John Green – author and Nerd Fighter

Whenever I read a new John Green book I’m immediately struck by how much he understands the male mind.  I find that alot of  young adult fiction portrays males as either jocks or someone who is out-of-reach of main female character and not someone who I can relate to at all.  However, John Green’s characters are usually just normal guys, who are a bit nerdy (the main character in An Abundance of Katherines is obsessed with numbers) and you can really get into their head and understand how their mind works.  Looking for Alaska was Green’s first book which was great and was then followed by An Abundance of Katherines a couple of years ago.   An Abundance of Katherines is absolutely hilarious with it’s interesting mix of characters.  It follows Colin who has only ever dated girls called Katherine.  He has just been dumped by his 19th Katherine and so him and his Judge Judy-loving friend, Hassan go on a road trip hoping to prove his mathematical therom that should predict the future of any relationship.

Green’s latest book, Paper Towns is his best so far.  Once again, we get a glimpse of life from the perspective of an ordinary guy who lives life under the radar.  Quentin lives next door to Margo Roth Spiegleman, a girl he has secretly loved for years.  One night, Margo climbs into his bedroom window and drags him off on a revenge mission.  However, the following morning Margo seems to have disappeared and it’s up to Quentin and his mates to follow the clues she has left behind and find the girl he thought he knew.  The characters are totally believable and there are plenty of hilarious moments, especially on the marathon road-trip to get to Margo.

John Green himself is a really interesting guy and I’d imagine that there is alot of himself in his characters.  He has a cool website with info about his books and a daily blog, as well as his Nerd Fighter website that he has set up with his brother, Hank.

The Soloist – win tickets to see this on the big screen

SoloistThe soloist : a lost dream, an unlikely friendship, and the redemptive power of music by Steve Lopez is one of those true stories that seem more astonishing that anything fiction writers can dream up. A journalist befriends a bedraggled street musician and ends up uncovering a story of a life that has gone down a difficult path, and a journey from prodigy to living on the mean streets.

Now a movie brings the story of journalist Steve Lopez and street musician Nathaniel Ayers to the big screen. Its release date is 3 September, and you can check The Soloist web site for more information:

Columnist Steve Lopez (Downey) is at a dead end …  one day, while walking through Los Angeles’ Skid Row, he sees the mysterious bedraggled figure Nathaniel Ayers (Foxx), pouring his soul into a two-stringed violin. At first, Lopez approaches Ayers as just another storyidea in a city of millions. But as he begins to unearth the mystery of how this alternately brilliant and distracted street musician, once a dynamic prodigy headed for fame, wound up living in tunnels and doorways, it sparks an unexpected quest.

The Soloist stars Jamie Foxx and Robert Downey Jr., and is directed by Joe Wright, who also directed Atonement (one of the best movie adaptations of a novel in recent years) .


The kind people at Paramount are giving us some tickets so if you’re keen to see this on the big screen, email us at with your name and contact details, and tell us what’s your favourite book, song, line of poetry, or movie about the power of music? Get creative! Coleridge’s poem The Aeolian harp talks about a “soft floating witchery of sound”, Jefferson Starship “built this city on rock and roll” …

  • I loved the theme of August Rush and I sense this film has some similarities? Max
  • My favourite movie about the power of music is definitely The Pianist. Vladek Szpilman was a famous pianist who survived the Holocaust in WWII thanks to luck, friends and music. Michelle
  • My favourite movie about the power of music would have to be the Irish musical movie Once.  It shows you how music can bring people together and change their lives.  The fact that the actors are actually musicians is even better as they are so passionate about music and convey this in the movie.  One particular scene where they are in the music shop and both playing the song and singing together is amazing.  I think there is a shortage of this type of movie and somebody needs to get out there and write more. Zac
  • My favourite movie, which may be showing my age is Fame, great story, music made you want to put your leg warmers on and leotard, showed if you have the music and talant in you you can over turn adversity. Christine

Editor’s note: The competition is now closed and Max, Michelle, Zac and Christine have all scored a double pass to The Soloist. Enjoy.

Tracy Chevalier is Coming to Town

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Following up on my post on Women on Air another highlight of their events programme this year will be the visit of author Tracy Chevalier. The author of  Girl With A Pearl Earring will be speaking at the Christchurch Girls’ High School Auditorium on Tuesday 8 September at 7.30pm. Tickets are a very reasonable $12 and available from The University Bookshop or by calling Ruth 03 384 4721 or Morrin 03 329 9789.

Tracy Chevalier has a new novel, Remarkable Creatures, which tells the story of an early 19th Century fossil collector who transcends class and gender when she makes some of the most important discoveries of the century.