Teens, Idea Exchange | March 1, 2021
March marks one year since 2020's nationwide COVID lockdown (and history's longest March Break) went into effect. Since then, through all the ups and downs, the Teen Tastemakers have managed to keep busy with some great entertainment. Read on for the books, movies, and more that have helped us get through the past year.
2020 was a banner year of reading for me. Here are a couple of my top picks:
Gideon the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir: This is a novel about a swordswoman forced to accompany her necromancer frenemy to a competition to become a god, in space. Yes, it is as awesome as it sounds. I read this book three times last year, because it is just so good. It is the most unique and interesting fantasy/sci-fi novel I’ve read, and its characterization and worldbuilding are both amazing.
Plain Bad Heroines by Emily M. Danforth: This is a gothic horror set in multiple time periods, following a series of tragedies at a New England boarding school and the movie being made about it. This novel is perfectly written, with unsettling prose and realistic characters.
The Stormlight Archive by Brandon Sanderson: Fair warning, this is a series, and every book in it is at least 1000 pages long. But if you’re good with that, and you like epic fantasy with intensely creative magic systems, these are the books for you.
During these never-ending lockdowns, I have been enjoying happy and feel-good media. Here are some of my favourites.
Fetch the Bolt Cutters by Fiona Apple: The singer-songwriter’s first album in eight years, it became critically acclaimed, which it definitely deserves. The unconventional, sound-collage quality of Apple letting go of anger and moving past trauma is beautifully cathartic.
Paddington 2 (2017): This film has 100% on Rotten Tomatoes, and rightfully so. It’s truly delightful, funny for both kids and adults, and has some of the best action set pieces I’ve seen in a long time. It improves on the first film in every way.
The Graduate (1967): Come for the stunning and innovative cinematography, great performances, and Simon and Garfunkel songs, stay for the very timely message that it’s okay to not have everything figured out right now.
True Stories (1986): Directed by David Byrne, this film is basically if you took the wonderfully offbeat silliness of a Talking Heads song and turned it into a movie. It’s so lovely, with great music and David Byrne wearing cowboy outfits.
The past year has been confusing and stressful, and it sometimes feels like someone has pressed pause on our lives. Fortunately, while life is a little out of control right now, there are some things we can pause and un-pause whenever we want, like music, video games, and shows. Here are some things I've been particularly enjoying recently:
The Umbrella Academy: This show, available on Netflix, is one of my all-time favourites. The characters are well-written and vivid, and the story is intriguing and compelling. Not to mention the best soundtrack I've ever heard. Season 2 was released Summer 2020, and it has been renewed for a third season.
The Prince of Persia video game series: I'm currently on the second game in this series, so I can't speak for it as a whole. However so far, I'm loving these action-adventure games. The graphics seem to be getting increasingly better from game to game, and the gameplay is great.
Spotify: I downloaded this app late last year and my only regret is that I didn't do it sooner. Spotify Premium has some benefits that you might determine to be worth it, but myself I think the free version is already great. You can find virtually any song by any artist, and let the songs shuffle in the background while you go about your day.
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. Register for the next Zoom Teen Tastemaker meetup today!