Off Line

Saddletowne blog banner

Saddletowne Blog

Three Books for Teens That are NOT About Love!

Three Books for Teens That are NOT About Love!

by Alyssa - 0 Comment(s)

So I'll just come right out and say it: I hate books about love.

I really do. This is not to say that I dislike love as a feeling, or as an event in my life - love is wonderful. Love helps our brains create chemicals that make us feel really, really good. I also acknowledge that love, and falling in love, is a major part of growing up and our development as human beings. This is all supremely wonderful, and I love love in real life. I just don't want it in my literature.

Now you might be thinking, "Well, someone called the party pooper!" And maybe you're right. But it drives me crazy when a strong protagonist, either male or female, is forced into falling in love with the object of their affection - because once this madness happens, the protagonist goes from being an autonomous, independent, interesting character, to being more concerned with another person. The coupling ruins independence! The love ruins self-awareness! The angst makes me see red!

Now here's my problem: I really love reading teen fiction. The writing is good, the plots are interesting, the metaphors are vivid and poignant. And I'm not the only one; fiction for young adults is being read by everyone - adults included! So, if you're like me, and want a healthy serving of teen fiction - hold the love stuff - here are three excellent books that will satisfy your palate and leave you craving more!

(Click the titles to find them in our online catalogue!)

Going Bovine
by Libba Bray

All 16-year-old Cameron wants is to get through high school—and life in general—with minimum effort. It’s not a lot to ask. But that’s before he’s given some bad news: he’s sick and he’s going to die. Which sucks. Hope arrives in the winged form of Dulcie, a loopy punk angel/possible hallucination with a bad sugar habit. She tells Cam there is a cure—if he’s willing to go in search of it. With the help of a death-obsessed, video-gaming dwarf and a yard gnome, Cam sets off on the mother of all road trips through a twisted America into the heart of what matters most.

Going Bovine by Libba Bray


Witchlanders

by Lena Coakley

Laced with rich, imagined histories; miles of catacombs; and prophecies true and false, Witchlanders takes place in an evocative, tantalizingly vibrant world and raises equally evocative questions: Who gets to defines history? When does a legend become a crutch? And why does the enemy in war look a lot like the hero? Lena Coakley’s first novel is a lush, chilling story that is sure to send shivers through your finger bones.

**I highly recommend this book. Don't let the cover fool you - it looks romantic, but it isn't! At all!
Witchlanders by Lena Coakley

Luna
by Julie Anne Peters

Regan's brother Liam can't stand the person he is during the day. Like the moon from whom Liam has chosen his female namesake, his true self, Luna, only reveals herself at night. In the secrecy of his basement bedroom Liam transforms himself into the beautiful girl he longs to be, with help from his sister's clothes and makeup. Now, everything is about to change-Luna is preparing to emerge from her cocoon. But are Liam's family and friends ready to welcome Luna into their lives? Compelling and provocative, this is an unforgettable novel about a transgender teen's struggle for self-identity and acceptance.

Luna by Julie Anne Peters

Check out these, and more non-love-centric teen books at the Saddletowne Library! Also, sign up for Youth Read 2014 while you're at it!

If you're looking for some more ideas, here are a few websites that may help:
Babble: 20 Young Adult Books Parents Will Love
GoodReads: 2013 Best Young Adult Choice Awards

Mashable: 23 Books for Your Perfect Young Adult Summer Reading List

Teen Fiction and Youth Reads 2014

Teen Fiction and Youth Reads 2014

by Alyssa Bradac - 0 Comment(s)

Remember the good old days when you had disposable time on your hands? Time that was not scheduled for homework, sports practices, studying, music or drama rehearsals, club events, or after school jobs? Yeah, neither do we. We wish we could tell you that high school is the craziest time in your lives - but that would make us horrible liars, and we generally think very poorly of lying here at Saddletowne.

So here's the deal: we know you're busy. We know how much you have on your plate, and how reading for pleasure just doesn't have the same appeal that it used to - you know, 3-4 years ago when you had all the time in the world. But I'm here to tell you that reading for pleasure is good for you. Like, really good; like will-help-you-on-test-scores-and-university-entrance-essays good. Reading fiction frequently is scientifically proven to help you:

  • read faster
  • improve comprehension
  • expand vocabulary
  • verbal fluency
  • improve test scores

And if those reasons aren't enough to make you go pick up a book for 20 minutes a day, here are some logical, every-day reasons:

  • reading for 20 minutes a day improves empathy (all the feels!)
  • provides a greater insight to human nature (understand why people behave and act so weirdly!)
  • greatly reduces over-all stress and anxiety (which we know you have...like whoa!)
  • is an excellent escape from general every-day craziness (we know what that's like!)

Here are some common myths that you might have been lead to believe you must do when picking up a new book:

1. The only books that you'll benefit from are books that are on a formal reading list!
FALSE!! Read whatever you want! Please! We beg you! We don't want you to read things that you have no interest in, we want you to read what interests YOU. Graphic novels, manga, non-fiction, supernatural romance - if you dig it, we dig it too! And more importantly, we'll help you find it!

2. If you start reading a book, you HAVE to finish it!
FALSE!! If you read 50-75 pages into a book and still can't get into it, you are under no obligation to keep reading. Seriously. The book police will not come and give you a ticket. Life is too short to read books that you don't love, and there are far too many good books in the world to waste your time with one that is not holding your attention.

While you're probably getting ready for the end of the school year right now, and are starting to think about exams and other important stuff (like anything other than reading for pleasure), just be aware that Youth Reads 2014 is on the horizon for the summer - when homework and tests disappear.

What is Youth Reads?

Youth Reads is an online summer reading contest for 13-18 year olds. Each week between June 18 and August 31, new challenges will be released - one of them will always be a reading challenge, and the other will be a challenge to show off your creative side - drawing, writing, making, and doing! Sign-up with your friends online, and come to the Saddletowne Library on Monday nights this summer for some awesome and fun activities, challenges, candy (probably!), and the chance to win prizes!! (Yeah, you read that right!)

The best part about Youth Reads?? You don't have to have a library membership to take part!

Sign up today!!

Also, if you're currently looking for new reads, we recommend checking out the Teen Blog at the Calgary Public Library homepage. Or, you know, click the hotlink.

Reading Recommendations - Pre-Teen Edition!

Reading Recommendations - Pre-Teen Edition!

by Alyssa Bradac - 1 Comment(s)

Sometimes recommending books to 9-12 year olds is a tricky task, especially when the power of a book series like Harry Potter holds so much captivation and influence. Are there any other series on our library shelves beyond Harry Potter, The Hunger Games, Diary of a Wimpy Kid, or Geronimo Stilton? The answer is a resounding yes.

Here are some book series recommendations available at the Saddletowne Library, fit for the choosiest of pre-teens:

Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan: The first book in a series about the demi-god son of Poseidon. Weaving Ancient Greek mythology and characters in an upgraded, 21st Century story. Magic, mystery, adventure, loyalty, and betrayal are all tested and explored in this fun, captivating book. The books in this series are also available in graphic novels, and are great for both boys and girls!

Eragon by Christopher Paolini: The first book in Paolini's Inheritance Cycle about coming of age and the embracing of both legacy and responsibility, Eragon must decide to not only save his family, but an entire kingdom...with the help of a dragon. Great book for boys!

The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman: The first book in Pullman's His Dark Materials series, The Golden Compass follows Lyra Belacqua as she tries desperately to search for and rescue her playmate Roger - a captive of the mysterious and treacherous "Gobblers". Why are children being taken? What is the magical and mysterious substance called Dust? A tale of courage, daring, and friendship. Great book for girls!

The School of Good and Evil by Soman Chainani: A twist on our expectations of what Good vs. Evil is and more importantly what it looks like, The School for Good and Evil finds two girls, Sophie and Agatha, in a mixed-up situation; Sophie, beautiful and "good", is taken to the school for evil, where Agatha, misshapen and dark, to the school for good. Has there been a mistake? Or are appearances really only skin deep? This is a brand-new series, and sure to be a big hit!

The Hero's Guide to Saving Your Kingdom by Christopher Healy: The first book in the League of Princes series, The Hero's Guide to Saving Your Kingdom is the boy's answer to fairytales. The book tracks the stories of various and imperfect Prince Charmings (Princes Liam, Frederic, Duncan, and Gustav) after saving their respective princesses, they must also cope with their own imperfections, various kingdoms in danger, and perhaps hardest of all, truly living up to the title of "Hero". Read this book before the movie comes out!

Gregor the Overlander by Suzanne Collins: The first major series from acclaimed author Suzanne Collins (The Hunger Games), Gregor the Overlander is the story of a quiet boy who goes in search of his father, and discovers a strange world beneath the streets of New York City. The first book in The Underland Chronicles, Gregor must embrace his role in a vital prophecy, or risk losing his father and his world forever.

The Maze Runner by James Dashner: The first book in The Maze Runner series, Thomas wakes up in a lift, with no memory other than his name. Outside the walls of The Glade lies an ever-changing maze - the only escape is through the giant knot - and no one has ever made it out alive. Read this book before the movie comes out!

Here are some more recommendations for your preteen:
Popular Chapter Books for Pre-Teens

Looking for a new book?

Looking for a new book?

by Alyssa Bradac - 0 Comment(s)

We've all experienced it - the disappointing, empty void after finishing a really, really great book. How do we move on? How do we recover? Where will our next book fix come from? And most importantly, how will we find the time?

If you've ever found yourself asking these questions, worry no more! There is a new display at the Saddletowne Library featuring Quick & Easy reading recommendations from our diverse and helpful staff. Featuring everything from quirky graphic novels to short classics, check out our picks for you! Best of all, our recommendations truly do focus on the words "Quick" and "Easy", so you won't feel the need to over-commit (we all know how exhausting that can be!).

Remember that according to the CBC, only six minutes of reading a day can improve your stress levels and over-all health!

If you're looking to blaze your own book trail, here are some other recommendations:
Goodreads' choice picks of 2013
2013 International Book Awards
2013 National Book Awards

The Benefits of Reading Fiction ... Children's Edition!

The Benefits of Reading Fiction ... Children's Edition!

by Alyssa Bradac - 0 Comment(s)

Reading is a cornerstone of education. But did you know that by the time children reach grade 8, their interest in reading outside of school diminishes by more than 60%? In a culture of increased gadgetry and electronics, how can we help boost our children's educational experience while combating an over-zealous obsession with media?

  • Children's interest in reading a book outside of school:
    - Kindergarten: 100%
    - Grade 4: 54%
    - Grade 8: 30%
    - Grade 12: 19%
    *The major decrease in Grade 4 is thought to be directly related to parents no longer reading outloud to their children...

  • Too much time spent with screen media is associated with:
    - Childhood obesity
    - Sleep disturbances
    - Attention span issues

  • Children who have at least 100 pieces of printed material in their homes have higher reading scores than those with less...

  • The three best places to leave books for your children to read:
    - Bedroom
    - Bathroom
    - Kitchen (at the breakfast table)

Here are some articles about the benefits of reading with your children:
10 Reasons Why You Should Read to Your Kids
5 Hidden Benefits of Reading For Kids (And Their Parents!)
The Brainy Benefits of Bedtime Stories


The Benefits of Reading Fiction

The Benefits of Reading Fiction

by Alyssa Bradac - 0 Comment(s)

We know that reading fiction has been proven to increase ingenuity and imagination. However, according to the CBC, reading fiction can also help reduce stress and benefit our over-all daily health. Here are some statistics for adults:

  • On average, people who read fiction have better:
    - Physical health
    - Empathy
    - Mental health

  • Reading for JUST 6 MINUTES can:
    - Reduce stress by 60%
    - Slow your heart beat
    - Ease muscle tension
    - Alter your state of mind

  • Reading reduces stress:
    - 68% MORE than listening to music
    - 100% MORE than drinking tea
    - 300% MORE than going for a walk
    - 600% MORE than playing a video game

More articles about the benefits of reading fiction:
Reading Fiction Improves Brain Connectivity and Function
7 Unconventional Reasons Why You Should Absolutely Be Reading Books
Brain Function 'Boosted for Days After Reading a Novel'

Hotlist

by Lindsay B - 0 Comment(s)

The United Library Services' Spring/Summer 2013 Hotlist is at the Saddletowne Library. The Hotlist displays Adult Best Sellers in Fiction and Non-Fiction and gives you an excerpt about what the book is about. If you are looking for a new book to read come into the library and take a look at The Hotlist! The Hotlist can be found on the Reference Shelf.