This is where we will post our commentaries and responses for the Independent Reading Requirement.
(Remember commentaries need to be at least 300 words, and responses at least 150 words.) 

10 thoughts on “A7/8 Book Discussion

  1. Here’s my book review for this term! The book was incredible; I hope you guys all read it at some point. I’m looking forward to hearing what you read!

    In reading this book I was at once frightened– scared, even– but also amazed by beauty. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood is at once quiet and subtle, but stunningly powerful and disturbing. You can see this when the main character describes the garden of her Commander’s wife, filled with beautiful flowers in bloom, like the “irises, rising beautiful and cool on their stalks, like blown glass, like pastel water momentarily frozen in a splash, light blue, light mauve, and the darker ones, velvet and purple, black cat’s ears in the sun, indigo shadow . .” but even the quiet and subtle things are not all quiet and subtle: “There is something subversive about this garden of Serena’s, a sense of buried things bursting upwards, wordlessly, into the light, as if to point, to say: Whatever is silenced will clamor to be heard, though silently” (153).

    It is filled with passages that describe the beauty of nature, however, this is a stark contrast to the dark and frightening things happening around the main character, Offred. Along with others like her–you could almost say “friends”– Ofglen, Ofwarren (are you sensing a pattern here? Took me a while to figure out that the women are named after their Commanders, just with the word “Of” in front). Women like Offred are a part of a society that subjects women under the pretense of bearing children. They live in a world where declining births are presenting a threat to society, so under the guise of religion women like Offred “must lie on her back once a month and pray that the Commander makes her pregnant . . . [She] and the other Handmaids are valued only if their ovaries are viable” (book summary).

    Probably the reason I found this so frightening was how thoroughly the society controls the women– they aren’t allowed to even read– something that I find absolutely horrific– can you imagine?! They can’t go anywhere by themselves, they can’t dress how they want, they can’t eat what they want, and any trace of their former lives– their names, careers, family– are gone. It was the flashbacks that Offred has of her family and her daughter that they took from her that were some of the most powerful moments in the book for me. I can’t imagine someone taking away my children– or how I would live if they did. And yet, Offred’s story offers some hope. She joins an underground resistance, called “Mayday”, and fights– in quiet and subtle ways– against those in charge. One powerful and hopeful moment for me was when she describes how this happens: “We were the people who were not in the papers. We lived in the blank white spaces at the edges of the print. It gave us more freedom. We lived in the gaps between the stories.”

    May we ever find our way from the blank white spaces and the gaps between– to true freedom.

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    1. Dear Mrs. Sorensen,

      I thought you chose a wonderful book that has a lot of meanings. Although the book you read is very powerful, it’s also a bit depressing.Women should be able to do whatever they want.I sometimes wonder why men sometimes think they are better than woman and more intelligent.They’re both fairly equal. The book you read reminded me of Malala Yousafzai, a Pakistani activist. At a young age Malala really loved learning. In 2007 the situation in the swat valley changed her community and her life. Some of the Pakistani men didn’t like what Malala was doing.One day she was in a bus heading home from school, since she had a passion for learning she was chit chatting with her friends about school work.Next thing you know a bearded talib asked for her name and shot her 3 times for a dumb reason and was critically injured.Now she’s a powerful person who won the Nobel peace prize for standing up for women’s education rights and is a inspiration for many other women who don’t have access to education or women who are not allowed to learn. She’s so amazing!
      Same thing goes to Saudi Arabia.In Saudi Arabia there are many things Muslim women can’t do. Woman can’t drive a car unless they are with there husband or a male that’s old enough, i think that kind of sucks.They can’t wear clothes or makeup that “shows of there beauty”, this is strictly prohibited. They are not allowed to do this so men will not draw attention to them and I think it’s good in some ways. Some men in other countries like to catcall a lot, something most women don’t like so by covering up yourself, less eyes will be on you so it’s kind of a benefit? Woman in Saudi are required to limit the amount of time spent with men who are not related to. They can’t swim in public swimming pools and compete in any public sports. What sucks is they can’t try on clothes when they’re shopping,like how are they even going to know if it fits them or looks good on them, that’s what makes smart! I’m glad you chose this book because stuff like this still happens in some parts of the world and it’s very informative.

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  2. Dear class, i’m almost finished reading a book titled Princess In Love by Meg Cabot, one of the best selling authors. So far it was really interesting.One of the main themes in this book is to Forget,love, and move on, Mia, the main character has lots of things to deal with like stress,something that happens to most teens in high school. She has been preparing to get an entry to Genovian Society, one of her biggest dreams. What I thought was surprising in this book was how Mia doesn’t like her boyfriend kenny but is still with him because she doesn’t want to break his heart and likes this other guy named Michael who already has a girlfriend named Judith(one of Mia’s friend).One thing that kind of sucks is how Mia struggles with different duties as a royal person, especially lessons with her Grandmere(grandma).Something that i thought was a little funny was how Mia constantly worries about Michael and also worries on how to break up with kenny without hurting him, she has a lot going through her mind.It was also kind of silly how Mia gets distracted easily and can do multiple things on the same day, she has an algebra test to prepare for heaven sakes,“Saturday, December 12, 8 p.m., the Loft
    I WILL PASS ALGEBRA THIS SEMESTER, and NOTHING IS GOING TO DISTRACT ME FROM STUDYING FOR THE FINAL!!!!!!!!!!!
    Saturday, December 12, 9 p.m., the Loft
    I just had to go out and see the part where Bruce Willis throws the explosives down the elevator shaft, but now I am back to work.”
    I believe everyone has gone through this,needing to be working on something important but then do other things that waste your time and having no point of doing it. Anyone can relate to this especially teenagers, we do it all the time, no lie.

    Overall this is a wonderful book and recommend it to people who love reading drama books like this one especially. For some reason once you start reading this book it feels like you can’t stop, you just want to finish it already! Since i’m almost done reading this book, i would definitely love to read other books written by Meg cabot, she’s very clever. I like her writing style, she writes how people talk so it’s like clearly understandable if you know what I mean.This book was totally great and anyone should get there hands on it, like seriously! I might sound a little dramatic but oh well, have fun!

    Sincerely, Leyla Mohamed

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  3. Dear Classmates,
    I have been reading a book called The Cole Protocol by Tobias S. Buckell. I’m a third of the way through the book, and I am absolutely in love with it. It’s a science fiction story set in the year 2535 and deals with, unfortunately, some rather dark themes due to the setting of the story (an intergalactic war between humanity and a theocracy made up of multiple alien species called the Covenant). Between the changing of three character perspectives, and diving straight into the intricacies of drastically different environments and cultures, as well as questioning morals, ideals, and the value of life, this book has had me on the edge of my seat since I picked it up.
    The themes of the book vary quite a bit, and in my opinion, draw the reader more into the story. Some of them are darker, as they deal with violence and the beginning possibility of species genocide, while others are more philosophical in a way that they encourage you to think and question the ideals of the characters.
    Another thing that I find myself enjoying about the book, is that I am able to relate to the three main characters in different ways. Ignatio Delgado is, ironically, a morally driven smuggler, while Jacob Keyes is a wounded war veteran stuck at a Navy Instructor job who is looking do get back in the fight to help humanity.
    The third character, possibly my favorite in The Cole Protocol (saving the best for last), is a Covenant soldier and religious warrior named Thel ‘Vadamee. Thel comes from a Spartan like culture and is the leader of his clan. As far as I can tell, he is the inconsistent antagonist, meaning, at some points he seems like the villian, but not always.
    I really love this book, because like I said before, it makes you think as well as question not only what is going on, but also the characters and their motives. Not everything is always as it seems, and there are quite a few plot twists. Characters change from protagonists to antagonists and vice versa, making it impossible to assume or predict the next page of the story. I’m really enjoying it so far, as the author has done a very good job at not only showing a different existence filled with uncertainty at every moment, but also helping the reader to experience an “alien” culture.

    The passage that I’ve enjoyed the most so far is on page 89; “Thel remained in front of the window, watching the assassin. To be honest he had expected more than this. The Vadam elders had voted him kaidon based on his abilities as a leader, fighter, and zealot. The keeps worked on a system of meritocracy–only the most capable would be voted as kaidon upon the death of the previous one.
    But for those who felt that their vote had been I’ll advised, or who had second thoughts, it was both a cherished right and a tradition to send in assassins to test the true merit of that ruler’s martial abilities.
    It was another layer of meritocracy. A kaidon who could not defend himself from assassins was not a true ruler.
    This was classic Sangheili thinking.”

    I love this passage not only because of gives you the beginning glimpse of how Thel thinks as a character and person, but also because it gives you a glimpse of his culture and upbringing.

    The Cole Protocol is a book that is compelling, full of twists and turns, and has a deep meaning story that I am thoroughly enjoying. I hope that if any of you take a look at it you’ll enjoy it as much as I have.

    Sincerely,
    Giosue Ciacchella

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  4. Here’s my book report for this term!

    Dear Reader,

    Today I am reading the book The Montemartre Investigation by Claude Izner, which is part of a series of mystery murders set in Paris, France during the late 1800’s. Personally, I enjoy these books, specifically this one. The setting is quite nice and so are the characters.

    Once again, the main character, Victor Legris stumbles into a murder investigation and keep it all running along nicely while keeping the bookshop going, as the years have gone by, Victor is getting better at his detective work but most of the time he struggles with the solutions rather than try and solve them on his own.

    Overall, it was a great detective story that kept my attention. After the previous two, the characters are now begining to feel like old friends, kind of like you’re actually there along with them. Though it can sometimes get confusing with the many numbers and street names in Paris.

    This is a delightful little series with some fun and entertainment. The mix between murder mystery, historical fiction, humor, and sometimes even romance, is sure to keep you entertained. You sort of get a feel of the time and the place of which the story takes place.
    So I invite you to come and read this story with me, it’s a nice little treat and will well be worth your time.

    Sincerely, Hi’D

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  5. Dear classmates,

    I have been reading Let it Snow by John Green and I’ve really enjoyed it.
    I’m not the best reader, I barely even read books at all. But Green is a special writer to me. He is the one of few authors who can genuinely capture my attention, which is why I choose to read his books over others and why I picked this book.
    I have read only the first 90 pages, but I already really like this book and it’s hard to stop reading it and I just want to read more (which barely ever happens to me, except with his books). Its compelling, erratic, and extremely unpredictable storyline is introduced right from the beginning. Not only that, but the endings are always fitting and well written. I never know what to expect but I know I won’t be disappointed. This is a major reason that I’ve been so hooked on Green’s previous books and as well on this one. And what I understood from the back cover of the book, this book includes three different stories. Though I haven’t finished even the first story, I am really excited and have high expectations for the two others.
    The first story of the book, “Jubilee Express”, has one main character and many supporting roles, all of which are quite basic and stereotypical, but not in annoying way. They have noticeable features and they make strong images what kind of persons they are. The main character, Jubilee is 17 a years’ old girl, who lives with her parents and has a boyfriend named Noah. During the story there manifests more characters, like Stuart, a guy same age as Jubilee, his sister Rachel and mom Debbie, cheerleader team and a weird man, dressed in foil. Jubilee is pretty normal teenage girl and her boyfriend represents the “perfect, popular and smart guy” from high school, when Stuart is the “nice, not as popular, but good looking and gentleman” type. Debbie whereas is an example of over carrying and kind lady, who never sais any bad word (at least when the person, she wants to say something, is around). And the funniest part of the book is Jubilee’s dysfunctional parents, who create the whole problem in the book by being obsessed with ceramic Christmas decoration village. I personally really like the characters and the way they are presented. These stereotypes are very common, but Green succeed to introduce and use them in interesting and different way from other books I have read.

    Sincerely, Alessia Holst

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  6. Dear Class,

    I had the pleasure of reading Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card. It was such an incredible and thought provoking book.When you first read the book, it can be confusing, but after reading it over and over you are able to come to an understanding of the book. I fell in love with each and every character. The main character Ender has an amazing relationship with each of his subordinates, and it greatly builds the story. Some parts of the story that I love is when they participate in the war games against other teams. It is incredible to think about and I don’t know how Card thought this up. It is definitely an interesting theory.

    The passage I enjoyed the most is when Ender is teaching a battle class. He is surrounded by his friends, called “launchies,” who are having a fun time together. The passage says “Ender and Alai were discussing the nuances of open-space maneuvers when Shen came up and listened for a few moments, then suddenly took Alai by the shoulders and shouted, ‘Nova! Nova! Nova!’ Alai burst out laughing and for a moment or two Ender watched them remember together, battle where open room maneuvering had been for real”(175-176).

    This passage is incredibly important because Ender was there and participated in it, but they had forgotten. Ender had been controlled by the teachers so much and put in the spotlight so much that he was looked differently upon by the other kids. They respected him greatly, but didn’t see him as a kid, they just saw him as a leader. This hurt Ender because it is all he had experienced since coming to battle school. Sometimes he just wanted to feel equal and not a leader of all. I can imagine it would be hard.

    Sincerely, Taylor Stratton

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    1. Due to the fact that I don’t own this book I’ve only been able to read the first few chapters, but it sounds great and I plan on finishing it soon. I think you effectively wrote why you like this book and its characters. You got your point across about why the passage you took from the book was important for the story and the characters within. I like how you not only wrote about the main character’s emotions but you also sympathized with his trials. Overall this was a great post and I really liked it.
      -Christine Rose

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  7. Dear Class

    The book I read was “Miss Peregrines Home for Peculiar Children” by Ransom Riggs. It was an interesting read and very descriptive. As you read you can imagine the scenes clearly and effortlessly which I feel really helped draw me into the book. One of the main themes I was able to pick up on was not only change in general but people’s reaction to that change. I was originally surprised when someone I had thought was going to be one of the leading characters throughout the story died within the first chapter. But looking back on it I realize it was a necessary loss in order to start the really journey in the story.

    The books prologue really set the stage for the story within the book. At the end of the prologue Jacob, the main character says “I felt ashamed for having been jealous of his life(his grandfather’s), considering how much he had to pay for it, and I tried to feel lucky for the safe and unextraordinary one that I had done nothing to deserve. Then, a few years later, when I was fifteen, an extraordinary and terrible thing happened, and there was only Before and After.” This passage really introduced the theme and hinted at some of the subjects discussed in the book, such as his grandfathers life.

    Sincerely, Christine Rose

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    1. This book sounds like it is very interesting. From all that you said, it seems like a great read that allows you to think and go on an adventure with each and every character. As you said, you can imagine the scenes which allows you to be drawn in and emmersed into the book. I think pointing out that the theme is people’s reaction to change really allows you to find in depth meanings throughout the book. I can imagine it would be really strange and weird to witness a leading character die in the book. That doesn’t happen very often. I love the quote you put in from the prologue. It allows us to witness what will happen through the story, and gives some meaning to what the story will be about. I hope you enjoyed the book. I hope that you always try to find interesting books that challenge you intellectually and make you happy.

      -Taylor Stratton

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