Open, Open, Open


The Library is OPEN!  Yes, we managed to get all the remaining textbooks off the library tables and squished back into the Textbook Room and the Library Reading Room is open for business.


  • a current school ID card is required to check out a library book
  • library books check out for 2 weeks (14 days)
  • late charge per book is 10 cents for each day past the due date (maximum fine per book is $2.50)
  • if you need to keep a book longer than 2 weeks, bring it in and we will gladly renew it for you (unless someone has placed a hold on it)

And now a fun fact:

  • the first library book checked out this school year was Beloved by Toni Morrison

Welcome Back!

Wow, it’s really been a long time since I posted on the blog.  But this year is going to be different!  For one thing, we have a FULL TIME TEACHER LIBRARIAN again!!  With a full staff, things will be a little less hectic around here and there will be more time for fun stuff like social media. 🙂

We are planning to officially open the Library on Monday, August 18th … which means we have to get all the textbooks out by the end of this week.  Fortunately, we already have some great TA’s to help us.

Here’s to a great new year!

The X Games of Reading

Description unavailable

Description unavailable (Photo credit: jvoves)

I ran across this list of 50 incredibly tough books for extreme readers on the Internet the other day.  I’ve only read two of them all the way through but we own 15 of them here the MoHi library.  If you’re up for a challenge, try one of these tricky tomes (book description are from the website noted above):

The gulag archipelago by Aleksander Solzhenitsyn (365.45 Sol) — Oof. This novel is based on the author’s own experiences as a prisoner in a gulag labor camp. You may think the reading is tough, but you probably shouldn’t be complaining.

The Canterbury tales by Geoffrey Chaucer (821 Chaucer; 821.17 C496c) — You know who was a pretty tough, kick-ass broad? The Wife of Bath. You know who else? Anybody who reads her tale, particularly in the original Middle English.

The divine comedy by Dante Alighieri (851 Dante) — Well, clearly this list couldn’t end without at least one more epic poem in there, this one written sometime in the early 1300s. If you’re reading this famous journey through the circles of hell just for funsies, you’re probably pretty much a badass.

Heart of darkness by Joseph Conrad (FIC Conrad) — Unlike many others on this list, Heart of Darkness is slim enough to fit in your coat pocket. But it’s dense, and as thick and sticky as the jungle, and many describe it as being nigh impenetrable without a knife to hack with. If you can do it with your bare hands, that’s when you know you’re tough. If not, well… The horror! The horror!

The sound and the fury by William Faulkner (FIC Faulkner) — Yes, it’s a classic, but it’s also a confusing one, packed with stream-of-consciousness narration that keeps changing place, time, and narrators on you. Fun fact: originally, Faulkner intended to use different-colored inks to signify the different temporal spaces, so readers armed only with the black-and-white paperback (i.e., everyone) are attempting a complex trip without the map.

A shorter Finnegans wake by James Joyce (FIC Joyce) — If you can make sense out of Joyce’s famously incomprehensible novel, you must have a reading mind of steel. If you can get through it without making sense of it, that’s a whole different kind of tough altogether.

The castle by Franz Kafka (FIC Kafka) — It takes a tough reader to deal with the endless alienation and isolation that is Kafka, and his final, unfinished novel is possibly the

most alienating and isolating of all his works. That said, it’s pretty wonderful. Also of note and not heralded often enough: his short story “In the Penal Colony,” this writer’s favorite. Check it out.

Pet sematary by Stephen King (FIC King) — Dead things should usually stay dead. For those too tough to hide their books in the freezer before they go to sleep (or tough enough to admit to doing it).

Moby Dick by Herman Melville (FIC Melville) — There’s only so much discussion of whaling techniques and classifications that most readers can take. To those who sail through these chapters, the rest of the reading world salutes you.

Sophie’s choice by William Styron (FIC Styron) — Do you know what’s tough? Choices. Also, reading this book without crying.

Battle royale by Koushun Takami (FIC Takami) — You need to be almost as tough to finish this book as you would have had to be to get out of its twisted battle arena alive. Almost. No points for watching the movie.

The Silmarillion by J.R.R. Tolkien (FIC Tolkien) — For those who thought The Lord of the Rings was too short and didn’t have enough background into the world, we salute you.

War and peace by Leo Tolstoy (FIC Tolstoy) — The gold standard in long, dense, and Russian.

Johnny got his gun by Dalton Trumbo (FIC Trumbo) — A World War I soldier wakes up in a hospital bed having lost all of his limbs and facial features, trapped in what’s left of his body, unable to move or, at first, communicate, or even kill himself. If you can live with him for 250 pages, and then the rest of your life, which is how long you’ll spend thinking about this book, you deserve a medal.

by Virginia Woolf (FIC Woolf) — Another notoriously difficult classic, Woolf’s landmark of modernism and stream-of-consciousness not only examines the world but the way in which we perceive the world. And only the tough examine their own consciousness.



North to Alaska

Alaska, Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, Canni...

Alaska, Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, Canning River tributary (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Today is Alaska Day which celebrates the transfer of Alaska from Russia to the United States in 1867.  Alaska became the 49th state in 1959, the same year MoHi opened.  Yes, our school is as old as the state of Alaska (but nowhere near as cold).  Enjoy a virtual trip to “The Last Frontier” with these books:

Revolver by Marcus Sedgwick (FIC Sedgwick) – Fourteen-year-old Sig is stranded at a remote cabin in the Arctic
wilderness with his father, who died just hours earlier after falling through the ice, when a terrifying man arrives, claiming Sig’s father owes him a share of a horde of stolen gold and that he will kill Sig if
he does not get his money.

Do not pass go by Kirkpatrick Hill (FIC Hill) — When Deet’s father is jailed for using drugs, Deet learns that prison is not what he expected, nor are other people necessarily the way he
thought they were.

Into the wild by Jon Krakauer (921 McCandless) — Tells the story of Chris McCandless, a twenty-four-year-old who walked into the Alaskan wilderness on an idealistic journey and was found dead of starvation four months later. The book attempts to discover what led
the young man to that point.

Right behind you by Gail Giles (FIC Giles) — After spending over four years in a mental institution for murdering a friend in Alaska, fourteen-year-old Kip begins a completely new life in Indiana with his father and stepmother under a different name, but has trouble fitting in
and finds there are still problems to deal with from his childhood.

Eagle blue : a team, a tribe, and a high school basketball season in Arctic Alaska by Michael D’Orso (796.323 D’Or) — Follows the Fort Yukon Eagles high school basketball team from its 2004 preseason to the 2005 Alaskan state championship, exploring the lives of its players and coach and examining the six-hundred-person village’s Gwich’in Athabascan heritage.

Touching Spirit Bear by Ben Mikaelsen (FIC Mikaelsen) — After his anger erupts into violence, fifteen year-old Cole, in order to avoid going to prison, agrees to participate in a sentencing
alternative based on the Native American Circle Justice, and he is sent to a remote Alaskan Island where an encounter with a huge Spirit Bear changes his life.

Noah’s Legacy

Engraving of Noah Webster, from the frontispie...

Engraving of Noah Webster, from the frontispiece of Webster’s American Dictionary of the English Language, Revised and Enlarged (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It’s Dictionary Day!  Why today? Because it is the birthday of Noah Webster, who wrote the first American dictionary.  Dictionaries are a great reference tool, especially when you come across a word you don’t know, but they aren’t always boring.  Check out one of these out-of-the-ordinary dictionaries :

The dictionary of imaginary places by Alberto Manguel (REF 809 Man) – With more than 220 maps and illustrations that depict the lay of the land, this guidebook takes readers on a tour of more than 1200 realms invented by storytellers from Homer’s day to our own.

The American Sign Language handshape dictionary by Richard Tennant (419 Ten) – Contains illustrations of over 1,600 hand signs used in American Sign Language, with their English meanings, including one-hand and two-hand signs; grouped by initial handshape. Includes an alphabetical index of English words, with a page indication of the related illustration.

Why Eve doesn’t have an Adam’s apple :  a dictionary of sex differences by Carol Ann Rinzler (612.6 Rin) – Identifies and explains over a hundred physiological differences between men and women, arranged alphabetically and including notes and references and an index.

Bob’s your uncle : a dictionary of slang for British mystery fans by Jann Turner-Lord (427.09 Tur)

Or read about the greatest dictionary of all, the Oxford English Dictionary:

The meaning of everything : the story of the Oxford English dictionary by Simon Winchester (423 Win) – Traces the history of the English language while chronicling the creation of the “Oxford English Dictionary“, profiling the key figures in the dictionary‘s compilation.

The professor and the madman : a tale of murder, insanity, and the making of the Oxford English dictionary by Simon Winchester (423.09 Win) – Explains how the “Oxford English Dictionary” was created and discusses the relationship between the editor and one of his most influential contributors, a psychotic murderer in one of England’s cruelest asylums.

Curiouser and Curiouser

Curious George (film)

Curious George (film) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Today is Curious Events Day.  While you are trying to puzzle out exactly what this wacky holiday means, indulge your curiosity with one of these “curious” books:

Unexplained : encyclopedia of curious phenomena, strange superstitions, and ancient mysteries by Judy Allen (001.9403 All) — Examines legends and mysteries that challenge human capacity for belief, including hauntings, parapsychology, superstitions, UFOs, and much more.

Never suck a dead man’s hand : curious adventures of a CSI by Dana Kollmann (363.25 Kol) — Crime scene investigator Dana Kollmann describes life on the job,
discussing investigation processes and science and presenting grisly details.

Thereby hangs a tale : stories of curious word origins by Charles Funk (422 P98) — Gives the stories behind the origins of hundreds of words in the English language.

The disheveled dictionary : a curious caper through our sumptuous lexicon by Karen Gorgon (423 Gor) — A dictionary of more than two hundred unusual English-language terms of international origin.

Packing for Mars : the curious science of life in the void by Mary Roach (571.0919 Roa) — Explores space travel and answers a number of curious questions about what life would be like without gravity.

Stiff : the curious lives of human cadavers by Mary Roach (611 Roa) — Explores how human cadavers have been used throughout history, discussing how the use of dead bodies has benefited every aspect of human existence.

Off the map : the curious histories of place-names by Derek Nelson (910.3 Nel) — Contains a wealth of fascinating and arcane information about maps and cartographers.

“Surely you’re joking, Mr. Feynman!” : adventures of a curious character by Richard Feynman (921 Feynman) — A collection of often humorous anecdotes about the 1965 Nobel Prize winner for physics.

The curious incident of the dog in the night-time by Mark Haddon (FIC Haddon) — Despite his overwhelming fear of interacting with people, Christopher, a mathematically-gifted, autistic fifteen-year-old boy, decides to investigate the murder of a neighbor’s dog and uncovers secret information about his mother.

Curious notions by Harry Turtledove (FIC Turtledove) — In the San Francisco of a parallel-world in which Germany won World War I, Paul Gomes and his father are secret agents from our timeline. They run a shop called Curious Notions but their real job is to obtain raw materials for our timeline and guard the secret of Crosstime Traffic.

Eat It or Toss It?

Schoolchildren eating hot school lunches made ...

Schoolchildren eating hot school lunches made up primarily of food from the surplus commodities program. Taken at a school in Penasco, New Mexico, United States. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Have you seen the website Fed Up from  Students from around the country post photos of there school lunches and you can vote whether it’s worth eating or should be tossed.  All the info collected will be used to create a map of the state of the school lunch across America.  You’ll find lunches from elementary, middle and high schools as well as colleges and universities.  You can even filter by state, so you can see what other California students are eating.

After spending some time on the website, it looks to me like most high school lunches are not very inspiring.  What do you think?

And what’s up with all the chicken and waffles???