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Author Archive for Jason Paulios

Jason’s 2012 Wrap Up

by Jason Paulios on December 13th, 2012
Jason’s 2012 Wrap Up Cover Image

Here is a short list of books that I enjoyed from the last year:

The Fault In Our Stars – John Green
Signature John Green elements are evident throughout this heartbreaking Young Adult love story : quirky characters, whip-smart dialogue, unattainable love interests, a sidekick, and a quest to find meaning in this world. This time he deals with the growing relationship between two teenagers who meet through a cancer therapy group and end up going to great lengths to find out the unwritten ending to a life-changing book.

Gone Girl – Gillian Flynn
A fluffy weekend thriller novel that can be compared to a Lifetime movie plot, I enjoyed the conversation this book sparked more than the book itself. A difference of opinion regarding a book can be just the thing to get you out of a reading slump (no, this does not mean I’m going to read 50 Shades). I rarely get a chance to discuss books with colleagues and patrons to the degree that I’ve been able to with Gone Girl. Some loved the carefully revealed spoilery twists and others slogged through and wondered who cared? Would make a great book club choice.

Broken Harbor – Tana French
Although French’s mysteries follow most police procedural conventions, the emphasis is generally on a deeply personal connection between the Detective and their assignment, usually with difficult resolutions. Detective “Scorcher” Kennedy is paired with a rookie and their roles of teacher and student are tested while assigned to a homicide in Broken Harbor, a failed new housing community outside of Dublin, Ireland. French’s plotting is flawless, her descriptions are vivid, the police dialogue is authentic and convincing, and the outcome is devastating.

Londoners : The Days and Nights of London Now – As Told By Those Who Love It, Hate It, Live It, Left It, and Long For It – Craig Taylor
I’m an unabashed Anglophile, so when I saw Craig Taylor had edited a 400 page book of tales from London’s residents I knew I had to be first on the hold list. Taylor spent years interviewing a wide variety of residents of London and their impressions about the city, we’re treated to some short humorous tales interspersed with truly heartfelt odes to a hometown with a long history. I was reminded of Studs Terkel’s collections at times but found it worked best to read only a few chapters in a sitting. It would make a great travel companion guide, I often wished I was walking around the boroughs referenced in the tales.

Winter Teen Clothing Drive

by Jason Paulios on December 3rd, 2012
Jen attacks a vintage clothes rack


United Action for Youth’s Winter Teen Clothing Drive is this coming Wednesday, December 5th from 3:30-7:30pm at the Youth Center (355 Iowa Avenue)!

All young people ages 12-18 are welcome to “shop for free” by attending this event.

It is not too late to donate clothing items and toiletries – donations are being accepted at the Youth Center on Monday and Tuesday from 9am-5pm!

Guys Read November update

by Jason Paulios on November 20th, 2012

There were six of us present for the Guys Read book club last Saturday, members present included: Theo, Grayson, Milos, Milo, Casey, and Jason (me).  Since part of our goal is to spread our love of reading and inspire others to pick up our favorite books I thought it would be cool to have the meeting publicly at The Wedge next door!  Even before we arrived, a happy stranger loudly exclaimed that the book Milos was carrying (Leviathan) was cool.   “We know!”

We set up our sign, got a slice, and talked about books for an hour.  Good times!  Everyone was impressed with this month’s selections and we agreed we’ll be reading more from both of the series on our own.  For the December meeting we decided to tackle Scott Westerfeld’s Leviathan since it is on the Iowa Teen Award list, and, instead of a comic this month, we’ll sample from the Guys Read short story series (thanks to Oscar for the idea last month).  A few members mentioned that they get extra credit for reading from the Teen Award list so that’s a bonus, also it was mentioned we should hit these teachers up for extra credit for attending Guys Read!

Most members were receptive to the idea of meeting for an extra hour of free reading as a group after the discussion time.  I thought other young guys would benefit from seeing a group of guys hanging out publicly and reading for fun, might also be a good way of picking up a few new members!  We’ll try this at our December meeting and see how it goes.

Here’s a list of some reading our crew is in the midst of:

Guys Read Book Club – ICPL Field Office – November

by Jason Paulios on November 15th, 2012

We’re still looking for guys in Grades 5-8 to join our newest book club!  We’re looking to match ICPL guys with books (and other readable things) in an interesting way. With pizza!  So if you’re hungry for new reading discoveries (or just hungry) join Theo, Grayson, Joel, Oscar, and Jason this Saturday.

Our next meeting is this Saturday, November 17th from 12:00-1:00 p.m. upstairs in Meeting Room E (it’s along the back wall past the Computer Lab). We’ll be talking about the comic series Usagi Yojimba by Stan Sakai and/or The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trent Lee Stewart and illustrated by Carson Ellis.  Don’t worry if you haven’t read these before, we’ll be doing other things as well and will vote on titles for the next meeting in December!

Guys Read, is a larger literacy initiative founded by children’s author Jon Scieszka, and is designed to draw attention to boys’ literacy and to help boys become self-motivated, lifelong readers.

No reservation required but if you think you’ll come check it out then shoot me an email so I make sure to have enough food!

Questions? Email Jason at teens[at] or call 319-887-6075.

Guys Read Book Club – ICPL Field Office

by Jason Paulios on October 25th, 2012

Hey all you guy readers out there, come join our newest book club!  Our mission is to match ICPL guys with books (and other readable things) in a fun, guys-only environment. With pizza of course!  Aimed at guys in Grades 5-8.

Guys Read, is a larger literacy initiative founded by children’s author Jon Scieszka, and is designed to draw attention to boys’ literacy and to help boys become self-motivated, lifelong readers.

No reservation required but if you think you’ll come then shoot me an email so I make sure to have enough food!

Photo from

Our next meeting is this Saturday, October 27th from 12:00-1:00 p.m. upstairs in Meeting Room E (it’s along the back wall past the Computer Lab). We’ll be talking about the comic series Amulet by Kazu Kibuishi and/or The Templeton Twins Have An Idea by Ellis Weiner with illustrations by Jeremy Holmes.  Don’t worry if you haven’t read these before, we’ll be doing other things as well and will vote on titles for the next meeting in November!

Questions? Email Jason at teens[at] or call 319-887-6075.

Teen Read Week

by Jason Paulios on October 18th, 2012

We’re into the second half of the YALSA Teen Read Week™ !  What have you been reading so far?

I’m in the middle of Erin Morgenstern’s The Night Circus which City High School’s book club “City Reads” is discussing next Wednesday after school. City High students are encouraged to stop by the City High Library after school to join us!  Talk with Ms. Fredrickson in the City High Library for more info.  The Night Circus was a 2012 Alex Award (books written for adults that have special appeal to young adults) winner and should be a great discussion book.

The YALSA Teens’ Top Ten (a national “teen choice” reading list) was also announced this week and you can see the winners at this PDF link.  Many of ICPL’s teen favorites are on there, including last month’s West High School A Novel Idea book club selection, Divergent, by Veronica Roth.  West High Librarian Ms. Belding and the Novel Idea crew were nice enough to let me be there for that discussion and I look forward to next month’s talk about often banned author Lauren Myracle’s Shine and West High alum Zach Wahls’ My Two Moms!

Be sure to take a look at YALSA’s survey and vote on issues for next year’s Teen Read Week™.


FoxSoccer-FIFA Club October 4

by Jason Paulios on October 3rd, 2012

If there’s Soccer being played, then it stands to reason we’re going to have a FoxSoccer-FIFA Club meeting.  It’s Champions League ties this week (*sings falsetto* “The Chaam-pions”) so chances are good that we’ll be watching either the Benfica v FC Barcelona or Ajax v Real Madrid replays.  Will Cesc be able to stay upright against the feisty Portuguese home side? (no spoilers!)

Cesc headbutted


Benfica lost some star power during this summer’s transfer window but Barcelona may be without Puyol, Iniesta, Adriano, and will definitely miss out on Thiago and Piqué. And which Real will show up in Amsterdam? The one that demolished Deportivo or the fractious team that struggles with Getafe and Sevilla?

We can vote to watch any of the other great options including last year’s England champs Man City hosting last year’s German champs Borussia Dortmund.

Jiro Dreams of Sushi

by Jason Paulios on September 28th, 2012
Jiro Dreams of Sushi Cover Image

You do not have to be a lover of sushi to enjoy this documentary, it is actually about so much more than just a type of food.  The focus of the film is on 85 year-old sushi master Jiro Ono and the workings of his tiny ten-seat Michelen 3 star restaurant in Tokyo.  The Director, David Gelb, could have spent a lot of time interviewing famous chefs praising the food (this is the age of celebrity chefs) but instead he simply shows us Jiro’s process behind his tireless quest for perfection.  Some scenes that, for me, quickly helped demonstrate the quest included:

  • a sushi pilgrim has traveled hours, he enters the restaurant before opening to inquire about their serving times only to be politely informed that reservations need to be made a month in advance, there are no appetizers – only sushi, and starting cost is $300
  • an apprentice trains to make the grilled egg (Tamagoyaki) only to be told each time that it is not right, after six months of making eggs Jiro tells him it is acceptable and he breaks down in tears
  • Jiro’s son, Yoshikauzu, bikes to the fish market and meets with the Jiro equivalents of each specific seafood (the shrimp master, the tuna master, etc…) who save Jiro the best products

A main theme that comes from the interviews with Jiro and the employees is that of the passing of the torch to his son.  It seems many believe that, despite the skills his son has acquired through extensive training, that the restaurant will never be the same simply because of the aura that surrounds Jiro.  Without leaving the universe of Jiro’s restaurant, the film also touches on the history of sushi and what the future might hold with regards to fishery stock.

There are many gorgeous long shots of the sushi presentation combined with long silent contemplative moments with Jiro and his son.  In this age of multitasking and diversification, Jiro Dreams of Sushi is an ode to focusing on just one thing and doing it to perfection.  The soundtrack features a lot of classical music and I find Philip Glass music to be the perfect accompaniment for sushi.  The only drawback for me was that no matter how good my local sushi might be, I don’t think I’ll ever be able to stop imagining what it could have been.

A Novel Idea – Divergent

by Jason Paulios on September 27th, 2012

West High School’s book club “A Novel Idea” meets today after school at 2:30 in the West High Library.  They’ve been reading the wildly popular dystopian Fantasy novel “Divergent” by Veronica Roth.  It won the 2011 Goodreads Choice Awards “Favorite Book of 2011,” I have to say I was not a member of the “favorite” faction.

West High Librarians Beth and Jill have again allowed me to join you all to hash this one out.  Hope to see you there!

FoxSoccer-FIFA Club

by Jason Paulios on September 12th, 2012

Thursday is the first of many Thursday Fox Soccer / FIFA12 Club meetings in the Computer Lab upstairs from 3-5.

We decided to form the club after seeing Justin Hoenke’s (of Portland, ME Public Library) club and talking with a couple West High teens over the summer.

World soccer fans will know that the International break is just wrapping up so we won’t be able to stream club matches for our first week.  FoxSoccer2Go has the England v. Ukraine available though.  It’s a World Cup qualifier and a chance for Ukraine to avenge their dubious loss from the Euro 2012 Group Stage match.  Find out if Ukraine coach Oleg Blokhin again challenges anyone to “go outside and have a man conversation”!

From Sky

We’ve also got FIFA12 for PS3 for those that prefer to wait for the English Premier League to restart on Saturday.  If you have an EPL Fantasy Team be sure to come prepared to talk strategy with me!  #YayaAndTevezFTW

You can download the poster below: