Friday, September 20, 2013

Enter to Win: The Teens' Top Ten Award nominees are here!

Ladies and gentlemen, it is time to select the Teens' Top Ten Award winner for 2013.  
There are twenty-eight books nominated for the award, and we have them all in the FSHA Library.  Cast your vote and join people from all over the country in selecting a favorite.  Plus, you can win some great prizes for participating!  
Here's how:

1. Read one of the nominated titles (displayed in the Library RIGHT NOW!).

2. Submit a review of the book on this blog.  (See this review and this review of the nominees.)

3. Get a raffle ticket for submitted your review. (Hold on to that raffle ticket!  Prize winners will be announced at the end of October. Prizes include gift cards, books, and more!)

4. Read more books from the list, submit more reviews, get more raffle tickets, have more chances to win big! (It's like in The Hunger Games - the more times you enter, the more likely you are to win. Though much less death in involved.)

5. Vote for your favorites on the Teens' Top Ten web site.

The 2012 winners are:
1).   Roth, VeronicaDivergent. 
2).  Green, JohnThe Fault in Our Stars. 
3).  Lu, Marie.  Legend
4).  Riggs, RansomMiss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children
5).  Dessen, SarahWhat Happened to Goodbye
6).  Revis, BethAcross the Universe
7).  Meyer, MarissaCinder
8).  Stiefvater, MaggieThe Scorpio Races.  
9).  Forman, GayleWhere She Went.   
10).  Cabot, MegAbandon
We have all of these in the Library too, FYI.  As you can see, these are all great books.  Which of the nominees will make it onto the 2013 list?  You decide!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Read it NOW! Code Name Verity

I adore this book.  Author Elizabeth Wein tells a story of World War II different from any I've read.  Two young women, thrown together by the war, one a civilian pilot, the other a radio operator...until they're drafted into a secret branch of the Royal Air Force that conducts covert missions in Nazi occupied France. One captured by the Gestapo, one presumed dead.  The reader hears the story of these girls through the voice of the captive radio operator as she confesses her secrets under the threat of torture and execution.  This book is gripping from start to finish.  The narrator's voice is irreverent and bright.  Even in bewildering and horrific circumstances, she is completely herself.  I love this book.  I cannot recommend it highly enough.  If you liked reading The Book Thief, you'll love this.  Once of the best things about this book is that it doesn't really remind me of any other book.  Isn't that wonderful?  It's quite original.

Plus, it's one of the nominees for the Teens' Top Ten Awards.  You can read them all at the FSHA Library and cast your vote by clicking the link on the right side of this page.  This book has my vote for sure.

New Arrival: Breath, Eyes, Memory

located in General Fiction
Breath, Eyes, Memory
by Edwidge Danticat

At an astonishingly young age, Edwidge Danticat has become one of our most celebrated new novelists, a writer who evokes the wonder, terror, and heartache of her native Haiti--and the enduring strength of Haiti's women--with a vibrant imagery and narrative grace that bear witness to her people's suffering and courage.  

At the age of twelve, Sophie Caco is sent from her impoverished village of Croix-des-Rosets to New York, to be reunited with a mother she barely remembers. There she discovers secrets that no child should ever know, and a legacy of shame that can be healed only when she returns to Haiti--to the women who first reared her. What ensues is a passionate journey through a landscape charged with the supernatural and scarred by political violence, in a novel that bears witness to the traditions, suffering, and wisdom of an entire people.

description from Random House Publishing

Monday, September 16, 2013

New Arrival: The Appointment

located in General Fiction
The Appointment
by Novel Prize Winner Herta Muller

From the winner of the IMPAC Award and the 2009 Nobel Prize in Literature, a fierce and devastating novel about a young woman's discovery of betrayal in the most intimate reaches of her life

"I've been summoned. Thursday, ten sharp." Thus begins a day in the life of a young factory worker during Ceausescu's totalitarian regime. She has been questioned before; this time, she believes, will be worse. Her crime? Sewing notes into the linings of men's suits bound for Italy. "Marry me," the notes say, with her name and address. Anything to get out of Romania.

As each tram stop brings the young woman closer to the appointment, her thoughts stray to her father and his infidelities; to her friend Lilli, shot trying to flee to Hungary; to her grandparents, deported after her own husband informed on them; and to Paul, her lover, her one source of trust despite his drunkenness. In her distraction, she misses her stop and finds herself on an unfamiliar street. And what she discovers there makes her fear of the interrogation pale by comparison.

Bone-spare and intense, The Appointment powerfully renders the humiliating terrors of a crushing regime and its corrosive effects on family and friendship, sex and love.

description from Macmillan Publishers

Friday, September 13, 2013

New Arrival: Vienna Nocturne

located in Historical Fiction
on the West Wall
Vienna Nocturne
by Vivien Shotwell

Set in Vienna, London and Italy, this debut novel is an aching, exhilarating love story between a thirty-year-old Wolfgang Mozart and a young English soprano named Anna Storace, based on one of the greatest stars of the day, for whom the composer wrote some of his most beautiful songs.

Vienna Nocturne tells the story of the turbulent life and brilliantly successful career of young British opera singer Anna Storace, a child prodigy who is taken by her parents to Italy at age thirteen to advance her career. In love with life and wildly ambitious, Anna wants everything-to be famous, to be loved-and this leads her to make some fatal choices. We watch her turn from a carefree young girl to a passionate young woman, and it is during this transformation that her affair with Mozart blossoms. The story of their love, no less powerful for being forbidden, is reminiscent of the passionate thwarted romances described in Loving Frank and Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet. Written in melodious prose by a young author studying opera at Yale, Vienna Nocturne is a dramatic story of a woman's battle to find love and fame in an eighteenth-century world that controls and limits her at every turn.

description from

Thursday, September 12, 2013

New Arrival: Boston Jacky

located on the West Wall
in the Historical FIction section
Boston Jacky: Being an Account of the Further Adventures of Jacky Faber, Taking Care of Business
the latest Bloody Jack ADventure 
by L. A. Meyer

Jacky Faber makes waves, even when docked in her adopted city of Boston to attend to the business of Faber Shipping Worldwide. With big dreams and perhaps too much exuberance for the Puritan populace, she quickly finds herself at odds with the Womens Temperance Union and a town roiling over the arrival of hundreds of Irish laborers, brought in on Jackys Lorelei Lee.Thwarted at every turn by her enemies, Jacky is forced to acknowledge her shortcomings—and possibly lose her beloved Jaimy Fletcher. In this new installment in the ever-popular Bloody Jack Adventures, will the impulsive Jacky Faber finally get her comeuppance?

Tolog Recommendations: Elixir by Hillary Duff

review by Jennifer Fix

I very much enjoyed reading this book. This book captured my attention when I saw the author's name, Hilary Duff, who was a very popular singer and actor for Disney. I would have never expected her to write a book like this. I mainly liked it because it is a combination of my favorite genres; Sci-fi, romance, mystery, and general fiction. This book was basically about a 17-year-old girl named Clea who's father disappeared when he was on a journey to find answers to an "Elixir" he was researching. When Clea starts noticing a beautiful man appearing in all of her photos, she soon begins to realize, along with her two best friends, Ben and Rayna, that this man is her "Guardian Angel" who was her lover in previous lives. This guardian angel was also assigned to protect her. All four of them must discover why Clea's father disappeared, if he's still alive, and if all this has to do with this infamous "Elixir."

If you liked "The Mortal Instruments" series, then I think you'll love this book! Both of these books are sci-fi, action books that are mixed with a bit of romance.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

An Evening with Malcolm Gladwell

You loved The Tipping Point and Outliers?  So did I!  Well, Gladwell will be in Los Angeles to talk about his new book, David and Goliath.  

Wanna go?

Monday, October 7, 20138:00pm (Reception 6:30-7:30pm)
An Evening with Malcolm Gladwell
in conversation with Peter Guber
David and Goliath:
Underdogs, Misfits and the Art of Battling Giants
Wilshire Boulevard Temple
3663 Wilshire Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90010
$20 General Admission
$40 General Admission + Gladwell’s book (David and Goliath)
$55.00 reserved seating + Gladwell’s book (David and Goliath)
$105.00 Pre-event reception, premium seats + 2 books (David vs. Goliath & Outliers)
Join us in our newest venue, the recently renovated Wilshire Boulevard Temple.  Read about their renovation in the New York Times. And you can see images of  gorgeous space here.
Malcolm Gladwell has been a staff writer with The New Yorker since 1996. He is the bestselling author of The Tipping PointBlinkOutliers, and What the Dog Saw. In 2005, he was named one of Time‘s 100 Most Influential People.  From 1987 to 1996, he was a reporter with the Washington Post, where he covered business, science, and then served as the newspaper’s New York City bureau chief. He graduated from the University of Toronto, Trinity College, with a degree in history. He was born in England, grew up in rural Ontario, and now lives in New York City.
We all know that underdogs can win–that’s what the David versus Goliath legend tells us, and we’ve seen it with our own eyes. Or have we? In David and Goliath, Malcolm Gladwell, with his unparalleled ability to grasp connections others miss, uncovers the hidden rules that shape the balance between the weak and the mighty, the powerful and the dispossessed. Gladwell examines the battlefields of Northern Ireland and Vietnam, takes us into the minds of cancer researchers and civil rights leaders, and digs into the dynamics of successful and unsuccessful classrooms–all in an attempt to demonstrate how fundamentally we misunderstand the true meaning of advantages and disadvantages. When is a traumatic childhood a good thing? When does a disability leave someone better off? Do you really want your child to go to the best school he or she can get into? Why are the childhoods of people at the top of one profession after another marked by deprivation and struggle?
Drawing upon psychology, history, science, business, and politics, David and Goliath is a beautifully written book about the mighty leverage of the unconventional. Millions of readers have been waiting for the next Malcolm Gladwell book. That wait is over.

New Arrival: The War Within These Walls

741.5 SAX
on the West Wall of the Library
The War within These Walls

It's World War II, and Misha's family, like the rest of the Jews living in Warsaw, has been moved by the Nazis into a single crowded ghetto. Conditions are appalling: every day more people die from disease, starvation, and deportations. Misha does his best to help his family survive, even crawling through the sewers to smuggle food. When conditions worsen, Misha joins a handful of other Jews who decide to make a final, desperate stand against the Nazis.

Heavily illustrated with sober blue-and-white drawings, this powerful novel dramatically captures the brutal reality of a tragic historical event.

description from Eerdman's Publishing Co.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Fun Fact: the year 1900

USA presidential campaign poster 1900
Did you know that in the year 1900, just 6.4% of American 17-year olds-got a high school diploma?

And only 11.4% of 11-14-year-olds were even enrolled in school!

WHAT!  That's just crazy.

from Cart, Michael.  (2010) Young adult literature: from romance to realism. Chicago, Il:  American Library Association.

Tolog Review: The Wedding by Nicholas Sparks

review by Mikki Pittman

This novel is a sequel to Nicholas Spark's The Notebook. It follows the married life of Noah and Allie's daughter, Jane and her husband. After 30 years of being married and their three children having gone off to college there is a lost sense of passion and love between the two. They no longer act the same as they did earlier in their marriage. Jane's husband follows Noah's advice leading to the recovery of their relationship.  If you liked The Notebook, you'll love this book!

This month at Vroman's : Sonya Sones and Ellen Hopkins

Sonya Sones & Ellen Hopkins discuss & sign To Be Perfectly Honest: A Novel Based on an Untrue Story & Smoke

Start: 09/18/2013 7:00 pm

Vroman's Bookstore
695 E. Colorado Blvd
Pasadena, California
United States

Her friends 
have a joke about her:
How can you tell if Colette is lying?

Her mouth is open.

Fifteen-year-old Colette is addicted to lying. Her shrink says this is because she’s got a very bad case of Daughter-of-a-famous-movie-star Disorder—so she lies to escape out from under her mother’s massive shadow. But Colette doesn’t see it that way. She says she lies because it’s the most fun she can have with her clothes on. Not that she’s had that much fun with her clothes off. At least not yet, anyway…

When her mother drags her away from Hollywood to spend the entire summer on location in a boring little town in the middle of nowhere, Colette is less than thrilled. But then she meets a sexy biker named Connor. He’s older, gorgeous, funny, and totally into her. So what if she lies to him about her age, and about who her mother is? I mean, she has to keep her mother’s identity a secret from him. If he finds out who she really is, he’ll forget all about Colette, and start panting and drooling and asking her for her mother’s autograph. Just like everyone always does. 

But what Colette doesn’t know is that Connor is keeping a secret of his own…

synopsis found on

Monday, September 9, 2013

Tolog Reviews: Butter by Erin Jade Lange

review by Cailynn Knabenshue

This book takes you on a journey through the eyes of Butter, a whopping 423-pound, almost six-foot junior in high school. You sit with him in the cafeteria as he eats his massive lunch, consisting of two cans of coke, and multiple helpings of leftovers from the night before, alone. He is judged, and bullied because of his size, until he threatens to end his life by eating one last meal. suddenly goes viral with comments from people who think he's just looking for attention. Is he? Read Butter to find out. If you like reading suspense novels, you'll love this book!

Librarian's note: This book is one of the nominees for the Teens' Top Ten Award!  Read it and vote by clicking the link on the top right of this page.

History of the Internet

The Internet: Then And Now
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Friday, September 6, 2013

Untranslatable Words

11 Untranslatable Words From Other Cultures
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Tolog Reviews: We are a community of READERS

Tologs, former Tologs, parents of Tologs, and teachers of Tologs,

We are a community of readers.  Remember the Teacher Features from last year, where Mr. Robb slammed one of Mr. Coria's favorite books, Ms. Ionta wore a toga, and Mr. Smith talked about his new interest in YA lit?  You don't???  Well, scroll down a bit to the Labels cloud on the right of this page and click on Teacher Feature to see the complete collection.  You can even see Mr. Buxman's book blog by clicking on the link under Sites We Love.  He read more that TWENTY books this summer!

Now, you can share your favorite books (or least favorite books) with the FSHA reading community any time the mood strikes.  Here's how:

Click on the Submit a Review button on the right side of this page.
Fill out the form to tell us what you read and your thoughts on the book.
Click submit.

Then, I'll post your review in two places.
First, on this blog.  You can see two recent reviews by freshmen Tologs here and here.

Second, the book you chose, along with your review, will be posted in the Library, on the Tologs Recommendations shelves, so people can peruse the selections while they're here throughout the day.

Let us know what you're reading.  You can submit as many reviews as you like.  Knowing what other people like to read is one of the best ways to get ideas for what to read next!  And aren't you just a little bit curious about what Mr. Bernstein reads in his spare time?  Or Mr. Nicholson?  Or Hermana Maite?  I know I am!

For your convenience, here's the form to submit a review.  Why don't you take 3-4 minutes and write one right now!

Teacher Feature - Ms. Johnston

What do you most like to read?  
mysteries; magazines - especially recipes; newspapers; on-line news; sci fi; historical novels; "religion-y" books

Do you have a favorite book/author/publication?
James Patterson; Taste of Home; Gourmet; C.S. Lewis; J.R. Tolkien

What's the last great thing you read?
"Girlfriend Theology" but I've also gotten some great recipes lately; I also loved an article about the Supreme Court and another one about whales that I just got on Yahoo News...

Where do you most like to read?
Anywhere, anytime - I am an avid reader (but I have to be careful because I'm a fast reader...); I got a Kindle Fire from "santa" because that way I can be more portable with my library!

When you were in high school, did you like to read?  If so, what?  
Absolutely - I loved the classics - Bronte Sisters, Shakespeare, poets (especially romantic); I also loved Pearl Buck, Poe

What is your most hated book and why?
My high school physics book and my hs statistics books- they were poorly written and difficult to understand; Maybe War and Peace - too long and descriptions were tedious...

Tolog Review: Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

review by Kelly Faenza, class of 2017

Suspense, apprehension, and curiosity will overpower you when you read "13 Reasons Why". It is definitely one of the best books I have ever read, and it is unlike any other book. It takes you through the mystery of why Hannah, a seemingly happy high school student, committed suicide. Hannah chose 13 people that had a part in causing her death, and the novel takes you through her whole story and the reactions of everyone on her "list". This was one of those books that I couldn't stop reading once I started! I strongly recommend you check out this book, you won't regret it!
If you enjoy Mysteries and Suspenseful book, you will be obsessed with "13 Reasons Why"!

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Tolog Review: Rampant by Diana Peterfreund

review by Amy Kim, class of 2017

Rampant was an Awesome book!!! This book totally tricked me into believing that one of the characters was in love. And the next thing you know, they weren't. There are so many twists and turns, that I got frustrated at one point. This book is nothing about anything you know about unicorns. It is a whole new theme...
If you read Fire by Kristen Cashore and you liked it, you'll totally love this book.

Rosh Hashanah

Rosh Hashanah
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What I'm Reading: A Teens' Top Ten nominee

I'm in love with this book. It's one of the 22 nominees for this year's Teens' Top Ten award. The author has already won two major awards for this book, the Michael J. Printz Award for Excellence in Young Adult Literature and The Edgar Award, given by the Mystery Writers of America. Read it and join me in voting for the Teens' Top Ten! (You'll have to wait until I finish to get the Library's copy, but don't worry!  It won't be a long wait.)

Here's the author talking about how she got the idea for the story.  It all started with her own interest in becoming a pilot.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Questia: your new best friend

Introducing the latest and greatest in research tools at FSHA!  Questia is a huge database of full-text articles and ebooks in all subject areas.  You can find a link to Questia on the Library's web page (scroll down to the list of databases).  Each teacher and student will need to log in to use this service.  An email has been sent to you with your login information.

I just want to highlight a few of the amazing features of this site.  I'm sure you'll find even more as you explore it this year.  

Once you've logged in, you can search for something specific, or browse be subject area.

 When you choose a book or article to read, you can also search within that text for a word, phrase, place name, person, etc.

 Not only that, you can use the tabs over on the right to navigate the entire table of contents, look up a tricky word, or save work to view later.

Using those little icons back over on the left, you can highlight text, find out the proper citation for a quote, bookmark a page, or print just a small portion of what you read.

When you highlight a portion of the text, not only can you change the highlighter color (what a relief!), you can ask for help when using that text as part of your own writing.

Those are some of the basics of Questia School.  As I figure out great tips and tricks for using this service more efficiently, I'll let you know. Happy researching!