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

Month: June 2008 Page 1 of 3

SubText08 Event – Karori

Information about this year’s SubText programme will be available from tomorrow. Here is a blurb about the event to be held at Karori library.

Teens Rock The Library
Karori Library
1st August 6pm to 8pm

Rock the Library at Karori with Guitar Hero, Wii games and other fun stuff at our games evening on Friday August 1st from 6-7pm. There’s great food and prizes galore! The library is usually closed at these times, so Subtexters will have the building to themselves.

PS: Hope you’re not allergic to chocolate.

What lovely altocumulus castelanus

Wellington is famous for its umbrella-unfriendly gusts of wind. It’s something to be proud of, in much the same way that Rotorua smells of hydrogen sulphide, or Auckland sits amidst a gazillion volcanoes. The next time you’re looking at the sky, watching the clouds race past at galeforce speeds, keep watch for rare clouds. Yes! Rare clouds! Who knew?

Fresh, unopened books

Loads of new books are in. Here is a selection!

Savvy, by Ingrid Law (342 pages). The Beaumont family develop a power – a ‘savvy’ – at the age of 13. Will Mibs Beaumont’s imminent savvy be able to save her father?

Death’s Shadow, by Darren Shan (237 pages). This is book seven of Shan’s Demonata series, and is ‘seriously scary’. Did you know that the first three books of the Darren Shan Saga are being turned into a film?

Scarlet, by Stephen R. Lawhead (427 pages). This is the second book in the King Raven series, which is concerned with Robin Hood. Scarlet is, of course, Will Scarlet, Robin Hood’s delinquent sidekick.

Saving Juliet, by Suzanne Selfors (242 pages). Mimi has landed the role of Juliet in her family’s production of Romeo and Juliet – not that she’s terribly keen on the whole acting thing. She and her hot co-star, Troy, somehow find themselves in Shakespeare’s Verona, and Mimi befriends the Juliet Capulet, whose suicide in on the proverbial horizon; uh oh!

The Shadow Speaker, by Nnedi Okorafor-Mbachu (336 pages). This sounds really cool; ‘the year is 2070, and the earth’s civilization has been completely transformed following a nuclear fallout in the early 21st century. Magic, mysticism, and mind-blowing technology now rule the world’. The author has an interesting website as well.

Superior Saturday, by Garth Nix (263 pages). This is sixth and penultimate book in the Keys to the Kingdom Series, and should prove to be very popular – it has a load of reserves on it already, so it will be a wee while before it becomes available.

Bagging the All Blacks is so 2007!

So maybe your 2007 rugby demons are beginning to be exorcised?  With recent results everyone should be feeling better about our national game. The Super 14 title is back in New Zealand and the U-20s have won the World Cup. The NZ Maori team are undefeated in the Pacific Nations Cup so far and the All Blacks have won three in a row and looked better each game.   Even if the prospect of the Tri-Nations is a bit daunting it still feels good to thrash two different English teams in the same weekend.

Keep up with all our teams and world rugby in general through the All Blacks website.

Media That Matters

Media That Matters is a ‘film festival for youth’, and is happening this Friday, the 27th of June at 6pm in the NZ Film Archive (84 Taranaki Street). It is free entry; there will be films (obviously), prizes, giveaways and guest speakers.

More info here.

Evangelion shin-geki jo ban

The Neon Genesis Evangelion series is considered one of the greatest anime of all time, although the television series (available here) did end somewhat confusingly and isn’t too accessible for the casual viewer. In 2006 it was revealed that four Neon Genesis Evangalion films were to be made; the first three are a ‘reboot‘ of the original series, with new scenes, characters, and effects added, and the final film will present a new ending to the story.

The first of these films – Evangelion : 1.0 You Are (Not) Alone – is part of the imminent Wellington Film Festival,  and tickets will (probably) go quite quickly.

Another cool anime at the festivals is Vexille, which is from the people behind the recent Appleseed film.

The High Life

When I was a child my dad made me a treehouse. It was very basic; a sheet of plywood cut to fit between a fork in the trunk of the tree. It was a great place from where to pelt my brother with oranges, but not a place to stay when it rained. Unlike some of these treehouses, which “range from functional to fanciful, sustainable to strange and affordable to incredibly expensive.” I guess we can’t all start living in Wellington’s town belt – maybe now would be a good time to plant a native, so in several decades you could retire to the treetops?

Top 10: general fiction with teenage narrators

I started thinking about this list as being books about teenagers that adults enjoy reading, but discovered that my collected items all had, specifically, teenage narrators. It’s an interesting list, full of award winners and movie adaptations. It took me from Japan to India to Nigeria to France to Heaven…. These are almost all in the general (adult) collection in the library. If you’re looking for a challenge you can’t go wrong with some of these.

  1. book coverExtremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer is a novel largely about the impact of 9/11 on a small boy (so yes, he’s not a teenager… yet). This is a very clever and touching book by the author of Everything is Illuminated (which they made into a movie).
  2. Vernon God Little by D B C Pierre. Vernon Little is the cynical 15 year old narrator of this sometimes-controversial novel. Some might suggest this is a postmodern Catcher in the Rye (“discuss”!). Whatever, a lot of people just like it because they get to call the author an “enfant terrible” and things like that. (Booker Prize winner.)
  3. Mister Pip by Lloyd Jones. While I don’t think this lived up to the miles and miles of unbelievable hype, Mister Pip is a touching, thought-provoking and informative story about the troubles in Bougainville (in Papua New Guinea) in the 1990s. Matilda is the teenage narrator of the story, who tells a story of discovering Dickens through an inspiring teacher, and surviving grotesque violence and enormous upheaval. (Montana Book Award winner and Commonwealth Prize winner for 2007.)
  4. book coverThe Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold. Peter Jackson is currently turning this into a movie right here in Wellington. Susie Salmon is fourteen and dead, narrating the story of her life past (i.e. how she came to be dead) and the present life of her family, struggling to come to terms with their loss. Susie tells the story from her vantage point in heaven, which is like a school playground, naturally.
  5. book coverPurple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. I just finished this one a couple of days ago. Purple Hibiscus is set in Nigeria at the time of a political coup, told by Kambili, a 15 year old girl who is terrorised by a tyrannical father. The story is well told, and surprisingly non-judgmental and mature, considering the subject matter (her father stands her in a bath of boiling water, for example), and makes you think about parents and teenagers and control and freedom and love. (This was shortlisted for the Orange Prize, which she went on to win last year with Half of a Yellow Sun.)
  6. A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving. The narrator tells the story as an older man, but the action mostly happens while he and his best friend, Owen, are teenagers. This is a great book; quite challenging on several levels and definitely worth it. See if you don’t cry! (John Irving won an Academy Award for his script of The Cider House Rules (based on his own novel by the same name).)
  7. Number9dream by David Mitchell. Set in Japan (mostly Tokyo) and narrated by recent school leaver Eiji Miyake, Number9dream jumps between daydream and reality (Eiji has a vivid imagination, which makes him a bit unreliable as a narrator) as Eiji goes on a mission to find his parents. This is a challenging read, but David Mitchell is great. Also try Black Swan Green, an easier book about a year in the life of a 13 year old English boy during the Falklands War and a marriage breakup (his parents’, not his own). (Shortlisted for the Booker Prize.)
  8. Life of Pi by Yann Martel. People either love this or hate it. Piscine (as in French for swimming pool) Patel calls himself “Pi” (can you blame him?). Pi, raised in Pondicherry in India, is a philosophical kind of bloke. Just as well, really, when he finds himself shipwrecked and floating on the Pacific Ocean in a lifeboat with a zebra, a hyena, a seasick orang-utan and a large Bengal tiger called Richard Parker (really, what else would a tiger be called?)… (Booker Prize winner.)
  9. book coverThe Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides is, weirdly, narrated by a group of teenage boys enthralled by the Lisbon girls; beautiful, virginal… suicidal…(The book was made into a successful movie, and Jeffrey Eugenides went on to win the Pulitzer Prize with a later book, Middlesex).
  10. Le Grand Meaulnes by Alain-Fournier. Published in 1913 and the only novel completed by the writer (who died during World War I), Le Grand Meaulnes is a novel that has influenced writers like David Mitchell (see above… he says this is a great depiction of longing) and Rose Tremain (in The Way I Found Her, her thirteen year old narrator entertains himself by translating Le Grand Meaulnes from the French… as you do). Fifteen year old Francois Seurel narrates the story of Augustin Meaulnes, who searches for his lost love. This has been made into two films (1967 and 2006, of which we have neither, as it turns out).

New CDs: we have them

More new CDs have arrived. You may be pleased to learn that YA CDs are free to reserve and issue on a YA library card.

» Oracular Spectactular – MGMT. Very popular and a favourite with the critics. This album comes with ‘enhanced content’, excitingly.
» Awesome Feeling II – Various. This is a compilation from Real Groove magazine, capturing the  ‘Sound of Young New Zealand 2008’.
» The Best of Radiohead – Radiohead. There are 29 songs on this double-CD, and all of them are awesome. It doesn’t have any songs from after 2005, however.
» TCG – The Cheetah Girls. Initially created by Disney for a couple of films.
» Finding Beauty in Negative Spaces – Seether. A South-African post-grunge band. ‘All negative space with very little beauty,’ according to one critic.
» The Release Party – Dilated Peoples. This is actually a DVD, documenting an independent hip hop group over a 10-year period. It comes with a bonus CD. Great for fans of Dilated Peoples.
» Workers Leaving the Factory – The Actualities. If you like Arcade Fire and Coldplay you will like this (second) album, Sam tells me. The Actualities are a Wellington band.

A quiz for you

As part of this year’s SubText programme we will have a weekly online quiz. Completing them correctly will enhance your chance to win stuff. If you answer any questions wrong you won’t be so lucky, but you will be able to try again. To test the quizzing system, we have put together a quiz for you to try out now. It’s difficult, but don’t be discouraged! You’re allowed to use the internet to look things up.

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