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Teen SRC 2019 – Algorithms to Live By by Brian Christian and Tom Griffiths

Algorithms to Live By by Brian Christian and Tom Griffiths

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Algorithms to Live By is a fascinating nonfiction read. As the title goes, authors Brian Christian and Tom Griffiths explore a selection of famous algorithms and procedures from computer science and apply them to aspects of our everyday lives. These aspects range from things such as scheduling your day, to knowing how long to search through a list for a best choice (which happens to be after you’ve gone through precisely 37% of the options).

As someone quite involved in computer science, this book was both familiar and new to me at the same time. The familiar nature of the book came from some of the algorithms the authors mentioned, which I had previously explored in academic studies and personal learning. However, one doesn’t need to have already known the computational concepts present to understand the book as the authors go over them in detail. What was new for me was their application, which provided a new perspective on computer science. Most of my computer programs are utilities, less concerned with being concepts that I could follow outside the field. Reading this book has shown me that computer science has much greater applications and usefulness to the world, not just in coding helpful applications but also being a guide for making better decisions in life.

I recommend this book to anyone looking to explore this new perspective, as well as to anyone interested in aspects of computer science.

Teen SRC 2019 – Dear Ally, How Do You Write a Book? by Ally Carter

Dear Ally, How Do You Write a Book? by Ally Carter

So… summer school has really picked up the pace and I haven’t been able to fully finish a book in AGES. Seriously, there are piles of books with bookmarks on my table as I write this… So sorry if this is the only review I get out in a while but that’s the best I can do for now; hopefully I finish one or two more stories this week!

I figure many of us have thought of writing a book much like the ones we immerse ourselves in and that’s exactly why this book caught my eye. This is an informative non-fiction book written by YA author Ally Carter about the process of writing a book. It’s geared towards aspiring young authors starting to discover their love of writing with many, many unanswered questions. Ally talks about writer’s block, persevering through the bad days, finding an agent/publisher and MANY other related topics, basically covering everything you need to know to begin your story. In addition to her own tips, she also adds advice from her many writer friends, authors we all know and love. To name a few: Cassandra Clare, Marie Lu, Soman Chainani, Marissa Meyer, the list just goes onnnn. This gives the book a lot more perspective and insight, especially on topics such as co-writing or genres Ally hasn’t touched on herself.

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Teen SRC 2019 – Every Falling Star by Sungju Lee

Every Falling Star - Lee, Sungju

Every Falling Star by Sungju Lee is the true story of how a boy escaped North Korea.

Sungju was living a comfortable and happy life when everything he had ever known was taken away from him. They were going on a ‘vacation’ but the tiny house in Gyeong-seong doesn’t seem like a holiday place. Amidst the beggars, public executions, and mass famines, Sungju is horrified by his new home. At first, he refuses to believe anything his classmates tell him, but little by little, he realizes they are telling the truth; his parents have been kicked out of Pyeongyang and he has been lied to his entire life. Soon, the little food and money his father had managed to bring with them is finished and his father tries to smuggle himself into China in order to find food. He promises to return, but when he doesn’t, and all they have had to eat for days is salt and water, Sungju’s mother decides to leave and find her way to Sungju’s aunt. She doesn’t dare bring him with her for fear of being caught and executed. At twelve years old, Sungju is left to find for himself.

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Teen SRC 2018- Alan Turing: The Enigma: The Book That Inspired the Film The Imitation Game by Andrew Hodges

The official book behind the film, The Imitation Game, this is a dramatic portrayal of the life and work of Alan Turing, one of Britain’s most extraordinary unsung heroes, and one of the world’s greatest innovators.
This is the official story that has inspired the British film, The Imitation Game, a nail-biting race against time following Alan Turing, the pioneer of modern-day computing and credited with cracking the German Enigma code, and his brilliant team at Britain’s top-secret code-breaking centre, Bletchley Park, during the darkest days of World War II. Turing, whose contributions and genius significantly shortened the war, saving thousands of lives, was the eventual victim of an unenlightened British establishment, but his work and legacy live on.
Prime Minister Gordon Brown released a statement of apology in 2009 on behalf of the British government for the “appalling” treatment of Turing for being part of the LGBTQ+ community.

This book may seem boring to many teenagers (there is a lot of pages), and I know it is not the usual fictional love/fantasy stories most girls/guys seem to gravitate towards during summer, but I promise you that this is the most hard-hitting, and beautiful book I have ever picked up. Alan Turing is a historical icon, and this book just made me know the man behind the machine.  This book is completely non-fiction but written in a way a character would be. I actually grew really close to Alan’s personality and felt his pain. This book is totally underrated, and I hope more people get the honour of reading his biography and see him in a different light.

Teen SRC 2018 – Astronomy by Basher Science

This Basher Science book is about Astronomy. It is an essential guide to almost everything  you want to know about the space.  The universe is an enormous place. Imagine it as the home of a crowd of cool cosmic characters, each with its own personality. There are tons of cool facts in this book and has cool stuff like Super massive Black Holes, Supernova, Galaxies, Planets, Dwarf Planets, and more.

Teen SRC 2018- A Long Walk To Water by Linda Sue Park

A Long Walk to Water: Based on a True Story

Nowadays, we don’t really struggle to live a good life, but it hasn’t always been like that. I read this book a quite long time ago, so here’s what the book says:

“A Long Walk to Water begins as two stories, told in alternating sections, about a girl in Sudan in 2008 and a boy in Sudan in 1985. The girl, Nya, is fetching water from a pond that is two hours’ walk from her home: she makes two trips to the pond every day. The boy, Salva, becomes one of the “lost boys” of Sudan, refugees who cover the African continent on foot as they search for their families and for a safe place to stay. Enduring every hardship from loneliness to attack by armed rebels to contact with killer lions and crocodiles, Salva is a survivor, and his story goes on to intersect with Nya’s in an astonishing and moving way.”

There are some stories that need to be told regardless of how sad or horrifying they might be. This is one of those stories. It shows the perspective of two kids fighting for a good life. 🙂

Teen SRC 2018- Almost Adulting by Arden Rose

Almost Adulting: All You Need to Know to Get It Together (Sort Of)

Honestly, I can sum the whole review up by: “ehhhhhhh…..” . It wasn’t the best book, neither was it the worst. But this book was a little repetitive and didn’t really teach me much (as stated on the cover: all you need to get it together (sort of) ). But I didn’t really find anything helpful. But one thing I absolutely loved about this book was the little pictures throughout the book. It added so much character! Plus they were so adorable! 😛 Honestly, until the end of the book, I had no idea the author was a youtuber. Yeah. A YOUTUBER!!!! So, this book is about how to manage life as an adult. Obviously, I am so far from being 18, sooo….anyways. I still took it because my friend recommended it. Sorry, but I didn’t really like it as much. 🙁   It talks about life choices and how to make a good choice in life. (Wait…those are the same things..right?)

I sat down to read this book, and surprisingly, finished it really fast (but then, of course, I’m also a very fast reader). But this book is one of those that you can finish in one sitting. I would give this 2 stars out of 5, and I’m being generous. :/

Teen SRC 2018 – Inside Apple by Adam Lashinsky

Adam Lashinsky’s Inside Apple is a compelling nonfiction that explores the extraordinarily unique operational methods of the titular technology company. Through powerful correlations between the strategies of Apple and those of other businesses, the author is successfully able to show readers the unique approach that the company takes to every aspect of their existence, from marketing to employment and even the meticulous design of product packaging. Having read and watched other works about Apple in the past, I found it truly fascinating to see how all the bits and pieces of knowledge that I previously had came together through the facts presented in this work. As a standalone nonfiction, the book is strong as well, allowing readers to explore the intricacies of business methods that work generically, don’t work at all, or work against all odds. I recommend reading this book if you are looking for something different to explore this summer or simply curious about Apple.

Teen SRC 2018 – Blood, Sweat, and Pixels by Jason Schreier

Image result for blood sweat and pixelsBlood, Sweat, and Pixels by Jason Schreier

Do you have dreams about being a video game developer? Have you ever wanted to make your own game? Do you flat-out just like hearing people rant about their day? If you answered yes to any of those questions, Blood, Sweat, and Pixels is the book for you! It tells the stories of how games such as Halo Wars and Destiny were made and how terrible making them was with each chapter being dedicated to one game.

Every story told in this book is nonfiction, but Jason Schreier does a great job at shaping it like a story, and not just an interview. Another great thing about this book is that there’s something here for everyone. Are you a gamer that only likes certain genres? Well no problem! This book includes games that range from shooters, to farming simulators, to massive role playing games. Not a gamer? Also no problem! This book is written well enough to keep the least tech-savvy person engaged.

Honestly, it’s just fun to hear how everything that could go wrong went wrong and I could easily connect to a lot of the stories. From deadlines that were barely met, to fixing something, only to mess something else up, this book was oddly relatable. Despite being a book about video games, I really think non-gamers would like this book just as much as a gamer would. So, whether you like them, hate them, strike them, or berate them, this book about games is exellent and I give it my rating of: a bottle of Mountain Dew Game Fuel/10-targeted at gamers, but can be enjoyed by anyone.

Teen Review – Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson

Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson

Some of you might be able to recognize this person instantly. (Either that, or you’ve read the title). He is Steve Jobs, inventor and creator. His path is not like those of other company founders, but, personally, I think Steve Jobs has the most inspirational story of all time.

Adopted at birth, Jobs ended up being fascinated with electronics like his adoptive father. After his schooling years, he and another Steve also interested in electronics, invented the Apple I, signalling the birth of Apple.

This book shows that, even if you don’t have a very famous background, you still can achieve something great in life, something that will be used by others for years to come.