Rocky Library

Rock Island High School, Rock Island, IL

Musings on Rocks that read, 91% of an eclipse, and other matters

August 28th, 2017 by Mrs. Curtiss in Uncategorized · No Comments

Welcome back to the Rocky Library all of you READING ROCKS!  Although it’s only August 24th, we have already had TWO book club meetings here in the RIHS library!  The first three books we will be reading as a group are:

These Shallow Graves, by Jennifer Donnely

Landline, by Rainbow Rowell

March volume 1, by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin and Nate Powell

In other library news…

Mrs. Mendelin has started her tenure as the Rocky librarian by showing off her mad display building and reader advisory skills ALL OVER THE PLACE!  It’s awesome.  Sorry if you missed her first two displays incorporating the French language classes’ Le Petite Prince projects and this amazing eclipse display with the library’s globe covered with black fabric, but stop by and see the new stuff, Read Around the World and a display of antique band items in the hall display.  Very cool.  Also new to the library, a scavenger hunt for freshmen to get to know their high school library, plus book talks and book “speed dating” for some of the sophomore English classes.  You guys are so checking out books!  All the time! LOVE IT!

She covered the whole globe, but as you know, locally the actual eclipse only went to 91%, which disappointingly turns out to be less amazing than total, but hey, I looked out the window at it (with the eclipse glasses on, calm down) anyway.

While working on our fall book order for the library, we got LOTS of great recommendations from you all, thank you!!  Be on the look-out for these new titles coming soon to your library!

The Hate You Give by Angie Thomas

What Light by Jay Asher

Here Lies Daniel Tate by Cristin Terrell

Grunt: the curious science of humans at war by Mary Roach

Food Wars Manga volumes 1 through 9 by Yuto Tsukuda

Brigands M.C. (Cherub #11) by Robert Muchamore

Blood at the Root: a racial cleansing in America by Patrick Phillips



See you in the library!

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Reading Rocks at the movies

May 22nd, 2017 by Mrs. Curtiss in General Information · Reading Rocks Book Club · No Comments

A wonderful assortment of Reading Rocks gathered last Friday to have lunch and see the movie “Everything, everything.”  I had a great time, and really hope the Rocks did, too!  The lunch was marred slightly by a small cheese sauce incident, but otherwise was yummy and fun, and the movie made me weep like a…librarian.  It was awesome, in my opinion, but hey, it wasn’t perfect and if it weren’t for the superlative acting and amazing scenery and sets I may have been more likely to pan than praise the film.  Some parts of the book that I think would have translated well to celluloid (or whatever they’re using now) were left out and the wrong person did the handstand.  Anyway, the outfits that Maddy wore were so cool, LOVE the retro outfit in the last scene.  I am such a chick right now.  Irregardlessly, it was a good day to hang with some amazing people, the READING ROCKS!

Join us for the last meeting of the year on May 25th, we’ll be talking about what to do next year and saying goodbye to the seniors and whoever might be moving against our will to some other state, like GEORGIA.  Arg.


Blah blah blah

After the movie, the Reading Rocks relax for a group photo!  And Linn has a blue tongue.


Riana at the Steak and Shake before the glow cloud attacked.

JaMeiah and Alexis enjoy some cool shakes while talking about…books?

One of our last sightings of Tytianna before she was lost to the wilds of Georgia. Also Cobie and Paige, but they will be back!

Not a great photo of the tops of Reading Rock’s heads…

Taeyler and Lauren have a good laugh about…books?


…in the dark, apparently.

Lauren in stealth mode, a fantastic library daughter.


Paulina being ironic with her “Shut up” shirt on.

The cheese sauce attacked Kayleigh!

Two awesome Rocks! Paw and La Shee!

Linn is a rogue. One rogue.

Emma and Linn doing something weird at the theater, totally embarrassing everybody. Not really.


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FoaM CaNDy MaN

May 11th, 2017 by Mrs. Curtiss in General Information · Reading Rocks Book Club · No Comments

Today the Reading Rocks concluded their reading year with a second discussion of the book Everything, everything by Nicola Yoon.

Although the consensus seemed to be that it was a well  written and worthy read, there was some incredulity expressed related to: the main character not finding out MUCH sooner the biggest thing in her life was a lie; the love interest guy; the lack of follow up by the nurse who should have known what was going on; the lack of curiosity of the main character about her own illness.  So, you know, in general, what’s up with all that?  Some may argue that all of these things can be easily explained, like, she was used to her life and trusted her mom unconditionally, the nurse was snowed by a doctor telling her all the right things, the new neighbor is super hilarious (bundt cake funeral)  and also tragic and dreamy, and hey, after all, we only get to know the characters over about a year of their lives, there is a lot, we have to assume, outside the pages of the book.

I guess it’s the assuming that gets us in trouble.  We want certain things to be true all the time, like, by the time you’re 18 you should be able to be independent, people who love you are always looking out for your best interest, parents are truthful all the time, tragic funny attractive neighbors are probably going to fall in love with you based on your cleverness, and even if you’re confined to your house 24/7 you don’t have to be a socially backward nerd pie.  Other things we want to assume never happen: parents lie for their own reasons, the world existed before you did so there’s stuff you’re not aware of going on all the time that probably will or already has affected your life, tragic funny attractive neighbors are oblivious to your existence, your target audience will never read your ridiculous blog posts, and your nerd pie-ness is on constant display.

Emily was not here!  She was sorely missed!


The book club end of year celebration will commence on May 19th at Steak and Shake in Moline, the one close to the movie theater, at 1:00 PM.  We will meet for lunch, and then attend the 2:40 showing of “Everything, everything!”  If you have attended at least one book club meeting this year, you are invited to join us!  Please find your own transportation because there is no way I am putting the book club in my Focus.


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May 1st, 2017 by Mrs. Curtiss in Books · General Information · New books · Reading Rocks Book Club · No Comments

The April 27th meeting of the Reading Rocks book club covered some, but not all, of Nicola Yoon’s book Everything, Everything.  Some but not all of the Rocks had finished it, so we generally avoided spoilers until the next meeting on May 11th.  In my opinion, the cover is crazily appropriate for the kind of ostentatious spring we’re having in the mid-west, what with the riotous blossoming of trees and other fabulous perennials popping out all over.   There was some contentious bickering about how a book is properly read, which led to the discovery that book club members can be quite dogmatic concerning their particular peculiarities regarding reading for pleasure.  For example, many of the attendees raised a hand when asked, “Who thinks there is a wrong way to read a book?” That came out of left field, since the assumption is book clubs are full to bursting with free thinkers.  Au contraire, say an obstinate faction of the Reading Rocks.  The wrong way includes, but I fear is not limited to, reading the end of the book first.  In another shocking twist, those who advocate for reading the end first didn’t seem to mind that other people read in a more conventional fashion.  We will call them the “to each his own” group, also known as a the”live and let read” faction, for want of a better moniker.  What it all comes down to, maybe, is that we will have to have another meeting to cover the actual content of the book, since we got a little hung up on the process this time around.


End of year party:  Meeting at whatever theater is showing the movie version of our current book on the day it opens, May 19th.  You will be kept posted on the time, yet to be determined.

End of year party, Part 2:  May 25th we will meet for the last time in the library and do end of year stuff like fill out a survey and celebrate the graduation of a few of our members, crying and eating of foods will also probably happen.  And Welcome to Night Vale podcast will play if I can figure out how to do that.


Come to Star Wars night on (duh) May Fourth at the Southwest Branch, 5:30 to 7:30

Come to Gaming night at a new time on May 25th at the Main library from 4-6PM

Read these!  Lucky Penny by Ananth Hirsh  

And then you’re dead by Cody Cassidy and Paul Doherty 

The end.  Of this post.


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The 2018 Abraham Lincoln High School Book Award Nominees!

March 7th, 2017 by Mrs. Curtiss in Uncategorized · No Comments

Click here to see the slideshow from the Illinois State Library describing next year’s nominees!

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Library Lent-ing

March 2nd, 2017 by Mrs. Curtiss in Books · General Information · Reading Rocks Book Club · No Comments

This is getting to be a habit…one week AFTER a Reading Rocks meeting there is a new post here for your ignoring pleasure!

Our meeting was much less Emily-full than usual, which is never a good thing.  It was chaotic and full of bagels.  Cream Cheese, too.  We had some stunted discussion of the current book, Bone Gap , including the surprising information from some astute Rocks that there is  actually a town in Illinois by that name.

In other book club news: the next meeting will be on March 9th.  Snacks will be doughnuts from Hy-Vee, we will be finishing the discussion of Bone Gap, and if you are one of the lucky first 25 students to arrive that day, you get a free hard back copy of our next title, Holding up the universe by Jennifer Niven!

The Abraham Lincoln Illinois High School Book Award voting is NOW!  If you’ve read at least four books from the nomination list, you are eligible to vote.  PLEASE VOTE!  The ballots are in the library, fill one out and place it lovingly in the BLUE ballot box that was fashioned for just that purpose.  Do this before you go on Spring Break so your voice will be heard. The statewide winner will be announced March 17th, our school winner will be announced at the Reading Rocks meeting after break, March 30th.

Our last title of the year will be  Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon, so nominated and overwhelmingly voted for because it must be read BEFORE THE MOVIE COMES OUT!  But the book will be better, you know that!

Just in case you missed Emily as much as I did, here’s a cool photo of her in all of her Squirrelly finery to hold you over until next time!


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The Reading Rocks take on V-Day

February 17th, 2017 by Mrs. Curtiss in Books · Reading Rocks Book Club · No Comments

Well, it’s been a week since our last Reading Rocks meeting, enough time to process the many wonderful conversations that resulted from our reading of In the Body of the World by Eve Ensler.  This is a book that is unique in the world, I think.  It is a memoir that is all encompassing, but centers around one event in the author’s life, a self help book that reveals the author’s self-harming past, a political statement about feminism that acknowledges women’s weaknesses, and a book that is really about love in its many forms.  There are SO MANY places in the book that I want to quote in this post, but I will stick with just one for the zero readers of this blog that I think sums up much of the author’s life philosophy:

“What if we embraced the messy, evolving, surprising, out-of-control happening that is life and reckoned with its proximity and relationship to death?  What if, instead of being afraid of even talking about death, we saw our lives in some ways as preparation for it?  What if we were taught to ponder it and reflect on it and talk about it and enter it and rehearse it and try it on?”

This resonates with me, but other Rocks took other places in the book to heart and THANK YOU to Emily and the Rock Island Public Library Foundation for getting copies of this book to the Reading Rocks so they can highlight it and underline stuff at will.  This is a little book with absolutely HUGE ideas.

In other news: our next title is Bone Gap by Laura Ruby and marks a return to fiction for the Reading Rocks.  We will meet in the library this coming Thursday, February 23rd for some more book conversation, join us, you know you want to.

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The Bagel Monologues, with flavored cream cheese

February 1st, 2017 by Mrs. Curtiss in Authors · Books · Reading Rocks Book Club · No Comments



At the last meeting of the Reading Rocks, we discussed at some length the book In the body of the world  by Eve Ensler.  Many of the Rocks haven’t had a chance to read it yet, but those that did held forth persuasively about the quality of the writing and the great value of the ideas presented.  One of the most uplifting comments at the meeting was from the Rock that originally recommended the book.  She said that she learned from this book that “you can only feel real joy through having gratitude.”  That’s a paraphrase, but a powerful recommendation for any book is that it changed the way you think, and this one did exactly that for at least one Reading Rock.  I suspect at our next meeting we’ll find out that more of us were moved and motivated by Ms. Ensler’s little book.

Emily was here and not only looked but was fabulous, as usual, and wants us all to NOT FORGET that the public library has MANY MANY AWESOME THINGS TO DO.  Anime night will be February 16th at 5:30, Chill Out & Read, the winter reading program is going on until February 17th, the wrap up party is on Saturday, February 18th from 1:00 to 3:00 AND TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 7TH IS THE KICK OFF FOR THE YOU TUBE CHALLENGE!  Be there from 5:00 to 7:00 to learn how to make and enter your video into the contest.  Deadline for video submission is February 28th.


See you in the library!

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A predilection for reading (and breakfast pastries)

January 17th, 2017 by Mrs. Curtiss in Books · General Information · Reading Rocks Book Club · No Comments

The word of the week has inspired us to write yet another largely unreadable post about the most recent meeting of the Reading Rocks, which occurred right here in the library last Thursday morning.

The rocks concluded their discussion of the memoir Laughing at my nightmare by Shane Burcaw not with a bang but with a blank look and some general silence that made the “adult” in the room just a little nervous…

Anyway, regarding Mr. Burcaw, I think those of us that read the book, and/or his many hilarious blog posts agree that this was a stellar choice for the book club’s first foray into non-fiction.  We agreed that he opened our eyes to what it’s like to live with a debilitating handicap, and that he may have gone too far with the scatological references. But since we are either teenagers or think like them, we were totally entertained by the low-brow-ness of the humor as well as moved by the introduction to life from a wheelchair.  Kudos to Shane for his charity and for his just nice guy-ity.

In other news:  We don’t yet have copies of our next title, In the body of the world by Eve Ensler, which will be our SECOND non-fiction book ever, and also something completely different.  Oh, the wonderful variety of options for those of us with a predilection for non-fiction!

Also, EMILY wore tights with the Death Star on them!  Oh, and said things about the public library!  Like WINTER READING and POKEMON GO NIGHT and ANIME night AND YOUTUBE CHALLENGE!  Make a video by March 1st and submit it! She recommended a book that I will be putting on my hold list right now…To Stay Alive, poetry about the Donner party.  Awesome.

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Reading Rocks and gender specific hilarity.

December 16th, 2016 by Mrs. Curtiss in Authors · Books · General Information · Reading Rocks Book Club · No Comments

No one is sure exactly how it happened, but the Reading Rocks conducted an unexpected and unintentional experiment during the book club meeting yesterday.  The results were: some gender specific body parts are just more giggle worthy than others.  The meeting started with a pretty lively discussion of the book Laughing at my nightmare by Shane Burcaw.  Due to his physical limitations, Mr. Burcaw has to have other people help him out with basic bodily functions, leading to some pretty hilarious and embarrassing situations which thankfully he is more than willing to share with his readers.  But nobody really laughed too hard about that during the meeting, we were all kind of respecty about it maybe because we didn’t want to, you know, laugh at this handicapped guy, even though he totally wants you to laugh because he writes EXTREMELY  funny things.  One of the Rocks filled us in on how Shane raises money so other people with severe physical handicaps can get stuff that helps them live, which arguably isn’t funny but is more poignant, but hey, life is more than you know what and giggles.


Full circle!  So, then we had a time of nomination and voting for the books we’ll be reading next semester and among the recommendations was a book called In the body of the world by Eve Ensler who also wrote a play called…”The Vagina Monologues.”  NOW with the giggling!  All over the place!

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