Groves H.S. Advanced Placement U.S. History
A place where we try to sort out some history, hopefully learn to love it, and get a 5 on the AP test in the process.

Blog #47 – What are you reading?

February 6th 2013 in Blogs

Since we’re studying American writers from the turn of the century, I figured that now would be a good time to talk about stuff that we’re reading.  Your job is to share a book that you’re currently reading, have read recently, or plan to read soon.  Tell us why you picked it, and give us a brief summary of the book.  If you’re planning on reading a book, tell us more about why you want to read it / what you’ve heard about the book (essentially, what piqued your interest in it).   (The Jungle is NOT an option, but another book for another class is acceptable).

1. The Murder of the Century – Paul Collins — this book is a true story that reads like a quick crime novel.  Parts of a man’s body are found scattered around the New York City area, and this eventually leads to two suspects being tried for murder: the man’s mistress and the mistress’s new boyfriend.  The book goes into lots of detail about the competing New York tabloids, The Journal and the Herald, run by  Pulitzer and Hearst as they compete for readers w/ sensationalized headlines and gruesome stories.  It’s also the story of immigrants coming to America trying to find a better life but running afoul of the law.  Highly recommended. 

2. The Other Wes Moore – Wes Moore — a story of two young men named Wes Moore who both grew up blocks from each other in Baltimore in the 1970s and 80s.  Both lost their fathers at a young age.  One man was sent to military school when his mother wouldn’t put up with his skipping school and failing grades.  The other man got involved in the drug trade, especially crack as it became infamous in the 1980s.  He was involved in shooting an off-duty cop and is now serving life in prison.  The other Wes graduated from high school, went to college, became a Rhodes Scholar, and served in Afghanistan afterwards.  He regularly appears on MSNBC and is a child advocate.  The book came about because the soldier/college graduate wanted to find out more about his imprisoned namesake.  It’s a good book that explains the pressures of growing up a young, black male in today’s society. 

3.  Bertrand Russell in 90 Minutes – This is one in a series of books that helps someone learn more about philosophy in a short amount of time.  Bertrand Russell is an English philosopher who tried to show how math is logically sound in a book that took him ten years to write.  The problem was, about halfway through it, he discovered that math had a paradox within it that defied logic as he saw it.  So, he had to reclassify his illogical discovery and reconfigure his book.  Russell has written several books that I’ve read including The History of Western Philosophy, Why I Am Not a Christian, and The Problems with Philosophy.  While I was doing some research on Russell, I also discovered a graphic novel about him called Logocomix, so I’m going to be reading that book too as soon as I get it. 

You can list one, two or as many books as you want.  The word minimum is 200 words, so please have this done by Friday night at midnight (February 8. 2013).   Thanks.

 


69 comments to...
“Blog #47 – What are you reading?”

NOAH M. TURNER

Before I begin my blog I would like to thank Mr. Wickersham for making this blog easy, it’s been a long week, thank you. Now I was going to talk about a book I read sort of recently but as I was skimming through the passages Mr. W entered below the directions, I couldn’t help but to recognize something familiar, and it was the Other Wes Moore book; I can’t exactly recall were from but I believe it was the radio or something, awhile back probable at least a year ago, and it was him talking about his life story, the one he shares in the book, and I found it quite interesting that I ran into it again. I don’t know if I personally will read the book but I do find his story interesting and I understand the significance of the story. I agree with his views and I think it’s good what is trying to do inner city societies that are mostly black. I do think we (people in better situations) need to pay attention to these people’s needs because a lot of these kids aren’t provided a fair chance from education to home life. I believe there are ways to make their situations better to help end these vicious cycles. And I think you could describe a lot of these youth as trapped and it remains me a little bit of how the immigrants were trapped in The Jungle and I realize being trapped is a terrible thing and these things are something very hard to escape from.



Sara Keebler

The book that I read recently that is my favorite book ever was The Perks of Being a Wallflower. It’s a book that is written in a letterform and the letters are being sent from “Charlie” who tells someone we don’t know about his life almost everyday. He tells all of his experiences about school, life, and love. It’s interesting to read because sometimes I could relate to it and I felt connected to him in some sort of way. It was really interesting and emotional at the same time. I actually cried probably 50 times while reading it. The book tells us about his struggles at the beginning of high school and how by the end of his freshmen year he had new friends and he finally loved life after having a hard year. He also realizes a lot of things while writing these “letters”. He finally realized what his aunt would do to him when he was younger and why her death was so emotional for him. He deals with things that other teenagers may have to deal with and it can help people through different situations. Its also interesting to hear all of this stuff from a kids point of view, it makes the book much more relatable.



Monique H.

I’m going to write about Ruby Red, by Kerstin Gier. I picked this book because I have already read it, and I think that it’s very well written. The book was originally written in German, but the English translation doesn’t feel awkward at all. The book takes place in England, and focuses on the life of a 16-year old girl named Gwyneth Shepherd. Gwyneth is mostly normal, other than the fact that she can see ghosts and some mythical creatures, although, her family is not normal. Her grandmother can foretell the future, and her cousin Charlotte has been special since birth, because she was born with the time-traveling gene. While everyone was waiting for Charlotte to time-travel any day now, Gwyneth starts to feel dizzy, and while she’s in her history classes, suddenly disappears into thin air. She discovers that she can time-travel. She soon finds out that there is currently only one other time traveler her age, named Gideon. Together, they must find other time-travelers in the past for the chronograph, which will reveal a secret when opened. There are two other books in the series, Sapphire Blue, and Emerald Green. Sapphire Blue has already come out, and Emerald Green should be coming out soon.



Becky S.

One of my favorite authors of American literature (my favorite genre) is Pulitzer Prize winner John Steinbeck. After reading his book, Grapes of Wrath, in 7th grade, I fell in love. This school year, I decided to look into some of his other works and read a later novel by him called The Winter of Our Discontent, published in 1961. The novel follows Ethan Allen Hawley who, while once belonging to the aristocracy, his late father lost his family’s wealth and Ethan has ever since been working as a grocery store clerk. His wife and children resent their social and economic situation and Ethan struggles to maintain his high moral code in a corrupt society. When an opportunity arises for Ethan to better his family’s economic position, he considers briefly ignoring his morals. For me, this novel was fascinating because of Steinbeck’s use of very personal first-person perspective. The plot in itself is not the particularly interesting, but rather, it is Ethan’s enthralling inner dialogue that draws the reader in. The most interesting aspect of Ethan’s character was his unorthodox view of the world. He does not resent his economic position, but succumbs to the will of his family. For practically every character and situation that occurs in the novel, Ethan has a smart and witty insight that continues to draw the reader in.



Elizabeth Lohr

The most recent book that I read was The Mark of Athena by Rick Riordan. It’s a fairly easy read, but I enjoyed every page of it. I always found the topic of Greek Mythology to be particularly interesting, which is partly why I chose to read the book. Another reason is because when I was in about fourth grade, I did battle of the books. One of the choices was The Lighting Thief. Since reading that, I was ecstatic to find out it was a series. I was a little sad when I finished the last book, but a few years later he wrote The Lost Hero, that combined all of the Greek Mythology elements I knew from the other books into a new series. In The Mark of Athena (the third book in The Lost Hero series), Percy Jackson, Annabeth Chase and the likes can be found again fighting off monsters, this time with a new element. Not only are Greeks found in this book, but there are many Roman gods found as well. I liked seeing the Roman, as well as the Greek side of gods. For example, Ares is known as the war god in his Greek form, and is usually very argumentative and not all that commendable. However, his Roman form, Mars, is generally more respected and much less rash in character. Overall, I thought this book to be fast-paced and fun, while having some interesting facts about Roman and Greek gods.



Kate Voigt

The most recent book that I finished was called Sharks and Boys ( a cliche title for a less than cliche book). This was about Enid and her seven friends being trapped on a raft in the Atlantic ocean for six days. The book began on dry shore, discussing the breakup of Enid and her boyfriend Wick. Enid, sick and heartbroken, follows Wick, her brother, and several of his guy friends onto their boat. The boat is caught in a storm, and one of the friends is hurt badly during the chaos and dies later on the raft. His twin brother, crazed with seawater consumption, leaps into shark infested waters, thinking he sees the coast guard. The remaining six slowly dehydrate, there bodies and minds dissolving . This book wasn’t as descriptive as other survival stories, but it really gave a sense of the emptiness that being stranded comes with. The author uses very well put adjectives, nouns and adverbs. Even though the group is eventually rescued, this book has you hoping for them the whole time, even swelling with the emotions like the storm that started it all. This book was a lot like every other book I read, but in the end, turned out to be something to enjoy as well as learn from.



Cameron_S.

So as many people know I am a photographer and most of the things I read or watch are about photography. I’m really interested in the traditional photography methods that are decaying today, such as photojournalism, analog cameras and, generally very timeworn processes. So I like to look at photographers like Ansel Adams, Henri Cartier-Bresson and, Eadweard Muybridge. So it was absolutely natural for me to read Ansel Adams’ book Born Free and Equal. The book is a compilation of Photos and stories describing the life of the Japanese in Manzanar, a camp where the incarcerated Japanese would be extradited during wartime. Adams’ opinions must have been extremely radical and uncommon; he never described the prisoners as Japanese only describing them as American, knowing the problems of prejudice America has gone through, I admire Adams’ stance on this issue and nerve to publish this exposé. Photographic journalism like this story make me see how photojournalism is a dying art, it pities me, no more great war time photographers, no more Lewis Hines, and the reason for this is the current accessibility of great camera equipment, Smart phones, the media and, social media are all destroying this profession. There are no more powerful images out of war scenes, that are reflected on long after the war, there is a constant stream of photographs and videos streaming out of our war zones, You could not name one photo out of the current wars the encapsulates its entirety. Old photos like the Soldiers raising the flag on Iwo Jima and the photo of the sailor on victory day in Times Square, we just don’t see images like that anymore.



Julia Berthel

The book that I am currently reading is The Help by Kathryn Stockett, which I have been reading on and off for months. This is one of my favorite books, but it seems that every time I start getting back into reading again I have to go do something else. I have read other books while reading The Help, but The Help was my favorite book that I have read recently, if ever, so that is why it is the subject of my blog post. This book is a fiction novel that takes place in Jackson, Mississippi in the 1960s. I like that the book includes actual historical figures but uses fictional characters to illustrate society in the South during the Civil Rights Movement. I find it particularly touching that the assassination of Medger Evers was included in the book, because I actually know Mrs. Evers, who is a friend of my grandparents. Yes, my grandparents have lots of famous friends. Anyway, I also find the book gripping because it is narrated by three different characters –Skeeter, a young journalist, Minnie, a strong-willed maid, and Aibileen, a kind and thoughtful maid. It is interesting to see the same situation from the viewpoint of the maid and from the viewpoint of the wealthy white women. The Help captures society at a time where changes were beginning to be made, while highlighting the racism and unfairness that were still very prominent. In addition to the history, Kathryn Stockett creates a suspenseful story that has you eagerly waiting to read what happens next, and characters that are lovable and realistic. I love this book and I believe that The Help is a book worth reading.



Seth Rosen

I have just finished listening to the most magnificent book. It was the audio book version of 50 Shades of Grey narrated by Gilbert Gottfried. I had to ask my mom about most of the vocabulary words that were mentioned with in the first ten pages. She got mad at me and told me never to use those words again. I remember Gilbert from when he did Aladdin, and I thought this was a story about how his character, the parrot, got his colors. Instead I learned lots of colorful vocabulary and how to please a woman. You please a woman by taking her out to a nice movie (not an action film, unless it has Ryan Gosling or a shirtless Chris Hemsworth), then dropping her off at her house and never call her again. The only time you should call her is if you need money, or you are feeling very lonely. According to my mom, the book is the most disgusting thing to have ever been published. She also wanted to know how I found the book. I told her it was in the bottom of my sister’s closet, then she stormed off into the sunset never to be seen again. Since I have the vocabulary of a five year old I did not understand most of the book. I just laughed whenever Gilbert made high squealing sounds. Overall, the book was decent, but nothing to write home about. 3.25/10.



Kayla Kapen

I have read several novels recently, but there is one that sticks out in my mind is the one of the “great American novels”, To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. I read it last year for my Honors English class. I have to be honest, I thought that I would hate the book because I was forced to read it and I would have to have class discussions on it but it turns out that I fell in love with it. I love that most of the book is shown from a little girl’s point of view. The book shows an accurate portrayal of the 1930s. The main issue is that a black man, named Tom Robinson, has been accused of raping a white woman. One of the main characters, Atticus Finch, is a powerful white lawyer in the community and agrees to defend Tom in court. This would be considered a controversy during that time because just about everyone did not consider black people as equals but Atticus did see innocence in Tom which is why he agreed to defend him. Although during the trial nothing that the accuser’s family is saying adds up, the jury still sends him to prison. After the trial Tom escapes prison but is later shot to death. Even the title of the novel shows innocence because the title comes from the quote that “it is a sin to kill a mockingbird”, because they are innocent creatures who wouldn’t hurt anyone. This analogy can be used for Tom Robinson because there is no purpose in killing an innocent man.



Chris Coburn

A book I finished reading a few weeks ago was The Alienist by Caleb Carr. The book details life in New York City in the early 1900’s. It follows Dr. Laszo Kreizler and John Moore, Kreizler being one of the first psychologists in the U.S and the world. Dr. Kreizler observes and treats mentally ill patients in houses similar to Jane Addams Hull House. At the beginning of the book, Moore is awoken to come to a crime scene where a young Italian boy was horrifically mutilated. What was weird is the boy was dressed up as a girl and used as a male prostitute. The story unfolds with similar killings as Moore, Kreizler and their team work with the New York Police to find the immigrant-boy-prostitute serial killer. The New York Police Department is lead by Theodore Roosevelt (Yes, the future president). It was a good book because it examined the plights of immigrant families in New York during the 1900’s. It also showed the developing stages of early phycology in the city and with mentally ill patients. The book interested me because it showed the first use of deductive reasoning and psychological evidence in solving a mystery. It also interested me because a similar doctor and serial killer actually existed in New York in this time. Also the author, Caleb Carr, appeared in the movies we watched in class about New York as the guy with the huge mullet. Apparently he is a leading historian and writer on New York City (and a historian on 80’s hair styles.)



Matt Gallo

To be honest, I haven’t really read a novel in about 3 months. But if this blog was about backs of DVD cases, or descriptions of shows on Netflix, I’d have this covered. But it’s not so I guess I’ll just have to type about a book that I’ve been meaning to read- The Serpent’s Shadow. It’s part of the Kane chronicle series. Rick Riordan is one of my top 15 favorite authors. I first heard of him in fourth grade when The Lightning Thief came out. And I had to read the entire series; but when that ended I had to shift to another of his series about mythology and I landed on the Kane Chronicles. This series is about two siblings who hurdle themselves into a world of Egyptian mythology. They also have a pet Baboon that likes to play basketball. I’m pretty sure that the second book left off with a cliff hanger, but its been 6 months since I read it so I’m not totally sure. But overall I think that the series is worth reading. Well everything that is written by Rick Riordan is worth reading; at least to me. I’d recommend this book and/or series in a heartbeat.



Shashank R.

Since ive actually finished a Personal Reading book for American Lit, (Probs about the first time ive read a book cover to cover in a really long time) The book that I Read is called LEGEND, by Marie Lu. This book is a Dystopian novel which takes place sometime in the future of the United states. The main character in the book is a kid name Day, who is a vigilante of the Republic of California (Now a separate sovereign nation) who is under persecution for numerous felonies. At the age of 10 in the Nation, there is something called “The Trial” which is a big test, which basically dictates the rest of your life and where you end up. Day’s score on the trial was a straight Fail, and was sent to a labor camp. This book switches off from The other aspect of the Nation, as there is a Girl named June who got a perfect score on her trail and attends the top college in the Nation and is studying ahead of her class. This book shows in a thrilling sense the Conspiracy, Mystery, Corruption, of this Nation, and also shows core morals of these characters as their paths cross each other’s. GREAT BOOK, I highly recommend this book to you if you are interested in this Dystopian feel of government and the future (Which I clearly am). And also another book That I want to read, and I recommend to you too if you haven’t heard of it yet is called “The Commonwealth of Belle Isle”. This book tells the story of a person who lives in belle isle if this proposed business plan goes through (In real life). It shows belle isle being revitalized with a BILLON dollar project funded by investors. They show how it would act as a city state, and details around citizenship and economy. It also shows how it would act as “The TIGER of the west” referring to a Singapore type land, but a city state of the U.S. But the most interesting aspect is how it talks about the economic and political impact it would have on the city of Detroit. It shows drawings and diagrams of what this island would like too. Really Intriguing stuff, Look it up on google and go to the website, and if you can order the book because I want to. “The Commonwealth of Belle isle”



Jenna Weed

Over Thanksgiving break, I finally had the chance to read “The Perks of Being A Wallflower”. Throughout the summer, I saw commercials for the movie and thought it looked really inspiring. When I found out it was a book, I was really excited and anxious to start it. Many friends also told me it was a really great book to read. School started and I got busy, so I put it off for a good time. At the end of September, I went to a pre-showing of the film at with my friends and loved the movie. Finally, I read it and loved the book even more. I’m not a fan of seeing the movie first, but I think if I didn’t see the movie, I wouldn’t have understood the ending as well. The story is about a freshman boy, who goes by Charlie, that just started high school and doesn’t have many friends. He has had troubles in his childhood that has impacted his growth as a teenager and prevented him from having many friends. However, in high school Charlie meets a nice, fun group of seniors who take him under their wings. He learns to have fun and to finally confront and open himself up to his past. It was a really great book that I highly suggest reading it because Charlie’s outlook on life is so different from mine and I find interesting to see from his perspective. The book is very inspiring, but also very upsetting because it makes a reader realize that some people’s lives are so messed up, especially at young ages, and many don’t even know anything is wrong.



Isabella Gutierrez

The book that I am currently reading is The Future of Us by Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler. I received the book for Christmas and so far have loved it. Entertainment weekly says its “Back to the Future meets the Social Network” The story is written from the point of view of Emma and her best guy friend Josh. When Emma receives a new computer her and her next door neighbor Josh log on to discover the technology. They soon discover the website Facebook from the future. However it is 1996 and it hasn’t been discovered yet so they are the only ones who know about it. As they look more and more into the website they discover even more about their future selfs and the lives/ decisions they will have and make in the future. Emma realizes that her future self is not happy and her life isn’t at all what she pictured what it would be She soon discovers that the decisions she makes now as a high school junior also affect her life in statuses on Facebook. She soon realizes that by changes she makes now can change the way her life can be in the future. But one simple mistake could change her entire life forever.

I like how it incorporates modern day technology into a world from the past.i am really enjoying the book and I recommend it as it is a good read.



Ethan Carrick

In light of being in a history class, I decided to write about a somewhat historical book. Although, it is a fictional book, it’s about WWII. It is called Soldier X , and by: Don Wulffson. Soldier X is about a man named Erik Brandit, who preferred being called X, who lived in Seattle, Washington. He became a history teacher after fighting and his students would ask him about his story. He told them only that he had lost his arm to machine-gun bullet fire, for he had a prosthetic arm. He never told his students that during the Second World War that he was fighting for the Germans. The author’s note states, “This is a work of fiction based on the lives of two very remarkable people. Though names, dates, and places have been altered whenever necessary, the story is not only true, but also loosely parallels the experience of an estimated thirty thousand German soldiers during World War II on the Easter Front. A great many were trapped behind Russian lines. Some of the wounded were given attention; others were literally thrown out of Russian hospitals and left to die. A great many – wounded or not – were executed; some were imprisoned and enslaved. A few were able to blend into Russian society or flee to neutral, friendly nations”. This story is graphic so be warned of what you might read.



Aaron Walt

The book I have read most recently is called I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell. It is a raunchy book written by a guy named Tucker Max. Basically, the whole thing is about how much of a dbag he is through college. He tells stories of his experiences, which often involve women, alcohol and making fun of people. It’s the type of book that makes you lose faith in humanity and questions the existence of a higher bring, yet makes you laugh until you cry. I was going to describe one of my stories from the book, until I remembered I was writing this for a school report and thought about how much of an idiot I am. At this point, I am trying to figure out how to describe this book in a noble and sophisticated way, despite the fact that this book is quite the opposite. Even people who say they hate the book after reading the first chapter soon realize that they cannot put it down. You just have to see what Tucker could do in a situation to make it worse. (Hint: Get drunk) I don’t want to say you get emotionally invested in the book, but when he is running from the police with no pants on, you have to feel a little sympathy. In conclusion, if you enjoy listening to the tales of a terrible human being and enjoy feeling like you are a bad person, this is the book for you.



Maria Roma

The book that I’m currently in the middle of is called Born to Run, by Christopher McDougall. I was introduced to this book by my friend Erica- a former APUSH student- who runs cross country with me. A couple of weeks ago, she and I were on a run and we began to talk about books that we had been reading. As soon as this topic came up, she started to talk about this book, and she talked and talked about all sorts of things she’d learned from this book. She had enough interesting anecdotes that she was able to talk throughout our entire run (which was a pretty long time). Her enthusiasm toward this book is what inspired me to begin reading it. I’m not finished reading it yet, but from what I’ve read so far, I can tell why she was so passionate about it. The book is a memoir from the point of view of the author, Christopher McDougall, a sports magazine writer and running enthusiast, as he takes a huge journey. His journey begins when he has a strange foot injury. This injury makes him wonder why humans should get injured so frequently from running if running is something that is perfectly natural. This idea is what sends him off on this venture, where he ends up meeting a variety of different people, including a small tribe that lives in the remote parts of Mexico. I would recommend this book to anyone interested in running, because it attempts to answer a question that all runners have asked. Not only that, but the book also has a lot of interesting pieces of information in it and it tells the stories of many amazing people who aren’t well known.



J'Laan Pittman

I am currently reading a book called A Short History of Everything by Bill Bryson. It literally details everything about almost everything from the creation of the earth to the creation of us. I personally thought this book would be a bore (I had received it as a Christmas present) but it is proving quite interesting. It reads like a mixture of a science book and a history book, though more exciting. I am just starting the book but I believe that it will be a good one.
I am also reading a Stephen King called The Dome. It is about a rural town that suddenly is trapped by a dome that has descended from the sky. The dome is completely clear, but tough. Everything that comes into contact with it are either hurt or killed. The rest of the book deals with how the town copes with being cut off from the rest of the world. They have corruption within their government and secrets hidden away, so it is interesting to see how close quarters can make all of that rise out of the dark. The book isn’t necessarily scary in a gore way but in a sociological way. The events in the book detail things that can happen to any town/group of people when faced with a devastating event. I think books like that are very interesting. If you comparing your life or people’s lives around you to a made up town, how close to peril would you be?



Amber Abboud

The most recent book I’ve read last week was “The Five People You Meet In Heaven” by Mitch Albom. It’s about an old man named Eddie who had died, and in heaven he spoke to five people who explained to him his life. Apparently this book was so good in it’s heyday it became a movie. I didn’t know this when I initially read it. I just picked it because I like to read fiction books. Anyway, the book was pretty good. It’s an eye-opener but not my all time favorite.
I also read two other books last week. They were “Room” by Emma Donahue and “Animal Farm” by George Orwell. “Room” was about a girl who was kidnapped at the age of nineteen, and had been held captive for seven years in a 12×12 building. With of the help of her five-year-old son Jack (whom her kidnapper helped create) they escape. The story is told from Jack’s point of view. And it’s a pretty difficult to narrate a book from a little boy’s perspective and not make it sound stupid. But the author wrote it wonderfully. Jack had never been in the outside world once in his whole life. Reading about his new experiences really made you stop and think about the world, and appreciate how well you have it off.



Marie Suehrer

I most recently have read two books, besides the Jungle, both of which were for school. For English class we had to read The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain. The book narrates the trip of a young white boy who ran away from his abusive father after having faked his own death together with a runaway slave from the plantation he was living on. They come across many difficult times, especially after they head south after a storm got them off their route. Huck, the young boy, and Jim, the slave, meet many different people who represent the southern way of life. Social restraint and narrow-mindedness are the two most remarkable “values” of a typical southerner. But with their friendship and strength, Huck and Jim can make it safely to a happy end, where Jim becomes free and Huck goes to live again with the widow and learns his father has died. Besides this book, i also read The Reader by Bernhard Schlink for German school. The story takes place from 1958 until about 1995 in Germany. A fifteen year old boy, becomes sick with icterus and has to throw up on his way home from school. A women, in her late 30′s, finds him in front of her apartment house and helps him out by washing him up and taking him home. After having spent three months in bed, Michael, the boy, goes back to thank the lady who has helped him. After several visits, they begin an affair which lasts not even half a year. Everyday after school, Michael now goes to see Hanna and as part of their affair reads to her. One day, Hanna is gone without a trace. Michael goes on with his regular life and begins his law studies. On behalf of an extracurricular seminar on Concentration Camps, Michael and a few other students attend a law trial against, concentration camp overseers. Shockingly Michael finds Hanna as one of the accused. After more and more days in court Michael puts all the pieces together to learn Hanna is illiterate, which she will not admit for her life. Although if she had done it, her punishment would have not by far been so severe. She is imprisoned for life. Knowing how much she loved to listen to stories, Michael records out loud readings on cassettes and sends them to her. After several years have passed, Hanna starts to learn how to write and read herself. Many more years pass and then the year comes, where her imprisonment is over. Yet she commits suicide on her last day in prison. With her testament and an old tin can containing all of hanna’s money Michael travels to New York to meet with the only surviving women of a concentration camp’s church fire. She will not accept the money, as it was Hanna’s will. She does keep the tin can, although she says it is not the one that belonged to her. Michael, has not been able to cope with the loss of Hanna for many years. But finally he visits her grace for once. Lastly, Michael says he will write down this story now, to know how he can deal with it. I enjoyed The Reader very much, while Huck Finn was not one of the best books I had ever read, because even though it seemed like 1958 was a long time ago, the story and everything around it seem very modern, and i felt like I was living in side the story almost.



Maggie Hammond

In the last six months, my favorite book that I have read was It’s Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vizzini. This is a young adult fiction book, but based off of Vizzin’s life. The main protagonist in this book is Craig, a freshman at the most prestigious school in all of New York. He had worked all of 8th grade year to study for the entrance test, and now that he is at the school, the over whelming pressure is starting to get to him. He says he hasn’t been the same sense the end of eighth grade where everything seemed so care free and easy, and he is now visiting a psychiatrist every week and taking medication because of his growing depression. Craig is not in a good place in his life. He is surrounded by bad influences, his friends, who all do drugs and achieve great grades without even trying. This leads to Craig going into a deep depression, and even thinking about suicide. One night when feeling particularly bad after feeling all the school work crushing him down; he plans his suicide, every detail from the exit of his house to his last breath. But right before he goes to open the door of his house to leave it for the last time, he makes the fateful call to 1-800-SUICIDE, and gets sent to a mental institution at the local hospital. This book opened my mind to the horrors of teenage depression, and it made me realize that depression is a large problem, and should not be romanticized. Craig slowly comes out of his depression by finding love and helpful friends, and learns that there are more important things in life than an A on the recent math test, and that it’s most important to do what you really love in life. I highly recommend this book to anyone of all ages and genders, because it shows the growing struggles of crumbling pressures on teenagers in this modern society, and how a little love can go a long way.



Melissa Hall

A book that I recently just finished reading was Looking for Alaska by John Green. I had not heard a lot about this book but for summer reading this past year we had an option to read another one of this author’s books. His writing was a different type of style that I had never been exposed to, and although it seemed foreign to me, there was something that I liked about it. He really went into detail about what the characters were thinking and he makes you feel like you are in the story along with them. I also had heard from other teens my age how much they enjoyed it, and how “it was the most AMAZING book ever”. Basically, it is about a boy named Miles Halters (“Pudge”) who has gone to seek the “Great Perhaps” which one of his favorite poets, Francois Rabelais once said. This meant he was going to travel to culver Creek Boarding School where he experiences some things that he could never even imagine. He finds friends that are always looking for a way to get into trouble and seeking adventure. The group of friends are especially known for their hilarious pranks, and sneaking out late at night. Someone that Miles especially grows a bond with is the prettiest, funniest, messed up girl he has ever met, named Alaska Young. Alaska is one of the craziest kids at this school and finds a way to drag Miles into almost everything (good and bad). During all their crazy adventures Miles very soon realizes how much he loves Alaska. The climax of the novel is something I would of never saw coming and everything that happens afterward just pulls you in more. After reading this book I learned to really appreciate John Green’s writing style because the emotions the characters are feeling start to rub off on you. His writing is meaningful, but at the same time doesn’t drag on. I highly recommend this book for all teens, and you will definitely not regret reading it!



Oliver Hartzell

The last book I read (about 6 months ago) was The Future of Us by Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler. This fine story takes place in 1996.The main characters are Emma and Josh, who were best friends until their relationship got awkward a few months before. They don’t talk for a few months but then Josh’s family receives an American Online CD-ROM. They decide to give it to Emma, for her to use on her new computer. They soon discover their internet profile of themselves on Facebook 15 years into the future. They look at their spouses, homes, careers, and status updates but, it’s not what they expected to find. Every time they refresh the page, their futures change. Every decision they make in the present causes a ripple effect in their future lives. Sort of like the Butterfly Effect. As they grapple with the ups and downs of what their future lives hold, they’re forced to confront what they are doing right and wrong in the present. While this is happening, they are also trying to rebuild their once great relationship to the way it was, back when they were best friends. This story will make you realize how lame people were in the 90’s, be careful when reading it.



Laine Boitos

The book that I read most recently was the Scarlet Letter. Although this book was assigned for my English class, I ended up really liking it. It explores the flaws of human nature and the readiness of sin within a religious community. The main character, Hester Prynne, has a child out of wedlock, with the minister of the town. She is placed on a scaffold in front of the whole town, and ordered to wear an embroidered scarlet letter on her breast at all times. Dimmesdale cannot tell the Puritan community about the sin that he committed, because he would then risk the exile of all of his congregation. Ultimately, he loves religion more than he loves Hester. Their daughter, Pearl, grows to be a spiteful but beautiful young girl. She is very much aware of the fact that her father is Dimmesdale. His guilt caused by containing this massive sin, has begun to eat him alive. Physically he is weakening, not to mention he is losing his spiritual faith rapidly. In the end of the novel, Hester reconciles with Dimmesdale and he admits to the town that he is Pearl’s father. The other book that I recently read was Walden. This book is very philosophical, as it explores Henry Thoreau’s personal experiences while living in solitude within the woods. He explains his views on human nature, and how all people should live their lives self-righteously. He follows the beliefs of transcendental ism and the idea that nature can help one become better in tune with himself. He also states that there are only four necessities of life: food, clothing, fuel, and shelter. With these three things, any man can live a comfortable life. According to Thoreau, there is no need for excesses in life because they only cause a burden to man. Life can be lived much more simply if individuals would only rely on the bare minimum. Although many readers dislike Walden, I found it to be an interesting first-hand account of how solitude can create self-knowledge.



Anne

The one book I think anyone can relate to is Three Bags Full, a crime mystery by Leonie Swann (Swann, I might add, is German). This novel is an exploration of the confusion of life, loyalty, solving a problem when you don’t have all the information to do so, and, of course, munching on grass.
If you are a sheep, your life is simple. You sleep in a barn, and are herded outside every day by a sheepdog to graze all you can. Every once in awhile you are shorn or are read a book (regardless of the fact that you don’t really understand what’s going on in it). Though it is disappointing when your shepherd, George Glenn, wears wool from other flocks rather than that of his own. Regardless, he has done much for you, like feeding you. Needless to say it is a shock to find George dead on the grass with a spade through his middle; thus you decide to find the murderer (and immediately suspect the local butcher, who smells like death). After all, it is the least you could do for him.
And so begins the story of anthropomorphic detective sheep.
Besides the plot, this novel comes with a flipbook of a sheep jumping and sometimes looking surprised made up of the corners of the pages. If ever you get distracted from reading, you only need flip through the pages very quickly and you will find that jumping sheep.

Of course, besides this novel and House of Leaves and its epic footnotes, the only thing that should really be read is science fiction. For example, (just off the top of my head) Orson Scott Card. Besides his best-known novel, Ender’s Game and its multitude of sequels, Card writes other science fiction novels as well as fantasy. (Fantasy is acceptable, by the way, if you can find a good science fiction author, because it is likely that he or she also writes fantasy. Also off the top of my head: Asimov and Ursula K. LeGuin.)
One of the more curious stories Card has written is made up of the novel called Empire and its sequel Hidden Empire. This novel entails the assassination of an anonymous president sometime in the near future of America. U.S. Army Major Reuben Malich and Captain Bartholomew Coleman are both former Special Agents working at the Pentagon. They are brought into the middle of the issue when it appears that a radical leftist army calling itself the Progressive Restoration is calling for a Civil War. Exciting action ensues when they bring out futuristic mechanical toys in New York City. In general there is quite a bit of opposition between the Left and Right parties spurring the War, though I forget precisely why.
In the background, Averell Torrent rises in political stature. Torrent was Malich’s professor at Princeton and had risen to the position of National Security Adviser. In the scare of a Civil War, Torrent is eventually unanimously voted President (though admittedly, as Card’s books tend to be, filled with gambit roulette). Malich is wary of him from what Torrent had preached at Princeton—which was something along the lines of “America won’t be remembered as a republic”. There were quite a few references to Rome, in fact.

I disclaim, by the way, the bias for science fiction. Of course there are other good genres out there; I enjoyed Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, a set of musings by Annie Dillard; I enjoyed The Jungle as well, I suppose, as for as one could enjoy it. I have found, however, that science fiction authors come up with more convincing plots than authors who write in other genres.



Michael Trease

A novel I plan to read soon is Thomas Harris’ Red Dragon. This novel caught my interest after watching the Red Dragon film (2002) directed by Brett Ratner. In The Red Dragon, FBI detective Will Graham must track down the infamous serial killer (known for killing entire families at a time) Frances Dolarhyde (nicknamed the “Tooth Fairy” due to the strange bite marks he leaves on his victims). However, Graham must seek the help of the deranged former psychiatrist Hannibal Lecter (nicknamed “Hannibal the Cannibal”), a patient of a highly secure mental institution, if he hopes to have any chance in catching the devious Tooth Fairy. There are many aspects of the storyline that ignite my interest. One is what could possibly have been going on in the unstable mind of Hannibal Lecter, an incredibly intelligent, polite, and seemingly behaved being. Another aspect of the storyline that greatly intrigued me was the Tooth Fairy’s obsession with the William Blake painting “The Great Red Dragon and the Woman Clothed in Sun” depicting a massive, demonic dragon preparing to devour a woman. While raping the housewife of the family, the Tooth Fairy had placed shards of glass over the eyes of the deceased family members (he had murdered the rest of the family before proceeding to the housewife) and lined them up to watch him in the act. He thought that the “Great Red Dragon” needed an awestruck “audience”. What intrigues me about this is what possible thoughts could be going on in the mind of the Tooth Fairy while committing these atrocities.



Jalen

A book that I have just finished reading is “Survivors: A Novel of the Coming Collapse”. The story is centered around a global economic collapse of the system, which forces people to go to extremes to stay alive. Andrew Laine, a US soldier stranded in Afghanistan, tries to find a way back home when all flights and ships back to America are suspended indefinitely. He encounters the danger and anarchy of a global collapse as he moves from the Middle East, through Europe, across to Latin America, then up to New Mexico. Another US serviceman, Ian Doyle, stationed in Arizona, tries to find a way to rescue his daughter who is stranded in the riot filled cities of the northeast. A group of 3 teenage orphans set out to find a home after their orphanage closes at the beginning of the collapse. Then there is Ignacio Garcia, a leader of a ruthless criminal army that is terrorizing New Mexico and Arizona. As all of the stories are strung together, the soldiers + their families, the orphans, and other families they meet on the way will make a last stand to the guerilla army that is racing their way.

I really liked this book because it provided an extremely life like situation of what could happen if our economy collapsed. Throughout the whole book, I would wonder to myself if I would be able to survive this horrific event. I go back and forth on whether I would be killed instantly from a mob or lead an army terrorizing the countryside. Probably the former. But it provided an in depth look at people’s decision making during a life and death crisis. The author was so vivid in his descriptions that it was hard to tell that this was really fiction at all. This book showed the human struggle through the rise and fall of humanity, which really made it a joy to read.



Amanda Burcroff

Since today was a snow day, I decided to finally begin reading one of the books taking up space on my bed, and it’s turned out to be a pretty interesting book. The book, Nexus, was written in 2002 by Mark Buchanan, a former editor of the renowned magazine Nature. The topic of Nexus is not the Google tablet, but networking, including social, information, financial, disease, and neural networks. Many people have heard of the “six degrees of separation”, the concept that you are connected to everyone on the planet through at most six “friends of friends” links. I first learned about this topic from a presentation that a former senior, Nick Resnick, gave about his research project and when I saw this book at the library I figured I would try to read it someday. It gives a mathematical background behind why we are so closely connected to people who seem so distant and provides a logical approach to solving networking problems. I’m not even 100 pages in and it already makes sense why crickets chirp and fireflies flash in unison. It’s honestly a very fascinating book and it is definitely worth reading for anyone who has an interest in the topic.



Jeremy Ellis

I cannot recall that last book I read because reading is not a hobby for me. I have read books other than school required books so im going to tell you about the most recent non required book I actually read. No sparknotes was used! The last book I read was Charlie St Cloud by Ben Sherwood. This book was inspiring to me because it taught me to believe. In the story, two brothers are in a car and get into a terrible accident. One brother sam, is instantly killed and the other brother, Charlie is brought back to life by an EMS member. When Charlie wakes up, he realizes his brother is no longer there. Charlie is blessed, although he lost his younger brother and best friend, he is able to magically still talk, play and see his brother. Every single day they met at a certain spot to play baseball together. This novel shows that if you lose someone near and dear to your heart that they are still with you every step of the way. In a way, i can relate to this. A few years ago I lost my best friend to cancer. Now, i cannot see him nor play with him but i know that through everything I do he is there watching and protecting me. The book made me to believe that he is there standing over me, being my guardian angle sent to guide me throughout my life. The same way Sam was to Charlie in the story. The producers made a movie up to with Zac Efron, and no Mr. Wickhershizzle, i did not just watch the movie… Much love, yours truly, Jerjuice



Eleni Kondak

Over the last year or so, I haven’t been able to read as much as I normally do. Part of that is school, and the other part is my overuse of the internet. I have, however, been able to get through a few books this year.
Over the late summer and into the fall, I got through a John Grisham book, The Testament. It was about the will of the 11th richest man in the world, Troy Phelan, who was married and divorced three time with half a dozen children and twice that or more grandchildren, but left his multi-billion dollar fortune to his illegitimate daughter: an elusive missionary in Brazil. Nate, an aspiring lawyer, but just getting gout of rehab for the third time, is sent to track her down while the late Phelan’s lawyer tries to hold things together in the States. I wanted to read this book because sometime last year I reread The Pelican Brief (I had tried to read it in sixth grade after I saw parts of the movie at my grandparent’s house, but couldn’t understand the plot) and I was absolutely riveted, so I thought it was worth it to try another one. I didn’t like this one as much, mostly because there was more law and less murder. But I like Grisham’s style of writing, and I plan to read more books by him when I have the time.



Zach Van Faussien

I am currently reading a book called The Racketeer by John Grisham. The book is about an ex-lawyer named Malcolm Bannister who is sentenced to ten years in prison for violation RICO laws. While in prison, Malcolm would help other prisoners with their cases. By doing this, he meets a man named Quinn Rucker, who was convicted for something involving drugs. During Quinn’s trial, his lawyer made a deal with the Judge, Raymond Fawcett. The deal was that in exchange for $100K, Judge Fawcett wouldn’t convict him. Fawcett ended up double crossing Quinn and convicting him. Malcolm and Quinn became very good friends in prison and when Quinn told him the story about Judge Fawcett, he told Malcolm that when he gets out of prison he would kill Judge Fawcett and get his money back. So Quinn escapes prison and a couple years later, Malcolm finds out that Judge Fawcett was murdered. Malcolm had been formulating his plan ever since he found out about Quinn’s revenge. Malcolm makes a deal with the gov’t, he tells them that Quinn is killer and Malcolm gets out of prison. That is as far as I have gotten. I chose to read this book because I talked to someone who was reading it and they summarized it for me. I have always liked books about crime and mystery



Alex Cross

The book that I want to read in the future is Perks of being a wallflower by Stephen Chbosky. This book is about what it is like to travel through the very difficult times of highschool. It also talks about family dramas, first dates, and making new friends. It is all about the hard days of what it is like to grow up in life. The narrator in the story is a kid of the name of Charlie. He goes about the book writing letters to an anonymous person. This is how he describes the situations and experiences he had throughout the story. The book takes place in a suburb of Pittsburgg during the 1990s. Charlie is a freshman in highschool and is the anonymous wallflower. In the beggining he is considered very shy and unpopular but as the story develops and as he goes about life in highschool I’m sure he will make new friends. This book is liked by highschool kids across the Country and is considered modern classic. What really intrigued me to read this book was one of my good friends. He loved the book and he doesn’t even read a lot. So I thought that I might like the book as well. I also wanted to read it because of the overall setting and characters in the novel. It appeals to me because I am in highschool and will probably go through the same hard times that Charlie the main character will have to go through as you read the novel. This book looks very interesting and I am really looking forward to read it:



Bridget LePine

I have recently finished reading the novel Room, by Emma Donoghue. This novel was a somewhat disturbing read. It is a story of a five-year-old called Jack, who lives in a single room (more like a Jail) with his Ma. To five-year-old Jack, Room is the entire world. It is where he was born and grew up; it’s where he lives with his Ma as they learn and read and eat and sleep and play. At night, his Ma shuts him safely in the wardrobe, where he is meant to be asleep when Old Nick visits. Room is home to Jack, but to Ma, it is the prison where Old Nick has held her captive for seven years. Ma wants more for Jack, and plans an elaborate escape plan. When the plan works out, Ma is surprised by how many challenges/obstacles there are still ahead of her. Jack needs a lot of patience and time to get used to the real-world and all of the new things he is experiencing. I recommend this book to anyone that is interested in shows like law and order, CSI, ect. This novel is similar to the real-life story of Jaycee Dugard.
** Here is a link that gives you a better understanding of the room the Ma and Jack lived in. http://www.roomthebook.com/inside/



Meredith Hawkins

The book I am currently reading is The Great Gatsby for my honors American literature class. Usually I’m not a fan of most of the books we read for school such as The Odyssey and Romeo and Juliet but Scott F. Fitzgerald writes this book in a very modern and easy to understand way. I’m only about half way through the book but it’s starting to get very juicy and makes me want to read more. The Great Gatsby takes place in New York in the 1920s and is narrated by a character named Nick. The book tells the story of how Nick’s new friend and neighbor, Gatsby, is in love with his cousin Daisy but Daisy is already married to a brute who peaked in high school. I really like this book because the plot pulls me in and it’s a lot like most of the love stories we say today. In the future I wish to read more of Fitzgerald’s work and compare it to this particular book. Before I started reading the book I learned that most critics gave it very poor reviews do its “scandalous” plot line at the time. Over the years people have recognized the greatness of this book and it is now considered one of the best novels ever written.



Sarah F

I am currently reading the first book in the game of thrones series. It a medieval fantasy book, if that’s even a type of genre. But I really love these kinds of books and any fantasy book for that matter. About a year ago I was running with this kid and he started going off about how amazing this series was and how they were making it into a tv show. I thought it was interesting but I had no desire to start a series that was this large at the moment. Then, about six months ago, my mom got a free trial to HBO. And what do you know, the first thing in the HBO TV shows was Game of Thrones. Thinking about the guy that was so passionate about this series, I obviously had to watch it. And let me tell you, it was so worth it. The complexity and the wanting to know more at every second made for a great television series. When my HBO subscription ran out I decided to give the books a try, I didn’t know how much I was missing out on the story until I started reading the book. Everything made so much more sense and I haven’t been able to put the book down since. The different characters and how they all deal with their lives in a warring kingdom where anyone and everyone is pitted against each other really creates for a thrilling series.



Ryan Jezierski

The book i’m currently reading is called Warm Bodies by Isaac Morian. It’s about this zombie (who can’t remember his actual name, only the first letter that it starts with, R.) who goes into town in search for food. While he’s in town, he finds a girl who he seems to be very interested in. R decides that he doesn’t want to eat her, instead he was going to save her. He brought Julie back to his home, an abandoned airplane. Later in the book they end up falling in love, and because of that, he’s coming back to life. I like this book because it has a lot of things that I like when reading, such as fictional stuff like Zombies, most of the reason why I like The Walking Dead. Before knowing this was a book, I saw the preview for the movie and instantly wanted to see it. If I had to give this book a rating out of 10, it would be a solid 9 because of it’s story line, details, and it catches my attention, which for me, is hard for a book.



Alayna Brasch

A good book I have read in the past six months is The Host, by Stephanie Meyer, who also wrote the Twilight series. I chose to read this book because I saw a preview for the movie when I went to see The Hunger Games, and thought it looked interesting. A couple of days later I found out I already had the book, so I decided to read it. The Host is actually quite similar to The Hunger Games. The main character is a teenage girl who tries to survive in a world full of dangers, and later on finds a guy who she falls in love with, and then they try to survive together. But unlike The Hunger Games, this book had a good ending where all the good guys survived, which over all left me really liking the book. And now I am excited to go and see the movie, which comes out in theaters March 6, 2013.



Carley Salerno

Recently, I had started a series called “The Infernal Devices,” which mainly takes place in mid-19th century London. It’s a prequel to a series called “The Mortal Instruments” (which I haven’t read yet – Yay logic!). It’s about a girl named Tessa Gray, who has the ability to change her appearance into anyone she chooses as long as she has an object from that person. She belongs to a group called the Shadowhunters, who all have enhanced human abilities that allow them to hunt down demons, warlocks, and other assorted monsters. The Shadowhunters of London live and work at the London Institute, where Tessa stays with her friends and allies. In the first two books, the group can’t figure out what Tessa is – she wasn’t a Shadowhunter, because there were no marks on her arms and neck that a Shadowhunter would normally have. She wasn’t a demon, either, nor a vampire, nor a werewolf, or anything of the sort. But this confusion doesn’t deter the close relationships she forms with others in the Institute. Charlotte, the keeper of the Institute, takes her under her wing right from the start. She also meets two other Shadowhunters – Will and James – who get her caught up in a love triangle with secrets, back-stories, and test of trust. I really loved the first two books because the characters are lovable and relatable – they have flaws, even if they are part-angel. There are plot twists that keep you interested (especially when it comes to Tessa’s brother – but I won’t be a spoiler), and the book doesn’t move too fast or too slow.



William Schwartz

Recently I have read a book called Monument 14. To be honest, the only decided to read this book because it was on the new books shelf at the library and its cover looked kind of cool. I wouldn’t know what to call the genre of the book, but essentially it is an apocalyptic book based in the near future, like maybe 25 years from now. In the book it centers on a group of schoolchildren, ranging from 1st grade to high school seniors. There is a massive volcanic eruption thousands of miles away that sets off a chain of events that leads up to a gigantic hail storm (the hail is literally giant) that hits the kids’ Colorado town while they are on the way to school, their bus is pummeled, but they make it into a chain superstore, Called Greenway. The bus driver leaves the kids to search for help after the storm, but doesn’t return. And to add to their problems, a government facility near their town was damaged by the storm and a biological weapon was released. The weapon affects people differently by blood type, the affects are either going into a raged frenzy, paranoia, blistering of the skin, or sterility. So basically the story is of how the kids survive and learn about the outside world. The kids are also faced with the dilemma of trying to reach safety or sticking it out in the Greenway with their endless supplies.



Safia Sayed

Since winter break, I haven’t read as much as I normally do, so I’m currently in the middle of several books. My favorite book that I’ve actually finished recently is The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald. The book is narrated by Nick, who tells the story of his mysterious neighbor, the “Great” Jay Gatsby. Gatsby is ridiculously rich, and he throws numerous lavish parties without knowing, or even inviting hardly any of the guests. Finally the real purpose of Gatsby’s showy lifestyle is revealed- to attract the attention of the girl he loves, Daisy. Firstly, I think the time period of the 1920s that the book is set in is really interesting. I didn’t think it would particularly interesting to read about a party, but Gatsby’s exuberant parties, representing the extreme wealth of some people at that time, were interesting to read about. One of my favorite parts of The Great Gatsby were the characters, which is funny, since very few are likable by the end of the book. I like that this book made me frustrated at how self-centered and heartless some of the characters can be. F. Scott Fitzgerald obviously wanted to say something about many people’s attitudes in this time period, and I think he does an excellent job of portraying the snobbish and careless attitudes of many of the affluent, and some of the less privileged as well. While Fitzgerald paints a negative view of society through Daisy, Myrtle, and Tom, he points out good qualities like hope, honesty, and love through the characters of Nick and Gatsby. I would highly recommend this book if everyone didn’t already have to read it for school anyway.



Connor P.

The book that I read over the past 6 months was called the warriors heir. The warriors heir is a book about 3 factions, warriors, wizards, and seers. Wizards are the strongest the warriors cn kill the wizards and the wizards can kill the seers. Its like rock paper scissors. The book is based on a guy named bobby who was one of the last warriors. He realizes hes a warrior when wizards come to kill him. He meets up with some good wizards who will help him defeat the evil wizards. But it turns out when bobby was a kid he was also part wizard. So bobby turns out to be part wizards and part warrior and hes the last hope of humanity because the evil wizards dislike the humans. So in the end the evil wizards have a he battle with the rebels and bobby over this amulet called the dragon stone that holds unlimited power. The battle ends up with the main character bobby slicing the head off the evil wizard’s leader and they capture the amulet. It turns out that when bobby grabs the dragon stone the dragon stone releases energy into bobby knocking him unconscious. The book ends up with him awakening in a strange place with a strange man speaking to him.



Tamia W

The book I am curently reading is called Divergent written by Veronica Roth. The setting of the novel includes a dystopian Chicago society in which is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue; Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is, but tragically, she can’t have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself. Why I chose to read this book you ask? I don’t know. As I’m writting this blog, I’m sitting here asking myself; why are you reading this book??? I didn’t just decide to go to the library and and check out this book. In fact, if it was up to me, I wouldn’t read period. I was forced to read it because my best friend is a crazy Hunger Games book fan and because the book Divergent is so simular to the Hunger Games book series, she read it. So now she’s forcing me to read it because she thinks the book is a gift from Heaven. Divergent had been on my radar for a while, although I was a bit skeptical after reading the book’s premise because I get bored easily. I was more skeptical when the rave reviews started to roll in. Still, I vowed to give Divergent an honest chance because you never know, and plus my best friend wouldn’t stop bugging me about it! At first, I was just going to pretend to read the book because I didn’t think she would even notice. I was wrong though so i started to read it about a week ago. The book isn’t THAT bad. I really like that there is a stong female heroine in this book who is valued for her bravery, and her brains rather than her beauty. There is a bit of mystery, a lot of action and of course, a love story (yuck). But knowing myself, I’ll probaly never finish this book. Tragic.



Marta Plumhoff

A book I’ve just finished reading is The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen. It’s a story about a girl named Macy during the summer before her senior year. Her dad died of a heart attack two years prior, causing her to bottle her feelings and quit her passion for running. After his death, Macy’s mom buries herself in her work, and her sister runs off and gets married, leaving Macy to grieve for herself. That summer, Macy haphazardly runs into the pregnant and stressed owner of Wish Catering at a party and manages to get a serving job there. During her work she meets Kristy and Wes; two people that she manages to completely open up to, despite her years of hiding. They help her discover that forever doesn’t have to be a bad thing, and Macy learns how to have a relationship with her mother and Wes. I really loved this book because it’s very genuine. Macy goes through a lot of hard things and she’s not the cookie-cutter heroine that exists in a lot of teen novels. This book explores a lot of topics that a lot of people can actually relate to, like death, hiding your feelings, insecurity, truth, and love. You can’t help but love Macy and hope that everything works out okay for her, because you know that she deserves it; you really get invested in the story and I love a book that can do that for me.



Sam

A book that I have been interested in reading is Killing Kennedy by Bill O’Riley. In this nonfiction book O’Riley recounts the historical events leading up to, during, and proceeding the shooting of JFK. I know that Mr. Wickersham made a comment regarding the author when I mentioned it earlier, however the man reason that I want to read is book, is because my late grandmother recommended it to me. Also I really enjoy mystery/conspiracies so any chance to question and explore government events, murders, etc. excites me. For example, one of my favorite books is The Adventure of Sherlock Homes. The relationship between Sherlock and Watson, his deduction skills, and the setting is really unique. However, the book is broken up into stories not chapters so it makes it even easier to read. While we are on the subject of enjoying (or not enjoying) a particular genre, I am not a huge fan of sci-fi/fantasy. Other than the Chronicles of Narnia, I have never been able to understand the obsession that some people can have with it (except star wars, that rocks!!!). I enjoy the act of reading, but I really have to be in a certain mood. In my opinion it takes more energy to read than watch a television program or go on a walk.



Zach Resnick

Well I must admit, being the kind of person that is always busy with sports, I don’t often get the time to read many novels. Although, when I do, I do my best to choose the right novel for me either by suggestions or novels that catch my eye. Fortunately, one of the novels on our summer reading list this past summer was a novel that my dad had previously read and recommended for meet read. This novel was Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell. It was flat out phenomenal and I really enjoyed it. The novel was interesting and never had me bored because of all of the ideas that it had. The main theme was how successful people encountered opportunities and success by the situation they were in. For example, in one of the chapters the novel explained how in the area where Bill Gate’s lived there was the one of the first computer labs close by which allowed him to use computers every day and become very good with them. In another example, the novel gives birth dates of players on various hockey teams in a top junior hockey league which shows that the majority of players were born in the early months of the year. This is because throughout the careers of these players, they have been more successful than their competition because they were born on an earlier birth dates which meant their bodies were able to develop quicker than the younger players in their age group. Being the stronger and older kids, they were always the ones laughing at the younger kids that got cut from the team. The novel gives a few more fascinating ideas like this which makes it fun to read. I was very entertained by this novel and I would recommended it to anyone looking for a good read.



Daniel Oleynik

The book that I am reading now is called Wisenheimer by Mark Oppenheimer. The book is about the social issues and three main rules of debate. I’ve read this book before and because it gives so much advice on how to act, not only in the debate community, but in the real world, I thought I would give it another go. It is very entertaining so far, and I am enjoying the book even though I’m only about 20 pages in so far. I’d recommend this book to anyone hoping to take debate, or anyone interested in just learning a couple life tips.
The second book that I have just read is part of a trilogy, (quadrilogy?) called “The Fear.” The book is about future England after a zombie virus takes out all humans 16 and older. What I love about the book is the insanity and resourcefulness of some of the teenagers. The teenagers are able to use the river to transport goods and travel through England. They have certain “bases” they use to protect themselves, and they have raids on other “bases” to get more food and supplies. England has now been turned into separate “countries,” and everyone is fighting to survive, against each other and the zombies.



Darab Khan

I just finished reading the book Nightmare by Joan Lowry Nixon for American Lit. The book is about a young girl named Emily. Emily has had a reoccurring nightmare since she was 8 years old. Emily is also misunderstood by her parents who always compare her to her sisters. She hates this. She is happy for her sisters but doesn’t like being compared to them. Her parents don’t care and think that she is an underachiever. They send her off to a camp where she can achieve her “full potential.” The camp is called camp Excel. When she arrives there she feels a bit odd, but shakes it off as she meets new friends. She later realizes that this is the place she sees in her nightmare. The rest of the book is about her trying to figure out what happened here while escaping a murderer. At the end she finally finds out what happened and comes face to face with the bad guy. The book is kind of slow and very easy to read and understand. Overall it’s not a bad book. I found it to be an easy read and would recommend it to anyone who has an interest in thrillers.



Will Briggs

I am currently reading “World War Z” By Max Brooks, he also wrote the “Zombie Survival Guide” which is one of the reasons I am reading “World War Z”. Another is that I read it as a kid, and lastly they are making a movie of it starring Brad Pitt. The book reads a little slow, but that’s only because it’s like you’re reading actual interviews. The main thing that makes the book readable and extremely good, is the fact that it seems so real. Another reason why I thought it was such a good book, is that he bases everything off the “Zombie Survival Guide” which I have nearly memorized, so I felt really immersed in that Universe, and it was fun to be able to tell when people were going to get eaten based on their decisions. This is also what makes me think the movie will be terrible. From the commercials, it looks like they saw the title and “based” a movie on it. The zombies described by Max Brooks don’t swarm over walls and flood streets in a matter of seconds. They are slow moving, and the struggle was all about the shear number. Another thing is that is ‘starring’ Brad Pitt. I like Brad Pitt, but the book is about a bunch of little stories, about different people. It shouldn’t be ‘starring’ anyone. I’d like to see it as a “Band of Brothers” style mini series, with four to six stories per episode, or something like that. But anyways, would highly recommend, especially if you don’t have a lot of time to read, because you can pick it up and read an interview, put it down and not really lose anything.



Ariel Boston

The last book I read was A Fault in Our Stars by John Green. It was about a girl with a terminal illness who fell in love with a boy who had a prosthetic leg. They were both teenagers but she thought she couldn’t love him because she would break his heart when she died. So at first she pushed him away but in the end she gave in and decided to just let herself fall in love with him. They go to Germany together but this is where she finds out that his cancer has come back and that he will die soon. This is a crazy turn of events because the whole time I thought that the main girl was going to die! But no, the boy who seemed perfectly fine is the one with the problem. I chose this book because I had heard that John Green is a good author so I wanted to try a book by him. I always pick books with a sort of romance in it. I’m not sure what genre that qualifies as I guess I like realistic fiction with a romance tied in. The characters in the books I like are always around my age because I find them more relatable. I enjoyed this book a lot and I will read more books from this author.




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Power Cards – muckrakers, Square Deal, New Freedom, New Nationalism, Horatio Alger

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Power Cards -due day of the test. 
Roosevelt Corollary
Filipino-American War 1899-1902
Fourteen Points
Espionage and Sedition Acts
The Treaty of Versailles

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Due Wednesday 2/27 by class.  

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