Thursday, May 29, 2014

The Giver- Movie Trailer

Book Title: The Giver
By: Lois Lowery
Genre:Sci Fi- Dystopia

The book is amazing. The movie is going to be fantastic. It has taken years to be made and this year it is going to be released. Any movie with Meryl Streep in- is gold. This movie at the moment is quiet- it will erupt- I promise you.
So get the book and read it first.


Jonas' world is perfect. Everything is under control. There is no war or fear or pain. There are no choices. Every person is assigned a role in the Community. When Jonas turns twelve, he is singled out to receive special training from The Giver. The Giver alone holds the memories of the true pain and pleasure of life. Now, it is time for Jonas to receive the truth. There is no turning back


By: Angus Donald
Location: FIC DON
Genre: Robin Hood

If you like your folklore with a huge slice of realism packed with danger, adventure, drama and action, Angus Donald is your man. If you love historical fiction with a bite this is for you. If you like your myths and legends on the wild side, here you go.

This is violent, this is bloodthirsty, this is no pretty version of Robin Hood- it is gory and brutal, its pagan with Celtic rituals and it portrays England in the middle ages as it really was- hard, filthy and base.
This is no Robin Hood skipping through a leafy green forest with a band of merry men humming to a mandolin, this is a brutal villian who uses violence to achieve his goals.
In many ways this is the novel for fans of the medieval world, all the elements you would want to see are here: Outlaws, castles, knights, a Jewish character, damsels in distress, dungeons, sieges, battles, witches and Templars, its all here but woven together in a way that avoids cliche.
I looked down at the first man I had ever killed. I stared at him. My eyes were pricking with tears. And I reached forward to … to touch him, to apologise, to beg his forgiveness for ending his young life – I don’t know what. I pulled my hand back, and looked up and away from him. I saw Robin above me, standing on the wagon, an arrow nocked at his bow, searching for a fresh victim. His eyes met mine. He nodded at me, and shouted; and above the screams of battle, I could hear his strong confident voice as clear as if he were next to me: ‘A fine kill, Alan. Neatly done. We’ll make a warrior of you yet.’ He smiled at me, a relaxed careless grin. I stared at him, my mind whirling. And then by some strange alchemy my mood changed, I became infected with his courage. Where I had felt sick and weak at having cut short a young life, I now felt a glorious surge of blood to my limbs. I looked down again at the dead boy at my feet and I found my hand reaching for my sword. I grasped its plain wooden handle and, with a great heave, I tugged it loose from the vice of his backbone. Then I stood straight, lifted my chin, steadied my shaking legs, and looked about for more enemies to kill. 

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

No Shame, No Fear.

By: Ann Turnbull
Location: FIC TUR
Genre: History

"The complexities of social order and religious persecution unfold gracefully. A tender, involving story, beautifully told." — KIRKUS REVIEWS

It is classic, the clash of faith and culture. You would think they go hand and hand, they did for me. Our families culture was based on faith, what we did, believed, how we ate, celebrated, grieved, gave, and spent our time was all entwined around the base of my family- which was a faith, a belief structure. Our community shared the same cultural perspectives and it was a fulfilling, supportive and flourishing place to grow up in.
But what if you chuck in a counter culture, an opposing view, a family that was different, thought differently. It happened and it rocked my childhood world, why because it opened my world- it did give me perspective. The thing was - I was weird - the other kids in our rural conservative school shunned the differents, the outsiders- I embraced them. Maybe it truly was my family faith based culture in real form.
I cannot imagine what 1600's England was like, so much passion, anger, fear, misunderstanding, turmoil and conflict all around the issues of faith and culture. Quakers vs Puritans, vs Catholics, vs Protestants.
And what if you fell in love- with someone from the other faction- what then.
This book is based around the persecution of Quakers in Charles II England, it is about Will- a merchants son and Susanna - a Quaker. it is about true love- that goes beyond boundaries and crosses expectations.
I love the language
"Both men glared at me for my impertinence, at once I felt admonished...and rightly so. It was bred into me not to speak disrespectfully to an older person"...

Friday, May 23, 2014

Line of Fire

 Author: BAR
Location: GRA BAR
Genre: War, Sketches Diary

“We need the voice of a witness to tell the unadulterated truth. We have it in the remarkable book.
— Michael Morpurgo
As you guys know I have put a lot effort into learning about some of our students who went to WWI. As I have discovered these lads, learnt who they were, their stories I have become almost enthralled by the WWI saga. Stories of pain, filth, cold, mud, hopelessness. Stories of comradeship, bravery and loyalty. Stories of blind obedience, foolish leaders and impossible odds. They question I always end up with is ...  why?
This is a Graphic Novel, drawn in bold sketch, not much detail, it is dark and simple- it is profound. Barroux the author was walking the streets of Paris and he found a diary, from a soldier in the First World War. It had been chucked out. No-one knows who it was, we just have his words - his recollections.
Barroux rescued the diary and put illustrations to the words and so we have it- a real WWI voice, an unknown voice, illustrated and gifted back to us- so we will never forget. The diary ends abruptly just after two months of the soldier  writing it, no-one knows why he stopped.
It always ends the same... Why?

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Monkey Wars

By: Richard Kurti
Location: FIC KUR
Genre: Monkeys and India

Sustain the weak. Destroy the strong.

 Hay- Mr Mannins just been in and stole this book from my office- means it is going to be a goody!!

I have been to India and avoided those monkeys, they are scary not cute.  They are everywhere and you just wait for them to menacingly to swing down to pluck your eyeballs out. There is something sinister about those monkeys, but also they just know stuff, you can tell.
They are also cunningly destructive, they smash, break, destroy and wreck havoc. The very worst thing they do is eat mangoes and chuck the pips at you- never forgiven them for that.
This book is about two troupes of monkeys - Langurs and Rhesus, and they are not mates, in fact- they are at war!
A powerful beginning: a troop of Langur monkeys kills most of the group of Rhesus monkeys that live in the old cemetery of Kolkata. The survivors are snatched from their home in this dramatic attack.
 We see this war between Rhesus and Langur monkeys from both sides and we really get a feeling for what it's like to be in either camp. Each of the main characters - Papina, Mico, Twitcher, Tyrell - all had such wonderful personalities and voices and different ways of thinking that it was easy to relate to them, and to sympathize with the complicated feelings of loyalty and belonging and pride that go along with the horrible effects of war.
Based on a true story- the  2007 the Deputy Mayor of Delhi died after being attacked by a gang of Rhesus macaques. In order to find a solution to this sort of acts of violence the authorities tried using Langurs, a fiercer breed of monkey, to put the Rhesus off.
This novel’s got potential as a movie. In short, this is a great and very well written novel about military organization, its hierarchy, corrupt practices of politics, mistrust, betrayal, power struggles and a nicely finished criticism about manipulation.- Daniel, Goodreads.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Darius & Twig

16240729By: Walter Dean Myers
Location: FIC MYE
Genre: Youth Fiction, Urban, Racism, Poverty, Sports, Harlem- that sums it up. Male POV

It does not take much to steal the dreams away from those who live on the brink. They are so busy dealing with stuff, that the possibility of flourishing seems distant. How do you fight families that don't cheer you on, how do you deal with being a success in a community that demands you fail, how do you escape expectations of criminality and substance abuse?
Is talent enough, being good at things- is that the escape route?
I have a friend in Cape Town that lives in a shack, and as I gaze up on my office wall I am reminded that Hazel was a top achiever at her college, she should be thriving, but her world collapses on her- often, and she doggy paddles to survive.
Hope- yep hope- it drives us, yet when it is challenged, everything fades, especially our dreams. This books is about dreams, and hopes and the constant bashing of them.

This small but powerful novel tells the story of two young street-smart guys from Harlem trying to escape the expectations and limitations set on them by teachers, bullies, poverty, racism, and – most profoundly – by their own internal struggles with the fear of failure. Darius - a gifted writer determined to flee the confines of his upbringing – and Twig – a talented runner seeking success and happiness – have been best friends since childhood and give each other the support, understanding, and companionship that each lacks in his own family. Myers shows his readers that the power of friendship, self-assurance, and doing the right thing can empower two troubled underdogs facing street violence and real hardship, allowing them to re-invent themselves as heroes. - Rebecca from Goodreads

Monday, May 19, 2014

The Shock of the Fall

Shock of the FallBy: Nathan Filer
Location: FIC FIL
Genre: Mental Illness and Death, and two brothers.

Mental Illness- it is so hard to deal with, so difficult to empathise with, it is so hard to journey beside. I have done so with a relative who had a eating disorder- I can tell you, it is tough- real tough.
This book deals with Matt- he is mentally ill and he is dealing with some tough issues that plummet his illness into greater unrecoverable depths. This book is written by an author who knows- he is a mental health nurse, he writes beautifully and with authenticity, and it is a book that will touch you.

I’ll tell you what happened because it will be a good way to introduce my brother. His name’s Simon. I think you’re going to like him. I really do. But in a couple of pages he’ll be dead. And he was never the same after that.’
There are books you can’t stop reading, which keep you up all night.
There are books which let us into the hidden parts of life and make them vividly real.
There are books which, because of the sheer skill with which every word is chosen, linger in your mind for days.
The Shock of the Fall is all of these books.
The Shock of the Fall is an extraordinary portrait of one man’s descent into mental illness. It is a brave and groundbreaking novel from one of the most exciting new voices in fiction.

I have an illness, a disease with the shape and sound of a snake. Whenever I learn something new it learns it too.......................My illness knows everything I know

Friday, May 16, 2014

If I stay- The Movie Trailer

 You guys love the book by Gayle Foreman, the movie will be released here in NZ in August. But you know the score- READ THE BOOK FIRST.

Stars:  ChloĆ« Grace Moretz, Mireille Enos, Liana Liberato

Mia Hall thought the hardest decision she would ever face would be whether to pursue her musical dreams at Juilliard or follow a different path to be with the love of her life, Adam. But what should have been a carefree family drive changes everything in an instant, and now her own life hangs in the balance. Caught between life and death for one revealing day, Mia has only one decision left, which will not only decide her future but her ultimate fate.


By: Mary Hooper
18341508Location: FIC HOO
Genre: War and Love

As you know I have been working on a display about WWI and with that has come a fair bit of research and reading... and buying of books that coincide. Poppy is one of these books and it is a Mary Hooper book- it is historically accurate and has lovely snippets that allow you to feel the era of the days.
Poppy wants to be someone- but alas her family are the downstairs type and she ends up as a servant in a big house. There she does the unthinkable- she falls in love with someone she shouldn't.. yep the old forbidden love twist is here. Poppy is intelligent, hard working and kind, and  when WWI comes along- so finally does opportunity for woman. Poppy enlists with VAD (Voluntary Aid Detachment) and becomes a nurse in Southampton. I have read a lot about this lately, men with faces blown off, guts ripped out, men dehumanised and unmanned.  Her job is to bring meaning back, hope back and life back to these men.
Poppy will have her sequel (Poppy in the Fields) in May 2015 the 100 year anniversary of Gallipoli and here is hoping that the lose ends of this book- yes the forbidden love bit- will be tied up- I am so sick of death and WWI!

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

We Need New Names

We Need New NamesBy: NoViolet Bulawayo
Location: FIC BUL
Genre: My Fav- African Lit
Shortlisted: The Man Booker prize 2013

Some of you know that I have hung out in Africa. I have walked the dusty paths of forgotten villages. I have tasted the fruits from the trees and heard the voices sing the days out. I have watched as children work hard to collect, gather, cook and wash, I have been in schools where 80 children sit in a corrugated shack as a stick wields its ugly authority. YET- when I was talking to my  Yr. 12s "after school buddies" today and we posed the question- what country would you go to if you had to leave NZ- I said "A village in Africa".
Why?- No running water, no wifi, no amazing food, no aircon! I will tell you why- it has community, it has song, it has a basic living that declutters and frees you - somehow you feel more alive and more connected.
In this story in a shanty in Zimbabwe lives a ten year old called Darling. She lived a tough life, a village life, she stole guavas, sing Lady Gaga, watching the pitful HIV/AIDS destroy- and then her dream comes true- she gets sent to live in America.
“Because we were not in our country, we could not use our own languages, and so when we spoke our voices came out bruised, When we talked, our tongues thrashed madly in our mouths, staggered like drunken men.”
"...leaving your country is like dying, and when you come back you are like a lost ghost returning to earth, roaming around with a missing gaze in your eyes."
"And when we got to America we took our dreams, looked at them tenderly as if they were newly born children, and put them away; we would not be pursuing them."  

Yep this is a stunner, it is written so wonderfully, the prose is crafted and the story- well I think I need to take it to Africa with me and give to those that dream, that hold the west up as some utopia. It will change their minds and that would be a good thing.


Monday, May 12, 2014

The Geography of Me and You

18295852By: Jennifer E.Smith
Location: FIC SMI
Genre: First Love

Well that was fun, three of my wonderful Year 12 students filling me on the boys in their life. All three girls have embarked on young love, kind of takes me back! I wondered why there was two of them holding hands in my office.. man I'm slow!
This story is about young love- first love. It is written beautifully!

Lucy and Owen get stuck in a lift- near the 10th floor and guess what happens? They fall in like and then they go to different parts of the world. Can they, will they keep connected? Email is such a great tool for this, but Owen and Lucy- they use- postcards!
The Geography of You and Me is one part guided world tour, teenaged Meg Ryan movie, one part "I can't believe that just happened", and altogether AMAZING!!! according to one Goodread reviewer.

The Geography of You and Me is about so much more than a journey of travel. It is about life and the twists, turns, hills, and valleys that make up its scenery. It is about moments, and how those moments come to shape who we are. It is about choice and how we choose what and who is important to our existence. It is about love...and the lengths we will go to follow our hearts.

One of the big ideas in this book is that home is not a place, or a location- rather it is a person. I guess for many in my country this idea is not acceptable, because land and place ARE people, it is called Turangawaewae, they co-exist to determine who you are. In this book- place does not matter, what matters are people- even in death.
Hmm I wonder if anyone in Cambridge got stuck in a lift and met each other that way, must ask!