Friday, February 2, 2018

    The Catcher in the Rye is certainly
an interesting read that’s open for debate. By that, I mean it in the sense
that it’s interesting, but not for everyone. Written in 1951, J.D. Salinger
brings us the story of Holden Caulfield, a 17-year-old rebellious boy that was,
for lack of a better term, an interesting main character. And the book begins
in a rather odd fashion. Odd in regards that it begins with the main character
speaking directly to you! While this is somewhat common in movies and TV shows,
it’s odd for a book. I’ll do my best to avoid spoilers, since this is a review,
but some things may need to slip to explain this. At the start of the book,
Holden is almost immediately portrayed as lazy, uncaring, and just flat out
incompetent (or insolent, if you prefer).

First, let’s go over
what I consider to be the bad parts of this book. Now, one thing to be wary of
in this book is that there is profanity, but it also helps the reader relate to
this character, which is one of the harder things to do in my opinion. However,
there seems to be too much of it for my tastes, but that’s completely
suggestive. And it also touches on themes centered around morality, which is
welcome to me, but it won’t appeal to everyone, as readers these days seem to
be more interested in reading thrillers or fantasy stories. At least, that’s
what I’ve seen. Most of the book is also just a flashback, and something about
that just annoys me. It probably won’t bother you at all though, since it’s
done in a way that you don’t really notice until you reach present day. So it
isn’t all bad.

Next, we’ll go over the
aspects of this book that stood out for me. The message of this story is that
you should always stay yourself and keep your spirits up. However, this theme
only really appeals to teenagers, it seems, as the main character will
generally make decisions that, if you’re an adult, will make you want to slap
him across his face. But that’s another thing: The character is such a
relatable person and well-written main character that, when you read this book,
you’ll be happy to follow into his life to face his problems with him.
Atmosphere, one of the hardest things to create in a story, seems to come
easily to the author in this book. You may not think this is important now, but
it plays a critical role in setting the pace of the story and the emotions that
the author is trying to portray through this story.

Overall, the question is
whether this story is good or not. Again, it’s up for debate. The negatives
that I listed are subjective, but everything is in this story. I think that it
is an overrated book, but one that easily makes my list of top books I’ve read.
But I feel that everyone’s experience will be different with this book, which
is something that is very intriguing to me. Depending on how you feel or what
your opinions or morals are, this book will be a masterpiece, boring, or
somewhere inbetween. Whatever your experience, it is definitely worth a read.
And even if you don’t like it, you’ll still have some food left for the mind.
If you don’t know what I mean by that, I mean that you’ll walk away with a bit
more understanding of yourself.

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

The Art of War by Sun Tzu

The Art of War, by Sun Tzu

This month, I stepped out of my small, comfort zone of romance books and fell in love with this quick read that I was assigned to read for my english class. This book left me with new words of wisdom and an urge to learn more about ancient cultures. It was a great change from the same plot, romance novels I always read. Although there are only 13 chapters with tiny blocks of text, the knowledge and advice gained through this book is spectacular. The name might not sound very interesting and seems only applicable to lovers of history, but I assure you that this is a classic that everyone should read at least once!
The Art of War is an ancient Chinese source of quotes by Sun Tzu, who was a military strategist and leader during a time of war and imperialism in China. Not much is known about him, but his words on military tactics, written on bamboo sheets, are still circulating around the world today. Each of the 13 chapters cover a certain concept used for fighting or strategy, and it is written more like a conversational guide book than a textbook or story. It is a very simple and easy book to read, but its concepts and deep meanings go a long way to help anyone. Although his advice was mainly used for fighting in battles and conquering enemies, many of his sayings can be applied to modern life skills. One of the chapters in the book was dedicated to types of terrain and which kinds of land are best suited for attacking, and there are parts where he gives advice about the general enemy, such as “all warfare is based on deception”. This quote can further be expanded onto general topics, saying that people can be deceitful and it is always best to be careful and to stay prepared. There are also chapters on the great use of fire, and even an entire part about the use of spies.
Sun Tzu’s The Art of War has made significant marks on the history of warfare in the world and has influenced many nations in all aspects of life. His military strategies have been used by Japanese samurai, leaders in communist China, and even American politics. Recently, the founder of Snapchat had bought the book for him and his employees after being beat down by the founder of Facebook, which shows that Sun Tzu’s advice can even be used in the modern business world.

I believe that anyone can enjoy reading this book, even if military and war books are not your type. It is such a quick read, but the wisdom you will gain will go a long way. The style of writing also makes the book a fun experience, for it sounds like Sun Tzu is telling you his advice himself! Believe it or not, but everyone who reads this book will come out with tips they never thought they needed.

Monday, January 29, 2018

Finding Audrey by Sophie Kinsella

Finding Audrey by Sophie Kinsella is a mixture of romance and realistic fiction. Audrey, the main character, is a fourteen-year-old girl dealing with anxiety disorder accredited to severe bouts of bullying from her peers. The trauma causes her to never leave the house, have severe panic attacks, and, in an effort to avoid eye contact, wear dark sunglasses at all times. She visits with a therapist, Dr. Sarah, whom, in a quest to extinguish Audrey’s anxiety prone tendencies, gives Audrey the task of creating a video diary.
Through Audrey’s videography, we meet the main characters: her mom (an overly-caring woman with an unhealthy addiction to reading The Daily Mail), her father, and her brother, Frank (a computer game addict). One day, Frank invites Linus, a friend from school, over to his house to play video games; it is in this moment that Audrey and Linus meet and a relationship slowly blossoms.
The story follows Audrey’s turbulent path to recovery with combined therapy, medication, and familial connection. Additionally, there is special emphasis placed on Linus’ gentle, outgoing nature and his role in Audrey’s recuperation. The book broaches the topic of mental illness and serves to show the importance of connection to others within a recovery situation.
This book reminds me of Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon in the sense that the main characters never leave their houses. They are also similar in the way that the love interest attracts the main character: through texts and notes. Both books show personal growth of the main character as they leave solitude and acclimate to life outside of their “bubbles”.
I did enjoy the overall message of the book, but I feel like the book’s purpose of recovery was diluted by having Audrey and Linus develop into a romantic couple. I almost wish that they had remained platonic friends in order to make it seem like Audrey’s strength and perseverance enabled her recovery rather than her relationship with Linus. Even so, I would recommend this book as it speaks on the important yet still stigmatized topic of mental illness: its effect on the one diagnosed, the loved ones of the diagnosed, and the journey to recovery.

Monday, December 11, 2017

Red Queen-Christopher Pike by: Jessica McManmon

Red Queen by Christopher Pike

     This novel has mostly a mystery theme to it, that hints at bits of romance at times.
This book follows Jessie through what should of been a weekend of relaxation in Las Vegas. Her ex boyfriend and her eventually learn that she is a witch...with a very special daughter. To add onto her already confusing situation of still being in love with him, he is only the father of the child in Witch World. Witch World is another dimension that Jessie now goes to when she is asleep. Her father, who abandoned her, is now back too, because he kept Witch World a secret from her. The only thing that stands in the way of Jessie having her happy ending, is that a society of witches who use their powers for evil have her child.  Jessie has to negotiate and learn how to use her powers to save her child from becoming a monster of some sort.
This book is a three part series, so this is definitely only the beginning of a big battle.

I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys pure fantasy realms. This book is filled to the brim with fantasy. I think that this book does get quite a bit confusing, which is why I am not going to read the next two books. I personally couldn’t get attached to the plot line, but I think many others could.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

The Accident Season by Mo—óra Fowley-Doyle

In this unusual horror novel, a teenage girl named Cara, her sister Alice, her ex-stepbrother Sam, and their mother are cursed once a month each year. Every October, Cara’s mother makes them wear extra layers of clothes, tells them to stay together, and she puts padding on any corners that are remotely sharp and hides all the knives and other dangerous appliances. Around the beginning of the current Accident Season, Cara comes to realize an old friend named Ellie is somehow in all of her photos. She shows the photos to Sam and then to her best friend, Bea, to see if they saw it, too. When they both say they do, it leads Cara to begin a quest to find Ellie. While trying to find Ellie, an idea comes about for Cara, her siblings, and Bea to throw a party in an abandoned house. While gathering supplies and their costumes for the party, Cara, Sam, and Bea realize that Alice is being abused by her boyfriend. However, Cara and her family also realize something even more interesting about why the Accident Season happens.

I found this book really hard to put down once I got into it. However, the beginning of the novel was a bit confusing to keep up with because the wording was a little unusual. Although, it was easier to understand as I progressed through the novel because I got to learn a little more about the characters and the details that were confusing at first began to fit into place. This novel was sort of horror with elements of suspense and a little romance mixed in every now and then. All in all, this was an interesting book and I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys a suspenseful book with just a hint of romance.

The Martian, By Andy Weir

The Martian, by Andy Weir
The Martian is a book mainly about a man’s fight to survive in an entire planet without other life, or even oxygen. The Martian is a special book where I found myself unable to put it down, a fact that remained the same for sometime thanks to one of the most interesting main characters I have seen in a book, Mark Watney. Mark Watney’s journey is one of humor and fear, but also calm and loneliness.

The story begins with Mark and his other crew members landing on Mars but Mark is left on the red planet alone when the rest of his crew evacuate and leave him, thinking him dead. There is a nationwide effort to bring Mark to Earth, with scientist from all of NASA figuring out how to bring him home alive. The book is chock full of tantalizing humor and dialogue and makes for an excellent heart pounding and gut wrenching read. Whats even better is that once you are done with the book, you can watch the movie which is also a entertaining experience.

All in all The Martian is classic for all readers. If you are at interested in Astronomy or Science, this will probably be a top ten all time book. It brings a cinematic experience to the reader's mind that few books can also accomplish.

Reviewer Score: 9.5/10
Frankenstein, by Mary Shelley

This book is considered by many to be a classic piece of literature, which I would tend to agree on, as this book has many meaningful lessons/messages. The story is about a man named Victor Frankenstein who begins to find an interest for and education. He begins to study the anatomy and how the body decays and develops. While he is studying this information, he decides to tackle his own experiment himself. One of the main themes of the story is to not turn your back on your family and friends, as they are there to support you through the difficult times.
I could relate to this book somewhat as there were many lessons throughout the story. One of the lessons, I could relate to the most was when Victor was being punished because he had shut his family and friends out. He had to find his own way to cope with tragedy, so he turned to his studies. I have experienced similar events and my life and have shut my family and friends out as well. I admire Victor for his desire to want to advance his studies, but this is the wrong time for that.

I would recommend this book to anyone interested in a classic with some valuable lessons and strong messages. Very well written book, with an impressive storyline. Lots of plot twists, but undrstandable enough to keep the reader engaged.