In the Kingdom of Ice

By nchcpl_admin,

It amazes me to think that as recently as the late 1800s, no one knew anything about the North Pole. There certainly was a lot of speculation at the time. Was the pole made up of a warm, open sea? Was the Earth hollow, with a gaping hole at the top of the planet? Not only were scientists and explorers obsessed about what lay to the north, but the general public was as well. It was a mystery the world was clamoring to solve.

It was in the midst of this North Pole-related frenzy that the USS Jeannette set sail from San Francisco, California, on July 8, 1879, on a voyage to reach the top of the world. What happened to the Jeannette and her crew of thirty-three men on that fateful trip captured the attention of nations around the globe and provided the fodder for author Hampton Sides’ book, In the Kingdom of Ice: The Grand and Terrible Polar Voyage of the USS Jeannette.

It’s a fascinating and terrible story—and one that I couldn’t put down. For almost two years, the Jeannette was literally stuck—trapped in pack ice and unable to get free. Eventually, the ship’s hull was fatally breached.  The Jeannette sank to the bottom of the Arctic Ocean just 700 miles south of the North Pole, leaving its crew stranded in the brutal conditions and the world to wonder about the men’s fate.

This meticulously researched book recounts the men’s march across almost a thousand miles of frozen sea toward the nearest land mass—the Arctic coast of Central Siberia. They were freezing, starving, sick, and painfully desperate. But they also were determined.

The Jeannette’s captain, George DeLong, kept journals and a diary of the men’s voyage and their trek across the ice to reach civilization. Sides uses these and other resources to provide a chilling account of a struggle for survival. Did the Jeannette’s crew make it? You’ll have to read the book to find out.

Review by staff member Karen T.


By nchcpl_admin,

In the first half of the 1970s, films like The French Connection (1971), Dirty Harry (1971), Shaft (1971), The Godfather (1972) and Badlands (1973) were common in the cinematic landscape, with a focus on antiheroes and urban decay. In the latter part of the decade, the tide began to turn to a more hopeful outlook on life. Rocky (1976) was among the first films to reflect a renewed optimism taking shape in America. Underdog stories became more prevalent and Rocky is one of the most famous of all. It is the story of a two-bit boxer from Philadelphia named Rocky Balboa who gets his “million-to-one shot” for pride and respect in a championship bout with title holder Apollo Creed.  This was a career-making role for Sylvester Stallone, who only a year prior had starred in Roger Corman B pictures Capone (1975) and Death Race 2000 (1975). The reinvigorated romanticism trend continued in Star Wars – A New Hope (1977), Superman (1978), and Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981), ushering in the summer blockbusters that entertain audiences to this day.

Music Blog

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Magic: The Gathering

By nchcpl_admin,

So…apparently, Magic: The Gathering is still a rather popular game. Seeing as how this game was popular when I was in school, I didn’t think it would still be popular. I now know better. The TeenScape now has Magic decks for all teens in grades 7-12 to play with (feel free to bring your own cards if you’d rather play with those!). Be on the lookout for a Magic: The Gathering tournament coming up in May, and we will also have another tournament at our TeenCon in July. Otherwise, feel free to swing by the TeenScape on days that we don’t have a scheduled program to demolish me in Magic (I’m really rather terrible…but I’m very happy with my Red/Blue deck).

Have a great weekend!


The Sword of Summer (Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard, Book #1) by Rick Riordan

By nchcpl_admin,


“Magnus Chase has always been a troubled kid. Since his mother’s mysterious death, he’s lived alone on the streets of Boston, surviving by his wits, keeping one step ahead of the police and the truant officers.
One day, he’s tracked down by a man he’s never met—a man his mother claimed was dangerous. The man tells him an impossible secret: Magnus is the son of a Norse god.
The Viking myths are true. The gods of Asgard are preparing for war. Trolls, giants and worse monsters are stirring for doomsday. To prevent Ragnarok, Magnus must search the Nine Worlds for a weapon that has been lost for thousands of years.
When an attack by fire giants forces him to choose between his own safety and the lives of hundreds of innocents, Magnus makes a fatal decision.
Sometimes, the only way to start a new life is to die . . .”
(Goodreads Synopsis).

“Yeah, I know.” (Sword of Summer, Page 1, Sentence 1)

Krystal’s Review

To begin, the chapter titles were probably my favorite part about this book. For example: Chapter 1 is titled “Good morning! You’re going to die.” They pretty much all hold up to this snappy, upbeat tone. For all of the fans of the Percy Jackson series, you will be surprised by how un-Percy Magnus is. Don’t get me wrong, Percy is great, but he can be a bit angsty at times. Magnus is ALWAYS cheerful…so I guess that’s a little annoying at times, too.

This plot moves briskly…so be ready to sit and read nonstop until it’s finished. There are tons of fight scenes to keep fight-scene-loving people (ahem, teenage boys) happy. There are so many fight scenes I can’t even keep them straight in my head. One thing I would advise (and only because I failed to do so) is to do a little research on Norse mythology BEFORE reading the book. I didn’t know who most of the characters were. Thankfully, I’m familiar enough with the new Marvel movies to know who Thor and Loki are and was familiar with the concept of Valhalla and Valkyries.

Magus’s best friends (by the end of the book) are a dwarf, an elf,  a Valkyrie, and a sword–Blitz, Hearth, Samirah-al-Abbas (Sam), and Jack. Blitz, Hearth, and Sam are all interesting, round characters. Blitz is an outsider to his own people because he prefers to follow his dream of opening a fashion store. Hearth is not only deaf, but a sorcerer (which is frowned upon by other elves). Plus, his parents were terrible people who blamed him for the death of his brother. Sam is probably the character that I am the most thrilled with. We don’t get a lot of Arabic characters in YA literature, and I’m glad Riordan made her a main character who overcomes other people’s biases (some because of her Arabic heritage and others because of being the daughter of Loki). Sam is also betrothed to a guy in an arranged marriage…and she’s THRILLED with it. No, seriously, that’s not sarcasm. She’s got a huge crush on her betrothed. So Magnus and readers’ stereotypes of arranged marriages always being horrible things gets corrected.

Jack (aka The Sword of Summer) is definitely a character. I’m not sure I’d classify him as a rounded character because he’s a sword and he’s SUPPOSED to be flat. However, I will say that he’s not a very flat sword. Jack’s dialogue in the book is always amusing and his creativity in killing giantesses was most (ugh) interesting. I imagine Jack’s dialogue is what Excalibur (from the television series, The Librarians) would sound like if he was given a voice.

Overall, the book follows the same recipe of the Percy Jackson books. Serious topics are discussed, but in a lighter tone. All fans of Riordan’s other works will enjoy this new series starter.


My Ántonia

By nchcpl_admin,

One evening, I was channel surfing and ran across a fascinating documentary about Willa Cather. For reasons completely unknown, this prompted me to take a chance on an American classic I had never read, My Antoniaand I was blown away. This fictional memoir has successful railway attorney Jim Burden looking back through much older eyes at his experiences growing up in pioneer Nebraska. At 10, Jim’s parents die and he is sent from Virginia to live with his elderly grandparents in Nebraska. Jim’s memories center around a somewhat older girl he befriended, Antonia. It is almost impossible to summarize this book. It’s part pioneer narrative, part coming of age story, part immigrant narrative and part first love story — and those are just the main parts. There are wonderful short character vignettes and amazingly lyrical descriptions of the prairie.

The thing that really caught me up in this book is the way that Jim’s adult voice is always present. This is a story about looking back and realizing that, for all the faults that might have existed, childhood can and should be a magical time. It’s a shame that schools inflict this remarkable book on children. They won’t have any of the life experience necessary to see what’s really going on in this story. Even those who hated this in grade school should give this American classic a chance as an adult. Read it slowly and savor the vivid pictures Cather paints of the great American prairie.

Review by staff member David D.

Robinson Crusoe on Mars

By nchcpl_admin,

Long before Ridley Scott thrilled filmgoers with last year’s The Martian, producer George Pal and director Byron Haskin took audiences on an excellent and offbeat cruise to the red planet in the summer of 1964 with Robinson Crusoe on Mars, a clever retelling of Daniel Dafoe’s classic tale of survival against insurmountable odds. In the film, Commander Christopher “Kit” Draper (Paul Mantee) and Colonel Dan McReady (Adam West) bail from their spacecraft to the Martian surface when their orbiting rocket is damaged by an asteroid. McReady is killed in the crash, but Draper survives. Confined in an arid dungeon of rocks and hills stretching to a scorched horizon, a physical and mental battle ensues. Confronted with the challenge of surviving in a harsh world, Draper must also face solitude and loneliness. But Mars has a few surprises in store for the frightened astronaut. An escaped intergalactic mining slave (Victor Lundin) joins Draper on his quest to the Martian polar ice cap, all the while being pursued by aliens in spaceships similar to those in War of the Worlds (1953), an earlier Pal/Haskin collaboration.

At the time of its inception, Robinson Crusoe on Mars was the most ambitious undertaking by a film studio yet to depict what life on Mars would be like based on what was known and theorized by science at the time. Previous cinematic voyages, like Rocketship X-M (1950), were shot in black and white with Mars sequences tinted a pinkish-red in post-production. But producer George Pal wanted his Mars feature to be shot in vivid color and in widescreen, no less. The barren terrain of Death Valley, California provided the perfect scenery. Since there is no blue sky on Mars, an animated red-orange sky and blazing fireball f/x were created in post.

If Destination Moon (1950) is the starting point to 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), then Robinson Crusoe on Mars is the halfway mark, a pit stop on a journey beyond the infinite. Review by staff member Josh D.

You can watch and discuss Robinson Crusoe on Mars with fellow movie buffs on Wednesday, March 23 at 6:30 pm in the auditorium. Enjoy some popcorn while you are there.

Family R.E.C Time

By nchcpl_admin,

Weekly routines are important for preschool-aged families, which is why we developed Family R.E.C. Time. Whenever there is a break in our storytime cycle, it’s time for R.E.C., which stands for Reading-Eating-Creating. This self-guided storytime is available in the Children’s Library story room from 10 am to noon on designated days.

Our team provides a specific theme and selects books and activities related to the theme. Past themes have included dogs, forts, the beach, and Dr. Seuss. We will have a light snack for your child along with craft supplies and instructions so that you and your child can create something related to the theme.

Kids love the opportunity to read with caregivers and even play make-believe as a storyteller. One mother pointed out that she loves the crafts offered, knowing that her kids are free to let their creative juices flow without worrying about making a mess.

Check out the Events link to find out the date for the next R.E.C. time.

TTW Pictures

By nchcpl_admin,

This year’s Teen Tech Week was a success. I’d like to say thank you to all of the teens who showed up for our TTW programs as

Geek Squad 2

well as the wonderful Geek Squad who came out and made learning html actually kind of…fun?!!

Geek Squad 3

See you at next year’s TTW!

[youtube id=”5SP3K4ylDL0″]


March – New CDs

By nchcpl_admin,

COUNTRY - Chris Janson - Buy Me a Boat COUNTRY - Easton Corbin - About to Get Real COUNTRY - Hunter Hayes - The 21 Project COUNTRY - Michael Ray POP - Jess Glynne - I Cry When I Laugh RHYTHM,BLUES - Chris Brown X Tyga - Fan of the Album RHYTHM,BLUES - The Weekend - Beauty Behind the Madness ROCK - Blur - The Magic Whip ROCK - Boots - Aquaria ROCK - Fall Out Boy - American Psycho Again ROCK - Hollywood Vampires ROCK - Keith RIchards - Crosseyed Heart

The Last Unicorn

By nchcpl_admin,

One of the first books I remember reading is a collection of fairy tales. Even before I could read, I remember staring at the illustrations and repeating to myself the tales I’d heard my mother read to me. The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle is a tale in the vein of a fairy tale, with magical creatures, wizards, spells, a prince, and an evil king.

In a forest, an immortal unicorn lives peacefully, protecting the wood and its inhabitants. One day, however, she overhears the story of all the other unicorns vanishing from the world—she is the last. Her journey to discover what has happened to her fellow creatures takes her into danger, and into the company of an inept wizard and a rough kitchen servant. Can this trio defeat King Haggard, whose search for happiness has made him utterly uncaring about anyone else?

The story is written in a lyrical prose, and filled with quips that are like riddles (and lots of riddles as well). The style of writing creates a thoughtful, wonder-filled, and sometimes melancholy feel to the tale. The book is illustrated by black and white line drawings that reinforce this atmosphere. In 2011, a graphic novel adaption was released, full of luminous color illustrations that skillfully capture the same magical feel of the novel. If you are in the mood for a thoughtful fairy tale, check out The Last Unicorn in book or graphic novel format.

Review by staff member Josephine K.

Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson

By nchcpl_admin,

“Before Peter Pan belonged to Wendy, he belonged to the girl with the crow feather in her hair…

Fifteen-year-old Tiger Lily doesn’t believe in love stories or happy endings. Then she meets the alluring teenage Peter Pan in the forbidden woods of Neverland and immediately falls under his spell.

Peter is unlike anyone she’s ever known. Impetuous and brave, he both scares and enthralls her. As the leader of the Lost Boys, the most fearsome of Neverland’s inhabitants, Peter is an unthinkable match for Tiger Lily. Soon, she is risking everything—her family, her future—to be with him. When she is faced with marriage to a terrible man in her own tribe, she must choose between the life she’s always known and running away to an uncertain future with Peter.

With enemies threatening to tear them apart, the lovers seem doomed. But it’s the arrival of Wendy Darling, an English girl who’s everything Tiger Lily is not, that leads Tiger Lily to discover that the most dangerous enemies can live inside even the most loyal and loving heart” (Goodreads Synopsis).

“She stands on the cliffs, near the old crumbling stone house” (Tiger Lily, Page 1, Sentence 1).

Krystal’s Review:

Peter Pan you guys…Peter Pan! I’m all about the Peter Pan here recently. It all began when I read Tiger Lily. It then grew exponentially with Ruth B’s new song, “Lost Boy” (which I may be humming along to). Then I went back to read the original Peter Pan story and, to my delight, Tiger Lily is an actual character! My next move is going to watch the newest Peter Pan movie, Pan.

This book was pretty fantastic. I love retellings of fairy tales. One thing that the synopsis does NOT tell you is that the book is told from Tinker Bell’s point-of-view. Tink is amazing (and her grudge against Wendy is explained). Most of the story is told prior to Wendy’s arrival, so it’s almost like you are reading a prequel to the Peter Pan story. This story is about friendship, loyalty, and the power of first love. First loves don’t always last, but the memory of one’s first love is eternal. Tiger Lily and Peter Pan are both great characters, although they each have quite a few character flaws. Tinker Bell, however, was my favorite. Here’s a great quote from Tink: “Sometimes I think that maybe we are just stories. Like we may as well be words on a page, because we’re only what we’ve done and what we are going to do,” (Tiger Lily, pg. 282).

Read the book…you won’t regret it.