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Friday, December 20, 2013

New Reads for the End of the Year

New books at the HS

New books at the MS

New books at the ES

Plus there are new ebooks at each building and new Catalist audio books at the middle and high schools!

Friday, December 13, 2013

Fanfiction

Anyone who knows me knows I'm an avid reader of fanfiction. For those of you that aren't in the know, a work of fanfiction  contains characters or settings from a TV, movie, book, or other media source but is not commissioned or sanctioned by the actual creators. Fans of the media continue the story on their own.
Fan fiction is what literature might look like if it were reinvented from scratch after a nuclear apocalypse by a band of brilliant pop-culture junkies trapped in a sealed bunker. They don't do it for money. That's not what it's about. The writers write it and put it up online just for the satisfaction. They're fans, but they're not silent, couch-bound consumers of media. The culture talks to them, and they talk back to the culture in its own language.  —Lev Grossman, TIME, July 18, 2011
That is a great quote to explain what fanfiction is and why people write it. For most authors it's not about the money or the acclaim. It's the simple act of writing a twist in plot or a perspective you wish had happened in the fandom you immerse yourself in.

Fanfiction has been around for centuries, though not always by that name. The most observable historic form of fanfiction are unauthorized sequels to books. Sherlock Holmes stories are abundant and the Bronte sisters wrote stories about characters and people not their own. The term "fanfiction" wasn't coined until the 1960s, but the advent of the internet really let the category of writing really take off. With the internet a fanfiction could be easily spread to thousands of people across the globe, instead of being confined to a small geographical area or a small group of super-fans.

For me, fanfiction allows the continuation of the journey with characters after the credits roll or the last page of a book is read. Great fanfictions posit alternative universes where alternate decisions were made or a character is just slightly different. They allow you to jump into a story without having to be filled in on background knowledge.

As an educational tool (and yes it can be) fanfiction is a great way for students to examine a story from a different point of view or change a decision a character made and play that out. Becoming thoughtful individuals requires examining choices. Becoming good writers requires trying different styles on for size. Writing fanfiction allows for both of these things without having to develop characters, settings, or sometimes plot lines.

So where can you look for fanfiction stories? The largest repository of fanfiction is fanfiction.net. There are literally millions of stories on the site covering fandoms in books, movies, tv, comics, plays, and games. Most specific fandoms also have their own archives. Just use a search engine to search "fanfiction" and your fandom.

A note of caution: Keep in mind that fanfiction rarely goes through and editorial or review process. So some is really very good and some is horrendously bad. In my opinion it's the search for the great story that's half the fun.

Also fun fact: The book Fifty Shades of Grey began life as a Twilight fanfiction.

That's it for today. DFTBA!

Friday, December 6, 2013

Did you hear the story about.....

Our lives are all about the go, go, go. Running from class to practices to work. Getting kids to this, that, and the other thing. Then falling asleep at the end of the day watching random reality TV. Who has time to read the next big thing in the book world?

Luckily most of us spend time doing activities that could support an injection of literature. We ride the bus. We drive to work. We workout every evening. We putter around the house doing chores. None of these activities require communication or interaction with others, so we can use this time to engage our imagination through stories and the written word. Or in this case the spoken word.

Audio books have become a booming part of the publishing word in the past decade. Cassettes and CDs started us off, but now many of us have smart phones or another handheld device that with the right app could allow us to take an audio book anywhere on a device we would have had with us in any case.

Catalist audio books are our preference here at SCC. We offer these audio books at the middle school and high school. And students can access them on pretty much ANY internet connected device - regular computer, tablet, smart phone, etc.

Catalist Audio via a Browser on Any Device - On any device students can use a browser to visit www.catalistdigital.com/students and login to see and listen to our audio books. Login information can be gotten from the library at any time.

Catalist Audio App on an Android or i-Device - On an Android device or an iPhone/iPod/iPad students can get a free app to access and download audio books onto their personal device.   Android App   iOS App   Login information can be gotten from the library at any time.

HELP! - If you need help with the apps or navigating through the Catalist audio books, click HERE. Or stop in the library.

And if you have any suggestions for future audio book purchases, email Ms. Olson - aolson[@]scc.k12.wi.us.

Have a wonderful day and DFTBA!