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

Month: April 2010 Page 1 of 3

Top 10: Revisioning and Retelling Arthur

King Arthur Christian Heroes TapestryWhen I was a child I loved the Merlin books by Mary Stewart, The Sword in the Stone by T H White…  the whole King Arthur, Round Table, Excalibur thing. Arthurian legends are a rich source of material for heaps of fiction, from books that focus on gritty realism to mystical, magical tomes; there’s a selection of Arthur-inspired books just below down here:

  1. Here Lies Arthur, Philip Reeve – Myrrdin is a travelling bard who spins tales of Arthur’s greatness, but in reality Arthur is really a not particularly bright bully. Myrrdin takes Gwyna under his wing and introduces her to the court where she takes on his role of storyteller.
  2. The Seeing Stone, Kevin Crossley-Holland – It’s 12th Century England, and 13 year old Arthur is given a seeing stone by Merlin that allows him to view images of King Arthur. He notes there are similarities between himself and the legendary king. The first in a trilogy.
  3. The Stone Crown, Malcolm Walker – This time it’s 21st Century Scotland, and Emlyn and Maxine uncover some carvings that contain the spirits of Arthur and his knights. Drawn into a world of myth and magic, Emlyn and Maxine must destroy the carvings before Arthur and co are unleashed on an unwitting present day Scotland, but then there are the Keepers of the carvings, the McCrossans who kind of don’t want them destroyed.
  4. Sword at Sunset, Rosemary Sutcliff – A classic Arthur novel. Artos the Bear here is a warlord, the leader of Britain’s High King’s army.
  5. T A Barron Collection, T A Barron – contains The lost years of Merlin,  The seven songs of Merlin, The fires of Merlin, being the first three books in the Lost Years of Merlin epic, which is an imagined telling of the story of Merlin’s youth.
  6. The Dark is Rising sequence, Susan Cooper – one of the great children’s fantasy series that I still haven’t read, the Dark is Rising books are based on the Arthurian legends (for example, in The Grey King Will meets King Arthur’s son), and the first book in the sequence is actually Over Sea, Under Stone.
  7. The Song of Arthur, Robert Leeson – Taliesin, the bard, is the narrator here, with this retelling attempting to portray the reality of the time when Arthur would have been pounding around England (5th Century AD).
  8. Taliesin, Stephen Lawhead – book one of the Pendragon Cycle. Prince Taliesin and Princess Charis fall in love and marry and produce a child, Merlin.
  9. Merlin Dreams, Peter Dickinson – ten stories set in a world resembling Merlin’s England, but containing non-hero type characters with twists that make them seem both everyday and memorable.
  10. Shalott, Felicity Pulman – if you’re an Anne of Green Gables fan, or you’re into Tennyson then Shalott will bring to mind the Lady of Shalott, who floats down the river to Camelot, dying on the way. In Shalott, Callie accidentally transports herself and four other teenagers (who she doesn’t know) back in time to Arthur’s Camelot where each of them must undertake a personal challenge (and also find their way back home).

The Final Chapter of The Hunger Games: Reserve it now!

Mockingjay, the final book in The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins, is now ready to reserve! Do it now, because there may well be a queue come September when it’s finally released.

What’s going to happen? There’s Peeta to be rescued from President Snow and his cronies, District 12 to be found, the Capitol to be overthrown (hopefully), and Katniss to be enlightened as to what on earth is actually going on: is she really just a pawn, or the heartbeat of a revolution? Should be good.

Get your pink on

Logo smallPink Shirt Day is on April 28th. What is Pink Shirt Day? Here’s what the website had to say… 

Pink Shirt Day aims to show that bullying is not ok and won’t be tolerated. By encouraging the people of New Zealand to wear a Pink Shirt on the 28th of April we can help to raise awareness of bullying and show there is a  massive amount of people who support taking a stance against bullying.

Sounds good to me! Get your pink on and show everyone that bullying is so not cool!

The Carnegie Medal Shortlist 2010

So what’s the Carnegie Medal then? Kind of like the BAFTAs for young adults’ writing. This year there is an interesting collection of shortlisted novels, and you can see the book covers in a gallery here. This is them, with catalogue links:

  • Chains, Laurie Halse Anderson – “After being sold to a cruel couple in New York City, a slave named Isabel spies for the rebels during the Revolutionary War.” (catalogue)
  • The Graveyard Book, Neil Gaiman – Bod’s raised by ghosts in one of those cool church cemeteries after his family is murdered. Is the murderer going to attempt to finish the job?
  • The Vanishing of Katharina Linden, Helen Grant – Pia is the last person to see Katharina Linden alive, and she wants to know what happened, but then another girl goes missing…
  • Rowan the Strange, Julie Hearn – the story of a boy living during World War II who has a mental illness (in the time of asylums and experimental surgeries – scary).
  • The Ask and the Answer, Patrick Ness – the second, award-winning book in the Chaos Walking trilogy, told alternately between Todd and Viola’s perspectives.
  • Nation, Terry Pratchett – an island boy and an English aristrocrat set about building a community after a devastating tsunami.
  • Fever Crumb, Philip Reeve – set in the Mortal Engines world, but before Tom and Hester (and in that sense, a prequel).
  • Revolver, Marcus Sedgwick – in the Arctic Circle, Sig is alone with his father who has just been shot dead, then a stranger arrives on his doorstep saying he’s his father’s former business partner…

If you have to read an award-winning novel for school, then the Carnegie Medalists are an excellent place to start.

A Few New Books

Stephenie Meyer, Marc Shapiro (211 pages) – this book tells you, all in delightful Twilight font, that it is “The Unauthorized Biography”. That makes it seem so much more interesting than an authorised one. Have all your questions about the popular author answered.

The Potato Chip Puzzles, Eric Berlin (227 pages) – Winston Breen is good at puzzles, so when a potato chip tycoon creates a treasure hunt Winston’s sure he’s in with a chance. But there are cheaters and saboutagers to deal with on top of the actual puzzles; can Winston come out on top? The book also has extra puzzles at the end for puzzle adicts.

First sentence: Winston Breen didn’t know why it was called “study hall”.

Shadow of the Leopard, Henning Mankell (175 pages) – anything I write is going to look like the back cover with the words jumbled up, so here’s the back cover: “At the age of nine, Sofia lost her legs in a landmine explosion. She still lives in a village in Mozambique and is now expecting her third child. Her beloved Armando works in the city and comes home on Saturdays. Life is hard, but things become muc worse when, one weekend, Armando does not return…”

First sentence: Sofia kept her eyes closed as she remembered.

The Master of Misrule, Laura Powell (373 pages) – The sequel to The Game of Triumphs. There’s a new master now, and Cat and her friends – and for the matter the whole world – are at risk.

First sentence: Cat was standing under the statue of Eros in Piccadilly Circus.

Will Grayson, Will Grayson, John Green and David Levithan (310 pages) – Will Grayson is being matchmade by his friend Tiny Cooper, and, in amongst Tiny’s machinations arrives… Will Grayson; that is, a whole other Will Grayson, a sad (as in unhappy) character who captures Tiny’s heart. Chapters alternate between the perspectives of Will Grayson and Will Grayson.

First sentence: When I was little, my dad used to tell me, “Will, you can pick your friends, and you can pick your nose, but you can’t pick your friend’s nose.”

My Summer on the Shelf (Miss Understanding, 289 pages) – After My Year in Agony, Miss Understanding has got a job for the summer at a London publishers, but there are all sorts of male people (Seth, Al, Casper) to make her life complicated.

First sentences: Hey you. What do you think of this?

Blood Wolf, Steve Feasey (Changeling, 300 pages) – Trey has made contact with his wolf pack, but he’s taken aback to find they’re pretty much wild and, well, wolfish, plus there’s no Lucien Charron to protect his family secret.

First sentence: The first time the girl woke had been the worst.

Coming Soon

As you may well know, New Zealand Music Month is fast approaching (next month), as is Youth Week (22 – 30 May). What you don’t know, until now that is, is that the Teen Blog is going to be running an amazing, 2.0, cross-media competition to mark these dates. Also to give away some prizes we have hanging about in Teen Blog Towers. Check back here regularly for further details, and start thinking creatively!

Push – Precious

Is Push by Sapphire on your list of things to read? If yes, then if you’re wanting to reserve it you should know that Precious: Based on the Novel “Push” is actually Push, but with the “based on the movie” cover (the movie being of course Precious). Convoluted!

We’ve got seven copies of Precious in the general fiction collection and two copies of Push in the Young Adults, but they’re the same thing, so if you’re in a rush you could try reserving the other title.

New Magazines 22/04/10

Seventeen May 2010 – Perfect Skin without any makeup! | “I use food to cope with my emotions.” | Gradudating | Traumarama
Simpsons Comics #160 – Thirty-two pages of lol
Entertainment Weekly #1097 – Inside Clash of the Titans | Reviews and so forth
Transworld Skateboard April 2010 – 10 Best Nollie Back Heels | Kickflip frontslide crooked grind pop over | Switch treeslide to regular | Fakie five-0 pop out | and more
White Dwarf
April 2010 – Man I do NOT know how these figures can be painted with such detail

Our Newest Music

There are six new CDs in the YA collection. Here they are…

justin bieber my worldsFirst, and most exciting, is My Worlds by Justin Bieber. This is a handy collection of both of the autotuned youngster’s previous EPs, therefore it represents the easiest way to carry them home. Includes that one song with the video where he organises a party in Usher’s house while he’s out doing groceries and they go crazy with the dancing and silly string. The rascal.

timbalandTimbaland presents Shock value II features quite the spectrum of guests, there’s something for everybody. Visiting friends include Justin Timberlake, Katy Perry, Miley Cyrus, Keri Hilson, Jet and, ummm, Chad Kroeger from Creed. Is there anyone famous he hasn’t worked with? Probably not, he’s clearly a popular man.

jason deruloLady Gaga’s opening act, Jason Derulo has also been topping charts lately with his debut, Jason Derulo. He’d been writing songs for Diddy and Sean Kingston for a while and decided he should keep some for himself and make an album. Good decision, his R&B styled pop has seen him become a bankable star in his own right.

Evermore by Evermore is a retrospective compilation from Feilding’s second most famous that includes three new songs. Along with all the familiar hits is a DVD that chronicles a European tour in support of P!nk along with a performance at London’s O2 Arena that should have fans excited.

New Zealand singer/songwriter Hollie Smith is back with Humour and the misfortune of others. It’s already made number one on the local charts, so it seems her dubbed out soul will again be heard at cafés throughout Wellington.

Also new in the New Zealand collection is Dane Rumble’s The Experiment. Those of you that remember The Fast Crew will know him as the voice of said group. Those that don’t should expect poppy hip hop.

George Washington’s Overdue Fine

George Washington by Gilbert StuartAccording to the New York Society Library, George Washington owes about $300,000 in overdue charges for an item he borrowed on the 5th of October 1789 and never returned.

Do you want to avoid a George Washington moment? You might find Library Elf a good thing then – read about how your elf could remind you to return items before they’re due here. There’s also a tutorial showing you all the stuff Library Elf does here.

Think you’ve already had a George Washington moment? Give us a call (801 4060, when the library’s open) or come in and talk to us. It might not be as bad as you think. (At the very very least you’re not in nearly as much trouble as the first president of the United States!)

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