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Teen Blog

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

Month: November 2008

New CDs? Yes!

Here are some new YA CDs. Click on the title if you want to reserve them or check their availability. They’re free to borrow if you’re a young adult; if you’re an adult then they will cost $1 (plus another $2 if you reserved it). Sorry, adults.

» Rhombus – Rhombus. One of Wellington’s best-known groups. Check out their website.
» As Cruel As School Children – Gym Class Heroes. This came out in 2006, but it’s new to the library and that’s what counts. ‘Alternative hip-hop’. Their lead singer is Kate Perry’s boyfriend.
» Raw Materials EP – Hangman. An Auckland group; their Myspace page is here.
» Through The Looking Glass – Falsestart. An Auckland powerpop/gothic group. This is their second studio album.
» Everything is Borrowed – The Streets. British rap. Britrap?
» One of the Boys – Kate Perry. She released a fairly popular song recently that I somehow have never heard. I know, weird!
» Melodies, Moshpits & Mullets : 20 Years of Smokefreerockquest – Various. The Smokefreerockquest (that’s one long word) has seen many of NZ’s favourite bands start long and successful careers. This compilation includes Minuit, Steriogram, Fur Patrol, and many others.
» Free Yourself – Cornerstone Roots. A reggae group from the Waikato. This is their fourth album, released last year.
» Slime & Reason – Roots Manuva. More British rap, or ‘Britrap’ as no-one but me calls it.
» Face Off – Bow Wow and Omarion. This is a collaborative album that was released late last year in the US. Reviews were mixed.

Your own little Library Elf

Library Elf is a free service that will email you when a reserve has come in, or if any items are overdue or – and this is especially handy! – a few days before something is due, so that you may return it before we start charging our reasonable overdue fees. There is a demo here. All you need to do is to sign up; it requires your library card number and surname to access the library’s database and your email address to mail out reminders.

Be aware, however, that it’s not connected to Wellington City Libraries (it is based in Canada), and you ought to check their privacy policy first.

Fun and Hunger Games

book cover

Someone told me everyone’s going crazy over The Hunger Games, so I thought, well let’s read it then. Suzanne Collins, the author of the Underland Chronicles (the books about Gregor), obviously finds dystopic future worlds interesting material and she’s created a fairly bleak one in The Hunger Games.

Panem was once the United States of America and is now a series of Districts (12 in total – the 13th was destroyed to teach people a lesson) ruled from the capital (conveniently called the Capitol) whose effete and blood-thirsty citizens are entertained once a year by the Hunger Games. The Hunger Games are a fight to the death broadcast on national television (essential viewing for the Capitol, enforced viewing for the Districts), with each District being represented by a girl and a boy. Twenty four “tributes” are left in an elaborately built arena (complete with hills, valleys, lakes, forests) to duke it out until there’s only one alive.

The Hunger Games is a kind of cross between The Truman Show and The Lord of the Flies. It’s a quick, gripping read and I recommend it: it’s one of the best YA books I’ve read this year. Check out what Stephen King had to say about it in Entertainment Weekly (I agree with his comment about authorial laziness, but I didn’t really care). He’s a better reviewer than I am.

FIFA Under 17 Women’s World Cup

Heads up: two of the quarter finals of the Under 17 Women’s World Cup are at Westpac Stadium this Saturday (being tomorrow, the 8th of November) at 1pm and 4pm. For just $7 (if you’re under 17 – it’s a whole $10 if you’re not) you get to watch the might of Denmark take on the best the Korea Republic has to offer, closely followed by football powerhouse Germany up against Canada (who beat New Zealand in pool play). Sounds like a good time. Visit the stadium website for time and ticket info. For all the news, views and statistics go to FIFA.com.

And for Robert Muchamore fans…

Good news! Robert Muchamore is beginning a new series called Henderson’s Boys set in World War II about kids working undercover to help win the war. Again, for official purposes, these children do not exist…

The first book, called The Escape, is going to be released next year. Reserve it now!

The Twilight Saga: The Official Guide

book coverDo you want to bone up on your facts and figures? Stephenie Meyer’s people have put together the official guide (maybe this means there are other fraudulant ones out there?) and her website says that the book “will have everything you need know to further explore the unforgettable world Stephenie Meyer created”. Read more about it here. Amazon tells me the release date is set for 30 December 2008, so we should be getting it some time after that. In the mean time, place a reserve so you don’t find yourself at the bottom of a ridiculously long queue.

Every Four Years

If you are interested in following the US Presidential Elections (which are being held tomorrow NZ time) here are a few links to check out. These sites will be updated regularly during tomorrow’s election, so that you can follow what is happening in one the most anticipated elections in recent times. It’s Senator Barack Obama versus Senator John McCain, both new candidates, and after 8 years of President George W. Bush, America is ready for a change. Send us your thoughts. Who do you think will be the next President of the United States of America? Will the history books be rewritten?

  • Gale’s Biography Resource Centre entry for Barack Obama is here. (You’ll need your library card number.) John McCain is here.
  • The World Book Student pages are here: Barack Obama; John McCain.

Some websites to check out as the action unfolds:

Ever read an Alice Tawhai story?

The Bone People coverIf you’re looking for some fiction written by Māori authors then check out this new list: Māori writers of fiction. If you’re a bit of an expert in this area we’d love to hear from you: we’re keen to add to the list so drop us a line (teenblog@wcl.govt.nz). Cheers!

What Comes After Breaking Dawn?

book coverDaylight, of course.

Let me introduce you to Daylight, written by Elizabeth Knox (New Zealand author of Dreamquake etc.). The premise: an unsuspecting human happens upon a nest of vampires in the south of France (close to the Italian border). I kid you not. In other words, if you’re in vampire withdrawal and you’re looking to step it up a notch and read something a bit more challenging and much, much better written, then check this book out to see a different take on the vampire concept. If you thought Edward Cullen was a bit too perfect and frankly annoying then you’ll be very pleased with the dust devil in Daylight, as I was.

Note: this is in the general fiction collection. The characters are older (yes, I know, older than 108) and the book’s aimed at older readers. I thought it was an interesting comparison anyway.

Most Wanted: November

Hope you’ve had a good month. These books certainly have.  Not much to report except: Nation. Apparently it’s not typical Terry Pratchett, according to reviewers, and they also say it has razor-sharp satire (satire, if it’s any good at all is always razor-sharp) and funny dialogue. That’s not to say that Terry Pratchett doesn’t have a razor-sharp wit or a sense of humour. Reserve it now if you’re a fan, then when you’ve read it you could write a review talking about how it’s not typical Terry Pratchett.

If anyone can tell me why everyone’s decided to read The Book Thief I’d be most grateful. Am curious, since it was published in 2005. Not that you shouldn’t read it, of course; it’s a most excellent book and Markus Zusak is a most excellent writer. I also note that The Book Thief thing isn’t a Wellington City Libraries phenomenon: it’s also been on a New York Times Best Seller list for, like, ever, which is pretty impressive for an Australian YA writer.

  1. book coverTwilight, Stephenie Meyer [no change]
  2. Brisingr, Christopher Paolini [no change]
  3. New Moon, Stephenie Meyer [up 1]
  4. The General, Robert Muchamore [down 1]
  5. Breaking Dawn, Stephenie Meyer [no change]
  6. Eclipse, Stephenie Meyer [no change]
  7. Infamous: an It Girl Novel, Cecily von Ziegesar [no change]
  8. Angus, Thongs and Full-Frontal Snogging, Louise Rennison [no change]
  9. The Book Thief, Markus Zusak [up 1]
  10. Nation, Terry Pratchett [new]


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