Thursday, October 17, 2013

In Memoriam: Tom Clancy

We were sad to hear of the passing of bestselling author Tom Clancy earlier this month at the age of 66.  Clancy was a prolific author of international thrillers – offering up fascinating details of military science amidst complex tales of Cold War and post-Cold War espionage.  With over 100 million of his books in print, Clancy was a regular on bestseller lists – with 17 of his books achieving #1 New York Times bestseller status.    

The author remained busy until the end – with a new novel in his successful Jack Ryan series scheduled for release this December and a new Jack Ryan film currently in post-production.
You can find a large selection of Clancy’s titles and related works in our collection – including the items highlighted below.

Jack Ryan Series:  Clancy’s most popular series revolves around the character of Jack Ryan, who made his first appearance as a CIA Analyst in The Hunt for Red October, a military thriller involving the chase for a top-secret Russian missile submarine.  Over the arc of the series, Ryan serves as an NSA adviser, Deputy Director of the CIA, Vice President of the United States -- and ultimately, as President.  Ryan is joined in several of the novels by former Navy SEAL and covert CIA Agent John Clark.

The most recent books in the series feature Jack Ryan’s son and two nephews The Teeth of the Tiger, Dead or Alive, Locked On and Threat VectorRyan, Sr. is expected to make a return in the newest installment due in December: Command Authority.

The relentless pace and intricate plots of Clancy's novels caught the attention of Hollywood.  Film adaptations of several of the author’s novels were transformed into winners at the box office as well -- including The Hunt for Red October, The Sum of All Fears, Patriot Games and Clear and Present Danger.  Actors Alec Baldwin, Harrison Ford and Ben Affleck have all taken turns portraying hero Jack Ryan.  Look for a new Jack Ryan movie out next year: Shadow Recruit starring Chris Pine, Kevin Costner, and Kenneth Brannah.

Characters from several of Clancy's thrillers have been licensed for use in video games -- including Splinter Cell, Endwar and Ghost Recon -- which can be found at the library in the PS3 and/or Xbox360 game formats.

So much to enjoy!  Thanks for entertaining us for so many years, Mr. Clancy!  

Monday, October 14, 2013

Not-So-Scary Halloween Picture Books

 Halloween can be fun, but a bit overwhelming for young children.  To enjoy being frightened and frightening is not something that comes naturally!  Why not introduce your little trick or treaters to delicious shivers and joyful shrieking with these not-so-scary picture books?  A list of chapter books for children who prefer benevolent spirits may be found in our Staff Picks under Happy Helpful Ghosts.

 Five Little Monkeys Trick or Treat   That mischievous quintet  decides to play a trick on their chaperone when they go out trick or treating by switching costumes with their friends.  However, the trick ends up being on them.  Includes recipes  for eyeball cookies and worm juice!

 Click, Clack Boo   Farmer Brown,  not a fan of Halloween, sets out some candy, closes the curtains and goes to bed.   Leave it to his animals to pique his curiosity and draw him into their Halloween party.  Simpler in content, without the sly humor and references in other books from this series, a fun read aloud for 3 -5 year olds with all the “Creak, creak, creaking” and “Tap, tap, tapping.”
   Scaredy-Cat Splat  Splat’s ludicrous attempts to be the scariest cat at school provide lots of laughs.

Trick or Treat, Marley!  That rascally, fun-loving puppy does his best to help (?) get the house ready for a Halloween party. 
 Scaredy Squirrel Prepares for Halloween   Fans of Scaredy Squirrel, the humorously fearful and list making squirrel, will be reassured to know that he has prepared a Halloween safety guide for those who, like himself, find Halloween pretty nerve racking.  He has all the potential problems scoped out, with chapters on decorations (“Unscary black and orange decorations”), costumes (with a scare-o-meter),  trick or treating (“Getting to know your candy”) and what to do if all else fails (“Play dead”).  Scaredy’s preoccupation  with creating a non-threatening Halloween will give you lots of smiles and chase away the Boos.

 Hedgehug’s Halloween   It’s hard finding just the right costume when you are prickly.  Sheets rip and  balloons pop.  Discouraged because all his friends have Great costumes, Hedgehug is ready to give up when he figures out the Perfect costume.   The heart-warming story is enhanced by appealing forest characters brought vividly to life using  washes of color on a textured background.

    Just Say Boo!  Take charge!  When you’re confronted with all those Halloween terrors, just say “ Boo!”  You’ll find out they aren't really scary.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Adult Book Discussion Thursday, October 17th

Judy Levin leads a discussion of the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel The Orphan Master's Son  by Adam Johnson this Thursday, October 17 at 12:00 p.m. (note the new time!) in the Children's Programming Room.

The novel offers a fascinating and imaginative glimpse into the closed society that is the Democratic People's Republic of Korea -- and is a moving testament to the power of the human spirit.

From Random House:
North Korean citizen Pak Jun Do is the haunted son of a lost mother -- a singer "stolen" to Pyongyang -- and an influential father who runs a work camp for orphans.  State superiors soon recognize the boy's loyalty and keen instincts.  Considering himself "a humble citizen of  the greatest nation in the world," Jun Do rises in the ranks to become a professional kidnapper who must navigate the shifting rules, arbitrary violence, and baffling demands of his overlords in order to stay alive. Driven to the absolute limit of what any human being could endure, he boldly takes on the treacherous role of rival to Kim Jong Il in an attempt to save the woman he loves, the legendary actress Sun Moon.

In this critically-acclaimed tour de force, Adam Johnson provides a riveting portrait of a world rife with hunger, corruption, and cruelty -- but also camaraderie, stolen moments of beauty, and love.

Critical Reviews of Johnson's novel can be found by clicking on the publication titles below:
Publisher's Weekly 
The Wall Street Journal 

The Orphan Master's Son is available at the library in print, large-type, CD Audiobook, eBook, and eAudiobook formats.

Please join us!