a priest.

A con artist of extraordinary talent, Chains passes his skills on to his carefully selected “family” of orphans — a group known as the Gentlemen Bastards. Under his tutelage, Locke grows to lead the Bastards, delightedly pulling off one outrageous confidence game after another. Soon he is infamous as the Thorn of Camorr, and no wealthy noble is safe from his sting.

Passing themselves off as petty thieves, the brilliant Locke and his tightly knit band of light-fingered brothers have fooled even the criminal underworld’s most feared ruler, Capa Barsavi. But there is someone in the shadows more powerful — and more ambitious — than Locke has yet imagined.

Known as the Gray King, he is slowly killing Capa Barsavi’s most trusted men — and using Locke as a pawn in his plot to take control of Camorr’s underworld. With a bloody coup under way threatening to destroy everyone and everything that holds meaning in his mercenary life, Locke vows to beat the Gray King at his own brutal game — or die trying…

Mrs. Grigg says, “This book was recommended to me by a student last year and all I remember him saying, besides that he really loved the series, was “band of master thieves,” “magic,” “Renaissance Italy.” That’s all I needed to hear 😉 I just started this one but already I can tell I’ll like it. So far I would describe it as gritty and good!”

MS. NEAL JUST FINISHED…

The Name of the Wind (The Kingkiller Chronicles, #1) by Patrick Rothfuss

My name is Kvothe.

I have stolen princesses back from sleeping barrow kings. I burned down the town of Trebon. I have spent the night with Felurian and left wit hboth my sanity and my life. I was expelled from the University at a younger age than most people are allowed in. I tread paths by moonlight that others fear to speak of during the day. I have talked to Gods, loved women, and written songs that make minstrels weep. 

You may have heard of me. 

Told in Kvothe’s own voice, this is the tale of the magically gifted young man who grows to be the most notorious wizard his world has ever seen. The intimate narrative of his childhood in a troupe of traveling players, his years spent as a near-feral orphan in a crime-ridden city, his daringly brazen yet successful bid to enter a legendary school of magic, and his life as a fugitive after the murder of a king form a gripping coming-of-age story unrivaled in recent literature. A high-action story written with a poet’s hand, The Name of the Wind is a masterpiece that will transport readers into the body and mind of a wizard.

Ms. Neal says, “Though slow to start, The Name of the Wind kept me reading–800 pages in a day! The poetic style, brilliant characters, and the immaculate worldbuilding had me falling in love with fantasy all over again.” 

MS. BARRON JUST FINISHED…

Beneath the Marble Sky by John Shors

Journey to dazzling seventeenth-century Hindustan, where the reigning emperor, consumed with grief over the tragic death of his beloved wife, commissioned the building of a grand mausoleum as a testament to the marvel of their love. This monument would soon become known as the Taj Mahal—a sight famous around the world for its beauty and the emotions it symbolizes.

Princess Jahanara, the courageous daughter of the emperor and his wife, recounts their mesmerizing tale, while sharing her own parallel story of forbidden love with the celebrated architect of the Taj Mahal. Set during a time of unimaginable wealth and power, murderous sibling rivalries, and cruel despotism, this impressive novel sweeps you away to a historical Hindustan brimming with action and intrigue in an era when, alongside the brutalities of war and oppression, architecture and the art of love and passion reached a pinnacle of perfection.

Ms. Barron says,  “I recently finished reading Beneath a Marble Sky by John Shors.  It was recommended by Ms. Herzog after she learned of my life-long wish to visit the Taj Mahal.  It is a wonderful fictionalized account of the building of the Taj Mahal, with court intrigue and romance aplenty.”

MS. PAUSCH JUST FINISHED…

Bel Canto by Ann Patchett

In an unnamed South American country, a world-renowned soprano sings at a birthday party in honor of a visiting Japanese industrial titan. His hosts hope that Mr. Hosokawa can be persuaded to build a factory in their Third World backwater. Alas, in the opening sequence, just as the accompanist kisses the soprano, a ragtag band of 18 terrorists enters the vice-presidential mansion through the air conditioning ducts. Their quarry is the president, who has unfortunately stayed home to watch a favorite soap opera. And thus, from the beginning, things go awry.

Among the hostages are not only Hosokawa and Roxane Coss, the American soprano, but an assortment of Russian, Italian, and French diplomatic types. Reuben Iglesias, the diminutive and gracious vice president, quickly gets sideways of the kidnappers, who have no interest in him whatsoever. Meanwhile, a Swiss Red Cross negotiator named Joachim Messner is roped into service while vacationing. He comes and goes, wrangling over terms and demands, and the days stretch into weeks, the weeks into months.

With the omniscience of magic realism, Ann Patchett flits in and out of the hearts and psyches of hostage and terrorist alike, and in doing so reveals a profound, shared humanity. Her voice is suitably lyrical, melodic, full of warmth and compassion.

Ms. Pausch says, “Bel Canto is a beautiful account of love, crisis, and music that takes place during a coup in an unnamed Latin American vice president’s home. The vivid, diverse cast of characters and lyrical prose drew me in and kept me riveted right to the end.”

MRS. HERZOG IS READING…

The Paris Architect by Charles Belfoure

Like most gentiles in Nazi-occupied Paris, architect Lucien Bernard has little empathy for the Jews. So when a wealthy industrialist offers him a large sum of money to devise secret hiding places for Jews, Lucien struggles with the choice of risking his life for a cause he doesn’t really believe in. Ultimately he can’t resist the challenge and begins designing expertly concealed hiding spaces—behind a painting, within a column, or inside a drainpipe—detecting possibilities invisible to the average eye. But when one of his clever hiding spaces fails horribly and the immense suffering of Jews becomes incredibly personal, he can no longer deny reality.

Written by an expert whose knowledge imbues every page, this story becomes more gripping with every life the architect tries to save.

Mrs. Herzog can be found reading her favorite…historical fiction!  She is currently reading The Paris Architect, a novel set in German occupied Paris in 1942. Lucien Bernard, an up-and-coming architect is challenged to accept a commission that will bring him a great deal of much needed money, however it is dangerous enough to get him killed.

What We’re Reading

We aren’t just talk–all the library staff are voracious readers! Here’s some books we’re reading or have just put down.

Ms. Neal’s reading…

Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch

A heartbroken girl. A fierce warrior. A hero in the making.

Sixteen years ago the Kingdom of Winter was conquered and its citizens enslaved, leaving them without magic or a monarch. Now, the Winterians’ only hope for freedom is the eight survivors who managed to escape, and who have been waiting for the opportunity to steal back Winter’s magic and rebuild the kingdom ever since.

Orphaned as an infant during Winter’s defeat, Meira has lived her whole life as a refugee, raised by the Winterians’ general, Sir. Training to be a warrior—and desperately in love with her best friend, and future king, Mather — she would do anything to help her kingdom rise to power again.

So when scouts discover the location of the ancient locket that can restore Winter’s magic, Meira decides to go after it herself. Finally, she’s scaling towers, fighting enemy soldiers, and serving her kingdom just as she’s always dreamed she would. But the mission doesn’t go as planned, and Meira soon finds herself thrust into a world of evil magic and dangerous politics – and ultimately comes to realize that her destiny is not, never has been, her own.

Ms. Neal says, “An unflinchingly violent novel–our heroine prefers throwing knives to wearing dresses–about self-worth and kicking ass, in a world where countries are actual seasons.”

Ms. Mobile is reading….

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

On a warm summer morning in North Carthage, Missouri, it is Nick and Amy Dunne’s fifth wedding anniversary. Presents are being wrapped and reservations are being made when Nick’s clever and beautiful wife disappears from their rented McMansion on the Mississippi River. Husband-of-the-Year Nick isn’t doing himself any favors with cringe-worthy daydreams about the slope and shape of his wife’s head, but passages from Amy’s diary reveal the alpha-girl perfectionist could have put anyone dangerously on edge. Under mounting pressure from the police and the media–as well as Amy’s fiercely doting parents–the town golden boy parades an endless series of lies, deceits, and inappropriate behavior. Nick is oddly evasive, and he’s definitely bitter–but is he really a killer?

As the cops close in, every couple in town is soon wondering how well they know the one that they love. With his twin sister, Margo, at his side, Nick stands by his innocence. Trouble is, if Nick didn’t do it, where is that beautiful wife? And what was in that silvery gift box hidden in the back of her bedroom closet?

Ms. Mobile says, “I have just started reading the book Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. I have committed to not seeing the movie before I finish the book, which has proven hard to hold to. I hope to love the book as much as others. I will keep you posted as I read through the pages.”

Continue reading