Book Review : "The Bluest Eye"

Lets take a moment to absorb all the work the fabulous Toni Morrison has created. From “Song of Solomon” to “Sula”  to “Tar Baby.” All these are diverse novels, but  all seem to  connect in a common theme. Many of her stories are set in Ohio, hence her birthplace, and are iconic for their vivid dialogue, and richly detailed African American characters. A lot of her books reflect on her early background growing up in an integrated neighborhood. After entering Howard University and receiving a B.A. in English in 1953, she earned a Master’s of Art degree in English from Cornell University. Now come along with me to delve into “The Bluest Eye.”

“The Bluest Eye” does not have a very “controlled” plot like Toni Morrison’s other pieces of work. Because Morrison brilliantly decided to have a child protagonist, she chose to portray the ill effects on children of incorporated racism. In the beginning of the book, the main focus was on ten-year old Pecola Breedlove. However, Morrison couldn’t maintain for her to be the focus throughout the entire novel. In the middle if the book, Morrison had to tie in her parents to support Pecola’s reasonings such as why she thought she was ugly and that if she had the blue eyes, she would become beautiful. As the story unfolds, it turns that Pecola’s birth parents have both lived through difficult lives. Her mother had suffered through isolation and believed that romantic love is reserved for the beautiful (white people). She channels her inner feelings by encouraging her husband’s violent behaviors, and escapes from everything by cleaning a white women’s home. On the other hand, Pecola’s father was abandoned at a very young age and mentally unstable. Later on in the book you find that Pecola has been impregnated by her father raping her.

For the most part, “The Bluest Eye” exceeded my expectations throughout the middle and end of the book. In the beginning, it was kind of tiresome because Toni Morrison is very descriptive and writes a lot, but there is a reason why she does that. She wants to make sure the reader has a clear picture painted in their head and alludes to many things that will occur later on in the story. Most of all her novels that I’ve read start off like this. I wanted to put the book down a couple of times because it wasn’t capturing my interest, but as I continued reading, I could not stop. It’s worth it to keep reading because it’s impressive how Morrison ties everything together in such a creative way.

One of my favorite aspects of this book is how Morrison chose her narrators. The reason I say “narrators” is because although the only narrator was Claudia MacTeer, Morrison makes it so that she narrates in a combination of a child’s perspective, and when she gets older, an adult’s perspective. I also enjoyed the novel’s points of view. Claudia and Pecola’s view are more dominant throughout. However, Pecola’s parents come into play. The points of view are deliberately structured to give a sense of each character’s experiences, and help us put ourselves in their shoes. In my opinion, I feel that “The Bluest Eye” is really known for its themes. Given from its title, one theme is whiteness is the standard of beauty. Another is seeing versus actually being seen. The person who suffers most from white beauty standards is Pecola. She connects beauty with being loved and believes that if she possesses blue eyes, the cruelty in her life will be replaced by affection and respect. Pecola’s desire for blue eyes, while highly unrealistic, is based on one correct insight into her world: she believes that the cruelty she witnesses and experiences is connected to how she is seen. If she had beautiful blue eyes, Pecola imagines, people would not want to do ugly things in front of her or to her. She correlates this to when she was teases by boys and when Pecola and her family are mistreated in part because they happen to have black skin. By wishing for blue eyes rather than lighter skin, Pecola indicates that she wishes to see things differently as much as she wishes to be seen differently. She can only receive this wish, by blinding herself when looking in the mirror. Pecola is then able to see herself as beautiful, but only at the cost of her ability to see accurately both herself and the world around her. The connection between how one is seen and what one sees has a uniquely tragic outcome for her.

I would personally recommend this book to readers who enjoy stories that portray different themes, and don’t mind the story being told by more than one perspective. I also encourage people to read all of Toni Morrison’s work along with this one so that you can see the comparisons within all her other novels.

“The Bluest Eye”

Toni Morrison

Published in 1970

Published by Holt, Rinehart and Winston

Realistic Fiction

224 pages

Mo' Meta Blue: The World According to Questlove

Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson describes Mo’ Meta Blues as a memoir but that may lead you to believe that he writes about a more specific time period in his life than he does. In Mo’ Meta Blues, Questlove describes and discusses his entire life up until 2013, when the book was published. The book starts on Christmas Eve, 1973 and goes on from there. Mo’ Meta blues is not just a chronological account of Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson’s life. It is the chronological account of a musician and music-lover’s life. Throughout the book, Questlove flips through his record collection. He describes the memories he associates with certain pieces of music and what those associations mean to him. Anyone who loves music will identify with this aspect of the book and anyone who loves hip-hop or, more specifically, The Roots, will be entertained by Questlove’s stories.  Richard Nichols, The Roots’ co manager has small written pieces throughout the book in the form of footnotes to set Questlove straight when his memory leads him astray. This book is not a piece on philosophy although sometimes it may seem as though it tries to be. Questlove touches on some philosophical ideas that he relates to his experiences but this is not what makes the book great. What makes the book great is the way Questlove describes his relationship with music and how that relationship changes over time. Mo’ Meta Blues: The World According to Questlove is a fascinating book for anyone who loves music although the reader will find that Questlove’s occasional dive into the meaning of his experiences is a little slow.

As this book is chronological, the beginning of the book is mostly about Questlove’s relationship with music through records. He begins his relationship with music as a listener and appreciator rather than a major contributor, even though it is emphasized that he has been playing music for essentially his entire life. Questlove describes how he began playing the drums on Christmas Eve, 1973. This was clearly an important memory for him as the memory was one of his first and incredibly detailed. Ahmir specifically remembered the music that was playing in the background as he walked down stairs and saw the drum set sitting under the Christmas tree. He writes:

Donny Hathaway’s second album was playing in the background, the self-titled one with the covers of ‘A Song For You’ and ‘Magnificent Sanctuary Band’...I made my way over there. Of the four instruments, I gravitated toward the drums. (11)

Just a page later, Questlove describes an experience he has when he jumps out of the bathtub and runs straight into the radiator. Not only can he recall the song that was playing when he hit the radiator, he can recall the part of the song. Questlove describes Curtis Mayfield’s Freddie’s Dead this part as “ the modulated bridge where the horns come in” (12). For anybody who grew up with music, I think this type of memory is relatable. Specifically, being able to identify the music that was playing in the background (assuming music was playing) when something formative occurred. One may not be able to recall the music playing in the background as well as Ahmir Thompson can but music was always part of Ahmir Thompson’s experiences and for those who love music, it is descriptions like this in Mo’ Meta Blues that make the book so enjoyable.

While much of the Mo’ Meta Blues is spent describing Questlove’s experiences through music, some smaller parts of the book are spent on reflection. These opportunities taken for reflection seem squandered as they ask and attempt to answer questions one could write an entirely new book on, are rather vague, and are only loosely connected to the rest of the book. The added metaphors to these reflections do not clarify the point being made and even make it more confusing. This is particularly apparent towards the end of the book when Questlove attempts to reflect on his life so far (that is what the books about after all) using the shapes of the drums and drum sticks as inspiration.

Will the circle be unbroken? That’s not the only circle that’s a question. Every circle is. Lines are statements. Arrows are especially emphatic statements. They divide and they define. They count up and count down. Circles are more careful. They come around again. They overthink. (144)

This could have been a great addition if it connected with the rest of the book. It seems as though Questlove connected these thoughts to the book in his head and neglected to write that part down.

Mo’ Meta Blues is certainly worth the time. It tells the story of a man and his transition from appreciator and observer of music to active participant. He describes experiences and stories, not necessarily one-hundred percent factually but how he felt they occurred. This connects you to the experiences and to the author in a way which makes the book all the more enjoyable. While the reflection and contemplation of Questlove’s life so far may fall short, it does not tarnish the rest of the book. Anyone with a strong connection to and love for music should read this book.

Mo’ Meta Blues: The World According to Questlove

by Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson and Ben Greenman

Published June 18, 2013 by Grand Central Publishing Company

288 pages


Creative piece can be found here:

The House Of The Scorpions Book Review

Shaion Denny

The House Of the Scorpions Book review

The relevant becomes flawless strokes of the mind unleashing the unknown from its cages. Nancy Farmer won multiple awards for her book “The House Of The Scorpions”. Nancy Farmer is highly known for her science fiction books. This book is one of her most know books across the country.She makes us as readers see characters for more than just how they help the story but how they compare to us. Characters roam like lost puppies in a dark room shivering motionless until the lights come on.

The House Of The Scorpions is an empowering piece of art. It crosses unforeseen boundaries in the world of fiction. As a first time reader it would appear that The House Of The Scorpions is a book about a clone wanting to be a real boy. But once you go through the book for a second or third time you start to get a different idea for meaning and message behind the book. As an experienced reader you are able to see the different themes presented within the book. These newly presented themes are things like poverty, loneliness, religion, and the hardest one to see is trust. Trust is the hardest theme to find in The House Of The Scorpions because of how often betrayal is used in the book. Trust and betrayal go hand and hand but in this book.

Matteo Alacrán, or Matt for short, was a boy trying to escape what could only be known to him as a perfect word. He was raised by a women named Celia for most of his life. Celia worked for a man name Él Patron who you can say is Matt’s father in a way. Él Patron is a big time drug dealer who uses clones , Matt being one of them, for body parts so he can essentially live forever. Matt is special to Él Patron because Matt is the smartest clone he has had in years so he kept him alive. Matt eventually move into the big house with Él Patron and his family so Matt could continue learning. Matt had become too smart for Él Patron and it made él Patron feel dumb so he made plans to execute Matt and harvest his organs. Matt being smart ran away before that could happen. Matt goes on a nice adventure in America before returning to find out Él Patron poisoned everyone who worked for him and his family so they could all die with him because he believed that when something died as your property they would always be your property even in heaven or hell.

The book isn’t setup like your normal story. The House Of the Scorpions is setup as intel to this child’s mind and everyday adventures. Matteo Alacrán to the reader isn’t just a clone boy want to be real, or even a boy trying to find his purpose in life. To the person holding the book ,flipping from page to page fighting to see what words will be on the next page, Matteo is a man who's fear brings more than just knowledge but experience. Throughout the book many ideas are put into the readers mind. Like what is the absence of light in a realm that seems to be always shinning. The author does her best to not only challenge us with these questions but help us understand the answers we might get for them. The absence of light in a place thats always shinning is a metaphor for how people compress their fear. Matteo’s only fear in the land of Opium is the absence of knowledge. 

The house of the Scorpions exceeds all of my expectations. When I was first asked to red this book I hated everything about it because to me all I saw was a big book full of words that determined my final grades. But when asked to read it a second time I saw it from a new angle because I was not forced to read it. I saw new ideas, questions, and meanings to this book. I expected that when I read it the second time for it to be like the first time. Full of confusing chapters that mean one thing. I thought the meaning of the book was to be careful who you trust. I’ am glad to say now that I was wrong. The meaning of this book is not be careful who you trust but to keep an open mind and never judge a book by its cover. I enjoyed this book because it was surprising how many mental challenges were in it. I think this book should be read by anyone who likes drama, action, science, futuristic, and mystery novels. The House Of The Scorpion is without a doubt on the list for books everyone must read before leaving for college.

Title: The House Of The Scorpion

Author: Nancy Farmer

Publisher: Atheneum Books

Date Publication: January 2002

Number of Pages: 380

Genre: Science Fiction

Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim by David Sedaris

Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim

David Sedaris

Dress Your Family is a collection of autobiographical essays and short stories painting a picture of Sedaris’ childhood and documenting his later adventures living in Paris and finding a career with his recognizable wit.


Although I am relatively new to the work of David Sedaris I can say without a doubt that this particular collection resonated with me on a plethora of levels. Although I can’t yet look back on my own childhood and reflect on it as deeply as Sedaris can, I can relate to at least some part in all of his stories while still finding his signature humor present throughout.

The book opens with a grouping of stories that paint a picture of his childhood and his family dynamic, setting up the context for the rest of his hilarious antics years down the line.

We are introduced to his parents and given a taste of the hardships of life in the south. He delves into early issues with his homosexuality and the dilemmas he found himself in. The attitude towards homosexuality has become increasingly more positive since the years when our narrator was growing up. One of the first stories we hear is about an excruciatingly awkward sleepover Sedaris has with a neighborhood friend. He broaches the topic of his own bullying with such a comedic tone making you almost forget what the subject material is. Although it seems the focus of this particular story is make you laugh, there are layers to it that lay the groundwork for stories to come, driving home the emotional importance. In the sleepover story, titled “Full House”, Sedaris finds himself in the midst of a strip poker game with a group of boys who aren’t very fond of him. Though this may have been a trying experience for any child figuring out their sexuality it must have been crushing to be bullied by these boys as well. Lingering on the impacts left by this possibly traumatic experience is not what the story sets out to do though, soon we are hearing about how our protagonist actually excelled at the poker game and turning the tables in a hilarious resolution.

After the initial chapters he has fostered the beginnings of a relationship with the reader, letting you in on aspects of his life that seem so personal and genuine. He is almost telling the story to you specifically. This is where his writing style exceeds all prior expectations.

Many of his essays and stories are used on his own book tours, read aloud to a live audience. And after listening to a few of these recordings, you come to realize that he is reciting his stories specifically to you. Though his text is autobiographical it never once felt analytical, each story has its own arc and climax; they are crafted to be heard by people and incite laughter and joy. He doesn’t take the topic of autobiography as an exercise in documentation, but as a means to extract the most relatable and genuinely funny story and put it into the readers hands. His stories are lasting and resonant, and as I stated before, many of them go beneath the surface and touch some real emotional areas. He seems to tap into the stories heart as a tool for the comedy, giving each a more legitimate feel.

In his story “Chicken in the henhouse” he illustrates how the attitude towards homosexuality in certain parts of the United States has either changed drastically or is in drastic need of change. He finds himself in an awkward situation with a young boy in his hotel complex shortly after news stories about homosexual pedophillia had been plaguing every available television channel. He describes his feelings toward issues like this with so much personality and articulation that you can’t just ignore what he is saying and read for the jokes. The jokes all come from a place of truth, as every good joke should, and reflect on the bigotry and prejudice he felt in certain situations. The story with the young boy in the hotel is one of the most hilarious for a number of reasons, but it also manages to make itself the most relevant story, tying the undertones from the rest of the book together. He doesn’t do it with a big show, he doesn’t pretend to have some grand realization, he just connects the stories seamlessly and then continues on his way to making you laugh as hard as you possibly can.

Be it “Chicken in the henhouse” where he addresses some more heavy issues with a comedic tone, or “Six to eight black men” where he goes on a complete tangent and discusses Christmas traditions in the Netherlands in surprising amount of detail, each story in this compilation feels polished and perfected. No story felt out of place in any way or even fell flat. I honestly cannot try and poke holes in the logic or the storytelling because at the end of the day this is a book where you can laugh with the author; you can laugh at his mistakes right alongside him. It fulfills its purpose with ease and with flair and I was never once disappointed. I recomend Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim to anyone who wants to laugh.

Title: Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim

Author: David Sedaris

Publisher: Little, Brown

Publication Date: June 1, 2004

Page count: 272p

Genre: Autobiographical, Anthology

Sedaris book covers

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?

Written in 1968, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? has a clever plot and intense imagery that takes the reader on a journey through the future. Philip K. Dick writes in the futuristic tense, which in his case, is only 1992, however the story can still be applied to the future of the human race. This science fictional novel was written with great care, and although it is hard to understand what is going on during some points of the book, there is always a suspenseful plot twist and rich storyline to fill in the gaps.

Philip K. Dick is arguably the most influential writer of science fiction. He was born in Chicago in 1928. His interest in metaphysics and theology fueled his lifelong interest for writing, mainly science fiction. Philip K. Dick has published forty-four novels, and over a hundred short stories. His work is so influential, interesting, and popular, that some of his work has been made into films such as the famous, dystopian Blade Runner. Philip’s questioning ability of the world around him sparked his creativity and he was able to produce intuitive and analytical novels that seemed to capture the environment that surrounded him with a fictional twist. Although he was a drug user for a large portion of his life, his thinking capability is showed in his work, and his famous Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? makes the reader think philosophically.

This post-apocalyptic story is set in the year 1992 after World War Terminus, a nuclear war that nearly destroyed the Earth. Humans were ushered by the United Nations to flee the planet and travel to Mars with the promise of an android. Human genetics of the humans that did remain on the planet had been altered by the radioactivity. Those humans that decided to stay lived in broken-down or destroyed buildings and survived however they could manage.

The overall story follows the life of bounty hunter Rick Deckard, who is sent out to retire six escaped Nexus-6 android models. He is sent out to administer the Voigt-Kampff test to the android suspects, which tests the android’s empathy. Once the empathy test confirms the lack of empathy, Rick Deckard destroys the android.

The other half of the story also follows the life of John Isidore, who houses and helps the fugitive androids survive in the comfort of his own home in the ruins of his building. John Isidore genes have been affected by the radioactivity, so he is not the most intelligent person. He can not sense the danger of an android when it comes close to him, and instead befriends the very androids that Deckard is spending so much of his time searching for.

In this book, animals of all types have gone extinct and the ones that remain are instantly valuable. Because of these rare animals, so many people result to having an android animal to be higher on the social hierarchy. When a real animal is purchased, it is an extraordinary event, and the family that purchased it is congratulated. The benefit of a having an android is that it is extremely difficult to tell the difference between a faux and genuine animal. When surrounding units see that someone has acquired an animal, a greater level of respect is given to that person. This is a very important part of the book, although when the topic is initially introduced, it is both a bit confusing and a bit strange to the reader. It is a refreshing idea, however, and adds a lot of originality to the novel.

This book is enjoyable because the story switches between the two main characters and gives the reader the perspective of both polar opposite sides of the story. The characters are convincing and stick to their personalities throughout the book. It is easy to follow the mindset of both characters, which creates a better understanding of the relationship between the war, animals, and the characters.

This book is a unique science fiction novel, and anyone who enjoys reading this genre would most likely enjoy reading this book. It definitely involves the science part with colonization of other planets, robots, and delves into the difference between androids and humans. It helps the reader grasp the concept of how the future might be dominated by robotics and androids. I would say that this book should probably be tackled by young adults, because the vocabulary is rich and the storyline jumps around.

Because of Philip K. Dick’s unique writing style, his captivating ideas are harnessed through the use of futuristic concepts. This book is a challenge, but once the beginning is tackled, the book is an effortless read.

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?

Philip K. Dick


210 pages

Science Fiction

The background of my creative piece is the title of the book written in binary code over and over. There is a sheep because the main character, Rick Deckard, owns a sheep, and because of the title of the book.

Perfect: Pretty Little Liars

The book Perfect by Sara Shepard, is a New York Times bestseller that inspired a tv show in ABC family, called Pretty Little Liars. The series of Pretty Little Liars contains a total of 16 books. Each of them contain unique titles that amplify their plot. In other words, the cover page usually tends to give a hint of what the book might be about. Sara Shepard is an American author who currently lives in Philadelphia. Her Pretty Little Liars series was inspired by her upbringing in Philadelphia’s Main Line. Sara Shepard is well known author that is famous for writing entertaining yet simple novels. Pretty Little Liars is not the only novel series she’s written, she has also written “ The Lying Game”, “Heiresses” and many more. Shepard is an author that inspires herself from actual events. She’s got the habit of sub creating new novels from old ones, which create a never ending book series that leaves everyone wanting more every time.

Since Perfect is a book from the Pretty Little Liars series, I think it’s important that we establish what the series is about. Pretty Little Liars is a story about five teen girls, Spencer Hastings, Hanna Marin, Aria Montgomery, Emily Fields, and Alison DiLaurentis. These five “best friends” fall into a deep hole after their head leader, Alison goes missing. Years later, all four of them try to live with the absence of their so missing “friend”, while fighting the guiltiness that drowns deep inside them. After Ali goes missing, they start to receive text messages by an anonymous sender “A” that threatens to reveal their secrets out to the world. Throughout the series, the girls fight the mysterious identity of “A”.  

Perfect in particular includes a taste of Alison’s last days before she goes missing, after three years. The book tends to portray continuous flashbacks back and forth. In Perfect, all four ex best friends encounter disappointments, confusions, discoveries, accomplishments, and struggles after Ali’s disappearance. Old characters make presence inside the book, and all these characters are unconditionally attached to the main characters which make the book very intense. The organization of book is divided into 37 chapters. Each chapter changes point of view. For example, Spencer might tell the story on chapter three while Aria tells it on chapter five. The point of view is definitely something that changes very frequently inside Perfect. The thing with Perfect is that it’s not written in a very fancy or high quality writing. It’s written in a very simplistic way that produces high quality entertainment. This book is without a doubt a very suspenseful and dramatizing experience. Almost to point of where it becomes addicting yet 100% satisfying.

Overall, on a scale from 1-10 I would give this book a perfect 10. I started the book around the middle of September and finished it before September finished. I literally spent hours and hours reading the book. It almost gets in the way of doing your daily routine. Once you start the book you can never put it down, which is why I finished the book so early. I’ve never actually watched Pretty Little Liars, but I knew it was out there so that’s why I chose this book. Everytime I get a book into my hands I tend to put it back in like a week, with Perfect that wasn’t possible. It’s so addicting. Once I finished the book, Sara left me wanting more. That’s why I didn't hesitate on picking up the next book. I don’t think I could actually pick a part that I didn't like. Sara tends to very descriptive with her writing, which is why I enjoyed this book.

If you’re a reader that enjoys drama, romance, suspense, non fiction, mystery, and a  bit of comedy, than you’re going to love this book. Just by reading one book, I automatically knew that I wanted to read more. On most novels, authors tend to start in a particular part of the series of where the reader is clueless about the characters/plot because of the lack of background information in a every book. With this book, I picked up very quickly, which made it more engaging. I tend to pick up novels that deal with suspense and mystery. Some of the novels tend to be very slow pace. Pretty Little Liars in the other hand, continues throughout time very quickly. The text inside Perfect is very simple yet satisfying. Once you pick up the book, you’re not going to stop. I guarantee it.

Title: Perfect

Author: Sara Shepard

Publisher: HarperTeen

Date Of Publication: August 21, 2007

Number of Pages : 320

Genre: Realistic Fiction, Mystery/Thriller

​Creative Piece: 

Throughout the series, the main characters fight the mysterious identity of “A”. A is mysterious, honest, and evil. I used cool colors around the letter A and warm colors on the outside. The cool colors amplify the darkness, evilness, and mysteriousness that A possesses. When A isn't around the community everything is bright, colorful, and peaceful. Which is why the warm colors are in the outside.

Book Review: The Catcher in the Rye

Some have hailed it as “an American classic,” others “an example of a perfect book.” No matter who you are, The Catcher in the Rye will take you by surprise as you follow recent expulsion victim Holden Caulfield as he travels around New York City with just his thoughts in hopes of finding excitement, happiness, and a reason to live his life.

A recent World War II vet and D-Day participant, author J.D. Salinger set his heart on writing short stories, which were published in magazines, namely The New Yorker and became wildly popular. Despite his success as a short story writer, Salinger his mostly remembered for his work on Catcher in the Rye, which he has said to have been “almost autobiographical.”  He was born in New York City, the setting in the story, in 1919 to a half-Jewish, half-Catholic family. He chose a setting that was familiar to him as a teenager. Also, Salinger was the captain of his fencing team much like Holden. After flunking out of a prestigious junior high school in Manhattan, Salinger’s parents sent him to Valley Forge Military Academy, which was later used as a model for Pencey Prep, the school Holden comes from. Salinger is first published in 1948 when The New Yorker published “A Perfect Day for Bananafish.” He became an instant hit as a writer and produced many other short stories, but it isn’t until three years later that The Catcher in the Rye is published. After the publication of The Catcher in the Rye, Salinger began the process of becoming a recluse and generally not leaving the house or interacting with anyone outside of his immediate family.

The story begins when Holden Caulfield fails out of a prestigious prep school in upstate Pennsylvania. Rather than going home for the winter and telling his parents, Holden decides to take his belongings to New York City in hopes of finding inspiration and purpose. He spends most of his time exploring and observing the city and its people, criticizing and analyzing almost everything he sees. Holden is afraid of growing up, afraid of losing his innocence and making the transformation into adulthood, so he finds excuses to still act like a child. He’s a troublemaker, but Holden exploits these teenage delinquencies and goes on joy rides, finding thrills, and in the process, himself, in prostitutes, alcohol, and freedom.

If you’re an avid reader of romance, action, or any book with a climax, this book may be frustrating for you to read. Over the entire course of the book, nothing of pure significance happens. In fact, nothing of any significance at all happens, yet it entrances you and pulls you in and makes you want more, and to be completely honest, I can’t tell you why. But the fact that this book is being debated and talked about and is still read to this day can attest to my statement. For being a dropout and teenage delinquent, Holden explores adult ideas and exhibits more wisdom and intuition than most people his age or otherwise. After getting through the excessive use of adult language and hypocrisy, it is clear that Holden understands more about other people than they understand about themselves, and often uses the flaws he sees in other people as a tool to find things inside himself. The constant use of inappropriate language is to plant the idea in your head that sixteen year old Holden Caulfield is much more mature than the teenage delinquent he is played out to be. Just like the use of adult language throughout the story, the adult activities Holden takes part in are there to show that while you’re reading the narrative of a sixteen year-old wisecracking boy, you’re also reading the narrative of a mature, cynical man who has dealt with life and its obstacles, and has learned from them.  

Your entire time reading the book will be spent waiting for something extravagant and spectacular to happen, and it never does. The book ends, the lights fade, and without even knowing it you have enjoyed what is said to be one of the greatest books of the twentieth century. To enjoy and understand this book completely, you must read it more than once. You can’t expect too much of it, because at first you will be disappointed. Only later will you realize how much the book spoke to you. You have to be okay with nothing happening. No aliens, no zombies, no explosions or unbelievable love stories, just a boy in New York City trying to find himself through sex, alcohol, and freedom.

Title: The Catcher in the Rye

Author: J.D. Salinger

Publisher: Little Brown and Company

Date of Publication: May 1991

Pages: 214

Genre: Realistic Fiction

The Knife of Never Letting Go Review

The first of three books in the Chaos Walking series “The Knife of Never Letting Go” by Patrick Ness, shows us a world where thoughts are open for all to see. Due to a strange disease all of the women are dead while the men and animals have their thoughts open for everyone to see called Noise. This strange setting is where the book starts off before the main character Todd Hewitt and his dog Manchee live and where they find an area in town without Noise. From their secrets are slowly revealed and we begin to learn what is really going on and he is forced to leave to learn more about the outside world.

Patrick Ness is well known for his well planned suspense and clever humor. His other books such as “The Crane Wife” and “The Crash of Hennington” show that he excels in making interesting characters and clever narratives. Along with the Chaos Walking series he has also written two other young adult novels “A Monster Calls” and “More Than This” both containing several similarities to “The Knife of Never Letting Go” with their dark atmosphere and strange settings.

The Noise is an excellent idea and a world with it’s existence proves to be interesting and thought provoking. In the text it is typically shown as scratchy fonts occasionally intersecting with each other. At some point it feels rough and not completely used to the fullest but at other point it is used perfectly in describing the chaotic world in which the characters live in. The noise does a great job of not only showing the lack of privacy but also makes each escape more difficult when the men after you can hear your thoughts.

Another device used to great effect is the knife of the title which is typically used to show the fine line between survival and murder. Which fits in very well given that death is taken more seriously and more accurate here than most other young adult novels. Todd constantly struggles with whether or not he can kill someone which is used to great effect throughout the book to make Todd a very conflicted and sympathetic character.

The main character Todd is a well written character who is naive but sympathetic and whose many questions make him an excellent viewpoint for this chaotic world. His dog Manchee proves to be an interesting side character with his loyal, confused, and innocent behavior painting a true and sad picture of animals with voices. Another character who is difficult to describe without spoilers, helps bring a new viewpoint which questions much of the worlds ideals. While one of the main antagonists Aaron a deranged priest constantly works as a determined threat following the characters with a strange set of ideals. Several side characters such as the Mayor are shown to be cleverly written but lack adequate time to be interesting.

The book proves to be quite good but the beginning is slow and tedious. It’s understandable though that the introduction to the world might seem drawn out with the amount of information that is given and it does prove to be interesting at a few points. However the book's greatest strength is the amount of surprises the book manages to keep hidden. After 64 pages an important character is revealed and the story begins to get very good. The numerous plot twist throughout the story ensure that the story is kept interesting and clever right to the end where it ends with a satisfying cliffhanger.

This book is perfect for people who enjoy science-fiction and elaborate stories. The character’s are unique to most of the genre and the book explores ideas that are rarely seen in other sci-fi works. This gives a feeling of discovery as you read more, learning about this strange world that borrows several ideas from other sci-fi stories but constantly feels fresh throughout the series. The first book leads nicely into the next two and I would greatly recommend them both as they both function quite well on their own merits and never feel like more of the same sci-fiction stories.

The book is an excellent read that shows a well created setting along with cleverly written characters. The story is well written and was able to hold my attention despite a rough start. The numerous surprises and plot twists slowly tear down the original thoughts the reader has amassed about the world to show the unthinkable truth. The finale is spectacular and leads to a well planned climax and shocking ending that heightens the desire to pick up the sequel.

The Knife of Never Letting Go, Patrick Ness, Candlewick Press, 2008, 479 pages, Science-fiction.

Looking for Alaska Book Review

Looking for Alaska is not the regular boy-meets-girl love story with all the smoking, drinking, sex and money. It wasn’t all about all those interesting things, it had common teenage drama, just more juicer. It made you think back on your own life and decisions. I’m a person that mostly read books that are urban. Non-urban books would have to be requested to me, so reading Looking for Alaska was a big, fantastic change. it helped understand the loss of an important person and learn how to accept others and their choices. The overall setting of the book is the characters attending a boarding school, that definitely divided the poor and rich, which they talk a lot about in the book. They call the rich kids the “Weekday Warriors”, because they go to school during the week, but then they go home to their nice houses every weekend. Mr.Green also introduce common teenage rituals like pranks, parties and crazyt bets.

John Green was born August 24, 1977 in Indianapolis. Three weeks after his birth his family moved to Michigan, Alabama then finally settled in Florida. He used his own personal adventures to put into Looking for Alaska. Green has spoken openly about being bullied and how it made his teenage life miserable. Want to know how he got the idea to write The Fault In Our Stars? John actually worked at hospital as a student chaplain while he was enrolled at University of Chicago Divinity School, although he never went because his experience of working with children with life-threatening illness inspired him to be an author and later on write The Fault In Our Stars.  He won multiple Awards for his books in his career. In 2007 Green and his brother, Hank, started video blogs to communicate on Youtube. Through his videos he caught the attention of a community called the nerdfighters, they raised hundreds of thousands of dollars to fight poverty around the world. John and Hank continue to upload video twice a week on their youtube channel : vlogbrothers. Green has been a finalist twice in the Los Angeles Times Book Prize. Last but not least Green’s books has been published in more than a dozen languages.

The main character, Miles “Pudge” Halter was not popular at all back in his hometown in Florida. His life become the complete opposite of what it use to be. He has friends now, and experience things he never thought he would come face to face to. The one person that gave pudge a reason to make Culver Creek, his boarding school, a great place was the emotionally confused, mysterious and beautiful Alaska Young. They grew an undefying attachment towards each other. Alaska was a closed person about her personal life, yet she was so outspoken and straight forward on her beliefs and what she thought. Pudge and his roommate, the Colonel, not his real name, become close as friends also. Colonel was the take charge friend and believed that he should be loyal to his friends and they should be loyal back no matter what. He didn’t have much back home, but his heart was bigger than anything and he loved his mother more than anything in the world. He is not as forgiving as Pudge, but he soon learn how to be.

The importance of reading a young adult book is the similarities you have with your own life. The author just gets what your going through and put your thoughts in ways you can’t express on your own. I think the reason I connected with this book is because it caught me at a questionable time in my life. I was having mixed feelings and didn’t know the direction I was heading. One question that is going to come up a lot in the book is how to escape a labyrinth you are out in, a labyrinth is like a maze. And I took and, and still do, that question with me through my everyday life. No matter if it was me and my mom arguing, stressed about school, whatever it was I found a way to face it and actually deal with it instead of running away from it then having to face it or deal with it again later. The confidence of the character and the strong will they have for their opinions made me stronger for mine.  

Looking For Alaska by John Green

Publisher : Dutton’s Children Book

March 2005


Young - Adult Fiction

Creative Piece:

In Looking for Alaska there was a divide between the rich in poor kids. It led me to think we are kids why are we worried about somebody else if we wasn’t in their shoes. People don’t enjoy their life anymore, they would rather sit around be mean to others and gossip. Why are we treating others with such disrespectful if we are all going to end up in one place? Six feet under.

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Screen Shot 2014-11-04 at 2.19.46 PM

The Fault in Our Stars: Book Review

The Fault In Our Stars by

John Green

Book Review

Gabrielle Smullen

She has thyroid cancer that has spread to her lungs, forcing her to live connected to an oxygen tank. He has osteosarcoma which forced him to lose his leg. They both know they have limited time but they live their lives through each in a way that gives you hope for the both of them.

Though Hazel would rather spend her time in her room re-reading An Imperial Affliction and watching reruns of America’s Next Top Model, her mom forces her to go to a support group with kids living with cancer that she feels may help her make friends and come out of her depression of having cancer. She then meets Augustus, good looking and immediately head over heels for Hazel. In their exchange of each other’s favorite books, they become attached at the hip. From their trip to Amsterdam to meet Peter Van Houten, Hazel’s favorite author, to their ridiculously romantic adventures that come after will have readers giddy after every page.

Born in Indianapolis, Indiana, the author John Green is known for writing young adult fiction. He is an award winning best seller with other books such as Paper Towns, Looking for Alaska, Will Grayson, Will Grayson etc. Paper Towns is a very popular book about seniors that go on a road trip to explore themselves and their relationships. Some say that it is similar to his other book Looking for Alaska, which is about a man who leaves boarding school to go and find a dying poet named Francois Rabelais. John Green’s book favor adventures and all tend to have a specific meaning and destination throughout and in the end of the book. They tend to change your point on things, they make you think about the world in ways you wouldn’t think of at first thought. The characters represent real life situations and thoughts. They emphasize life and it’s mysterious ways and how people live through that. His books have won the Michael L. Printz award, Los Angeles Book Prize, Best Book for Young Adults, Teen’s Top Ten Award, Quick Pick for Reluctant Young Adult Readers, A New York Public Library Book for the Teen Age, A Booklist Editor’s Choice Pick, Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers Selection and Borders Original Voices Selection.

The author describes each character specifically with unique dialog, by reading the book you can tell how each character talks and what they sound like. He structures the book as a devastating but powerful story with plot twists that will require tissues. Each character has their own style of language making them believable from the main characters to the parents. Everyone is uniquely significant and relevant in their own ways. The question John Green explores in this novel is: What do oblivion and living mean? The question is touched on a few times by Hazel and Augustus throughout the book as Augustus says I'm in love with you, and I know that love is just a shout into the void, and that oblivion is inevitable, and that we're all doomed and that there will come a day when all our labor has been returned to dust, and I know the sun will swallow the only earth we'll ever have, and I am in love with you.” and Hazel eventually follows by saying  “And if the inevitability of human oblivion worries you, I encourage you to ignore it. God knows that’s what everyone else does.

The Fault In Our Stars shows true love through two teenagers that accept their lives and each other. I recommend anyone to read this book, whether it’s your type of book or not I think anyone would enjoy it. This book shows that yes, life is short but it also explores how much you can do in such a little bit of time, especially with the person you love which makes it even better. It’s basically your average boy meets girl and they fall in love with a few twists, kind of book. They have extreme chemistry which is what makes it so sentimental and full of life. It’s a book that you immediately fall in love with and like Hazel, will want to read it a thousand times.

The Fault In Our Stars

John Green


313 pages


Diary of a wimpy kid

“Diary of a wimpy kid” is an illustrated novel By Jeff Kinney. When he was growing up, he didn’t want to write children’s book, his dream was to be a newspaper cartoon artist and publish his own comic strips independently. In 1998, Jeff Kinney came up with the idea of a book titled “Diary of a Wimpy Kid”, a story about a middle school boy named Greg Heffley. Jeff had been working on his book for nearly eight years before publishing it. It was first advertised on a website called Surprisingly, it had more than 80 million visits, and had around 70,000 kids reading the book. The book attracted many young audiences due to it's cartoonish illustrations. His first book was released on April 2007, and was the New York Times bestseller, it even said so on the bookcover itself! Also during this time, Jeff also created, where he still continues to express new ideas everyday for the next children book, all of which is sequels of “Diary of a Wimpy kid”, because the fan base is huge and still supports it. Jeff loves his own idea of this book and wants to still make it accessible to many people.

The author connected his own childhood dreams into the book, and then compares it to his own autobiography about his earlier period of his life. Which also explains why there was a comic strip references in his book where Rowley, a character in the book wanted to do school comics, but was rejected by the protagonist saying his idea will be bad. Only later to disprove his assumptions by making him the most popular kid in school. “There was a pretty obvious drop in quality once Rowley started doing the writing. And believe it or not, Rowley’s drawing skills are worse than his writing skills. I told Rowley maybe we should come up with some new ideas, but he just wanted to keep writing “Zoo-Wee Mamas.” Then he packed up his comics and went home, which was fine by me. I don’t really want to be partnered up with a kid who doesn’t draw noses, anyway.” Pg. 170. Stories that reflect everyday reality of a school child pulls in the reader, while reminding him/her the jokes and tricks that are still relevant in his/her life which may have occurred before or after the making of this book.

“Diary of a wimpy kid” isn’t about the regular children’s story where with morals at every turn, it’s about childhood dreams and common mischief. Jeff Kinney and other people they will face ahead in life. Like when he wanted to do when he did grow up, but never could have, and he reference this in the book in a mature manner. He mentions a lot of these problems so purposely and well placed in the book, incidents like vandalism and terrorizing the neighborhood, hurting someone purposely in an accidental way, peer pressuring someone, and then being jealous of something they did you avoided them to accept. We will always be envy of someone or something because of their superior ways, common parts where he is referencing things in the book he may have or you might of experienced in life, then compares it in smaller part in pages, such as how small voices can be spread with ideal fiction about a molded cheese. By comparing the things we have nostalgia or scars,  about or learning how others deal with it makes the interests or curious readers wants to read more because of we don’t know how to understand or how to deal with the same situation Greg is facing. Even in Rowley’s perspective, we might not agree with our peers 100% of the times to make a good argument. Which may lead to frustration.

What really makes this book interesting is not that it refers readers these common things, but its how it turns phobias, peer pressure, and disrespect into something that isn’t necessarily true, into a self story he faced and fear and making it a cheap animated thrill he overlooked in. The book is about an average middle school boy named Greg Heffley, that tells his story in his Diary, where creativity comes to life by his own drawing, which he expresses in a very mannered detailed way, like how he told his mom he wanted a journal and not a diary. He spots out the main things he did or events that happened during his daily life, which typically occurs in common areas which readers will get used to reading from different perspectives. Some places including, school, houses, outside, and holidays. There are recurring character, along with the main protagonist Greg Heffley, and his best friend, Rowley Jefferson, incase you were still wondering about them earlier. There are other important characters besides the main protagonist. His family are what leads to tension, like his older brother, Rodrick Heffley who is a troublemaker. He’s a perfect example of how a immatured teenager who hangs out with his friends most of the time and picks on a younger brother, frankly being Greg and causes conflict. And there is Manny Heffley, the young delinquent who doesn’t know any better and often leads to mistakes to lead others to blame for.

The good and bad things that happens in life, in which is read of a narrative tone that is spoke mostly in a first person view, comic gimmicks to exemplify cheap appropriate stereotypes, like how kids can be creative, make fake rumors and be very immature with other superiors to highlight what problems people faced and how they tend to avoid danger. Most of which are reflections on what certain consequences are and the things you may face or decide that can lead to other shenanigans, (or you can be totally ignorant like me and not realize any of these). Like molded cheese and how you can get the cheese touch, this part of the book deals a lot of drama and causes excellent tension and ending climax on how stories are brought up with embarrassing faintly whispers of ghastly murmurs, which are commonly brought up. That kids don't play on the playground anymore (which they tend to avoid being mistaken for) a common misconception of a molded cheese lying on the school’s basketball court. The only context given to Greg is that if you touch it, you will get the cheese touch and people will start passing it to whoever touches them, which will make others avoid the victim until it passes on to another host, which will lead to others avoiding you for whatever they believe. This is an example of common stereotypes and other misconceptions, like if girls touch boys, they could have the cooties. The author implies in this part that it’s fun remembering the things we used to believe and make something that may have impacted us in our youth about some phobias we were too young to understand, into an inside joke to a world. The book was made to attract more of young readers due to it’s non complex cartoonish style of black and white novel with illustrations, but it’s not weighed down with deep metaphors and brings up things older audiences can appreciate.  I was 10 years old when I first read this book and still remember the whole thing because of it’s non-complexity and joy that was brought up. It’s a fun book to read because it has pictures.

Illustrated novel, Diary of a wimpy kid, by Jeff Kinney, 217 pages


  1. (Kinney, Jeff. "About the Author | Wimpy Kid." Wimpy Kid. 1 Jan. 2012. Web. 30 Oct. 2014.)

  2. ("Full Cast & Crew." IMDb. Web. 30 Oct. 2014.)

The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger

The Time Traveler’s Wife

The book The Time Traveler’s Wife is a young adult fiction novel by Audrey Niffenegger. This was the debut book by Niffenegger and was first published on January 1, 2003, but was also made into a movie in 2009. The movie received several awards, and the book received the Exclusive Books Boeke Prize. The author, Audrey Niffenegger, is currently writing a sequel to the Time Traveler’s Wife, and it will be published soon. Niffenegger was born on June 13, 1963 in South Haven, Michigan. She is a writer, artist, and academic.

The Time Traveler’s Wife is a romance and science fiction book for young adults. The two main characters, Henry and Clare, share an extraordinary love story that seem to be quite impossible. The story of these characters start when Henry, the mysterious librarian meets a smart, beautiful, and creative art student, Clare. The love story between these two seems impossible with many hardships and challenges that come along their way because Henry is a time traveler, but the bond of love keeps them strong. Henry’s disappearances are spontaneous and unpredictable, while Clare is patient and understanding. As they try to live a normal life like other couples, they are always threatened by a force that can not be controlled or stopped by human force or will.

The book takes on a different perspective than other books do in romance and science fiction. Yes, there are books that are science fiction and romance, but this book was written in the perspective of two people, Clare and Henry. Because of this structure, the readers are able to see the personalities and thoughts of the two main characters very easily. Additionally, each chapter is split by mostly a linear time period. Throughout a chapter, there would be different times to signal how much time has passed after the preceding event; this makes it easy to see the time that have passed and the important events that have passed before the next significant event.

Another observation to note is that sometimes, the characters would speak in French. This makes the book seem more realistic because it shows the characters’ interaction in a different language.

Lastly, there is a lot of foreshadowing in the book. This makes it more intense and engaging because it makes the reader want to read more and find out what happens later on. Honestly, the most beneficial approach to take while reading is keeping track of the foreshadows because these can be useful towards the end of the story.

Although The Time Traveler’s Wife is a very engaging, there were some times when the author could have done better. For example, sometimes there was not enough details about what was happening. The book was confusing at times as to why something was happening and why it was important because there wasn’t enough explanation for a course of action or an event. Another being the author sometimes including events that were not really necessary for the book’s plot itself. On the other hand, there were many elements of the book that absolutely exceeded expectations. The book had many foreshadowings, but not all of them were obvious, so she was able to surprise the readers towards the end of the story with something her audience did not expect. However, with the obvious foreshadowings, the author was able to keep the readers in engaged by making them want to know what happens later on in the plot. Finally, the mysteriousness of the book made everything very skittish. In a sense, this idea links to the foreshadowing - it makes the book more mysterious. Not only was the book mysterious, the main character was also very mystifying. Henry was very unpredictable. He is spontaneous and unpredictable, and his personality and his time traveling are what made the book very compelling. The book makes the readers constantly want to read more and know more about what happens in the end. This book did a very good job at keeping the reader’s attention the whole time.

This book is very outstanding because it had a combination of romance, science fiction, and a little bit of mystery. A amalgamation of these genres make The Time Traveler’s Wife the most extraordinary book. The book was engaging the whole time, so the reader would not have to worry about reading a boring book when he or she starts the story. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who enjoys reading romance or science-fiction books. However, I would not recommend it to anyone who doesn’t feel comfortable reading explicit books that have a lot of uncensored sex scenes. Since the book values the theme love, there are many sex scenes.

Title: The Time Traveler's Wife

Author: Audrey Niffenegger

Publisher: Zola Books

Date of Publication: January 1, 2003

Number of Pages: (Ebook, special edition) 518

Genre: Science Fiction, Young Adult, Romance, Fiction, Contemporary

For my creative piece, I made wings because I think it symbolized the book. After Henry's feet amputations, Clare made him wings. She didn't want him to be trapped again; she wanted Henry to be able to fly away and feel freedom.


Book Review: The Name of the Star

History does repeat itself; especially when it comes to mass murders in London. The Name of the Star is a part of the series “Shades of London”. Maureen Johnson visited London. That is where the idea of the series was born. While vacationing, she learned about Jack the Ripper. Jack the Ripper was an unidentified murderer in 1888 in London. The book is a mysterious novel about a girl named Rory who goes to London with her parents for a semester. While in London, Rory attends boarding school where she develops a strong bond with her roommate Jazza. But Rory arrived at just the right time, the time of the Ripper’s killing spree.

Jack the Ripper was a man who killed went on a killing spree in 1888. It is now 1988, and someone is mimicking the Ripper’s agenda. The police are scattered across the city but they have no suspects. There are no witnesses, except for Rory. Rory is the only person who has seen the Ripper.

The book explores different obstacles that Rory goes through regarding school, love, and finding herself, the normal teenage experiences.  One of the major themes in the book involves Rory trying to finding herself. She questions her abilities, thoughts, and actions. Rory is a teenager, and every teen goes through that phase. Johnson portrayed this phase in an interesting way because at the time Rory is trying to figure herself out, continuous murders are happening around her, she becomes a target for the Ripper, and she has friends and family who are worried about her.

Rory and all the other students are innocently in school while the murders are getting closer to campus. The police camp out in front of the school for days to make sure the students and staff are safe, and also because the most recent Ripper victim was murdered nearby. The police have no leads because no one has spotted the Ripper, not even the dozens of security cameras that surround the area. “The white tent was there all day Sunday. It glowed at dusk, when it was illuminated by dozens of high-powered work lights. The press was there too, hovering on the edges of campus, watching. The school sent around an e-mail saying how really, really safe it all was, even though there was a homicide investigation going on on the green at that very second, and several psychologists were being called in to talk to anyone who felt like they needed support.” The reason I picked this quote from the book is because of the content behind it. Without knowing what is going on in the book, you can have sympathy for the staff and students because the killing spree is happening right around them. A lot of the students were also very interested in what was happening. The students were having “ripper watch-parties” to hear about the latest update on the news, they were kids staring out the windows of their dorms, etc. As anyone of us would. The book is narrated by  Rory too, so everything that you learn about in the book is from the ins and outs of Wexford school.

I enjoyed this book. It was definitely a page turner! Johnson doesn’t reveal who the murderer is until very close to the end but it isn’t the very last thing you read so it does show you the aftermath of all that has happened. My favorite thing about it, is the fact that the Ripper targets Rory and goes after her. She saw him but didn’t rush to the police because she didn’t think seeing him was important to the investigation. It was a random guy, that doesn’t mean he’s the Ripper, right? So now it makes me wonder if she would have never reported to the police about the man she saw, how would that change the book. I think it’d also be interesting to hear the story from someone else’s point of view, like Jerome, her crush. Or Jazza, her roommate. Or, the Ripper himself. That’d be really good! This book makes me also want to read a few other Maureen Johnson books because I like the way she takes personal experiences and makes them so exciting and mysterious.

The Name of The Star was nominated for an Edgar Award. This book would be enjoyed by those who love a good mystery. It is different because of the fact that the narrator is a schoolgirl and how all of a sudden, she becomes a target of a serial killer. The book is set in the late 1980’s so the language is not hard to understand. The book would also be enjoyable to those who appreciate a good young adult book. You have the opportunity to connect to the different characters because the author gives background and talks about different obstacles they had to overcome.

The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson. Published by The Penguin Group on September 11, 2011. The novel consists of 372 pages plus acknowledgements. The book falls under multiple genres which are young adult, mysterious, and fiction.

The Circle by Dave Eggers

A beautiful campus. Enthusiastic employees. Endless money. Complete control of the internet. All the resources and initiative to change the world.

Welcome to the Circle.

Mae Holland had lived a boring life. She graduated college with a degree in psychology and no ambition. She returned to her hometown, and worked in a burlap cubicle in a utility company. Mae’s roommate in college Annie, on the other hand, jumped out of college and into a high-up job in the “the only company that really mattered at all”: The Circle. When Annie pulls some strings and Mae is offered a job, she cannot help but accept. “My God, Mae thought. It’s heaven.”

Mae falls deeply, blindly, in love with The Circle. She went from nothing to everything, and so she couldn’t tell anyone no. Her feverous naïveté is overwhelming. And, as the book progresses, increasingly frustrating. As Mae falls deeper into the Circle, as new screens are added to her desktop, she encounters things, blips in the “perfection” of the Circle. But each time, instead of stopping and rethinking the Circle’s dystopian philosophies, she is convinced (and convinced easily) that it is all for the greater good. So desperate to move closer to the Circle’s inner circle, Mae throws herself at the philosophies of the Three Wise Men, the idiosyncratic trio that started the Circle. She goes so far as to introduce catchy phrases that capture The Circle’s new age, with no sense of how much influence they could have:



Mae changes the world. And if it was not obvious from the start, Eggers makes it abundantly clear that she did not change the world for the better.

Of course, the foundation the The Circle’s philosophy, the unadulterated pursuit of knowledge, is not inherently bad. In fact it’s often a very noble pursuit.  From the eyes of an everyday consumer, all of the Circle’s goal appear to be good. The Circle encourages politicians to go “transparent” to eliminate political corruption and backroom transactions. They install small “SeeChange” cameras all over the world to catch criminals, keep an eye on one’s home, check how the waves are for surfing, and experience Kilimanjaro or The Eiffel Tower or the Galapagos Islands without ever having to leave your sofa. Mae’s friend (and lover) Francis develops a child tracking chip to prevent kidnappings and child abductions. PastPerfect tracks one’s family history, and gives one access to every file, letter, photo, bill and transcript that has touched their bloodline.

The process, naturally, is what is corrupt. SeeChange cameras allow random people to spy on Mae’s parents. The child tracking chip allows for helicopter parents to truly take control. The PastPerfect reveals dark moments in Annie’s parents’ past, aiding her fall into a catatonic psychosis.

Dave Eggers gives a stomach-churning take on what it means to have too much of a good thing. The Circle fictionalizes a philosophical debate that has existed since the very beginning of the Internet: what are the boundaries of our privacy? What does it means to have an online identity? Where should we draw the line between “real” life and our “online” life? Who am I?

The Circle’s commentary on the nature of identity is its strongest quality. What does it mean to be alive in a digital age? Traditionally, identity is defined as one’s collection of thoughts, perceptions, feelings, actions, and discourse. We each have an inner narrative, a life-story, tracks on which we move through the universe. So what happens to this fundamental narrative when every aspect, every thought, feeling, action, is shared with the world? The Circle took Mae’s narrative and made it external. Turned it into a collection of things, materials, likes and dislikes, people she smiled at, parties she attended. Ultimately, the fault of The Circle is not the deconstruction of privacy, or the monopolization of the tech industry, but rather the destruction of self. Without a barrier between what you know and what everyone else knows, there is no distinction between one individual and the next, and the world, although it may operate with machine-like perfection, has lost all diversity. Egger’s has produced the most realistic apocalyptic fiction - and it is terrifying.

One fault in Dave Eggers’ process is his lack of research. As a reader with little to no knowledge of computer science, Eggers’ ad-libbed technologies seemed wholly realistic. However, to a programmer or engineer, there may be faults in The Circle’s “Unified Operating System” and “Retinals”. I would not suggest this book to anyone would be frustrated by technical ambiguity.

I would recommend this book to anyone who is curious possibilities of the future. Someone who participates in modern debate about about privacy, human connection, and freedom. Someone who does not mind being afraid.


The Circle By Dave Eggers. Fiction. 491 pp. Alfred A. Knopf/McSweeney’s Books.

Dave Egger’s is a philanthropist, publisher, novelist, and screenwriter. He is the founder of publishing company McSweeneys in San Francisco. His first book was the critically acclaimed Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius. The Circle is Dave Eggers’ 10th work.

Anna's thing
Anna's thing

Deadly Reigns: The First Of A Trilogy

Where do I even start? Oh my, this book is amazing. “Deadly Reigns,” by Teri Woods is an urban suspense thriller. I could not put this book down at all. The plot, characters, the writing style, everything about the novel made me just want more. “Deadly Reigns,” is one of three books based on the Reigns family. The setting of the book takes place in Texas. The Reigns family consist of Princess, Damian, and Dante Reigns. Princess Reigns, ruthless, dangerous, and conniving, & does anything to get what she wants. Damian Reigns, intelligent, humble, too dangerous, and knows what he wants. Dante Reigns, dangerous, manipulative, murderous, and gets what Damian wants. Overall, this book gave me what I was looking for. The description, the characters being relatable, the plot itself being captivating, it all engaged me as a reader.

The Reigns family has been targeted by many groups, such as the local police, CIA, and FBI, but all have failed. The Reigns Family is drop dead gorgeous, wealthy, educated, closed off, and protected. As far as anyone is concerned, The Reigns are impenetrable. Damian Reigns, is the head of the family. Damian is a Harvard graduate in Business and own the family enterprise worth billions of dollars. Damian is handsome, mild mannered, and strategic. Dante is his brother. Dante is a Princeton graduate with a degree in psychology. Not only is he handsome, but he’s hot-headed. Their older sister, Princess. She’s beautiful and smart, too.  You might be wondering, if these siblings are educated, come from a good home, why are they being targeted by the CIA & FBI...Well to answer your question, not only does the family own most of Texas, due to the number of restaurants, laundromats, local business, and buildings they own, they are the largest drug distributor in the South.

The FBI has been trying to take down the Reign’s Cartel for years, but have failed miserably. As their last resort, they send in one of their finest agents, to penetrate the family. Grace Moore. Grace is young and beautiful and believes that she can get the job done. Grace is sent in to seduce Damian, as Jonel. In addition to the FBI, their sister, Princess is gunning for Dante and Damians head. She wants the Empire, and will stop at nothing to get it back. As far as Grace is concerned, can she get the job down, without falling for the Head of the Cartel himself?

Teri Woods did an amazing job writing this book. I could honestly not put it down. Her writing just captured me. I felt like I became a character in the book. An expert from the book read,

Dante emerged from the black H2 Hummer. WEaring black sunglasses, a black suit, a long, black, trench and black, leather gloves, he looked sorely out of place in colorful, sunny, south Florida. He didn’t give a shit.

His business here today would be brief, as he had come to Florida for one single purpose: to kill the man who had sent the assholes on jet skies. It was business, but at the same time, it would be a pleasure.

Reading this, I could see exactly what I was going on. I could imagine his facial expression and his surroundings. Everything about the book just said yes. I had to keep reading until I was finished.

As far as the rest of the story and plot is concerned, you have to read it to find out what happens. The Reigns family is powerful and has an endless amount of resources. However, as the war between the FBI & The Reigns, the FBI become desperate when agents start to go missing. Therefore, resorting to Grace to finish the job, and take down this family. But Damian and Dante are no fools, but neither are the FBI. So, can the Reign brothers outsmart their sister, the FBI, and Grace?

Deadly Reigns, Teri Woods, Teri Woods, September 4, 2012, 344, Urban fiction

Unwell by Marie Chow(Book Review/Epilogue)

UnwellUnwell by Marie Chow
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Unwell, Marie Chow’s debut novel, is an intense realistic portrayal of a woman trying to explain her decision to not be a mother to her unborn child. To achieve this Unwell chronicles the life of mother-to-be. From summer visits to grandparent's houses in Taiwan, to the finding of true love in college. We are taken on a journey, through this woman’s memories as she learns about life, relationships, and the realities of choice and consequence
Marie Chow is a self published, Chinese American, mother of two author.She was born in Concord, Massachusetts, but has lived in Taiwan, Nebraska, and everywhere in between. Chow is the author of a novel, a children's story, a collection of short stories, and many other great works of literary perfection that have yet to be penned.
I pigeonholed this book 4 out of 5 stars, the reason being is that while I liked the book, it still left something to be desired. What I liked most about the book was it’s storyline. Before unwell I had never come across a book were a mother who is perfectly capable of taking care of the child, leaves them. Although this book’s plot was unique to me, other aspects of it brought down its grade.
When I read a book I only have one rule, never leave unresolved plots. Unwell broke this rule. The book ended with a few loose ends. I would usually dock points for loose ties, but because the narrator was on a time limit, her due date. It makes sense, context wise, that there are unanswered questions. Also the loose ends were not detrimental to the plot. There was not a climax in this book. Even so, if I had to choose one thing to improve this book I would tie up those loose ends, because the book was mostly all build up, and when the plot started to crest the highlight of the storyline, the novel ended.When I read a book I prefer to have my questions answered rather than speculate about them in the ungodly hours of the night.
The book was told in a distant, off handed manner. The lack of sentiment in the writing gives the reader a chance to form their own opinions about the happenings of the book, instead of having them forced on the reader. Although this technique may not be good in other books it works with this one, especially within the guidelines of it’s context. The main character's goal is to explain to her daughter why she is leaving, without trying to sway her daughter’s opinion on her. Just give her daughter the facts. The lack of emotion makes it easy of the reader to disconnect from the book and read it as if they were reading data, instead of the not so great past of a human being.
Unwell is a good read because although it deals mostly with the inner, depressing, memories, it also has a side of romance that helps balance the book. Even though it starts off a little slow you will not be able to put it down, because of the gripping plot. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys reading about how others deal with angst and pain. This novel successfully mixes, individual decision-making in high-risk circumstances, and cultural commentary in such a way that leaves the reader wondering about their life and the choice they made.

Kindle Edition, 255 pages
Contemporary Fiction
Published January 7th 2014

View all my reviews

You were born at exactly twelve A.M., on May the seventh, a Friday. At first you didn’t make a sound, you were unfazed. Like the process of being expelled from my womb was something that happened everyday. It wasn’t until the doctor smacked your little bottom, that I first heard your voice.  The doctor only gave you a little pat, but you screamed as if he broke your tiny arm. You should've seen your father’s face when they finally placed you in his arms. They gave you to him because I was still recovering. His eyes watered with unshed tears and his smile widened to the point that not even the Cheshire cat’s grin could compete.

He brought you over to me, leaning in close, so I could get a glimpse of you. Your face was still red from your wailing, even though it had been minutes since you stopped. You were so tiny, I thought maybe you were underdeveloped. But the doctor reassured me that you were perfectly developed, precisely eight pounds and nineteen inches. “A little on the larger side if anything,” I remember him saying to me.

If I am being honest, before he said that, I was worried. Worried that somehow I had messed you up, even though I stuck to the pregnancy diet your father set for me, and I made sure to take all of my vitamins. That somehow just being my child would give you some sort of deformity. But it seems that you share more characteristics with your father, because you were perfect.

After all of the commotion of your birth, the nurses and doctors thought it was best leave us alone to “be a family” or something along those lines. So they all shuffled out around one o'clock, leaving you, me, your father, and my secret in the same room.

I thought for sure he would somehow figure it out. My secret. That he would see my evasiveness around you, and something would click in his brain, and he would find me out. And once he discovered my plan, there is no way I would be able to go through with it. He would beg and plead for me to stay. Use logic and persuasion to convince me that staying would be the best thing for all three of us. At the very least I thought he would question why I hadn’t asked to hold you. But he didn’t. He just stared at you, and mumbled things about us being a real family now.

In that moment I felt like a thief. I was stealing this moment. A moment I had no belonging to, because I didn’t plan on staying in our family. I had no claim and yet I let myself soak it in, let myself watch you blink your eyes, yawn, and squeeze your father’s finger. I recorded every detail of that moment, so I could look back on it later.

You soon fell asleep, as I’m assuming newborns do. Your father fought his fatigue for another two hours, until he was forced, by he is fear of dropping you, to place you into the clear hospital bassinet. He then proceeded to reposition you several times, claiming you were going to suffocate in the previous position. It was only when you were in the “perfect” position, that he finally laid down on the faux leather hospital couch and closed his eyes.

I waited forty minutes for him to fall into a deep sleep. Your father was usually a heavy sleeper, but I guess sleeping next to you made him jumpy because he would toss and turn when I made the slightest of movements. When I was sure that neither of you would wake up, I got out of my bed. I went to my hospital bag and got out the clothes I was supposed to wear when I take you home. After gathering my things I tip toed into the bathroom. I got dressed without looking in the mirror. I couldn’t face myself knowing what I was about to do to your father, to you.

As it turns out getting dressed without a mirror makes the dressing process much faster. It probably has something to do with the fact that you can’t see how weird you look in the shirt you are wearing. Or maybe I was just going fast because I didn’t want to be discovered. It was probably the later.

I came out the bathroom, gathered my sparse amount of belongs in the room and made the bed. I know it was stupid, making the bed. I had this ironic hope, that if he woke up and saw a made bed, then maybe he would forget all about me being there. It was stupid, I know.

While making the bed, I knocked over the weird remote that was connected to the bed. It made such a loud clatter, I thought for sure both of your father would wake up. But he continued to sleep. You were the one who opened your eyes. You looked around, searching for something. When you couldn’t find it, you started to cry. This cry wasn’t like the bone chilling shriek you had given the doctor, it was more like a whimper. There was just so much pain in that whimper, that I just had to pick you up, and try to take the pain away.  

You went quite instantly. You stared up at me with your cognac brown eyes, just like your fathers, as I slowly rocked you. Back and forth, supporting your head, just like the books your father had made me read said to do. Your small lips formed a perfect “O”, and your lips slowly closed. I rocked you a few minutes more. I know I should have put you back down immediately. I should have  left, right then and there. But I wanted to hold you a little longer, a little closer. I didn’t want to put you down ever. But I had to.

Soon my memories of why I was leaving resurfaced. And, as much as it killed me, I placed you back in the bassinet, back in your father’s “perfect” positioning. I moved you closer to him, so that neither of you would be alone. After what I was about to do, you both needed each other.

I spent another minute in that room just looking at you two. Thinking of what could be if I just got back into that bed. Thinking of all of  first I would miss. Your first tooth, step, word. I was going to miss it all, and I hated myself for it. When it got too much for me to handle, I picked up my bag, turned and left the room.

Silent tears streamed down my face as I left the hospital, but no one stopped me to ask what was wrong. I guess people cried there all the time. I walked out the hospital and into the cool crisp dawn of a new day. The purples, yellows, and pinks melding in that perfect way you only see in sunsets and sunrises.

As I walked I thought about you. About how you probably would never understand why I left. Even though this journal was supposed to explain it to you. About how you would grow to hate me because of my absence in your life. About how we would never know each other.

I walked across the parking lot to where a line of taxis sat waiting. I got into the one at the beginning of the line.

“Where to?” the cabbie asked as he put the car into drive.

“The airport,” I responded.

And we drove off. Away from the hospital, away from your father, away from you. My beautiful daughter, Mei.

Videos 1 (Telling time) & 2 (Asking questions)

Situation: Madison is always late to class. Today she is rushing to get to her next class. Along the way she asks her friend the time. When she gets to class, she asks another friend the time and she figures out she isn't late at all. 
Topic: Telling time
Situation: Aniya and Madison are chatting. Their annoying friend Israh joins them and gets in Madison's personal space and asks too many questions. They then walk away from Israh.
Topic: Questions, greetings, goodbyes

Spanish Q1 BM Videos:Cuffey,Camara,Harris,Abuhartieth

In Spanish class we have learned the Spanish numbers. In this video,Fatoumata is at an auction and Laith and Isaiah are bidding on how much money they would pay for Fatoumata's computer.
In this video,Isaiah is talking about the weather in Panama in the afternoon.
In this video,Fatoumata is studying at the library and she meets this boy named Luis. He asks her where she's from and her phone number.
In Spanish class this quarter,we learned about the months of the year. In this video,Madison asks her teacher about the months in order.