[Mary’s note: I immediately remembered reading the entire Dark Forces series as a kid as soon as I saw these photos! I had forgotten them, but remembered reading all these fun books, with some mild scariness, that I grabbed from the library!]
“THERE’S SOMETHING ABOUT THE BOOKS we read as kids that stick with us, regardless of whether they were particularly good. These days, I couldn’t tell you what was important about most of the canonical texts I read freshman year of college, let alone the plot of the light-read detective novel I picked up last summer at the beach. But somehow I can recall, with vivid detail, scenes from nearly every trashy preteen book series I devoured in the late 1980s and early ’90s.
Yes, that includes The Nancy Drew Files and Sweet Valley High and The Baby-Sitters Club, all of which no doubt many women my age remember with a fierce fondness. But it also includes Sharon Dennis Wyeth’s short-lived Pen Pals series, about a quartet of roommates at an all-girls boarding school who strike up a correspondence with a group of boys, and Eve Becker’s fantasy-driven Abracadabra books, which chronicle the adventures of Dawn, a 13-year-old who suddenly gains magical powers. In particular, my drug of choice one long, hot summer were the Dark Forces books, a packaged series of occult-based young-adult horror that made me feel—crucially, at the age of 11—like I was getting away with something naughty.
I’m certain I don’t remember these long out-of-print series so well because they were works of genius. To the contrary, the storylines and writing were of relatively low nutritional value, as these things go.
Once again we are passing on a book request from a library person. I have no idea what this might be, but if it sounds familiar to you – post it in the comments or send us an email and I’ll pass it on!
“I have a patron who is looking for a collection of short stories she read as a child.
Publication is somewhere between the 70’s and 80’s
She believes there is a lizard on the cover
One story is about a blue squirrel who visits a dying girl
Another story is about a boy, a lizard and a caregiver by the name of Cora and the story revolves around a voice recording.
“The beginning of next month will see the premier of the new Wonder Woman movie, so now is the perfect time to take a dive into the many different comics that have featured Wonder Woman over the years. Though her creation is credited to a man, it is not surprising that over the years many female comics creators have been inspired to tell stories about this character. Each one offers their own take on her, but any of these books would be a great place to start (or continue) your reading about this fantastic character.
Wonder Woman: The True Amazon by Jill Thompson – In this new take on Wonder Woman’s path to her place in the world, Jill Thompson shows her as a spoiled and selfish girl for whom everything has come much too easily. But, when her bad behavior leads to tragedy, she must redeem herself and come to earn her place in her society and her role as Wonder Woman. With such a different take on Diana’s origin story and such interesting art work, this book is a great option for those who have never read about Wonder Woman in the past.
Wonder Woman: Love and Murder by Jodi Picoult with art by Drew Johnson, Ray Snyder, Terry Dodson, Rachel Dodson, and Paco Diaz – In this story by best-selling author Jodi Picoult, Diana Prince aka “Wonder Woman” is in disguise as an agent for the Department of Metahuman Affairs when she is tasked with capturing Wonder Woman. With an impossible task before her, she must juggle her efforts to exist undercover with her efforts to keep her secret. Jodi Picoult was the first woman to be a regular series writer for Wonder Woman and this arc is well worth checking out.”
(Shown in order, 1-10. Click to see the book in WorldCat)
ILL reflects the political events of the tumultuous 2016 election season
If you recall from last year’s post, we looked at six years’ worth of data, from 2010 to 2015, and identified four trends. Adding 2016 to the mix didn’t change anything very much, except for one notable observation. Not surprisingly, the top 2016 ILL theme was how closely aligned ILL was with current events. Two of the top ten books requested were political books that reflected what was taking place in the news and popular culture—the US presidential race.*Hillbilly Elegy was published in June 2016 and by the end of July, it had rocketed to the 12th most-requested monograph on the OCLC ILL system. By August, it was firmly entrenched in first place and remains there to this day. America 2020: The Survival Blueprint debuted among top ten titles in May and remained there until after the November election.
We are passing on another Reader’s Advisory question, and a few suggestions in case this one comes up for you. If you have suggestions, please share them below!
“I have a tricky readers’ advisory quest. I’ve been asked by a parent to recommend some books (by tonight!!!) for a defiant 14yo boy who reads on a 12yo level. He dislikes reading, prefers nonfiction, and has Asperger’s. His parents are going to require him to write a book report. It sounds like she wants something like the Bernstein Bears’ books – but for teens (!) They have not let him read or watch Hunger Games or the like, but he has been allowed to watch/read Percy Jackson and Harry Potter.
She wants a book on why he shouldn’t defy / lie / resist / etc. She is not finding anything but parenting books on dealing with defiant children/teens.
I’ve explained books that focus on “change your ways or look what horrible things will happen” are difficult to find for his age group and that I’m going to give her a wide range of books to look at that perhaps will get them talking about relevant issues. Tricky also since he prefers nonfiction *and* I need to stay away from edgier books for the older YA audience.