Monday, February 24, 2014

Geocaching at the Libraries

What's Geocaching?
A compass is helpful when geocaching - or a GPS deviceGeocaching is a scavenger hunt-like hobby that takes people to all sorts of interesting locations hunting for treasures (called caches). After hiding the cache, the hider records the longitude and latitude of the location for seekers to use. Seekers use GPS devices to get them as close as possible to the cache and then hunt for it.

Once you find the cache, you sign the logbook contained inside. You might find some cool swag to take with you, too!

The official geocaching site is It's free for anyone to join and to hunt caches all over the world. When you find a cache, you can log on to and leave a message in the online logbook for each cache, too, or share pictures of your adventure searching for the cache. The library's geocaching profile (including all of our hides) can be found here.

Need more info?
Read the official guide.

Friday, February 21, 2014

The Shade of the Moon by Susan Pfeffer - Book Review

Jon is a claver, one of the elite few granted permission to live ensconced in the protected world of the Sexton enclave. Using the passes Alex gave to Jon's family, Jon, his step-mother Lisa, and Lisa's young son Gabe slipped into this community. It is a place where people have homes, education, purified air and, always enough to eat. It is a humanity moving on pass the catastrophe that changed all their lives as they knew it. But beneath the careful safety of his world lays a poison and everything is shifting. The community of Sexton is supported on the degradation and near slave labor of those unlucky enough not to have admittance to enclave life. The enclave feeds on the 'grubs' as they are called; taking advantage of their hard work, hard lives, and especially their pain. As the enclave pushes the grubs further into the mud, they near a line they might not want to cross. Jon is stuck in the middle. Should he support his grubber family, or his claver one? In a world gone so terribly awry where is the line between good and bad, and which side will Jon take? As a Slip, his future is far from safe. The wrong words or actions could get himself and his loved ones killed, but how far can he go before there is no turning back?

The Shade of the Moon is the fourth book in this YA best-seller series that started with Life As We Knew It which documented the story of a world thrown into catastrophe when the moon is hit by an asteroid and pushed closer to the earth. This newest edition continues the story of Miranda and Alex's lives from the past three stories, this time from the point of view of Miranda's younger brother. He lives the privileged life in a world come to its end. The rest of Jon's family have not been this lucky. The reader sees the character's they came to love living in the city slums outside of Sexton, doomed to being grubs.

Reading this story I was reminded of the atrocities you read about in history: America's slave history, the discrimination of Jewish people and other minorities during the Holocaust, etc. The things described in this book are both disturbing and eye-opening, though not unbelievable. People could, would, and have done things as horrible as what is described in this book, and probably much worse. Books like this can really open the reader's eyes to the dark side of the world and it makes me feel like the book was very aptly named. This is a world thrown back into darkness.

As was the case with the preceding three books, this wasn't just a story of survival. This was a narrative that explores humanity in all its spectrum: the good, the evil, and the many shades in between. I was gripped by the story and it only took me a very few days to read it. I did not care much for Jon as a narrator. He was a selfish and often deeply misguided boy. However, the story is playing on these flaws of his, not excusing them. I can't stand it when an author excuses bad behavior on a characters part and just lets the plot give the impression that the bad behavior exhibited is okay. In Pfeffer's story however, the reader is acutely aware of how wrong Jon often is. The tone of the story coupled with other characters input makes sure the reader knows Jon's bad actions are not condoned. It was an interesting move on her part, giving us such a distinctly flawed protagonist, but it definitely made the story more interesting. So often we see the story through the eyes of the oppressed, but in this case it is the oppressor who tells all.

Pfeffer's writing style is fair to middling in this novel. I remember having the same issues with her other three books. She gives far too little detail for my tastes and skips over things I would have liked to know more about. Dialogue has also never been a strong point for her. It always ends up coming out stiff and bland, making the emotions the lines are supposed to convey awkward and without chemistry. However, the story overall is attractive enough that these problems didn't deter me from the book. I highly recommend that fans of the series finish this end cap. As far as post-apocalyptic stories go, this series is a pretty good one and worth looking into.