Wellington City Libraries

Te Matapihi Ki Te Ao Nui

Teen Blog

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

Month: October 2008 Page 2 of 3

From blogs to books

If you’re a blogger and an aspiring author then this article might interest you. Lim May Zhee is a Malaysian teenager whose popular blog has been instrumental in her publishing two novels (her blog is here – warning: it’s rather pink). Not bad for a 17 year old.

We were thinking if she can do it, then so can you! All you need is some talent, perserverance and a willingness to spend a large amount of time at your computer (remembering ergonomics and the importance of micropauses (and other things like NCEA we suppose)).

If you’re a blogger leave a comment about your blog so we can check it out.

The Forbidden City

The Forbidden City: Beyond Space and Time is a virtual tour of the Beijing landmark as it was during the Qing dynasty.  For five centuries, The Forbidden City was the palace of the Emperors of China, and is now a World Heritage Site and museum. It was considered ‘forbidden’, as permission to enter and leave had to be granted by the emperor. Now you can download it (it’s free, but a pretty big download) and explore it with your own avatar dressed in Qing era clothing.

Wee book reviews

We often get brief reviews of YA books sent our way – here are some of them. (If you want to review anything, email it to teenblog@wcl.govt.nz; and if anyone wants to contribute to the blog, contact us at the same email address.)

Cirque du Freak, by Darren Shan: Cirque du Freak is the best book I ever read! Full of twists and turns and suspense. Darren Shan mixed excitement with terror and friendship. I sat on my beanbag for hours reading it and listening to The Fray 🙂 Great book for pre-teens!
~ Ted, from Newtown

 Twilight saga, by Stephenie Meyer: A very good book that leaves you wanting more after you finish the last book!
~ Amy, from Central

The Wind Singer, by William Nicholson: The book has a style that is unusual and one-of-a-kind! It has a very quest-type feel for it, but it still has a bigger maening, which keeps it interesting. I would recommend it to ages ten to thirteen. (4 stars)
~ Lachlan 

Pretty Little Liars, by Sara Shepard: This is a really good book, I really really enjoyed reading it. Once you start reading, it’s hard to put down. I got hooked into it straight away. I highly recommend reading it. (5 stars)
~ Danielle

Avenging Janie, by Lynne Kelly: Avenging Janie is about a ball that flashes different colours and a team of scientists that play a game of pretending that it is a god. But do they know when they have gone too far? To tell the truth, it isn’t the greatest book I’ve read, but it is ok. The reason why I don’t think it’s that great is because it has a reeeeeeally annoying ending and it can drag on a bit. (3 stars)
~ Emma, from Karori

Noughts & Crosses, by Malorie Blackman: This book is one of my favourite books ever and seeing as I read about two books a day 24/7 that’s saying something. Malorie Blackman has cast an interesting perspective on life and her style of writing makes you want to read on and on.
~ Katherine, from Brooklyn

Girls Out Late, by Jacqueline Wilson: great book ***********LOL*************
~ Anonymous

Before I Die by Jenny Downham

Tessa is a 16 year old girl dying from Cancer.  Doctors have told her she only has a few months left to live.  Determined to make the most of her short life, Tess embarks on a journey of personal discovery, completing a list of 10 things she wants to do before she dies.  Despite its sad theme, this novel is enlightening and surprisingly funny.  I really warmed to the characters and enjoyed following Tessa’s adventures with her friends.  I’d recommend Before I Die to anyone looking for something light and life-affirming to read.

If you enjoyed this, try Dear Zoe by Philip Beard.

The Graveyard Book online

Neil Gaiman’s latest book is called The Graveyard Book, about a boy who is raised by ghosts in a graveyard after his family is nastily ‘despatched’ by an assassin. It’s a bit like The Jungle Book, but with the undead instead of animals. Sound good, doesn’t it? We don’t have it yet but it is in the catalogue, which means that you can reserve it now.

You can also watch Gaiman reading the whole book on the internet – check it out! (The final chapter should be up tomorrow.)

Ring. Ring. Ring. Ring.

Cellphones: not just a replacement for the megaphone, these handy devices are now fashion statements in themselves. But nothing turns your phone-bling into a pocket albatross like a bad ringtone. Maybe you’ve just never gotten around to changing it from the “Nokia tune” (which is a phrase from Gran Vals, by Francisco Tárrega, an early 20th century classical guitar piece). Or have you (wrongly, oh so wrongly) chosen to have Slipknot or Rihanna blasting out every time someone calls? Shame on you.

The trendiest people in Wellington have natural or everyday sounds for their ringtones. Check out the tones here, and have a tui in your pocket! Or for the more adventurous and avant-garde of you, why not formulate your own ringtone using a whole computational universe (for bonus points you can even read about the new scientific paradigm behind your catchy ring). Just remember though: no matter how catchy and stylish your ringtone is, we still don’t want to hear it at the movies …

Election ’08

NZ Forest & Bird are holding their annual poll to find out which New Zealand bird is the Bird of the Year. Will it be the Fantail, the Kea, or the Kiwi? The Tui, or the Albatross? The adorable Grey Warbler won last year. I particularly like Moreporks (or Ruru), if only because they’re so ridiculously cute, and the Kaka is a great bird too – if you’ve ever been to Nga Manu, you may have had a Kaka sit on your head.

Place your vote here! You have until the 7th of November.

Top 10: expand your horizons

Here are 10 novels set in countries and places as far-flung as I can think of. Disappointingly, nobody seems to have set a young adult novel on Easter Island.

Note: if you’re after books set in a particular country you can do a keyword search for the country and specify fiction, e.g. Easter Island fiction.

  1. Parvana, Deborah Ellis (Afghanistan)
  2. The Year of the Shanghai Shark, Mo Zhi Hong (China)
  3. The Goldsmith’s Daughter, Tanya Landman (Mexico)
  4. book coverJourney to the End of the World, Henning Mankel (Sweden)
  5. Over a Thousand Hills I Walk With You, Hanna Jansen (Rwanda/Germany)
  6. The Killer’s Tears, Anne-Laure Bondoux (Chile)
  7. Unseen Companion, Denise Gosliner Orenstein (Alaska)
  8. book coverRed Fox Running, Robin Lloyd-Jones (Greenland)
  9. The Ear, the Eye, and the Arm : a novel, Nancy Farmer (Zimbabwe)
  10. Swimming in the Monsoon Sea, Shyam Selvadurai (Sri Lanka)

That’s 10 but there’s heaps more!

New! Books!

Variant X, by Sue Robinson (199 pages) – A deadly strain of botfly (these are horrific insects that lay their eggs inside living animals) strikes parts of Australia, and Adam and his scientist father go to South America to find some sort of remedy. Things go wrong, as they only can when flies lay their eggs in you.

Loathing Lola, by William Kostakis (346 pages) – Fifteen-year-old Courtney agrees to have her life shown on national television. She doesn’t think of herself as especially unusual, and she could do with the money (her family needs it). But she doesn’t anticipate what fame brings it.

The Traitor Game, by B. R. Collins (296 pages) – Best friends Francis and Michael have created a complex and engaging world of their own, called Evgard. Michael thinks that Francis has betrayed him over their world ; but has he really? His reaction can only make things worse. There is also a story set in Evgard, which is interwoven with the main story. (I enjoyed this book a lot.)

Blood Ties, by Sophie McKenzie (438 pages) – Theo and Rachel are linked by the firebombing of a research clinic, and are targetted by a group named RAGE; the Righteous Army against Genetic Engineering. They soon discover things about their pasts that are life-altering. Unputdownable, according to critics on Amazon!

Beneath My Mother’s Feet, by Amjed Qamar (198 pages) – From the catalogue’s synopsis: When her father is injured, fourteen-year-old Nazia is pulled away from school, her friends, and her preparations for an arranged marriage, to help her mother clean houses in a wealthy part of Karachi, Pakistan, where she finally rebels against the destiny that is planned for her.’

Rain, by Kate Le Vann (218 pages) – Rain Lindsay discovers her long-dead mother’s diary while staying with her grandmother in London, revealing some ‘unsettling secrets’. She also meets Harry, a student who is helping to renovate the house. True love blossoms!

Kiss Me Kill Me, by Lauren Henderson (260 pages) – Scarlett is desperate to be with the ‘in’ crowd at her exclusive London school, and is invited to a party, where the guy she fancies shows interest in her. But when he suddenly dies in front of her, Scarlett flees to another school, where she and a new friend try to solve the cause of his poorly-timed demise. (Not botflies.)

Chalice, by Robin McKinley (263 pages) – From the catalogue: A beekeeper by trade, Mirasol’s life changes completely when she is named the new Chalice, the most important advisor to the new Master, a former priest of fire. Apparently the world created in this relatively slim book is fully realised and ‘richly imagined’.

Have a Big Day Out

The first lot of Big Day Out acts were announced this week!

So what better time is there to check out some of their albums at the Library?

Arctic Monkeys – Favourite Worst Nightmare
TV On The Radio – Return To Cookie Mountain
The Living End – State Of Emergency
The Datsuns – The Datsuns
The Prodigy – Experience
Elemeno P Elemeno P
Black Seeds Solid Ground
Nesian Mystik Freshmen

There’s still another 2 announcements to go, so keep a look out!

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