Whats New Category: Guys Reads

Inifinite Kung Fu by Kagan McLeod

Infinite Kung FuInfinite Kung Fu by Kagan McLeod

If you are a fan of martial arts or kung fu movies, then you should read Infinite Kung Fu by Kagan McLeod. Infinite Kung Fu is a collection of McLeod’s self published comics.  What McLeod has put together is a story that centers on main character, Lei Kung, who is the chosen one to defeat the evil emperor.  Lei Kung’s journey to attaining the skills to defeat the emperor is set against the backdrop of a world where technology is gone, people have returned back to the old ways, and zombies ravage the land.  Along the way he finds help and guidance from many, but the one who helps him the most is the Moog Joogular.  He is a smooth talking, butt kicking, super cool dude, and a great throw back character that is reminiscent of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and other African American martial artists that became popular in the 1960’s and 1970’s.  The Moog Joogular character is one of the biggest reasons you should read this book.  He is awesome!

In addition to some great characters, McLeod also really hit on some good points of martial arts and what practicing should mean to someone, through the character of Lei Kung. My favorite scene is when he is talking with Li Zhao over a meal. Lei Kung says, “With a basic knowledge and respect for all styles, one can always hope to counter any technique!” and “A kung fu instructor’s greatest accomplishment is to have his student surpass him. It’s a pity for some students their teachers keep their best techniques to themselves.”  Check out what that scene looks like (obviously Li Zhao does not like what Lei Kung has to say):

Infinite Kung Fu layout

I think this is a great message to send to those who love martial arts: patience and dedication pay off and martial art forms should be shared and not hidden away as some unattainable knowledge.  Infinite Kung Fu is an excellent read for any age.  Click here to find it in the Library!

March Madness is upon us

March is the ultimate month to be a basketball fan!  If you can break yourself away from NCAA tournament, then check out some of these basketball themed books (click on the cover to find it in the Library!):

The Final Four by Paul Volponi

YA VOLPONI, P.

Alternating chapters center on four different players on the two teams that meet in a semi-final game of the NCAA Final Four Tournament.

 

 

Last Shot by John Feinstein

YA MY FEINSTEIN, J.

Two eighth grade students win the opportunity to cover the NCAA Final Four first hand as journalists, but while reporting live at the tournament they uncover a scandal that involves blackmail.

 

 

Game by Walter Dean Myers

YA MYERS, W.

Drew is a senior living in Harlem and has dreams of making it in the NBA, but he has to learn to control his anger issues first.

 

 

Boy21 by Matthew Quick

YA QUICK, M.

Two basketball teammates, one black and one white, form a connection through tutoring and find that they have a lot more in common than they had first thought.

 

 

Pick-Up Game book coverThe Pick-Up Game: a Full Day of Full Court

YA SS PICK-UP

This collection of short stories focuses on different perspectives of one pick up game played on a hot day in July in New York City.

 

 

Girl Got Game by Shizuru Seino

YA GRAPH SEINO, S. V.1

This manga series centers on Kyo, whose father is determined to live out his NBA dreams through his daughter.  Her father signs her up for the boy’s basketball team and Kyo masquerades as a boy on the team to make her father happy.

 

Basketball Slave by Mark Johnson

YA 796.323 JOHNSON, A.

Andy Johnson’s son, Mark Johnson, tells his father’s story of how Andy became one of the original Harlem Globetrotters.

 

 

In the Paint: Tattoos of the NBA and the Stories Behind Them by Andrew Gottlieb

YA 796.323 GOTTLIEB, A.

This is a collection of high res photos of some of the more unique NBA tattoos and the first hand stories by the players about why they got them.

 

 

When March Went Mad by Seth Davis

796.3236 DAVIS, S.

Larry Bird and Magic Johnson are famous for one of the most well known basketball games in history: the 1979 NCAA Championship game between the Michigan State Spartans and the Indiana State Sycamores.  Davis retells the events that led up to the famous game.

 

Longshot by Lance Allred

796.323 ALLRED, L.

Lance Allred is the NBA’s first deaf player.  In this memoir he tells his story of growing up in a fundamentalist Mormon household, realizing his dream of being in the NBA, and how hard it was to get there.

 

The Ultimate Book of March Madness by Tom Hager

796.3236 HAGER, T.

This book includes a history of every NCAA tournament from 1930 to present and provides an analysis of the top 100 games played in the tournament.

Pirate Cinema by Cory Doctorow

Pirate Cinema by Cory Doctorow

Set in a near future dystopian Britain, Pirate Cinema centers on Trent McCauley.  Trent is an average teenage guy, with an obsession for creating movies.  Not the regular “point the camera and action!” movies, though. Trent takes footage from old movies (his favorite are old films starring the popular actor, Scot Colford) and splices them together to create a new movie. What Trent does is technically illegal under copyright law.  But Trent just can’t stop making his movies, and he knows what he creates are really good. Trent just assumes that since everyone illegally downloads movies, music, and whatever else, as long as he is careful he will be fine. However, Trent is not careful and he gets caught. As punishment, his entire family cannot access the Internet for an entire year. This means his sister can’t do her homework and continue to be an A student, his mom can’t get her medical prescriptions, and worst of all his dad cannot work. Trent is ashamed and feels so guilty that he runs away from home to the streets of London.

One his first day on the streets he meets Jem, a street kid that helps him survive. Jem and Trent actually do pretty well for themselves. They find food for free from the dumpsters of grocery stores and restaurants and they find an abandoned pub that they refurbish and are able to live in (illegally). They are so comfortable, in fact, that Trent is able to start making his movies again and soon he finds himself being recognized in the underground pirating culture of London.  Trent’s underground fame, however, gets him involved with a political movement that wants to legalize downloading and copying licensed works for creative use. Is Trent in over his head, or is he just the right person to take this movement all the way to Parliament?

The main focus of this Pirate Cinema is technology, piracy, fair use, and the right to creative expression.  However, this novel is packed with a ton of interesting issues. There’s the drama of Trent living on the streets and learning how to survive, the family issues that Trent has to deal with, and there is even a love interest for Trent. You should definitely pick this book up if you are interested in technology, especially when it comes to fair use and creative expression.

Astonishing X-Men: Gifted by Joss Whedon and John Cassaday

Astonishing X-Men: Gifted by Joss Whedon and John Cassaday

If you’re like me, then you can’t get enough of X-Men.  Instead of going back and watching all the movies again, I suggest picking up Astonishing X-Men: Gifted by Joss Whedon and John Cassaday.  Yes, Joss Whedon is the guy that brought you The Avengers movie earlier this year, and is most famous for his TV show Buffy, the Vampire Slayer.

The story of the first volume, Gifted, is this:  Professor X is on sabbatical and Jean Grey is dead.  Cyclops and Emma Frost are acting as heads of Xavier’s School.  Wolverine, Kitty Pryde, and Beast are joining the faculty and make up the new X-Men team.  Most of the story in Gifted is told through Kitty Pryde’s point of view.  News breaks of a possible cure for the mutant strain, while at the same time the X-Men encounter a new enemy–Ord.  But, the new cure and new enemy may be one in the same…

Before reading Gifted, I had not known much about Kitty Pryde (only that she was from Deerfield, IL!).  As soon as I got into the story, though, she definitely became my new favorite X-Men character!  The way that Whedon and Cassaday portrayed her made her a really relatable character.  I also really got into the storyline that developed with her and Colossus (Peter Rasputin) .  Also, there’s Lockheed, Kitty Pryde’s pet X-Dragon, and for that alone you’ll want to pick this book up!

The story had me hooked from the beginning but Cassaday’s artwork in this comic is also really well done.  It conveys the emotion of the action.  A lot of strips are done in single colored tones that fits the mood of what’s happening on the page.  One of the best examples of this is where Kitty sees Colossus (Peter Rasputin) for the first time after she believes him dead. All the strips are done in all red tones and are interlaced with black and white memories. It is really visually appealing.  Check it out:

 

Curveball: the Year I Lost My Grip by Jordan Sonnenblick

Curveball: the Year I Lost My Grip by Jordan Sonnenblick

The summer before Peter’s Freshmen year, he suffers a serious arm injury while pitching in his little league championship game.  The game was a critical one, because it would have shown his soon to be high school baseball coaches that he was a gifted pitcher that could easily make the JV team.  Now, however, Peter’s pitching days are over.  The injury to his arm required surgery and Peter seems to has lost any idea of what to do with himself now that he can’t play baseball.

Peter’s only other passion in life has been photography.  His interest has been cultivated through years of spending time with his grandfather, who is a professional photographer.  Peter has learned all the ins and outs of a camera, both old school and digital.  When he walks into his first day of Introducton to Photography, he is clearly ahead of the class.  Both Peter and another student, Angelika, are sent to the Advanced Photogtraphy class.  Being the only two Freshmen in a class of upperclassmen instantly creates a friendship between Peter and Angelika.

Peter and Angelika’s friendship becomes something more, however, when they begin working together taking photos for the yearbook.  Things seem to be changing for Peter as he begins to find out who he is when he can no longer be the star pitcher.  However, as Peter begins to find himself, his grandfather seems to be losing himself.  Can Peter get his family to recognize that their grandfather needs help before it is too late?

Curveball has a lot going on in its pages.  At first this novel seems pretty simple: a guy has to figure out who he is when he can no longer be a sports star.  However, with the addition of a possible new girlfriend, a best friend who truly believes Peter will pitch again, and a grandfather whose mind is slipping, Peter’s life is complicated.  When you’re reading Curveball, though, you never feel like you are overwhelmed with Peter’s problems.  It is a really good read that never feels like there is too much drama.  I also really liked Peter.  He was relatable and is a character who had flaws that he was able to overcome.

You should definitely pick this book up if you are looking for a good, realistic read that has a cast of characters that feel like your own friends and family.