Whats New Category: Staff Picks

Baby’s in Black by Arne Bellstorf

babys in blackBaby’s In Black: Astrid Kirchherr, Stuart Sutcliffe, and the Beatles by Arne Bellstorf

If you are a fan of the Beatles, then you will definitely want to pick up the graphic novel, Baby’s In Black.  Through black and white drawings, Arne Bellstorf tells the story of the “Lost Beatle” Stuart Sutcliffe.  Sutcliffe was the original bass player for The Beatles when they were starting out, playing seedy clubs in Germany in 1960.  Sutcliffe is a fascinating part of The Beatles history, as he was also an accomplished artist and writer who chose to leave The Bealtes right before they made it big.  While playing with The Beatles in a dive bar in Germany, Sutcliffe met Astrid Kirchhherr, a local photographer.  Astrid also plays an important role in The Beatles history: she shot some of the most famous early portraits of The Beatles when they were in Germany, and are also some of the only photos that include Sutcliffe in the mix.  Shortly after meeting, Stuart and Astrid fell in love.  It was then that Sutcliffe  decided that The Beatles were not for him.  He wanted to stay in Germany with Astrid and focus on his painting.  Tragically, though, Sutcliffe’s life was cut short when he died from a brain hemorrhage in 1962.  He never had the chance to marry Astrid or to see how successful The Beatles would become.

This graphical novel really does justice to the story of Sutcliffe’s time with The Beatles and his romance with Astrid.  The author, Arne Bellstorf, worked closely with Astrid to get details right and put the emotional punch in this story that only Astrid could provide.  It is also a really great snapshot of the short time that The Beatles spent in Germany, playing wherever they could, right before they became uber-famous.  Finally, the art in this book is pretty simple, but also really expressive.  I think the style of drawing was my most favorite things about this graphic novel, and I am a huge fan of The Beatles so I loved getting  a new insight to a story I know well.  Here are a couple of examples of the art in Baby’s In Black:

Babys in Black 1

This first example is of Astrid and her boss looking artwork and talking about light and expression in classic art. It’s really cool how the art is depicted here, and how they are talking about the expression and lighting which is exactly what comes through in the art of Baby’s in Black.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Babys in Black 2

In this second photograph, Bellstorf recreates Astrid’s famous photos of The Beatles.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ultraviolet by R.J. Anderson

UltravioletUltraviolet by R.J. Anderson

What would you do if you woke up in a psychiatric ward, with no memory of how you got there? That is what happens to Allison at the beginning of Ultraviolet. We meet Allison when she awakes, restrained in a bed in a psych ward. As she remembers more and more about what happened to her, the mystery is revealed as to the strange and unexplainable event that occurred that landed her in that bed.

Allison witnessed her classmate Tori’s death. However, this was a death that was like no other because Tori literally unraveled before Allison’s eyes. Allison does not know if what she saw was real, she thinks it is, but is too scared to tell anyone. Even worse, the police suspect that Allison may be guilty of Tori’s murder since she was the last one to see her alive.

Ultraviolet is an exciting read! It is one part mystery and one part science fiction, and I guarantee you will never guess the truth of what Allison saw. This novel definitely kept me guess up until the end of the book. One cool thing about this novel is that you never really know if Allison can be trusted, but the story is from her point of view so you wonder if you are getting the true story. I would definitely recommend this novel to anyone who likes a good mystery, and also to those who like sci-fi, action and adventure reads.  Click here to find Ultraviolet in the Library!

The Blessed by Tonya Hurley

OK, I admit it: I picked this book up purely because of its cover.  The girl is so creepy and there is something not quite right about her–I think it is the eyes… Anyways, I am glad that I judged a book by its cover, because The Blessed turned out to be a really good read!

This novel starts out as we are introduced to three different teenage girls.  Each of these girls finds themselves in the same emergency room on the same night.  Agnes is the kind of girl who tries to do everything right, but ends up feeling miserable.  She tries to kill herself after her most recent breakup with a boy who she was head over heels in love with.  Cecilia is a very talented musician, but she is heading down the wrong path.  After a gig, she parties a little too hard and is rushed to the ER when she almost drowns in a puddle.  Then there’s Lucy.  She is a famous socialite who has everything anyone could want.  Unfortunately, that comes with a price, as she is surrounded by people who are a bad influence.  She is brought into the ER because of an accidental overdose.  After each of these girls are treated and released from the ER, they are visited by an enigmatic stranger.  The young man says his name is Sebastian and he gives each girl a bracelet.  What follows is a strange story that connects the three girls’ fates together as they mirror the saints they are named for.  Sebastian holds the key, however, to the truth about why these girls’ lives mirror the saints’ lives.

The Blessed is good pick for anyone who likes realistic fiction, with a mysterious air about it.  While reading this novel I was never really sure if there was something supernatural going on or not.  Plus, all three of the main characters (Agnes, Cecilia, and Lucy) were very interesting and you really wanted to get to the bottom of what was happening to them.  The Blessed is also pretty suspenseful.  I would definitely call it a page turner and it will leave you guessing all the way to the last page.  Click here to find The Blessed 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.

Embrace by Jessica Shirvington

Embrace by Jessica Shirvington

Violet is just like every other girl about to turn seventeen years old.  At least she thought she was.  As her birthday approaches, Violet starts having some pretty disturbing dreams.  Then her dad gives her a gift that was promised to her on her seventeenth birthday by her mother that has passed away.  This gift is the start of Violet uncovering her true nature and why her mother died.  Violet is a Grigori: a protector of humanity who is half human and half angel.  However, Violet can give up her Grigori nature and go on being a normal teen.  She has to choose whether or not she wants to embrace her powers.  If she embraces her Grigori power, she becomes a warrior in an epic battle between the protectors of humanity (the Grigori) and the angels who have been exiled from heaven and who want to overtake the human race (the Exiles).

Making her choice a difficult one is her good friend, crush, and training partner Lincoln.  Violet discovers that he is also a Grigori and would be her Grigori partner if she chooses to embrace.  What will Violet choose?  And does she really even have a choice?

Embrace is a fast past and exciting read for anyone who likes epic supernatural books.  And don’t be turned off by the whole angel story line–the angels in Embrace range to truly evil to truly kick-butt.  What I really liked about this book, though, was the character of Violet.  It is hard to believe that a character who has to choose between being normal and being a powerful angel of protection would be easy to relate to, but Violet is!  The supporting characters are all pretty interesting too.  As Violet learns more and more about the Grigori world, she meets a whole range of Grigori, some who have been living for hundreds of years.  Also, to add another level of interesting to this book–it was originally published in Australia and while it doesn’t necessarily take place in a specific area of Australia, there is that feel of the Australian way of life throughout the novel.