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April 28, 2016

By Ranjan S.,

Looking for a very interesting novel to read for summer? Look no further, I have the perfect book for you.

TDorian Gray GNhe Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde is a fairly simple read, considering it was published in the late eighteen hundreds.  Without giving the specifics away, it tells the tale of a handsome young man named Dorian Gray, who is obsessed with keeping his good looks. To keep them, Gray projects his soul into an elaborate painting of him, keeping his beauty intact regardless of the passage of time or the sins that he commits.  The story progresses as he commits more and more sins, but keeps his beauty, and causes the painting to deteriorate.

The most interesting part of the book is Dorian’s friend Henry Wotton. Wotton is the key factor that manipulates the innocent Dorian Gray from the beginning into the man that indulges in lust. Wotton has a very strong way of talking, and gives Dorian numerous elaborate speeches on hedonism, and how indulging is the goal of life.

DGBut what can this book say about us as a society, or the average teenager on a personal scale? Wilde gives the reader a lot to think about. Wilde communicates to the reader through Dorian’s journey of surrendering to his indulges, that the goal of life is to fight off one’s lust to do wrong, or end up like Dorian Gray. Through the character of Henry Wotton, Wilde represents the negative influences a person must deal with in life. When the picture representing Dorian deteriorates as he commits more sins, one cannot help but wonder if Wilde is trying to provide a visual representation of what he thinks happens inside of us when we commit a wrong. Wilde may be trying to get us to really consider what we will achieve when we harm somebody, or make a bad choice. When teenagers are developing, this is especially important since our brains are not as good at decision making. One could look to that as society, a friend, a book, or really anything. The novel forces the reader to confront the uncomfortable questions about what they value, and how they say the worth of physical beauty in life. It is especially important for adolescents to consider, since this is the stage of life that people develop their core values, and views of the world. By reading this book, adolescents, who are generally consumed with physical beauty, are forced to question that notion down to its roots.

DorianOverall, The Picture of Dorian Gray is not an intense read at all, but it is an important one. It is in very clear modern English that teenagers can easily understand, and it analyzes some very critical concepts teens should think about.  The only drawback is even though it is in clear English, some younger teens may find it a heavy read, especially with all the intricate concepts presented. If I had to rate it, I would give it 10/10.

 

 

 

What books have you read that you would rate 10/10? Is there a title you think teenagers everywhere should read? Let us know in the comments section!

 

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April 21, 2016

by Terri,

I know it’s hard to tell, but summer is coming.  It’s that time of year when you get to lay on the beach, in your back yard, in the park, in the sunshine and read everything on your ‘to be read’ list.  I’m sure I’m not the only person with that list.

Here are a few of the things that have made it on to my list for summer…

DumplinDumplin’ by Julie Murphy – to be honest I’ve already read this one and really liked it.  It’s a perfect summer read about 16-year-old Willowdean who wants to prove to everyone that she is more than just a fat girl.  So she and some misfits from school enter the beauty pageant her Texan Beauty Queen mother runs…oh yeah and there might be some romance along the way.

Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys – This one definitely isn’t a light summer read; it’s based on the true story of the sinking of the Wilhelm Gustloff during World War II.  Told from the alternating points of view of Joana, Emilia, and Florian, it’s a gripping tale about the tragedies of war and the fight to survive.

The Dark Days Club by Alison Goodman – this is a guilty pleasure for summer.  Throw in a little Regency romance with a supernatural twist for good measure.  It is the spring of 1812 and Lady Helen Wrexhall is drawn into the shadows of Regency London, there she also meets Lord Carlston.  Can he help her solve the disappearance of her house maid?  Dare she ask for his help, when his reputation is almost as black as his lingering eyes…did I mention this is the first in a planned trilogy?

UnhookedUnhooked by Lisa Maxwell – I love the story of Peter Pan and here is a twist on that tale. It is the story of Gwen, and her best friend Olivia, who are kidnapped and taken to a mysterious island filled with fairies, a roguish captain, and bloodthirsty beasts.  This is a Neverland that you don’t know from the stories.

EverythingEverything, Everything by Nicola Yoon – this title has been on my reading list since last fall and I’m finally going to read it.  Maddy is sick, has been sick for a long time, and basically lives in a bubble.  The only people she ever sees is her mom, and her nurse Carla – that is until Olly moves in next door and she starts to want things she didn’t ever want for herself.  If you like your fiction contemporary with a bit of sadness, humour, and tears thrown in... then this is the book for you.

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by J.K. Rowling, Jack Thorne, and John Tiffany – I guess it goes without saying that I totally plan on reading this…  It’s the eighth story, nineteen years later and it’s a play.  The first Harry Potter story to be presented on stage, it will makes its debut in London at the end of July!

So that’s the beginning of my list, just the tip of the iceberg.  What do you have on your reading list?

 

 

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April 14, 2016

By Madeleine

When I was about nine years old my grandma taught me how to do a basic knit stitch.  I think she tried to teach me some of the more complicated aspects of knitting, but it didn’t take.  At any rate I knitted a simple garter stitch scarf in two colours which I still have today.  Then for some reason I didn’t knit again for another 20 years, but I’m glad to say I finally picked it up again and wish I had done so sooner!  There are a ton of resources out there which contributed greatly to gaining enough skills to knit all sorts of things for myself as well as family and friends: hats, scarves, socks, some of Hermione’s knitwear from the Harry Potter movies, and a tiny sweater for my miniature dachshund.  He looks adorable and distinguished.

Check out some of the knitting-related fiction and non-fiction the library has to offer--maybe you’ll discover a new creative side of yourself!

Second-Time Cool: The Art of Chopping Up a Sweater by Anna-Stine Lindén Ivarsson, Katarina Brieditis, and Katarina Evans

Knitting can get a little expensive with the cost of yarn, so if you’ve got some old knitwear lying around or run across some in a second hand store, this book teaches you how to unravel it to make all new creations!  This book also covers the basics of knitting if you’re just starting out.

 Second Time Cool

Teen Knitting Club by Jennifer Wenger, Carol Abrams, and Maureen Lasher

Knitting can be a solitary activity or something you do with friends—many knitters are part of clubs where they meet to knit, trade knitting tips and talk.  This book covers the basics of knitting as well as tips on forming your own knitting club.

Boys Don’t Knit by T.S. Easton

1Boys Don't Knit7-year-old Ben Fletcher gets in trouble with the law (an incident regarding stolen alcohol and a crossing guard) and is required by the courts to take up a hobby as well as do some community service.  He decides on knitting—it’s taught by an attractive teacher and he’d rather take knitting than be a part of his father’s mechanics class.  He is surprised to find that not only does it help with his anxiety, but he actually enjoys it!   However, he is worried about his friends and his father finding out.  A funny read about breaking gender stereotypes. 

 

Princess of the Midnight Ball by Jessica Day George 

Princess of the Midnight BallPrincess of the Midnight Ball is based on the Grimm’s fairy tale, The Twelve Dancing Princesses, a tale of twelve princesses who sneak away every night from their castle to dance with twelve princes.  In this version, the princesses are under a curse and the soldier works with the eldest daughter to break the curse.  Knitting plays a crucial role in freeing the princesses, and Galen, the prince, does the knitting.  There’s an interesting author’s note at the end explaining that knitting was traditionally done by men and there were men-only commercial knitting guilds for hundreds of years.  There are also a couple patterns in the back pages to the garments described in the book. 

Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein

Code Name VerityCode Name Verity has become one of my new favourite books.  It’s an incredible and heart-wrenching story of two women who are best friends during WWII—one is a transport pilot and one is a military officer, and one of them is captured and held in a prison by the Nazis in France.  The author releases crucial details throughout the book that help you slowly put together the puzzle of what is exactly going on and who is on whose side.  This is one of the best stories of female friendship I’ve read.  At one point, Maddie, the transport pilot, mentions how she knits a pair of mittens for herself, and in the back of the book the author provides the online link to the real vintage 1940s pattern from a collection of patterns called “Essentials for the Forces”.  I’m planning to try and make them myself—wish me luck, I’ve never tried a pattern this old and this one looks a little difficult! 

A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens

In “A Tale of Two Cities” is an example of knitting used for nefarious purposes.  As The Three Fates in Greek mythology who use spinning, measuring, and cutting of thread to control human lives, Madame DeFarge’s knitting is directly linked to the fates of the aristocrats whom she wishes would die.

 A Tale of Two Cities

  

 If Madeleine's selections have piqued your interest in knitting, Winnipeg Public Library has tons of great knitting resources to get you started!

 

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April 7, 2016

by Sophie H.,

No matter how old you are, or how old the story is, The Odyssey is a timeless classic that tells stories in a way that is accessible to everyone. The events that Homer details in his epic work have been retold through picture books, films, graphic novels, music, and countless other types of creative media. The stories are so universal anyone can adapt them and relate to them, despite being thousands of years old.

Some incredibly famous movies and tv shows reference The Odyssey. For example, the Cohen Brothers created a movie called O Brother Where Art Thou that is loosely based off of the events in The Odyssey. The Cohen Brothers said that they read one of the many graphic novel versions of the classic text. Lots of famous long running cartoons, such as The Simpsons, or the children's show Arthur have done episodes as a parody of the original work. Tons of different references and allusions can be found riddled throughout popular culture today. Despite its age, the stories are simple, and have a simple message. The way we see a hero is similar to how the Greeks saw heroes. The excitement and adventure with stories such as the sirens or tales from the underworld have stood the test of time. Elements of the epic cycle, such as Odyseuss’s struggle with pride and personal desires over doing what’s best for the greater good. Although the our society has progressed significantly from Greek culture, the kinds of morals we live by are still the same. Our personal connection to a text that survived the collapse of ancient society can still be used as a guide for our lives today.

Homer’s epic words have continued to have meaning even into 2016. The stories told are so universal that they are referenced in anything from cartoons to major motion pictures. Our connection to The Odyssey has spanned over millennia, and will continue to exist as long as we, and our morality exists.

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March 31, 2016

by Barbara Z.,

The epic fantasy adventure series, Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas, is a must-read for your Spring Break.  The story, set in a fictional time and place, is full of twists and turns as it follows the main character, Celaena Sardothien, Ardarlan’s Assassin.

Throne of GlassIn my opinion, Celaena is a much stronger female heroine than most others on the YA market.  For example, Tris (Divergent) and Katniss (The Hunger Games) are both strong characters, but they lack a little in the department of individual personality.  These two heroines (along with Celaena) share some of the same character traits: rebellious, determined, passionate, brave, full of grief, able to come with clever comebacks…I could type a list of similarities that goes on for hundreds of pages. 

Celaena fits into some of these stereotypes, but she has her own defined character.  Celaena is definitely not short of unlikable qualities, yet I struggle to not like, even love, her. She’s selfish, snarky, ruthless and holding up a 1000-tonne ego; in other words, she’s a bit of a jerk.  In the end, I think that’s what makes Sardothien’s character so rich and intriguing to me; she’s not a good person per se, but she’s predominantly good.  That’s what Mass can hold above the heads of other modern day heroines; the character of Celaena is not only determined, brave and passionate, but also incredibly fierce (after all, she is an assassin).

Crown of MidnightAll throughout the first book of this series, the main question floating around in my brain was, “Chaol or Dorian?  Chaol or Dorian?  CHAOL OR DORIAN!?”  Both characters have unique qualities, so I decided to give them each an equal chance.  And, as the series goes on, boy is Chaol blowing it.  It’s not that I hate his character, it’s that I hate how loyal he is to a certain, ahem, someone.

When I refer to ‘giving Chaol and Dorian a chance’ I mean in terms of character, but I’m also trying to decide which one is best for Celaena.  Now, this brings us to what you might think will be an issue.  You must be thinking Gods above, a love triangle.  I assure you, it’s extremely subtle.  However, two guys and a girl does equal a love triangle.  If you’re someone who’s against fictional romance, fear not because there is plenty of plot, action and adventure to counterpart the romance.

I would definitely pick this whole series up whoever you are, an avid reader, a non-reader, a football player, a hippie, the manager of a McDonalds’s – JUST READ IT!!!!!!!!

I promise you will fall in love with Celaena’s rich character and her exciting world.

 

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