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  • Books, Comedy, Comics, Espionage, Fantasy, GLBT, Graphic Novels, Great Reads, New, Nicola, Non-fiction

    New books

    17.04.14 | Permalink | Comments Off on New books

    Non-fiction
    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsBeyond Magenta: Transgender teens speak out, Susan Kuklin, (176 pages)Author and photographer Susan Kuklin met and interviewed six transgender or gender-neutral young adults and used her considerable skills to represent them thoughtfully and respectfully before, during, and after their personal acknowledgment of gender preference. Portraits, family photographs, and candid images grace the pages, augmenting the emotional and physical journey each youth has taken. Each honest discussion and disclosure, whether joyful or heartbreaking, is completely different from the other because of family dynamics, living situations, gender, and the transition these teens make in recognition of their true selves. -Publisher Information

    First lines: The stories you are about to read are of real people, members of the transgender community, whom I have come to appreciate and respect. An author is supposed to be objective, and this author has withheld judgement while conducting interviews, taking photographs and writing. But my subjects’ willingness to brave bullying and condemnation in order to reveal their individual selves makes it impossible to be nothing less than awestruck.

    Book cover courtesy of Syndeticsthis star won’t go out ,Esther Earl, (431 pages)A collection of the journals, fiction, letters, and sketches of the late Esther Grace Earl, who passed away in 2010 at the age of 16. Photographs and essays by family and friends will help to tell Esther’s story along with an introduction by award-winning author John Green who dedicated his #1 bestselling novel The Fault in Our Stars to her.-Publisher Information

    First lines: This is a story about a girl that went through a life chnaging experience known as Thyroid Cancer. It’s not one of those dramatic “based on a true story” cancer things, especially since Thyroid Cancer is not as bad as cancer. It’s a story about me, Esther Earl, having a sickness that’s pretty scary.

    Fiction:
    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThe sound of letting go, Stasia Ward Kehoe (388 pages)For sixteen years, Daisy has been good. A good daughter, helping out with her autistic younger brother uncomplainingly. A good friend, even when her best friend makes her feel like a third wheel. When her parents announce they’re sending her brother to an institution—without consulting her—Daisy’s furious, and decides the best way to be a good sister is to start being bad. She quits jazz band and orchestra, slacks in school, and falls for bad-boy Dave. But one person won’t let Daisy forget who she used to be: Irish exchange student and brilliant musician Cal. Does she want the bad boy or the prodigy? Should she side with her parents or protect her brother? How can she know when to hold on and when—and how—to let go? -Publisher Information

    First lines: Dave Miller grins in my direction. At least, I think his easy-eyed, right-cheek-dimpled expression is meant for me. It’s hard to be certain, since we are separated by the fingerprinted interior window that divides my band room refuge from the chaotic dissonance of the rest of Evergreen High.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsVitro, Jessica Khoury (359 pages)On a remote island in the Pacific, Corpus scientists have taken test tube embryos and given them life. These beings—the Vitros—have knowledge and abilities most humans can only dream of. But they also have one enormous flaw.Sophie Crue is determined to get to Skin Island and find her mother, a scientist who left Sophie behind years ago. With the help of Jim Julien, a young charter pilot, she arrives–and discovers a terrifying secret she never imagined: she has a Vitro twin, Lux, who is the culmination of Corpus’s dangerous research.Now Sophie is torn between reuniting with the mother who betrayed her and protecting the genetically enhanced twin she never knew existed. But untangling the twisted strands of these relationships will have to wait, for Sophie and Jim are about to find out what happens when science stretches too far beyond its reach. -Publisher Information

    First lines: “Skin Island,” Sophie said for what felt like the hundredth time. “I know what I’m talking about. It’s called Skin Island, and is has to be nearby. Please, can’t you check again?”

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsTeen spirit, Francesca Lia Block (234 pages)After Julie’s grandmother passes away, she is forced to move across town to the not-so-fancy end of Beverly Hills and start over at a new school. The only silver lining to the perpetual dark cloud that seems to be following her? Clark—a die-hard fan of Buffy and all things Joss Whedon, who is just as awkward and damaged as she is. Her kindred spirit.
    When the two try to contact Julie’s grandmother with a Ouija board, they make contact with a different spirit altogether. The real kind. And this ghost will do whatever it takes to come back to the world of the living.

    First lines: Until things started to fall apart, I had never questioned my desire to be alive, It wasn’t something I had to think about. Even though I didn’t have any close relationships at achool and felt different from the other kids, even though I wasn’t always confident about how I looked or the things I could do, I never thought there was something really wrong with me; I was never lonely or sad.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsEmilie and the sky world, Martha Wells (313 pages)When Emilie and Daniel arrive in Silk Harbor, Professor Abindon, an old colleague of the Marlendes, warns them that she’s observed something strange and potentially deadly in the sky, a disruption in an upper air aether current. But as the Marlendes investigate further, they realize it’s a ship from another aetheric plane. It may be just a friendly explorer, or something far more sinister, but they will have to take an airship into the dangerous air currents to find out. Emilie joins the expedition and finds herself deep in personal entanglements, with an angry uncle, an interfering brother, and an estranged mother to worry about as well as a lost family of explorers, the strange landscapes of the upper air, and the deadly menace that inhabits the sky world. -Publisher Information

    First lines: Emilie took a deep breath and kocked on the door. Twilight had fallen, and the quiet street smelled stringly of dinner. Karthea’s house, like all the others, had a chicky stone facade and wood framed windows with cheer curtains and potted flowers on the stoop. The gas lamp on the corner had already been lot, glowing bright in the failing daylight.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThe Gospel of Winter, Brendan Kiely (296 pages)As sixteen-year-old Aidan Donovan’s fractured family disintegrates around him, he searches for solace in a few bumps of Adderall, his father’s wet bar, and the attentions of his local priest, Father Greg—the only adult who actually listens to him.When Christmas hits, Aidan’s world collapses in a crisis of trust when he recognizes the darkness of Father Greg’s affections. He turns to a crew of new friends to help make sense of his life: Josie, the girl he just might love; Sophie, who’s a little wild; and Mark, the charismatic swim team captain whose own secret agonies converge with Aidan’s. -Publisher Information

    First lines: In order to tell you what really happened, what you don’t know, what the journalists didn’t report, I have to start at Mother’s annual Christmas Eve party. Two nights befre, as if the universe were the coproducer of her big show, a snowstorm whitewahsed our little corner of Connecticut. Mother was thrilled.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsWhen I was the greatest, Jason Reynolds (232 pages) A lot of the stuff that gives my neighborhood a bad name, I don’t really mess with. The guns and drugs and all that, not really my thing. Nah, not his thing. Ali’s got enough going on, between school and boxing and helping out at home. His best friend Noodles, though. Now there’s a dude looking for trouble—and, somehow, it’s always Ali around to pick up the pieces. But, hey, a guy’s gotta look out for his boys, right? Besides, it’s all small potatoes; it’s not like anyone’s getting hurt.And then there’s Needles. Needles is Noodles’s brother. He’s got a syndrome, and gets these ticks and blurts out the wildest, craziest things. It’s cool, though: everyone on their street knows he doesn’t mean anything by it.Yeah, it’s cool…until Ali and Noodles and Needles find themselves somewhere they never expected to be…somewhere they never should’ve been—where the people aren’t so friendly, and even less forgiving. -Publisher Information

    First lines: “Okay, I got one. Would you rather live every dy for the rest of your life with stinky breath, or lick the sidewalk for five minutes?” Noodles asked. He turned and looked at me with a huge grin on his face because he knew this was a tough one.

    Graphic novels:
    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsHomicidal Psycho jungle cat: a Calvin and Hobbes collection, Bill Watterson (175 pages)Reprising the wide-open landscape format of, The Days Are Just Packed, Homicidal Psycho Jungle Cat chronicles another segment of the multifarious adventures of this wild child and his faithful, but skeptical, friend. If the best cartoons compel readers to identify themselves within the funny frames, then all who enjoy Calvin and Hobbes are creative, imaginative, and … bad, bad, bad! Calvin, the irascible little boy with the stuffed tiger who comes to life are a pair bound for trouble.-Publisher Information

    book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThe Search (Avatar: The Last airbender) Bryan Konietzko, Michael Dante Di Matrino, Gene Luen Yang, Gurihiru The biggest mystery of Avatar—the fate of Fire Lord Zuko’s mother—is revealed in this remarkable oversized hardcover collecting parts 1–3 of The Search, from Airbender creators Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko!-Publisher Information


  • Fantasy, Great Reads, Mysteries, Nicola, Non-fiction

    New books

    20.03.14 | Permalink | Comments Off on New books

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsNamesake, Sue MacLeod (225 pages)It started with a history project. Mr. Gregor assigned a research paper on a figure from the Tudor era, and of course Jane Grey had to pick her namesake—Lady Jane Grey, the fifteen-year-old girl whose parents schemed to place her on the throne of England, then abandoned her to face the executioner. The project is engrossing from the start, but when Jane opens a mysterious prayer book and finds herself in the Tower of London in 1553, she ends up literally drawn into her namesake’s story. Soon, Jane is slipping into the past whenever the present becomes too unbearable, avoiding her mother’s demands, her best friend’s fickleness, her crush’s indifference. In the Tower she plays chess with the imprisoned Lady Jane, awed by her new friend’s strength and courage. And it is in the Tower, keeping vigil as the day of the execution draws near, that Jane learns that she, too, must have the courage to fight for her own happiness. (Goodreads)

    First lines: She’s living in one of the houses we looked at from the hill. That’s where I see her in a dream sometimes-with a laptop, a phone, all the usual stuff. In another dream I see her at a part-time job. A coffee shop downtown. She’s pouring something for a customer when she glances up and sees her boyfriend. That’s why this dream’s the best.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsNo surrender soldier, Christine Kohler (198 pages)Growing up on Guam in 1972, fifteen-year-old Kiko is beset by worries: He’s never kissed a girl, and he thinks it’s possible he never will. The popular guys get all the attention, but the worst part is that Kiko has serious problems at home. His older brother is missing in Vietnam; his grandfather is losing it to dementia; he just learned that his mother was raped in World War II by a Japanese soldier. It all comes together when he discovers an old man, a Japanese soldier, hiding in the jungle behind his house. It’s not the same man who raped his mother, but, in his rage, Kiko cares only about protecting his family and avenging his mom – no matter what it takes. And so, a shy, peaceable boy begins to plan a murder. But how far will Kiko go to prove to himself that he’s a man ? (Goodreads)

    First lines: Planes swarmed over Guam in droves. For a moment Lance Corporal Isamu Seto though he was home in Japan. He was washing his face in the Talofofo River when he heared the buzzing sounds. He looked up into the overcast sky and thought locusts were coming to destory the crops in his village of Saori. He blinked and shook his head. Aiee, angry locusts turn into bombers. Amerikans must be attacking.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsKiller of enemies, Joseph Bruchac (358 pages)Years ago, seventeen-year-old Apache hunter Lozen and her family lived in a world of haves and have-nots. There were the Ones-people so augmented with technology and genetic enhancements that they were barely human-and there was everyone else who served them. Then the Cloud came, and everything changed. Tech stopped working. The world plunged back into a new steam age. The Ones’ pets-genetically engineered monsters-turned on them and are now loose on the world.Lozen was not one of the lucky ones pre-C, but fate has given her a unique set of survival skills and magical abilities. She hunts monsters for the Ones who survived the apocalyptic events of the Cloud, which ensures the safety of her kidnapped family. But with every monster she takes down, Lozen’s powers grow, and she connects those powers to an ancient legend of her people. It soon becomes clear to Lozen that she is not just a hired gun. As the legendary Killer of Enemies was in the ancient days of the Apache people, Lozen is meant to be a more than a hunter. Lozen is meant to be a hero. (Goodreads)

    First lines: I’m five miles away from the walls of my prison, up in the hight country abow the Sonoran Desert. This far, surprisingly, nothing has yet attempted to maim or devour me since I settled here half an hour agao. Despite he nearby prescence that I sense of those “little problems” that I deal with out here in the wiles, I have met nothing to worry about…yet.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsPanic, Lauren Oliver (408 pages)Panic began as so many things do in Carp, a dead-end town of 12,000 people in the middle of nowhere: because it was summer, and there was nothing else to do.Heather never thought she would compete in Panic, a legendary game played by graduating seniors, where the stakes are high and the payoff is even higher. She’d never thought of herself as fearless, the kind of person who would fight to stand out. But when she finds something, and someone, to fight for, she will discover that she is braver than she ever thought.Dodge has never been afraid of Panic. His secret will fuel him, and get him all the way through the game, he’s sure of it. But what he doesn’t know is that he’s not the only one with a secret. Everyone has something to play for.For Heather and Dodge, the game will bring new alliances, unexpected revelations, and the possibility of first love for each of them—and the knowledge that sometimes the very things we fear are those we need the most.(Goodreads)

    First lines: The water was so cold it took Heather’s breath away as she fought past the kids crowding the beach and standing in the shallows, waving towels and homemade signs, cheering and calling up to the remaining jumpers. She took a deep breath and went under. The sound of voices, of shouting and laugher, was immeadiately muted. Only one voice stayed with her. I didn’t mean for it to happen.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsNo one else can have you, Kathleen Hale (380 pages)Small towns are nothing if not friendly. Friendship, Wisconsin (population: 689 , no, 688) is no different. Around here, everyone wears a smile. And no one ever locks their doors. Until, that is, high school sweetheart Ruth Fried is found murdered. Strung up like a scarecrow in the middle of a cornfield.Unfortunately, Friendship’s police are more adept at looking for lost pets than catching killers. So Ruth’s best friend, Kippy Bushman, armed with only her tenacious Midwestern spirit and Ruth’s secret diary (which Ruth’s mother had asked her to read in order to redact any, you know, sex parts), sets out to find the murderer. But in a quiet town like Friendship—where no one is a suspect—anyone could be the killer. (Goodreads)

    First lines: A police officer comforts a woman on the shoulder of a rural highway. Behind them is a cornfield,. The corn is shoulde high, not yet ready to be harvested. The officer has on a Green Bay Packers hat, and the woman is wearing a sweatshirt decorated in teddy bear appliques. She is clutching a cellphone and crying hysterically. She and her husband own the cornfield. She’s just found something terrible in there.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsBoy on the edge, Fridrik Erlings ( 219 pages)Henry has a clubfoot and he is the target of relentless bullying. One day, in a violent fit of anger, Henry lashes out at the only family he has — his mother. Sent to live with other troubled boys at the Home of Lesser Brethren, an isolated farm perched in the craggy lava fields along the unforgiving Icelandic coast, Henry finds a precarious contentment among the cows. But it is the people, including the manic preacher who runs the home, who fuel Henry’s frustration and sometimes rage as he yearns for a life and a home. (Goodreads)

    First lines: Once again, a book open in front of him, a sea of letters floating before his eyes, the sweat forming on his brow, the pain in his stomach like he’s being punched from the inside. And the whole class around him, holding their breath, waiting for him to read out loud, waiting for him to read out loud, waiting to burst out laughing.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsPawn, Aimee Carter (343 pages)For Kitty Doe, it seems like an easy choice. She can either spend her life as a III in misery, looked down upon by the higher ranks and forced to leave the people she loves, or she can become a VII and join the most powerful family in the country. If she says yes, Kitty will be Masked—surgically transformed into Lila Hart, the Prime Minister’s niece, who died under mysterious circumstances. As a member of the Hart family, she will be famous. She will be adored. And for the first time, she will matter. There’s only one catch. She must also stop the rebellion that Lila secretly fostered, the same one that got her killed …and one Kitty believes in. Faced with threats, conspiracies and a life that’s not her own, she must decide which path to choose—and learn how to become more than a pawn in a twisted game she’s only beginning to understand. (Goodreads)

    First lines: Risking my life to steal an orange was a stupid thing to do, but today of all days, I didn’t care about the consequences. If I were lucky, the Shields would throw me to the ground and put a bullet in my brain. Sead at seventeen. It would be a relief.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsGilded, Christina Farley (339 pages) Sixteen-year-old Jae Hwa Lee is a Korean-American girl with a black belt, a deadly proclivity with steel-tipped arrows, and a chip on her shoulder the size of Korea itself. When her widowed dad uproots her to Seoul from her home in L.A., Jae thinks her biggest challenges will be fitting in to a new school and dealing with her dismissive Korean grandfather. Then she discovers that a Korean demi-god, Haemosu, has been stealing the soul of the oldest daughter of each generation in her family for centuries. And she’s next.But that’s not Jae’s only problem.
    There’s also Marc. Irresistible and charming, Marc threatens to break the barriers around Jae’s heart. As the two grow closer, Jae must decide if she can trust him. But Marc has a secret of his own—one that could help Jae overturn the curse on her family for good. It turns out that Jae’s been wrong about a lot of things: her grandfather is her greatest ally, even the tough girl can fall in love, and Korea might just be the home she’s always been looking for. (Goodreads)

    First lines: Stillness fills the empty stage as I press the horn bow to my body and notch and arrow. I pull back the string. The power of it courses through me, a sizzling dire in my veins. I squint just enough so the mark crystallises while everything around it blurs.

    Image courtesy of SyndeticsWho I’m not, Ted Satunton (186 pages) Danny has survived everything life has thrown at him: being abandoned at birth, multiple abusive foster homes, life as a con man in training. But when his latest “protector” dies suddenly, Danny has to think fast or he’ll be back in foster care again. He decides to assume the identity of a boy who disappeared three years before. If nothing else, he figures it will buy him a little time. Much to his astonishment, his new “family” accepts him as their own–despite the fact that he looks nothing like their missing relative. But one old cop has his suspicions about Danny–and he’s not about to declare the case close(Goodreads)

    First lines: It’s easier to tell you who I’m not. I’m not Kerry Ludwig or Sean Callahan. I’m not David Alvierez or Peter McLeod or Frank Rolfe. I’ve kind of wished I was David Alvierez. I don’t look Latino or anything, but it sounds exotic. Anyway, I’ve been all those guys, but none of them was me.

    New Non-fiction

    Book cover courtesy of SyneticsThe Nazi hunters: how a team of spies and survivors captured the world’s most notorious Nazi, Neil Bascomb, (215 pages)A thrilling spy mission, a moving Holocaust story, and a first-class work of narrative nonfiction. In 1945, at the end of World War II, Adolf Eichmann, the head of operations for the Nazis’ Final Solution, walked into the mountains of Germany and vanished from view. Sixteen years later, an elite team of spies captured him at a bus stop in Argentina and smuggled him to Israel, resulting in one of the century’s most important trials — one that cemented the Holocaust in the public imagination. (Goodreads)

    First lines: A remote stretch of unlit road on a windy night. Two cars appear out of the darkness. One of them, a Chevrolet, slows to a halt. and its headlights blink off. The Buick drives some distance farther, then turns onto Garibaldi Street, where it too stops and its lights turn off.


  • Great Reads, Isn't that cool?, Librarian's Choice, New Zealand, Nicola, Non-fiction

    Spotlight on YA Non-Fiction

    13.03.14 | Permalink | Comments Off on Spotlight on YA Non-Fiction

    I’m pretty proud of our non-fiction section. It’s small but concise. It has lots of books that will teach you about all the important things you need to know: from passing algebra to how to cook roast chicken, from surviving high school to how to get dressed in the morning. In this series, I’ll look at one or two books from each dewey section, highlighting my favourites. Some sections will have more books than others, due to size or the variety of topic contained within. If you have any books you’d like to spotlight, please leave them in the comments!

    000s – Generalities
    Dead StrangeBook cover courtesy of Syndetics

    This book is a miscellany of the bizarre unexplained phenomena that puzzle ‘experts’ everywhere; an A-Z of oddness. It’s fairly tongue-in-cheek, and if you’re not convinced you’ll at least be entertained. I’m a bit of a conspiracy theoriest nut (although I find them enjoyable rather than believable) so I had a lot of fun reading this. It’s a fairly exhaustive selection, and it even introduced me to a few I hadn’t heard of before…

    100s – Philosophy and Psychology
    i.d : stuff that happens to define usBook Cover courtesy of Syndetics
    This is a collection of real stories, each illustrated, with an Q and A with the story teller about what happened next. It’s so much more than the sum of its parts, however. Each illustration conveys the emotion of the story being told, whether positive or negative. Each discusses a certain incident; the moment when a teenager learns to stop being negative about her body, or the time an immigrant girl really feels at odds with her mostly white companions. The illustrations themselves are done in a scratchy, naive style, which help to convey the fraught emotions of each of the stories.

    200s – Religion
    Understanding IslamBook cover courtesy of Syndetics
    Islam is in the news a lot these days, but without talking about the context of this religion. It’s a bit simplistic to say that this book will teach you “everything” you need to understand about Islam -an extremely diverse faith- but it’s an extremely good place to start. It looks at the different sects within Islam, some of its cultural traditions (again, it’s an extreme diverse faith!) and its core tenets. It also discusses the history and the contributions Islamic people have made to the world, which are often left out of discussions. It really helped me gain a pretty good, if basic, understanding of Islam and its definitely worth picking up if you follow international events.

    300s – Social Sciences
    Where children sleepBook cover courtesy of Syndetics
    This is a fascinating collection detailing, like it says in the title, the places where children from around the world sleep. A two page-spread consists of the photo of each child, a small description of where they live, their home life and their ambitions, with a full page colour photo of their ‘room’. It’s a simple concept that never comes across as patronising or proselythising; it manages to communicate the massive inequality in different parts of the world, as well as social issues that affect the featured childrens’ lives.

    400s – Langauge
    Punctuation Book cover courtesy of Syndetics
    This book is never going to set the world on fire but your English teacher will thank you for reading it, especially if you’re having trouble writing essays. While studying where and when to use things like commas might seem a bit redundant, this book will help you use them skillfully, which might mean the difference between a merit and an excellence.

    500s-Sciences
    The Reed Field Guide to New Zealand Native treesBook cover courtesy of Syndetics
    A great read for the budding botanists (ha ha) out there. It’s a classic, and for good reason; it’s got plenty of pictures showing the distinguishing features of each type of tree. I like to think of these kind of books as ones that will be useful during a zombie apocalypse: telling the difference between rangiora and ongaonga could certainly save you a lot of pain and trouble! Each section on the tree contains pictures of its leaves, fruit or flowers, and stems or trunks. While there’s not a whole lot of written information in this book, it also lists other books that could be helpful.

    600s – Technology
    After Toast Book cover courtesy of Syndetics
    A trend among cookbooks aimed at a YA audience is that they try a bit hard to be ‘trendy’: losts of ‘slang’, lots of references to texting, and criminal overuse of the word “mates.” Luckily, this book skips all those traps, focusing instead on simple, easy recipes that might even be healthy. They’re split into sections by meal, with and index at the back. There’s a handy guide at the beginning, explaining what tools you’ll need, how to tell if certain meats are cooked, and various other ‘how to’ sections that are pretty useful.

    Style Me Vintage: make up Book cover courtesy of Syndetics
    The verdict every year seems to be that the ‘vintage’ look is ‘in.’ But what do the fashion scribes mean by vintage? Marilyn Monroe-esque fifties glamour or the frivilous flapper look of the twenties? The dewey freshness of the seventies or the enigmatic sleekness of the thirties? Once you’ve worked that out, come and grab this book. It’s got looks for every decade from the twenties to the eighties; by matching the right make up to your outfit, you can be assured of steering clear of fashion anachronism. Of course, there’s nothing stopping you from mixing the looks up: a fifties mouth with a twenties eye, for serious glam. It’s also got some great tips and techniques for beginners, like how to put on false eyelashes. Which are apparently essential for a few looks…

    700s – Arts and Recreation
    Back and Beyond: New Zealand painting for the young and curiousBook cover courtesy of Syndetics
    The 700s, with their focus on the arts, often provide the most visually appealing books to be found anywhere in the library. This is a prime example, featuring gorgeous reproductions of amazing paintings from New Zealand artists both traditional and contemporary. Each painting is accompanied by a brief text describling the themes of the piece and the artist’s other work. It’s never dry or boring; it manages to convey both the common themes and the diversity in paintings from New Zealand.

    Legends, Icons and Rebels: Music that changed the worldBook cover courtesy of Syndetics
    This is a fantastic new book that profiles 27 artists who changed the face of music forever. Again, it’s a lovely looking book, with a beautiful full page depiction of each musician. It contains a brief biograpy of each person, and explains their influence on music. For example, I didn’t know that Little Richard mentored The Beatles AND Jimi Hendrix AND toured with the Rolling Stones. Pretty awesome, if you ask me! It also has a two CDs, each with a famous song from each artist or group.

    800s – Literature
    Critical Companion to William ShakespeareBook cover courtesy of Syndetics
    Shakespeare plays form a pretty much intrinsic part of the English ciruculum. But even the most conscientious English teacher might have trouble helping you to navigate the themes, characters and language of whatever play you’re studying. That’s where this book comes in handy: it has information on all of Shakespeare’s plays, each of them broken down into easy to read sections. There’s a scene by scene synopsis of the play, a commentary on the themes, and then an entry on each character and what motifs they embody. It’s fairly dense (as you might imagine) but never becomes unintelligable.

    900s- History and Geography
    Diary of a Soviet SchoolgirlBook cover courtesy of Syndetics
    The brutal conditions of Soviet Russia are often neglected in the study of history. This diary, written by a teenage girl from 1932-1937, demonstrates just how hard the lives of ordinary people were during this time.  Nina Lugovskaya’s father was arrested for being a “counter-revolutionary” and Nina herself was eventually arrested and sent to a gulag.  What makes this diary especially fascinating is that the passages that were used as evidence against her are underlined, and this has been kept in this reproduction of the diary. It shows just how seemingly minor complaints could be interpreted as showing author was “preparing to kill Stalin.”  It also shows the persistance of other facets of ‘ordinary’ teenage life: Nina talks about about boys, her friends and her disdain for school and her teachers. Unlike the Diary of Anne Frank, this story has a happier coda: Nina survived her time in the gulag, and was eventually pardoned.

    Biographies
    Lady Gaga: Critical Mass FashionBook cover courtesy of Syndetics
    If you’re in the mood for something a bit lighter (and you’re a Gaga fan) then this is perfect for you. Even if you’re not, you can’t fault the book on the aesthetic front: there are some stunning photographs of Lady Gaga’s extreme outfits, which are definitely worth a look.  It’s not a hard-hitting expose of Gaga’s metoric rise, rather a faintly fluffy piece of biography, but it’s a fun palate cleanser about one of the most notorious pop stars of the last 10 years.


  • Jack, New, Non-fiction

    New Non-Fiction

    18.06.11 | Permalink | Comments Off on New Non-Fiction

    Man, there’s still so much non-fiction coming in. Pretty sweet if you enjoy facts, am I right? Rather than describe them all – the titles give away enough clues as far as the content goes – here they are in list form.

    Waves: great stories from the surf – Tim Baker
    The Twilight saga: the official illustrated guide
    101 things I learned in fashion school
    – Alfredo Cabrera and Matthew Frederick
    Cat on a hot tin roof – Tennesse Williams
    Let’s get this staright: the ultimate handbook for youth with LGBTQ parents – Tina Fakhrid-Deen
    Indie craft – Jo Waterhouse
    Tees: the art of the t-shirt – Maki
    The complete book of drawing manga – Peter Gray
    Weirdo noir: gothic and dark lowbrow art – Matt Dukes Jordan
    Illustration now – Gregoire Noyelle and Katy Lee
    Rock gods: 40 years of rock photography – Robert M. Knight
    Glee: the official annual 2011
    DC Comics: year by year visual chronicle

    There you go. Lots of interesting topics covered. Reserve them if you would like.


  • Jack, New, Non-fiction

    Still More New Non-Fiction

    08.06.11 | Permalink | Comments Off on Still More New Non-Fiction

    pocket fantasy artPocket fantasy art: the very best in contemporary fantasy art and illustration. Full of pictures that would be equally at home in a White Dwarf magazine or on the cover of a badass metal album. Here are some of the sections to give you an overview; Brawny Barbarians and Hulky Heroes, Sirens and Seductresses, Myths and Monsters.

    film school101 things I learned in film school by Neil Landau with Matthew Frederick. Handy hints for every stages of making a film, be it script-writing, filming, editing or even pitching an idea. An indispensible guide for budding filmakers and screenwriters from an accomplished industry veteran.

    from sometimesFrom sometimes love Beth: An adventure in postcards by Beth Sometimes. Beth Sometimes wrote a postcard (and drew on the front side too) to someone every day for a year and compiled them as she did so. This is the result. It’s kind of like I zine I guess. Funny and cute images and some postcard facts at the beginning as well.

    ready madeReady made: how to make (almost) everything. Chairs, bathmats, aprons, chandeliers – with this book you can make all of these things relatively easily and out of mostly recycled materials. Crazy, right? Fill your house with all of these things and it will make you seem like you are a quirky indie-comedy film character.

    diy fashionD.I.Y. Fashion: Customize & Personalize by Selena Francis-Bryden. Do you have some old pants that you don’t like anymore? Just turn it into a skirt, dummy! Do you need a new dress? Cut up your Dad’s old t-shirts and make one yourself, idiot! Turn those old jeans into a tie, or a cushion. Why didn’t you think of that?

    top gear top drivesTop Gear: Top drives, road trips of a lifetime in the world’s most dramatic locations. If you are a car enthusiast, maybe this is your bucket list? Photos of fancy cars driving all over the world along with words that describe the photos. Sometimes the cars are themed for the country they are in, like a ute in Australia (lol), sometimes they aren’t, like a Ford Mondeo in Russia.

    kelly slaterKelly Slater: for the love by Kelly Slater with Phil Jarratt. Kelly Slater’s real first name is Robert, but Kelly sounds a bit “cooler” and “chill”, so therefore more ideally suited to surfing. That is just one of many Kelly Slater facts in this book. There are lots of nice photos of beaches and other nice photos of Kelly Slater moodily staring off into the middle distance.

    Now here are some books that list things. The titles are self-explanatory, so I need not elaborate. 101 Cult movies you must see before you die, 101 Sc-fi movies you must see before you die, 501 Great artists, 1001 Albums you must hear before you die and 1001 Songs you must hear before you die. That’s an awful lot of things to get through before you die, best get to it.


  • Jack, New, Non-fiction

    More New Non-Fiction

    03.06.11 | Permalink | Comments Off on More New Non-Fiction

    Here is some more of the new non-fiction, hurrah!

    top gearThe big book of Top Gear 2010. I am sure you have seen the television show and therefore have a pretty good idea of what to expect. The cover says that this time they are slightly on fire, so there is sure to be at least one dangerous mishap. At least.

    michipediaWhat on earth are you wearing? A Michipedia of fashion by Chloe Quigley. Before thumbing through this book I was uncertain as to what exactly a “Michipedia” was. I now see that it is like an encyclopedia, but more fashion-y, water colour illustrated and with a humorous intent. Nothing like some fashion lolz.

    graffiti planetGraffiti Planet 2 compiled and introduced by KET. It’s a book of graffiti from all over the planet and is the second volume in its’ particular series. More than a hundred images from a bevy of artists. That’s right, a bevy.

    how to rapHow to rap: The art and science of the hip-hop MC by Paul Edwards. Rappers explaining how they go about their rapping so that you too can be a rapper. Which is nice of them. Tip: pay closer attention to what the likes of Pharoahe Monch and the Wu-Tang kids have to say than Will.I.Am, you’ll be better off.

    how to talk to girlshow to talk to boysHow to talk to boys by Dianne Todaro and How to talk to girls  by Jonathan Toussaint. Two books filled with tips on how to talk to the opposite sex. Then what to do once you’ve used your new-found flirting skills to enter into a meaningful relaish. Also there are authentic real life stories inside.

    Even more coming soon!


  • New, Non-fiction, Roberto B.

    New Non-Fiction, Art And Fashion

    02.06.11 | Permalink | Comments Off on New Non-Fiction, Art And Fashion

    As promised, here is more of the new non-fiction. Today music, art and fashion.

    liveLive: Gigs that rocked New Zealand by Bruce Jarvis & Josh Easby. A nice visual history of some of the landmark concerts staged in New Zealand with along with interesting anecdotes. If you look very closely at the crowd photos you may just spot your parents, you never know.

    japanese animationJapanese animation: From painted scrolls to Pokemon by Brigitte Koyama-Rickard. A wonderfully detailed history of Japanese animation. Includes plenty of interviews with famous animators discussing their craft. Interesting to see the development of different trends in Manga and Anime over the years.

    banksyBanksy: Wall and Piece. If you are unfamiliar with the work of provocative graffiti artist, Banksy, this is well worth an issue. Page after page of his always humorous and frequently audacious work covering every corner of the globe. Here’s a Banksy Simpsons intro.

    outsidersOutsiders: Art by people compiled by Steve Lazarides. This a a companion piece to Wall and Piece, with outsider art compiled by Banksy’s manager. Taking the same sort of intelligent, witty and subversive approach, none of these artists have ever been formally trained, yet produce some amazing work.

    car cultureJuxtapoz: Car Culture. A collection of car and car related illustrations and photgraphs from cutting edge design magazine, Juxtapoz. Filled with the sorts of things you’d see on the walls in American diners and the things you’d see on the black t-shirts inside those same diners. Worth a look for art fans and car enthusiasts alike.

    sartorialistThe Sartorialist by Scott Schuman. It’s a sign of blog success when your blog gets a book deal*, The Sartorialist has done just that. If you’ve never been to the site (and for some reason have chosen not to click on the link in the previous sentence) it’s basically a series of very well-dressed people photgraphed in their natural environments. Bookmark it, then reserve this book.

    fashion boxFashion Box: The immortal icons of style by Antonio Mancinelli. If Friday is your favourite day because you enjoy look forward all week to Le Chic Librarian’s posts, perhaps this can help bridge the gap inbetween? Includes sections like “The little black dress”, “The trench coat”, “Jeans” and “The mini skirt” all worn by good looking famous people.

    There are still more books yet to blog. Coming tomorrow; Cars, Surfing and a whole lot of other things that have just arrived since I took my lunch break.

    *One day there will be a Teen Blog book. We hope.


  • New, Non-fiction, Roberto B., Sport

    New Non-Fiction, Sports

    01.06.11 | Permalink | Comments Off on New Non-Fiction, Sports

    The Central Library has recently expanded its’ YA non-fiction collection – just today actually – but because it has expanded so much I cannot possibly cover all of the new material in a single post. So for now, here are the newest sport titles.

    manaMana by James Kerr, photographs by Nick Danziger. This features page after page of black and white photos of the All Blacks playing, practicing the haka, listening quietly in meetings, relaxing (they seem pretty like pretty chill bros in these ones), eating, working out and showing off their sweet tats. Kind of “a day in the life” deal. Also there are photos of kids playing rugby, just like the real All Blacks, but smaller!

    golden girlsGolden Girls: Celebrating New Zealand’s six female Olympic gold medalists by Margot Butcher. The title of this book sparked quite some debate at Teen Blog HQ, is it “medallist” or “medalist”? Spellcheck, the Oxford Dictionary and we say “medalist”, but this book and the MacMillan UK Dictionary say “medallist”. All confusion aside, you can expect six stories about six champion female athletes.

    dan carterDan Carter: A tribute to the All Black’s perfect 10 by John Matheson. Like a biography, but in coffee table book form and with more photos. Follow his story from precocious youngster to the hyperbolic quote generating machine (eg. “… is the ‘Koh-i-Noor’ diamond of his time”) he is today. Not sure if it mentions his clothing chain or not.

    all white feverAll White Fever: New Zealand’s road to the World Cup by John Matheson. Remember that time the All Whites made it to the Football World Cup in South Africa? It was pretty sweet. If you’ve forgotten some of the glorious details (tsk) or just want to relive it in text with photos form, now you can. It still makes me feel proud to see a photo of Tim Brown tackling Cesc Fabregas.

    wwe encyclopediaWWE Encyclopedia: The definitive guide to World Wrestling Entertainment by Brian Shields and Kevin Sullivan. All the information you could possibly fit into a coffee table sized book on wrestling! From Abe “knuckleball” Schwartz to Zeus and all the Honkytonk Men and Ric Flairs in between. Pro wrestling in the 1980’s was hi-larious btw.

    fightFight by Eugene S. Robinson. Covers pretty much everything you could think of about fighting. From the greatest boxing matches to knife techniques, there is even mention of my favourite ‘so terrible it’s fantastic’ martial arts movie, Gymkata. If that isn’t exhaustive enough, then I don’t know what to tell you.

    If these new titles prove popular (and really, why wouldn’t they?) there will be more YA non-fiction popping up at branches too. Fashion and arts coming tomorrow.



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