Stephen Curry’s Magical 2016 Season

Stephen Curry’s 2016 regular season was one of the greatest ever.  He won the MVP unanimously with all 131 first-place votes.  He won the scoring title by averaging 30 points a game.  He did it with outstanding efficiency as he shot 50% from the field, 45% from three, and 90% from the free throw line, joining the 50-40-90 club.  Curry was unstoppable at the three-point line, hitting 402 threes in the season, shattering his previous record of 286 threes in a single season. 

Curry was not as good on defense, but he was still great.  He led the league in steals with 2.1 a game and was top 15 in both defensive win shares and defensive box plus-minus.  Overall, the Golden State Warriors were the second-best defensive team in the league, and Curry was a big part of that.  

Unfortunately, the Warriors did not cap off the season with an NBA championship.  They blew a 3-1 lead in the NBA finals right after overcoming a 3-1 deficit in the Western Conference Finals. The Cleveland Cavaliers won the NBA championship by upsetting the Warriors in games 5, 6, and 7. The Warriors won game 4 in Cleveland, taking a 3-1 lead over the Cleveland Cavaliers.  However, Lebron James and Kyrie Irving played incredibly over the last three games, leading them to three straight wins to defeat the Golden State Warriors.  Nonetheless, Stephen Curry’s 2016 unanimous MVP season is still one of the most dominant seasons of all time.

Books about Stephen Curry are available to check out from the Mission Viejo Library.

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever

In the opening scene of the movie, Wakandan King T’Challa is about the die from an illness. Meanwhile, his sister Shuri is in the lab racing to find a cure before he dies. However, she is unsuccessful, and her mother soon comes to inform Shuri of her brother’s death. A year passes, and Shuri is still unable to accept this loss, as a new threat emerges: an underwater people led by Namor. Namor is the leader of the Atlanteans. While Wakanda’s advanced technology would enable them to defeat any other countries on Earth in a battle, the Atlanteans have many similar technologies to Wakanda. For this reason, the Atlanteans are possibly the only people outside of Wakanda which could actually fight against them. As Wakanda remains threatened, Shuri will be forced to face the grief from her brother’s recent death to ensure her country survives the battle with the Atlanteans. To do this, she must discover how to do what she couldn’t before to save T’Challa; Shuri must recreate the heart-shaped herb, which Killmonger burned down in the previous movie.

In this movie, while Shuri, Okoye, and Nakia are still main characters, Riri Williams, also known as Ironheart, is introduced. 

Originally, I didn’t think this movie would be that good due to Chadwick Boseman’s death in 2020, but after seeing it I think that this was actually a great movie. I liked the plot and there was a good backstory for the villains of the movie. Overall, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever was a great movie and I would recommend it to Marvel fans or just those who enjoy action/adventure.

-Peri A.

Album Review: Slowdive’s Self-Titled Album

Out of all the bands that came out of the UK’s shoegaze scene of the 1990s, Slowdive has to be my personal favorite. I decided to look at their self-titled album for this review. Released in 2017, Slowdive is on par with the famed Souvlaki with it having all the sounds a modern shoegaze album should have.

The album cover of Slowdive

Like Souvlaki, Slowdive is a shoegaze album. It features beautiful, ethereal vocals from Neil Halstead and Rachel Goswell, two of the band’s founders. The guitars on the album have been heavily distorted and altered through the use of effect pedals. My favorite song from the album has to be “Sugar for the Pill”.

“Sugar for the Pill” starts out with a touching guitar part drenched with reverb. The bass line is very cool as well. While the vocals do show that Neil Halstead’s voice has aged since the 1990s, his voice is still able to touch the heart. It is less noisy than “Star Roving”, my second favorite song from Slowdive, yet that makes it more beautiful in my opinion.

Slowdive is a great album for those who want to get into shoegaze, especially modern shoegaze as its sounds are more updated than the ones in Slowdive’s works from the 1990s. I rate this album a 9/10. Please check it out when you get a chance. It’ll make your day

The Land of Forgotten Girls by Erin Entrada Kelly

Don’t be mistaken by the title, this book is not about an isolated island filled with barefoot girls without parents Orphan Island (also at the library) style. However, it’s still a really good book about two girls and their modern evil stepmother living in Giverny, Louisiana. 

Soledad (Sol) lives with her little sister Dominga (Ming) in the United States of America. They live in an ¨affordable housing¨ apartment complex called Magnolia Tower, more specifically Apartment 4. It would have been nice if they lived there with their father, especially since they lost their mother and middle sister when she was young, but he left for a trip back to the Philippines and never returned. As a result, he left them with their cigarette smoking, nose twisting, hair spitting, and extremely evil stepmother.

To pass time, Sol tells Ming stories about their Auntie Jove and her magical adventures around the world. Sol also hangs out with the seven-girl-kissing Manny. I could spoil the book, but I won’t because that’s just wrong.

Sooooo, read the book. It’s a good book and, in my opinion, a pretty easy read. But when you read it, make sure you’re not going to move for a while, that book glues you in your seat.

The Land of Forgotten Girls by Erin Entrada Kelly is available to check out from the Mission Viejo Library. It is also available to download for free from Libby.

Book Review: Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad

Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad is a fiction book which is set in the 19th century in the Congo Free state controlled by Belgian. Conrad uses his European heritage and more modern views to allow for the readers to be submerged into the scramble for Africa and European society at the time.

This book is a very complex, with a lot symbolism, rhetorical devices, and sophisticated language. Heart of Darkness is a shorter book at 77 pages but don’t let that fool you as it is very dense. I really enjoyed this book as it had many important themes regarding the spread of colonialism and made me question whether or not every item had a deeper hidden meaning. In the book as the main character travels through his hero’s journey and farther into Africa we can see the horrors of colonialism on the African peoples, the descent into ones id or their primal instincts, and the prevailing societal values at the time.

I recommend this book to anyone that loves a deep and thoughtful read. Due to some of the outdated and complex language it may be difficult to read and that is why I would also recommend the graphic novel adaptation of the book. It still gets the same themes and elements as the book but simply conveys these through images that are just as deep and appealing.

Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad is available to check out from the Mission Viejo Library. It is also available to download for free from Libby.

My Favorite Christmas Movies

Watching Christmas movies bundled up in fuzzy blankets is one of my favorite winter break traditions. There are always a few Christmas movies that my family and I watch every year, and I thought it would be fun to share them. Here are my favorite family friendly Christmas movies:

The Muppet Christmas Carol. While this movie sounds silly and even childish, I can honestly say that this is one of my favorite Christmas movies of all time. The Muppet Christmas Carol portrays the characters of Charles Dickens’s ‘A Christmas Carol’ in a fun way that I’ve never seen before.

Elf. I feel like every Christmas lover has already seen this movie, but if you haven’t, I would definitely recommend it. It’s such a fun movie with so much energy, and it satisfies my aggressive kid urges every time I see it. When I saw Buddy the Elf eat his spaghetti with maple syrup, let me tell you, it changed my life.

8-Bit Christmas. This movie actually came out relatively recently, but my family and I have seen it at least five times. It gets a laugh out of me every time, too! This movie is very reminiscent of the 1980’s movie, ‘A Christmas Story Christmas’, although in my opinion, better.

I hope you’ll like these movies, if you haven’t already seen them, and if you have any Christmas movies you want to share, I’d love to hear about them in the comments!

The Muppet Christmas Carol and Elf are available to check out from the Mission Viejo Library.

The BFG by Roald Dahl

The BFG is one of Roald Dahl’s most well-known books.  The story focuses on Sophie, an orphan who is captured by a giant and carried off to his cave.  Unlike most giants, this giant does not eat humans.  He is called the “Big Friendly Giant,” or the BFG.  Because he is not like other giants, the giants who live nearby have a strong disliking of him.  Still, the BFG behaves like other giants in some ways.  For example, he struggles with grammar.  He often mixes up words and phrases, such as “is I right or left” instead of “am I right or wrong,” or “human beans” instead of “human beings.”  I was amused by the BFG’s manner of speech.  He has many funny sayings in this book.

When Sophie learns that the evil giants are all going to London to eat some more “human beans,” including children, she decides that they must be stopped.  It turns out that the BFG is willing to help Sophie.  Together, they create a plan to make sure that the wicked giants never eat humans again.

I enjoyed many of the characters in this book.  It would be difficult to pinpoint a favorite, but if I had to choose one, I think it would be the BFG himself.  While he is not exactly the most articulate character in the book, he has a good heart and is actually very clever.  One of my favorite things about Roald Dahl’s stories are the unique words he creates.  “Scrumdiddlyumptious,” “swogswalloped,” and “bungswoggling” are just a few examples.  The language of this book is especially amusing when read aloud. 

I am extremely fond of this book.  When I read it the first time, I enjoyed it so much that I read it in one day.  For good reason, this is one of Roald Dahl’s most famous and popular books.  I would definitely recommend it to anyone who enjoys Dahl’s books.

The BFG by Roald Dahl is available to check out from the Mission Viejo Library. It is also available to download for free from Libby.

Book Review: Blue Nights by Joan Didion

Blue Nights by Joan Didion explores the death of the author’s adopted daughter, Quintana Roo, by discussing her experience with parenthood and growing old.

Didion recounts many moments in her life in her memoir, filling each chapter with bittersweet memories of her daughter. Didion also shares many personal moments in her life, ranging from her early childhood until this memoir’s publishing. In recalling both her daughter’s life and her own, Didion questions whether she made the right decisions in motherhood while simultaneously grieving the loss of her husband. 

What makes Didion’s novels different from other memoirs is the way she puts her memories into words. The way she recalls remnants of her life and shares her every thought is unique from other writers; her work is so personal, it’s as if we are both watching her grieve her loved ones while also feeling sympathy for her. The writing in Blue Nights constantly reminds us that healing does not happen overnight. Despite the emotional premise of this memoir, Didion’s writing style remains consistent with her other works: beautiful and detailed. She brings so much emotion to her writing and executes each scene poignantly without holding her feelings back. Her ability to be vulnerable yet precise in writing is beyond admirable, making each of her memoirs beautiful in its own distinctive way.

In all honesty, I was hesitant about reading this book after hearing how saddening the premise was. However, I later found myself in awe of this memoir because of how powerfully Didion describes grief. Blue Nights is a perfect representation of grieving because her feelings shine through each passage, but also because the novel itself is her healing process. Whether she is writing symbolically or being straightforward, her hard-hitting words left me empathizing with her for every page turned. Didion and her daughter shared a very loving relationship, and she even references Quintana Roo’s love for Malibu when talking about her daughter’s childhood and marriage. Didion’s admiration for her loved ones is apparent throughout her memoir, but she allows them to live on even after their passing. The battle that Didion faces with grief is more than inspiring, and her unique writing demonstrates that. 

Blue Nights by Joan Didion is available to check out from the Mission Viejo Library. It is also available to download for free on Libby.

Book Review: Vicious (Villains 1), by V.E. Schwab

Vicious is certainly a vicious book. A delicious thrilling book for young adults or older teens, this book takes a bunch of thrilling turns. To be honest I fell out of reading recently and held little interest, but the second I picked this up due to a recommendation, I couldn’t put it down until it was finished.

It starts out simple, two college students who dorm together, strangers who become friends- friends who learn about Extra Ordinaries together for the sake of a college thesis. It starts out easy enough until an obsession grows and the stakes get more dangerous as they try to figure out how really an EO is created.

Once they do they won’t stop until they create one themselves. It just really isn’t that easy. V.E. Scwab takes you on a roller coaster of emotions and action, each one more thrilling!

This book really had me awake through the night in the attempts to finish it and I think it had some amazing underlying messages, each character so complex. The different views and struggles of the characters and the escape from the ‘happily ever after’ theme was refreshing and so exciting and unique.

I highly recommend this book to any mature teenagers ready for another book full of action, dark themes, and an entrancing plot. Vicious is a must read and I can’t wait for you to get just as addicted!

Have a good read!

-Zayna

Vicious by V. E. Schwab is available to download for free from Libby.

Book Review: Jane Eyre

To be honest, the book, Jane Eyre was a really complicated read with its dense sentence structure, its use of old English language, and difficult vocabulary. It is also difficult trying to connect with the history background of the 19th century.

Overall, Jane Eyre’s personality is very straightforward and she has an independent and hopeful attitude that I really enjoyed, especially since she went through so many hardships when she was young (such as being abused by her aunt, surviving at the strict and harsh Lowood School).

From the beginning of the book to the end, you can see a lot of maturation and moral growth from Jane Eyre. She became much more independent and was seeking for someone to be loved unconditionally. Jane seeks for a feeling of identity and worth in addition to romantic connection.

Ever since her parents died, she was looking for love in her aunt, she found none. In her teachers, she found none. Until, she met Mr. Rochester while being governess at Thornfield who she seemed to connect with and understand.

She finally began to feel that unconditioned love, until she found out on the day of her wedding that Mr. Rochester still had a wife. She fled to the countryside and eventually found that she had cousins (St. John, Diana, and Mary) and her Uncle who had passed away had left her a fortune.

She goes back to Mr. Rochester, only to find that he is blind and has lost one of his hands (Thornfield was burned down and he got injured trying to save everyone from the fire that his wife had caused). Rochester professes his love for Jane Eyre, and they live pretty much happily ever after!

This story is a great read if you want to feel the deep emotions and feelings that Jane Eyre narrates. It also helps you understand more about the hypocrisy and injustice of the 19th century social classes.

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë is available to check out from the Mission Viejo Library. It is also available to download for free from Libby.