Monday, December 15, 2008

Crispin, Jan. 18 Meeting

"Set in 14th-century England, [Crispin] begins with a funeral, that of a village outcast whose past is shrouded in mystery and whose adolescent son is known only as 'Asta's son.' Mired in grief for his mother, the boy learns his given name, Crispin, from the village priest, although his presumably dead father's identity remains obscure. The words etched on his mother's treasured lead cross may provide some clue, but the priest is murdered before he can tell the illiterate lad what they say. Worse, Crispin is fingered for the murder by the manor steward, who declares him a 'wolf's head'—wanted dead or alive, preferably dead. Crispin flees, and falls in with a traveling juggler. 'I have no name,' Crispin tells Bear, whose rough manners and appearance mask a tender heart. 'No home, no kin, no place in this world.' How the boy learns his true identity (he's the bastard son of the lord of the manor) and finds his place in the world makes for a rattling fine yarn. Avi's plot is engineered for maximum thrills, with twists, turns and treachery aplenty, but it's the compellingly drawn relationship between Crispin and Bear that provides the heart of this story. A page turner to delight Avi's fans, it will leave readers hoping for a sequel." (Publishers Weekly, vol 249, issue 22, p88)

We Pig Skullers will discuss Crispin at our Jan. 18 meeting.

Friday, November 28, 2008

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas Dec. 14 Meeting

Nine-year-old Bruno and his family move from Berlin after Hitler puts Bruno's dad in charge of a barb-wired camp in Poland. Bruno doesn't understand why the children in striped pajamas on the other side of the face aren't allowed to play with him. Bruno secretly makes friends with Schmuel; a boy on the "other side." Bruno learns many things from Schmuel but not quite enough.

We Pig Skullers will discuss The Boy in the Striped Pajamas at our December 14 meeting.

The Amulet of Samarkand Nov. 16 Meeting

"Nathaniel is eleven years old and a magician's apprentice learning the traditional arts of magic. All is well until he has a life-changing encounter with Simon Lovelace, a magician of unrivaled ruthlessness and ambition. When Lovelace brutally humiliates Nathaniel in public, Nathaniel decides to speed up his education, teaching himself spells way beyond his years. With revenge on his mind, he masters one of the toughest spells of all and summons Bartimaeus, a five-thousand-year-old djinni, to assist him. But summoning Bartimaeus and controlling him are two different things entirely and when Nathaniel sends the djinni out to steal Lovelace's greatest treasure he find himself caught up in a whirlwind of magical espionage, murder and rebellion." (from The Amulet of Samarkand backcover).

The Amulet of Samarkand is a great blend of adventure, magic and humor. Jonathan Stroud is a wonderful writer. We Pig Skullers will discuss this book November 16.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Pig Skull Billboard Appears In Georgetown, KY

The Pig Skull Book Club billboard featuring Pig Skullers Norm and Ben went up late July 2008 on Cherry Blossom Road near Wal-Mart.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

New Artemis Fowl Book--The Time Paradox

"Artemis must travel back in time to find a living specimen of a now-extinct species of lemur whose brain fluid holds the cure to his mother's life-threatening illness."

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Black Potatoes June 15 Meeting

"In 1845, disaster struck Ireland. Overnight, a mysterious blight attacked the potato crops turning the potatoes black and destroying the only real food of nearly six million people. Over the next five years, the blight attacked again and again. These years are known today as the Great Irish Famine, a time when one million people died from starvation and disease and two million more fled their homeland.

"Susan Campbell Bartoletti tells the compelling story of men, women and children who survived against all odds: they defied landlords and searched empty fields for scraps of harvested vegetables and edible weeds, walked several miles each day to hard-labor jobs earn meager wages and to reach soup kitchens, and committed crime just to go to jail where they were assured a meal. Black Potatoes is the story of the heroes among the Irish people and how they held on to hope." (from Black Potatoes back cover)

We Pig Skullers will discuss Black Potatoes at our Sunday, June 15 meeting.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

The Pig Scrolls

"Behold Gryllus, a smarty-pants former crewman of the storied Odysseus, transformed by Circe into a swine--and perfectly content to stay that way. Until, that is, the pushy prophetess, Sibyl, informs Gryllus that the world's in grave danger--the gods have gone into hiding, terrifying monsters are on the loose, and all of creation is seriously out of whack. The only one who can save it is...a talking pig."

Author Paul Shipton has master's degrees in philosophy and classics. He says that working on The Pig Scrolls "...gave me a chance to revisit a world I have always loved--that of ancient mythology and history. And of course, in order to research the character of Gryllus fully, I was forced to eat a huge number of pies." We Pig Skullers will discuss The Pig Scrolls at our May 18 meeting.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Pig Skulls Eyeball Cyclops

We Pig Skulls went eyes-to-eye with bad ol' Cyclops and emerged victorious. Our Feb. 17 discussion of Mary Sutcliff's The Wanderings of Odysseus was a robust one. It's hard to go wrong with cyclopi (plural?), witches, warring gods, big bags of wind, and assorted bad guys all trying to break your bones or ship. These are some of the books we've read since our February 2007 creation. Happy 1st birthday Pig Skulls!

Friday, February 29, 2008

Chess Grandmaster Awes Library Crowd

Grandmaster Kaidanov of Lexington discusses chess strategy with over 50 chess club members and visitors at the Feb. 24 Jackson W. Showalter Club meeting. Playing "blindfolded. He won of course.
Playing a bliz simul with four lucky chess club members. It took him three minutes to defeat the last standing player.
Grandmaster Kaidanov as " The Lion of Lexington" recalls Jackson W. Showalter's "The Kentucky Lion."

Next Jackson W. Showalter Club meeting is Sunday, March 9, 2-4 PM. There will be no meeting March 23, Easter Sunday.

Friday, February 22, 2008

The City of Ember--March 16 Meeting

Dystopia. What is it? Here's a clue if you're groping for a definition: it's the opposite of utopia. So if a utopia is a wonderful place, a dystopia is...? Once you understand that little literary nugget you already know something about The City of Ember...but only something. There's a lot more to this action-packed science fiction mystery, such as, an old underground city groaning and grinding a slow rot, an ancient message from The Builders, and a wild ride on an underground river.

The Ember movie is due out October 2008.

Don't forget your light bulbs!

Thursday, February 7, 2008

The Wanderings of Odysseus

No, your eyes aren't playing tricks on you. That is indeed Poseidon the sea god giving sea-faring Odysseus the evil eye (and yet another ship-wrecking storm). Ol' Fishface is upset with Odysseus for blinding his one-eyed Cyclops son, Polyphemus. Odysseus is just tying to get home to his island kingdom Ithaca after battling the faraway Trojans for ten years. But witches, gods, monsters, human frailty, and weather keep getting in the way. We Pig Skulls had a robust Feb. 17 discussion of Mary Sutcliff's retelling of The Wanderings of Odysseus.