Saturday, August 17, 2013

Teens Only | Looking for Alaska

No, I'm not traveling to Alaska anytime soon. The title of this blog is, alas, the title of a really great book which I highly recommend. Looking for Alaska by John Green will make you think. The publisher's blurb begins like this: 

Miles "Pudge" Halter is abandoning his safe-okay, boring-life. Fascinated by the last words of famous people, Pudge leaves for boarding school to seek what a dying Rabelais called the "Great Perhaps."

I want you all to read this book and talk about what the "Great Perhaps" means. Is it, as some readers have suggested, that one turning point in your life when everything (past, present and future) makes sense? When you find your life's meaning? Is it, as others have suggested, something that is never meant to be known? 

Looking for Alaska is gripping. It's Miles' story as he spends his first year at a prep school (away from home) and is introduced to good friends and some rather outlandish pranks. And then the big plot twist: a devastating event that I won't tell you about because I'm not a book plot spoiler. If you notice the chapters are titled "one hundred twenty seven days before" to "three days before," etc., you'll most likely figure it out. But it's the impact of that event, and the coming to terms it inspires that is just momentous. Huge kudos to author John Green for this really compelling read. And by the way, it's a New York Times Bestseller. 

And lest I forget, Looking for Alaska is part of the Library's One Book, One San Joaquin program which kicks off Saturday, September 7th with a really cool event featuring Nancy Pearl at the Janet Leigh Theatre (located on the University of Pacific campus in Stockton). Every year the Library presents a community reading event centered on one book. This year, that book is Nina Sankovitch's Tolstoy and the Purple Chair. You already know this because you saw my colleague Lisa's blog about this program, right? Nina's book is a beautiful tribute to the magical power of reading; John's book definitely shares some themes with that book. It all comes together as we celebrate the beauty and lasting impact of books and reading.

So read Looking for Alaska. Check out the great programs we have slated for One Book, One San Joaquin. And check out the teen program -- Teen Talk and T-Shirt Fun -- for a discussion of Looking for Alaska and a really cool bleach pen art project. And I'll make it easy for you: we've got 2 of those programs scheduled. The first is Tuesday, September 10th at 4 pm at the Tracy Library. The second is Tuesday, September 17th at 4 pm at the Ripon Library. They're free. Join us.

Happy Reading!


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