Archive | Cool Stuff

Cassandra Clare is Coming to the Bay Area!

Cassandra Clare, author of the bestselling series The Mortal Instruments (City of Bones, City of Ashes, City of Glass, City of Fallen Angels, City of Lost Souls), and The Infernal Devices (Clockwork Angel, Clockwork Prince) is about to release a much-anticipated new book. Clockwork Princess, the final volume in The Infernal Devices, will be released on March 19th, 2013.  To celebrate and promote this new book she’s traveling around the country in a bus wrapped in graphics from its cover, as well as graphics from the upcoming movie version of The City of Bones, which is scheduled to be released in August of this year. Here’s a link to the official trailer for the movie.

Kepler’s Books is organizing Cassandra Clare’s visit to our area. She’ll be speaking at Menlo-Atherton high school performing arts center on Saturday March 23rd at 7 p.m. Tickets are $12 and they may well sell out, so go to this link to reserve yours.

Posted in Author Visit, Cool Stuff0 Comments

Valentine’s Day is Gone, but the Romance Lives On

With Valentine’s day behind us, we’re still in the romantic spirit! And while those paranormal romances abound in bookstores across the globe, around this time of year we might be in the mood to give up those fantastical love interests of vampires, werewolves, zombies, demons, or angels… and just grab a good book about two humans who fall in love.

Here are 14 recommended books for the 14th:

1. Wolves, Boys, and Other Things That Might Kill Me (Kristen Chandler)

KJ, an outdoorsy girl, lives almost within the boundaries of Yellowstone Park. Upon joining her school newspaper, she is partnered with Virgil, the new kid and photography genius. They work together to create an article about the wolves of Yellowstone and find romance in the process.

2. Tangled (Carolyn Macker)

“Tangled” is a good word to describe the lives of these four teenagers (the Suburbanite, the Player, the Actress, and the Blogger) who find themselves on a Caribbean island over Spring Break. Their lives, which start out unrelated, end up completely tangled together.

3. I Now Pronounce You Someone Else (Erin McCahan)

Bronwyn has never fit into her own family, to the extent that she has a secret identity that fits into a theory she has – “the only explanation”– that she was switched at birth. So when she meets Jared Sondervan, she falls in love not only with the boy but also with his close and loving family.

4. The Sky is Everywhere (Jandy Nelson)

17-year-old Lennie loves and looks up to her older sister Bailey, but when Bailey dies suddenly, Lennie finds herself caught in a love triangle between two boys: Toby, who was Bailey’s boyfriend and therefore knows exactly what Lennie is going through and can comfort her; and Joe, the new kid who just moved from Paris, who is able to transport Lennie out of her grief.

5. The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight (Jennifer E. Smith)

Hadley Sullivan is stuck in JFK airport, having missed her plane to London for her father’s wedding to a woman she’s never met. But in the waiting area, she meets Oliver, who is sitting in her row. They talk throughout the trans-atlantic flight but lose each other in the Heathrow terminal. Can they ever find each other again?

6. Pure (Terra Elan McVoy)

Tabitha and her friends all wear Purity rings, a symbol of a “virginity-until-marriage” pledge they share. But one day, Tab meets a boy who makes this promise seem very hard to keep, and Tabitha is forced to keep some secrets from her best friends, with whom she has always shared everything.

7. Sloppy Firsts (Megan McCafferty)

16-year-old Jessica Darling’s best friend has just moved away, and Jess feels more lost than ever at school without the one person she could always talk to. With her parents’ obsession over her older sister’s wedding, Jess worries about her own nonexistent love life until she meets Marcus, an intellectual guy who finds his way into her heart.

8. Delirium (Lauren Oliver)

Delirium is a dystopian novel in which scientists have found the cure to Love, and the government demands that all citizens receive the cure on their eighteenth birthday. But when Lena, a seventeen-year-old girl does the unthinkable and falls in love, her predictable, happy, life is in danger.

9. The Boyfriend List (E. Lockhart)

Ruby’s life is turned upside-down in days as she simultaneously loses her best friend, boyfriend, a lacrosse game, and rumors begin to spread about her. Her first step to recovery is making a list of every boy she has ever had “any kind of anything” with.

10. Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares (Rachel Cohn & David Levithan)

If you enjoyed reading or watching the movie of Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist, you’ll probably like this book, written by the same authors. Dash and Lily find themselves on their own in New York City at Christmas. When Dash finds a red notebook full of literary clues that Lily left in the stacks at a bookstore, the adventure begins.

11. The Difference Between You and Me (Madeline George)

Emily is vice president of the student council, wears sweaters with fake-pearl buttons, and ballet flats. Jesse cuts her own hair with a Swiss-army knife, wears big green fisherman’s boots, and has founded a society called NOLAW, the “National Organization to Liberate All Weirdos.” Though they have nothing in common, somehow they fall for each other. But when Jesse begins a crusade against a ‘big-box store’ (basically Walmart), it pits her against Emily, who is trying to get the store to sponsor events at their school. Will their relationship survive this test?

12. Shug (Jenny Han)

A great book for Middle Schoolers, Annemarie Wilcox (or Shug, as her family calls her) hates her junior high school, until she begins to see Mark, a boy she’s known for her whole life, in an entirely different way.

And of course, what would a list of Valentine’s day books be without a few by Sarah Dessen, the Queen of Romance Novels herself?

13. The Truth About Forever (Sarah Dessen)

Macy isn’t looking forward to the summer, while her boyfriend is away at camp and she is sure to be bored. But sometimes, unexpected things come up, like a catering job, or her sister’s project of renovating the neglected beach house, or meeting Wes, a boy with artistic talent and a love of ‘Truth-telling.’

14. This Lullaby (Sarah Dessen)

Remy’s mother has had five husbands so far, and as a result Remy is skeptical of love and doesn’t believe in long-term relationships—that is, until she meets Dexter, a rock band musician like her father, and who is determined to charm tough-as-nails Remy until she softens up a little.

–Libby B. (’14)

Posted in Student Work, Reviews & Recommendations, Cool Stuff0 Comments

FOMF Begins February 1st!

It’s FOMF time! Castilleja has won the past four years straight, but we need your help to win for a fifth and set a new record! Starting at 3:00 right school on Friday February 1st and running through the 8:30 on the 4th, the Friends of Millard Fillmore Trivia Hunt is back for one weekend only. Pop in to enjoy the clandestine pleasure of  eating in the library and help Casti beat Paly, Gunn, Woodside, and Carlmont (and a last minute entry by Crystal Springs!). The winner is the team that answers and documents the most obscure trivia questions correctly. For the answer to be counted, we need to find it in a printed source, like a book, so we need your help to track down answers in our library and also at other libraries in the community if we want to win again this year! You can work on FOMF all weekend or just stop by to help out for an hour or so. Bring your friends and family, enjoy Friday night pizza, show up in your winter formal dress on Saturday,  or help us out on Sunday morning before the 2 pm deadline to turn in answers.  If you have questions, see Arianna B.-G. ’13, Simone S. ’13, Anna V. ’15, Scout D. ’15, or Ms. Seroff. Happy FOMF-ing!

Written by: Anna V. ’15

Posted in Cool Stuff0 Comments

Welcome to the Victorian Era…

Image courtesy of victorianpassage.com

Welcome to the Victorian Era…

Beautiful gowns, courtship, high society, and maybe add in some murder, mystery, or magic? Sounds like the Victorian Era! The era from 1837 to 1901 is a very popular setting for many modern books– authors seem to be attracted to the aura of elegance surrounding the era and the balance the era strikes as a “turn of the century” between a past that is distant enough to be considered “historical fiction” but near enough that we can recognize certain parts of it as precursors to the modern age. The camera, mass urbanization, feminism (after all, Queen Victoria’s 63-year reign was the longest of any female monarch in history) and the industrial revolution are aspects of the era for which we see the outcomes in our present society, and such themes are often reflected in modern literature set in the Victorian era. Steampunk, a relatively new sub-genre of literature about the Victorian Era, focuses on the inventions of the era, especially the rise of steam power (from which it takes its name).
So without further ado, I present my favorite neo-Victorian books in the Casti library, and this month’s highlights.

Some you may have heard of:
1. The Gemma Doyle series by Libba Bray (A Great and Terrible Beauty; Rebel Angels; The Sweet Far Thing) center around a girls’ boarding school and the fantastical adventures a group of five girls encounter when they discover the path to an alternate world, the “Realms.”

If you’ve read these books and liked them, you may enjoy Darker Still by Leanna Renee Hieber.

2. The Twin’s Daughter by Lauren Baratz-Logsted involves the mystery of one identical twin murdering the other: which one still lives? This book is absolutely filled with secrets and secrets that have secrets…what’s not to love? Murder, identity theft, romance, secret tunnels… the list goes on!

If you liked this book, you might enjoy reading Wildthorn by Jane Eagland.

3. If you are more of a fantasy fan, you might have liked the Infernal Devices series by Cassandra Clare (Clockwork Angel; Clockwork Prince), which, while still set in the Victorian era, ventures into the world of vampires and other non-human creatures, including Tessa, the main character, who discovers that she has the ability to shift shape.

If you liked this book, you might enjoy Soulless by Gail Carriger.

And of course, no Victorian-Era article would be complete without the mention of perhaps the greatest character who lived in 1800s London: Sherlock Holmes.
Although Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s original books about the great detective are not considered “neo-Victorian,” Sherlock has spawned many modern spinoffs, including the movies starring Robert Downey Jr., the BBC series Sherlock starring Benedict Cumberbatch, and the new CBS show Elementary, starring Jonny Lee Miller and Lucy Liu, the latter two of which present the Sherlock Holmes character in the modern day (London and New York City respectively), and I recommend both “Sherlock” and “Elementary” for anyone who loves a fast-paced, intellectual crime show. As well, the library has a few book takeoffs on the Sherlock Holmes character, such as Death Cloud by Andy Lane, which is the story of young Sherlock solving crimes as a teenager, and the Enola Holmes books by Nancy Springer, which center around Sherlock’s younger sister.

Many more neo-Victorian novels (books which were written in the present day but are set in the Victorian era) are on display in the Library. Come check them out!

By Libby B. ’14

Posted in Student Work, Reviews & Recommendations, Cool Stuff0 Comments

Get the Inside Scoop on Online Learning

Image from http://sympozjum.edu.pl/

Have you noticed a rise in online learning in recent years? You may even know someone who goes to school online.  If you have come across me in the library, then you do.  I go to school at SJSU for a degree of a Masters in Library Sciences.  The whole program is online.  This is very common for Library Sciences programs due to the technical nature of the degree.  But what about other programs?  Just about every major university is now launching at least some online classes.  This is true for homeschooled kids as well and even kids who go to a traditional school, but want to augment their education.  For example, there are some Castilleja students who have done the EPGY Program (school for gifted kids through Stanford) or OHS (the Stanford online high school which you can take full time or part time). http://epgy.stanford.edu/ohs/.

Or maybe you have been on iTunes lately and seen iTunes U.  This is an app in which you can download lectures from a plethora of universities. You can attend Yale or Columbia for free!

There are many reasons why online programs have become a popular form of education today. The online environment offers unprecedented opportunities for people who would otherwise have limited access to education, as well as a new archetype for educators in which vibrant courses of the highest quality can be developed.  Some of the benefits of online learning are:

  • Anywhere learning
  • Anytime learning
  • Any pace learning (especially helpful for those with learning differences)
  • Rich dialogue between students on discussion boards
  • Cost effective
  • Student centered (carve out your own learning plan)
  • Creative teaching is supported

Although there are many positive aspects to online learning, there are some drawbacks as well:

  • Lack of live social connections
  • Technology glitches
  • Syncing up with other students for group projects
  • Lack of a community feeling (sometimes, but this is being addressed in many programs)
  • Computer literacy & cost (one must have these to succeed)

So although it is still a new concept and opinions vary from person to person, online learning looks like it’s here to stay.  Below is a link to an article that was just published in the Stanford news regarding this topic.  Check it out!

http://news.stanford.edu/news/2012/october/tanner-lecture-two-101512.html

By Heather B., Parent Volunteer Extraordinaire

Posted in Cool Stuff, Technology1 Comment

Blogs Get the Word Out

Have you ever wanted to start your own blog? Tweens and teens all over the world are blogging everyday.  Blogger, WordPress, Livejournal, and Tumblr are all free websites in which you can set up a blog within minutes.  Blogging is a great way to stay in touch with people, express your self, vent, stand up for a cause, or just have fun.

Check out some of these teen blogs from around the world and start one your self!  You may even recognize one of these controversial bloggers (her mom is Madonna.)

http://blog.materialgirlcollection.com/

http://hellogiggles.com/

http://www.thestylerookie.com/

http://www.glosonblog.com/

http://jellyjellybeans.blogspot.com/

By Awesome Parent Volunteer Heather B.

Posted in Cool Stuff, Technology0 Comments