20 questions for discussion, courtesy of Central Library’s Teen Book Club:

1.       Does the book mention how North America was reformed and why the nation of Panem came to be?

 2.       Did you expect the book to take a romantic turn like it did?

 3.       What are the parallels between the Capitol and the developed countries of today? (i.e. disregard for suffering beyond their borders?)

 4.       Do you think so much time under such oppressive rule has pacified or enraged the people of Panem?

 5.       Do you think Katniss and Gale were really romantically aware of each other?

 6.       Do you think the people in the Capitol are brutes or just naïve?

 7.       What messages does this book convey about human greed?

 8.       What was your favourite part of the book?

 9.       Do you agree that all is fair for survival?

 10.   Who do you think Katniss will choose, Gale or Peeta? Who do you think is the better choice?

 11.  Do you think that Peeta really meant it when he declared his love for Katniss in the interview?

 12.  How is the ‘star-crossed lovers’ theme used in the book related to Romeo and Juliet?

 13.  What do you think the sponsors are looking for when they watch the Games?  Why? Do Katniss and Peeta have those qualities?

 14.  How do you think the Games transforms people?  Is it for better or worse?

 15.  Knowing that the government conducts the Games, what kind of environment do you think Panem is?

 16.  If the Games were a real reality show, would you watch and support it?  Why or why not?

 17.  What do you think of Haymitch?

 18.  Do you think Katniss acts differently because she knows she is on live television?

 19.  Discuss the relationship between Katniss and Rue?

 20.  Why does Katniss ignore Haymitch’s advice to head away from the cornucopia?  Was it a good decision?

H & K.

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I tried so hard to leave off games from the same series, but I just couldn’t. Getting into the Brand New Decade mood with video games!

1. Shadow of the Colossus
2. The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker
3. Final Fantasy IX
4. Resident Evil 4
5. Super Mario Galaxy

6. Super Smash Bros. Melee
7. Metroid Prime
8. Final Fantasy X
9. Advance Wars
10. Ikaruga

11. F-Zero GX
12. Pokemon Ruby/Sapphire
13. Tales of Symphonia
14. Counter-Strike
15. Grandia II

16. Chrono Cross
17. Dragon Quest VIII: Journey of the Cursed King
18. Super Smash Bros. Brawl
19. Vagrant Story
20. Final Fantasy XII

21. Mario Kart DS
22. Tactics Ogre: The Knight of Lodis
23. Xenosaga Episode 1: Der Wille Zur Macht
24. Rock Band
25. Pokemon Stadium
HM: Tales of the Abyss, Digimon World 2

M.

This book was about a school shooting and was told by the girlfriend of the boy who did the shooting.

Rating: A

This novel shows that even though you might think you hate someone and never want to see them again, you don’t usually really mean it. The girl in the novel helped compile the list of people the hated and wanted to “kill” with her boyfriend, but in the end when it actually happened, she was shocked and really sorry about it.

K.

Links of Interest: (opens in new window)

Publisher’s Website

Author’s Website

This book is available in at in the Mississauga Library Catalogue!

Everything Is Fine tells the story of young Mazzy who remains confident that “everything is fine,” even after the downfall of her mother, the abandonment of her father, and the broken state of her family, all after a tragic event shakes them all to the core.

Rating: B

When I first started Everything Is Fine, I was incredibly tempted to put it down right away. It started off incredibly slow, and Ellis’s simple, unique, and almost child-like writing style, seemed way too simple for me. And there was talk to dismembering snakes, a hobby which I myself do not like all that much. But I read the back of the book and it just seemed so interesting, so I kept reading. And I am glad I did.

Mazzy who first appeared as a slightly odd, disturbed child, evolved into a hopeful, kind soul right before my eyes. I think the saddest part is how happy and “normal” Mazzy’s family was, right before the “accident” happened, which was totally a freak accident too. Nonetheless, the book was bittersweet, and I deeply enjoyed it.

M.

Links of Interest: (opens in new window)

Publisher’s Website

Author’s Website

This book is available in at in the Mississauga Library Catalogue!

Rayne is a girl who just wants a break; from her possessive boyfriend, her clingy younger brother and her unappreciative mother. Desperate for a way out of her stressful life, Rayne starts looking for a job in the countryside, somewhere peaceful where she can live without worry and in the moment. She finds an ad for a position at an old  English manor called Morton’s Keep. The offer seems like just what she is looking for; she can live on the grounds, food will be included and, best of all, it is far, far away from London. She jumps at the chance, but Rayne just might get more than what she bargained for.

Rating: A-

Full of twists and turns, ghosts and ghoulish rumors, this book kept me thinking right until the end. Seemingly unimportant details are cleverly connected in the end to show the true story of what is happening at Morton’s Keep. This novel also has a bit of English slang, but it won’t be hard to determine their meanings in the context. Kate Cann has written a wonderful novel. I hope there will be a sequel.

K.

Links of Interest: (opens in new window)

Publisher’s Website

Author’s Website

This book is available in at in the Mississauga Library Catalogue!

There are so many good songs that have been released this decade, but I feel that I’ve narrowed it down quite nicely.

Top 25 Songs of the 2000s

1. Dream Theater – Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence
2. Sigur Ros – Svefn-G-Englar
3. Radiohead – Everything In Its Right Place
4. Animal Collective – My Girls
5. Hercules & Love Affair – Blind

6. Franz Ferdinand – Take Me Out
7. Arcade Fire – Neighbourhood #1 (Tunnels)
8. Dream Theater – Octavarium
9. Sufjan Stevens – Chicago
10. Radiohead – There There

11. P.J. Harvey – This Mess We’re In
12. The Avalanches – Since I Left You
13. Dirty Projectors – Stillness Is The Move
14. The Postal Service – Such Great Heights
15. Arctic Monkeys – The View From The Afternoon

16. The New Pornographers – Letter From An Occupant
17. Nightwish – Planet Hell
18. The Mars Volta – Cassandra Gemini
19. Modest Mouse – Gravity Rides Everything
20. Atlas – Battles

21. The Flaming Lips – The Yeah Yeah Yeah Song
22. Marnie Stern – Transformer
23. Elbow – One Day Like This
24. Editors – An End Has A Start
25. Bloc Party – Helicopter
HM: Explosions In The Sky – It’s Natural To Be Afraid

M.

The Treasure Map of Boys is the third in the Ruby Oliver series, following The Boyfriend List and The Boy Book. It has also been reported that Real Live Boys will be the title of the fourth and final Ruby Oliver book and will be published in 2010. It follows the life of Ruby Oliver as she deals with boys, heartbreak, gossip, mean girls, and best friends, all while managing a bake sale, seeing her therapist, and working with smelly feet.

Rating: B+

I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised when I read “The Treasure Map of Boys.” The title, along with the cover (which showcased a marshmallow snowman), seemed incredibly cheesy, so I thought the book would be incredibly cheesy too. But Treasure Map turned out to be really good. From the beginning of the book, Ruby just seemed so funny and real, and I couldn’t help but laugh and feel sorry for Ruby and the situations she constantly got herself into.

When I started this book, I was unaware that it was actually the third in the Ruby Oliver series. The nice thing about Treasure Map is that it was easy to follow, even though I had never read the other two books in the series.

This book has made me want to read the whole series! Very well written and enjoyable.

M.

Links of Interest: (opens in new window)

Google Book Preview

Publisher’s Website

Author’s Website

This book is available in at in the Mississauga Library Catalogue!