Category: Non-Book


Selena Gomez and the Scene

When the Sun Goes Down (2011)
Artist: Selena Gomez & the Scene
ASIN: B0057UVLQ0
Track List
1. “Love You Like a Love Song”
2. “Bang Bang Bang”
3. “Who Says”
4. “We Own the Night” (featuring Pixie Lott)
5. “Hit the Lights”
6. “Whiplash”
7. “When the Sun Goes Down”
8. “My Dilemma”
9. “That’s More Like It”
10. “Outlaw”
11. “Middle of Nowhere”
12. “Dices” (“Who Says” – Spanish version)

GENRE: Pop

TEASER LYRICS:
I’m no beauty queen
I’m just beautiful me

SUMMARY: when the Sun Goes Down is an fun, upbeat electro-pop album. It is filled with songs of heartache, love, and accepting oneself. This is the third studio album from Selena Gomez & the Scene. It ranked 3 on the U.S Billboard 200. It also stayed for an entire week in the top ten.

CRITIQUE: The majority of the songs are upbeat, dance songs. It was refreshing to hear a mature album that didn’t have to talk about sex. I am not that familiar with Gomez’s work but it seems she is maturing in a subtle way. The content doesn’t get too heavy or dark. There are some very positive messages about being yourself and loving who you are. “Who Says” is a song about body image and inspires girls to feel beautiful no matter what people might say. There are a lot of great beats and the lyrics are rather addicting. All in all this was a pretty good album.

ABOUT THE ARTIST: Nineteen-year-old, Selena Gomez is best known for her chracter, Alex Russo on Disney Channel’s Wizards of Waverly Place. Selena Gomez and the Scene formed in 2009. Her band consists of Selena Gomez on vocals, Ethan Roberts is lead guitar, Joey Clement is bass, Greg Garman is on drums, and Dane Forrest on keyboards. Selena Gomez is also active in various charitable organizations.

ARTIST’S WEBSITE: http://selenagomez.com/home

READING LEVEL General Audiences

CHALLENGE ISSUES: N/A

DEFENSE: N/A

CURRICULUM TIES: N/A

BOOKTALKING IDEAS: N/A

WHY INCLUDED: I heard that this album was good. I was skeptical because she is usually geared towards a younger audience. I was surprised at how much I like this. I also appreciate the positive spirit throughout the album.

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21 by Adele

21 (2011)
ArtistL Adele
ASIN: B004P4S4NM

Track List
1. “Rolling in the Deep”
2. “Rumour Has It”
3. “Turning Tables”
4. “Don’t You Remember”
5. “Set Fire to the Rain”
6. “He Won’t Go”
7. “Take It All”
8. “I’ll Be Waiting”
9. “One and Only”
10. “Lovesong”
11. “Someone Like You”

GENRE: Pop, R&B

TEASER LYRICS:
There’s a fire starting in my heart
Reaching a fever pitch, and it’s bringing me out the dark
Finally I can see you crystal clear
Go ahead and sell me out and I’ll lay your ship bare
See how I’ll leave with every piece of you
Don’t underestimate the things that I will do

SUMMARY: Adel’s second album is slightly more mature than her first album. Her songs are filled with stories of vulnerability and loss. This is Adele’s second studio album. The album has been on the top of the Billboard 200 for eleven weeks in the United states.

CRITIQUE: Adele’s vocals are are sultry and soulful. Some of the songs are soul influenced. Others show more influences of rock and pop. Adele shows her versatility in vocals and sound in her second album. Adele is referenced in popular teen drama shows like Switched at Birth. The songs of heartache and love will be easily relatable to teenagers.

ABOUT THE ARTIST: Adele is an English singer and song-writer. Her full name is Adele Laurie Blue Adkins. She new at the age of 14 that she wanted to be a singer. She says she was influenced by the Spice Girls. She began sharing her music on MySpace until record labels started to take notice of her talent. She is now signed with XL record label.

ARTIST’S WEBSITE: http://www.adele.tv/

READING LEVEL: General Audiences

CHALLENGE ISSUES: N/A

DEFENSE: N/A

CURRICULUM TIES: N/A

BOOKTALKING IDEAS: N/A

WHY INCLUDED: Adele’s albums are popular with young adult audiences and adults. Her album has gained enormous popularity and it mentioned in teen drama series like Switched at Birth.

X-Men: First Class

X-Men: First Class
Directed by Matthew Vaughn
ASIN: B004LWZW42
Rated: PG-13
Runtime: 132 minutes

GENRE: Action/Adventure, Superhero

TEASER: See where it all began.

SUMMARY: The story begins with a look at Charles and Erik’s childhood. Erik is a a prisoner at a German concentration camp in occupied Poland. He is being kept there and experimented on so that they can exploit his powers. Charles Xavier catches a young shape-shifting mutant, Raven, stealing food one night and decides to adopt her as his sister. We move ahead to the year 1962. Erik has been tracking down the doctor how experimented on him and killed his mother, Sebastian Shaw. He seeks to get his revenge any way necessary. Charles is now a professor of genetic mutations. Meanwhile, a CIA agent Moira MacTaggert is seeking Charles help in identifying the mutants she saw on an investigation. She gets the help of Charles and Ranen to help stop these mutant terrorists. While investigating them, they run into Erik who has just failed to kill Shaw. Charles convinces him to join them and help stop Shaw and Emma Frost from killing all of humanity. Now they must seek out new mutants and train them to fight their own kind in order to protect the human race.

CRITIQUE: There is very little negatives that I can say about this film. The movie was well cast and well written. The problem with some of these films is that they are taking characters that have been developing and changing for years. They are very complicated and the subtle nuances are difficult to pull off. The writers did an excellent job at exploring the complex relationship between Charles Xavier and Magneto. I also appreciated the attention paid to Mystique’s character, another complex character within the Marvel universe. The score to the movie was also fitting and added atmosphere to the scenes. The only think lacking were the special effects. Normally this can make or break a movie but the writing and character development was so well done that I hardly cared about the badly done CGI.

ABOUT THE DIRECTOR: Matthew Vaughn is an English film director and producer. He actually studied anthropology and ancient history at University College London. However, it was short-lived. He soon dropped out and moved to Los Angeles to work in the film industry. He has also directed Kick-Ass, Stardust, and Layer Cake. He is married to supermodel Claudia Schiffer. They have three children together.

WEBSITE: http://www.x-menfirstclassmovie.com/

CHALLENGE ISSUES: Some people might be opposed to the sexual situations, violence, and terrorism that are in this movie.

DEFENSE: I would suggest looking at the ALA’s support page for challenged materials.

CURRICULUM TIES: N/A

BOOKTALKING IDEAS: Discuss the topic of genetic evolution. Do you think that the mutants will someday outnumber the humans? Will humans eventually disappear?

WHY INCLUDED: Comic book movies are becoming immensely popular. I felt that this was the best one this year.

Game Informer Magazine
Published by GameStop Corp.
First Issue: August 1991
Issue: Monthly

GENRE: Gaming News

TEASER: Game Informer is the best place to get the latest news and reviews on video games and gaming.

SUMMARY: Game Informer is a monthly magazine featuring news, strategies, and reviews of video games and gaming consoles. This is the most circulated magazine. It has nearly 3 million subscribers. The game reviews in Game Informer as extremely detailed. The game reviews are graded on a scale of 1-10 with quarter intervals, 1 being the worst and 10 being the best. There are only a handful of games that have received a 10 score. Game Informer is also known for having very impressive graphics on the cover.

CRITIQUE: I am perhaps slightly biased when it comes to Game Informer because I am myself a subscriber. I feel it offers a large variety whether you are a casual gamer or a professional. I am not a serious gamer but I enjoy learning about them. I get most of my gaming news from Game Informer. There are also sometimes fun facts and quizzes inside. A few months ago there was a “Which Video Game Character Are You?” quiz. It’s now tacked to my wall. I’ll admit that I don’t understand some of the language due to the fact that I am not a serious gamer, but the articles and reviews seem clear and very thorough.

ABOUT THE PUBLISHER: GameStop is a corporation geared towards video game and entertainment software retailing. The have 6,500 retail stores in the world. It was founded in 1984 as Babbage’s. They merged with EB Games in 2005. They have stores in Canada, New Zealand, Norway, Italy, Ireland, Portugal, France, Germany, Denmark, Austria, Australia, Puerto Rico, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom. Aside from selling video games, they sell game accessories, and game strategy guides.

WEBSITE: http://www.gameinformer.com/

READING LEVEL: General Adult

CHALLENGE ISSUES: N/A

DEFENSE: N/A

CURRICULUM TIES: N/A

BOOKTALKING IDEAS: N/A

WHY INCLUDED: Video games are very popular with teenagers and adults now a days. I felt this was a great title for them to learn about gaming news.

Encyclopedia Britannica Online

GENRE: Encyclopedia

TEASER: The Encyclopedia Britannica is a world of information at your fingertips. Their headquarters is in Chicago, IL. A wide variety of topics are written on, such as: mathematics, science, art, health, history, music, literature, etc.

SUMMARY: Encyclopedia Britannica Online has more than 120,000 articles that are updated regularly. The print Encyclopedia Britannica is the oldest English language encyclopedia that is still in print.

CRITIQUE: There are a lot of maps and pictures to cut through some of the text. you have the option of using the search engine or browsing by category. You also have the option of narrowing your search by keywords or type of article, i.e. magazine. I preformed a test search on Leonardo da Vinci and received four pages of results. All in all I felt that Encyclopedia Britannica Online was efficient and serves the purpose quite nicely.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: The Encyclopedia Britannica has over 4,000 contributors for the articles found in print and online. Currently editorial staff of the Encyclopedia Britannica includes five senior editors and nine associate Editors. They are supervised by Dale Hoiberg and four others.

WEBSITE: http://www.britannica.com

GRADE LEVEL All

CHALLENGE ISSUES: N/A

DEFENSE: N/A

CURRICULUM TIES: Math, science, history, music, art, etc.

BOOKTALKING IDEAS: N/A

WHY INCLUDED: I feel that Encyclopedia Britannica is a useful school resource for teenagers.

Tutor.com
Founded in 1998 by George Cigale

GENRE: Education and Study aides

TEASER: Get help with your homework online 24/7.

SUMMARY: Tutor.com is an online educational service used for homework assistance and career services. Students can use this site for help with studying, test preparation, essay writing, proofreading, homework problems, and various school projects. No need for an appointment. It is also available 24/7. There is also a mobile version for the iPhone and iPad.

CRITIQUE: This site seems very easy to use and convenient. I really like that people are available around the clock to help students. I also love the that the instructors can write out problems using tables. This makes it much easier for students with math problems. I wish I had known about this when I was in high school. I might have done better in Calculus.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: N/A

WEBSITE: http://www.tutor.com/

GRADE LEVEL K-12

CHALLENGE ISSUES: N/A

DEFENSE: N/A

CURRICULUM TIES: Mathamatics: Algebra, Trigonometry, Calculus, Geometry and Statistics, English: Essay Writing, Grammar, and Literature, Science: Earth Science, Biology, Physics, and Chemistry, Test Prep: State Standardized Tests, Advanced Placement (AP) courses, PST, SAT, ACT, and IB

BOOKTALKING IDEAS: N/A

WHY INCLUDED: Students cannot always get help at school. This site provides the necessary support they need in order to do well in school.

Easy A

Easy A Directed by Will Gluck
Written by Bert V. Royal
ASIN: B0036TGSIK
Released: 2010
Runtime: 92 minutes
Rated; PG-13

GENRE: Teen Comedy

TEASER: Olive lies about losing her virginity and suddenly she’s the school harlot. What does she do? Brands herself with a scarlet A and plays it up.

Summary: It all starts when Olive Penderghast (Emma Stone) lies to her best friend Rhiannon (Alyson Michalka) to get out of a camping trip. He tells her she is dating a college boy. When Rhannon keeps pressuring her for information, she ends up lying about losing her virginity. Marianne (Amanda Bynes), a popular girl in charge of a religious abstinence group, overhears and her lie is suddenly going around the entire school. Suddenly she has social outcasts coming to her asking if she will lie about having sex with them. So she sews scarlet letters on all of her clothes to make a social statement and plays up the rumor. But eventually Olive wonders if anyone is ever going to treat her with respect. She’s losing friend, making enemies, and guys are treating her like garbage. It’s time for Olive to tell the truth.

CRITIQUE: The writing is witty and funny. The main character is quirky and comfortable with who she is. The main theme of the movie is female sexuality and the labels that are placed on girls who are sexually active. Olive acts out against this stereotype by perpetuating the image. If people are going to call her a slut, she’s going to take it and run with it. She’s not afraid of what people are saying about her at first. However, when all of the guys and some of her teachers start treating her badly Olive wonders if any of this was ever worth it.

ABOUT THE DIRECTOR: Will Gluck is a film and television director, screenwriter, and producer. Other movies he has worked on are Fired Up and Friends with Benefits. The television series he has worked on are The John Larroquette Show, Grosse Pointe, Andy Richter Controls the Universe, Luis, and The Loop. He says his favorite film is Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.

ABOUT THE WRITER: Before Bert V. Royal wrote Easy A, he working in casting for Chappelle’s Show and Third Watch. He claims to have written the entire screenplay, except for the last ten pages, for Easy A in five days.

WEBSITE: http://www.sonypictures.com/homevideo/easya/

CHALLENGE ISSUES: Some might object the to sexual situations in this film.

DEFENSE: I would suggest looking at the ALA’s support page for challenged materials.

CURRICULUM TIES: It could be shown in conjunction with reading The Scarlet Letter.

BOOKTALKING IDEAS: What would you do if everyone at school treated you like you were promiscuous because of something someone else said?

WHY INCLUDED: This is one of my favorite teen films because the main character is sassy and confident with herself.

Ouran High School Host Club Complete Boxed Set
Japanese Titles: 桜蘭高校ホスト部 Ōran Kōkō Hosuto Kurabu
Produced by Funimation
ASIN: B0030ZOYGI
Released: March, 2010
Rated: Not Rated
Runtime: 625 minutes
Episodes: 26

GENRE: Anime Comedy

TEASER: “The Ouran host Club is where the school’s handsomest boys with too much time on their hands entertain young ladies who also have way too much time on their hands.” (quote from first episode)

SUMMARY: Haruhi Fujioka has just gotten a scholarship to the prestigious Ouran Academy. On her first day, she is trying to find a quiet place to study and ends up in the music room. Instead of a solitude, she finds the Ouran Academy Host Club, an odd group of six male students. She accidentally breaks a very expensive vase and is indebted to them. Tomaki, mistaking Haruhi for a boy insists that she become a host like them. After they realize that Haruhi is a girl, they decide to let her stay on as a host to pay off her debt.

CRITIQUE: This anime is filled with crazy characters that you are sure to fall in love with. Haruhi is a calm and thoughtful contrast to the wacky gang of host club members. She is often the one to talk reason into them. They quickly grow to lover her simplicity and sweet nature. The American voice actors are well matched to the characters. The style if very closely tied to the manga. It is a very light-hearted anime with tons of hilarious dialogue. The characters are all unique and are looked at throughout the series.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: This anime is based off of a manga series by Bisco Hatori, or Hatori Bisuko. Hatori is a female mangaka (manga artist). She was born in Saitama, Japan. She has also worked for LaLa magazine, a monthly shōjo magazine.

Her other works are A Romance of One Moment and Millennium Snow. Millennium Snow was on hiatus since 2002 while she was working on Ouran High School Host Club. Ouran High School Host Club was finished in 2010.

AUTHOR’S WEBSITE: http://www.funimation.com/ouran-high-school-host-club

CHALLENGE ISSUES: N/A

DEFENSE: N/A

CURRICULUM TIES: N?A

BOOKTALKING IDEAS: Most people would care if they were mistaken for the opposite sex. Why do you think it doesn’t bother Haruhi?

WHY INCLUDED: This is one of my favorite anime series. It is filled with fun stories and crazy characters that are addictive to watch.

Sigh No More (2010)
Artist: Mumford and Sons
ASIN: B0038BBA4I
Track List
1. “Sigh No More”
2. “The Cave”
3. “Winter Winds”
4. “Roll Away Your Stone”
5. “White Blank Page”
6. “I Gave You All”
7. “Little Lion Man”
8. “Timshel”
9. “Thistle & Weeds”
10. “Awake My Soul”
11. “Dust Bowl Dance”
12. “After the Storm”

GENRE: Alternative, Folk, Rock, Bluegrass

TEASER LYRICS:
Weep, little lion man,
You’re not as brave as you were at the start
Rate yourself and rake yourself
Take all the courage you have left
Wasted on fixing all the problems that you made in your own head

SUMMARY: This is the first studio album for Mumford and Sons. It has been a huge success. In the United States, Mumford and Sons’ Sign No More the album is the 10th-most-downloaded album of all time. It was ranked #8 for best record on NPR’s All Songs Considered. There can only be good things to come from this group.

CRITIQUE: The lyrics and melody are haunting and beautiful. Marcus’s gravelly vocals are raw and emotional. The instrumentals are excellently composed and preformed. These songs are filled with soul and poetic lyrics. Even if folk music is not your cup of tea, there is at least one song on this album that will move you.

ABOUT THE ARTIST: Mumford and Sons is an English folk rock band. It consists of four members. Marcus Mumford is on vocals, guitar, drums, mandolin. Ben Lovett is on vocals, keyboards, accordion, drums. “Country” Winston Marshall vocals, banjo, dobro, and Ted Dwane does vocals, string bass, drums, guitar. These four friends started playing together in 2007. Sigh No More is their first studio album.

ARTIST’S WEBSITE: http://www.mumfordandsons.com/

READING LEVEL General Audiences

CHALLENGE ISSUES: There is mild cursing in a few of the song. There is also mention of guns in one of the songs.

DEFENSE: I would suggest looking at the ALA’s support page for challenged materials.

CURRICULUM TIES: N/A

BOOKTALKING IDEAS: N/A

WHY INCLUDED: Folk music is not the first thing you think of when you think of music for teenagers, but this albums smart lyrics and wonderful composition is sure to attract older teens and adults alike.

Trigun
Japanese Titles: トライガン Toraigan
Written and Illustrated by Yasuhiro Nightow
Produced by Funimation
ASIN: B003VQO4WA
Rated: Not Rated
Runtime: 650 minutes
Episodes: 26

GENRE: Anime, Wester, Post Apocalypse, Science Fiction

TEASER: Vash the Stampede, the 60 billion double dollar man finds trouble wherever he goes. With two meddlesome but lovable insurance girls and a gunslinging priest, this is sure to be the adventure of a lifetime.

SUMMARY: Vash the Stampede, the infamous outlaw with a 60 billion double dollar bounty on his head is known for turning entire towns into rubble. Milly and Meryl and representatives from the Bernardelli Insurance Society sent to find Vash the Stampede and stop the destruction he is known to cause. Along the way, they meet Nicholas D. Wolfwood, a gunslinging priest with a lot of secrets. Vash can hardly keep the bounty hunters off his back and he has a feeling they are being lead to him by his evil twin, Knives.

CRITIQUE: This series is extremely well written. The dialogue is witty and fun. The characters are loveable, even some of the villans. Most of the episodes are self contained. However, there is an overarching theme throughout the series of the morality of taking a life. Vash is unyielding in his stance that you should never take a life no matter what. His twin brother Knives feels the exact opposite. Where Vash is the moral absolute, Knives is the immoral absolute. he doesn’t care who he hurts because he hates humans so much.

I’m not going to lie. I am a little obsessed with this series. I can’t count how many time I’ve watched it. Like many other fans, I first saw Trigun on the Cartoon Network. I’ve been a fan ever since. This is the type of series that will create a lifelong fan.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Yasuhiro Nightow is a mangaka (manga artist) and game creator. He has been a manga artist for approximately eleven years. Before that he studied social sciences and media studies. He is also responsible for creating the characters and story for Gungrave, a shooter video game.

WEBSITE: http://www.funimation.com/trigun

CHALLENGE ISSUES: N/A

DEFENSE: N/A

CURRICULUM TIES: N/A

BOOKTALKING IDEAS: What do you think happens after Vassh defeats Knives? Where do they go next? how can they possibly resolve their different stances on the morality of taking a life?

WHY INCLUDED: Trigun is one of my top favorite anime series. It’s a classic that will appeal to boys and girls.