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Wednesday, August 28, 2013

This is How You Die

A group of elite commando webcomic guys got together and made a book. An awesome book. A book so mind-blowingly sweet, in fact, that nothing short of a talking Tyrannosaurus Rex could possibly do the premise justice. But T-Rex did not, in fact write the book, possibly due to his arms being completely unsuited for typing; nor did the webcomics ninjas. Instead, they opened it up to their fans to pen an assortment of short stories all set in a universe where this incredible machine exists:

The machine had been invented a few years ago: a machine that could tell, from just a sample of your blood, how you were going to die. It didn’t give you the date and it didn’t give you specifics. It just spat out a sliver of paper upon which were printed, in careful block letters,the words “DROWNED” or “CANCER” or “OLD AGE” or “CHOKED ON A HANDFUL OF POPCORN.” It let people know how they were going to die. And it was frustratingly vague in its predictions: dark, and seemingly delighting in the ambiguities of language.... The machine captured that old-world sense of irony in death: you can know how it’s going to happen, but you’ll still be surprised when it does. We tested it before announcing it to the world, but testing took time—too much, since we had to wait or people to die. After four years had gone by and three people had died as the machine predicted, we shipped it out the door. There were now machines in every doctor’s office and in booths at the mall. You could pay someone or you could probably get it done for free, but the result was the same no matter what machine you went to. They were, at least, consistent.

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That book is called Machine of Death, which became a #1 bestseller on Amazon for one whole day in 2010. You can read it for free in a handy PDF or listen to excerpted tales via podcast under a Creative Commons license with the blessings of the authors and without risk of violating anyone’s copyright here.

Because success begets success and because the publication of Machine of Death brought the concept to a wider audience of potential authors, there came many more story submissions for the intrepid webcomicerados to sort through, ultimately compiling the best of them into a second volume, This Is How You Die, which has a 90-page teaser available for you perusal here.

The Machine of Death universe continues to grow, with a board game now available and an independent film in the works. Many of the individual stories carry a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license which allows them to be adapted into other media, if you’re into doing such things. The webcomigicians, known to some as Ryan North, Matthew Bennardo, and David Malki, will even send you your very own (not guaranteed to be accurate) prediction if you send them a self-addressed stamped envelope as described here.

- Guest Blogger, RET3

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Aged to Perfection

Welcome, New and Returning Dragons:

This school year is not only the district’s centennial but also that of our school. To mark this occasion, your library’s inaugural theme will be 100 Years of RRHS: 1913 - 2013 and will serve as a motif for programs throughout the year. Each month will focus on a different decade, with period book selections and artifacts such as music, food, photos, and fashion on display.

Moreover, as part of the district's celebrations, all RRISD libraries will support One Book, One Community, for which the entire district will read Wonder by R.J. Palacio. Our library will receive copies of the book to promote its reading by interested Dragons. This event will culminate in an author visit in the spring where students from across this district will have the opportunity to hear Ms. Palacio speak. For a teaser, check out this trailer:

And, here’s Palacio reading a chapter from the book.

To spread further group reading joy, the RRHS library is excited to announce that we’re expanding our book clubs. This year, Dragon Readers, the student book club, will be joined by an as-yet-unnamed faculty book club.  The faculty book club will meet the Thursday after progress reports from 4:15 - 5:15 PM.  In addition to lively discussion, there will be refreshments and opportunities to receive professional development credit. The first meeting will be Thursday, September 19, when we’ll discuss John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars. Dragon Readers will continue to meet during all three lunches on the last Friday of each month. Bring your lunch and whatever you’ve been reading; see you here!

Have you read anything really good during summer break? Click HERE to submit a review, and it might get posted in the Book Talk section of this blog.

We’ve exciting plans for this new year, so be sure to check back often.  Better yet, follow @rrhslib on Twitter to be in-the-know in-real-time.  If you don’t have a Twitter account, just text "follow rrhslib" to 40404, and you’ll receive all Tweets as text messages (standard text message rates may apply).

Have a great first day of school,

RRHS Library Staff

Friday, August 23, 2013

Comic: The Initiates by Etienne Davodeau & Joe Johnson

Looking for a good book?  Try reading this comic-style book talk of The Initiates, by Etienne Davodeau & Joe Johnson.

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Friday, August 16, 2013

Comic: A Ship of the Line by C. S. Forester

Looking for a good book?  Try reading this comic-style book talk of A Ship of the Line, by C. S. Forester.
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Friday, August 9, 2013

Comic: Super Dinosaur by Robert Kirkman & Jason Howard

Looking for a good book?  Try reading this comic-style book talk of Super Dinosaur, by Robert Kirkman & Jason Howard.

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Friday, August 2, 2013

Comic: Images a la Carte by Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen

Looking for a good book?  Try reading this comic-style book talk of Images a la Carte, by Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen.

Comic from