Category Archive – What’s Going On

Glass Sword (Red Queen #2)

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Glass SwordGlass Sword, picks up right where it’s predecessor Red Queen left off. Our heroine Mare Barrow, lives in a world where the colour of your blood determines your status. People with red blood, like Mare, live in poverty and harsh conditions. People with silver blood on the other hand, live in excessive luxury. They don’t have to fight in the war, while the Reds get conscripted when they come of age. However, the main reason why the Silvers believe that they are above the Reds, is the fact that they are born with powerful, supernatural abilities. The Silver Queen Elara, for example, is able to control people’s actions, while her son Maven is able to manipulate fire. The world accepts this power unbalance unquestioningly, until the discovery of Mare. Mare has red blood, but posses Silver-like powers. She can create and manipulate lightning, which, in the eyes of the ruling Silver class, is detrimental to the social order that they’ve worked so hard to create. While on the run from the Silver crown, Mare discovers that there are others like her, more people with red blood and Silver abilities. So, she enlists the help of The Scarlet Guard, a rebel group who aims to overthrow the Silvers, to find and protect these “newbloods,” as they have come to be known.

What I enjoy most about this series, is the world that it takes place in. The Kingdom of Norta is described so well, that it’s very easy to picture it in your mind. Aveyard also narrates the story in a beautiful way, with lots of great imagery and smart dialogue.

Glass Sword quite similar to a lot of other YA books that are on the market right now, so if you are a fan of them, I’d definitely recommend giving the Red Queen series a shot.

 

 

 

The Girl Who Saved The King Of Sweden

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Screen Shot 2016-07-21 at 3.17.01 PMThe story of The Girl Who Saved The King Of Sweden, written originally in Swedish by Jonas Jonasson and translated into English by Rachel Willson-Broyles, follows two very different people living parallel lives on either ends of the world. On one hand, Nombeko is a young South African girl who manages to escape from her duties as a latrine cleaner to Johannesburg, where she then finds herself involved in the affairs of a wealthy engineer who is also the head of South Africa’s nuclear program. After being sentenced to work for him for almost a decade, she becomes his primary aid. When an accidental seventh bomb was constructed, she takes it into her own hands to prevent it from being sold to the wrong person. She then finally strikes a deal with the Israeli government, who promise her freedom as a reward. The bomb is then sent via diplomatic mail, but what Nombeko finds upon arrival to Sweden is that a clerical mistake caused her to now possess the 3-megaton bomb in the back of a truck. Meanwhile, in Sweden, a woman gives birth to a set of identical boys, who are given the same name of Holger by their father. As part of his plan to raise two boys with his same, laughable vision, he only registers one of them as a citizen of Sweden, leaving the second one to not exist. This proves to be an issue as after both parents die, the two brothers must learn to coexist under one identity. Together, Nombeko, the Holgers and Holger One’s angry girlfriend must bring the bomb to the authority’s attention. However, this task proves difficult as they spend almost 20 years trying to get through to the prime minister. Two separate worlds are brought together in this adventure of loyalty, perseverance and courage.

I highly enjoyed reading this book. Jonasson’s eccentric style of writing leads the reader through a maze of thoughts and emotions. The story itself is very high-paced. Although some moments describing the political situation at the time were slow, the majority of the book was packed with adventure and action to my liking. The vocabulary used was descriptive and the choice of names (towns, people, objects, places) was immersive and gave an authentic Swedish feel. I would like to mention however, that this was a work of fiction, meant to be realistic, but near the end, (SPOILER) when civilians kidnapped the King and Prime Minister and authorities had no concern, I was extremely skeptical and it slightly decreased my interest in the novel. I believe that if the novel begins as one that takes place in the “real world” it should continue that way, adhering to the laws and logic of life. This is not a criticism, just a thought, because I still believe that Jonasson did an amazing job and I can tell you for sure that I will be checking out more of his works at my local library.

– Alex

So You Think You Can Read (TSRC Update)

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Reading gif

Let’s see here. According to my calculations, if I add this sum and multiply by the ratio of pages and cross-reference that with the circumference of our largest library and divide it by the collective works of Shakespeare…it would appear that at the present the total number of pages read by teens across Vaughan is…..304,177!!!!!

Not bad TSRC members, not bad at all!

As you may know the Teen Summer Reading Challenge goal is to get teens across Vaughan to read a collective total of 500,000 pages by the end of the summer. We have passed the half-way mark! Nicely done you.

Ben readsNow that is not to say that the Challenge is over by any means. There are still weeks to go (3 actually) and in those weeks there are prizes that need to be won. Yes, prizes! So many prizes. After all every Friday your friendly neighbourhood librarian ninjas pull a talking rabbit out of an oversized felt hat and gain access to the name of that week’s winner. So the more pages you read, the more you log into The Challenge site to record your pages, the more chances you get to earn ballots that the magical talking rabbit will then choose from.

But wait! That’s not all! If you go into any of your local Vaughan Public Libraries you can participate in a new weekly in-branch challenge for a chance to earn even more ballots. Ballots! Ballots everywhere!!!! Also, did you know that on Saturday September 3rd at exactly 7:00pm to Midnight there will be a Teen Summer Reading Club after hours party at the new Civic Centre Resource Library? So not only are there prizes to be won this month, books to be read, there is also a great summer send-off bonanza that you are all invited to.

Yes. There will be snacks. So many snacks.

So, that’s enough of me talking. Now it’s up to you Teens of Vaughan to keep up the great work and keep reading! I highly recommend you crack open those leather bound tomes (gently mind you) because Hermione looks like she’s about ready to have a “little light reading” fit.

All right Hermoine! We hear you! They’ll keep reading! Sheesh!

Hermione

A Long Way Gone: Memoirs Of A Boy Soldier

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Screen Shot 2016-07-22 at 12.22.27 PMThe memoir A long way gone by Ishmael Beah follows the young Beah’s journey through war torn Sierra-Leone and his path to rehabilitation. Beah begins his life in a calm, small village where he actively participates in schooling and plays soccer with his friends. He also finds a passion for rap music and the western hip-hop culture. During his early childhood, he was virtually untouched by the horrors of the war around him, but one day, upon returning to his town, he finds it overthrown by rebels and burned to the ground. This sparks the development of Beah from an innocent little boy, to a self sufficient, independent human being. He roams around the country, just nearly escaping the grasp of the violent rebels on several occasions. He finally finds himself a safe military village adequate for his survival. Unfortunately, his luck ended there as he was forced to join the military or to leave. Ishmael felt he had no choice, so he began his training as a soldier. At first, the killing fazed him, but as the memoir progresses, he becomes desensitized to the violence and develops an addiction to drugs, all in an effort to survive.The young boy is dragged through murderous missions, given orders to kill and brainwashed to believe that violence is the only way to reign supreme.

His career as a child soldier is then abruptly cut short by Unicef, who takes it upon themselves to rehabilitate the affected children in a facility in the urban capital. Even though Ishmael resists treatment at first, his painful flashbacks and memories push him to begin resolving his issues. Later on, once he finds himself in America, he begins his work as a humanitarian, speaking on behalf of the thousands of children dragged into the war. Overall, in this memoir, Beah conveys how drastically people change to adapt to their surroundings, but also that no matter how wasted as a person you feel, there is always room to change and to grow into something better.

In my opinion, the memoir was very well written to captivate the reader. Beah used sensory imagery, celestial imagery, flashbacks, connotative diction and metaphors on several occasions to highlight key themes in the memoir. His journey however, is extremely violent, and one might say that Beah’s writing is too gory, but I believe it was done with good taste to convey the underlying message. During my reading, I cried many times because of the desperation and hopelessness of the situation Ishmael was in. However, once he was able to persevere and push through his difficulties I felt an immense sense of pride and inspiration. I recommend this book to anyone who’s curious about the lives of people our age on the other side of the world. It opened my eyes to the reality of my privilege as someone living in a war-free country like Canada. The memoir proves to be an incredible tale of survival, perseverance and hope.    – Alex

4:5 stars

Week of Geek Bonus: Happy Pride Day!

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Hi Everyone

Today is Pride Day in Toronto, so I wanted to take a moment and celebrate!  With vids!  And Pop Culture!  Yay!

First, WatchMojo has a great list of coming out scenes in TV shows, including some of my favorite characters.  Some are heartwarming, some are awkward, some are horrifying, but all are poignant and pretty groundbreaking.

I remember when that last scene featuring Ellen Degeneres happened.  That was back in 1997 (I would’ve turned 16 that year.  Yeah, I’m old), and I remember everyone was talking about it.  19 years later, there’s still controversy and there’s still bigotry, but we’ve come so far as well, as this vid from Ellen’s talk show highlights.

The song featured on that clip is from George Michael, another gay icon (he ended up coming out in one of the most public and, frankly, embarrassing ways possible in 1998).  As the title suggests, this song was released all the way back in 1990, and it’s still one of my favorites (with one of the most ’90s music videos ever).

But on the note of loving yourself, let’s end off with Meghan Trainor’s latest track (she’s the one who’s all about that bass), which is just about digging who you are.  And it’s got a heck of a base line, so it’s great for a party!

Check out my post last year for a few more examples of LGBTQ characters in nerdom, and we got some great books and other materials no matter where you fall on the rainbow.

Have a colorful, proud day, and until next time, End of Line!