Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Events October 5th-9th: Writers and Gaming


Writer's Workshop for Teens
Mondays on the following dates:
September 21, 
October 5, 19, 
November 2, 16, 30
6-7:30 p.m.
Meet at the Robbins Library Reference Desk
Work with Lynette Benton, published writer and writing instructor, to begin or move forward on your writing projects. Ms. Benton will inspire and guide you on your writing journey. Bring writing you’ve been working on (short story, novel excerpt, poetry). For
ages 12-18.

Game Time Hang Time
Thursday, October 8
3-4:30 p.m.
Robbins Library Community Room
Teens, come hang out after school and play some PS4 and WiiU games.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Book Group starring Two Boys Kissing!

Tonight, Tuesday, September 29 is the Teens Only LGBTQ Book Group from 7 to 8 p.m. in the Robbins Library's 4th Floor Conference Room.
This book group is just for LGBTQA teens and their teen allies. Two Boys Kissing by David Levithan is this month's book selection. Even if you don’t get a chance to read the book, please join us to discuss future meetings and to choose a book for the October meeting. Books are available in the Teen Area.

The Conference Room can be accessed by taking the red carpet staircase at the front entrance or the elevator directly to the 4th floor.

Friday, September 25, 2015

How To Get Away With All Your Gayness ( An LGBT Booklist )

An Amazing Post by Melanie "Khaleesi"


       If you are like me- an awesome  LGBTQIAP person- you like to hear about anything and everything gay. Thanks to social media and the passing of gay marriage last June, the rainbow flag has been waved openly and proudly. Yet, if you are also like me, you are a big bookworm (and since you're actually reading this blog, I bet that you are. Unless you're in denial. In that case, it's okay. You're in a safe space). You want to read words about boys liking boys, girls liking girls, and everything else about being your true self. So if you're homosexual literature deprived, or if you're just book-curious, here are my favorite LGBTQIAP books for LGBTQIAP youth:

Full Disclosure: I don't have many books about bi/pansexuality. I apologize on behalf of the literature community and hope to update this list soon.

George by Alex Gino:

      This book may be fairly recent, but it is definitely one of the best. I read this the whole way through at a bookstore, and I cannot describe to you my puffy-eyed face after I was done. The story is about a girl named George. Actually, she was born with a penis, and people call her a boy, but she knows that she is a beautiful girl named Melissa. After her fourth-grade teacher announces that her class will put on a production of Charlotte's Web, George knows that deep down in her heart, she wants to play Charlotte.
      The width of the novel deals with George and her struggle with coming out as transgender. While known to be an adult topic, George is written for the middle school reading level, giving insight to younger audiences about tolerance to those who are different than you. The highlight of the novel is definitely its characters. George is a delight, and the rest are absolutely wonderful to read. Fun fact: Alex Gino is intersex, using pronouns "they" or "their". How cool is that?


      The Miseducation of Cameron Post by emily m. danforth:
      This award-winning novel is definitely one of my favorites. Set in early 90's Montana, Cameron Post is an avid swimmer with a dark secret: She likes to kiss girls. After her parents die in a car crash, Cameron is sent to live with her conservative aunt, who is the kind of person to send someone to a anti-gay Christian camp. Everything starts to go downhill for Cameron when she meets the girl of her dreams.
      What I like about this book is Cameron's voice. danforth so eloquently writes in first-person, with Cameron experiencing her coming-of-age. While the majority of the novel does deal with LBGT issues, it does have some great moments of Cameron stealing gum from a convenience store, watching movies up in the attic, and smoking pot for the first time. This book is also a great insight towards Cameron's grief over her parents, who actually feels relief when her parents die because they'll never find out she's gay.
      And if you're still not hooked, there is a really hot sex scene in this.


Totally Joe by James Howe
      You might know him as the author of the Bunnicula books, but Howe has also written another great series, The Misfits, which is personally one of my favorites. Each book focuses on one character, or "misfit". This is the second book in the series, which focuses on Joe, a homosexual middle-schooler. Joe's English teacher gives him a project where he has to alphabetize his life ( so a chapter would be about a word that starts with an "A", then "B", "C", "D", etc. ) and write a moral at the end of each chapter. We read Joe's project, where he talks about coming out, having a boyfriend, and struggling with middle school bullies. As we all know, middle school bullies are the worst.
      In all honesty, it really bothered me how Howe made Joe sound. He writes the chapters like a stereotypical gay male, like adding an excessive amount of smiley faces, for example. But if you can look past that, you will find a kind, hilarious person named Joe who will warm your heart and make you smile. Howe has said he wishes he could have been like Joe when he was in middle school, and I can see why.

Annie on My Mind by Nancy Garden
      Okay, so this is an oldie, probably published in your mother's day, but this a very important novel. Why? Because this was one, if not the first book that allowed a lesbian couple to have a happy ending. Really think about that. Prior to Annie, lesbians in books either a) became straight or b) died. So yeah, thank you Nancy Garden!
      With the weight of this book in mind, you'll be surprised of how simple the story is: girl meets girl, they fall in love, and have to deal with the pressuring prejudice of society, the end. But that's what I like about this book. It doesn't make a big deal about the girls being gay. There are mentions of the couple reading about other lesbians to find about themselves, but that's completely normal even of straight people. The way and her partner, Liza, are described in this is so parallel to a straight couple. The author also doesn't make them bland characters. These girls are so full of life, and I absolutely want them to be real. I loved, loved, loved this book.

The Picture of Dorian Gray (Uncensored) by Oscar Wilde
      This, other than The Color Purple, is the most famous classic novel of a homosexual person... today. Back in 1890, when Wilde published his novel opus, people were horrified of the sexual nature of his characters, so the book was censored of its "untasteful content."
      Until now.
      If you want to get the good gay stuff, you have to read the uncensored version of the novel. If you don't, then you're just going to get a White Guy who is Horrible to Women and Likes to Murder People. I should probably talk about the plot of this, but I assume most of you Sparknoted this and pretty much know everything. For those of you who didn't, Dorian Gray is a young man living in 19th century London. After reciveing a portrait by aquaintence Basil ( who most defs has the hots for Gray ),  Dorian makes a realization: he will never age, but his portrait will. The rest of the novel follows Dorian into his face-dive of sin, and his ever-changing ugly painting.
      I never finished this book because of the men of the story are horribly sexist, and that almost made me vomit. But if you can stomach the crudeness, then give Dorian Gray a try. I'm not sure if there is a gay sex scene in this, but the way these men describe each other totally oozes in the man-lovin'.
      Now the movie on the other hand...

The Color Purple by Alice Walker*
      This is my last classic book, I promise. I just feel the obligation to include this.
      The story follows Celie, a young woman who was raped by her daddy, got knocked up twice, and given away to a man simply known as Mr. _________ who also rapes her. So if you can handle that darkness, the story takes a turn when Shug Avery, a famous blues singer and past lover of Mr. _______ , comes to stay with Celie and form a different, yet powerful bond.
      If the description didn't warn you enough, this is a dark book. But there is also a sweet love story between Shug and Celie. The biggest problem I have with the book is that it's narrated in first person. Celie doesn't know how to read, write, or spell very well, so most of the time you're trying to figure what the heck she's saying. However, I do recommend this book highly for those who are interested.

Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green & David Levithan
      The author of The Fault in our Stars teamed up with the author of some of the most popular LGBTQ books ever to create Will Grayson, Will Grayson. The story follows two  boys named Will Grayson.
The first one is overshadowed by his friend Tiny, an ironic name for he's ginormously fat, plays on the football team, and is incredibly gay. The other Will Grayson is a gay boy who is depressed and talks only in lowercase letters. When these two meet in downtown Chicago, things change sporatically.
      For those of you who are new John Green fans, this isn't as good as TFIOS, but that doesn't mean it's bad. In fact, it's downright hilarious. One of the plot threads is Tiny putting on his own musical, and the last few chapters dedicate themselves to writing down the hilarious lyrics of the songs ( one of the song titles is "The Quarterback Likes Tight Ends". You can figure out the rest).  WHY CAN'T THIS BE REAL? WHY CAN'T I HAVE NICE THINGS? There's also a completely touching ending that makes many teenagers cry on Facebook. Yeah, this is a good read. If you like this book, David Levithan has a slew of homosexual content for teens, including Boy Meets Boy and Two Boys Kissing.

Almost Perfect by Brian Katcher
       A new girl at school, Sage, catches the eye of Logan, who can't stop thinking of her. After a kiss too late, Logan learns the truth about Sage: she's a guy.
      This book mainly focuses on these two characters. Logan battles his inner thoughts, wondering if he's gay because he's attracted to Sage. Sage has to deal with her parents, especially her father, who doesn't even look at her anymore. I'm going to be very vague about this read because this book is based on surprise and twist. You should totally check it out because the way Sage is described here, she would give Caitlyn Jenner a run for her money.

Empress of the World by Sara Ryan
      So, are you guys too young to know what Dawson's Creek is? Or do I just want to be accepted by the X-generation? The reason I bring Dawson's Creek up (besides the fact it was the first show to ever have a gay kiss!) is because this book gets compared to that show a lot. Why? Because they both have teenagers that are waaaaaaayyyyyyy to mature for their own good.
           However, if that's something you can let by, here's the plot:
      Nicola is attending a summer summit for gifted children. Along with meeting very colorful characters, the one that really gets her attention is Battle, a dancer who steals Nic's heart.
      This book is one of the very few books that have to deal with bisexuality. While most of the characters are relateble, there is one who's just used as a plot device. The character that I fell in love with was Katrina, with her wild red hair and her leggings printed with tiny explotives.
        As one teenager said after she read the book, "This author plays with your heart like a friggin' fiddle."


Fun Home by Alison Bechdel
      From one gay medium to another very gay medium. Ever since it won the Tony for Best
Original Musical, it's very hard to avoid this wrecking ball. For those of you who do not know, this is a graphic novel-memoir about Bechdel growing up in a funeral home, aka "Fun Home". While she and her dad did not see eye to eye on many topics, they did share one huge secret: They were both gay.
      Feminists know Bechdel as the creator of the Bechdel Test. Old lesbians know Bechdel from her comic series Dykes to Watch Out For (which is also really good, btw. Even though it was made in the 80's, it still has many relevant factors). Everyone else will know her for her stunning masterpiece.

 

I'll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson
      This book has been called the next TFIOS. Are they right? Well... no. TFIOS was one of the first novels to portray a common yet deadly illness in such a clever way. Nothing can reach the impact that TFIOS had with so many people. And with that tangent out of the way, I present I'll Give You the Sun
     Jude and Noah are twins. In this book, Jude is trying to create a marble sculpture, but can't do it. So she seeks out a recluse artist to mentor and guide her. Hijinks insue.
     A few years back, Noah fell in love with a boy. Hijinks ensued, but didn't end up well.
     This books deals with coping, tragedy, and finding the beauty in moving on. This is a very good book to read.





Tessa Masterson WILL Go to Prom by Emily Franklin & Brendan Haplin
       Ohmygodohmygdohmygodohmygodohmygodohmygod I LOVED THIS BOOK.
     Lucas and Tessa have been best friends since... ever. The whole town is just waiting for them to become a couple. So Lucas, who is in fact in love with Tessa, asks her to their senior prom with an over-the-top promposal. There's just 2 problems:
1. Tessa is gay
2. She already has a girlfriend
      However, this won't stop Tessa from going to prom, no siree. She's going to prom, with her girlfriend, and in a tuxedo instead of a dress. After Lucas badmouths her to the school newspaper, the town is just ready to hang Tessa by her neck.
      While the description I just gave sounds morbid, I just loved this book. The only problem I have with it is that there is this big pop star in this book's universe, and yes, it is very clear of who the writers are basing off of. Nevertheless, this is a great book that is so fun to read.    

Am I Blue? by Various Authors
      This collection of short stories all center around an LGBT issue. Some of the stories are underwhelming, but that's only because the rest are extremely powerful. My personal favorite is a girl coming out to her grandmother, who is a Holocaust survivor. The outcome completely moved me.
       These stories are pretty old, but timeless nonetheless.

Simon Vs. The Homo Sapien's Agenda
      To be perfectly honest, I didn't enjoy this book all that much.
      Don't get me wrong, it's really really good. It's just that I know these boys like Simon. The white, nerdy, gay boys who think they understand this world. The story is pretty standard as well, only because I've read so many other coming-out books like this.
      However, I am just a teen who has access to a library blog. People really like this book, and don't let me judge you on it. Go check it out for yourself.

Freak Boy by Kristin Elizabeth Clark
      Don't you just love poetry books? I loved when my teacher gave us poetry books to read because I thought we were just reading less and didn't have to try that hard.
      If you didn't get the hint, this book is written without prose. It also tries to answer this question:
Who is Brendan?
     Brendan was born a boy, but sometimes feels like a girl. He likes to wear bras, and his World of Warcraft avatar is a girl. When he goes to see a ballet and is entranced by one of the dancers, does he want her? Or does he want to be her?
          This is a very important book because it's one of the only books to have an intersex character. While it does focus on Brendan's point of view, the novel also lets us hear the thoughts of Vanessa, Brendan's girlfriend, and Angel, a transgender woman. This book is great for those who can't commit to a whole novel, but wants a powerful message to change them at the end.

Beauty Queens by Libba Bray
    Technically not LGBTQ centered, but I put this on here for two reasons:

1) There are two characters here who are on the LGBT spectrum (one being lesbian; one being transgender).

2) IT'S BEAUTY QUEENS, ONE OF THE FUNNIEST BOOKS OF OUR GENERATION!
     
I judge you immensely if you have not read Beauty Queens, but now is the time to start. It's about these beauty queen contestants who survive a plane crash on a deserted island. And honestly, nothing else I can say can bring this book justice. It's that funny. Please go read this, whether you're straight or gay, cis or trans; everyone should read this amazing book.

     Okay, so there are a lot of books that I need to read, and give you my opinion on. So be prepared for How to Get Away With All Your Gayness Part 2! Please comment down below what books I missed, and I'll be sure to read/give them a shout out on the next post!
      And now, fly my sparkly pretties! Run free to your fabulous habitats, and stay there with all these wonderful books in your hands!

*Major trigger warning






      

Monday, September 21, 2015

Weekly Teen Events Featuring Writing, Rainbows, and Chips!

Writer's Workshop for Teens
Mondays on the following dates:
September 21, 
October 5, 19, 
November 2, 16, 30
6-7:30 p.m.
Meet at the Robbins Library Reference Desk
Work with Lynette Benton, published writer and writing instructor, to begin or move forward on your writing projects. Ms. Benton will inspire and guide you on your writing journey. Bring writing you’ve been working on (short story, novel excerpt, poetry). For ages 12-18.  
Reserve your spot here.


LGBTQA Drop In Night
Tuesday, September 22
7-8:30 p.m.
Robbins Library Conference Room
Are you a lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, ace, or questioning teen? Are you a teen ally for LGBTQA teens? If you answered yes to either of these questions then we invite you to come to this event! Meet like-minded teens from the community and enjoy a night of fun. This month we will be screening Saved!, rated PG-13. This monthly event is cosponsored by the BAHS QSA and the Robbins Library. The BAHS QSA meets every Tuesday morning, and all teens are welcome. For more information, contact bahsqsa@gmail.com or watsonam@verizon.net or visit facebook: https://www.facebook.com/bahsqsa


Food Friday

Friday, September 25
3-4 p.m.
Robbins Library Teen Area
Come to the Teen Area and sample the latest food gimmick! This food tasting event is for teens only. Food Friday is not recommended for those with food allergies.


Monday, September 14, 2015

Calling All Writers!

The Writer's Workshop for Teens is back for another season! As per usual, the group will meet every other Monday night and last through the fall. Here are all the pertinent details:

The when:
Mondays on September 21, October 5, 19, November 2, 16, 30 from 6-7:30 p.m.

The where:
Meet at the Robbins Library Reference Desk

The what:
Work with Lynette Benton, published writer and writing instructor, to begin or move forward on your writing projects. Ms. Benton will inspire and guide you on your writing journey. Bring writing you’ve been working on (short story, novel excerpt, poetry). 

The who:
This group is for ages 12 through 18

Anything else?
Registration is not required but it will guarantee you have a spot in the workshop. Click here to make sure you have a place at the table.

Questions?
Feel free to call me at 781-316-3204 or email me (the address is listed under my picture, just change the [a] to @ in the address) with questions regarding this program.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Happy Town Day and Giant Book Sale!

We may not be open for regular business hours, but we are having a massive book sale organized by our wonderful Friends group! Every year there are amazing books at bargain prices! The book sale starts at 10 am.

The Robbins Library will reopen on Monday, September 14 with regular hours.

Happy Town Day!

Friday, September 4, 2015

Closed for Labor Day

The library is closed for the holiday weekend. We will be open normal hours on Tuesday. Enjoy the long weekend!

I Like Big Books...

I know many of you are finishing up your summer reading, but if you are one of the few and the proud who finished early then this might be the perfect book list for you! I have put up a display of favorite "Big Books", roughly 500 pages or more, and they are waiting for you to take them home! Here are some of the titles you might find on the display:

The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley
Diviners by Libba Bray
Going Bovine by Libba Bray
Graceling by Kristin Cashore
Inkheart by Cornelia Funke
Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margie Stohl
Eon: Dragoneye Reborn by Alison Goodman
Gone by Michael Grant
Seraphina by Rachel Hartman
Crank by Ellen Hopkins
Eye of the World by Robert Jordan
It by Stephen King
Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers
The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
Ashfall by Mike Mullin
Eragon by Christopher Paolini
The Kiss of Deception by Mary E Pearson
The Lost Hero by Rick Riordan
The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss
Blankets by Craig Thompson
The 5th Wave by by Rick Yancey
Blood Red Road by Moira Young
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

More titles will be featured on the Big Books display in the Teen Area through the month of September.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

New Catalog: What is THIS?!?!

If you are trying to figure out if a book is available at the library today you may be confused because the catalog looks completely different. No, you are not dreaming. This is our new catalog! I know that the old catalog was near and dear to many of us, including staff, but life is full of changes and we must embrace them if we want to be successful going forward (apologies on the extra cheese in that final statement).

Yes, this new catalog looks very different and is going to take some getting used to. I will not sugarcoat it, you will need to relearn how to navigate the catalog. The great this is that you can do so much more with this new catalog. Luckily for you, I’m giving you some super basic tricks to get you started. I promise it is not as terrible as it looks. Okay, take a deep breathe. Are you ready?



You probably notice these big misshapen red arrows, GREAT! The first one on the top left indicates that you can limit searches to what is currently available to check out at the library by clicking “At a Library”. That means that the item has been checked in at circulation and is ready to be checked out. I’m going to continue going down the “Refine by:” box to make this less confusing. Next you have “Format”, which is exactly what it sounds like, the medium of the item. Books will limit you to print books. Anything that says digital will be online content. At the bottom left of the image you will see an arrow next to Arlington under “Location”. This will restrict your search only to items that we have here in our Arlington Libraries, this will include Robbins and the Fox Library.

Now I get to tell you about one of my favorite features in our new catalog! When you do a search, you don’t have to click on the title and wait for another page to load to find out whether or not the item is in the building or where else it might be available. This may not seem like a big deal, but if you have tried to look up a popular book that the networks has a bazillions copies of then you have experienced what feels like an eternal wait to load the page. Instead, just click the “see all” link, under the title and format of an item, then you are able to view whether the item is available here or at other libraries in our network. This may not seem cool to most people, but heavy users of the catalog are rejoicing over this addition. 

Yes, there is much more I could show you about using our new catalog, but these are just the basics to get you started. One more thing I can suggest is signing into your account at the beginning of your search if you are interested in digital articles or ebooks. You wont be able to view our online holdings if you aren’t logged in. Again, this is only for digital content; you can still see physical library materials without signing in. 

I hope I don’t need to say this (but I’d rather say it then not), if you have any questions about our new catalog PLEASE ask a staff member. We expect these questions as we had many ourselves. Many of us are still learning the ins and outs of this new system because of all the new features.