DCPLive is a blog by library staff at the DeKalb County Public Library!


Apr 20 2012

Bad Boys of Fiction

by Patricia D

Answer quick here.  Han Solo or Luke Skywalker?  You said Han Solo, right?  In all the years since there was a choice to be made I’ve never met anyone who picks Luke.  You know why?  No one wants to try to raise a family and pay the bills with a bad boy (or girl), but when we can indulge through fiction, most folks will choose the scuffed up, dangerous man for a dizzying night of dancing until the wee hours of the morning or a breakneck trip on a moon splashed road in a Harley over the guy (or chick) who will be there in the wee hours of the morning when you need to go the hospital.  Luke will get you to the hospital, but Han will wreck you first.


I think this “we love bad boys” theory also explains almost every romantic interest in a Sarah Dessen novel as well as all the the vampire fiction out there, especially the stuff aimed at teen girls (Silver Kiss, Darkangel, Twilight.)

Fiction is full of these guys and you know what?  It starts early.  My first “bad boy” fictional crush was the dashing fur trapper in Calico Captive.  Set during the French Indian Wars, our heroine in the end chooses the safe, steady, poor American who only wants to be a farmer and help establish his country when she could have been rich, had Quebec at her feet and her handsome voyageur husband by her side for a few weeks every five months or so.  Imagine my disappointment.  Louisa May Alcott threw two bad boys my way:  Dan in Little Men and Jo’s Boys and Charlie in Eight Cousins and Rose in Bloom.  Because they were created by Louisa May there was never any chance at happiness for either one of them—she didn’t seem to have a good feel for a redemption story—so the bad boy dies, leaving the responsible, respectable fellows to pick up the chicks.

As a grown up of course I’ve got Richard Sharpe and Patrick Harper.  They aren’t just your average scuffed up, rough around the edges bad boys.  They are at times remorseless killers and cheerful thieves.   However, they are a special type of  “bad boy” because they will also take you to the hospital at 2:00 a.m.  or bail you out of jail at 3:00 a.m.  They might be the reasons you need emergency care or bail money, but they will be there.  As will Rhett Butler, who never really worked for me but obviously he worked for some.

Okay, time’s up.  Han or Luke?


Apr 16 2012

Brit Chic Lit

by Jessica O

I have a confession.  I love chic lit.  Don’t get me wrong, I cheered when Katniss stood up for her sister, I’ve reveled through all of Toni Morrison’s strong female characters, and I adore the spunk and wit of Shakespeare’s Portia.  But on a warm summer evening, you’ll find me curled up on my swing with a glass of wine clutching Mansfield Park or steeping in a bathtub enjoying Jane Eyre. These are things I read over and over.  They have become like old friends.  I never outgrew Jane Austen.  I love the tenor, the social intricacies, and the strained romance of that type of writing.

There are very few authors who will even attempt to match that brand of writing style.  It takes a special skill to make simple moments noteworthy.  I mean can you imagine us cheering because Edward brushed his hand against Bella’s.  Would we take note?  No, we wouldn’t.  Edward needs to sparkle.  Bella needs to skip school and run into the woods with Edward to get our attention.  I don’t know about you, but I get tired of the razzle dazzle of these overworked plots.

I have finally found an author who has complex, gentle love stories with an interesting steam punk twist that matches (well not matches, but comes close to) my old friend Jane Austen.  Cassandra Clare.  I know I probably lost you at steam punk.  Don’t be put off by steam punk.  Cassandra Clare gracefully weaves a beautiful love story through the social classes of a burgeoning industrial England.  The characters are smart.  The plot is intricate.  All this and more in Cassandra Clare’s Infernal Devices series, which you can find at your local library.


Jun 1 2011

Perilous devotion

by Dea Anne M

I’ve become hooked on the HBO series A Game of Thrones which is based, of course, on the first book in the wildly popular epic fantasy series A Song of Fire and Ice written by George R. R. Martin. My fellow blogger Jesse has posted here before on the excellence of Martin’s work and I have to say that  I am now looking forward to reading the books myself.

So what’s it like to be the creator of such a beloved series of books? Maybe the title of this post overstates the issue, but the New Yorker recently ran an interesting article about George R. R. Martin and his unique relationship with his fans. The devotion of of Martin’s readers has inspired such actions as naming children after characters in the books and establishing series related blogs  (like this one featured in Jesse’s recent post).  The series, originally planned as a trilogy, is now supposed to ultimately encompass seven books. Four books have been published already and a fifth volume,  A Dance With Dragons, will be appearing on July 12th this year.  Given the passion with which some readers regard A Song of Fire and Ice added to the fact that the previous title in the series, A Feast for Crows, appeared in 2005, it might not be surprising that some readers behave in a fashion that might seem a little…unhinged. Apparently, Martin has received unpleasant comments when he has posted about sporting events or vacations on his blog and there are a few blogs run by disaffected fans including one called Finish the Book, George.

How far will readers go to make their displeasure known and to what lengths will writers go to keep fans happy?

In 1893, Arthur Conan Doyle, who wanted to devote more of his time to historical fiction, “killed off” Sherlock Holmes. The outcry from fans of the intrepid detective was so great and prolonged that Doyle finally brought Holmes back to life in the 1901 short story “The Adventure of the Empty House” (included in The Complete Sherlock Holmes).

In 2008, fans of Stephanie Meyers’ extremely popular Twilight series were so disappointed with the final book, Breaking Dawn, that calls went out for readers to return books to their point-of-purchase place as a form of consumer protest. Meyers’ reaction on her website was a fairly sensible (to me, anyway) statement  “In the end, it’s just a book.”

In 2002, Maori novelist Witi Ihimaera, author of The Whale Rider,  began re-writing five previously published novels because he felt that they did not accurately reflect the political realities of the time in which they were set. He guaranteed to pay refunds to any reader unhappy with the new version of a title. As of the summer of 2009, he had paid out $673.

Finally who could forget the ultimate dissatisfied fan, Annie Wilkes? Memorably played by Kathy Bates in the 1990 film Misery based on Stephen King’s novel by the same name, Annie’s deadly antics as a novelist’s “number one fan” could chill the blood of even the most stalwart of writers. It’s enough to make you think twice about killing off a character…or even approaching the keyboard at all!


ShareReads appears on the DCPLive blog on Fridays. Each week, a different person will share a little about what they’re currently reading, and why they like or don’t like it. The heart of ShareReads will be responses from blog readers, and the window of opportunity here is wide. Feel free to respond and discuss the book or author being mentioned, ask or answer a question, or even take the conversation in a different direction: mention what you are currently reading, and how you feel about it. The point of ShareReads is to have an ongoing discussion about books and reading. Remember: posting a response also counts as an activity for the Summer Reading for Adults program.

I recently came across One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez and shuddered as I remembered slogging through it after several dear friends praised it to the rafters.  I managed to read the entire book over the course of many months of picking it up, getting annoyed, putting it down, feeling guilty about putting it down, whining about it and picking it up again.  It was a vicious cycle!

I have yet to figure out why there is so much love for One Hundred Years of Solitude.  As other people have shared their fondness for the book with me, I have stopped and asked why they feel the way that they do.  And, I am still baffled after all these years.  I know that I found the book dull, pointless and a bit annoying.  I do not see or understand their reverent chattering on the masterful use of magical realism, poetic prose and powerful plotting.  Nope, sorry, I did not feel the earth move under my feet as I turned the pages.

Other books that folks have told me are their absolute, most favorite, top-10-on-the-list-of-must-have-items-if-stranded on a desert island, that I have arched my eyebrow at:

  • Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov.  I have attempted to read this three times (in earnest, I promise) and have yet to make it past page 53.
  • Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand.  I loved the start of this book, but lost that love and feeling when she started proselytizing Objectivism in the middle of the book.
  • A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole.  The main character is way too whiny and lazy (and, this is coming from a proud self proclaimed lazy whiner) for me to stomach or relate to.
  • Absurdistan by Gary Shteyngart.  See the comments above.  This is A Confederacy of Dunces set in Russia.  Blech.

But hey, I love Thomas Hardy’s Jude the Obscure, which others have found to be totally convoluted and depressing, and Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight (not the whole series, just this one; Breaking Dawn definitely falls into the category of ugh), which others have found to be absolutely atrocious and vapid.  Every book has its reader, no?  What are some of the books that you’ve been told are the bestest but leave you cold, bored, or just scratching your head?


Dec 4 2008

Twilight: the movie

by Ginny C

We’ve talked about Breaking Dawn before it was released and after we’d had a chance to read it. So now let’s talk about the theatrical release of Twilight.

I will admit to thoroughly enjoying it. The acting, however, was sometimes excruciatingly bad and Carlyle’s make-up was awful. Those minor quibbles aside, I thought it was pretty good. It stayed true to the book, which I think some fans were worried about. And, Robert Pattinson made the perfect Edward in my opinion, although I know some people will disagree with that.

Now it’s your turn. Have you seen it? Did you see the midnight show on November 20 (like I did) or wait for a more reasonable time to see it? Did it meet your expectations? Did you catch author Stephenie Meyer’s cameo?


Sep 17 2008

Breaking Dawn

by Ginny C

WARNING:  This post may contain spoilers.  Do not read ahead if you haven’t read the book.

Ok, now that that’s out of the way.  Several weeks ago when Breaking Dawn was released, I wrote a post asking what you thought would happen and what you hoped would happen.  It’s been over a month since it was published and it’s time for a follow-up to see if it met or exceeded your expectations.  Or if it completely failed and you would rather pretend it had never been written.

I have conflicting feelings about it.  It’s nice to have it wrapped up and see everyone live happily ever (and ever and ever, in some cases) after.  But, I did not care for Renesmee or her storyline with Jacob.  That minor quibble aside, I thought it mostly lived up to my expectations.

So, your feelings about Breaking Dawn?  Did you love it?  Did you hate it?  Do you have a favorite in the series?  Share your opinions in the comments.  And don’t forget that Twilight the movie comes out November 21.  We’ll meet back here again after it’s released to discuss it, the actors, and how true it was to the book.


May 20 2008

Best Teen Book of the Year

by Heather S

The ballots
have been cast and counted for the 2007-2008 Georgia Peach Award. After a year
of reading the twenty nominated titles, high school students across the state
voted for their favorite one at their public and school libraries.

And, the winner is Twilight
by Stephanie Meyer!

Honor book winners for the year are I’d
tell you that I love you but then I’d have to kill you
by Ally Carter and Peeps
by Scott Westerfield.

To see a
list of the nominated titles for 2007-2008 or for more information on what the award
is all about, check out the Georgia Library Media Association’s page on the Peach Award

Stay tuned
for the nominees for 2008-2009!


Oct 1 2007

Total “Eclipse”

by Jesse

“Twilight” by Stephenie Meyer was just so fantastic, that I quickly devoured the sequel “New Moon.” Now? I’m pretty much her personal slave.

So, in honor of the release of the third book in this trilogy “Eclipse” on August 7th, the Toco Hill-Avis G. Williams Branch will be hosting an Eclipse Prom on Halloween night!


Twilight Newmooncover

What to Wear

Dress to impress! There will be a Best Look-a-Like contest for those who dress like characters from the books. The prize? An AUTOGRAPHED copy of “Eclipse” signed by Stephenie Meyer!

Um, Do We Have to Bring a Date?

Hey, if you’ve got one, go ahead and bring them, but they’ll be plenty of us going stag!

Ok, I’m In! So, When and Where is the Prom?

Wednesday October 31st, 6:00-8:00PM

Toco Hill-Avis G. Williams Library, 1282 McConnell Drive, Decatur, GA 30033

Have no idea what I’m talking about?

Check the first two books out @ your library.

Want to learn more about Stephenie Meyer and other Eclipse Proms across the country?

Visit her website!

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