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.) 

30 thoughts on “B1/2 Book Discussion

  1. The 5th Wave Spoilers ahead
    The 5th Wave, This book is one that seems to just be another generic alien themed story, at the start. This book actually starts to mock other alien stories, talking about how the humans on earth are all thinking the aliens will come down and way “take me to your leader”, when they actually want to kill everyone. Now, killing everyone on a planet isn’t exactly an original concept either but we can let that slide. Throughout this book It can tackle some pretty heavy topics, including Death of children, LOTS of suicidal thoughts, and total disregard for a human life. This book tackles these topics in a way that makes them fall more gently than a normal conversation. It has to weave its way around these topics because there are very sensitive to some people, and it weaves successfully. Now, I’m not saying that having kids and suicide in your book is a good thing, but it can make people think more about the world inside and outside the book if you do it correctly. One issue I have with this book is how mentally stable some people are, they see their mother bleed out of every pour on their body, they have their dad killed by the “Government”, have their brother taken away by the “Government”, and do not make contact with any human for months just to see one and then have to shoot them immediately, which seems like a pretty heavy who has no way of getting proper medical help. Some of the mental “stuff” in this story doesn’t make sense, but that’s fine, It’s a good story over all that takes you for quite the ride if you decide to read it and think about what its saying in it.

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    1. I think it is a funny concept in the fact that it is an alien book but as you said it makes fun of other generic alien themed stories. It is actually pretty smart because we all know that when we read a story about aliens and things like that it is a made up story because it is not entirely realistic. When they make fun of other alien stories it is showing us that this book is going to be more realistic or semi “believable”. This feature makes it so that we get more interested in reading and finding out how they are going to be different from other alien stories. You also said how it has some deep and gruesome details weaved into the story. This may seem weird but in my opinion a lot of people are attracted to books like this because topics like this are so true and happening everyday so people want to see how the book relates to real life and how it differs. Does the book have realistic features to it or more made up features that you would never even imagine seeing?

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    2. This book sounds really interesting! It’s kinda funny that the book mentions clichés in other alien stories. From what you say, the story sounds really twisted. It could be a cool change of pace compared to what I usually read (I ignored the spoiler warning). I’m kinda scared that if I did start reading it, the main character would die. I feel like that’s where the story would result in considering the calamities you mentioned. Is is too much to hope for a good resolution? 😦 I’ve definitely seen this book around, but I’ve never considered reading it until now. It must be popular for a reason! I’m confused on the last part. I don’t think having your brother taken away and your father killed by the “Government” is something a mentally stable person would do. Then again, it seems like this story toys around with the idea of sanity and insanity. It also sounds like I’d have to set the book down to process the events that happen. From what you write, the story line gets really confusing.

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    3. I have not read the book but have seen the movie which Im guessing left out much of the gore you mentioned. But I thought that this movie was very interesting in the way that the aliens could disguise themselves, putting our main character on edge at the sight of anything that resembled a human. That I know of this has not been done before and it started to make me put myself put myself into her shoes and think about what I would do, which I love doing when Im watching or reading something. It is also always interesting to see how doomsday scenarios such as this one play out (aliens,zombies,animals,etc). Although I wish it had gone more in depth about how the rest of society was fairing, I thought the chaos was portrayed very well. Overall I thought it was an enjoyable experience, and if a sequel or perhaps some sort of a prequel were introduced if not already it would be something worth looking into.

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  2. 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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  3. “Let it Burn” by Steve Hamilton is an amazing and thrilling read because you are constantly anticipating what is going to happen next. You never know if something good or bad is going to happen next. I really enjoy reading books like this because they make you never want to set it down. They catch your attention and make you want to read what happens next.
    The characters are all very intelligent people. Alex McKnight, the main character in the book, always remembers a thing from his past when he was a police officer/detective when he sees things to spark those memories. His boss is a very kind and caring man. He is always checking up on Alex to make sure he is doing okay in his house in Paradise. My favorite character would have to be Alex because you get to see so far into his thoughts and memories. You also get to see what he has gone through and put up with throughout his life as a Detroit police officer.
    My favorite parts of the book are when we are going through his memory of when he was trying to find the murderer of the girl he found in the train station. I like this part of the book because it shows how much stress is put on him and how many challenging things that he overcomes. I chose to read this book for just that reason. When I read the inside cover it just automatically caught my attention. I only really read books that draw you in within the first chapter because if it doesn’t it usually bores you and you don’t really want to keep reading it. The good thing about this book is that it doesn’t bore you and it draws you into it within the first couple of sentences. I really recommend that people read this book.

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    1. Stephanie! The book you chose sounds very interesting. I love the way you explain the thrilling, exciting, and adventurous story. I personally have not read that book but because of your definition its now on my list. Books should draw you into the story, paint a picture in your mind, and open doors to creativity. I have definitely learned in this class and in reading books individually, that literature is a way of expressing ourselves in the best possible way! When you enjoy what you are reading it makes you want to read more and know more. Knowledge is the key to success and because of this reading assignment it will definitely help with our future. Talking about Alex and his intelligence made me compare him to our class. We go to class everyday to become more intelligent. We grow through our literature, minds, skills, and goals and I love it!

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  4. My response to The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin, by Benjamin Franklin. I promise this book isn’t as boring as it sounds!

    In Benjamin Franklin’s autobiography, you learn about Benjamin’s life before the American Revolution and realize that he didn’t have his life completely figured out, like the most of us! He pursues what he is most passionate about and becomes successful. The book has the potential to motivate people to pursue what they love. I adore that because it’s not something out of fiction. All of his accomplishments happened in real life. It shows amazing people can be! Benjamin’s father chose a career for Benjamin to follow, which led to Benjamin running away to pursue what he desired. He ended up traveling from America to Europe and back to America again, making connections with people, and eventually opening his own printing press which became successful. He was able to receive honorary degrees from both Harvard and Yale. He also became the Postmaster General of America. His life proves “following your dreams” can lead to success. Although he is very accomplished, he’s still very relatable to most people. He had problems with his family, more specifically his brother. He even advocated vegetarianism in his autobiography.

    There are so many quotes from his autobiography that I’ve enjoyed thinking about. The quote I’ve grown most fond of is, “never confuse motion with action.” To me, this means to achieve success or greatness, you must act on your ideas. Sure, anyone can have a good idea that has potential to change the world, but those ideas can never become reality unless you take the necessary action to make your ideas happen.
    Nearly everything we have started out as an idea.

    Pursue the path that will bring you the most happiness and don’t be afraid to act* upon your ideas.

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  5. It’s kind of a funny story

    This was an interesting book. With the main theme in the book being depression, it isn’t the kind of book one would pick up to feel good about themselves or anything like that. Half of the story is the main characters thoughts on himself being depressed, many of which involve him contemplating suicide. It isn’t a book for close-minded people either. The words “transexual sex addict” come to mind, which is mentioned in the book and is on the back cover. The odd experiences of Craig Gilner make things interesting, as well as a mix of crude humor to lighten the mood.
    Craig gets depressed by his new high-school. Executive Pre-Professional High school is really hard. The pressure from high school, worrying about getting into college, extracurriculars, and relationships gets to him quickly, which is something all of us can relate to. That brings a good point up from this book. The pressure as a teenager nowadays is insane. And the author understands that really well, as he lived through it.
    However, there was not a happy ending for teenager under pressure. He ended up committing suicide. I’m not talking about the main character, Craig Gilner, but rather the author himself New Vizzini. The foreward addresses this, and sets an incredibly dark tone for the book ahead. The whole time I was reading that thought was in my head. ‘The man who wrote this never saw it published’. Every time the main character thought about suicide it was not a fabrication. Not fiction. It was the author remembering a time in his life where he thought the same thing.
    Overall, I loved the book. The writing style was captivating, the story was interesting and the humor was well done. The dark undertone is something i’ll never forget, though.

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    1. It does seem like an interesting book and its probably something i would read too. Something I’ll repeat from what you said was how in today’s world teenagers have so much pressure on them. I know I have to read it to know how the humor is done, but it sounds like it was a great book. The sad part is how the publisher never got to see it get published. Another example of people feeling too much pressure and just wanting to ‘end it all’. But what is outstanding is that the person had the courage to write about his experiences and tough situations. Maybe one day I’ll come along this book and find out more about it. It sounds great!

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    2. this is a book that I would read, in fact I did read about half of it. I really enjoyed how you explained the book and its characters. I do agree that many high school students can relate to this book on some level. the way you had explained this book and how it ended makes me want to finally check it out from the library again to read it. I had no idea that the actual author killed himself. It does just make you think of all the pressure on humans theses days, and for some they can’t handle it. So they decide to take there life as an escape route. Its sad that things could go that far.

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  6. Set in the future, The Hunger Games takes place long after natural disasters, war, disease, and famine destroyed society as we know it. From the ruins of North America rose the nation of Panem, which consisted of a powerful Capitol ruling over thirteen surrounding Districts. The Districts didn’t like the Capitol’s and soon rose up together in a rebellion.
    The results were disastrous. The Capitol quelled the uprising in twelve Districts and completely destroyed the thirteenth. As a punishment, the Capitol created the Hunger Games. Each year, every District must send one boy and one girl between the ages of twelve to eighteen as tributes. The tributes then fight each other to the death in an arena until only one person is left. These are not normal arenas. With incredible technology, the Capitol creates natural terrains that are enormous and range from forests to deserts to arctic landscapes. They can control the weather, climate, and even alter the terrain while the Games are in play. All this while the Games are televised across Panem, for the entertainment of the Capitol and for the sorrow of the Districts. This is the Capitol’s ultimate tool of fear, to keep the Districts in check so they can never rise up in rebellion again. This is a gripping story. With twists, turns, and lots of action, it kept me on the edge of my seat. Not only that, there’s no denying the power of its themes. War and violence leave scars on the next generation. Haymitch may be the town’s middle-aged drunk but can you blame him? Not only did he survive a brutal battle to the death, now as a victor he must mentor future tributes. That hurts. Imagine getting to know these children, coaching them, hoping for their victory… and then watching them die. Year after year, that has been Haymitch’s fate. Of all the things he could have resorted to in order to cope, drinking might be one of the least destructive options available.
    But despite it all, not once does Katniss lose her humanity. I could feel her hunger to return home. Her love for her younger sister, how it drove her to take Primrose’s place, how it moves her to make an alliance with another District’s tribute because that girl resembles Primrose. Katniss’s desire to never marry and have children because she can’t bear the thought of subjecting a child to this fate. She doesn’t enjoy the Game. She still knows what it means to have mercy. It makes her struggle all the more. Katniss is one of the strongest heroines I’ve encountered in fiction. She’s smart and clever. Her skills in illegal hunting and foraging gives her an advantage in this year’s Games. She can hunt her own food. She knows which plants are safe to eat. She knows what she needs to do to survive. She’s not soft. She can be hard. But I don’t think her life’s allowed much for it. She does what she must to survive, so that she can return home to her sister, even if it means taking another life, even if it means pretending to be in love. I thought the romantic subplot in which Katniss pretends to love Peeta in order to gain the audience’s sympathy was very clever, even if it becomes rapidly seen that it was never an act for Peeta.

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    1. I love this series!! I feel like Suzanne Collins did a really good job of providing imagery and emotions. You know the book is good when you feel what the character feels. That’s how Hunger Games is. I also really like this series because of the dystopian feel of it. I thought it was interesting that you mentioned Haymitch and his drunkedness- I have always kind of dismissed it as really nothing, but I like the connection you made to the Games and his alcoholism. I feel like lots of people underestimate Haymitch in this story, but he really is an important character. I agree with your thoughts on the romantic subplot-spectators will do just about anything for the “cute couple.” It definitely provided an interesting underlying theme in the series. You mentioned all the different themes in this book, I totally agree with you. Books that have just one theme tend to be a little slow.

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    2. I remember reading the hunger games. It was a great series, especially this book. What was nice in the first book, as opposed to the rest of the series, was a greater focus on the setting and the world the book takes place in. A desolate wasteland which holds a corrupt state. It was nice to see the training and thoughts of the main character on objective things like winning rather than dramatic things like her love triangle. The Survivor mindset Katniss has in this book is also amazing; She goes from hunting in the woods to feed her family to slaughtering a bunch of teenagers all because of her need to survive. This part showcases how smart she actually is, noticing every little thing and thinking through carefully.
      Personally, I found this much more interesting than the events of Catching fire, which acts out as more of a drama than a thriller. One of the first full-length books I read as well.

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  7. Love is a very complex, strange, amazing, hard, rewarding concept and the book I chose was all about it. I read the Notebook by Nicholas Sparks. The notebook is a love story that captures your heart and it becomes more than just a story. I know that everyone reading this is probably thinking, “Ewww love is so gross! Why did this girl read a book about that?” Honestly I’m asking the same question.

    When I first started reading this book I was skeptical. I didn’t know what I was getting into, but doesn’t that happen to you whenever you start reading a book? As soon as you get far into it you end up loving it! The main characters in this book are Noah Calhoun and Allie Nelson. They spent one summer together many years ago but her crazy family wouldn’t let them be together. Life goes on but suddenly Allie reads a newspaper article all about Noah’s endeavors. She decides to go visit. After two long days of catching up on the past and what they have missed, Allie has to make a life changing decision to stay with Noah or go back with her fiancé.

    In the end of the book while Allie is choosing what to do, we find out a very important detail. This whole entire book was written to seem that it was told by a man in todays world. He is telling this story to an old woman who has Alzheimer’s. She seems to be Allie but you have to decide which man is telling her the story. Her current time fiancé or Noah?

    Overall I absolutely loved the book. I loved how passionate the author was. I love how it uses your imagination and creativity. I love how the end is a mystery and you get to choose the ending for yourself. The overall theme of the story was captivating and interesting. It made me wanting to read more! 🙂

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    1. I haven’t ever read The Notebook, it never really caught my attention. I’ve never really liked love stories with a girl and two boys fighting for her love and her just being all, “I don’t know…. I guess I’ll make you suffer by dragging my choice out to the point of it being super excruciating…” but at the same time, I actually haven’t seen or read The Notebook. I know that I have not actually given the book a try, so I shouldn’t be judging, but I also realize that I’m a very straightforward person and I hate dragging things out, so I recognize a very clear bias within myself, so I’ll gladly give this book a try. Your review had me intrigued, I guess you could say. I’ll keep it in mind the next time I go to the library. When you were reading it, was there anything you didn’t like about the book or the characters? I’m a little curious about the character development and the change they make over time. I guess I’ll have to look into these questions myself, huh? Well, thank you for your review, I’ll keep it in mind as I read this book! 😉

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    2. Livvv! I have not read the Notebook, but I have seen the movie. I should definitely think about reading the book to see how different (if it was) from the movie. I think one of the major reasons I enjoyed this movie was because Ryan Gosling was in it, if I’m being totally honest with myself and everyone. But I like how you expressed your liking of the author being so passionate about her writing, because I enjoy when I can sense that from an author as well. I think an author can only really write a good book when they are passionate and adore what they’re writing. In my opinion the movie kind of dragged on the love complication for Allie, so it would be interesting to see if the book was written in the same way. Now that you shared your view of this book with me, I am a bit more intrigued to read it for myself!

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  8. Edward Bloor’s Tangerine by Haydn Chambers
    Paul Fisher, a middleschooler overshadowed by his big brother Erik, who’s a football prodigy. As Paul struggles to adapt to new life in the planned neighborhood in Tangerine County, Florida, a memory haunts him that he can’t seem to fully recall; how he ended up with his impaired vision that requires he wears his specially crafted, super-thick tinted glasses. Through disaster, death, and treachery, can Paul Fisher finally step away from his brother’s shadow and expose his story to the limelight?
    Paul Fisher’s whole narrative is told through the story in a journal/diary format that includes the days and months of the year. It never looses focus on what’s going on, and if this were some day by day journal, that would be fine, if only the conflict of interest were more present. Throughout the book, Paul Fisher trying to remember what happened that fateful day his vision was changed is cut in and out seemingly randomly from the rest of the plot, like tiny rips in an otherwise smoothly going conveyor belt that happens to be miles wide. That’s not to say that it’s not an interesting read, it’s just annoying how the book tries to hide Paul Fisher’s memory. The book starts of with part of the memory having Paul being chased by a man on a motorcycle armed with a baseball bat, and every flashback that set up the expectation that there would be more flashbacks instead turns out to be infrequent and short. It almost feels more discouraging to read through rather than rewarding.
    As for the rest of the story, I find the flashback part the only flaw. The story is told with well-chosen words that convey exactly what’s happening as Paul talks to the characters. Reading about his adventures on the soccer teams and playing games at schools that don’t mind the audience throwing trash or rough play or the school being swallowed by a sinkhole or having to save orange trees from freezing to death in the winter are all feats and experiences that give life to the readers imagination as he/she reads on.
    In closing, the book is for a certain type of reader that can tolerate it’s specific flaws and enjoy it’s wide story with many branches, not unlike climbing a tangerine tree to taste all it’s small but delicious fruit, while the challenge of climbing the tree is welcome in of itself. I wish not to let any tangerine spoil just as I don’t wish to spoil Edward Bloor’s Tangerine and it’s contents. Overall, a decent read.

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  9. I don’t know if you guys have read The Book Thief by Markus Zusak, but you really should. Based during WWII, this book administers the horror of the war and all the bad things that happened to innocent people.

    Liesel Meminger has become an orphan after her mother left her and her brother died. She is sent to a foster family in Molching, Germany. Her new papa believes in her and her mama calls her funny names. She meets the boy across the street and they are instant friends. They go on adventures together-whether to swim in the river or steal a book from the mayor’s library. This is really all they can do for fun. The Führer, Adolf Hitler, has limited and restricted very many things.
    One of my favorite parts of this book is when Liesel receives a gift from someone she holds very dear. It is a book with many little stories of their adventures together. One such story is called The Word Shaker. It tells the story of Hitler’s followers, who harvested words off of trees for Adolf to use in his speeches. There is one follower in particular that has the strongest words and tree and refuses to give them up. One of the best passages from this story is, “THE BEST word shakers were the ones who understood the true power of words. They were the ones who could climb the highest. One such word shaker was a small, skinny girl. She was renowned as the best word shaker of her region because she knew how powerless a person could be WITHOUT words” (445). I love this passage because of the powerful “punch” the words provide. This story is about Liesel, she’s the renowned word shaker. She has her own way with words. Liesel doesn’t speak very much, but when she does, she moves mountains. She is infatuated with reading, that’s why she steals books.
    Books change Liesel’s life. They save her from herself and the death around her. They give her a reason to live; a reason to struggle through all that she does.

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    1. (Reply)
      This book seems to be very interesting, by the way you word it this book seems to be one that doesn’t focus on anything like magical adventures or future technology. Instead this book focuses on a hard boiled story of an orphan girl who could barely get by with her current standings. Liesel Meminger, the main character is this book, seems to be made out as a lonely figure who has nobody that is with her at any given time except for the one friend she makes during the hard times of WWII. The book seems to make it clear that the girl also take her time to read when she can even if it requires her to steal the book she wants to read. Over all this book seems to be one aimed primarily at making you feel immersed into a story filled with emotions and connections between the world and its character.

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  10. Dear Reader,
    For reading this past term I read a screenplay instead of a book. Because the Internet by Donald Glover, or as most know him as Childish Gambino. Out of everything I could have chose, I chose this because Donald Glover is not a professional screenwriter. I found it interesting how someone with maybe little to no experience could write something that has such a big impact on so many people.
    I think out of all of the characters, I connect with Naomi the most. The things she said were (in a way) similar to how I would act in the situations she was in. “You make things feel awkward. You can’t connect with connect with anyone. How is anyone supposed to feel like they can trust you?” (pg. 63). Naomi isn’t afraid to speak her mind and be honest, that’s how I want to be. “You ever think we’re in hell? This is all hell. Living on earth and being the only one’s aware that it’s all ending slowly.” (pg. 64) This passage makes me think.In my personal experience in writing screenplays, I draw a lot of the scenes’ feeling and dialogue from real things. I wonder if this is how Donald feels about the world sometimes. The whole story is based around a ‘Boy’ who is very wealthy and doesn’t have friends. Is he writing from a personal perspective?
    Donald Glover has an interesting way writing. He is very real. He makes notes of things he would do in the scene to establish the emotions of the shot/scene. He also incorporates his music into the story. His album Because the Internet comes into play all through the story. After completing the reading I listened the to the full album. I could hear each song as it’s own element but also a piece of one big puzzle.
    From beginning to end there is one recurring thing. “Roscoe’s Wetsuit”. It’s repeated as you read the screenplay. The thing I love about it is that we never know what it means, not even in the end. We don’t get any closure with anything there’s still questions to what “Roscoe’s Wetsuit” really is, but I have a theory of what Donald Glover was trying to get across. In the screenplay he finds “Roscoe’s Wetsuit” in a tweet. When he talks to Sasha (a girl on the beach) she asks why he’s wearing a wetsuit. He replies with “Because everyone else is.” But that’s it. We think it means something because we want it to. But it doesn’t, that’s all it is. It’s nothing but we have to make it something, when it’s not. It’s still not. Because the internet.

    Love Soleil Kinslow

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  11. House of Leaves (by Mark Danielewski) is truly more of a journey than just another good novel. Partially narrated by troubled tattoo artist Johnny Truant, the book opens with Johnny and a friend sneaking into an apartment to find an old deceased man lying on his carpet floor, that of which has been torn by none other than claw marks. If that wasn’t odd enough, Johnny also stumbles upon a huge trunk of typed and hand written drafts from the deceased old man who we come to know as Zampano. Through further exploration Johnny discovers the writings form a manuscript study of a documentary entitled The Navidson Record, which explores the new life of a family just moved into a new house, a house that is soon discovered to have a very mysterious property. The house is bigger on the inside than it is on the outside. The peculiar thing to note is that not only is there no evidence of The Navidson Record ever existing but that Zampano himself was a blind man. Even if the movie did exist, how would Zampano even be able to watch it?

    The book itself is really unlike any other novel you’ll ever read. Filled with journal entries and footnotes from Johnny throughout Zampano’s manuscript which follows no traditional layout and sometimes even holds illustrations, foreign languages, or even unfinished parts, House of Leaves keeps the reader completely engaged. With oddly formed margins and haunting citations that don’t even exist, this book will keep you wondering – why? Why is half of this page filled with random film director names? Are they even random? Throughout it’s pages, House of Leaves will force you to analyze the unknown just as it’s characters do. While Johnny is haunted by something, or someone, he cannot define, the constant altering of page layouts and disturbing ramblings keeps the reader equally haunted and puzzled. Don’t be mistaken though, this book does contain a method within it’s own madness. House of Leaves makes us navigate through darkness in absence of explanation, all while wondering what lurks for us in the shadows. As we search for answers on skewed and oddly formatted pages, we seem to question the importance of everything we encounter. Even after reading almost halfway through the novel itself, I still don’t have the answers to half the mysteries found on these pages. I suppose that’s one of the things this novel really does best, it keeps you not only wondering but searching for whats on the other side of the unknown.

    (P.S. If you’re looking for something new and incredibly thought provoking with a bit of a horror element, I absolutely recommend reading House Of Leaves. I’ve loved every page so far.)

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  12. Hi! Angel here! I personally am in love with the Lord of the Rings trilogy and with The Hobbit. I personally love that no matter how many times I read it, there is always something new and exciting for me to pick up. That’s something I love about books, they are a life you can revisit over and over again.
    Anyways, I love Two Towers significantly, and there are so many things I picked up this time that I didn’t the last time around. In the beginning, we have the recent but honorable death of Boromir, and you grieve for him with the characters, I internally wept when I read this part, but I feel that without his death, nothing would have drive, if there are no ups and downs, the characters have nothing to relate to or really live for. It tugs at your heartstrings just enough.
    The book is split into two parts, and I would say that my favorite part is the second half by far, in the second half the story focuses on Sam and Frodo. Now bear with me, I know that Frodo is the main character and everything has to do with him, but that isn’t the reason I get such joy out of the chapters we spend with the two. The reason I love these parts of the story is less of the part of Frodo and more on the part of Samwise Gamgee. Sam is the character that I identify with the most. He is very insecure and quite finicky from the very start. He respects those he meets to the point of it seeming to be admiration, and he likes to take easy routes and steer clear from danger. He is fiercely loyal and he takes care of those he loves. He starts off in the first book as a support and acts sort of like a servant, calling Frodo, “Master Frodo” and doing all he can to make sure Frodo is comfortable. In Book IV, you can really see how much of a housewife he acts like. He cooks for Frodo and is often asking Frodo how he is doing and asking what he can do to help. Granted it isn’t in so many words, but he is looking out for his friend. At one point the pair has to climb down a steep cliff, and though at first Sam gulps hare and states his fear and distaste, he reasons with himself, and steels his nerves to get ready to clime ahead of Frodo, a precaution to make sure his friend stays safe.
    Sam develops throughout the book to the point that you can’t help but admire him. He isn’t the ‘chosen one’, like Frodo, but he has many qualities that I believe make him a lot more likeable than Frodo. He starts out like a servant. He has low self esteem and sees Frodo as above him. As the story progresses, you see that he fears he is a hindrance and wants nothing but to aide his best friend. His love makes his strong, and it was always my reference for a love that was strong and deep, deep enough to battle the darkest of magic, but is not a romantic kind of love. It shows that there can be love that is deep and powerful, without it being a romance. Don’t get me wrong, I love romance as much as the next girl, but there’s a good feeling you get from reading about friendship that doesn’t fail. How amazing is it to have such well-developed characters in a few books? Well anyways, by the end of the book, Sam has saved Frodo several times, something no one expects from the ‘sidekick’. He endures, then he works hard, and on top of that he tries even harder. Through the entire adventure, you can tell that he wants to go home. He misses his pony, and the girl of his dreams, he wants to be safe and happy, but more than that, he wants the same for his friend, and even if it means standing up to his own fears to do it, he will. He isn’t particularly book smart, but he is logical, and I often wonder why J. R. R. Tolkien named him Samwise, which can be taken to me half wise or half wit, when he is obviously smarter than your average Joe when it comes to logic and common sense.
    Though I may be biased when I say that this book is AMAZING, I do believe that there is a lot you can learn from this beautiful character and the other splendid characters Tolkien has created. The entire book is an adventure that can be revisited again and again, and yet still be new each time. There are so many lessons and powerful meanings in this book and I know I’ll probably be picking it up again soon.

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    1. Hey angel, I am also a huge fan of LOTR. When you led with the death of Bormir I went back and thought of how the power of the ring attracted him, but yet he was able to over come that. Then towards the end of his life Boromir was able to defend the people who were trying to destroy the ring. I also liked how you focused on Sam the wise in your commentary. Most people focus on the other main characters, but I agree that Sam is just as important. If it weren’t for Sam, Frodo wouldn’t have gotten the ring to mordor. Samwise Gamgee was able to see things Frodo couldn’t, because Frodo was being controlled by the ring. It was really awesome and interesting to read about what you had to say about Samwise Gamgee!

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  13. A sad but rather funny book, probably one of my favorite books EVER. The way Sherman Alexie wrote this book is just amazing. He portrays the main character Junior as an awkward kid who has many issues. What Sherman did very well was how he made Junior never give up. Made him a unique person by putting him in tough situations and never giving up. While this books seems to be more of a humorous novel, to me it stood out to be inspiring to any reader who opens the book. With all the problems junior had in his life he never gave up. He was always beat up, his parents are alcoholics, and most importantly was poverty. He had two true best friends, a dog named Oscar and another kid his age named Rowdy. What was interesting was that Rowdy never hit Junior. He truly cared about him. I can see how this book won awards.
    This is a popular book that most of us have probably already read. This is not the first time I’ve read it, which is why when i saw Ms Sorensen had got this book, i checked it out. Everyone has unique talents that might be too shy to show. For example, Junior loved basketball and drawing cartoons. Rowdy enjoyed all sports and going to school intimidating everyone else. No one in this world has nothing to show. It is also a book that you will find very funny, without a doubt. He uses “slang” or teen talk a lot. This book is just overall great and i highly recommend you all read it, or reread it. It is absolutely worth is.

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    1. I personlly haven’t read this book, I am not familiar with it either. Its sounds very interesting though. I’m guessing this kid Junior is in high school, cause he uses “slang/teen” talk. What I really like about him from reading your post is you mentioned a couple of times that he never gives up. I feel like that is an important skill or trait to have. I also like how his friend Rowdy knows that he gets beat and so he doesn’t harm him in any way. Personally, some of my friends are the opposite and like to tease. I think that this could very well be the next book that I read. You seem to enjoy it so I’m sure I would too. When I read this book, im going to be looking forward to what else it has to offer.

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  14. The book I read was Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (The Original Screenplay) by J.K. Rowling. This book is solely screenplay from the movie, so it’s just the script and the scene setting for the whole book. Since this was the screenplay it was a little different to read compared to other books, but I actually enjoyed it possibly a little more. I am a fan of the Harry Potter series and it was enjoyable to see the things that were related between the two. There was slang used from Harry Potter and more towards the end of the book there is a character that was originally known from the Harry Potter books/movies. I love the creative writing that J.K. Rowling is capable of. To write so many fiction books and to be able to relate some together and bring a whole story together is something very inspiring. One of the reasons I chose to read this book was because I am a fan of J.K. Rowling’s writing and I enjoyed the movie as well. Some people may disagree, but I’m glad that I watched the movie before I read this book because while I read I could imagine the characters and the setting of where it took place. Being able to picture the movie while I read really kept me interested in the book, I also think that if I had not watched it before I would have been confused as to what some of the terms were or the “magic” that was being used. After reading this book I got very interested in looking for more books (other than the original Harry Potter series) by J.K. Rowling, and I am thinking about starting Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. Overall, I enjoyed reading this book and recommend both the book and movie to anyone, even if you aren’t a Harry Potter fan.

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  15. Right now I am reading the book “counting by 7’s” written by Holly Goldberg Sloan. I started this book last year, but got caught up in sports and I stopped reading. Once we were assigned to read a book each term I knew I had to start from the beginning, re-read it, and finish the book this time because it is a very good book that makes me think.
    “Counting by 7’s” is not one of those books where every chapter you can’t wait to read what is going to happen next, but it is a thinking book. This book really made me used my brain in trying to think about what is going to happen to the main character Willow Chance. It made me imagine what each character looks like and it made me try and think the way Willow thinks because she has a very different mind then most of us. She is a a very smart girl, loves the number 7, observing plants, and diagnosing peoples health problems. She also loves reading a lot. The books she reads area always about plants and health problems, but nothing else. The first day of school she scored 100% on her exam the teachers hand out to see how much the students knew. All of those signs were all put together in my head as I read and realized that she has Autism Spectrum disorder. I knew this because of observing my parents who work with kids that have this. That is why I love this book so much because it made me put the puzzle pieces together and had me think really hard with each page I read. I hope that other people who read this book likes it as much as I do and puts a lot of thought into each page they read.

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  16. The book I chose to read was,”A Brief History of Time,” by Stephen Hawking. I thought this was a great book by Stephen Hawking. In this book Stephen Hawking focuses unification of physics. Through out this process/journey he has each chapter that teaches you a little something to understand what physicist are trying to figure out today. Stephen Hawking is really good at explaining things in a complex and humorous way, but also understandable. For me as a reader I chose this book to understand physics more and get a basic understanding of modern-day physics. This book was able to provide me with that information. Something that I enjoyed out of this book was how the author was able to break down a certain topic to the roots and be able to explain everything in a simple way. He started with the beginning of physics then progressed to modern day physics. I believe that understanding the past will help us better in understanding the future. And what we have figured out allows us to continue to build off of that to discover new things. Something that was interesting to me was, “quantum gravity” that he discussed in the chapter of the, “origin and fate of the universe.” Quantum gravity is just trying to unify gravitational effects into quantum mechanics. That is the biggest thing that we are struggling with today to understand, but in order to move on and figure out other things in our universe that is the key to doing so. Stephen Hawking himself even works on quantum gravity and special relativity. This was a very interesting book to read. If you like physics or learning new things about our universe, I suggest this book.

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  17. The book I have been reading is called Heads Up Baseball by Ken Ravizza and Tom Hanson. It’s basically a sports psychology book but it’s focused on a baseball point of view. I think that baseball is one of the mentally hardest games or sport you can play, and thats one of the reasons I chose to read this book. It goes over all the thoughts and emotions a baseball player will go through during games, or at practice, or just going through everyday life. It also gives you strategies and tactics that you can do mentally and also physically to reach your full potential. Even if you didn’t play baseball, I would say that this book can still help you mentally. Us as humans, tend to think negatively about ourselves, this book talks a lot about turning those negative or bad thoughts into possitive or happy thoughts. I would say it has helped me a lot, not only in the field, but off of it too.
    This book also has quotes and other things that baseball players have said. A lot of them said that even though they are really talented, they still have to focus and be mentally strong during games because if they aren’t, they could make an error or strikeout or something that would happen if your not 100% focused. I think just by reading these quotes, you can learn a lot from these players. I mean these guys are professional atheletes, they have learned a thing or two in their years of playing.
    What I really like about this book is pretty easy to read. Since a lot of it is just ways you can improve your game, it’s easy to understand. Even if you don’t play basball or dont play a sport, I would still recommend this book just cause all the things it teaches you about the mind. The mind is such an important thing of the body. I play baseball and this was recommended to me by a sports psychologist from the U of U. If you read it, I hope you enjoy it.
    .

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