Tag Archives: movies

A Librarian Takes on the Book Riot Read Harder Challenge: Read an All-Ages Comic, Task 1

18 Jan

This year I decided to follow the Book Riot Read Harder 2017 Challenge. I said the same thing about the 2015 and 2016 challenges but didn’t succeed. But this year I’d like to complete the challenge! Sharlene has inspired me with her Dewey Decimal Challenge, so like her, I will write about the books I read here for the Book Riot Read Harder Challenge to hold myself accountable.

I set the barrier for entry low by choosing to complete the “Read an all-ages comic” task first. I recently became aware that Jem and the Holograms have been revived in comic book form, and immediately borrowed the first two volumes. As a kid I loved watching the Jem and the Holograms cartoons, which aired from 1985-1988 (seasons one, two, and three on DVD are available to borrow). What I remember most about Jem was her pink hair. I thought it was so pretty and believed that I would have pink hair when I grew up. While I lived through the era of using Manic Panic and even Kool Aid to dye hair wild colors, I never experimented with those means. But now I have something to talk about with my hair stylist…

Back to the comics!

Jem and the Holograms, by Kelly Thompson

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Jem and the Holograms, the first volume that collects books 1 through 5, establishes the Holograms’ origin story. Jerrica Benton is the manager and lead singer of the band, with her sisters Kimber the keytar player, Shana the drummer, and Aja the guitarist. The story opens with the band trying to record a music video to submit to a contest sponsored by the Misfits, but Jerrica’s stage fright impedes filming. After once again failing to perform and overhearing her bandmates’ frustrations with her, Jerrica goes home where she discovers Synergy, an Artificial Intelligence (AI) computer designed by her late father that allows Jerrica to transform into the fearless pink-haired Jem. As Jem, Jerrica is able to record the video, which takes off and threatens the Misfits, led by the volatile Pizazz, and breeds a rivalry.

I loved the art in this edition. Each woman has her own distinct style, and diverse body types are depicted. Truth be told, I prefered the Misfits’ edgier color palettes over the Holograms’.

The story was fun to read, too. A forbidden romance develops between the Holograms’ Kimber and the Misfits’ Stormer. Jerrica dates Rio, a reporter who is writing a story about the Misfits but becomes intrigued by the Holograms, in particular the mysterious Jem who is never in the same place as Jerrica.

Jem and the Holograms Vol. 2 Viral, by Kelly Thompson

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What makes Viral, the second volume that collects books 6 through 10, different from the first volume is the pop culture references. In the opening story, the exhausted Holograms argue over what movie to watch and we see their dreams where they are characters in their favorite movies that you will recognize, with Synergy playing a key role in each dream. I personally liked the story that imagined the Holograms and the Misfits as babies, a la The Muppet Babies cartoon (another childhood favorite!) with Synergy as Nanny, who we see only from the knees down. Viral ends with several cliffhangers and I am anxious to read the next volume to see where the story goes.

If reading these doesn’t give you enough Jem, you can borrow the recent live action movie of the same name on DVD or Blu-Ray. While I didn’t love the movie, I enjoyed Juliette Lewis as the band’s villainous manager Erica and Kesha’s cameo as Pizazz. What can I say, I think Pizazz is more interesting than Jerrica/Jem. Although regarding hair color inspiration, I am not sure green hair would be as flattering as pink.

So, this is my first completed Read Harder Challenge task. Stay tuned for the next one!

Do you have any special reading goals for this year? Let me know in the comments.

-Written by Kerry Weinstein, Reference Librarian

Celebrate Roald Dahl’s 100th Birthday!

7 Sep

One of my favorite childhood memories was my mom reading James and the Giant Peach and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory to my sister and me.  I loved the whimsical (and sometimes a bit scary) fantasies.  This September 13 marks the 100th anniversary of Dahl’s birth.  In Manchester, England the weekend before they are celebrating with a two day event complete with a giant inflatable peach, visit from the BFG, Willy Wonka’s Garden, and more.  The Hoboken Public Library has a variety of Dahl’s books, books on CD, and movies to spark your imagination; here are just a few to get you started.

James and the Giant Peach

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James and the Giant Peach was one of my two favorite books as a child (the other was E.B. White’s Charlotte’s Web).  James accidentally grows an enormous peach and finds friendly talking insects inside who travel with him on a thrilling journey.  You can take out the book from the Hoboken Public Library and the movie adaptation from BCCLS libraries.

The BFG

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The movie adaptation of The BFG was in theaters this summer.  The BFG stands for Big Friendly Giant, who unlike other giants doesn’t want to eat little children, but instead sends them good dreams.  He befriends a little girl named Sofie who helps him stop the less friendly giants from causing mayhem.  If you enjoyed the film, borrow the book or book on CD today at the Hoboken Public Library.

Matilda

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Matilda isn’t any ordinary girl, she has telekinetic powers which she uses to deal with her horrible parents and headmistress.  The musical adaptation of Matilda has been playing on Broadway since April of 2013, but if you haven’t seen it yet, you might want to get tickets soon since it scheduled to end its run on January 1. You can borrow Matilda as a book or its movie adaptation on DVD from the Hoboken Public Library

The Witches

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Roald Dahl’s The Witches is perfect if you are looking for a spooky Halloween read.  A boy must help his grandmother stop witches from turning all of the world’s children into mice.  You can borrow the book in print or on CD from HPL and the movie adaptation from BCCLS libraries.

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

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Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is probably Dahl’s best known work; it features a group of children who get a dream tour of a magical chocolate factory.  Remember not only Dahl, but the recently passed actor Gene Wilder in the 1971 Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (my preferred version, despite being a huge Tim Burton and Johnny Depp fan and the author’s disapproval of the adaptation).  You can also borrow Charlie and the Chocolate Factory: A Play adapted by Richard R. George if your little aspiring thespians would like to act the book out.  The library has the book’s sequel Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator that reveals what happens after the elevator went into space.

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang

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I was surprised and delighted recently when I learned the screenplay for Chitty Chitty Bang Bang was written by Roald Dahl along with Ken Hughes.  Chitty Chitty Bang Bang is a fun fantastic story about an inventor of whistling sweets and his flying car.  It was my favorite musical as a kid and I will probably have the songs from it stuck in my head all day.  Chitty Chitty Bang Bang is based on a children’s novel by James Bond author Ian Fleming.  Dahl also wrote the screenplay for the Bond film You Only Live Twice.

Ah, Sweet Mystery of Life

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Image via Amazon

Adults can always enjoy rereading Dahl’s children’s classics, but for those looking for something written for a more mature audience you can borrow from our library Ah, Sweet Mystery of Life, a collection of darkly humorous short stories he wrote in the 1940s and 1950s.  Also available for adults at our library is Dahl’s Two Fables.

The Irregulars: Roald Dahl and the British Spy Ring in Wartime Washington by Jennet Conant

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Dahl may have not only written a screen play about a spy, he may have been one himself!  You can read about his involvement with the British Secret Service in Conat’s The Irregulars.

-Written by Aimee Harris, Head of Reference

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