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September 2008

The Archives

  • Books, Edna Welthorpe, Writing

    Teens and the City

    18.09.08 | Permalink | Comments Off on Teens and the City

    Two books (“The Carrie Diaries“) detailing Carrie Bradshaw’s teenage years are to be written by her creator, Candace Bushnell. The first won’t be released until 2010, unfortunately (although that’s not too far off in book years). They will be set in New York and Carrie’s school, and will give readers an “inside look at Carrie’s friendships, romances, and how she realized her dream of becoming a writer.” They are intended to be read by teens. I guess it would be like Gossip Girl, but set in the 70s ..? Early 80s?

  • Books, Classic novels, Sci Fi, Simon


    18.09.08 | Permalink | Comments Off on Forty-two

    A new Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy book – the sixth – has been commissioned by the estate of its author. There are already five in the series (which began as a trilogy). If you’re not familiar with the books you may have seen the film, which was pretty good, in my opinion. The new book will be written by Eoin Colfer, who wrote the Artemis Fowl series. The original author of the Hitchhiker’s books, Douglas Adams, died in 2001.

  • Books, Sci Fi, Zach


    18.09.08 | Permalink | Comments Off on Traces

    Traces is a series of books written by Malcolm Rose. They are set in an alternative UK where London is no longer the capital but one of the many slums in the south. At the age of five children are taken away from their parents to attend school where their choice of eventual careers is carefully chosen. Few children ever see their parents again. Marriages (or “pairings”) are arranged by the Authorities and based on compatibility of skills (artists are paired with artists – scientists with scientists). Love has no place in the pairings. Into this world, where whites are the minority, Luke Harding at the age of sixteen becomes the youngest Forensic Investigator ever. Together with his Malc (Mobile Aid to Law and Crime) Luke begins his career of investigating crime.

    Book 1: Framed
    After Luke Harding graduates school he becomes the youngest Forensic Investigator ever, a series of murders happen at Lukes school. He and Malc are assigned to their first investigation but things turn tricky when it appears that Luke is the most likely suspect.

    Book 2: Lost Bullet
    A doctor has been killed in front of a hospital and the bullet that killed her is missing. Luke and Malc are drawn into London’s seedy underground world and get mixed up with a group of anti-white radicals and a mysterious white boy named Owen.

    Book 3: Roll Call
    Luke and Malc investigate a series of events in which several people are dying. The only thing that links each death is that the victim has the same name as a famous opera singer ‘Emily Wonder’.

    Book 4: Double Check
    Luke and his Malc investigate possible corruption in a Paring Committee while also trying to prove the innocence of boy in jail who is due to being executed for murder.

    Book 5: Final Lap
    Luke and Malc are ordered to investigate a series of events that appear as if someone is trying to stop a sporting event (like the Olympics for youth). Are these random events or deliberate sabotage and will anyone die?

    Book 6: Blood Brother
    Luke and Malc investigate a hospital in which the death count is considerably higher than normal. They must find out if it is just coincidental or if someone is murdering terminal patients. During this investigation Luke meets his parents for the first time since he was five and his father is one of the leading suspects.

  • Books, Grimm

    But wait, there’s more Twilight

    18.09.08 | Permalink | Comments Off on But wait, there’s more Twilight

    Want to listen rather than read? You can now download the audiobook of Twilight (to compatible WMA devices, see here) from the library website… 12 hours and 52 minutes of listening pleasure. There’s an option to listen to a sample first, to check if the narrator’s voice is going to drive you mad (12 hours is a long time after all)… you can have it for 14 days and it automatically returns itself, so no worries about overdues.

    Visit the Downloads page to check out more downloadable audio books.

  • Horror, Music, New, Simon

    New CDs

    16.09.08 | Permalink | Comments Off on New CDs

    Remember: all YA CDs are free to issue on a YA card and you can have them for an week. This week’s list includes some audio books, which are issued for four weeks. Perfect for long car trips, or flights, or even ocean cruises.

    » Now That’s What I Call Music Vol. 27 – Various. This has 18 ‘massive hits’, including The Ting Tings, Rihanna, and Duffy. This is the second Now That’s What I Call Music released this year; the first one came out in 1997, and had hits from Chumbawumba, Hanson, and the Spice Girls. Interestingly, the UK has just released Now That’s What I Call Music Vol. 70.
    » Voice of the Young PeopleLil Mama. This came out a few months ago now, but here it is. Lil Mama is an 18-year-old pop rapper.
    » Jordin Sparks – Jordin Sparks. Jordin won the 2007 American Idol, for what it’s worth. Unlike other Idol winners, she’s had two top-ten singles from her first album. She is also a plus-size model and is touring in NZ in December (with Alicia Keys).
    » The Moonlit Road and Other Stories. This double-CD has five ghost stories, all from the nineteenth-century.
    » Classic Ghost Stories. This is another double-CD collection of five Victorian ghost tales, including Charles Dickens’ The Signal-Man and Rats, by M. R. James, both of  which creeped me out when I was a kid.
    » And finally, Classic Ghost Stories. This is a double-CD collection as well, but not the same as the previously mentioned CD (although it does share a few of the same stories). This has seven stories on it.


  • Books, Fantasy, New, Simon


    15.09.08 | Permalink | Comments Off on Nation

    Terry Pratchett’s latest book, Nation, has been given glowing reviews. It is set on a tropical island, kind of like Robinson Crusoe or Lord of the Flies – only much, much funnier. We don’t yet have any copies in the library, but it’s in the catalogue (here) and so can be reserved.

    Check out Terry Pratchett’s website for more information about his books, or see what we have in the library here.

  • Books, Espionage, Science!, Simon

    Free Little Brother

    15.09.08 | Permalink | Comments Off on Free Little Brother

    Little Brother is the latest book by Cory Doctorow (and one of last week’s New Books). It’s about a computer-savvy 17-year-old named Marcus, who is apprehended by the Department of Homeland Security shortly after terrorists blow up a bridge in San Francisco. He is released to a paranoid and martial city, where personal freedoms and the rights guaranteed by the Constitution are ignored in favour of ‘security’. Marcus and his friends are able to use their knowledge of computers and technology to subvert the government’s increasing authoritarianism and regain their freedom.

    It’s an exciting, well-paced thriller, and much of the technology used in the book has an element of truth;if you’re interested in the ‘techno-counterculture’, this book is a good place to start. (It has a little romance as well, so it’s not all about computers!)

    The best part is that the entire book can be downloaded for free! Oh nice.

  • Books, Grimm, Top 10

    Top 10: chick lit

    12.09.08 | Permalink | Comments Off on Top 10: chick lit

    Is there such a thing as top chick lit? Feeling intrepid, and spurred on by recent blog posts, I sought to find out. First, I decided to settle on a definition: parameters are always good to work within.

    So, chicklit:
    ~ Must have a pastel-coloured cover (with bonus points for sparkly bits).
    ~ Must have a female protagonist – preferably finding herself/making her mark on the world/lamenting her lack of mark on the world/experiencing at least one [female] rite of passage. Also: female protagonist must be notably imperfect, but likeably so… must have a flaw (clumsiness is currently a favourite, also outspokenness… some other thing like imperfect features is also good, but they can’t be incorrigibly imperfect), though not so bad as to be fatal, necessarily.
    ~ Must be written in a playful, confessional style, preferably utilising a first person narrator.
    ~ Should be set in a city.
    ~ Could spawn a series.
    ~ Not too much seriousness, tragedy or hand-ringing please.

    1. book coverSloppy Firsts, Megan McCafferty. Pastel cover? Check (there are pastel elements). Female protagonist? Check. Confessional first person narration? Check.
    2. How I Live Now, Meg Rosoff. Being controversial here, but How I Live Now really does fit the bill in many ways: an example of chick lit with added extras perhaps (a comment on the effect war has on civilians, a relationship lived through better and worse, a narrator looking back on rather than living through her story…). While the cover (at least the one we have in the library) is not pastel, it does feature flowers, or some sort of vegetation, and it is largely red-based, which is dark-pink in another universe.
    3. The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, Ann Brashares. I haven’t read it, but Andree has and she said it was quite good and “if I was fourteen I would have loved it.” This one’s a bit different because it has multiple viewpoints. While the denim colour dominates the cover, the jeans do have some pastel flowers somewhere… Must add: chick lit must be eminently convertible into winning chick flick.
    4. Twilight, Stephenie Meyer. It doesn’t have a pastel cover! Doom! However, it does have a confessional, clumsy narrator/heroine who experiences the first-love-rite-of-passage (albeit with unlikely vampireman).
    5. Fly on the Wall, E Lockhart. The hard cover version has a pink cover (ironic, surely, considering the setting for the story). Gretchen Yee wakes up and discovers she’s a fly on the boys’ locker room wall (I guess being a fly counts as a flaw). Disturbing, especially when the boys arrive and use the locker room… best suited for older teens, apparently. The plot refers to Franz Kafka’s Metamorphosis, which would usually be too heavy for chick lit, but never mind; chicks are intelligent beings after all.
    6. I Capture the Castle, Dodie Smith. Well, here there’s a young heroine discovering love for the first time, getting into a couple of scrapes, coping with her weird family and fending off the unwanted attentions of the Greek-God-like Stephen. Sounds like chick lit to me! Except for the country setting. Ahead of its time, hence no pastel cover (but if they reprinted it in peach or lime green it’d fly off the shelves).
    7. Angus, Thongs and Full-Frontal Snogging, Louise Rennison. Go figure: this was an honour book for the Michael L Printz Award for Teen Literature in 2001. Almost puts you off a bit, really. In that vein:
    8. book coverThe Earth, My Butt and Other Big Round Things, Carolyn Mackler. An honour book in 2004. Yay for chick lit.
    9. With Lots of Love from Georgia, Brigid Lowry. Thought this list should contain something from New Zealand, and this has got one of those catchy chick-litty titles.
    10. Bridget Jones’ Diary, Helen Fielding. The one that started the craze, really… the bit where Bridget tries to programme her VCR is hilarious.

    Signing off now except: what are nunga-nungas? We want to know, but don’t want to read the book.

  • Flash games, Games, Sci Fi, Simon

    Flash 2

    12.09.08 | Permalink | Comments Off on Flash 2

    Here’s a new list of online Flash games. Perfect for a rainy weekend. Or a sunny weekend – either way. A previous list may be found here.

    Maze Stopper 2 – you must reach the flag before the computer. You can stop time! And build obstacles!
    Switch – your magnetic ball must collect all the balls of the same colour – you can change colour whenever you like, but don’t touch the other colour. Or else it’s all over.
    Defender – you need to protect the planet from aliens. I think (I haven’t played this one yet).
    Foolyu – you must fight weird three-eyed monsters. It’s really cool! It’s all in Japanese (apart for ‘game over!’), but pretty easy to work out.
    SWFRoads – pilot your spaceship (?) at mad speeds through am obstacle course – in space! Highly addictive.
    Samorast – this is a puzzle. Quite a hard puzzle! Very atmospheric.

  • Edna Welthorpe, Horror, New

    It came from the CD

    11.09.08 | Permalink | Comments Off on It came from the CD

    Two new audio-books are in: The Dark Worlds of H. P. Lovecraft volume 1, and The Dark Worlds of H. P. Lovecraft volume 2. H. P. Lovecraft was an early 20th-century American writer, whose stories are notoriously chilling. When read aloud in a voice that sounds like it’s coming from inside a tomb (as these stories are), you will won’t want to listen to them at night with all the lights off. 

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