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Author: Tao Lin
Summary: Two years in the life of a young writer living in Manhattan. There is no plot, yet readers follow the protagonist Sam with indifference as he gets the job at the vegan restaurant, sends angst-ridden emails to fellow writers, and, yes, attempts to shoplift from American Apparel. The narration and dialogue are blunt to the point of comical; Lin’s autobiographical novella makes ego and understated wit work.
Six word review: Minimalism and self-awareness entertains and saddens.
I started reading because… I was at a loss in a New York bookstore. “Tao Lin” jumped out at me having read about his work in Dazed & Confused magazine, as did the Helvetica font synonymous with ever-hip American Apparel. Plus it was set in Manhattan, so it felt apt.
I kept reading because… it was so entertaining. I recognized and appreciated the portrayal of a slightly aimless, consciously trendy character who at once evoked amusement and despondency. Amid a collection of highly lauded classics on my “to read” shelf, Shoplifting from American Apparel’s modernity is rejuvenating.
What I loved: The lack of adjectives and embellishments. It made for a raw piece that I did not put down until I finished (of course, it is a tiny novella).
If Sam was in a high school yearbook, he would be voted: Most Angsty.
Random line: “He was alone in Sheila’s mother’s house drinking iced coffee and looking at his poetry on the computer screen.”
Online resources: Profile on The Stranger
– Greta, 16, Teen Center Adviser
Being the Hunger Games-obsessed fan that I am, I saw Catching Fire twice in the first week it was out in theaters. Still enough? No, not really. Luckily, it’s now on DVD for home enjoyment!
Although I loved it, I know a lot of people who were not big fans of the first movie. Even if you felt that way, the second one should not disappoint.
The movie starts a bit slow, with wintry scenes of Katniss Everdeen’s District 12. It quickly speeds up as Katniss and Peeta embark on the victory tour under the disapproving eyes of President Snow. The emotion conveyed by Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss was incredibly powerful, and caused me to tear up during several different scenes.
As much as I adore Josh Hutcherson as Peeta, I felt a bit annoyed at how helpless the movies always portray him. During the games, he is always the underdog weakling who trips and falls and has to be taken care of constantly by Katniss. Peeta, while perhaps not as agile and ruthless as Katniss, is still a strong character and person who should not be underestimated.
The casting of the movie was perfect, as all the tributes really came to life through the actors. Sam Clafin, who plays Finnick Odair, was absolutely amazing in the role. He perfectly embodied the personality of Finnick and captured, while maintaining a pompous air, a surprising sensitive side. Jena Malone, who plays Johanna Mason, was also a force to be reckoned with.
If you haven’t yet seen Catching Fire, check it out from the library and watch it! Until Mockingjay comes out in theaters, I will just be hibernating in my room and rereading all the books.
–Natalie, Northeast Teen Adviser
The film industry has long been infatuated with teenage rebellion, skate culture, and young peoples’ criminal involvement. These are a few of my recent favorite films on those subjects.
Paranoid Park (2007) – A young Portland-area skateboarder is victim to a “wrong place at the wrong time” scenario, becoming accidentally involved in a murder. Parts of the film were shot either with a wide-angle lens or Super 8 film–the same used for skate videos–resulting in an untainted and aesthetically pleasing picture of skate culture and boyhood. P.S. It’s based on a book.
Little Birds (2011) – Lily and Alison are two best friends, isolated in the California desert, who run away to Los Angeles on a whim. They follow a group of skateboarding boys they meet, living in an abandoned apartment, taking part in crime, and going a step too far in rejection of their upbringing. The film’s depth comes from the complicated, layered relationship between the girls and their actions in the moment of danger. P.S. This one is harder to find, but worth it.
Brick (2005) – Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays a lonely high school student who keeps under the radar until he receives a cry for help–specifically a call from a pay phone–from his ex-girlfriend. He becomes involved with an intricate system of crime and drug dealership: who you’re eating lunch with signifies your current loyalties, and giving away your locker code is the end-all, be-all of trust. Even the principal is keeping alliances. It’s different, visually interesting, and veers from traditional chronology.
– Greta, 16, Teen Center Adviser
NFFTY (The National Film Festival for Talented Youth) is an opportunity for young filmmakers (ages 16-22) from all over to have their films screened here in Seattle at The Uptown Theater (NFFTY is part of SIFF, the Seattle International Film Festival.) It’s also the largest film festival for youth in the world.
Last year, as an aspiring filmmaker, I went to NFFTY for the first time. I was blown away. I was sitting in a theater with people my age that were doing things that I wanted to do. There were people in the theater who had worked on the short films we were about to watch.
NFFTY this year is coming up on April 24-27, but Central Library is doing a screening of the winners from last year for free on April 5. I highly recommend that you go to the free screening no matter what your age, but especially if you are a teen interested in film. Some of the filmmakers will be there talking about their work, and you could even win tickets to NFFTY’s 2014 festival and opening gala.I hope to see you there!
-Loren, Teen Center Adviser
Author: James Proimos
Summary: Sixteen-year-old James “Hercules” Martino completes twelve tasks while spending two weeks in Baltimore with his Uncle Anthony, and gains insights into himself, his uncle, and his recently deceased father, a self-help author and daytime talk show host who was beloved by the public but a terrible father.
I started reading this book because I wanted to read something different from my norm. I searched SPL’s catalogue, refined by “teens” and “comedy”. Saw the cover, read the summary and decided to give it a shot.
The main character to this book would be voted: Most Likely To Be a Comedian (Unintentionally).
This book reminds me of FAMILY because no matter what, every family is different
and each one has their own quirkiness.
Website of Interest: James Proimos
–Anastasia, Douglass-Truth Staffer
Listen up, Aca-people! The Teen Center presents: Pitch Perfect: the beloved A Capella cult film in our Acatorium on March 28 at 4:00. If you love A Capella (and who doesn’t love A Capella?) this is the movie for you! There will be snacks, and Aca-singing along is encouraged.
Come back to the Microsoft Auditorium on Saturday, March 29 12:30-5:30 for our Sing-Along Double Feature: The Wizard of Oz and Singin’ in the Rain. Bring your friends, your kids, your snacks, and be prepared to belt it out. Library programs are free and everyone is welcome.
—Jenny, Central Library