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Blog Posts by Subject: Mythology and Folktales

Reader's Den: "Incarceron" Reviews, News, and Clues?

Incarceron was originally published in Great Britain in 2007 before coming to US readers three years later in 2010. The Times also selected Incarceron as its book of the year. In 2007 Incarceron was also selected as a finalist in the YA Science Fiction and Fantasy category of the Cybils—a book award given each year by book bloggers.

If you haven't seen it already, be sure to

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May at The Reader's Den: "Incarceron"

Greetings and welcome to the May installment of The Reader's Den.

This month we'll be reading Incarceron (2010) by Catherine Fisher.

Incarceron is a prison like no other.

It is a closed system; nothing enters the prison. And nothing ever leaves. Incarceron was built to be self-sufficient. Nothing goes to waste. Food is recycled, materials made over and over. Prisoners, 

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Girls in Pants: Girls Disguised as Boys

The idea of girls masquerading as boys to infiltrate the male world is not new; in fact, it's a literary staple. From William Shakespeare to Amanda Bynes, all it takes is some cloth to bind and flatten the chest, short hair, a lowering of the voice, some rolled up socks artfully placed, and voila — a boy is born! Of course, it also helps if there is a clueless boy who befriends the masquerader and then suddenly begins to question his sexuality when he wants to kiss the girl in disguise. And, to make things even more complicated, another girl arrives on the scene. 

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Hot Historical Fiction Part Two: The Tudors, Fairies, Ladies, and Fools

Okay, I confess, I am a history geek and an Anglophile, meaning I am sucker for anything with a bit of British history and culture. However, that doesn’t mean dry, boring or high brow. I still insist that the historical novels I read be interesting, fun to read, and perhaps romantic, and if they have magical elements, even better! The fairies, witty dialogue, and romance may pull you in, but you finish the book with a better understanding of history and society without even realizing it.   The Legend of Tam ... Read More ›

"Guardian of the Dead": A Review

Ellie leads a typical life for a 17 year old. She goes to class, hangs out with her best friend Kevin, and wonders about Mark, her mysterious (and good looking) classmate. She has a black belt in tae kwon do, and after a night of ill-advised drinking with Kevin, has also volunteered her time to staging fight scenes for a play at the local university. Even if the play is being directed by Kevin’s oldest friend Iris, who is annoyingly perfect and makes Ellie feel like an ugly, ungainly giant.

After that, things start to get less typical.

The news keeps 

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Sita Sings the Blues: A Groundbreaking Film For Teens, Adults, and Just About Everyone

I first learned about the animated film Sita Sings the Blues when it was featured in the New York International Children's Film Festival (Since I know you're wondering, I'll tell you that I got on their mailing list originally because of my deep and abiding love for the short films of Wallace and Gromit).  Anyway, since I'm a fan of animated films, especially films that I can enjoy and also recommend to my teen patrons, I 

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Old Tales, New Twists: A Fantasy eBook List

Do you have an eReader? Is part of the appeal that it looks like you're living in the future? Have you found yourself wishing for more fantastical books to match your futuristic reading device? 

Look no further.

The premises might sound familiar but these books all take traditional story elements and turn them upside down. And you can get them on your ereader for free right here.

Fly on the Wall by E. Lockhart For Gretchen Yee, life as an artificial red head is anything but glamorous, especially when she feels too ordinary to fit in at her artsy 

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"Shiver": A Review

Years ago, when Grace was attacked by wolves, Sam saved her life. He has been a presence in Grace’s life ever since, always lurking on the periphery each winter in Mercy Falls, watching her, protecting her.

Yet they have never spoken.

Sam has been watching Grace for years, waiting for her, making sure she was safe. Even when he couldn’t remember her name, he knew she mattered. He knew he loved her even if it was impossible because of what he was.

No matter how Grace and Sam might feel about each other, there is always one insurmountable 

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The Talking Dead: A Book List

They might not always be walking, but in the books on this list the dead are always talking. Ten books, in no particular order, where the dead sometimes walk, sometimes talk, and always play a huge part in the story. Books with that perfect eerie feel to get you in the mood for some candy... er, for Halloween I mean—obviously.

Generation Dead by Daniel Waters

The dead are walking in Oakvale, Connecticut—at least 

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Halloween Reads

That time of year has descended upon us yet again—it is time to celebrate the macabre, to relish the goblins and embrace the demons (no, I am not referring to fast approaching interactions with family members during Thanksgiving that many experience, although one of my family members is suspiciously too financially enriched in October.  The apparent financial windfall enjoyed by the relevant family member every October has given rise to some rather nasty rumors that he is receiving royalties on the literal plethora of devil costumes donned by various entities on Halloween. 

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Green Witch: A Review

Green used to think her story was written. The day her beloved city was burned to the ground seemed to be the end of things. Her mother, her father, and her beautiful sister were gone. The boy she loves is far away searching for his own family. The past is filled with dangerous memories and the future seems like a distant hope. So Green tries to focus on the present.

As her village tries to rebuild, Green tends her garden and collects the stories of the survivors. When Green sets out to find the Enchanted–women the village calls witches–in the hopes of 

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Green Angel: A Review

After a disaster destroys the city she loves and kills her family, fifteen-year-old Green is left with nothing; the life she once had turned to ashes just like the ashes covering her once lush garden.

Shocked by the loss and destruction, Green turns inward. Her clothes become armor. She closes her eyes against the loss and the rebuilding taking place all around her. She closes her heart to love or friendship.

But, little by little, love and friendship make their way into her life. As she struggles to survive Green finds unlikely friends, love, and 

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Princess Academy: A Review

Fourteen-year-old Miri wants a lot of things. She wants to be useful to her family. She wants to be taller and stronger. She wants desperately to work in the quarry and understand quarry speak the way everyone else on Mount Eskel does.

What Miri doesn’t want is to be a princess. At least, she doesn’t think she does.

There isn’t much room on Mount Eskel for princesses anyway. The mountain landscape is as beautiful as the linder stone the villagers mine for their livelihood but life there is hard. Lowland traders come to buy the mined linder, but 

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Finnikin of the Rock: A Review

A long time ago, before the five days of the unspeakable, Finnikin of the Rock dreamed he was to sacrifice a pound of flesh to save the royal house of Lumatere. Though only nine, Finnikin knew the dream was not to be ignored.

Frightened for his kingdom, Finnikin convinced his friends Prince Balthazar and Lucian of the Mont to make a pledge with him. They climbed to the rock of three wonders and sacrificed flesh from their bodies and a hair from the head of a weeping princess Isaboe. Balthazar swore to die defending his royal house of Lumatere. Finnikin swore to 

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Sea Change: A Review

Many are drawn to Selkie Island. Few know why.

The whirlwind of events that brought sixteen-year-old Miranda Merchant to the island, away from her sensible summer plans in New York City, are unlikely but they make enough sense. Her mother has inherited a house that needs to be gone through and emptied. Logical enough. And so much more realistic than any fairytale happy ending.

But Selkie Island is a messy place that quickly blurs the lines between past and present and, more startling for Miranda, between reality and legend. Lore about mythical creatures and her own 

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Jungle Crossing: A Review

Thirteen-year-old Kat has dozens of reasons to skip her family’s summer vacation to hot, boring Mexico. She’ll miss mini-camp and lose her spot as part of Fiona’s Five (reason number 1) thereby completing ruining her chance at popularity and eighth grade in general (reason 33). Her family will drive her crazy (reasons 29 through 31).  And don’t think that’s just whining because Kat has tons of other, totally logical, reasons on her list including falling prey to bandits, the risk of flash flooding, heat stroke, dangerous strangers, and lung damaging jet 

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Nathaniel Fludd Beastologist: Flight of the Phoenix: A Review

On September 5, 1928 ten-year-old Nathaniel Fludd’s parents are declared lost at sea. Alone in the world with no other close relatives and a governess eager to abscond with her Tidy Sum from the Fludd estate, Nathaniel is sent to live with Phil A. Fludd–a mysterious cousin Nate has never met, let alone heard of in Nathaniel Fludd, Beastologist: Flight of the Phoenix by R. L. LaFevers with illustrations by

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Highlight from the Stuff for the Teen Age 2010 List: Going Bovine

Going Bovine by Libba Bray 16 year old Cameron is just trying to make it through high school without attracting too much attention. His only friends are the other outcasts who hang out in the top floor bathroom at school and his only hobby is searching the used record store for albums made by the Great Tremolo, a singer of schmaltzy love songs who Cameron mocks even as he spends the money he earns flipping burgers on the old albums.

Then Cameron is diagnosed with a fatal illness and is told he has a short 

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The Creation of Christmas

I generally enjoy the Christmas season if I don’t allow myself to get sucked up in the frenzy. Of course, the frenzy is almost irresistible: the catalogs start coming right after Labor Day, store owners regard Halloween as the beginning of the holiday season, and the stability of the global economy depends on how free and easy you are with your credit card. As for me, I’ve always thought of Christmas as:

"a good time: a kind, forgiving, charitable, pleasant time: the only time I know of in the long calendar of the year, when men and women seem by one consent to open ... Read More ›

Vampire Lovers at the New York Public Library

As a professional librarian at the main reference desk, I do whatever it takes to respond to a particular question, and I never become judgmental about the quality of that question. That’s Library School 101. I will admit, however, to wondering sometimes where certain questions come from, or what it might mean for the culture at large when a number of people start asking the same question at the same time. For instance, what should I make of the fact that there have been several requests lately--by New Yorkers, no less!-- for books about vampires? Is it because Halloween is coming? 

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