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The Catcher in the Rye Book Review

January 8, 2012

The Catcher in the Rye by J.D Slinger

Book Review by Lindsey Jones

I'm sure everyone has walked into, or crossed one of these books before in their lifetime. Your not really sure what it was about, or you were just curious. Heck, books without a plot summary on the back certainly leave us either intrigued or lukewarm. Despite this book being meant for adults, this is the holy grail of literature for adolescence. The Catcher in the Rye really takes a step back and truly shows what it's like being a teenager desperate for acceptance and discovering who one's self is. On a majority, this book is considered one of the best English written novels of all time. The novel sells about 250,000 each year with sales of more than 65,000,000 books. But that is not what makes it a great book to read. What makes a novel the best of the best, is if you like it. And with this book in particular, you will either love it to death, or hate it's guts.

Holden Caulfield's adventure begins at Pencey Prep, an illustrious, gold-tinted private school located in Agerstown, Pennsylvania. Christmas is just around the corner and all students are ready to see their families over the vacation. However, Holden's residency is only temporary. The boy had recently been expelled and given until after the break to pack up and skedaddle.

Before departing, Holden visits his old history teacher, Mr. Spencer. Not to kiss up to him or anything like that, but to tell him goodbye. Mr. Spencer is a wise-man, but also knows how to do his job. He gives Holden a good scolding about how poor his performance is academically. Holden, in sheer annoyance, reads him a note that he wrote him on the back of his history exam, telling him that it was not his professor's fault for failing him, but his own.

Holden returns to his dorm room. Quiet. Just like he prefers. The rest of the students are at the winter football game and aren't expected to be back for a while. Taking advantage of the wide amount of time he has, Holden starts a new book. Just when he first gets the “feel” of the book, the obnoxious neighbor, Ackley joins. Ackley's profile consists of a family of pimples across his face (of which he usually picks at) and constantly clipping his toenails, much to Holden's annoyance. Ackley barges into Holden's room, picks up things that don't belong to him, and puts them back in the completely wrong place. Ackley treats Holden as if he is in inferior to him because he is merely two years older. The wreck (Ackely) begins to talk about how if Stradlater was around, he'd leave promptly. Much to his demise , Stradlater returns and begs Holden to write his English paper for him. With vague instructions on the criteria for the paper, Holden writes about his brother's baseball mitt, his brother who's life ended early. Stradlater then returns, he is in disgust about the paper Holden had written . Holden is fed up. He doesn't like how ignorant and jughead-like Stradlater is. And what really got him angry is Stradlater not even being able to say his dates name right. Jean Gallagher. A long time friend of Holden's and someone who he is particularly fond of. The two duke it out, Stradlater getting the upper hand. Holden getting a bloody nose. This event officially helps Holden decide that he is done with Pencey and he escapes in the middle of the night and sets for a train to Manhattan three days shy of the winter break.

Holden meets the mother of one of the students at Pencey on the train. Holden knows the student in mind, another of which he dislikes. She's considered the type of mother that believes her children are complete saints. Holden coaxes her into her beliefs, inferring that her son is in fact the best of the best. He arrives at Penn Station and first thinks of a few people he could call, but he ends up not calling anyone. He signals a taxi cab and begins a conversation at random about where the animals at Central Park go in the winter when the water freezes. The driver says that the fish freeze with the water and the ducks go elsewhere, where it is warmer. The conversation carries on, Holden asking the question again and again, as if he is confused.

His ride ends at the Edmont Hotel. A place overran by perverts and drug dealers. After checking into his room, Holden heads for the bar in the hotel. Lying about his age serves him no good. The bartender refuses to give him alcohol despite his claims of being in his twenties. So Holden takes a coke and reverts his attention to the three ladies across the room, obvious tourists. He pays most of his attention to the blonde one, the most attractive. The other two females came up too short face wise. Holden is able to talk to them, but neither of them can hold a descent conversation. He invites the blonde to dance for a while, which works, but she still not paying attention. The night ends with Holden getting his feelings hurt and the only one with the check.

Holden becomes angry and embarrassed and is offered a prostitute. He accepts. He thinks that it'd be easier to hurry and lose his virginity, since he becomes pretty uncomfortable when a girl says “no”. He pays Maurice, the pimp, five dollars for the first hour. The prostitute later comes, and as soon she walks through the door, Holden realizes she is nothing but a kid. He sees her as his equal, and decides to just have a conversation. The girl is clearly uninterested and wants to hurry up and get the deed over with, but Holden asks what she does when she's not selling herself. She says she goes to the movies and just watches shows, which is incredibly boring to Holden. The time is up, and the girl wants her money. Holden is confused because he had just paid her pimp just before she came in. The girl leaves, and later returns with Maurice. Maurice roughens up Holden, and the girl takes the five dollars from his wallet. The terrible two then leave.

Holden walks up the next morning and telephones a girlfriend of his, Sally Hayes. Sally and Holden see a play together. It apparently is one those typical tragic love stories about a guy going to war and leaving his wife behind. He then later returns with no recollection of being married to this woman, and they go through all these trials and tribulations just to end up together in the end. Holden doesn't like the story of course, it was too predictable. They later go to a roller skating rink, in which Holden bombards Sally with the impulse for her to run away with him. Sally scolds him with how ridiculous he sounds, and the lack of money, and the fact that he has no plans or idea what it is like to just “runaway together”. The argument dies down, Holden calling her a “pain in the ass”, leaving Sally fuming. She leaves him, but Holden pleads out to her. He is still ignored. With nothing better else to do, Holden decides to pay his little sister Phoebe a visit.

Holden heads to a park, a specific that Phoebe usually roller skates at. He finds a young girl that looks as if she'd be one of his sisters friends. She tells him that Phoebe is probably at the Museum of Natural History. Holden goes but then realizes that the museum isn't open on Sundays. The boy then diverts a plan and is able to sneak into his parent's apartment, in order to see Phoebe, sound asleep. She wakes up and Holden tells her about a dream he has to be “the catcher in the rye”. A being whom he believes is to save children from straying from their innocence. The Caulfield's return home and Holden sneaks out of the window. He meets his old English teacher, Mr. Antolini. Antolini provides him with a piece of advice and some shelter for awhile. Antolini drowns Holden with information that makes him question what exactly “the catcher in the rye” is. He serves him alcohol, and they sleep. Holden wakes up to Antolini rubbing his head in a way that he describes “flitty” or in more modern terms, homosexual. He gets so uncomfortable that he leaves for the city.

Through all of his confusion, Holden decides to become a deaf mute in west. It's much easier than learning to understand others when they can't understand you. Before leaving, Holden takes his sister to the Central Park Zoo and watches her on the merry-go-round, at this moment, he felt generally happy. He leaves her theres. Holden doesn't exactly make it to his dream life of being a deaf mute in the west. He reduces himself to something much different. He “got sick” and doesn't feel comfortable telling of his current life at a mental hospital. But what does tell us is that he misses Stradlater and Ackely and ultimately regrets telling us about his life and experiences.

Holden spends the rest of his time in New York battling with isolation, drug use, and coming to the understanding of his sexuality. His avoidance of his family allows him to truly understand who he is exactly and be able to make his own decisions. Holden on an all time level, battles himself internally. The people he encounters just revolve around him. He wants acceptance and praise from others, and for others to like him. Which sounds pretty selfish, but doesn't everyone? It is similar to his relationship with his parents. They aren't very engaged or involved with Holden, and this neglect could possibly be a part of why he thinks this way exactly. Without this love and compassion from others, Holden's character doesn't grow throughout the story. Instead he comes to a conclusion and adapts to the situations he is in, in order to fit his liking.

In reading this book, I hope you as a reader can take away that nobody is perfect. And that maybe you could possibly see yourself in Holden Caulfield's shoes. His mind got the best of him, and he let his selfish priorities get in the way of “what could have been”, but that makes him no lesser than human. At one point in our lifetime, everyone has wanted to do something drastic, to get away from everything, to learn who you really are. Holden is just one of the few who actually pursued it.

As a teenager myself, relating to some of the characters is simple. Holden Caulfield possesses the traits of most teenagers and is easily similar to most. Holden suffers from the usual phase of rebellion. But is it just a “phase”? In most stories, the main character usually develops into a better person and grows along with the plot. Holden doesn't show much character growth at all. He's stubborn. What I like about him is that he sets his eyes on what he believes in and doesn't give them up for anyone or anything, even if his decisions might jeopardize him and others. Despite his screw ups and arrogant attitude, Holden is generally a nice person and seems to care about others. One of the things we have in common is setting our goals and letting nothing get in our way of reaching them. Even though his are a bit more drastic, he really speaks up for those who don't dare or take risks.

Overall, I generally do really like this book. Such books that expose youths for who really are, are usually terribly written are impossible to understand. As a reader, you will literally feel as though you are on this long journey with Holden, that only lasted a few days, you might even discover yourself with him. But I do have some small tweaks that I personally think would make the book more appealing for my tastes. One of the main weaknesses of this book is that at some parts, the book can be a bit “dry” and confusing. They're were very few moments like this though. Small incidents in which I had no idea what was going on, or how one situation connected to the next. But you've got to keep in mind that this book is being narrated by Caulfield himself. So I'd forgive the way in which he interprets things. One of the strengths of this book is the simpleness. The author was able to keep me as a reader engaged, without overrunning me with a ridiculous amount of detail or unnecessary information that didn't add to the plot at all. He used simple events, such as Holden in the cab asking about the animals freezing in the winter. I was ears-up to this question and eager to read the answer because it's something I've always wondered myself.

If I could possibly change one thing, it'd be minor. I think this book could have been better if there were a bit more of recurring characters. That I possibly think could have kept Holden's attention, or he made some type of internal bond with, besides Phoebe. But thats only one thing, besides that, this book doesn't really need to change at all!

I mostly recommend this book to adolescence and young adults, but it could possibly be a good read to those much older (the original text was made for adults). Those who want a book that is not hard on the eyes, or the mind. That depicts a main character who's flaws overflow the pages, and is far from cliché. This is not a story you'll read everyday.

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Book Review Amanda Thieu

The title of the book I am reading for my project is called “the full spectrum”, These stories expressed by real teens around my age who are experiencing their sexuality whether being gay, lesbian, bisexual, transexual, etc. The editor of this book is the famous David Levithan. This acclaimed author is known for his books about same sex relationships. He has received many prestigious awards for his written work. He was awarded the “Lambda Literary Award for Children's/Young Adult for his book Boy Meets Boy.

Since this book consists of many mini stories, I’m going to summarize a couple of them that stood out to me. L. Canale is in love with her best friend Carol. These two are inseparable. She’s in a situation regarding her conservative christan father; He does not approve of same sex relationships, yet it’s happening under the same roof. She feels unaceppted and different because her parents downgrades her sexuality. In the beginning of the story L. Canale was trying to keep it a secret but her father ess-dropped on a phone call between the lovers that discovered the hidden relationship. She despises him. All of her thoughts and feelings are written down in a diary form. Her emotions torwards them are horried and agressive. In her diary she uses an abundance amount of curse words and repeatly saying how they should accept her because she’s their daughter. The main conflict in this story is person vs. person because her parents are against her being gay and it creates many problems. The next story is written by a transgender who is now a male named Evin Hunter. When he was younger as a straight 10 year old girl in the 5th grade, he heard about a boy named Matthew Shepard who was murdered because he was gay. He was abducted and left to die in the cold night. This hasn’t struck the writer back then because she barely knew what the word “Gay” meant. Since he is now a different sex it has a much more impact on his life than it was in the 5th grade. He feels that it could happened to him at any moment. There were many “Gay Bashings” which means that they would punish the people who were openly gay. He describes how fear pushes people into sucidal thoughts and actions. The conflict in this story is person vs. society. Many groups around the country are anti gay, which puts gays in jepordy and harm.

For me, I’m straight but everybody has their gay moments. At a point I was bi-curious just to find out my sexuality. Since I cannot relate to being gay, I can relate to the feelings of being an outcast. People can make you feel important and apart of something good, or can tear you down with words and actions. I’ve been in their place. I’ve felt like I was alone and that everybody hated me but I just did not know why. Even though you’re different from most people does not make you a weird or wrong, it makes you an individual.

In my opinion, I was in love with the book. The strengths of the book was that it was in fact written by real teens with real emotions. I felt that there weren’t any weaknesses in the book. I think, that the book was very well written and explained very nicely. If I would have changed anything in the book, I would organize the topics better. For example, I’d put the sexualities in different parts. For instance, gays into one part, transgender in another and so forth. I would also put narratives into one place and poems into another just to make it easier to read.

I would recommend this book to people who like to read anything regarding teens and their lives or like stories about kids in highschool having trouble with their sexuality.  

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Book Review of Defiance - Zoe Schwingel-Sauer

Zoe Schwingel-Sauer

With all these numerous and various books in the world, it is hard to find one that you cannot put down and are fond of. Defiance by C. J. Redwine happens to be one of the few books that has those qualities. This book is fairly new and was published in 2012, so it does not have any awards, yet. Although the book does have countless fantastic reviews that come from highly praised writers and newspapers. The main characters Rachel the protagonist, Logan the love interest and companion, and The Commander the evil ruler are in for a long and wild ride. In the enclosed city Baalboden, a ruthless leader known as The Commander uses manipulation and violence to keep control. His best tracker, Jared, who has ventured passed the Wall into the Wasteland, has yet to return. He is proclaimed dead. Jared’s daughter, Rachel, is certain that he is still alive in the Wasteland. She plans to go seek him out and bring him back along with the companionship of Logan. Logan, the man she confessed her love for and got rejected. The Commander discovers her plan and forces her upon a quest to retrieve her father and the notorious package that every city is after. The story is all about the challenges Rachel and Logan overcome to find Jared, the package, and each other.

Over the entire span of Defiance there are various themes that people can take from the book. The main themes that I took from this book are love, revenge, and discovering the good versus evil in yourself. Obviously there is an ongoing romance that plays a huge role in all the decisions that many of the characters make. Also, Rachel’s love for her father, Jared, drives her to keep looking for him and the package. Her love for her father gives her the idea that revenge in the only way to commemorate his death. In Defiance, revenge is always a motive of the characters. Rachel wants to exact her vengeance on The Commander for hurting Logan and for the death of Jared, which she blames on him. The Commander beat Logan’s mother to death, and Logan has been after him ever since. There is a constant battle for Rachel of the being good and being what she thinks is evil. Since Rachel is the protagonist we’re made to assume that she is the “good guy.” However in the story she has some evils within that make her “goodness” debatable. I think she really struggles with good and evil and her deciding what she really thinks of herself.

All of the characters in Defiance are complex and have many layers to their personalities, but my favorite one would have to be  Logan. I enjoy Logan as a character the most, because he is what a lot of people aspire to be. He always puts others before him. Logan also is a very intelligent guy who can pretty much think his way out of everything. Throughout the entire story he never gives up. Even when Logan is trapped in a dungeon with broken ribs, bruises, and little food, he manages to escape to the Wasteland. I can relate to multiple characters in Defiance, but one character that really speaks to me is Logan. He tends to over think everything. His over thinking results in him creating the worst case scenarios. I tend to do the exact same thing. I definitely over think most situations and end up thinking the worst. I have felt and done some of the things that Logan has, too. When he was locked in the dungeon, he had this determination that he used to escape and refused to give up. And while I have never been trapped in a dungeon, I do know what it feels to be so determined that giving up isn’t even an option.

I find Defiance to be a well written book full of romance, drama, and adventure. I happen to appreciate these qualities in a story, so I enjoyed it very much. Both Rachel and Logan narrate the book which I really love. It gives you both of their perspectives and because they’re such different people, it really gives you a lot of insight. Also instead of just knowing what’s happening to one character the entire book, which can honestly get quite boring, you get to know what is happening to two different people. This enriches the book and gives it more depth. I feel that this book possesses an assortment of strengths and weaknesses. The strengths within the book are the narration, the characters, and the plot. The narration as I explained above is told from both Rachel and Logan’s point of view which gives a more detailed story overall. The characters are all very different people. They change throughout the book, and you see their development. You also really get to know them. C. J. Redwine gives the reader a ton of knowledge about the characters and shows the range of their emotions and actions. The plot is very strong. While it resembles quite a few other plots about romance and adventure, it is also unique, and gives you an interesting read. The biggest weakness in this book is that it is too long. I feel that the author strung out the first half of the book for way too long. The main action takes place after Rachel has escaped to the Wasteland, but that is in the second half of the book. Redwine makes the pre-escape too drawn-out. Overall a very strong book. If I had the opportunity of changing a part of the book, I would take out all the unnecessary chapters about the planning of Rachel and Logan’s escape. I would do this because Redwine goes on and on about the the planning of them disappearing, and it becomes kind of dull.

I would recommend this book to someone who enjoyed adventure coupled with a good love story. There is adventure in almost every single part of the book. The story is full of excitement and thrill, which makes it hard to put down once you’ve started it. The romance in Defiance goes through its ups and downs. The love story of Rachel and Logan started before the book, when Rachel was 15. She offered her heart to Logan and he rejected it. Ever since, she has avoided him. That is until Jared’s disappearance. Their love is ultimately the only thing that keeps them going on a daily basis, and you’ll find yourself rooting for them during the book.

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Book Review on Change of Heart

Change of Heart by Jodi Picoult is a moving book that incorporates love and death, religion and murder and beliefs. This heart-moving book (no pun intended) made me question my values and made me think about if I was in their position. 

Shay Bourne is the first death row sentence in New Hampshire in 69 years. He committed double murder, a young girl and her step-father and now he wants to be redeemed. Enter June Nealon. She can’t lose her only connection to her husband by letting her daughter, Claire, die, but there are no hearts that are the right match for Claire. Except for Shay. Shay wants to help by giving Claire his heart after he is executed. This transaction shouldn’t be that hard. But it is because Shay is the murderer of June’s husband and daughter, Kurt and Elizabeth Nealon. June has to decide whether she wants to have the killer of Elizabeth help her other daughter live. She has to decide whether she wants to let her vengeance go and grant him his dying wish to help Claire. At the same time, in the prison where Shay is being held, he starts to do miracles that resemble the same miracles that Jesus had done. His cell mate is convinced that he is the Messiah but the others aren’t so sure. He claims that he is not religious at all and that he has never read the bible at all. So why would he be quoting out of the hidden gospels?

I can’t really relate to much in the book that is important because all of the actions are very extreme like killing two people and choosing life over death and doing miracles. I feel like the book made me think harder about religion and what some of my values are. I also thought about what I would do if I were June Nealon and if what she did was right or true. This is a very thought provoking book and very deep. I also liked this book because the ending didn’t leave you wanting to know more or wanting a sequel. This book made the ending clear and I find that the ending was the best part of the book. I think that it was perfect that there were no weaknesses at all. The strengths about the book was the way many points of view the story was told in and how the book made you think about religion and ethics. If there was something that I would change about the book, it would be to have some underlying plots including some of the minor characters. There are some already but I think that it would be interesting to find more. Also I like connections between characters that you find out about later on in the book. I would recommend this book to someone who likes big reads because this book is about 400 pages at least. It took me about 2 weeks to read it and once you get to the good parts it is very hard to put down. So if you are thinking about reading it, make sure you have a good chunk of time on your hands. 

Overall I think that this book can be a 5 star on my shelf because it hits a lot of points that you wouldn’t find connected otherwise. This book makes you think and lets you reconsider some ideas that are rarely brought up. It is a long book but in the end it is worth it. 

English Benchmark
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The Mark of Athena-Jesse Shuter

Jesse Shuter-The Mark of Athena

The Mark of Athena by Rick Riordan is part of a series called The Heroes of Olympus. This series is a continuation of the very popular Percy Jackson series. The first Percy Jackson book became so popular that it had turned into a movie, and the second Percy Jackson book is currently becoming a movie. The series is one of the most popular series in America. The book is so interesting because it is a fun and easy way to learn about Greek and Roman mythology and history.

The book is about the two sides of mythology coming together to unite and defeat the oppressing Giant army. After the last two books Percy the leader of the Greek camp and a son of the Greek god Poseidon has been placed in the Roman camp; and Jason the leader of the Roman camp and son of the Roman god Jupiter was placed in the Greek one. Both of their memories had been erased and they both needed to lead a new group of friends into battle. Now they remember everything, and they are about to reunite with their old friends. Annabeth is a daughter of Athena, and Percy’s girlfriend, she and her new friends Piper and Leo along with Jason are returning to meet with Percy and his new friends Hazel and Frank. They get there and everything is going well but then Leo uses their ship to attempt to blow up the Roman camp. The Romans are infuriated so they chase the seven friends away. Leo quickly becomes the underdog and the outsider from this point on, he is the only one of the seven friends that is not dating another friend, and he is the most clumsy and awkward of them all. This quickly makes him a favorite to become the hero. 

The friends go on an adventure all the way to Rome, the home of their history. They run into a lot of trouble on the way and when they get there they need to defeat the Giant brothers. Meanwhile Annabeth needs to save a priceless item that was stolen from her mother, she needs to get it back and defeat a secret and powerful enemy to restore her mother’s honor. She needs to do this mission alone and keep it a secret from her friends, but they quickly realize that something is up. One thing that is so enthralling about this book is that there are so many conflicts and plot points that you never no what is going to happen next. All of the friends experience person vs. person conflict; person vs. society conflict; and even person vs. self conflict. A theme that is so captivating in this book is that each chapter comes from a different character’s perspective. This way the reader always knows what is going on and gets to learn about each of the characters and how they look at the situations that are happening to them and their friends. This book helps readers to understand the powers of friendship, and also it helps them to learn about Greek and Roman mythology.

Since this book allows you to understand all of the characters and their personalities; it becomes easy to relate to the characters. Sometimes I feel like Leo, and I feel like an outsider, even in my own group of friends. Sometimes I feel like Annabeth, and I need to be brave or take on a large responsibility to benefit my friends. I can connect to each and every one of these characters, and that is why this book is so gripping and it is so enjoyable to read. I love this book, ever since I started reading the Percy Jackson series, I have become emotionally invested in the characters and I always want to know what happens to them. The way that Rick Riordan writes it is so easy for anyone to enjoy the books. I also enjoy how he writes so visually allowing the readers to actually imagine what they are reading. I would recommend this book to anyone looking for a series that they are willing to get invested in. However I would start by reading the other books first.

This book is so engaging because it is so easy to identify with the characters and it is an enjoyable way to learn about the Greek and Roman mythology and history. The book is so full of cliffhangers and conflicts and plot points that it is worthwhile to read the book.

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Book Review On Portrait Of The Artist As A Young Man

Here's my song
The song starts off higher for his childhood and gets deeper as he makes more mistakes and grows older. 

For my independent reading project, I read Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce. The book was published in Ireland in 1916. Joyce was born in Dublin in 1882 and his childhood experiences growing up in Ireland under a Catholic upbringing had largely influenced his books, especially Ulysses and Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. Joyce relates to the main character Stephen quite well.

Stephen Dedalus is the main protagonist in this book. He is intelligent beyond his years and never fit in well amongst his peers. Dedalus is sensitive and things bother him more than they should sometimes. It is a controversial time to live in Ireland as a large political leader his father was in favor of had just died. However, his father’s opinion was not the popular one. As he realizes, they boys take after their fathers and Stephen becomes more of an outcast. Despite the fact that socially he didn’t fit in well, his father also was on the other side of the political argument. Stephen faced a difficult social situation at school, both with the children and the school staff. As Stephen grew older, things eventually got better. He experimented with some things socially that didn’t work well for him, but things do change.

I do relate to Stephen in some ways. I understand what it is like to be socially an out cast. When I was in middle school I didn’t fit in because I was more vocal with my intelligence. I wasn’t afraid to read books by authors such as Stephen Hawking and things like that. The other kids were more concerned about being “cool.” I think anyone who has been on the outside care relate to this book.
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Toby Hahn's Review on Pebble in the Sky

Pebble in the Sky Book Review

Pebble in the Sky was Isaac Asimov's first novel. It is part of the Empire series, which takes place in the Foundation universe. The Foundation series won a Hugo Award for “Best All-Time Series” in 1966. Pebble in the Sky was first written as a short story called “Grow Old Along with Me” and submitted to Startling Stories. It was rejected because the magazine's usual genre was adventure instead of science fiction. The story was then accepted by the Doubleday publishing company, as long as Asimov would expand it to 70,000 words and give the book a name that sounded more like a science fiction book. In 1951, a radio adaption, written by Ernest Kinoy, was aired on NBC. However, the radio adaption left most of the plot points out, including the entire concept of time travel.

In Pebble in the Sky, a man named Joseph Schwartz is inadvertently transported into the future because of an accident regarding a uranium sample at a nearby laboratory. He stumbles to the house of a couple who take him in nervously. They do this because the law is that anyone over sixty will be killed. They are hiding a relative who is over sixty, and they are worried Schwartz is a government agent. Earth is radioactive, and oppressed by the galactic empire who see earth's natives as a lesser race. Earth has attempted to rebel multiple times in the past. Schwartz is taken by the couple to a trial for a machine that is said to activate the synapses in the brain and make the subject smarter. Schwartz gains increased mental powers from the machine, allowing him to harm or even kill a person. Schwartz, the machine's inventor, his daughter, and an archeologist named Bel Avardan discover a plot by religious fanatics on earth to release a virus that would wipe out all the other planets. They are able to stop it, however, using Schwartz's mental powers. In the radio adaption, however, the rebels on Earth succeed in releasing the virus, making Earth the only planet left living in the galaxy, therefore the earth is a pebble in the sky.

There is a conflict in this book. The type of conflict is person versus society, because the conflict is Bel Avardan (who is from the Empire) trying to avoid the prejudices of the Empire when dealing with Earth. He has a very unpopular theory that Earth is the planet that humanity began on, which is proven in another Foundation universe novel, Foundation and Earth. The people of Earth are looked down upon by the Empire, and Avardan has to deal with this while trying to prove his theory.

My favorite character would have to be Joseph Schwartz, because of his unique mental abilities and predicament. Seeing him gradually become aware of his mental abilities and learning how to use them makes him a very interesting character. I think one of the ideas in this book is that keeping a group of people oppressed for a long time is a bad thing and can have dangerous results.

I cannot relate to this book because the characters and events in this book are so different than my life, because it is a science fiction book. What happens in this book is as far as we know impossible, so I can't relate to it. Although, I have trouble relating to books in general, even books that are not science fiction books. The fact that it is a science fiction book and the events within are impossible is just a reason that springs to mind. It may be the reason for this particular book, but since I have trouble relating to books other than science fiction books, there may be another reason.

However, I did enjoy this book. It is an exciting read that provides an interesting view of Asimov's Foundation universe. On the downside, the plot can be shallow, as much of it hinges on the coincidence of Schwartz being transported to the future and gaining mental powers that inevitably happen to save the galaxy. Pebble in the Sky lacks the deep and engaging plot of Asimov's Foundation series, but it is still an exciting and interesting book that is definitely worth your time.

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Review of Origin by Jessica Khoury

Origin by Jessica Khoury is a young adult book about a secret laboratory deep in the rainforest holding one girl who can never die. Jessica Khoury is 22 years old and this is her first book on the shelves. So far, Origin has been a great success.

Pia, the protagonist, is 17 years old - and she will never die. All she has ever known is Little Cambridge, a laboratory built to develop the Immortis serum deep in the Amazon rainforest. Pia’s skin cannot be broken, she is immune to every disease, and her reflexes are faster than any normal human’s. Her whole life she has been training to become part of the Immortis team to create another immortal human just like herself - her Mr. Perfect - to help start their master race. Her “aunts” and “uncles” in Little Cam teach her all there is to know of biology and chemistry, but she knows nothing of the outside world. Then, one day, Pia discovers the hole. Little Cambridge is guarded by tall electric fences, but one night, Pia see a break. Her curiosity overcomes her fear of breaking the rules, and she explores the jungle world outside Little Cam. Pia then meets Eio, a young handsome boy from a nearby Amazonian tribe. Together, they discover the horrible truths behind Little Cam and its scientists - uncovering Pia’s true origin - and changing her life forever.

In Origin, there is consistent tension among characters because of the fear of the lab being discovered or of ruining the experiment. When Pia escapes, she comes back longing for the forest and afraid of being discovered. Later when she meets Eio, there is conflict of love versus one’s job - commitment versus curiosity. Origin also addresses the negative connotations of power. What will you do with the power to be fearless? The power to live forever? What would you do to reach that goal? Origin gives a new-age twist on the “age old desire to live forever.”

Pia is an angst-filled teenaged girl. Although I found her naivety (hardly her fault) a little annoying, I felt I could connect with that nagging feeling of not quite having enough. Pia knew that the lab was built for her to fit in perfectly, but she cannot help but feel that she might be able to find her place somewhere else. By the end, I found myself begging Pia to make the right choices and rooting for her to survive. Khoury does a great job creating a character that is both annoying and worth rooting for - a delicate balance that is hard to achieve.

My favorite character in Origin was Eio’s younger foster sister Ami. Ami is a minor character, but the happiest character in the novel. She is care-free and full of the joy of life. Ami’s spirit reminds Pia of the happiness to be found in the moment. Ami’s appearance in the climax brings her beautiful childlike philosophies of life to a full meaning. I think Ami is a lustrous embodiment of Khoury’s moral.

Origin is a breathlessly paced story full of profound philosophy and nail-biting plot twists. However beautifully it was written though, I could not help but feel like the book lacked something. I liked it, but there was not an overwhelming “wow” factor. The characters could have had slightly more substance. Though Eio and Pia’s relationship is heartwarming - it comes across as a relationship built on lust and utter curiosity rather than real love and feeling. Pia also has never experienced real love or affection before, so it seems implausible that she would fall head over heels in only a few days.

I recommend this book to anyone who likes a good dystopian science fiction book with a spice of romance. Anyone 12 and up could enjoy this book, but I do not believe it’s a book most adults would find satisfying. This book was written for teenage readers, and is best consumed by that audience. 

​Do you want to start a master race? Here is a simple home-brewed recipe for some tasty Immortis Serum. Feed to 32 people and have them interbreed, and their offspring interbreed, and so on for 5 generations, and then you will have an immortal child!

For an authentic tropical taste, mix
4 ounces of pineapple juice
4 ounces of mango juice
1 ounces of orange juice
For a magical effect, add
2 tablespoons of something shimmery or sparkly
To ensure the eternal youth of your successors, add
2 tablespoons of *spoilers*

Preferably served in the cup of the elysia flower, but cups that look like flowers will do.
Do not inject into bloodstream. Does not guarantee immortality.
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Michelle Friedman's Review of Great Expectations

"Who is Charles Dickens?" Said no one ever.

Charles Dickens is one of the most known and highly regarded authors of the 19th century. If you haven't heard of "Great Expectations", you may have heard the titles: "A Tale of Two Cities", "Oliver Twist", "A Christmas Carol", and many more. “Great Expectations has been turned into several movies, but the most recent of all was in 2012. This story was popular when it was written and it quite popular today. It is considered to be one of America’s “timeless classics”.

The encounters and events are told from the point of view of Pip, a young boy. The readers follow Pip’s journey as he becomes a gentleman and learns the most important life lessons he will ever learn. We begin our journey with Pip when he is just a young boy, about six years old. As time goes by Pip dreams of a different life. He lives with his aunt and uncle-in-law. Then, through some unexpected turn of events, Pip moves away from his dingy, poor home and into the fancy neighborhoods of London. That is when Pip meets new, rich, and popular people. He learns about different individuals along with different sides of himself that he had never known before. Through these revelations and more, Pip falls in and out of love and hatred. He battles himself when he is faced with choices that might decide the fate of his fellows; and apart from that, Pip needs to work harder than ever to reenforce connection with Joe, his uncle-in-law because of his foolish behavior earlier.

I believe that the best character in this story is Estella Havisham. She has clearly been through so many emotional obstacles. Miss Havisham, her (somewhat) mother, had exploited her and molded Estella into a fierce and cold woman. Though Estella had seemed cruel for a very long time, she is the character that receives most, if not all, of my pity and compassion because she had to live a life of deception and bullying simply because of what Miss Havisham had endured as a young woman.

If you ask a random group of readers what they have taken away from any book and you will get a million different answers. For me, this book was about finding yourself, becoming the person you want to be, and understanding those closest to you just about as much as you possibly can. I think I speak for most readers of  “Great Expectations” when I say that this book contained so many controversial ideas and equally as many inspirational and life-like events. Overall this book is magnificently written and brilliantly articulated.

As a very young boy, Pip meets people who are smarter, have more money, nicer houses, better clothes, and better etiquette. These people happen to be the Havishams, and they are not very kind towards Pip. As a result of these meetings, Pip starts to feel ashamed of his family and lifestyle. He is ready to do just about anything to become smarter, nicer looking, and just like the higher-class people that he continues to meet. I used to attend a very small and private Jewish day school where nearly everybody lived in huge houses, had fancy cars, pretty clothes, and basically had many more items than I did. I know for a fact that I am not the only person who has ever felt jealous in their lives, but Pip and I were constantly around these people who led (seemingly) better lives than we did. Consequently, we wanted the same life. I know that if you, or anybody, were in the same situation you would experience some of the same feelings that we did too.

I would, without a doubt, recommend this book to just about anybody. It has a great plot with much suspense and foreshadow. Charles Dickens is not one of the best known authors for nothing. He has a knack for describing everything in such a way that you will visualize it instantaneously. The only set back when reading any novel by this magnificent man is that he uses slightly too many words for my liking. Nevertheless, this is a terrific classic that will take you on a journey through a young boys life.
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The Year of The Hangman Book Review

The Year of The Hangman by Gary Blackwood is an interesting book. It is a piece of alternate history fiction. This is when a book takes a historical event but gives it a different outcome than what actually happened. In this case, the alternate history is about the outcome of the Revolutionary War. While it is a well known fact that the colonists won the Revolutionary War, this book talks about what it would have been like if the Colonists had lost. This book was published in 2002 and won the School Library Journal Best Book Award in 2002.
The main character, Creighton Brown is a boy around the time of adolescents. His family is historically wealthy but lately, they have not had such great fortune. His father is no longer alive. Creighton was told he died in battle. Creighton is more or less oblivious to this fact. Creighton has been loyal to Britain all his life and truly hates the Colonists. However, due to bad behavior, Creighton’s mother sends him to the Colonies where his uncle lives. On his way to the Colonies, Creighton gets captured with his uncle, Gower, Lieutenant Governor of Florida, and a British Marine Officer whose name is Hale. Hale and Gower eventually escape while Creighton pretends to be an indentured servant and is set free. Creighton acts as a spy on the Colonists. He ends up giving himself up to Benjamin Franklin and works in his paper shop as an assistant. Creighton also finds out that his father is not actually dead. Gower just told his family that he was because he was giving away secrets to the Colonists. Creighton, with the help of Benedict Arnold and his friend Peter save Creighton’s father from the prison. When reading this book, I think it is important to try to appreciate what the author has done. He took something that actually happened and changed the outcome in a drastic way. He had to use his imagination while staying inside the outline of history. In other words, he changed history but made it realistic. This is something difficult to pull off and Gary Blackwood manages it gracefully.

One of the worse things about this book is relatability. When reading this book, I found it hard to relate almost any of the characters to myself. This made it harder to read. The one character who I thought was a little bit relatable was Peter, the clumsy giant. I found him relatable because I feel as though I am clumsy much like him. Peter was a good addition to the book for me. Peter’s feelings towards his clumsiness is something I can relate to even more. Peter and I feel the same in that we are always wondering if we are doing something clumsy. At least that is how I thought about Peter.

This book was fascinating. I think that it is definitely a good read. While it is a good book I have a few criticisms. First of all, some of the characters were hard to relate to making the book slightly less interesting. It took me a bit to get into the book. However, once I did, it was a page turner for me. In addition, the fact that it is alternate history was a little confusing to me at first. Gary Blackwood did not write in the book “Creighton said “This is a piece of alternate history which means that the author changed the outcome of something that happened in history.” Obviously that sounds very awkward and I cannot think of a single good place to put that sentence in the book. This is not such a big deal because eventually, one does catch on. It would have been helpful if I had known what kind of book it was beforehand. The weaknesses of the book are fairly minor and the major strength of the book is a big strength. I cannot imagine how careful Gary Blackwood could have been when writing this book. I find that the way he writes about what happened after a failed Revolutionary War is amazing. The author made sure to retain continuity throughout the book so that it truly seems that the Revolutionary War failed. Every detail is meticulously written so that it reflects the alternative outcome to the Revolutionary War.
I recommend this book to people who enjoy historical fiction. I think if you enjoyed Fever 1793 by Laurie Halse Anderson then you will also enjoy this book. They take place from around the same time period. I would also say that if you pickup this book and decide that you do not like it in the beginning, you should try to push through to the end. I promise it gets better the more you read.

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Life of Pi Review

Life of Pi is one of the greatest, most mind blowing books that I have ever had the pleasure of reading. It was written by Yann Martel who lives in Montreal Canada and wrote this novel in 2001. On November 21, 2012, a movie of the book was made. The movie was directed by Ang Lee and received very good reviews. It is said to be a visually stunning film. I saw the movie and I have to agree. It is very well directed and exciting to watch, and the book is very well written and exciting to read.  

One of the things that I enjoyed about reading the book was that it is relatable to me. In the book, Pi lives at a zoo and is surrounded by animals. Animals, and animal behavior, are main factors in the story. These topics are constantly brought up when Pi has to deal with Richard Parker. Marine wildlife is also incorporated when Pi is in the Pacific Ocean. I am very fascinated with animals, so reading this book is interesting for me. The book demonstrates a few things about animal behavior, such as how they are territorial, and how they establish dominance. There is also a religious conflict in the first part of the book, during which Pi becomes a Christian, a Hindu, and a Muslim. I don’t really relate to this aspect of the story, but it is interesting to read and to think about. 

This book was arguably one of the best books that I have ever read. It is a gripping, page turning survival story that is difficult to put down. One of the books strengths is that it is a page-turner. The plot rarely gets boring. It is interesting to read about Pi’s challenge to survive at sea. He has to find food and fresh water, and establish dominance over Richard Parker in order to prevent him from attacking.It also really makes the reader think about life, religion, and the differences between humans and animals. One of the few things I did not like about it was that it started out a little bit slow and confusing. The beginning was basically trying to summarize Pi’s life. It discussed his life before and after the shipwreck, which got a little bit confusing at times. However the plot was just a bit difficult to follow. The book gets better as it progresses. If I could change one thing about this book it would be to make the beginning a little easier to understand. 

I would definitely recommend this book to others. Including kids, teens, and adults. It can be understood and enjoyed by almost all ages. I would recommend it to people who are interested in animals, like me, and to people who like books about shipwrecks, and people who like books about survival and adventure. In addition this book is great for people who like books that make them think. Even if someone does’t like these kind of books, reading Life of Pi might change that, because it is a book that might make a person start to enjoy reading. 

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Th1rteen R3asons Why, The Four1eenth Re4sons

So, if you are listening to this then you must have picked it up in the lost and found. When you are done I want you to pass this around the people on this list on this tape.

I think that sometimes people don’t understand the difference between life and death and why someone would want death over life. Well, I have expressed thirteen of the reasons for my suicide in other tapes that thirteen people knew about and as for you the person who is listening to this all you need to know is how to mail this to the next person.

Now down to why I made this tape, I originally thought, “Oh well the people on my list know what they did and now they know how it affected me in my emotional state.” Even so I thought that maybe through these tapes I could lead someone to go through something like what I went through because I don't think that I could wish that on anyone in this world. 

So here I go…

When I was done with the thirteen reasons and already packed and mailed them I thought to myself what about me, all those thoughts I had after those events and all those choices that I made affected the outcome for my decision. 

The first thing that I did concerning the first tape was when Justin spread the word that we did a bit more than kiss. He was wrong on his part, but maybe I had something to do with it because of my reaction. One rumor isn’t so bad and after all that I went through that was just a small part. Though it was the beginning of a chain of events.

Alex, you know what you did and it wasn’t just to me it was to all the girls on that list and because of that list you are on mine. I know I could have taken being on the good side of that list optimistically but it was what happened after that list that made me upset. When you put me on there I lost what I thought was a friend because of it and my reputation didn't get any better. In high school your reputation is all you have really, because you don't have any real world experiences that you can be proud of and help you move on. That rep gets you the nods in the hallways or the shunning in the lunch room. 

Jessica, I understand your point of view and I understand that you were mad with all these rumors, that you didn't know what to believe but I needed you to believe in me and I think that is what broke me down most. Losing your first friend in a new environment takes a toll on you and I think this was the downward spiral in a snowball effect.

Tyler, no one wants a stalker. That makes you feel weird and wonder why they would want to stalk you. Once you find out you wonder what they have already seen. I don't think there really is anything much left to say after stalker outside your bedroom with a camera.

Marcus, when you reinforced the rumors I thought, “Wow people really believe this crap.” I was shocked that someone could here something with no evidence and still believe it. 

Zach, I didn't know that what I did hurt you so bad, but in my time of need and the pleading look I gave you I thought you deserved it. Then you had to take the only  encouragement in my life. I guess what I'm trying to say is I was fishing for someone to say something nice to me in the sea of bad talk going around.

Clay, why didn't I get to know you better?

Justin, I don't know why you didn't stop Bryce, but I know I was too scared to and afterwards it made me feel horrible. I didn't want that burden on me because if you know you can prevent something bad and you don't, that is basically the same thing as going up to the person and giving them permission to do it.

Bryce, I don't know if you know I used you, but I did. By that time I made up my mind. With you I let myself fall deeper into this hole that was dug for me by others.

Mr Porter, you didn't stop me and I don't think I could have stopped me either especially at that point. I am sorry for putting you in such a difficult position in my decision.

One final goodbye to all of you.

For the audio click here

“Th1rteen R3asons Why” by Jay Asher tells the story of Hannah Baker a girl who killed herself. Clay Jensen is one of Hannah’s classmates and co-workers. He is on the audio tapes Hannah recorded and is listening to them throughout the book. I loved Jay asher portrayed Clay and his thoughts in the book when he was listening. Jay made some really great points about many suicide cases that I have heard about and he was so sincere through the whole book. You could tell Clay really cared for Hannah and wanted more of a relationship with her. You can tell clay is battling some conflict within himself and with Hannah. Hannah on the other hand was dealing with every type of conflict. She would have conflict with society that she would then reflect on inwardly. Additionally contrast was displayed when Hannah would face these situations. It was this vicious cycle that wore away at her emotions and I think the author did a good job of showing those emotions through the text.

Though the author was very good at conveying the emotions through the text, the format of the writing was hard to read. Going back and fourth from one person’s thoughts to another person’s thoughts was hard for my brain to differentiate. When I finished the novel I wanted a guide so I knew how to read the book. I wanted to get my mind ready to switch quickly from one persons’ train of thought, to the other’s, to the conversation one is having, to a conversation that the other had. Other than that the book was very well written and I cant wait to see if the movie that is rumored to happen will ruin the novel or hold ute to the characters jay has created.

The book hit me hard because I have struggled with some of the things that Hannah went through and I know others that have also. Hannah was the character that I could relate to, but Clay is the one that I understood the most. I could easily follow Clay’s train of thought and why he would ask the questions he did. When I first picked the novel up I didn’t know what I was getting myself into. The book is very deep and it took me on an emotional roller coaster. The reader can take away that everything can effect any situation a person is going through.

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El mar de recuerdo.

Mar Adentro se trata de los últimos días de la vida de Ramón Sampedro. La película tuvo lugar en España. Ramón era pescador que vivía por todo el mundo, pero un día en el mar, el saltó de una roca al agua. Él no calculó que el agua se estaba bajando y cuando el salto se pego la cabeza con el piso del mar. Sufrió una lesión completa de la médula espinal que lo dejó tetrapléjico. Él tenía 25 años cuando el accidente pasó. Por 28 años la familia de Ramón lo cuidaban, pero en los 29 años Ramón estaba peleando el sistema. La razón por eso era porque Ramón se quería quitarse la vida pero Ramón era un tetrapléjico. Tonce el no lo podia hacerlo solo, él necesitaba que alguien lo hiciera, pero eso era ilegal y el sistema no lo iba a dejar que pase. Mientras el tiempo para ver si el gobierno lo deje quitarse la vida, Ramón escribió un libro. Cuando el libro fue publicada Ramón no espero y él se quitó la vida.

Mar adentro es controvertida porque presenta unas preguntas polémicas tale como, las temas de eutanasia, la muerte y crímenes, los deseos y la dignidad de una persona. Las preguntas que enseñan en la película es si el deseo de Ramón es digna, sí los seres queridos de Ramón le respetan el deseo de no vivir. Este tema es muy delicada y algo que no se puede cambiar. Había personas que juzgaba y no le respetar la decisión de Ramón. Eso lo hizo más difícil para Ramón, porque él tuvo un cura que estaba en contra de el deseo de él. El cura también era un tetrapléjico, pero el consiguió esperanza y no tenía una razón para vivir.

Mi posición en la idea de eutanasia es muy simple. Para mi la decisión de eutanasia depende solamente en la persona que le refiera. La vida de Ramón era digna, el solamente pensó que no habia ponto en vivir porque si él no podía caminar. Hay yo no estoy de acuerdo porque la vida es algo muy lindo no importa si no puedes mover el cuerpo. Ramón perdió toda la esperanza. Yo no estoy en contra de el deseo de Ramón pero tampoco lo apoyo.
Como lo veo yo Ramón no quiera vivir. La vida de el era muy difícil. No podemos decidir por nosotros mismos cuando no eres el único que se encuentra en la posición. Ramón tenía amor de su familia pero eso no era bastante para el. Entiendo que la vida no es fácil para los tetrapléjico pero eso no es una razón para quitarse la vida. Ayudando a alguien quitarse la vida asesinado. En mi opiñon

A mi me gusto mucho la película. Era muy conmovedor cuando rosa se quedó con Ramón hasta el fin. Además Ramón tuvo un último momento d'amore. La vida es muy delicada y la película lo enseña. La vida de Ramón de verda era muy deprimente. No la voy a ver de nuevo porque tambien no me entereso. Era de una person que no quiera vivir y a mi no me gusta mucho esas peliculas. Yo prefiero una película que termina con todos felices para siempre.
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Finally Free book review

Finally Free book review

The authors of the book Finally Free are Michael Vick, Brett Honeycutt and Stephen Copeland. I heard of this book from an post game interview I watched of Michael Vick. I also learned about the book when I searched on good reads for sports books. The book Finally free is an autobiography about Michael Vick.  The main character in the book Finally Free is Michael Vick. In the book Michael Vick talks about his life and his up rising and falls. There is a conflict in the book Finally free. The conflict is Michael Vick was dealing with something and no one knew about it and he would not tell anyone. Michael Vick hid the problem from so many important people in his life. This one problem affected Michael Vick’s entire life. My favorite character in the book Finally Free is Michael Vick. Michael Vick is my favorite character in the book because I love the way he has matured and grown up. Furthermore he has learned from his mistakes and now he is has gone around the country to talk youth about making good choices. I believe that readers should take away a few things from this book. One thing being to make good choices in life. The second thing being to be a family oriented person and to take care of your family first. The third thing being to do things right the first time. The fourth and last thing that people should take away from this book is to take advantage of second opportunities if you receive them and make the most of them. I could relate to one character in the book. That one character being Michael Vick. I believe that we have similarities. Michael Vick’s grandmother was an important person in his life and my grandmother is an important person in my life. Also we both like the game of football and sports. Furthermore we are both hard workers. We both work very hard in everything we do. I have done some of the things that Michael Vick has done such as play sports and volunteering at different places. I have felt some of the ways Michael Vick has felt such as when playing sports. When playing sports you want to win every game and with it when you lose you get really mad. Furthermore when you lose you want to find out what you did wrong and what you can do better to win the game the next time. Another thing that I have felt that Michael Vick has felt is with Michael Vick he went to the Boys and Girls club of America when was younger and I go to Boy Scouts so they are kind of similar because they both keep you doing things that are productive. They also teach life goals and the way to live a healthy life. I do like the book Finally Free. I believe that this book has many strengths. One being the message. That if you receive a second chance take full advantage of it. The second being the quality of the detail and the information of the book. The third and last being the change from the beginning of the book to the end and how Michael Vick matured through the years. Their are also some weaknesses in the book. One being that the book was not long enough.  The second being that their were not enough statements from other people in the book. The third and last thing is the book did have enough about Michael Vick’s childhood. In the book Finally Free one thing that I would change would be the length of the book. I would have made the book longer and I think that their was more information to talk about in the book. I would recommend this book to other people. I believe that this book is a good book and is very informative. I would not recommend this book to everyone. I believe that this book is for a certain type of person. I believe people who have very strong opinions against Michael Vick should not read this book. I think that this book is more to motivate people who have second chances and how they can take full advantage of them. Furthermore this book is for Michael Vick fans and people who support him and want to know more about him. Also what Michael Vick went through. Overall this is a good book and I recommend to others to read.                                       

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Book Review & Movie Trailer: Skate

Joseff Filamor

December 20, 2012

Skate Book Review

Skate by Michael Harmon, follows young skater Ian McDermott. While being a junior in highschool and juggling skateboarding with school work, Ian is also raising his younger brother, Sammy, while his Mom is out on her drinking binges. Sammy is also a very talented skateboarder, but at the same time has several problems keeping him from skating with his older brother. He attends Special Ed classes while also going to regular school, and has a hard time dealing with authority. Both Sammy and Ian are growing up without a father. At school, Ian is hated by the majority of his teachers. He ends up punching and knocking out his coach. The stress end up being too much for him, which leaves him with only one choice; leave with Sammy.
Being a skater myself, it is easy to relate to Skate. It’s a perfect example of what the average skateboarder has to deal with. Whether it’s having to deal with authority hassle us or anything related. Although, even if you are not a skater, Skate is still a relatable book. The book relates to skateboarders just as it does to non-skaters. It addresses the bond between brothers, redemption and teen rage. Skate is the perfect combination of situations which makes it relatable to any reader. The book talks about average everyday problems including bigger ones that even the reader wouldn’t be used to hearing, at least I have not.
Although, do not just real the book if you are interested in skating and nothing else. I wouldn't say Skate does not address the life of a skater, but it doesn't do the it justice.
In most cases, it does, but Skate doesn't talk about tricks, sponsorships, or filming of any kind. (Basic skateboarding side hobbies.)

Michael Harmon wanted to portray the life of a teenager with life problems, not a

skater. The book is based off of skateboarding but the skate references are not relevant to real
life skaters. When skateboarding comes up in the book, the only things Ian and Sammy say
are “Grind,” “Ollie” or “180.” Specific tricks rarely ever come up.
Don’t get me wrong, you will enjoy Skate even without true skate references. It is now probably my favorite book that I have ever read. Skate is relatable in so many different
aspects. I highly recommend Skate to anyone interested in adventure, drama or skateboarding.

My visual for this project in a trailer based off of the book. I use a song I believe is a perfect match for the book, clips from movies that are relatable to Skate, and a little creative editing. Enjoy! Video HERE

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Mar Adentro- La experiencía del humano, ¿Qué es?

La película Mar Adentro se trata de un tetrapléjico que se llama Ramón Sampedro. Él era de España y trabajaba como mecánico marinero. Viajaba mucho a lugares como París, Nueva York, China. Se parecía que él tenía una buena vida, pero, todos se terminaron. Un día, Ramón se saltó del borde del acantilado en el mar. Pero, el agua no fue ancho, y se rompió el cuello. Por eso, él no podía moverse por el resto de la vida. Después de 28 años, Ramón decidió a quitarse la vida. Su familia y el gobierno estaba en contra del deseo, pero él tenía otras personas que estaban listos a ayudar. En el final, él se quitó la vida.

morality1 La película es llena de temas controvertidos. Son los temas de los derechos de los humanos, la significa de la vida digna, la eutanasia- es un crimen o no- y la muerte. Una pregunta que la película se presenta es “¿Qué son los derechos de los humanos?” En la película, Ramón pensaba que el derecho a morir era suyo. También, se pensaba que morir era el derecho de todo. Aun así, su familia y el gobierno decían que no. Además, la película se traiga la idea de la dignidad de vivir. ¿Como nos definamos la dignidad? ¿Y exactamente que se da la dignidad a la vida? En la película, Ramón discutía que la vida de un tetrapléjico no era digna, pero otro puede discutir que no es necesariamente la verdad. En este caso, la respuesta es totalmente del individual. Finalmente, la película se pregunta si la eutanasia es crimen un crimen o no. La película se pregunta sobre la muerte- ¿es de nosotros? ¿Es el derecho de la muerte una cosa los humanos pueden usar? Los temas abren debates feroces para la sociedad porque la religión y libertad son cosas que están en contra de ellos mismos. También, el hecho que la población está divido; la mayoría de la población son a favor de la religión, así que, los temas que han presentado, están en contra de este parte de la población.

Primero, para mi, es dificil decir que son los derechos de los humanos. Es porque mi punto de vista, por lo general, no es evidente. Por un lado, creo que los humanos tienen los derechos de cualquier cosa. Tenemos los derechos a vivir como lo queremos; se incluye amor, trabajar, y más, que nos da felicidades. Pero, por otro lado, creencias de religión me da pensar en otra manera. Un parte de mí cree que algunos derechos no son nuestros. Igual que no tenemos a derecho a quitarse la vida de otro. Sin embargo, mi opinion del tema próximo es más evidente. Como lo veo yo, la vida digna es vivir. Es vivir con cualquier cosa- se incluye las condiciones igual a un tetrapléjico. Pero claro que los todos no estarían de acuerdo. Dignidad es una cosa que el significado cambia desde persona a persona. Aun así, este hecho ha sido probado ser polémico. Veo que los humanos frecuentemente intentar a imponer sus creencias sobre los otros. Y por eso, estamos más reluctante a respetar los deseos de otros. No obstante, este continuará. A pesar de eso, debemos vivir siempre- porque hay solamente una vida, y la vida vale a pena. Con este idea en mente, no estoy de acuerdo con el deseo de Ramón. Tercero, la eutanasia es un crimen según los leyes- no es legal a matar otra. Pero es diferente moralmente en este caso- porque Ramón lo quiere. Sin embargo, ¿es la eutanasia igual a dejar uno de los seres queridos- si esta en coma o alguno estatua como así- morir? En la sociedad, es acceptable. Sin embargo, es como la eutanasia un poco. Por eso, la sociedad tiene opiniones diferentes, pero a mi me parece que es un crimen y no. Y finalmente, la muerte. Para este, mi opinion es también de religión. Creo que uno no puede quitarse la vida- ya tenemos horas para morir. Desde mi punto de vista, a muerte es algo que nadie puede predecir o parar, pero podemos vivir completamente y verdaderamente hasta el final. La muerte no es para nosotros.

En total, disfrute viendo la película. Aunque, no es muy profundo para mi, la película es edificante, verdaderamente, y- un una manera- simple. Alejandro Amenábar se presenta la protagonista de alguna manera que le da una personalidad memorable- aun si a él, no te gusta. También, el reparto es relacionable. Amenábar le da la audiencia los dos lados del problema, no es parcial. A esto, me gusta. Pero me gusta que la película se pregunta el mundo, “¿Que tiene razón?”. En realidad, nadie lo sabe. Un lado dice algo, y el otro también, y el significado de tener razón es diferente. Por eso, la película enseña que es importante vivir o morir para la felicidades. También, la película se presenta el fuente a decidir sobre deseos en la vida. Este idea, es lo que tenemos que tomar y recordar mientras vivir.                                                     
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All The Things I've Done (Independent Reading)

Reasons for Song Choice:

(Daughters-John Mayer) Anya always relates everything back to her dad. He has had a big impact on her life. He impacted her so much it has came to the point of she can't go five seconds without thinking of one of his sayings or something that he used to do. She still follows the instructions he gave her before he died. I think this is a good song to represent this because its about the impact fathers have on their daughters.

(Both of us-B.o.B ft. Taylor Swift) Every thing seems to be against Anya. All she wants to do is take care of he brother and sister, but her mob connection keeps getting in the way of it. This song shows that no matter how manny times she is pushed down, she will trying to protect her brother and sister no matter the cost

(Stand up-Jessie J) I feel this song represents Anya's relationship with Win. How with him she just threw caution to the wind, and went with it. She is so used to controlling everything in her life, but Win took her by surprise. She couldn't control it so just decide to justlet it happen and see where things end up. It also shows how Anya did not allow her soundings effect her judgment. She did her best to not allow her family background to control her sister's, her brother's, or her life.

(Blow Me(One last Kiss)- P!nk) This is the song represents Anya and Win's break-up. In the end they both still loved each other, but their relationship got to much to handle. Win was always being put n danger because of who Anya was. And Anya was couldn't let her relationship with win take away from her responsibly to her brother and sister.

(Girl on Fire-Alicia keys ft. Nicki Minaj) The main character is a girl. She has all the weight of the world on her shoulders, and yet she still keeps going. This represents her strength and will to keep going, no matter what is throne at her. 

(Empire State of Mind-Jay-Z ft. Alicia Keys) I felt that this song was important to add because the book was set in NewYork. Also because the song specks of over coming the things that put you down. Anya did just that, she tried to make the best of her situation. 

(If I Die Young-The Band Perry) I added this song to the playlist because it reprints all the deaths that have happened throughout the course of Anya's life.

(Runaway love- Ludacris ft. Mary J. Blige) (Show goes on-Lupe Fiasco)

 Represents how bad Anya world is, not just her world but the world Gabrielle Zevin created around Anya. Its filled with violence and corruption, and yet there are still themes few people who say good and stand up for those who can't do it for them selves. 

(Beautiful People-Cher llyod ft. Carolina Liar) This song represents the betrayal in the book. I thought it was important to add a song about betrayal because that is what the whole plot line revolves around, I mean how can you have a good mafia book with out a little betrayal?

(Changes-David Bowie) I added this song because I felt that this book also represented change . The change in Anya's life, change in the political world, just change in general no matter if it was for bad or good.

(Not like the movies- Katty Perry) I added this song because I felt that Anya and Win's relationship was something you only here about in movies and books so I thought it was important to point out that detail about the book.

(Chocolate-Snow Patrol) Because Anya family is the head of the U.S chocolate shipping and the book is centered around her family and it's business I felt it was important to add a chocolate song to my playlist

(Cleanin' out my closet-Eminem) I felt this song best represented the title of the of the book("All the Things I've Done), because it has to do with looking at your problems and dealing with them.

(Feel Again-One Republic) This song best represents how Win showed Anya that the world still had some good in it.

(Jesus Walks-Kanye West) This song represents Anya's religion. Even though she loose, she always finds her way back, even in some of the darkest times.

My Review of the book-

All These Things I've Done (Birthright, #1)All These Things I've Done by Gabrielle Zevin
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I just finished reading one of the best books I have had the liberty of reading. "All The Things I've Done" (book #1 of the birthright series) is an unique creation from the amazing mind of Gabrielle Zevin.
The year is 2083, chocolate and coffee are illegal and the great city of New York is now poverty ridden. Since the death of her father, 16-year-old Anya Balaniche has been taking care of her bother and sister. It is Anya's job to make sure bother and sister are safe, happy, and above all stay out of the family's chocolate business, so they would be spared the same fate as their parents. But lately this task has proved to difficult thanks to some unwanted publicity focused on her attraction to win, the new Ass. DA's son. Thanks to a poisoned chocolate shipment Anya is thrusted into the world of organized crime and dirty politics, when she is wrongly accused of trying to kill her ex with the tainted candy. To clear her name she must uncover who is behind the tainted shipment, while trying to protect her family, keep Win alive, and maintain her grades.
I feel that the book was the perfect balance between action and romance. I loved every second of it. I was able to look at Anya's life and see aspects of my own. Like how I have to care for my family at a young age, even though my parent are alive and well. Many kids are given the responsibility of taking care of younger siblings so the parent can provide for the family, and some time it's nice to see that they are not alone. If I had to recommend it to anyone who likes dystopia, romance , or even a people who enjoy a good growing up story. All in all, I believe this is a good read and anyone would benefit from picking it up.

View all my reviews
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Independent Reading Josh Berg

Josh Berg

I think that it is difficult to incorporate all of the different themes of the book into music. Only someone who is a true master at such things could ever have an ability like that. I am no master so the purpose of this piece is to talk about the many themes and emotions that I didn’t really touch on. When I was making the music, I had to work with some new tools so I stuck to other things that I was more comfortable with. This unfortunately can be a bit limiting, however I conveyed as best as I could what I wanted to convey. I recorded some things I ended up not using, even whole entire songs that I didn’t actually choose to use because I eventually failed to see the connections to the book. It would have been possible to connect however I don’t want to make any stretches in terms of connections to themes in the book. I didn’t want to stretch because that defeats the point of analyzing if you are looking back. This is one instance where doing the steps in reverse doesn’t really work. Another issue that I encountered was that of not having enough music in order to convey all of the themes and emotions.

I wanted to have a song for the Vanger family. An easy way to convey how proper they are, as this is a big part of their family, they are very rich, is through something like classical. The issue is then became that I don’t really do classical so well. After a few attempts, I wasn’t satisfied with the sounds although the piece sounded OK, I am not Wendy Carlos so this proved a bit difficult with the options for sounds that I had. I don’t play any instruments that are used in classical a lot. I decided that the next best thing to do would be to do Jazz. I am still not sure that this was a good choice, as Jazz has a bit of a reputation for being seedy. However, in todays day and age, people perceive Jazz to be a classy genre of music, (how wrong they are). With that said, it seemed to be an OK choice to make and certainly one that I am comfortable emulating musically. 

The other song that I wanted to do was primarily electronic. I wanted to make an ambient song like one you might actually find in a soundtrack to a movie. It is ambient and repetitive at times but in my opinion conveys the mysterious feeling of the island and just the general idea of mystery. It strikes me as very important to have a song that can convey the scene. I was very lucky in that the setting that the book takes place in strikes me as very mysterious, and the feeling of mystery is easy to convey in pretty much any art form. I find it actually quite ironic that something in essence, is the idea of not knowing something, is actually pretty easy to convey. 

There are many other elements, emotions and other important things that I found hard to touch on. I think the idea of a sole shining ray of truth, being the Millennium, deserved a sort of heroic theme. It is actually a theme that is touched on a bit earlier in the book, and not so much later. This theme also appears in the next book from what I have read so far. This is something I wish appeared even more in the book, the idea that there is that one small journal with some of the best articles and doesn’t lie or suck up to anyone that has a very strong but small cult following. I think that Larsson based Millennium off of what he perceived his magazine to be like. If this is true or not, I don’t know, but I think that he did a good job of crafting an organization like Millennium that almost manifests itself into a character. 

Although close to the theme of mystery, I think there was also a theme of danger, as there is in many books. Books are often about things that people will not experience in their lives, or they wouldn’t be very interesting. People are not usually having their life threatened in various scenarios, so there are many places where characters find themselves in a situation where they would not like to be. This book however does not have danger in the sense that many other books do. Although there are some times when characters are in peril I never really felt my blood pumping while reading it. I actually enjoyed it. It was much like in many mystery novels where you don’t really see it as danger, the situation sort of turns itself into another clue as you try to figure out the grand scheme of the mystery and what it all really adds up to. 

Another theme that appears a bit in the book is the idea of generation clashes. Mikael is most certainly from a different generation than Lisbeth and they have very different personalities. I find that this can be a bit cliche as well so I am glad that this was not brought up too much in the book.

Overall I think that I tried my best, however the proper emotion is hard to convey. With more practice I imagine that this is something that I can improve at greatly and will certainly make more attempts to do in the future.

Head of footprints- 

Wayne Shorter (for the song that wasn't erased)
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Independent Reading Book Review

Looking For Alaska, published in 2005, is the first novel written by the author, John Green, who at the time was only 28.  It was a powerful debut, winning the young author the Michael L. Printz Award and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize.  John Green would go on to write five more novels and become a prize-winning, best selling author.  Similar to this book, his books are directed towards teens with a focus on the idea of coming of age.

            Looking For Alaska is a melancholy story about a boy named Miles Halter and what he experiences and learns during his junior year at boarding school.  Miles Halter did not have many friends at his old school and is not notably adventurous, so when he comes to Culvert Creek in pursuit of “The Great Perhaps,” he discovers more about himself than he ever imagined.  From the moment he sets foot on campus and meets his roommate, his old safe life becomes a distant memory.  He gets entangled in both alcohol and cigarettes, and the most interesting person he has ever met, Alaska Young.  Alaska has a playful personality and is never afraid to stand up for what she believes is right, but she is an extremely troubled person, with more complications in her life than Miles can even comprehend.  Alaska lives life to the fullest; living everyday as if it were her last.  Unfortunately, it proves to be a short one.  During the winter she dies tragically in a car accident.  This is the central event of the novel and gives the book its structure of “before” and “after” that is noted in the chapter headings.  This event leaves Miles with many questions of how and why she died, which he just can’t come to terms with right away.  He and his roommate, the Colonel, need to do some detective work to answer their queries.

            This book is full of interesting and well-developed characters, each of whom has their unique traits and attractions, but everything orbits around Alaska. She is the magnet that draws the reader’s interest into the novel.  Alaska is my favorite character because she is the embodiment of many contradictions like youth and maturity.  Most importantly, while she is friendly and exceedingly mischievous, she also has a deep and pensive side that brings up many thought-provoking questions. The most powerful question that she brings up is “how will we ever get out of this labyrinth of suffering.” She answers this question with only three words - straight and fast. On the other hand, Miles finds a completely different answer.  He realizes that the way out of the labyrinth is to forgive.  After all, if one never forgives you will never truly be light of heart because you will only be given more anguish and constant nagging.  I feel the same way as Miles, because if he is never forgiven by Alaska, he would always be haunted by the sense of guilt that he let her go and never he would never forgive himself.  Earlier in the book this is what tortures Alaska - the feeling that she could have done something to save her mother.   She never realized that her mother would have forgiven her and that the last thing she would want Alaska to do is cause herself more agony.

            Looking for Alaska is a powerful and compelling book.  It explores topics that resonant with young adults with a deep sympathy and a wry sense of humor that makes it a thoroughly enjoyable read.   All the characters in the novel are well developed and fully rounded.  They have their flaws and good traits that one would expect in people. Sometimes They feel like real people and during the course of the novel the reader grows to deeply care about them.  I highly recommend this book to all readers whether adolescent or adult.

             For my project I created a Miles Halter's Journal in which he writes about Alaska's death. I decided to create this for many reasons, mainly because he has a lot of emotions after her death and he had mentioned his journal. I also wanted to include a couple objects that have proven to be important or just seemed to well describe the book such as Takumi's letter to Miles and the Colonel, Alaska's drawing of a daisy, and Mile's drawing of Alaska.                                                                             
​Miles Halter's Journal
​Alaska's drawing of a daisy which she drew before her death because it was her mothers favorite flower.
​Drawing of Alaska with a daisy in one hand and a cigarette in the other, this represents her youthful side and her mature nature.
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Independent Reading Project

Independent Reading Project Script:


-The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien

-Made into 3 movies, the first “An Unexpected Journey” came out in 2012.

-Considered one of the most defining books of the 20th century.

-Defined the modern fantasy genre.

Paragraph or Two about book:

Gandalf spontaneously recruits bilbo for the journey with the dwarfs to save their kingdom from Smaug. They face many perils on their journey....

Important Characters: 

-Bilbo: Our reluctant Hero. He, though refusing to help in the beginning, slowly gains a knack for saving his comrades through feats of cunning. 

-Gandalf: Mysterious, the guide/advisor of the dwarves, providing powerful assistance when times got difficult.

-Thorin Oakenshield: The leader of the dwarves, and the rightful heir to the mountain throne. He is also one of the tallest dwarves ever (Able to ride a horse)

-The dwarves: Bombur: The lazy, large dwarf. Almost always eating, sleeping, or whining. Balin: Though all of the dwarves didn’t care much for bilbo, Balin had his back the entire time.

-Smaug: The dragon who took control of the kingdom under the mountain. He looks down on all other living organisms.

Conflict: The primary conflict is that of the dwarves against several adversaries, such as goblins, giant spiders, elves, and Smaug. There are several societal conflicts however. The races of humans, goblins and wolves, dwarves, and elves are usually at odds with each other, they team up against common enemies (Goblins and dwarves vs Humans, elves, and dwarves). The main characters also go through trust issues, such as Bilbos constant secretiveness and his risky decision making. 

Favorite Character: My favorite character is Bilbo Baggins. He goes through the most change as a character. He is never reluctant to save his friends, yet never minds going against them for the greater benefit, like stealing the arkenstone to give as a negotiation device.

Take Away: The main thing you can learn from the Hobbit is that, if you are trying to achieve a goal, you have to WORK TOGETHER. The only way the dwarves and Bilbo were going to survive their mission is through teamwork. When the mission fell to shambles, it was because of either bilbo or another party members selfishness. They could have been more successful if they were organized and got along.

Personal Experience:

-Now, the Hobbit is a work of fantasy, removing almost all aspects of reality. The events are completely impossible in life. However, the ways the characters, especially the dwarves and Bilbo interact, it can be fairly realistic. Bilbo faces the problem of trust. The dwarves don’t trust him initially. He is constantly talked about behind his back during the earlier parts of the story, until he comes to the rescue numerous times. The way he is treated here reminds me of how I used to feel about my “friends”. Some people talk about each other behind their backs. It makes you feel hated. This must have made the journey even more difficult than the initial danger of the mission.


-I really like the book.

-Strengths: It is the defining work of modern fantasy. JRR Tolkien pioneered fantasy, almost all aspects of fantasy are based on his works. The book has extremely good detail, and the characters, though there are a large amount of them, are very memorable. Seriously, making 13 dwarves with rhyming names have distinguishable characters is a great feat.

-Weaknesses: These days, most people are accustomed to faced past and action filled sequences in their fantasy. The Hobbit will NOT fulfill this need. The action is slow as can be. A single sequence in a mine, one battle against goblins, lasted for 3 chapters. Tolkien’s eye for detail can be a blessing as well as a curse, making each sequence last forever, as every little detail is described in full. Also, the book was written in the 60’s, a time before women’s rights were fully appreciated. A strong female lead would have helped the book a lot. The story mostly focusses on a group of men, and their encounters with other men and genderless creatures.

-If I could change something in the book, I would change the amount of action vs the amount of traveling. The book has way too much traveling for the modern reader. More action is really all the book needs to make it into a modern work of fantasy. That and strong female leads.


-The Hobbit is a great book for all those who love fantasy. You get large amounts of action sequences, and powerful characters. The Hobbit is also great for those who love detail in their books. Wether it is thought processes, multiple character viewpoints, or songs and riddles, you will receive a plethora of detail.



Hobbiton = 6698

Narrator: This is Bilbo Baggins.

Bilbo: (Facing away from the camera, into the distance, turns around) Huh? Who’s there?

Narrator: He is hobbit, a short little man with no wish for adventure, or a need to leave his home. He lives a small little existence...

Bilbo: Hey! My great-great-

Narrator: Yes, we know your ancestors were the most adventurous of hobbits, but we are talking about you. You can’t steal credit for other peoples feats... Oh, here comes Gandalf!

Gandalf: Bilbo, old friend! You’re going on an adventure!

Bilbo: Wait, what? (To Himself) I’ll give this man some tea, but there will certainly be no adventuring from me!

Inside Bilbo’s House = 6702

Gandalf: Ah, here come the dwarves!

Bilbo: Dwarves? What dwarves?

Dwarves: Ah! Gandalf! We are here to take back the treasure!

Bilbo: What treasure?

Gandalf: These dwarves are here to take back the treasure stolen from them by the dragon Smaug.

Bilbo: Dragon? No, I will have none of this Tookishness!

Gandalf: But you’ve already been hired! Pack your things! We are going!

Thorin: (Serious tone) Wait Gandalf.

Gandalf: Yes Thorin? 

Thorin: We must first sing. 

The misty mountains theme plays in background.



Bilbo: Gandalf, why are they singing?

Gandalf: Why, it is the dwarves' way of explaining the background story through an overly long and repetitive poem, which he author used to attempt to add a bit of color to the book. I believe it may have been entertaining during the time the book was written...

Bilbo: Moving on... Alright, who is in charge here.

Thorin: It was my kingdom which has been taken from me. I am Thorin son of Thrain son of Thror.

Bilbo: OOOOkay. When do we begin, before I lose my tookishness altogether.

Thorin: First thing in the morning.

Forest = 6694

Narrator: So Bilbo proceeded to sleep in a great deal. Then, he embarked on a mighty journey filled with walking and hiking and trekking and even strolling. This is also a story about talking behind the backs of your comrades.

Forest = 6692

Dwarves: Argh that Bilbo, he’s useless.

Bilbo: (Goes crying off camera).

Narrator: These are the most realistic emotions you will find in books even to this day. The company traveled through caves and forests and rivers and more forests.

(The backgrounds switch through different backgrounds as the company changes the way it walks)

Cave = 6685

 They fought many dangers;They fought goblins only to be rescued by Gandalf.

(Running from goblin noises in a cave)

Tall Tree = 6684

 They fought wolves and more goblins only to be rescued by randomly appearing giant eagles.

Mirkwood = 6674

 They got trapped by giant spiders only to be rescued by Bilbo.

(Running through forest from giant fake spiderleg)

River = 6691

 They were captured by elves, and rescued by Bilbo.

(Bilbo maniacally chucking them into barrels)

Screen Note: Warning, barrels contain dwarves. Extremely Fragile.

Lonely Mountain = 6679

 They were chased by a dragon, only to have it chase after and be killed by a human. 

Smaug: Hahaha, pathetic mortals, I empty my nasal passages in your general direction! No one can stop m---

(Dragon puppet flies off and is shot down by arrow)

Erebor Treasure Hall = 6701

As you can see, the story revolves around the dwarves going on a journey, and being absolutely helpless. You would think the author would do a better job of making their supporting cast useful in the slightest...

Dwarves: Hey! We heard that!

Narrator: Oh calm down gentlemen.  You are the defining fantasy dwarves, have some self respect. Your story has defined fantasy for the ages. Though, why are you all a bunch of men. Have you just left the females at home? Was there no such thing as a strong female lead back in the 60s?

Dwarves: Oh, we hadn’t thought of that... 

Bilbo: Come on guys, we have treasure to steal and a dragon to not slay! Oh yeah, have you guys noticed Gandalf’s disappearance? He seems to appear out of nowhere just when we are helpless without him...

Thorin: He has his ways... Now, let us take our treasure!

Bard: The dragon destroyed our village! Give us the treasure!

Elf King: We captured you, give us our treasure!

Thorin: Wait, no!

Bilbo: Well Gandalf, looks like we need to get those stupid dwarves out of danger again...

Narrator: The Hobbit, now a major, hold on, three major motion pictures! Winner of countless awards and the defining piece of fantasy. For the full exploits of a once pathetic hobbit, a powerful and overly generous wizard, and a pack of completely useless dwarves, read the hobbit.


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Los Seres Queridos en Mi Vida

Introduction: ¡Hola!

Soy: Me llamo Hikma Salhe.
Soy de Filadelfia, pero vivo en Ethiopia. Tengo quince años.Soy baja y muy loca. El pelo café y los ojo marrones. Mi  familia es muy grande. Mi mejor amigas es cuatro. No le gusta perro. Me encanta leer.

Ella: Se llama Joie. La muchacha es mi amiga. Ella es bastante cómica Joie es super baja. No le gusta estudiar y leer.¡Es un amor de gente! Es una buenisima amiga.

Ellos: Ellos les gusta deportista. El es increíblemente altos y guapos. El pelos café y los ojos marrones. Tienen un perro.

Ellas: Les gusta leer y dormir. Tambíen, les gusta carrots. No le gusta nada estudiar y ayudar en casa. Mi amigas es una mezla de razas y como si fuera poco ellas son muy bonitos.

Nosotras: Somos es muy hermosa y morena. Cuando tienes tiempo libre somos les gusta estar de vago con amigos.Myrna, soy de Filadelfia, pero vivo en Bangladesh. Nosotras son mejor amigas.

Conclusion: Ademas, gracias por su mi video! ¡Hasta luego!
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Mar Adentro

La película, Mar Adentro, se trata de un hombre tetrapléjico, anteriormente un pescador y escritor, quien viajaba el mundo. Él vivió en España norte en el pueblo, Galacia. Después de un accidente que lo dejó sin mover, Ramón Sampedro desea quitarse su vida. Porque él es un tetrapléjico, hace un petición a los tribunales de España entonces su familia puede ayudar porque él no hace por su propia voluntad. Los tribunales no están de acuerdo con él. Entonces que nadie se metería en líos, Sampedro consiguió la ayuda de sus seres queridos que dieron veneno pequeño lo matar. La película muestra cómo amor, religión y los efectos en las vidas de otras personas afectan la vida de Sampedro.

La película es controvertida porque presenta unas preguntas polémicas tales como si la vida y la muerte es un derecho. Todos personajes en la película tienen opiniones sobre si está bien quitarse su vida y intentó imponer sus creencias. Porque Ramón quiere quitarse la vida pero él no puede hacer, entonces una problema es si él quitarse la vida y si una persona ayudando alguien quitarse la vida es un crimen. Las cosas como religión y el significado de la vida son importantes. También, la idea controvertido mejor al final de la película fui si una persona puede estar enamorado de un tetrapléjico.

Con las preguntas proponen en Mar Adentro, fue muy difícil hablar con mis opiniones a primera porque la película está deprimente y las temas incómodas. Desde mi punto vista como Rámon, la vida no es un obligación y la muerte es un derecho. Pienso que hay más bien opciones pero llegué a la conclusión para mi, no está bien quitarse la vida pero es un derecho. No sé por que alguien querría vivir si ellos no comer, tomar una ducha, correr o mover solo. Es no una vida digna. Estoy de acuerdo hay las cosas para vivir pero Rámon fue un hombre activo. Si fuera en este situación, no sé cómo sentiría. Con respecto a la familia de Rámon, quitarse la vida no es un crimen si que un deseo de la persona. Sería difícil para su familia atender a él sabiendo él no quiere vivir. Si la persona es lúcido y ese es lo que quiere pero ellos no se quitan sus vidas no pienso que es un crimen a la persona que ayuda con los documentos legales. Ramón quiere la muerte digna y él tiene un derecha a escoger. En la película, Rosa dije que ella esta enamorado de Rámon pero no pienso que. Supongo que ella amé como la familia porque para mi un relación física es necesario.

En general, no me gustó nada la película. Las temas son importante, sí, pero yo prefiero las películas cómicas. Tengo opiniones pero no siento cualificado juzgar porque tengo ni idea. Aunque para mi, el reparto fue fantástico. Los emociones la actuación fueron genuino. Como yo lo entiendo, la premisa es claro, pero la parte con los tribunales estoy confundido. No entiendo el proceso, sólo la decisión. También, con Julia no entiendo si ella estuve en enamorado con Rámon en realidad. Supongo, este no fue más importante porque fue sobre las temas de los éticos. Mi personaje favorito es Javi. Cuando él corrí después de el carro con Rámon dentro, quise llorar. No me gusta viendo cuando Rámon rompí su cuello. Pienso que fue increíble cómo él usó su boca lo escribir. El actor, Javier Bardem, fue increíble también. Para mi, esta película de Alejandro Amenábar es creativa, conmovedora y que haga pensar.
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The never Built Castle - book review of the glass castle

The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls is a memoir. I think it is important to know that this is a memoir, because it could easily be fictional. The story is about Jeannette's childhood and family. Her experiences seem so impossible to overcome and have had as her everyday life.

When Jeannette is young her family travels from place to place and is very poor. Her mother is an artist, and stays at home, although she has a teaching degree and teaches classes occasionally when necessary. Her father, Rex Walls,  finds what jobs he can, but they never last long. He is a very smart engineer who is closest with Jeannette. But he spends all the money he earns on alcohol. The reason this book is named the Glass Castle is because Rex Walls always promised to build the family a castle made from glass when they have enough money. As you may guess, the castle was never built.

I think that the idea of the glass castle perfectly described Rex and his parenting philosophy. He always wanted to do the best he could for his kids. It is apparent that he loves them very much, but his drinking problem controlled him, and made it impossible to have a steady income and provide all he wanted to for his family. One of my favorite examples of this is that one year for Christmas they had no money to get presents. So Rex took his kids outside one by one, and let them pick out their very own star. That is the positive side of Mr. Walls. That is the side that teaches his kids to read years before they even come close to a school, and the side that makes his kids do their math homework in binary, because he has taught them math skills grades above all the other kids. Another Christmas, all the kids save for weeks so they can have a good end to the year, because things have been especially hard lately. That year Rex gets drunk, and when he gets a lighter as a gift, he burns down the Christmas tree and all the presents. This is the side of Rex that is controlled by his addiction and spends all the money he earns, and even some he doesn't have on beer. This side of Mr. Walls got into a fight with his wife, and almost threw her out the window. This is the side that locked his three kids and newborn child in the back of a U-Haul truck for several hours. Rex never seem to want to change himself or deal with his addiction, but I think his good deeds outweigh his bad ones, even if the good ones were never accomplished.

As a young girl Jeannette is fine with moving about, but when she gets a little older her parents finally buy a house. It is not a real house; it is a shack that is falling apart. Worse still is that they don’t do anything to fix it, even as it crumbles to the ground.  After a few years, her older sister, Lori, moves to New York to escape her impoverished life. A year later Jeannette joins her. Eventually their little brother, and sister join them, and after that their parents move there too. All the children seem to lead regular lives, despite their insane childhood.

My favorite character is Lori. She does not always take care of her siblings, but she does her best. She also takes good care of her mother. At some points in the book, Lori seems to take more care of her mother than her mother ever has to her children. Lori also works hard to go to New York, she was the first one to take the risk of leaving, and because she is doing well there, her siblings could join her. By her taking the risk to leave the crazy nest her parents built, she enabled her siblings to join her on the route to a sane life.

In all honesty, I could not relate to this book at all. I don’t think that should come as a surprise. My parents have lived in Philadelphia for twenty-two years, and have provided a good living environment for me and my brothers. Despite the fact that I could not relate to the book, I enjoyed it very much. I wanted to keep on reading, partly to find out what would happen next, and partly to see how Jeannette grew up to be a well-respected writer, and to see what would happen to her siblings, and parents.

I recommend this book to just about anybody. At some points it seem like fiction, and it is amazing to think that these things really happened. I cannot think of anything that should change about this book; it was well written, and Jeannette’s experiences were told in a beautiful way. This book is written with a loving hand. Jeannette could have focused on all the times she w

ent to bed hungry, and every blanket she wish she had in the winter, but she did not. She wrote about the times her family sat around reading books, and the adventures they all had together. She decided not to hate her parents for not always being able to feed her, and instead love them for wishing they could feed her. Despite the insanity she describes in her book, you can feel her love for her siblings, and parents radiating from every page.

This is an image of my representation of the glass castle, wich I (7)
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Jiwon Choi's Review on Crewel

Jiwon Choi (Red)


     The book Crewel is a young adult fantasy book that was written by author Gennifer Albin. It was first published in October 16, 2012 and it is the first book in the series of Crewel World. It is about the world being controlled, being watched, and the segregation between men and women. In this world, Spinsters can decide everyone else’s destiny except theirs. Spinsters are women who control people in the world. They control how many kids one has, what people eat, where they live, and even when they die. They can also control how the world works. For example, they can weave what kind of weather the people on Earth are going to get. When one becomes a spinster, they go into a Coventry where they will control the world and will never be let out from the Coventry. Even though Spinsters are controlled and watched by the Guild ambassador named Cormac, the most powerful spot is being a Creweler. A Creweler is not controlled by anyone and is the only person who can actually make Arras (the outside world of the Coventry) a better world. Crewel is a book that is amazingly unique and is a world that is filled with magic and secrets....


      Adelice Lewys is 16 years old and has a special ability in weaving. When her parents find out about her special ability, they try to hide it because they don’t want her to become a Spinster. As soon as one is eligible to become a spinster there is no going back. Every year girls train to become spinsters and they test to see if they are eligible to become one. On the day of her testing, she accidentally shows her special ability of weaving which is being able to weave without a loop and gets elected to become a Spinster. When her parents find out that she became chosen to become a spinster, they try to run away but eventually becomes caught by the group from the guild that came to escort her into the Coventry. Her father is killed, her mother and her sister named Amie are nowhere to be found. Now, she will have try to stay alive in the Coventry, where she will be spied on, and may be forced to be remapped (turn into a different person and do what the Guild ambassador wants her to). It’s her time to decide what world she would choose. The way into becoming a Creweler or go to Earth and save her sister and Jost’s daughter. 

     The main characters in Crewel are Adelice, Jost, and Erik. Erik and Jost both falls in love with Adelice and Adelice is not a sweet girl who does everything they want her to do. Adelice is a girl with special abilities in weaving. She is a very brave girl who does not even try to act sweet towards people she doesn’t like. She says everything she wants to and has to say. She comes into the Coventry and tries to save her sister Amie when she finds out that Amie is still alive and determines to untangle all the truth about the Conventry and what happened to her family. She also falls in love with Jost the valet even though she knows that will put both of them in trouble. Jost is the valet in the Coventry. He comes into the Conventry to avenge for his wife and his child’s death. He is a very sweet guy with some deep dark secrets, and eventually becomes close with Adelice. Soon, he falls in love with her and soon he finds out that his daughter is still alive. Then he decides to help Adelice try to find his daughter and her sister Amie even though this means that he has to risk his life. Erik is a guy that was a nobody in Coventry who soon becomes adopted by Maela and becomes a somebody in the Conventry. He is the assistant of Maela, and he does work that Cormac and Maela gives him to do. He is also the guy that is allowed to be near Spinsters because he was well trained of what he is to do and not to do when he is near girls. He tells new spinsters where to go and where they will stay. He is like the tour guide for new spinsters. After Adelice comes into the Conventry, for first time of his life, he falls in love and betrays Maela. In the end, he has to choose who to be with, Maela or Adelice...

   There are two types of conflicts in this book. The conflicts of the story are person versus person and person versus self. I know that the conflict in the story is person versus person because in the Coventry, there are a lot of people who have conflicts within each other. For example, Maela is always trying to pull down Adelice and make her suffer because she doesn’t like Adelice. Adelice “stole” Erik away from her and she is loved by Cormac so she is jealous of Adelice. Another example is that when new Spinsters come into the Coventry, they have to go against each other and try to be better than everyone else to be in the top position as a spinster. For person versus self, Adelice has to fight herself in the book. For example, she has to try hard not to show off her skills of weaving and has to act dumb in order to not get into any trouble. Also, she has to pretend like she doesn’t care if someone talks about Amie and try to fight the urge of the tears coming out whenever she hears about her family.

    My favorite character is Adelice because I like how she has courage and is never afraid to say what she wants to say. I like the fact that she can express her feelings and opinions without being scared of what the other person will think of her. This character trait is something I don’t have but would like it if I have this character trait. She doesn’t care about what others think about her also. I think she is a very strong character and has a lot of talents. I cannot relate to any of the characters in the story because since this book’s genre is fantasy, the conflicts the characters have are not really anything that I came across in my life. The characters have some kind of problems that are realistic or non-realistic that the characters are experiencing or struggling with. For example, Adelice’s and Jost’s family members being killed by spinsters or having to live while being monitored 24 hours. Even though I cannot relate to any of the characters in the story I like the book Crewel because I become drawn to it. The book makes me want to keep reading it because I am also curious of what will happen next. Even though I really like this book because there is clear character traits in the characters I think that it was unnecessary when Maela was being very rude to Adelice and the “evil” events in the story.  In my opinion, there is suspense in the story. Also the fantasy of the story, what the story is about, and the images it creates in my head is just wonderful. Some strengths are that it makes the readers want to keep reading and find out what will happen next. In each page, something new is revealed. Also, it has a mixture of realistic and non-realistic of the world traits. There are politics, romance, segregation, being monitored and controlled. Some weaknesses are that the story is kind of hard to follow if someone is summarizing it to you because you have to read the book to understand what it’s about. Also, that even though Adelice is a very strong character in the story, there are sometimes when she could have done something better in that situation.

     Important ideas that the reader should consider while reading the book is of how the women has limited options, men are in control, and there are constant observations.                    The readers should also note that this world is very segregated. The neighborhood is divided with men on one side and women on the other so that they do not meet with each other. They get married with the parent that their parents choose and is then controlled with how many kids they have and how much food they eat from the Coventry. The theme of the story is that you have to overcome your hardships and you have to have the ability stay strong and have determination in whatever you are trying to achieve. Also, a theme can be that the segregated world does not make our life better because the people do not really have any freedom from the segregation and how their lives are controlled.

     I would strongly recommend this book to people that are into fantasy and romance. If you want to enter another and whole different world from what we are living in today, I recommend that you read this book. Also, whoever liked reading The Hunger Games and Twilight should take a look at the book.

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