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Teen Tastemakers: February Picks

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Teens, Reading + Entertainment

  • Teen Tastemakers February 2020

Teens, Idea Exchange | February 1, 2020

Exams are over – it’s time to relax! Enjoy these recommendations from the Teen Tastemakers, whether you’re looking for some Valentine’s activities or you just want to binge on some great entertainment:

VALENTINE’S DAY (Madeleine):

Ah, Valentine’s Day. It comes around every year, but if you’re worried about spending the day bored out of your mind because you have nothing to do, and you’d rather not listen to love songs and watch cheesy movies while eating boxes of chocolates, then read on! And if that is what you want to do… still read on because you might find some more fun ideas as well!

  • Catch up on your hobbies: It’s easy to forget about our hobbies and end up spending less time on them, so spend the day doing something you enjoy. If you don’t have a hobby, now’s your chance to try a new one. Some ideas might be origami, knitting, dancing, or drawing.
  • Read: Reading a good book makes the time fly. Catch up on your “to-read” list, or discover a new book at the library! Some good books are The Maze Runner by James Dashner, The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken, and Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll.
  • Go for a walk: If the weather is good, go for a walk! The fresh air is great for you, and you can make it more fun by grabbing a family member to go with you if they’re available.
  • Make a healthy meal: Chocolate and candies are abundant in stores this month, and while a little bit of sugar is fine, too much and your stomach will not appreciate it. Look up some yummy, healthy recipes, put on some music, and get cooking!
  • Volunteer: This is a great way to spend your time! If being alone is your concern this Valentine’s Day, then volunteering will give you a chance to spend time with others while doing something nice for your community!  Happy Valentine’s Day to everyone!

 TELEVISION (Gemma):

Killing Eve  The Good Place

What’s a better time to get started on a new show than the beginning of the new year? Nothing, that’s what! Here are a few TV shows you’re guaranteed to enjoy.

  • Killing Eve: Based on novels by Luke Jennings, this TV show elevates the source material to an entirely different level. It’s technically a clever cat-and-mouse thriller between bored MI6 agent Eve and professional assassin Villanelle, but it’s really so much more, delving deep into the relationship between these two complicated women.
  • The End of the F***ing World: This Netflix show is a dry and dark, but heartfelt story about two teens - James, who’s pretty sure he’s a psychopath, and rebellious and sharp-tongued Alyssa - on the run from their own lives. This show is both funny and sad, and dark and hopeful at the same time.
  • The Good Place: A comedy about a woman who dies and ends up in heaven - only the catch is, she’s not actually a good person. From the creator of Parks and Recreation, this comedy is essentially hilarious and kind-spirited, with an excellent ensemble cast of characters.

 BOOKS (Charlotte):

The perks of being a wallfower by Stephen Chboshky   The lovely bones by Alice Sebold   Aristotle and Dante discover the secrets of the universe by Benjamin Saenz

Recently, I have decided upon my favourite genre of books. It is ‘emotionally devastating but ultimately hopeful realistic fiction’. So, here are my favourites in that genre.

  • The Perks of Being a Wallflower: Although main character Charlie goes through some very difficult events over the course of his first year of high school, he also meets new friends, falls in love, and makes mixtapes. It is sad, but it is a beautiful coming-of-age story every high schooler should read.
  • The Lovely Bones: Again, a very sad book as it details the murder of a fourteen-year-old girl and the attempts of her family and friends to move on. But it is in this moving on, and the ‘lovely bones’ that grow from her death that the book becomes so incredibly hopeful.
  • Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe: Teenager Ari, growing up in ‘80s El Paso, has his life fall apart many times throughout the course of this novel. But, through growing closer to his family, the gorgeous prose, and his relationship with his best friend Dante, the novel reveals the beauty of life and love.

MOVIES (Benjamin):

Batman begins The Dark Knight The Dark Knight Rises The LEGO Batman Movie Batman vs. Superman Dawn of Justice

In this month’s article I am going to be writing about movies. To be more specific, Batman. The Batman comics, TV shows, and movies have been a huge part of media culture for over half a century. To sum the Batman legacy up with one word I would choose: “Awesome.”

Some of my favorite films of all time are Batman films simply because of the fact that Bruce Wayne is the only superhero without a significant superpower. He is just a normal person with Kevlar body armor and some fancy tools. Part of what drew me in as a Batman fan is the really bare-bones aspect of how Bruce became Batman because of his parents being murdered by a common thief.

This month I want to recommend any and all Batman films that the Idea Exchange library has to offer. Most importantly the films called The Dark Knight and The Dark Knight Rises, which are my personal favorites. I am writing this to raise awareness of the underappreciated lore and story that the Batman saga has to offer anyone who is interested. Not just if you’re a movie-goer but also a fan of the comic books too.

SPORTS (Olivia):

When I think of basketball one of the first words that comes to mind is “peaceful.” A lot of people may not think that because of all the competitiveness and the loud whistles always blowing. Personally, I think about it in a different way. My basketball practices allow me to have a whole new start to the day. Whether that day is good or bad, basketball always finds a way to change my day and make it even better.

Another word that comes to mind when I think about basketball is “family.” The word family means a lot to me and its not just a word I use just to show sympathy. I do truly mean it when I say that my basketball team is just like a second family to me. They help me through my rough times and help boost my confidence when I really need it.

Overall, I would definitely recommend basketball to people who want to be involved in something that feels just like a second family and helps with not only building more skills about being social but also having more confidence! 

Check out Idea Exchange’s collection of basketball books, or head over to the Clemens Mill location to borrow a ball and get playing.

GAMING (Aidan):

In this article I’ll will be covering gaming, or more specifically, virtual reality. In my opinion, virtual reality is the future of gaming.

To start, the creator of the largest digital game market, Valve, is starting to invest in virtual reality. Valve is releasing the first Half-Life game in over a decade, and its going to be a VR exclusive. Valve has also started releasing their own headsets for the high-end of the market, that are retailing for USD$999.99.

Other companies are starting create their own software for the VR space, like Respawn (the developers of the Titanfall games). Respawn is currently developing a new Medal of Honor game that is going to take place in WWII.

The only reason big companies are starting to invest is because of the indie companies that are showing them how to do it. To give more context, what I will call “first gen VR games” are games that came out from 2016 to late 2018. These older games didn’t have really any interaction with their worlds, they were fun, but barebones. However, on December 10 2019, an indie company that goes by the name Stress Level Zero released Boneworks.

Boneworks is a game that reinvents the VR formula. Boneworks contains fully physics-based worlds that allow the player to interact with everything in it. I’ve had an Oculus Rift since 2017, and I can tell you that this is the most immersive VR game I have ever played. There were multiple times where I almost fell over because I tried to lean on something that wasn’t real.

You may see a lot of media outlets trying to say the VR costs “thousands”, and that’s not true. Mixed reality headsets sell for $250-400 brand new, and on used markets you can get them for $150-200. So, if you’ve been holding off on getting a VR headset, now is the best time to invest because lots of new software will be coming out this year.

Do you have exceptional taste? Do you love books, movies, and music? Would you like to be involved with the library, gain valuable resume experience, AND earn volunteer hours? It’s not too late to join the Teen Tastemakers! Join us at our next meetup: Monday, February 3rd from 6:30-8:00pm at Idea Exchange Preston (435 King St E).

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