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Teen Blog

Reading, Wellington, and whatever else – teenblog@wcl.govt.nz

Month: January 2008 Page 1 of 2

Ken Catran

New Zealander Ken Catran gives an interesting perspective on war in his quartet of books about the Moran family*. Like the Plumb trilogy by Maurice Gee, each book focuses on a different generation of the same family: Jacko’s a hero during World War I, but this doesn’t translate to success back home; Robert’s determined not to be like his father and is plagued by tragedy in World War II (although good things possibly happen, without giving away too much); Jimmy goes to the Vietnam War; Teresa’s a female soldier in a male-dominated environment, determined to live up to her family name.

The books also examine family relationships – especially fathers with their children. Catran’s a prolific author, so if you enjoy these then the rest of his catalogue could keep you busy for a while.

*Teresa Moran, soldier; Jimmy Moran, regular; Robert Moran, private; Jacko Moran, sniper.

You are never too old* …

Lego celebrated its 50th birthday yesterday. See how Lego is made! (By cool robots!) Why not get out your Lego bricks and build something? 

 *(Proof that you can never be to old for Lego.) 

SUBTXT Review IV: A New Hope

The Bell Jar
Sylvia Plath
257 pages

Theme: Self-discovery, womanhood, and depression.
Recommend?: It is an honest glimpse into the world of the main character and is strangely contemporary for a novel set in 1953. You also get a glimpse of Sylvia’s mindstate at the time because the novel is semi-autobiographical.

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Latest CDs and DVDs

A few more fresh CDs are now in the library. We also have some new Young Adult DVDs; these cost 50 cents to issue (on a child’s or young adult’s card) and may be borrowed for seven days. We have hundreds.

These are the new DVDs:

New CDs:

Quirky and controversial

Sound like you? Well then, Francesca Lia Block might be right up your alley. Influenced by magic-realists Isabel Allende and Gabriel Garcia Marquez, she describes her writing as “contemporary fairy tales with an edge.” Her novels cover disparate subjects such as fairies (of course), rock bands, movie making, gay teenagers, anorexia, rape, incest and (mostly) Los Angeles.

Visit her website at www.francescaliablock.com or check out her books in the library.

SUBTXT Review Numéro trois

Holder of Lightning
S. L Farrell
494 pages

Theme: Holder of Lightning is not only about power and all that, but it is also a bit about romance. Jenna Aoire was a very poor teenager who lived with her mother and was only seventeen when she found the powerful stone that was known by a lot of people in the land called Lamh Shabhala.

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Word Sandwich

Word Sandwich is a game in which you must guess a five-letter word. It is quite difficult, but strangely addictive! My highscore was 3265, which is (apparently) quite terrible.

Book lists

If you’re stuck on what to read next, have a look at our new book lists. So far there are only two three five!, but we hope to add more as time goes by. If there are any books missing from our recommendations please add a comment to the list! Thanks!


Roddy Doyle’s an Irish novelist who’s written (among other things) a Booker prizewinner (Paddy Clarke ha ha ha) and a novel that was turned into the smash hit movie of 1991 (The Commitments … ride Sally, ride). Chances are that anyone’s going to love his books then, from the biggest literary snob to the biggest literary peasant.

Last year he published Wilderness, about half-brothers and -sisters, disappearing mothers, and an adventure holiday in Finland that goes wrong … reserve it, have a read and see what you think.

SUBTXT Review #2

Jacky DayDream
Jacqueline Wilson
344 pages

Theme: The subject is Jacqueline’s childhood. This is a great book and even though it’s an autobiography she tells it in a way that it’s not boring! She tells you about her loving mother Biddy, and father Harry with a too-short temper.
Recommend?: It’s a very interesting read and anyone can get into the book. I personally liked the decades in which Jacqueline Wilson was born because I think that that was a very interesting period of history.

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