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.) 

51 thoughts on “B5/6 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. Mrs. Sorensen, your book sounds very interesting. The book The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood sounds a lot like The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. This is also a story of a repressed woman who fights in an underground civilization to gain her freedom. Offred and Katniss Everdin both help lead a revolution and free the oppressed.
      I have a hard time reading about women who are being abused by men and society. Women are intelligent, beautiful, kind, loving people who deserve respect. I believe women should not be thought of as property or as a trophy. Women are strong and passionate; they will fight for what for they believe in. I will fight with them.
      I really don’t like the part where you said these women were not allowed to read, eat what they want, and go where they want. It is scary to think that humans can be so cruel to other humans. This book, The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood, may be a good book to show how women overcome hardships. However, I may have a difficult time reading about this topic.

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    2. Dear anyone who bothers to read this,
      I read Disposable: A History of Skateboard Art by Sean Cliver. I really enjoyed this book. I might even say I loved it, yes a book! I would say that I hate reading but this book is awesome. I will definitely be going back and at least reading bits and pieces of this book numerous times. I got this book for Christmas. Yes, I know, its crazy. I got this book because I wanted to look at all of the awesome “Old School” skateboards from the late seventies and throughout the eighties. I also knew that the book had the dates of when the decks come out. I want to skate the reissue decks in order that they originally came out so this was awesome and important to me. However, I got way more out of this book. I never really thought about the graphics such as what they mean to the artist(s), the rider if it was a pro deck, the inspiration, and what goes into making a skateboard graphic. I believe it is truly amazing. I think part of the reason I did not think about these things is that its kind of a no brainer to me. I mean, why wouldn’t you want an awesome looking picture and work of art on your board? Why wouldn’t it have some sort of goal or meaning? I also never thought about how skateboard graphics came to be. I have learned about this from this book. It was skateboarders of course! They were just being the creative, innovative, artists that they often are. All they had were their plain, blank boards and some sharpies. This book has pushed and inspired me. For the next skateboard deck I buy I want to buy a plain, uncut board. This way I can design it, cut it out, and sand it smooth. Then put my own as well as some friend’s artwork on it. Not only on the bottom, but on the Grip tape as well and in doing so as the book says, “Express (my) unique style.”
      -Michael J. MacDonald

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      1. Michael, that book sounds like it was very inspirational to you. The idea of yours to make your own skateboard out of a slab of ordinary wood, sand it down, create your own deck graphic and tape graphic, then ride it, sounds awesome. I would like to read that book to get some ideas from other great artists so that I can make my own graphic logo for when I start buying more decks. Yes, I skate too. I would, however, recommend adding some slabs and plastic to the bottom of your deck so that it doesn’t get ruined when you’re grinding around at the skate park.

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    3. DISCLAIMER: I misread the assignment and did a letter about a book I read a while ago. Still, I followed the guideline.

      Dear reader,

      I have chosen to revisit the series of books, Fablehaven. The reason I read it in the first place many years ago was because I had a certain school criteria to meet on a book of my choice. However, despite this being a mandatory project, it got me to enjoy the fantasy genre much more. I recall enjoying the mystery, fun moments, and somewhat sophisticated language the books had when I read them. Namely, I thought the first book in the series was the best.
      A prevalent theme in the first book is that of age, and how it wears on a person, or creature, in some cases. This was further shown in later books by “Immortals” that had lived for many years and seemingly never die. One part in which age was expressed was by one of the caretakers of the magical refuge, Fablehaven. Lena, the aging caretaker, says “the case of mortality… You spend the first portion of your life learning, growing stronger, more capable. And then, to no fault of your own, your body begins to fail… You remember yourself in your prime, and wonder where that person went.”
      I believe this quote is a dark, but truthful outlook on how time deteriorates people. I think this point becomes relevant in the story arc later. To summarize, the main heroes go from a place of comfort, to points of danger, to a location where they learn that several artifacts have been guarded over time. Some of them grant immortality, which becomes very prominent in the adventures to follow.
      In the end, Fablehaven takes classic themes, such as light and darkness, and more relatable themes like age and interpersonal connections, and presents it in a unique and memorable way. It sets up a story arc with these themes that keeps readers such as myself interested, and craving more.

      Thanks for reading,
      -Raif

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  2. Sunday, March 19, 2017
    Dear Class,
    I approach the pitch; it is the last minute of the game. Our team has possession of the ball. My player sends the ball to my feet, it’s just me and the goalkeeper, my heart is pounding. The crowd is cheering…I shoot, and then everything goes silent. This is why I have a passion for soccer. This is exactly how I felt when I was reading the book Soccer U.S.A.by Chuck Cascio. This book is about how soccer came to the United States and became a popular world sport.
    One of the books quotes is “But as professional soccer grows in the U.S., the World Cup games will become a focal point of that growth and Americans will certainly become at least as involved as other nations.” This is so true. Soccer has become a world renowned “language” where people of all nationalities, religions, and cultures can participate in the sport without being judged. It is fun, passion, and a thing of beauty. If it wasn’t for the U.S. playing the World Cup in 1930 and in 1950, I probably wouldn’t be playing soccer like I do today. The U.S. team went to the semifinals during both these games. Because of this, soccer started becoming more popular in the United States.
    Soccer U.S.A.by Chuck Cascio, is also a great book about Pele and what he did for the soccer community. I really liked the part about how Pele was an “elusive man to cover one to one” even at the age of 34. Pele really inspired me to become a national soccer player who trains hard and is willing to do anything to achieve this goal.
    All in All, Soccer U.S.A.by Chuck Cascio, is a great book if you like soccer. I highly recommend checking it out of the library.
    Sincerely,
    Andrew Ross

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    1. Andrew, I did not realize how important soccer was in the U.S. seeing how big football is. I always thought soccer to be more prominent in Europe and South America. Your point about the importance of the U.S. playing in the World Cup affecting today’s popularity of soccer is very interesting. It’s fun to think about how influential a few events in history can be on the present and future.
      While I don’t play a sport, I can still appreciate how sports can bring people from all over together. Especially a sport like soccer that is played in several countries all over the world. I agree with you on how soccer is similar to a language. I enjoy seeing people come together to do something they enjoy.
      I also did not realize that 34 was old for a soccer player, but I guess I’ve never really thought about it. Then again I do not know much about sports or do much reading on it either.

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    2. Andrew Ross, your commentary is very good. I can definitely tell that you have a strong passion for soccer and you show that throughout your commentary. I like how you gave us a pitch about a soccer game. It really gave me an image in my head on what was going on.

      I think the book; Soccer U.S.A. seems like a really well written book for those who like soccer. I used to play soccer so I am a little interested in this book. Soccer is a very passionate sport you need to be good at in order to do well and win. Obviously, this book wouldn’t have been written if the U.S.A. didn’t compete in the World Cup, but I like how you said that the U.S. team wouldn’t be where they are today if they didn’t play in the World Cup. I think that this is a great recommendation of a book and hopefully your commentary will make others want to read the book, Soccer U.S.A. by Chuck Cascio.

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    3. Andrew, I think it super cool how into soccer you are, despite it being in the shadows of the United States favorite sports of Football and Basketball. I know soccer is the most popular sport worldwide, but I never really put any thought into how it was introduced in the United States. I also had no idea that the United States had such good soccer teams back in the mid 1900s.
      I can relate to the possible frustration you might have with the more popular sports of Football and Basketball for getting all of the attention in the United States, because I play lacrosse. The most frustrating part of Lacrosse not getting any attention is that it is the oldest sport in the Americas, as it was invented by the Native American tribes on the east coast long before Colonial Rule. Lacrosse is also a young mans game, as well, however lacrosse involves a lot more contact so as a result the careers are even shorter in comparison to soccer.
      Deuces,
      Stephen Grant

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    4. Andrew your book sounds amazing!!! I didn’t know that soccer was that popular in the U.S. usually I always thought it was football or something else. Don’t get me wrong I really love soccer I use to be a soccer fan when I was little. I loved how you put so much details into your essay and explaining a lot about how you felt about this and book and things . I really like how you started off the beginning of your essay with actually explaining like you were actually at a soccer game and then how you go into explaining the book and so on. I thought soccer would be more common in Europe and Argentina or somewhere and I think soccer is a famous sport everyone knows but it’s a hard sport to learn and do. So when you explained the part with pele did he play all his life until he got to the age of 34? Everyone trains and works really hard to get to there goal and that’s what you said about pele , it does take time to get where you want to be and especially with sports. I play sports and soccer was my first sport I could’ve played soccer my whole life but I stopped but all my sisters play soccer and there very into it. I really loved your essay and I think I will check that book out and read it.

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  3. Monday, March 20, 2017

    Dear Fellow Classmates,

    I just finished reading The Sea of Monsters by Rick Riordan, and might I just say that it was awesome! I am a huge fan of this style of books. It has all the elements of a great book: action, passion, magic and even mystery. It is hard to argue against a book that has all that in it. Rick Riordan has a signature move of providing a foreshadow of the story without giving anything major away. In this book he does this by having Percy have a dream with his lost friend Grover, in which they have this conversation on page 74:
    “I’ll come rescue you,” I promised. “Where are you?”

    “The Sea of Monsters, of Course!”

    “The sea of what?”

    “I told you! I don’t know exactly where! And look, Percy… um, I’m really sorry about this,
    but this empathy link… well, I had no choice. Our emotions are connected now. If I die…”

    “Don’t tell me, I’ll die too.”

    This conversation does a great job of foreshadowing the journey that is yet to come. Percy now knows the general location of Grover, and that he does not have much time to save him. This adds pressure to the story to get started with his journey, since time is of the essence. This conversation also shows the importance that Grover is rescued and kept alive, because if Grover dies, then so shall Percy.
    I found that is book can be used for many life lessons, such as (using the same conversation that is discussed above) that helping a close friend of yours will not only be beneficial for them but for yourself, even if your lives are not hand in hand.
    In conclusion this book is not only a great story, but it will leave you with a different perspective on your daily life. This can be in many ways, such as growing appreciation for friendships, and loved ones, or maybe just letting your imagination run wild on the possibilities of magic that Greek mythology brings to the world. You can’t help but wonder… what if this is reality, and I am just not aware of the truth.

    Sincerely,

    Stephen Grant

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    1. Dear Steven,
      I recall a period of about a month or so in my childhood in which I read all the books in the original Percy Jackson series. I agree with you in that they were very enjoyable. I suppose as a kid I didn’t pay much attention to the whole “foreshadowing” thing, or really any part of the book other than the story, but I had much fun with it nonetheless. Later on Rick Riordan came out with the “Heroes of Olympus” series and if you enjoy finishing the Percy Jackson books, I would definitely recommend moving on to that series. It doesn’t have the same charm to it that the original novels did (perhaps because of my nostalgia) but the introduction of new and more mature characters is a nice change of pace. However on the subject of maturity, especially by the last book, “The Blood of Olympus,” Riordan attempts to imitate the teenage “lingo” simply by shoveling the word “Bro” into several areas of dialogue between male characters. I remember this because it was so cringy and annoying at times. Anyway, good read(s) so check it out if you have the time.
      Sincerely, Ben Smith

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    2. Dear: Stephen Grant
      The Percy jackson series is also one of my favorite series and I agree that Rick Riordan does at foreshadowing without giving any major details in the story which is one of the things I think that made Percy Jackson a successful series because it kept the readers wanting to know what was going to happen next and what surprises were going to pop up in the story, and by doing this it influences the readers to keep reading so they could know what was going to happen next. By using the foreshadowing it also informs us as readers what the plot is going to be and the overall goal of the main character.
      I think that “Percy Jackson And The Sea of Monsters” is a very exciting story and can be enjoyed by all ages if they are willing to keep reading and try to figure out the “major details” that Riordan doesn’t mention until it becomes relevant to what is occurring in the story.

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  4. The book I am reading is Frankenstein by Mary Shelly. So far I have been very surprised, it is nothing like the depictions in the media. I was surprised to find out that Victor Frankenstein fears his creation, and loves it at the same time. This is how he described his monster before giving it life, “His yellow skin scarcely covered the work of muscles and arteries beneath; his hair was a lustrous black, and flowing; his teeth of pearly whiteness” (Shelly, 44). Clearly he put a lot of hard work in to piecing together his monster with parts from the grave and dissection room at his university.
    After his monster is brought to life, Victor runs away in fear and becomes very ill. Victor doesn’t tell anyone about his creation nor does he attempt to find it. This is one of the few issues I have with the novel. I find it unrealistic that he does not try to find his creation or even obsess over where it could be. If I knew there was an animated corpse loose I would want to find it, especially if I was its creator.
    Instead of being productive, poor Victor sits in his sorrow and agony as to what he has done. At the beginning of the story I had respect for his character, but now I find him to annoying and highly irresponsible. He should have restrained the corpse before giving it life, then he would not have all the problems that come later in the novel. And somehow Victor Frankenstein is smart enough to give life to the dead.
    I think Mary Shelly wrote this novel to show that science can go too far, that humans have begun to play God. We create things then don’t take responsibility for the negative consequences. Maybe she’s right. Global Warming is a great example of how humans have destroyed something without acknowledging the effects. We just run away and fret about it without doing anything, just like Victor.

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    1. Hey Hannah! Your books sounds very interesting and looks like a very darker and sadder version than the common story we all know and love! I love how you compare the creation of the monster to being a reflection on our world science and how it is negatively effecting our world. Just gonna say that not all science is bad though and is destroying the planet. Also not saying that science is not contributing to wasting the planet. I do agree on how sometimes we are not responsible for our actions and either blame it on some one or some thing else. We see this in many wild life habitats across the globe. Then only a few people actually try to clean up the after math but sadly it barely makes a difference overall. Anyways you got me interested in the book now and I think it would be a good read!

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    2. Dear Hannah,
      I really like your Analysis and critics on the book and I love the way you emphasized how sometimes science can go a bit too far and intervene in places where it would be better left alone. As far as the character of Victor Frankenstein is concerned, what I see is that he creates something even he fears and likes not to held accountable for. He sees his creation as a mistake, too bad to be corrected. But at the same time, I also feel like he hides and disowns his creation because he does not want other people figuring out that bringing a corpse to life is possible and maybe if they did, they might just go as far as Victor himself did. He fears that people will try to make something similar to his creation and disrupt the natural process. With everything Summed up, I loved your critics and analysis on the book. Especially the way you emphasized on Victor Frankenstein’s character.

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    3. Cool book, Hannah!

      I remember reading a special edition of Frankenstein, and I recall it was a fantastic and unique style. I read it from a collector edition of other classics, too, like Journey to the Center of the Earth. It has been a while since I have read it, but your edition reminds me of a darker version of it. I think that only adds to the complex and fascinating story we all remember. I personally am a fan of dark fantasy and H.P. Lovecraft, so hearing about this more serious version of the book makes me really want to read it all the more. Also, I thought it was very clever that you connected this “playing God” philosophy with what people are doing in our modern age. Its very thoughtful to connect this to Global Warming, and other negative effects humans are doing. Your quick summary doesn’t spoil much, but makes me want to read the book again, namely your edition.

      -Raif

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  5. Dear reader,
    The book Habibi by Naomi Shihab Nye is a very well written book. It is different then what I thought it would be about, but I enjoyed reading it. I think that the two main themes in this book is, hope and change.

    The main character, Liyana, and her family take on a series of events that cause her to have hope or to try to have hope throughout each situation. In every chapter from the book the main character, Liyana, struggles with moving far away from her friends and she then struggles to find friends at her new school but she keeps moving on. She had hope that she would make at least one friend and she eventually did. “She turned a corner and everything changed.” Liyana met a boy at a store and they became friends. Through her hope, her life got better and she knew that things would get better at this new country she was living in. Liyana and her family went through many changes in this book. Through her move to a new country, Liyana finds herself doing things that she wouldn’t usually do at her old home. For example, it was common to kiss on each other’s lips or cheeks when getting to know each other in the new country, Jerusalem. “From hugging, pinching cheeks, and jabbering loudly.” Liyana also knows that her relatives back in the states are very different then the relatives in Jerusalem. Throughout the entire book she goes through changes with school, friends, family, and home. She struggles to accept her home because she loved her old home. “Every day is a new map. But it’s just a scrap of it, an inch.”

    This book portrays the change that life can offer to anyone and how to cope with it. Also, the book shows hope in change or in any way. In my life I have had lots of change and have had to deal with having hope, so this book reminded me of how change and hope can be a good thing in life. By the end of the book, Liyana finds peace with herself and finds out that change happens for a reason. “She needed her family, two countries, her sense, her notebooks and pencils, and her new devotion to life.” I especially like this quote from the end of the book, because Liyana found her place in the world and it didn’t matter where she was, she had everything and everyone she liked to make her new life become something great.

    Overall this book, Habibi by Naomi Shihab Nye, is a wonderful book and I recommend it to anyone who likes to read about adventure and hope and change. The author did a great job writing this book and since I’ve finished reading this book, I am more interested in reading other books of hers. This book has a great sense of the real world and it kept me wanting to read for long hours each day. I hope to anyone who is interested in reading this specific book, that they will learn to enjoy it as much as I did.

    Sincerely, Emily Menlove

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  6. Dear: Class
    I chose to read “Harry Potter And The Sorcerer’s Stone” for my class reading project this term. When I started reading it I found it very suspenseful and hard to put down because I wanted to know what happened next. It also influenced me to question the plot because Harry’s overall goal in this book is to discover who is trying to steal the sorcerer’s stone and why they were trying to steal it. I wondered why J.K. Rowling tried to direct her audience’s suspicion towards Professor Snape and then reveal that Snape was not the person trying to steal the stone? In chapter 13 Snape meets Quirrell in the “Dark Forest” and this was their conversation. “… d-don’t know why you wanted to t-t-to meet me here of all p-places, Severus…” ” Oh, I thought we’d keep this private. Students are not supposed to know about the Sorcerer’s Stone. Have you found out how to get past that beast of Hagrid’s yet?” This part from chapter 13 allows readers to think that Snape is after the Sorcerer’s Stone because he is threatening Quirrell for information on how to get the stone. I liked how Roweling surprised her readers by drawing their suspicion towards Snape. But I wondered why she tried to direct the reader’s full suspicion towards Snape and not trying to turn their attention towards other characters in the book? What I really liked about this book was how good the main characters were at solving problems and finding answers to their questions because it changed the book from being a fantasy novel to a mystery as well. This combination of genres made the story more interesting and suspenseful for me because I was unable to predict what happened next. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys mysteries and magic.
    Sincerely: Jake Wells

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    1. Jake, I also have read the “Harry Potter and the sorcerer’s stone”. Harry Potter Series are one of my favorite because I enjoy mysterious and magic kind of books. I read a book called nightmare academy by Dean Lorey, Dean does a good job of relating the main character that has magical powers and their friends, and also how they go against bad creatures/villains. I like how both books make people want to know what’s going to happen next and question like you said. It leaves you on the edge of the seat the whole time reading this book, I cannot wait to revisit Harry Potter series!

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  7. Halo Contact Harvest by Joseph Staten is a book written in a way that makes you feel as if you were living it. It is adventurous, intense, violent, and even in some places scary. I believe the main themes of this book are determination and hope.

    Staff Sargent Avery Johnson, the main character, is an outstanding but stubborn marine fighting for the United Nations Space Command or UNSC for short. Human life has expanded into the stars due to the invention of the Slip Space Drive capable of compacting space and time into a tight space, making space travel much faster. Johnson is transferred to the farming colony world Harvest to train local men and women for if an attack from the rebellious insurrection were to occur. Johnson is determined to train these people to become soldiers just as well as he was. However, this is not why he is really there. A religiously driven alien alliance calling themselves The Covenant discover Humanity and believe they are in possession of “holy” ancient alien technology build by their “gods” the Forerunners. The holy leaders of The Covenant hope the humans have more of these relics and wish to seise them at any cost. Johnson is determined to fight back though. He never gives up easily in a fight.

    The book tells you to never give up no matter the odds and to stay positive even under immense stress. (SPOILER BE WARNED) Though in the end, Harvest is lost to The Covenant and Johnson survives but they went down swinging. Humanity showed The Covenant that they will not go gentle into the good night.
    (Although they get their butts handed to them later on in other books and games. RIP Reach and Noble team. Except Jun. You’re a bad A and nothing kills you)

    Overall I’ve loved this book and I’d say anyone that loves the Halo games or loves science fiction would love this book as much as I have. I can’t wait to read the other books! They keep you up at night wondering what is out there and always flipping pages.

    The Nerd, Henry Theurer

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    1. Henry, you probably can tell that I am not a sci-fi kind of guy. This Halo book does so interesting and I probably wouldn’t mind reading it. I do love playing video games and from the book review, I’m assuming it has a lot to do with the game Halo, even though I have never played that game. More of a football and GTA gamer. I’m seriously going to check out the Halo game and see what the hype is all about. If it is anything like Call of Duty or Assassins creed with the alien stuff included, I might just try it out. Books are good when you wonder what is going to happen in the future. I kind of like reading, mainly nonfiction, but I am willing to try a new genre, Science fiction. Space seems cool and from your review, it has a lot to do with the outside universe. That sounds pretty interesting to me.

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    2. Henry, personally i love science fiction, i think its a great way to use your imagination to speculate the wonders that lie in and not in our solar system and beyond. Although i like other genres too, science fiction is definitely one, if not, my favorite. I like how you make the reader see through the eyes of the character in the story and use the intensity of the situation in the book to demonstrate it. Id personally like to explore more genres in depth, but until then, this story has my vote.

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    3. Henry that sounds like a really fun book. I when I was younger really liked playing halo and I thought that the games were pretty cool, and by the way you talked about the book makes me wish that I still enjoyed the halo series today because the book sounds like it would be really fun to read and play the game at the same time. The halo series itself looks to be amazing and I think it’s pretty cool that they are creating more games still and more movies and shows, even though I’m not really into halo anymore I’d say that if I were I would definitely read all of the books and watch the movies because I think that anything to do with the outer space is pretty cool and fun. If you end up reading any other books, you should definitely tell me about them.

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    4. Henry,
      This sounds like a pretty interesting book especially judging on your commentary of it. Coming from an outsider’s point of view of this book and rather all books relating to Halo in any way, it was helpful to get a background on the story and it seems that you are passionate about the book. I like the reference to the poem “We Cannot Go Gentle into that Good Night.” It kind of reminds me of the movie Independence Day, it’s got that type of feel with the aliens attacking and earth has to fight them off. I like the theme that you can never give up, Staff Sargent Avery Johnson seems like a chill dude who knows how to kick some alien butt, so I might have to take up this book one day (however unlikely it might seem.)

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  8. Dear peers,
    I have been reading a compilation poetry book called “The Rose That Grew From Concrete” by Tupac Amaru Shakur. This compilation of poems goes very deep into the nature of life, death, God, growing up, loneliness, love, pain, heaven, temptation ect… I have really been enjoying reading these poems. The great thing about poems are that they can mean this, but mean something totally different to you, the reader. I find this to be really deep and personal, yet it’s shared with the world. One of my favorite poems is called “Sometimes I Cry”-  “Sometimes when I’m alone, I cry because I’m on my own, The tears I cry R bitter and warm, They flow with life but take no form, I cry because my heart is torn and I find it difficult 2 carry on, If I had an ear 2 confide in, I would cry among my treasured friends, But who do u know that stops that long, To help another carry on,
    The world moves fast and it would rather pass u by than 2 stop and c what makes u cry, It’s painful and sad and sometimes I cry and no one cares about why.” Much of the reason I liked this poem in particular was because I feel a deepness to it, and just the way Tupac Shakur says these things the it gives me a feeling of his pain. He is great at giving off vibes and truly making you feel what he is saying. I’ve gotten chills a few times through some of these poems. Commonly you would find that some poems were dedicated to his different girlfriends over time, he showed a more sensitive side and described love in beautiful ways that would be sure to make anyone’s heart warmed to receive such a poem about themselves. Love was a key element in most of these poems, they were like stories and some had beautiful outcomes and others ended with heartbreak and tears. I have always had an interest in writing poetry, but this collection of poems has truly inspired me. I used to write some poems every so often, but eventually I just stopped. This book has very much so influenced me to pick up a pen and a composition book and start writing again. I would very highly recommend this book of poetry to anyone who appreciates poetry or is in to reading deep and heartfelt things. This book however is very different from the rap music of 2Pac, so if you were to expect his amazing rap music to have a part in this book it is very different and does not relate. I hope that I have influenced at least one person to try and give this book a read.
    Yours Truly,
    Jaycee

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    1. Jaycee, I happen to have an enormous appreciation for music and the enlightenment it can give to someone. And it all starts with poetry. The fact that a music artist took the time to put this together, I think, says a lot about poetry in and of itself. 48
      If I’m being honest, I haven’t picked up a poetry book in a long time. But now, I kind of want to try and see if he was able to put any messages in those poems of his, by reading this one. There are so many things we can find hidden in poetry, and so many new revelations that can be taken from poetry. I haven’t read Tupac’s poetry book, but I will certainly be attentive if a poem relating to revelation about life, philosophy, death, etc. I honestly want to try and see what kind of new things I might learn from reading that book you reviewed.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Dear classmates,
    The Lost Hero by Rick Riordan was a thrilling cliff hanger that left me on the edge of my seat at all times. With an exciting blend of characters and a theme of finding your identity, Riordan established yet another classic novel in Greek/Roman mythology.
    Throughout the novel, the theme of seeking out yourself was clearly apparent. In the beginning of the book, Jason wakes up on a bus without any memory except that he knows he doesn’t belong there. Meanwhile Leo and Piper are equally as confused when they find out they were born to godly parents and spoken about in the ancient prophecy that predicts the end of the world. As the three characters set off on a quest to save the world, there are many defining moments which help show the true character and purpose of these three demigods.
    Jason wakes with a strange tattoo written on his arm in Roman, and as crazy as the idea of Greek gods sound to his two new friends, things seem to click for Jason although he understands everything in Roman terms while everybody around him and at camp Half blood are speaking in Greek terms. On page 510, Jason is preparing to battle a giant, he instinctively states, “‘I’m a child of Rome, Consul to demigods, Praetor of the first Legion.’ Jason didn’t quite know what he was saying, but he rattled off the words like he’d said them many times before.” Jason’s memory begins to be restored throughout the novel and he starts remembering more and more about his past and his duty.
    Jason’s friend Leo had watched helplessly as his mother died in a burning building when he was just a child. All of his life, he had been haunted by his goddess baby sitter who claims that he is her chosen one. Although Leo remembers numerous times when Hera, (his babysitter) had set him aflame testing his strength even as a young child. As Leo learns of his godly father, Hephaestus, he begins to put it all together and define who he is and what his destiny is.
    Piper sought attention from her movie star father for her entire life and rarely got it. Now that she is finally receiving attention from people around her, yet she is extremely confused. Her boyfriend, Jason, doesn’t recognize her and when she discovers she is the daughter of Aphrodite she feels lost and in the wrong place. She hates the new attention that comes from being the daughter of the goddess of beauty and she is terrified about fitting in to her new environment. Through the book she must discover her place in the prophecy and unite the three young demigods.
    The Lost hero was an amazing novel that I will never stop suggesting, even here at the age of 16. The theme of identity kept me entertained throughout the novel and I couldn’t put the book down. I dare you to pick it up as well and good luck getting anything done.
    Sincerely Max Okland

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    1. Max,
      I find this book and review very interesting. I also read a book by Rick Riordan however it was from a different series. It is interesting to see his same style of writing between each one of the books. His style uses both Greek mythology and modern day events and experiences that sounds very interesting and I enjoy. It is interesting to see how he can mix today’s world with the world of the ancient Romans and Greeks. Riordan is very good at telling his stories. He does, as you said, leave you on the edge of your seat the whole time you are reading his stories. He does blend characters and show the themes of finding identity very well. I do also suggest reading Riordan’s books even at this age. I think they are very fascinating and a great read for all ages. I will now read this book along with the other books from that series that I need to read.

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  10. Dear Class,
    I’m sure everyone has read this book.. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. I read it at Hillside Middle school a few years ago and reread it this past year for a assignment Ms. Ruthie gave us awhile back. Dealing with a lot of Racism in this book, I have been able to see myself in the character Tom Robinson. Now even though I have never been accused of his crime, I have been stereotyped and judged because of my size and color. This book talks about how the Finch family tries to overcome these prejudices in this small town. Atticus Finch being a lawyer in Tom Robinson’s case and raising his children as a single parent in a very biased community. The story is told through Scout, his daughter, and the experiences she goes through trying to be honest, see the good in people, and be a support for her dad during this trial really keeps me interested in the book. This book is good for people to read to help us better understand that people are all different. One of the quotes that really has stuck with me after reading it was, “You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view, until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.” I hope that if you get a chance to read this book or reread it, that you will know where I am coming from and many more from this school. It’s pretty cool that Highland is very diverse and I think I’m lucky to be in a school that is accepting most of the time. As an athlete, I sometimes don’t think people take us seriously. People should think what it would be like to walk in my shoes one day. Walking into a gas station and the clerk always keeping a close eye on you more than usual, walking down 2100 street and a cop stopping you and asking you in a fake tone, How are you doing? When you get overlooked at a retail store by a clerk because they think you can’t afford anything…It happens, but it makes me stronger everyday to prove all those judgements wrong. I have a supportive family and my parents have taught me to never feel inferior to anyone. I hope that this book can help people see the real person. It is a feel good book that makes me proud of who I am.
    Hunter Lotulelei

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hunter,
      I really enjoyed your letter, i really like how you compared yourself to the main character in the book, to kill a mockingbird is one of my favorites, I can’t imagine how hard it must be to go through all the racist stereotypes you face every day that your explained, as well as the stereotypes you face because of your size and athletic talent, I know it must be hard but your are on of the most genuine and nicest people I’ve ever met so I know that once people actually talked to your there stereotypes would go away
      Sincerely
      Keaton

      Like

    2. (from Jaycee)
      My friend Hunter,
      I really enjoy what you said about To Kill A Mockingbird and how it relates to you. I have also read this book, it was a great read. I’m not a fan of reading however, this book was amazing and I enjoyed it from start to finish. The way that you placed yourself into Tom Robinson’s shoes was really great. I too placed myself in his shoes. I’m sorry that you get judged on an everyday basis. I can relate so much to what you’ve said. I too have been asked by cops things like “What’re we out here doing huh?” But also by my clothes, because I am African- American and white, and because of my background. When I read this book I also seen a little bit of myself in Tom Robinson, not nearly as bad though. You’ve got me thinking about reading the book again. I haven’t read it in a few years now, But I will probably be picking it up again sometime in the near future.
      Your friend,
      Jaycee

      Like

  11. Dear Class,

    I have been reading a certain book lately, called “Last Man Standing,” written by David Baldacci. It follows the story of HRT unit member Web London. His team had just been slaughtered in front of him, but he doesn’t know why he survived. The book follows his investigation into the reason why he survived, who set the ambush up, and the other survivor, a boy named Kevin.
    Admittedly, I am still reading it right now. That said, one of my favorite things about this book so far is that each chapter adds a couple more pieces to the enormous puzzle, and allows me to try and predict what will happen and try to solve it, while at the same time advancing the plot with certain characters revealing their reaction of the incident to Web, the other side story in which he loses his reputation due to a media misunderstanding (though this is tied back to the culprit of the attack), and also some assassinations or deaths which occur (which I don’t know the reason for yet). Each chapter, with every new revelation, opens up more possibilities as to what the solution could possibly be (though shuts down some as well). Pondering over the possibilities of what could possibly happen in this story has been very entertaining.
    I also appreciate how much value the story has put so far on things like friends. So far, Web has been shown to have felt the loss of his team (who were his greatest friends) like a shot to the heart. I honestly can’t imagine going through something like that, and the way that Web’s strife was written about can only make me feel deep sympathy.
    One other thing I found interesting about the book is how often the point of view changes between chapters. So far, Web has been the subject of, I’d estimate, two-thirds of the chapters. Every other chapter, the point of view was given either to a different prominent character, or the victim of an assassination occurring that chapter. Seeing everything from so many points of view only adds to the suspense and puzzle needing to be solved.
    This is a great read. I would especially recommend this book to someone who loves suspense and speculation.

    -Ben Lambert

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  12. Dear Class,
    I read the book, The Seas of Monsters, by Rick Riordan. The book is based from Greek Mythology. Many Gods are included in the book and their half God-half mortal children called Demigods are the center of the book. The book is a mixture between old Greek ideas and beliefs and present day beliefs and customs. The book takes place in New York then it shifts to the fictional world of the Gods. Riordan does a very good job of creating a balance mixture of real world and bringing the Gods or monsters into everyday life of the mortals.
    I enjoyed reading this book unlike other books I have read this year, such as the Scarlett Letter. This book is very modern; the writing is very easy to understand. The writing and language helps keep you focused on the story and what is going on. This book is not a book where you finish a page and as yourself, “What did I just read?”. This book and language used will keep you engage the whole time with its battles and exciting events that take place. This book has a very balanced amount of battles and more calm times where the story is developing. Again, this book is very good at keeping a reader involved or engaged.
    Right now, in the book, Percy Poseidon’s son, is having dreams of his friend Grower that is stuck in the Sea of Monsters and he needs help. Percy and his friend Annabeth want to find a way to save their friend. They plan to where they can travel to find him and to rescue him. I believe that they will find Grover however they will struggle to save him. They will face many challenges but overall succeed.
    Again, this is a very entertaining book that I would recommend to anyone looking for an adventurous or exciting book to read.
    -Spencer Thomas

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  13. Dear Peers,
    I am reading a book called “The Hunters” by John Flanagan. I read this book about 3 years ago but reread it earlier this year. It is a book about how you should never give up, no matter what you are doing or what comes your way. In the book, Hal, the main character, undergoes a series of obstacle courses and tests run by the men of the village. The test evaluates the kids of the village’s manliness, their strength and their persistence. The test determine what future jobs they will have in the vast land of Skandia (similar to Iceland and the vikings). In the story, Hal has to go from working as an individual and working against his opponents to working together as a team and using his skills as a leader and a teammate to complete each task. I personally relate to this book because I am apart of the Highland football team. The practices take a lot of persistence and strength to accomplish. A major component in football is teamwork. You have to be a leader and you have to communicate with everyone. In life everyone has to undergo a series of tests and obstacles that lie ahead of them in the world that can determine their future. It is a great book for someone that likes a mixture of action, persistence, integrity, teamwork and leadership all combined into 400 pages.

    Like

    1. Harvey,
      Your book sounds like a very good book and sounds like it has helped you with football. It’s so interesting to see how just doing exercises as a team can bring a team closer together than just bonding outside of class. You said that Hal has to work with and against his teammates and I think that is what brings them close together. I sure this has helped big time with football
      From Elizabeth

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  14. The book that I read was Rules of a knight by Ethan Hawke. At first, the title, or in fact the cover didn’t seem as eye catching but because this book was gifted to me, I decided to give it a read. And as it turned out, it is one of the books I appreciate the most.
    As a reader, I focus on to how the writer is writing the story in terms that you can actually transport yourself into his shoes, and that indeed is a characteristic of a good author. This book particularly got my attention because it contains tips and personal advice through which you can yourself apply, improve and become a better person. The book is set in 1483. In this book, the author was being chaperoned by his grandfather, who was a former knight. As time passes, his grandfather gives the author tips of becoming a better person, the rules of a knight, which he in return, had learned through life lessons. These include solitude, gratitude, pride, cooperation and others. Each rule had its own story and explanation defining to which extent it should be used and how it is beneficial. It also discusses what the cons would be if a person was to act against it. One of my favorite examples was of the rule of pride. “Be proud, not arrogant. Back straight, head high. Stand like you deserve to be here”
    Even though this book is set in the late 15th century, the English is very easy and helps you understand a lot about life itself as it is coming from experiences of a wise person. The reader did a great job compiling all the advices his grandfather gave him along with the stories he used to mention. The book itself is a must read as it’s among those which once you pick up, you don’t plan on putting them down unless you have finished it.

    Like

  15. Dear Reader,

    I really enjoyed reading the book Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson this term. I believe this story tells the very real and terrifying story of a rape victim. Although this book had such a dark backstory I believe one of the most significant things that came out of this book was seeing the change of its main character, Melinda. I cannot relate to this character completely, however, I can understand her struggle entering high school.

    Melinda was once a very bright and happy pre teen with many aspirations and goals for her life. You see her change into the complete opposite through a terrible tragedy. Melinda becomes empty, dark teen with no goals expect to move on. This made the book have a deep contrast from beginning, middle and the end.

    One part of the book that struck me was near the end. Melinda takes a day off from school and realizes that her yard is a mess, full of dead leaves and weeds from fall. It is spring and Melinda takes the opportunity to rakes the leaves and clean up her yard, I believe this symbolizes her own life. She takes out the dark memories of her past and throws them out leaving room for her to rebuild and grow into who she is now. This is the most symbolic part of Speak, I was finally able to see Melinda gain the closure she so desperately needed.

    I really liked this book and would recommend it to anyone. It is a great example of moving on and overcoming trials. Speak also reminded me that you can not always know what goes on in a person’s life and that people aren’t always what they seem. Everyone has a background story and Speak is a perfect example of that.

    Sincerely,
    Red Stoddard

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    1. Red –

      The book you read sounds very interesting. I’ve always had an interest in books that have dark themes like what you mention. A tragedy like that is so defining in someone’s life and reading what it’s like through someone else’s eyes makes it even more real, a reminder that it can happen to anyone. After reading your commentary on the book and doing some of my own research, (reading its Wikipedia) I think I plan on looking into the book myself. Though it’s been a while since reading a book of this nature, I’m excited to do so.
      Might I suggest, if you like trauma novels like this one, One Child by Torey Hayden is a really good book. Probably much darker, but a really good book nonetheless with similar themes of rape, abandonment, and recovery.

      -Willow Murdock

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  16. Dear Classmates,
    The book I read was called Abundance by Peter Diamandis. This book was really interesting and full of information about how to become an entrepreneur and help solve world wide problems. Even though I didn’t finish the book during the term (but I am planning on finishing this book sometime this year) I learned a lot from this book. Diamandis talks to many entrepreneurs, scientists, and innovators throughout the book about what businesses they have started, and the kind of changes their businesses have provided to the world. In this book it talks a lot about the economic system in America and other countries, it teaches you about the Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, the new medicines being created today, the new technology that is being created and how it is helping our societies connect to each other and the world advance into the future. Diamandis talks a lot about all the countries in the world, some which are very advance and have a great society and some whom are struggling and are behind with technology and the rest of the world, but as we progress we can help those in need. If in the future you want to be an entrepreneur I definitely recommend everyone to read this book because it focuses of what we have today and what is being created for the future that will better this world. This information in this book will help the future entrepreneurs, scientists, teachers, and government understand what will be needed for the humanity to survive and advance in the universe where everything will be possible.

    Like

    1. I appreciate your dedication and interest in your book. It is always great to see people reading instead of watching tv or movies, and taking advantage of what books have to offer. Good stuff.

      Like

  17. Spencer,
    I also have read the Percy Jackson series by Rick Riordan, and it is my favorite of all time. Like the Lost Hero which I read for my independent book, Riordan does an incredible job of clashing separate worlds into one reality. One thing I noticed when I read this series, was the way that Riordan forms relationships between humans, gods, and other mythological creatures to make the book more relatable to us. For example, Percy’s best friend, Grover, is actually a faun. In the Sea of Monsters we also learn of Percy’s half brother and cyclops, Tyson. In our world today, both of these characters are fictional and fortunately, cyclops and faun don’t exist in reality. However, due to the relationships created by Riordan’s work, these creatures seem almost real to the reader. I also like how you pointed out that the plot takes place in New York. This is a huge city filled with people and one would assume that monsters wouldn’t go unnoticed tearing apart the city. Riordan’s creation of “the mist”, allows the two reality’s to co-exist without the human mortals even noticing. I hope you enjoy the rest of the novel and I can’t wait to revisit it myself!
    Sincerely, Max Okland

    Like

  18. Dear, Classmates;
    I’ve been reading the series, Adventurers Wanted by M.L. Forman. I’ve only read the first two books. But, I like the series a lot so far.
    The summary for the first book, Slathbog’s Gold, is:
    “The sign is small, tucked into the corner of Mr. Clutter’s book-shop window: ‘Adventurers Wanted. Apply Within.’ No one but fifteen-year-old Alex Taylor even seems to notice it is there. And for Alex,Who has wished for a change in his life, it is an irresistible invitation.
    “Upon entering Mr. Clutter’s shop, Alex is swept away on an incredible adventure to a faraway land filled with heroic warriors, mysterious elves, and hard-working dwarves.
    “Alex becomes the eighth man in a band of adventurers seeking the lair of slathbog the Red -an evil dragon with a legendary treasure. Along the way, Alex and his new friends must battle dangerous trolls and bandits, face undead wraiths, and seek the wisdom of the Oracle in her White Tower.
    “Alex’s adventure takes his to distant and exotic lands where he learns about courage, integrity, honor, and, most importantly, friendship.
    “Slathbog’s Gold is the first book in an exciting new YA epic fantasy series and heralds the arrival of a major new talent in the genre.”
    The second book summary is as follows:
    “The land of Alusia is on the brink of war as two men have each claimed the throne. Only the true King can sound the Horn of Moran and prove his nobility. But the Horn has been lost for years. If it is not found -and soon- it could mean the destruction of an entire nation.
    “I wasn’t that long ago that young Alexander Taylor embarked on his first adventure, where he discovered he was a wizard and destroyed the fearsome dragon, Slathbog. Now he joins a band of seasoned adventurers who have been called up to retrieve the legendary Horn of Moran.
    “Their journed to the mysterious Tower of the Moon will take them through an enchanted forest, into battle against a goblin army, past the watchful eyes of griffin guards, and face-to-face with a sphinx and her deadly riddles.
    “With his sword, Moon Slayer, and the wise counsel of his wizard mentor, Whalen Vankin, alux must use all his wizard and warrior skills to fight a darkness that may consume them all.”
    I highly enjoyed these first two books, and would definitely suggest epic fantasy readers to pursue them as well. If you like R.L. Stine, J.R.R. Tolkien, Tyler Whitesides, or Brandon Mull, this series is for you. Because they are so imaginative and far-off, it gives me butterflies when I read the descriptions of the lands and the battles they hold.
    A major downside that kind of hunkered my experience in reading these books, though, is M.L. Forman’s grammar and spelling. Forman spells the multiple of dwarf as “dwarfs”. When it would make more sense to have it spelled, “dwarves”, and does the same thing with the plural of elf. What should be spelled “elves” is instead spelled “elfs” in the book. Which irritates me as a J.R.R. Tolkien fan. Also, Forman’s choice of diction. Because, clearly, a character, creature, or person dies. But Forman only uses the words destroyed or defeated, instead. Which also makes this book a slightly more frustrating to read. Because he could say, for example, “McBloppy was hit by the dragon’s tail, throwing him into the air, and against the wall, where he died on the ground-shaking impact against the gray stone.” But, instead, he says, “McBloppy was hit by the dragon’s tail, defeating him.” There’s no description there, and hardly any action to go with a battle against a dragon.
    Despite these drawbacks, however, This is a good series to invest in.
    Sincerely;
    Pearce, Gavin T.

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  19. Dear Class,
    I read the book “Two by Two”. It’s about a married couple who starts going through trails and their child gets caught in the middle of it all. I have not completed the book yet but from the back cover summary the mother leaves the father and leaving him to raise the child on his own. I will be really honest I have been have trouble reading this book for one reason and that reason is because the mom, Vivian is such a drama creator! She is always blaming all her faults and problems of Russ her husband. The book starts off with Russ quieting his job and Vivian then spending all the money they have on clothes for herself! For Christmas Russ got their child a bike and later taught her how to ride it one day when Vivian was on another weekend work trip. When Vivian returned home and learned her daughter rode a bike for he first time she blew up on Russ and every since that day she’s been a living nightmare! She loves to spend money they don’t have, she will go on optional work trips every week, she will buy her daughter’s love and on top of it all she yells at Russ every chance she gets!
    (Starts off with Russ- a conversation with Vivian)
    “Do you have a minute?”
    “Sure. What’s up?”
    “Are you upset with me? You seemed irritated last night.”
    “Really you want to do this no? Why do you always do this?”
    “Do what?”
    “Try to make me look like the bad guy.”
    “I’m not trying to, after my presentation you barely spoke to me.”
    “You mean because you pretty much ignored me and London all weekend?”
    End
    I’m sorry Vivian you have been gone for the last month on a trip and Russ is trying to find a job. This is the reason why reading this book is taking me so long. However the story line of Russ and his child is a really good story.
    From,
    Elizabeth

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  20. Dear Classmates,
    I am currently reading “The Complete Cthulhu Mythos,” a collection of short stories written by H.P. Lovecraft revolving around the fictional mysteries of supernatural beings. I have read 10 out of the 122 stories in this book and have just started the 11th. The stories so far have been presented mostly from a first person perspective, usually detailing one’s personal horrors and investigations into the strange happenings & artifacts left around the world of Cthulhu.

    Since the stories are short and the focus is on the strange happenings, the detail is not given to characters we follow. Lovecraft doesn’t bother describing personal complexion, age, and history. He will also very briefly touch on location and move on with describing the series of events to follow. Yet with each story, as cryptic as they may be, I feel like a short film could be created from them, it would be helpful and neat to visualize some of the demons or strange findings described. My favorite so far has been “The Color out of Space.” It makes the reader fear an immovable force taking the shape of a creepy liquid or goo that spreads death and insanity to everything it touches. What was so interesting about this was that the “color” was actually indescribable in any language, not even in this book. Take this passage for example: “They had uncovered what seemed to be the side of a large colored globule imbedded in the substance. The color, which resembled some of the bands in the meteor’s strange spectrum, was almost impossible to describe; and it was only by analogy that they called it color at all.” This idea of otherworldly substances or perhaps even higher dimensional materials and beings persists in Lovecraft’s works.

    The book really makes one think about humans and our place in the universe; this idea is frequently reflected from Lovecraft’s mind in to the stories. In “The Call of Cthulhu,” we follow a narrator who is investigating a cult that praises and worships the “Elder Ones,” which are supposed to have existed long before humankind ever did. A central idea that is reinforced throughout all of these stories is how weak and insignificant humans are in the grand scheme of all things. For example the narrator in “The Call of Cthulhu” awaits his inevitable and hopeless death; he knows some unexplainable phenomenon will take his life simply for knowing too much about the cult, its ideologies, and Cthulhu. It is emphasized throughout this story that no matter how much the narrator knows, no matter how many details he can put together or words he can translate off an old statue, all he can do is wait, unable to cause change to the cosmic powers above him.

    Like

    1. Dear Ben,
      I think this book sounds very interesting and I will probably start looking for it. I think it’s cool to read a book that is composed of multiple stories because you can get so much information and story ideas from one book. I also love that the stories you’ve read so far have been in first person because that is my favorite perspective. I also love that you mention the idea of short films being produced off of these stories because I love film and short films and although I have not read this book from your summary, I think it would be super cool to see these stories visualized and retold through film.

      I like how interested you seem to be in the book so far and I think if you feel like you’ll learn a lot from it or just want to keep reading it you should. It is interesting that the book can tell multiple stories while involving the same morals and ideas into each story. I think you would learn so much about that specific set of morals because you are given multiple examples of that moral in a story making them more memorable. I really think this book sounds great and I want to check it out.
      -Taylor

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  21. Dear Class
    My favorite book of all time and the one I am currently reading because I catch new things every time I read it is the “Outsiders”. It is about a boy named ponyboy who is a greaser( because of there long greasy hair) and there rivals are called the socs) ponyboy and his friend Johnny get in a fight with the socs and murder one of the socs in selfie defense, so ponyboy and jonhny, leave the town and the book follows there adventures. This book, means a lot to me because one of the main quotes in the book, ” stay gold pony boy” has been my quote all through highschool. Well just the “stay gold” part , that part in th book is very touching and inspiring and I have always enjoyed it. I love this book and I highly recommend reading it.
    Sincerely
    Keaton

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  22. sup dudes –

    A book I’ve read repeatedly and once again finished, “Before I Die,” is a novel by Jenny Downham. When reading this book, I was immediately intrigued. Even though it’s the classic “Teen girl gets cancer but it’s okay because she gets boyfriend.” novel, I still liked it. And I hate those books. The language that Downham uses throughout the book gives me a sense of nostalgia and familiarity, like this could be -my-story. Many sentences give me the feeling of watching a rainstorm through a window, and that’s what always brings me back to it. It has a very poetic vibe to it, even though it’s all prose.

    Flipping through my paperback copy, the pages are worn down, softened, & many sentences are underlined or highlighted. It’s so easy to go back on those underlined phrases and be taken back by it all. The more I think about it, it’s not so much the story I admire (although it was pretty good,) but really the words. The feelings. The character’s reactions to each other and how raw it all feels. I was overwhelmed by the beauty of it all, and even stunned at how sad some parts were. Not much could prepare me for the emotions that came with the book. It was like everything for Tessa (the main character) was crystallized. Seen through a microscope. Every detail was important. While she lie in bed with a boy she doesn’t know, she distracts herself, taking in every detail. . “…the red neon numbers on his radio alarm move from 3:15 to 3:19. I notice that his shoes are on their side by the door. The door isn’t shut properly.” (25) It’s such an intense situation she’s in that a lot can relate to. A new experience, and finding anything to draw attention away from it. Downham repeatedly proves herself to be a pro at writing details.

    All in all, this is a book whose language will always get to me and affect me in ways I never thought a book could do. If you’re into beautiful writing and books with a realistic feel, this is a really good book to check out.

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  23. Dear Class,
    I have been reading a book titled How to Ruin Everything by George Watsky. George Watsky is a poet, writer, and rapper who expands his knowledge of language to different fields of art. My first impression of Watsky was through one of his rap albums and his creative style and wit was what really drew me into his work. The book is a collection of essays that he wrote about multiple mistakes he has made in his life. The first essay is called Tusk and it tells the story of Watsky and his friend Jackson going to Canada to pick up a Narwhale tusk and smuggle it across the border back to his rightful owner, Aunt June. Aunt June is a relative of Jackson’s who is obsessed with narwhals and once purchased a narwhale tusk when she lived in canada but as she moved to america she realized she couldn’t take the tusk across the border due to the law stating that no large masses of ivory can be transported over the border. Watsky and Jackson decide to take up the crazy adventure because Aunt June’s 100th birthday is coming up and they wanted to surprise her with something amazing in her last few years.

    One of my other favorite essays of the book is the story of middle school. Watsky describes the schools he transferred between and talks about his humorous events that sent him to the principal’s office on a regular occurrence. One such event was a rap battle between Watsky and his gym teacher that ended in watsky getting a suspension from school because of his “foul language”. He also goes on to talk about his experiences with epilepsy and describes each awful event with great detail so I felt as though I was witnessing what he experienced. The writing always seems to put you in his shoes and his humorous stupid way of thinking. I loved this book and would recommend it to anyone who wants to laugh. (This book has its share of adult jokes too which I found pretty funny but if you’re sensitive to that don’t say I didn’t warn you.)
    Sincerely,
    Taylor

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  24. For my independent reading I read the book Letters From Rifka. It is about a Jewish girl named Rifka and her family escaping from the torture and the brutality of the Russians. The book entails them travelling from Russia to Spain in order to board a ship to the United States. However, the plot thickens when Rifka is deemed “unfit” to board the ship and her family must leave without her. She sends letters to her family overseas until one day she can leave Spain and join her family in America. The book shows the true bravery of her and her family and immigrants in general and shows the true struggle that it is to leave your home to start a new, unknown life somewhere else in hopes that it will be better.

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