Category Archives: Features

Sweet Reads Book Club

Join us at the library on the first Monday of every month for our new Young Adult Book Club! Come for the snacks, to tell us why you loved or hated the book, or to suggest future book club titles. Sweet treats provided at all events!

June 1st: Paper Towns; July 6: The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau Banks; August 3: The Fifth Wave. Registration recommended. Registration links to come

June 1st: Did you know that another amazing novel by John Green is being turned into a movie? Paper Towns, a smart and surprising mystery about a missing girl and one boy’s quest to find her, will be out in theaters this July. Join us for a discussion about the book (accompanied by a delicious snack, of course) so that you can be properly prepared for the movie debut this summer. Register here. Find a copy of Paper Towns here.

July 6th: Frankie Landau-Banks does not take no for an answer, especially when she’s excluded from an all-male secret society at her boarding school. Join us for a discussion about E. Lockhart’s great book, The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau Banks. Refreshments will be provided, and registration is recommended. Register here. Find a copy of The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau Banks here.
August 3rd: Who doesn’t love a good post-apocalyptic novel? Join us for a discussion of Rick Yancey’s The Fifth Wave, a novel set in a world where there’s only one rule: trust no one. Refreshments will be provided, and registration is recommended. Register here. Find a copy of The Fifth Wave here.

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Creative Writing Workshops; Wednesday nights from 7-8:30 PM

creativewritinginstagramForget essays and homework; discover what it means to let creativity run wild and write for pleasure at these weekly creative writing workshops. We will read and discuss poetry, fiction, non-fiction, slam poetry, and any other type of writing that strikes our fancy. These workshops offer the opportunity to explore your writing skills in a relaxed, informal environment. Creative Writing Workshops aren’t about getting a good grade or writing a critical analysis, they are about trying new things and creating something exciting to put on a blank page.

313393_283129255049078_100000560186552_1070834_1377457794_nIf you don’t feel like writing, that’s fine too, you are always welcome to just hang out, eat candy, and listen to what others have to say. 

Student writing can be found here.

Like our Facebook page here.

Creative Writing links of interest can be found here.

Contact Katie (workshop facilitator and Young Adult Librarian) here. 

Workshops are open to high school students only

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Someone by Maxine Flasher-Duzgunes

I’m looking for someone. Not someone to grow old with, someone to rock with till the lullabies go flat. benches-186309_640Not someone to hold my hand at graduation, because I am uncertain I will remain among my colleges by then, these pupils I’ve seen grow old. Old with snap chat stories writing their futures, old with excuses, concussions of guilt that get every football jock out of their math test.

I’m looking for a young person, one who I can stand to be taller than, have a few freckles on their cheek. I can stand some makeup in the most unnoticeable places. I can stand a smile. Not an optimistic one. No. A somewhat hopeful pout, or a twinkle in the corner of their eye. Anything that proves they don’t wish to contradict me, to slur every one of my phrases when it is most raw. I don’t want someone like that.

They don’t even have to be a high schooler. They could come with a barcode, categorized under the young adult section in the library. A little gloomy, like all the books there want to be, a little moody. I’m looking for someone, not a back-talker, a frantic typer, a socialite, none of those things. I look around, searching with one strap on a shoulder, more than waiting or longing. It’s more than standing outside of doorsteps in the rain. It’s more than sitting at an airport with a label-maker. I’m actually looking.

I’m not saying the fellows I have are unsuitable. They are genuine, they are homey, they are “nice”. I’ve found, however, they are nothing but that. Nothing but a high-five, an un-hungry applause at each one of my attempts—attempts to find puns in the scarcity of textbooks, attempts to be a good listener, and pretend to give a crap about their run-the-mill antics. My fellows: their words of wisdom do not belong in the chinks of English quote books (I cannot be their companion anymore). I cannot stand the buzz of inadequate whining; undesirable voices that gather the worst words out of our dictionaries. I like them, I do, but I’ve outgrown them. I haven’t grown old, but I’ve outgrown them.

This position is quite uncomfortable; this situation could never be a couch cushion or a restaurant dinner booth. No. I only sit in such places when I am alone, when I am still combing through the cracks of the TV remote, or underneath the lamination of the specials menu. A time and place: a perfect moment for time and place. A cozy seat warmer, a hot water bottle, a leopard print blanket. Only in warmth can time and place find whatever it was they were looking for. Yet I am still looking for them. The conventional stretch of that minute hand will someday lead me to that someone.

They don’t have to be like me, they don’t even have to like me. They could be plain and simple if they wanted to. Straightforward, not afraid of criticisms for the love of every mistake I have ever made. Maybe they could get their point across, unlike me, and my day-to-day unnecessary sentences. Maybe they could tell me when enough is enough, and I don’t fit into my anecdotes like puzzle pieces do. Maybe they could hold my hand in the metaphysical dankness of a thought tunnel, but in truth, not really hold my hand. Maybe when I don’t want to go to my graduation, that someone will say it’s okay.

That I will say it’s okay. And I’ll stop looking.

For more writing from the Creative Writing Workshop, click here.

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Wilderness Survival-NEW DATE: Monday, June 15th

Wilderness Survival

New date: Monday, June 15th at 7 PM

Do you think you have what it takes to survive in the wild? Craig Sloan, a Mill Valley Fire Department firefighter, Marine, and all-around awesome human being is going to teach us the essentials of wilderness survival at this hands-on workshop. We will learn how to create a shelter, trap and forage for food, and how to avoid getting eaten by a bear. So if you don’t like being mauled by large animals, you should definitely come to this workshop!

For high school students only. Registration strongly recommended and greatly appreciated. Register here.

Craig’s bio:craig

Craig started his fire service career with the Mill Valley Fire Department after graduating from Tamalpais High School in 2002.  Shortly after graduating, Craig enlisted in the United States Marine Corps where he served with honor and distinction for 5 years.  Craig was honorably discharged at the rank of Sergeant and rejoined our department in 2010 as a Firefighter-Trainee.  Craig started his new assignment as a Firefighter on November, 11th, 2011 – Veteran’s Day. 

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Video from the Slam Poetry Competition 2015

Thank you so much to everyone who came out and made the Slam Poetry Competition such an amazing evening! Video of the performances can be found here. Pictures of the event can be found here and the hard copies of the poems are coming soon!

Big thanks to Chinaka Hodge for being our fabulous emcee and for Kate Axelrod, Ryan Kawamoto, and Tamarah Phillips for doing a great job as judges.

Watch the video of the 2014 Slam Poetry Competition here.

See pictures from the 2014 Slam Poetry Competition here.

 

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Creative Writing Links and Wisdom

Thanks to the weekly Creative Writing Workshop for high school students, I do a lot of reading about writing. It seems selfish to keep such a plethora of knowledge to myself. If I find an article/post/cat gif that I, in my totally subjective way, find pertinent to the craft of writing, I will share it here. Generally speaking, I will only post the title and/or first few lines of something, with a link to the full text. If nothing else, this will be a useful repository for me to collect the interesting writing articles I find and usually promptly forget about. There may only be a few pieces to start, but I promise to continue to add more. If you come across something you think should be here, email me or post it to the Facebook page (which pretty much only I read) and I will repost here.  Read/Write on!

~Katiechuckwendig

  • All good books are alike in that they are truer than if they had really happened and after you are finished reading one you will feel that all that happened to you and afterwards it all belongs to you; the good and the bad, the ecstasy, the remorse and sorrow, the people and the places and how the weather was. If you can get so that you can give that to people, then you are a writer.– ERNEST HEMINGWAY

  • I don’t follow Quora much but this showed up in my inbox and if Lois Lowery is talking about the process of writing a novel, I want to read what she has to say.
  • This illustrated version of Charles Bukowski’s “air and light and time and space” is awesome. 
  • I am living by this excerpt from Anne Lamott’s great book on writing, Bird By Bird.
  • I mean, you can be sure I am going to include lots of quotes from my boy Hemingway on this page: 

“When I am working on a book or story I write every morning as soon after first light as possible. There is no one to disturb you and it is cool or cold and you come to your work and warm as you write. You read what you have written and, as you always stop when you know what is going to happen next, you go on from there. You write until you come to a place where you still have your juice and know what will happen next and you stop and try to live through until the next day next you hit it again.” - ERNEST HEMINGWAY

  • Although this does not bode well for me, as I am actually the least athletic/exercise-y person alive, I am sure what Rebecca Makkai says is true:

“My cures for writer’s block are alarmingly pragmatic and physical. So pragmatic that they arrange themselves in list form! To wit: 1. Get up and walk around. A few years ago, I realized that the solutions to most of my writing problems would come to me in the bathroom. It wasn’t the bathroom itself, of course, that was magic, but the act of getting up from my desk and walking there, getting the blood flowing, and tearing my eyes away from the computer screen. So now, when I’m staring down a huge plot problem, I take a long walk—without a notepad. It’s nearly always solved by the time I get back. 2. Vitamin B. It’s better than caffeine. It makes you both calmer and smarter. I keep a bottle on my desk. 3. If you can, sleep late. That last cycle of sleep is when the weird dreams come, the ones you’ll actually remember. (And how great is it to say, “I have to sleep late for work?”) 4. Yoga. My point with all of these being: Writing isn’t entirely mental. You’re a physical being, and sometimes when your writing is broken, it’s your body that needs attention, not your mind.”
—Rebecca Makkai via The Millions

  • Finished a draft of something? Here are six questions to ask your reader to ensure they give helpful feedback.
  • Failure is Our Muse by Stephen Marche (good, because one of my stories keeps getting rejected and it’s giving me a sad!)
  • “You must have a room, or a certain hour or so a day, where you don’t know what was in the newspapers that morning, you don’t know who your friends are, you don’t know what you owe anybody, you don’t know what anybody owes to you. This is a place where you can simply experience and bring forth what you are and what you might be. This is the place of creative incubation. At first you may find that nothing happens there. But if you have a sacred place and use it, something eventually will happen.” JOSEPH CAMPBELL

  • What Writers Can Learn from “Goodnight Moon” by Aimee Bender
  • Fiction Writer's Cheat Sheet by RipleyNox

    Fiction Writer’s Cheat Sheet by RipleyNox

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Exclusive Interview with Mallory Ortberg

We are incredibly lucky to have Mallory Ortberg, co-founder of  The Toast, and author of Texts From Jane Eyre speaking at our First Thursday event. You can check out her very serious, scholarly articles like Gleeful Mobs Of Women Murdering Men In Western Art History, How To Tell If You Are In A High Fantasy Novel, and Literary Quotes That Double As Excellent Mantras During A Final Set (Or: Things I Have Whispered Quietly To Myself At The Gym) at the Toast. She was kind enough to sit down with us for an interview.

1. What was your favorite book as a teenager? Are there any books you think all young adults should read?

“The Inimitable Jeeves,” P.G. Wodehouse. I’m so glad I read Wodehouse as a teenager because there was always plenty of fiction encouraging me to Take My Feelings Seriously, but not nearly enough encouraging me to take the world lightly, and I’m grateful for that.

2. What were you like in high school?MalloryOrtberg

AVERAGE. I put forth effort toward things I was naturally good at and avoided things that didn’t come easily to me. I wore a lot of chunky Mary Jane platforms and did a lot of theater. I kissed roughly six people, but I hadn’t kissed anyone at all until the last month of my junior year, so I felt like I had some catching up to do. I played competent tennis. I ran a very slow mile. I took a C in swimming because I was unable to dive. I went to the California State Summer School for the Arts in northern LA county and had the best summer of my life.

3. What is the best thing about (co) running your own website?

Working with Nicole Cliffe, who is my sun, moon and stars.

4. Any advice for aspiring young writers?

Write a great deal, and try to get paid for it. Write more about things that genuinely interest you rather than try to sound like an interesting person.

5. What are you most looking forward to in 2015 (other than coming to the Mill Valley Library, duh)?

The Turner Classic Film festival in LA! I go every year.

6. What do you want to talk about at the MVPL First Thursday event?

I am up for talking about all kinds of things! Being an English major and living a mildly successful life! The Western canon! How to get a book published! Starting your own business! The Brontes!

**For high school students only. Registration required. Register here.

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Personalized Reading Lists (PeRLs)

Not sure what to read next?

Why waste your time reading book description after book description when you could have a librarian (me!) create a personalized reading list for you, based on your preferences? Just contact me and we will set up an interview, either in person or through email. Open to high school students. 

image via: http://bit.ly/1BW4Wv8

image via: http://bit.ly/1BW4Wv8

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Pictures from Dauntless After Dark: After Hours Scavenger Hunt and Capture the Flag

We began the evening with a game of glow in the dark Capture the Flag…on both floors of the Library…

glowsticksDAD1 rules march huh looking2 found scream group
sophieglow

The “flag” had two keys attached to it. Each team broke up into two smaller groups and went in search of the locked boxes that would lead to their next task

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Inside were Soduku puzzles that even the brightest Erudites would have trouble cracking…

DAD13 DAD11 DAD10 DAD16 DAD17 DAD5

 

Correctly answering the Sodoku led each team to a different Dewey Decimal Number…

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Inside the correct book was an envelope full of paper images…

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DAD27 DAD26 DAD25 DAD28And then it was time to prove the participants were committed to Dauntless…by getting inked!

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The final challenge was a test of balance and speed….

DAD40 DAD34 DAD35 DAD33 DAD36And the first team to complete all the challenges took first place!

27DAD44DAD46

 

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How to Access Shmoop.com’s Premium Content

You may be familiar with Shmoop.com’s free study tools, which are endlessly helpful for shmoopeverything from algebra to statistics. With your Mill Valley Library card, though, you can access Shmoop’s Premium content–including test prep for any AP Exam you can think of as well as SAT, ACT, and all of those other fun times standardized tests (scroll to the bottom of the page to see their complete course catalog). There’s also business and career info, writing help and much, MUCH more.

To get started…

1) Just click here

2) You will see something that looks like this:

shmoopgo

 

 

 

 

3) Click “Let’s Go” and you will be taken to a page that looks like this:

shmooplogin

 

 

4) Where it asks you for a “Magic Word,” enter your Library Card Number (starts with 211110)

5) Create a Username and Password

6) Click “CREATE”

After creating your account, you can log into shmoop.com with your username and password and click on “My Passes” to see your test prep!

*Don’t have a Library Card? Maybe you lost it sometime in the 5th grade? No worries. Just fill out the online application below and stop by the Library to pick up your (free!) card.

Online Library Card Application

What, exactly, do you get with Shmoop’s premium content? Oh, just this:

COMPLETE COURSE CATALOG

Health, Physical Education, and Counseling
Technology and Computer Science
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