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The “One Ring”?

J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of The Rings novels may have been inspired by a true story. Curators at the Vyne, an English estate, claim they have a golden ring which may have created the story for the fabled “One Ring” in Tolkein’s epic novels. The ring has inscriptions in Latin and is said to bear the curse of a Celtic deity.

Check out this NPR story to learn more about this ring.

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April is National Poetry Month

April is National Poetry Month and that means that there are many exciting events happening. The 8th Graders already had a poetry reading in the library and shared their own compositions. The Middle School literary magazine is coming out soon and will be filled with poetic renderings. Are you feeling poetic? Don’t forget that April 29th is Poem in Your Pocket Day. Have a poem in your pocket and you could win a prize. You can also share your poem selection on Twitter by using the hashtag #pocketpoem. Check out the displays in the library to get inspired and bring out your poetic side!

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7th Grader Publishes a Book!

Do you know what a GUK is? Do you enjoy reading mysteries or learning random facts? If you answered “no” to any of these questions, then it’s time for you to learn something new and get hooked on mysteries (may I recommend Gukky Tales: The Quest for the Golden Quarter?). If you answered “yes” or something similar to any of the questions above, then I would also recommend you to check out Gukky Tales: The Quest for the Golden Quarter by Katie Mishra (unless you’ve already read it of course, but who doesn’t love reading a good book twice?). Katie is a 7th grader at Casti and she loves to hang out with her family and friends, dive and cook. She also hopes to inspire other young writers. According to her, this book is about Becka Donovan, an 11 year old girl and “the story of her summer adventure when she searches for clues to locate the mysterious ‘Golden Quarter’.” To quote a review from Amazon, “This book was so gripping I couldn’t put it down! It had a well-developed plotline, with clever clues and subtle hints throught the hunt. It included places from all over the country, so it had a very varied setting. There was a nice balance of chase scenes and quieter ones. The scenery was also fantastic! I highly recommend this book to middle-grade readers.” To learn more about Katie Mishra and her writing process, read the Q&A session below. Otherwise, go check out the book at our library!

(Article and interview by Sophia N. ’13)

What inspired you?

When I went to pitch-a-palooza (a contest for writers who had written a book, first prize having your book published) in March 2011, the judges Ariel and David definitely inspired me. After I won honorable mention, they agreed to help me for free with my book and came to my house once during the summer.

How long did it take you to write it?

It took me about two years to write my book, starting at pitch-a-palooza to about February 2013. Although less than a year of that was writing, and the rest editing over and over again.

What was the process of getting published?

At first I wanted my book to be professionally published and work with the judges, but they told me otherwise. They said that if all the stars aligned (which is pretty hard to do in book publishing, especially for an 11 year old) it would take till I was in the middle of high school before anyone would even think of publishing it for me. Therefore, they suggested CreateSpace online. CreateSpace is totally free for basic needs that I wanted, cover creation, inside, and a few other things. Also, for small fees you can have a professional cover made, editing, and even more. It’s very user friendly and perfect for self-publishing, after you are done creating your book and the layout it is even put up on Amazon!

What advice do you have for students who want to be writers?

That there is no rule to writing, nothing has to be perfect because it is simply a work of imagination. Sometimes your fingers will fly over the keyboard or sometimes you’ll bang your head against them. Throughout you just have to persevere, and if you do you’ll be rewarded with something great then you could ever fathom.

What have you learned through the process of writing a whole novel? Were there surprises? What would you do differently next time?

I’ve learned many things, the first and foremost to ALWAYS have an outline. I found that when I didn’t have an outline everything went haywire and off-track and the story could simply not progress. I also learned that editing is a process you just have to deal with. Of course, I, as all writers do, thought my story was ‘perfect and couldn’t be changed’ let’s just say the editors thought otherwise. Over time I learned to deal with all the edits and accept them to further embrace my writing.

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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.

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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)

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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

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