Check this collection out (we’re swamped).
The Kingdom on the Waves (Volume II of The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation, 561 pages), by M.T. Anderson. Get your thinking caps on, volume two is here (volume one being The Pox Party). This scary-looking tome – an account of the American Revolution from the point of view of a young slave in Boston – is getting absolutely mad rave reviews everywhere. You should read it if you’re interested in history.
First sentence: The rain poured from the heavens as we fled across the mud-flats, that scene of desolation; it soaked through our clothes and bit at the skin with its chill.
Two Parties, One Tux, and a Very Short Film About The Grapes of Wrath, by Steven Goldman (307 pages). Mitchell, a “geek” tries to navigate high school, his complicated friendship with his best friend David, finding himself with not one but two prom dates… a funny book with a “colourful cast of characters”.
First sentence: We are standing at a party, a still, quiet eddy in the swirl of motion and noise.
Strangled Silence, by Oisin McGann (436 pages). Oisin McGann (who is a man, by the way) has written what appears to be a conspiracy-theory/cover up/suspense/thriller story with just a hint of horror. It should be full of action and tension.
First sentence: Ivor McMorris was on his way to buy some milk when his blind eye started hurting him again.
The Disappeared, by Gloria Whelan (136 pages). A story set in 1970s Argentina during a time of civil unrest (known as The Dirty War), when many people were taken from their homes to secret prisons, often never to return. These people were known as The Disappeared. Incidentally, the association called The Mothers of the Disappeared was the inspiration for songs written by U2 (’Mothers of the Disappeared’ from The Joshua Tree) and Sting (’They Dance Alone’).
First sentence: Eduardo, it happened hours ago but I relive it again and again.
Zombie Blondes, by Brian James (232 pages). The girl on the cover has disturbingly large eyes (courtesy of artist Sas Christian). Blonde zombie cheerleaders are the most popular girls in the school that Hannah Sanders finds herself attending. It seems to be a cross between The Stepford Wives and Twilight (the concept of new girl in school coming across the undead, you understand). Worth a look.
First sentence: There aren’t any rules to running away from your problems.
Playing with Matches, by Brian Katcher (294 pages). Trivial fact: Brian Katcher is a school librarian. The book’s about Leon Sanders, who forges a relationship with Melody, the class outcast (due to being burned in a childhood accident) only to be asked out by Amy, the class hottie. What to do? Leon tries to sort out his problem without hurting anyone, but is this possible? The title suggests it’s a dangerous game.
First sentence: “So I was reading this Vonnegut novel,” I said to Samantha.
Argenta, by Stephanie Hills (New Zealand author, 253 pages). A science fiction adventure story, the title refers to a planet where the Clan of the birdpeople is facing extinction. Anquin ends up enlisting the help of Martin, an average Earth boy, in the rather enormous task of saving the Clan and stopping an invasion of Earth.
First sentence: Anquin glided through the cold air, wings outstretched.
The Devouring, by Simon Holt (231 pages). “Your body is here, but not your soul…” says the cover. Yoicks! The Vours are “evil, demonic beings that inhabit human bodies on Sorry Night, the darkest hours of the winter solstice.” (Book cover)
First sentence: On Sorry Night, just a few days before Christmas, you have to snuff the lamps, douse the flames in the fireplace, and spend the night in the cold and dark.
One or two others in brief:
Dead is the New Black, by Marlene Perez. Murder mystery involving vampires.
Saltwater Moons, by Julie Gittus. Love and learning about life.
I Heart You, You Haunt Me, by Lisa Schroeder. Love between the living and the dead. Written in verse.
That’s enough for now (there’s more).
Little Brother by Cory Doctorow
Marcus, whose online name is W1n5t0n, is a high school student in San Francisco. He’s street smart and knows the system inside out. His high school’s security systems are no match for him as he constantly bunks out of school.
But one day, after he’s bunked out of school for the afternoon, he and his friends find themselves caught up in the aftermath of a huge terrorist attack on San Francisco. Marcus and his friends are found to be in the wrong place at the wrong time and are captured by the Department of Homeland Security as suspects. After days in a secret prison, where they have been mercilessly interrogated, they are released into an unrecognisable San Francisco.
His city has now been turned into a police state where everyones’ movements are tracked and everyone is monitored. The innocent often disappear for no apparent reason. Everyone is being treated like a potential terrorist.
Reunited with his friends, Marcus decides that something must be done to protect everyones’ freedoms. He can’t turn to the government and police for help, so he decides that he must take down the Department of Homeland Security himself using his computer programming and hacking skills.
You will not want to put this book down! It’s a very exciting and thought-provoking read.
Yup, we’ve been warned this summer’s going to be a hot one. And with the global economy making spending that little bit tighter, we all need to save our recessionary dollars for cooling ice cream and gelato. There are a couple of things one can do to keep it easy on the pocket while having a good time. There are, of course, loads of free or low cost stuff to get from the library – not to mention the fact that libraries have excellent air conditioning! But there is also Wellington’s famous Summer City festival, packed with free events. It kicks off on New Year’s eve with a massive party in Civic Square, and ends 29 March with (coincidentally) more kicking off in a ”mini world-cup” football match known as Culture Kicks. Libraries will soon have printed copies of the programme, but why wait? Check out the Summer City offerings online at wotzon.com.
Paper Towns by John Green
Quentin Jacobsen is a genius! He hangs out with geniuses and he has a perfect attendance record at high school! NERD you might say, but then one night, Margo Roth Spiegelman, the girl next door he has loved from afar all his life, climbs into his bedroom window dressed for stealth and wanting HIM! Well his driving skills actually, as she sets out on a night of revenge on her ex-boyfriend and others. Think photo of ex running down the street with items of his anatomy hanging out and dead fish under seats of cars! Then the next day she disappears, leaving him clues to follow as to where he might find her. His friends help to try and solve the puzzle but will it end with them finding her alive or dead?
Well, it’s a week until the movie is on general release so we thought we’d provide a collection of thoughts on the saga for you to ponder.
Twilight is the kind of book you read with a torch under the covers at 3 o’clock in the morning. Why? Is it great stuff? Is perfect just another word for boring? Is it a well-written book? A poorly-written book with the X factor that makes it impossible to put down? Does it matter as long as people are reading? There are almost as many opinions as there are readers… here are some for your viewing pleasure (note that there are spoilers and some opinions that may differ from yours!):
1) The Twilight Saga (Melissa)
Melissa suggests that the real star of the show may not actually be Edward…
2) What’s all the fuss then? (Anonymous librarian)
An intrepid librarian decides to investigate the Twilight phenomenon only to find him/herself hooked as well…
3) Twilight: Awesome or Horrific? (Jenni)
Jenni talks about the love/hate relationship she has with the books and why – in the end – the scales might have tilted ever so slightly in the hate direction (spoilers!).
Finally, I really liked the article that Caitlin Flanagan wrote in The Atlantic, talking about why it appeals to adults. I think she’s about right.
So there you are. We could have added heaps more. Thank you to our three reviewers. Cheers.
Some new CDs have appeared on our ‘new music that needs to be blogged about shelf’, so I will blog about them for your enjoyment.
First up is Ne-Yo with Year of the Gentleman. He is wearing some very sharp suits on the cover and the tunes inside are the sort of cutting edge R&B you would expect from him. Great job Ne-Yo.
Next on the pile is another sharp-suited R&B man; Lloyd with Lessons in Love and he wears an impressive studded jacket on his cover. Lil’ Wayne drops by for a guest appearance too.
Estelle’s The 18th Day brings us more R&B, but this time from a female perspective. This one actually came out in 2004, but it’s new to the library and quite good.
Christina Aguilera has a greatest hits out called Keeps Gettin’ Better, A Decade Of Hits. I would like to respectfully disagree with her on the title, in my opinion at least ‘Genie in a Bottle’ cannot be bettered. All the faves are included here.
Local lads The Tutts’ new one Get in the Club is here for some Rock if all the R&B listed above isn’t your thing. They were the ones who did that song on the C4 ads.
Oh look! What’s this? It’s a playlist made so you can listen to songs off the albums I just wrote about. How handy. Check out our imeem page for all our playlists.
Spud, by John van de Ruit
I picked up this book recently, during my lunch hour, and found it near impossible to put down.
It’s 1990 and John ‘Spud’ Milton is a scholarship boy entering his first year at an elite boarding school in Durban, South Africa. Spud’s family consists of a high-maintenance mother, a mentally unstable father who fears the crumbling of apartheid and the impending release of Mandela will ruin the country, and Spud’s senile grandmother, Wombat. Though Spud is off to boarding school, he is unable to escape his dysfunctional family who visit him occassionally and to whom he returns every long weekend and holiday. At boarding school, Spud is thrust into a world of raging testosterone, bullying prefects, and the typical hi-jinks that act as a counterbalance to archaic institutionalism. Spud’s dorm group forms the Crazy Eight, a group of misfits and rebels who’s escapades and midnight swims become legend throughout the school. All the glorious mayhem inherent in coming of age is faithfully chronicled in Spud’s diary, which is the narrative device of the story.
Spud is written by John Van De Ruit, South African writer, actor, producer and playwright. Unshelved have done a little comic strip review as part of their Unshelved BookClub feature.
~ Sam M
Nothing puts a person in their place better than seeing themselves recreated in Lego. Some genius has produced Lego versions of classic Hip Hop album covers. They’re really special, so I had to pass them on. King of Rock by Run-DMC is my favourite.