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Tag: orson scott card

What Would They Read?: Brody Nelson from CSI: Cyber

Crime dramas are very popular, so much so that many shows (NCIS, CSI, Law & Order, to name a few) have spawned spin-offs which then become popular as well. CSI: Cyber is no exception.

CSI Cyber

This criminal show follows a team that tracks criminals who are using technology to commit their crimes. One of the newest members of this team is Brody Nelson, a convicted hacker who uses his computer skills to catch cyber criminals. If Brody were to walk in today and ask for a good book to read, this is what I’d offer him:

Little Brother by Cory Doctorow (2009 Best Books for Young Adults) is an obvious choice. After a major terrorist attack, Marcus and his friends are suspected of orchestrating the attack due to their skills as hackers. Although Marcus is cleared of wrongdoing, he has to use his hacking skills to rescue one of his friends who was not so lucky.

All Your Books Belong to Us: YA Lit for Gamers

NES-Controller-FlatOne of my fondest memories from my childhood is that of long days spent hunched in front of the TV, my NES controller sweaty in my hands as I tried fruitlessly to conquer whatever Mario level I was playing at the time. I couldn’t have been more than 5 or 6 when I started playing, but it brought a kind of joy to my life that was unmatched. It was me saving the princess, fighting dragons, and exploring new lands, and it opened my eyes to new kinds of entertainment.

Over the years, I’ve evolved as a gamer. I’ve seen the transition from 2d sprites to fully-realized 3d worlds. I’ve played good games and bad. I’ve refined my tastes and discovered the satisfaction that comes from beating a game after a particularly hard final boss (here’s looking at you, Kingdom Hearts!). And a couple years ago, I accomplished my life-long goal of finally beating the original Super Mario Bros. game that stumped me throughout my childhood!

I love gaming with a passion unmatched by almost anything else, but one of the hobbies I love slightly more is reading. When those two things come together, I fall hard. Every. Single. Time. Anything can happen in a video game, the more outrageous the better, which gives authors an unrestricted amount of freedom to create a living universe peopled with amazing characters and peppered with allusions and references that can make the nerdiest among us swoon with delight. Here are just a few of my personal favorites!

  • ender's game orson scott card coverEnder’s Game by Orson Scott Card

In a futuristic world in which alien invasions and wars are the norm, Ender Wiggins is bred to be a genius and then drafted into a rigorous training program. Torn away from his parents and family, Ender’s new home is the Battle School, where recruits are divided into teams to hold mock battles and test their military strategy. Facing pressure and loneliness, Ender develops as a leader who could hold the fate of the world in his hands. An oldie but goodie, Ender’s Game has definitely stood the test of time, even spawning a recent film adaptation. Orson Scott Card was the recipient of the 2008 Margaret A. Edwards Award for his significant and lasting contribution to writing for teens.

  • Erebos by Ursula Poznanski

Erebos is a game. One that you can’t buy. A game that watches you and knows you and influences you. When rumors of this game begin to float around the halls of Nick’s school, he becomes desperate to get his hands on it. The only catch is that someone has to invite you to play the game. When he does finally obtain a copy, he immediately gets hooked, playing for hours on end. But when the game enters the real world, Nick must reexamine what he thinks he knows…and what he’s willing to do for the sake of a game. 

What Would They Read?: Firefly Part 2

firefly-title-card-logoAfter a slight break to feature various spooky monsters, I’m heading back to the ship “Serenity” to finish off a few more characters.  I promised you all I would not leave you hanging.  Back in September I told you all about the crew of “Serenity.”  The comments section hit on an obvious title that I overlooked so I wanted to make sure that it was added.  Blog reader Shari said that Kaylee would also love Cinder by Marissa Meyer.  After I read that comment, I mentally kicked myself and I’m not ashamed to say it hurt a bit.  Of course Kaylee would love the Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer!  Not only is it futuristic, it’s set in a world where Chinese influences run abundantly…just like Kaylee’s world.  Also, with as much as she likes to take apart and fix “Serenity,” she would love a story where cyborgs run freely.  Great suggestion!  I just wish I thought of it first.  :P

Ok, back to the ship.

Inara Serra – Inara is a very proper lady by those viewing her merely for her profession.  A companion is basically a fancy prostitute and Inara holds her head up high at the prestige she gains.  However, we academy 7witness every episode a subconscious, or sometimes very conscious, desire for real love.  Her schoolyard relationship with Mal makes the audience cheer for their snarky exteriors to melt away and their true romantic feelings to take the lead.  That is why I believe that Inara would love books that regard strong female characters in a positive light, but still has a bit of romance.  I would recommend The Selection by Kiera Cass to Inara particularly because America stands tall with her convictions instead of following the crowd of wannabee princesses.  The romance is there, but it’s America who decides to whom those romantic tendencies will flourish.  In a similar vein, I would slip Inara Academy 7 by Anne Osterlund.  This title is a bit more romance, but the secrets kept by the main characters definitely taking center stage over the romance from time to time.  And I believe that Inara’s secrets are fairly unmatched.

The Best Books for Non-Readers


October is an exciting month for any YA lit fan, because it includes Teen Read Week! In honor of this annual celebration of young adult literature, YALSA invited book-loving teens all over the world to apply to share their enthusiasm for reading in a guest post for The Hub. Thirty-one talented young writers were chosen, and we’ll be featuring posts from these unique voices all month long. Here’s Lana Gorlinski.

As hard as it is for a bookworm like myself to fathom, many teenagers simply don’t like to read. I know many of the type, and they have a variety of reasons for not enjoying books–they’d rather watch the movie, they find it tedious and can’t sit still for that long, they’d simply rather do other things with their time. Yet I’ve found that most people who “don’t like reading” actually just don’t like the books they’ve read. Indeed, if all I had read growing up were the asinine required reading pieces I was presented with, I too may have learned to loathe the activity. But I’m of the opinion that one can’t hate the act of reading itself, because it’s not a hobby so much as it is a medium for absorbing information of all kinds; saying one hates reading as a whole is just as ludicrous as saying one hates all of music, television, or the internet. Because just as there’s a music or movie genre for every taste, so too exists a near-infinite number of book genres to suit even the most finicky of readers. Below, I’ve listed a variety of books that even the most adamant non-readers should enjoy:

ender's game orson scott card coverIf you can’t put down the video games: Try an action-packed science fiction novel, like Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card! Set in a distant-future Earth, young Ender Wiggins finds himself selected for training in zero gravity to learn how to fight against the alien Buggers that are attacking the earth. Besides the usual awesomeness that comes with aliens and outer space, this quick-paced read is also chock full of action and interesting military strategy at every turn of the page.
What next: The Maze Runner by James Dashner

From TV to Books: How Movies and TV Shows Bring in a New Reading Audience!


October is an exciting month for any YA lit fan, because it includes Teen Read Week! In honor of this annual celebration of young adult literature, YALSA invited book-loving teens all over the world to apply to share their enthusiasm for reading in a guest post for The Hub. Thirty-one talented young writers were chosen, and we’ll be featuring posts from these unique voices all month long. Here’s Sara Boivin from California.

by flickr user o5com
by flickr user o5com

It seems today that the argument “the book is better” intrudes into every conversation about the latest hit film in theaters. But how many people truly know that anymore?

It’s no secret that when it comes to movies and books, movies seem like the much less time consuming and much more entertaining option for entertainment, especially in today’s world where time is scarce to spare.
But as an avid reader, and also a true cinema lover, I’m here to say with all seriousness that reading the book is nothing to shake your head at.
And I get it. Reading a book takes more time and the story isn’t always your cup of tea. A movie will give you that similar conclusion but usually within the much shorter time it takes you to watch it. But out of that conclusion comes a new opportunity. Just bear with me as I explain.

What Would They Read?: Recommendations for The Big Bang Theory

Big Bang TheoryI often spend a lot of my time recommending books to people.  I got to thinking: what books would I recommend to my favorite TV and movies characters?  There are so many different characters to choose from, but I knew that I would need to first look at a group of nerds with whom I would love to spend time discussing the finer things of the book shelves.  I decided to closely examine the possible reading tastes of the ensemble of The Big Bang Theory.  Some of the characters may be pretty obvious in their reading preferences.  I mean, how many times have we heard Raj talk about Twilight?  So now, with no further delay, here are my recommendations for our nerdy male friends in The Big Bang Theory.

ender's game orson scott card cover

Sheldon – Sheldon is one of the more difficult, yet simplest person to please with books.  Obviously if you’ve watched at least one random episode, you will easily notice the love of comic books and graphic novels.  Sheldon has an affinity for Batman as he states that he could be Batman given the right amount of financial backing.  Given those interests, I would recommend Batman: Year One by Frank Miller and David Muzzuchelli. As for a traditionally-formatted teen novel, I would suggest The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary Pearson (2009 Best Books for Young Adults, 2009 Amazing Audiobooks for Young Adults).  In this book, Jenna discovers that after she experiences a traumatic accident, she is only alive due to vast amounts of artificial medical materials.  This leaves Jenna debating whether or not she is still human or now some kind of medical creation.  Sheldon would be interested in the ethics of science as well as the procedures created for the book.  Not to mention, it is mentioned quite frequently that Sheldon is not quite human.  I would also throw the modern-day classic, Ender’s Game by 2008 Edwards Award winner Orson Scott Card at Sheldon as well.  He would definitely be able to relate to the young genius protagonist.  Also, the science fiction elements fit into Sheldon’s established preferred genre.

Ethical Sci-fi in YA Lit

photo by flickr user Ralph Arvesen

I can still remember the way I felt reading the last sentence of Ender’s Game by 2008 Edwards Award winner Orson Scott Card some twenty years ago.  Indeed, each subsequent reading has left me with a similar sense of profound sadness, self-reflection, and an inexpressible ache to make the world a better place.  I’ve since read other novels that have inspired equally, if not more complex emotions but, at the age of twelve, Ender’s Game was the first time I can recall being so deeply affected by the underlying message of a book.  The story made me think not only about the ways in which human beings willfully harm others but also about my own complicity within that.  It was an exercise in compassion—a mirror in which I could see myself, others, and society itself more clearly.   As an avid sci-fi fan, I strongly believe that the best sci-fi, the kind that stays with you, succeeds in doing just that.  It makes you think both about yourself and about the world you inhabit.  It entreats you to reconsider the status quo and challenges you to question where we are headed as a species.  And like Ender’s Game, the very best sci-fi manages to both entertain and raise ethical issues.

As Ender’s Game finds itself in the limelight again due to the recent movie adaptation, I thought that this would be a good time to celebrate other ethical sci-fi titles. Books, whose main purpose, more than to entertain, are to explore issues that plague society today and to push us to ponder their future impact.  Think 1984 versus Journey to the Center of the Earth.

NCAAL: Empowering the Voice of the Black Male in Children’s and Teen Lit

library1Only a month after many librarians were in Chicago for the 2013 ALA conference, a number repacked their bags this week and headed for the Cincinnati, Ohio/Covington, Kentucky area for the 8th National Conference of African American Librarians. The theme of the conference was Culture Keepers: Challenges of the 21st Century: Empowering People, Changing Lives. The conference had several tracks, and the Diversity and Cultural Heritage track included a panel called “Empowering the Voice of the Black Male in Children’s and Teen Lit.” The panelists and audience discussed a number of YA books and how they might or might not attract reluctant teen readers, especially young black men. The discussion began with talks about how black male children perceive the world of fiction: many see American fiction as a place where they do not belong or are not wanted. The result of this alienation is lower reading abilities and standardized test scores among these young men. The discussion centered on the differences in the kinds of material that attract boys vs girls, especially regarding covers, and how to change the current status quo.

The Edwards Award: The Once and Future Thing

YALSA’s upcoming YA Literature Symposium will explore the future of young adult literature. The symposium begins on November 2nd, but we wanted to get a head start here at The Hub, so we’re devoting October to 31 Days of the Next Big Thing. Each day of the month, we’ll bring you forecasts about where YA literature is headed and thoughts on how you can spot trends and predict the future yourself.

The Margaret A. Edwards Award has always been one of my favorite literary awards. It is YALSA’s version of a lifetime achievement award: it “honors an author, as well as a specific body of his or her work, for significant and lasting contribution to young adult literature,” and in order to be sure that the author’s work has been significant and lasting, the committee can only consider books published at least five years prior to the year they meet. The list of winners is a who’s who of the titans of YA literature, so it is decidedly retrospective (we might call it the Last Big Thing). But in the spirit of this month’s theme and the symposium, I wanted to find out how often the Edwards Award was predictive of an author’s continued contribution to YA literature — their ability to also be the Next Big Thing.

Science Fiction in Your Future

Geeks, your time is now. The movie theaters are filled with an influx of science fiction films like Prometheus and films that rely on super tech gadgets like Men In Black III and The Avengers (did you see our Avengers Reading List?). It seems we’ve all gotten used to our tablets, smart phones, and electric cars and it’s time for the next big thing. So until hovercraft parking becomes a reality, here are some new science fiction novels filled with optimistic innovation meant to morph our modern time into truly stellar circumstances.

Years ago, I read Abhorsen by Garth Nix (a 2004 Selected Audiobook for Young Adults) and I was hooked on the blend of fantasy and hard science. His newest book, A Confusion of Princes, came out on May 15, and I made sure to be first on the hold list. Reading about Prince Khemri and fantastic amount of pure science that makes up his world, I was saddened by my realization that Nix is so smart. I think that were I ever to have dinner with him, I would be stuck with only polite replies because the odds of me truly understanding how he created the bitek, psitek and mektek that rule Empire would be small. The best part of the entire novel, aside from the hilarious names of the sixteen priesthoods, is the seamless integration of two genres that fit together in in cyborg-like harmony, each complementing and supporting the other.