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Showing posts from 2014

The Pearl by John Steinbeck

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The Pearl by John Steinbeck

Kino is a diver looking for pearls. Pearl diving is how he provides for his family, just like his father before him and his father’s father. He lives in a brush house away from the town with his wife Juana and their son Coyotito. When Coyotito is bitten by a scorpion Juana prays for a way for them to pay the doctor to heal their only child.When Kino dives that day he finds a pearl the size of a sea gull’s egg. The people in the brush houses refer to it as the “Pearl of the World” and can only imagine the fortune that will come to Kino and his family. But the pearl doesn’t bring the fortune Kino had hoped. It brings greed, suspicion and betrayal.                 Based on a Mexican folk tale The Pearl is simple and precise in its delivery. In less than one hundred pages Steinbeck produces a novel that highlights many different aspects of human nature, examining each briefly and thoroughly. He questioned the faith of Kino and his wife while faced with the unimag…

Banned Book: The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath

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The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath

                Esther Greenwood thought she was on the right path in life. She was given a scholarship to attend a university and was enrolled in their honors program. She won a fashion magazine contest and was given a job in New York as a prize with all expenses paid. During her time in New York she was given the opportunity to meet famous people from many different walks of life and attend shows while in the city. Yet she was extremely unhappy. She returned home and attempted to kill herself. From there she received a ticket to a mental institution, undergoing shock treatments and therapy. She was stuck under the bell jar and saw no way out of the enclosure she was trapped in. The Bell Jar is an examination of the life of a woman being crushed by her own indecisions and the expectations she felt were pressed upon her. Would Esther ever marry? She didn’t know for sure but she doubted it. She wanted too much for herself but what she could no longer say. At…

Maleficent adapted by Elizabeth Rudnick

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Maleficent adapted by Elizabeth Rudnick

                Maleficent was born in a time of great trouble in the Moors. The faeries were once again at war with King Henry, a human intent on stealing away the precious land from the faeries. Hermia and Lysander, Maleficent’s parents believed that there were good humans that could be trusted and who loved the land as much as the faeries. They lost their lives in the fight to protect the Moors, leaving their only child to be raised by those who lived in the Moors. Grow she would into a beautiful faerie with strong wings like her mother and piercing green eyes like her father. Maleficent also held the same faith as her parents that there had to be good humans in the world. Stefan would be the embodiment of that hope. Stefan and Maleficent became friends as children and their friendship grew and blossomed. Then Stefan betrayed Maleficent taking from her not only her wings but the faith she had in humans. One act of betrayal changed the heart of…

Banned Book: The Outsiders by S. E. Hinton

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The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton

                Ponyboy is a greaser. He lives with his brothers Darry and Soda on the East Side of town. He is the only one of his brothers still in school. Darry is twenty and has taken care of Soda and Ponyboy ever since their parents died. Soda dropped out of school to help Darry with the bills so they could all stay together. Dally, Johnny, Steve and Two-bit were greasers too. They were a group of friends that banded together and looked out for each other. They hated the Socs. Those guys were a bunch of do-gooder, rich kids from the West Side of town that ride around in Mustangs with girlfriends that drive Corvettes. It was easy to tell who was a Greaser and who was a Soc. One group was automatically given respect while the other had to fight for every bit of respect they got and for the right to simply live in peace. The Outsiders is an extremely simple, emotionally honest novel about circumstances and how those circumstances can define your life. Pon…

Monster by Walter Dean Myers

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Monster by Walter Dean Meyers

                Steve Harmon has been called a monster and is currently on trial for the murder of Mr. Alguinaldo Nesbitt. Two men robbed a store and during the robbery shot and killed the store owner. They then emptied the cash register, stole cigarette cartons and went to get food from a fast food restaurant. Steve isn’t being accused of being either of those men. He is being accused of being the lookout. He is on trial with, Mr. James King, one of the accused murderers. As a lookout if convicted he could face twenty five years to life. Steve is only sixteen years old. The idea of spending the rest of his life in jail is something he’s understandably having a very hard time coping with. To escape the trial and the finality of the situation he begins keeping a journal. In this journal he writes down everything that happens inside the court room as if it were a movie he was writing, producing and directing. It was Steve’s way of telling his own story since…

Banned Books: The Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie

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The Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie


Two men fell thirty thousand feet in the air, landed in the English Channel and were found washed up on the beach. Their plane, the Bostan, had exploded in flight, the act of a terrorist group that had taken the plane hostage. Gibreel Farishta was the famous Indian actor that had vanished and begin living his life in the silent shadow. He was on the way to the woman he loved when his flight was hijacked. Saladin Chamcha was the lesser known voice over actor that was desperately trying to leave his family and past behind. They fell together, one singing songs while the other was desperately flapping his arms trying to save his life. Their falls would end with transformations for both, one into an angel of God, the other a representation of evil. Where to begin? This book was all over the place. In the first hundred pages of this novel, I was just trying to wrap my head around what was going on. Here we have an actor singing as he falls to his death, …

Leaving Time by Jodi Picoult

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Leaving Time by Jodi Picoult


                Jenna Metcalf is looking for her mother. It has been ten years since her mother Alice checked herself out of the hospital and disappeared forever. It was the same night one of the caretakers at the New Hampshire Elephant Sanctuary, the elephant sanctuary her parents ran, was trampled by an elephant and Alice had been found unconscious hours later.  Jenna’s father, Thomas, has been institutionalized since then suffering from manic depression, leaving Jenna to be raised by her grandmother. Now thirteen years old Jenna remembers her mother but only bits and pieces of their lives together. She spends her time either checking the missing person’s database for any information about the mother that left or reading through Alice’s journals trying to imagine the woman her mother was. But Jenna needs her mother and enlist the help of the psychic Serenity and Virgil, one of the cops who handled the death at the sanctuary. Together they begin to uncover…

Banned Books: Uncle Tom's Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe

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Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe


                Mr. Shelby has arranged for his slave Tom to be sold in order to pay off debts that he has incurred. Tom will leave behind his wife and children to pay off his owner’s debts. Mrs. Shelby is furious. Not only with the sell of Tom but that of her own slave, Eliza’s, son Harry. She has promised Eliza that her son would never be taken from her and yet Mr. Shelby has made arrangements to do just that. Eliza after learning of the purchase of her son takes him in the dead of night and runs for her and her son’s freedom. Tom stayed, wished his family goodbye and trusted in the Lord that even though he was heading to the South no harm should come to him. Years would pass and Tom’s faith would never waiver through all the trials and tribulations he endured.                 Now that I have written this brief synopsis of Uncle Tom’s Cabin, I almost don’t know what else to say. This is a novel that I am glad I read now, when I was old enough…

Interview with the Vampire by Anne Rice

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Interview with the Vampire by Anne Rice


                A man turned vampire at the age of twenty five, in the year of 1791, Louis wanted this opportunity to tell his story. Over a century old, having traveled the world, he sat with the boy in the room. Louis made sure the tape recorder was ready and that the boy was ready to understand the story that was to be told. The story of Lestat, the vampire who made Louis, and his unpredictable, selfish and cruel manner. The story of Claudia, the young child turned vampire, who became a woman trapped in the shell of a child. The story of the love and pain Louis experienced throughout his relationship with both. And the quest to find others of his kind and the travels that would take place over the years as Louis searched for the answers to his most troubling questions.                 Louis is our narrator throughout Interview with the Vampire. It is through his eyes that we learn of his history and the relationships that were formed and loss …

Banned Books: Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

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Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

                Jo is the wild child of the March family. She spends most of her time gallivanting around, totally unconcerned of others opinions of her, writing stories and being content with her family life. Meg, as the oldest, is more concerned with her future than childish fancy, even though she always makes time for play with her sisters. Beth is happy with her life at home. Known as a very gentle and shy creature, she finds solace is simply helping others and being around her family. Amy, the youngest in the family, has dreams of an artistic, elegant and rich future. She wants nothing more than to become a woman and marry well to escape the poverty the March family has been familiar. It is the time of the Civil War and Mr. March is away with the other men. The time passes and the little women experience the many trials and tribulations that life has to offer.                 I remember picking this book up as a teenager and putting it right back …

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

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The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho


The Alchemist is a novel about discovering yourself while taking part in a huge adventure. Santiago has chosen to be a shepherd believing that this would be the life that would allow him to see the world. After experience recurring dreams of discovering a treasure near the pyramids he seeks a gypsy that will help him decipher his dream. After their consultation he meets another man who claims to be a king and who knows Santiago’s past. He is inspired to follow his path and to pursue his Personal Legend. Along the way he begins to decipher omens and trust in the hand that created everything in order to find the true meaning of love, life and the Soul of the World. I was anxious to read this book. I have heard so many great things about this novel and how it has transformed so many people’s lives that I was sure that this would book would affect me in many different and amazing ways. By the end of this novel, I felt like I read a mixture of The Holy Bible an…

Banned Books: The Jungle by Upton Sinclair

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The Jungle by Upton Sinclair

                When Jurgis Rudkus first laid eyes on Ona he fell in love and knew immediately that she was the woman he wanted to spend the rest of his life with. It was because of her young age and Lithuanian tradition that he sought permission from her father for marriage. Her father was a rich man and Jurgis was a country boy. Ona’s father was not impressed by the two horses he was presented by Jurgis and refused the arrangement. But when her father died leaving most of his estate tied up with creditors, Jurgis, Ona and her remaining family decided to move to America to start anew. In America a man could be free, become rich and not be forced to join the army. So the Lithuanian family moved to America with all they had. They went to the Stockyards of Chicago where a friend of theirs had made it rich. They came seeking a fortune but they soon realized that they weren’t the only ones seeking change and that the land of plenty they had dreamed of could ver…

The Orphan Master's Son by Adam Johnson

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The Orphan Master’s Son by Adam Johnson


Jun Do was not an orphan but he lived at the orphanage, Longs Tomorrow, with his father the orphan master. He was the oldest boy at the orphanage since his father refused to let anyone take him away. He knew nothing of his mother except that she was a beautiful singer taken to Pyongyang, the capital of North Korea. His name is one that he chose from the 114 Grand Martyrs of the Revolution whose stories and names he had all memorized. It was when the famine came, when Jun Do was 14, that the boys were sent to the Army and his fate was sealed. It was because his home was Longs Tomorrow that he was assigned the detail of tunnel soldier. That’s how he learned to fight in the dark. That’s how his reputation spread to attract the attention of those in higher positions. When the officer came looking for him he wasn’t given a choice. Everything in North Korea is done for the good of the country and for the love everyone has for their Dear Leader. I was m…

Banned Books: Lady Chatterley's Lover by D.H. Lawrence

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Lady Chatterley’s Lover by D.H. Lawrence

                Lady Constance Chatterley is in a loveless marriage. Her husband, Clifford, was injured in the war and paralyzed from the waist down and for that reason they are not intimate. He is the sole heir to Wragby and a Baron to boot. Unable to father a child, he has given Constance the option of having a child by another man that he will raise as his own so the Chatterley name will live on and the Wragby estate will continue to flourish. Constance was unsure how to respond to such an offer. Would Clifford really want to raise another man’s child? She began having lovers unsure of who she would want to have a child by. She wasn’t expecting to fall in love with anyone. She wasn’t expecting to discover herself in the arms of a man that wasn’t her husband. But when it happens she begins to experience a moral dilemma of the heart where there is no easy answer or way out.                 There was a complicated question asked in this novel: …

Banned Book: Through the Looking Glass and What Alice Found There by Lewis Carroll

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Through the Looking Glass and What Alice Found There by Lewis Carroll


                Alice has found herself on the other side of the looking glass. One moment she is peering through, trying to see if there was an actual fire in the fireplace, similar to the one on her side of the glass, and the next moment the glass has melted away. Alice expects she is quite alone in this looking glass house and her curiosity has caused her to wander around and see if there are differences between this world and her own. After conversations with chess pieces within the house she sets off for the garden where the extraordinary and unbelievable continues to happen. Then she begins her quest, to become a queen herself, by traversing through the woods to the other side. Along the way Alice meets many animals that can speak and many flowers that can too, some of which are helpful while others don’t have a clue. Through the Looking Glass and What Alice Found There is another fantasy novel by Carroll that …

The Girl Who Fell From the Sky by Heidi W. Durrow

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The Girl Who Fell from the Sky by Heidi W. Durrow



                Rachel was the only one to survive the fall. Her mother, younger brother and baby sister lost their lives that day. A few months earlier Rachel’s Danish mother, Nella, left Roger, Rachel’s African American father and took all the kids to live in Chicago with a new man in her life. Their untimely death has left Rachel in the care of her paternal grandmother in Portland. It’s the 1980’s and Rachel stands out like a sore thumb as the only biracial child in class. She doesn’t fit in with the black girls who tease her about being so fair skinned and she doesn’t fit in with the white girls either because of the neighborhood she comes from. As Rachel ages and matures she struggles to identify with those around her. She fights to remember the father that never bothered to return for his daughter and the mother whose love she lost in the fall and whose secret she’s kept. The Girl Who Fell from the Sky follows the life of Rachel a…

Banned Book: Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

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Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

                Alice is bored waiting for her sister and the book that is near holds no interest. The white rabbit is running past and talking about the time, discussing to himself about being late. But what could a rabbit possibly be late for and since when did white rabbits keep the time? Young and curious Alice follows the white rabbit and falls slowly through the rabbit hole into a land of wonder. A land where consuming different foods or drinks can make you grow or cause you to shrink. A land where riddles are made with no answer in sight and everyone can be considered mad. A land where gardeners paint flowers and babies can turn into pigs and the Cheshire cat disappears. It’s a land of fantasy, a land of dreams, a land of wonders. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland is a fantasy novel full of clever quips, beautiful imagery and whimsy. This is the well-known story of a little girl’s dream and her trip into a wonderland. Alice’s you…

Look Again by Lisa Scottoline

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Look Again by Lisa Scottoline

Ellen Gleeson adopted her son, Will, almost two years ago. He was a patient in the cardiac intensive care unit at DuPont Hospital undergoing surgeries for a hole in his septum. Will's mother rarely visited and Ellen learned from Will's caseworker that adoption was a possibility. Ellen legally adopted Will with signatures from both his mother and father and with Will's heart repaired, they were living a happy life as mother and son. Then one day Ellen recognized a face on the white card she received in her mail entitled "HAVE YOU SEEN THIS CHILD?" A photo of young boy named Timothy Braverman had an uncanny resemblance to Will. The young boy in the photo had been abducted when he was only a year old. The photo provided was age processed to show what Timothy would look like at his current age. Disturbed by the similarities between the two boys, Ellen begins to investigate into the devastating possibility that the son she believed she leg…

Banned Books: The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne

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The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne

                The scarlet letter ‘A’ must forever adorn the chest of Hester Prynne.  She has committed adultery against her husband who she has not seen in over two years, the proof of which is the young child she now holds in her arms. The father of the baby she refuses to disclose adding more ridicule to the situation. But she has chosen to bear the guilt on her own, fully aware of the damage the truth would do to the reputation of the father. Her husband has arrived to the town to find his wife the victim of scrutiny and scorn. Embarrassed and ashamed he chooses to go by a different name, Roger Chillingworth, swears Hester to secrecy and vows to find the man that put him in this position to exact his own revenge. Time in New England passes and the young child, Pearl, begins to grow and experience her life as an outcast next to her mother who wears the highly adorned scarlet letter.                 Hester, though stronger in spirit than man…

The Child Thief by Brom

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The Child Thief by Brom


              Nick didn’t have any hope of getting away this time. The guys sent by Marko were all too willing to bring him back to the house and be praised for not only bringing the boy alive, but for also bringing the thousands of dollars’ worth of drugs back to the house too. Luckily for Nick, Peter was on the lookout for runaways and had been watching everything unfold. He wanted Nick and he knew saving his life would help Nick trust him. So he killed the guys, setting Nick free. With nowhere else to go, Nick followed Peter to a place where there were no grownups and he would be with other boys just like him. He would have to follow Peter into the mist willingly if he wanted to begin anew. Nick had nothing and no one to go home to so he followed Peter into the Mist and into a world unlike anything he had ever experience before. The Child Thief was not at all what I was expecting. When I first heard about this book I knew I would have to read it eventually. A…

Banned Book: Paper Towns by John Green

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Paper Towns by John Green

Quentin Jacobsen has lived next to Margo Roth Spiegelman since they were two years old. When they were nine they discovered a dead body together in Jefferson Park. By the time they reached their senior year of high school they barely knew each other. The social circles of life having led them in different directions. Then one day she randomly knocks on his window asking for a favor, which was really an adventure around town. But the next day she has disappeared. She has ran away again to the dismay and anger of her parents. The Spiegelmans have given up on her. Quentin though hasn’t lost faith and is determined to find her. Margo has left clues before when she has disappeared and this time is no different, except they are left for Quentin. He has no idea why she has disappeared or why she has left bread crumbs for him to find but he is hoping he can be brave enough to follow to the end. No matter what he may find. So Quentin Jacobsen is that not popular guy th…

Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie

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Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie

It was a Friday evening when Peter Pan flew through the window of the Darling family residence, looking for his shadow. He had lost it before when visiting the children and now was searching desperately for it. Once found he tried to stick it back to his foot with a bar of soap. It was in a moment of despair, as he sat there crying, that Wendy Moira Angela Darling woke up from her sleep. And so the adventure began. Peter wanted a mother that could tell him and the Lost Boys stories like that of Cinderella. Wendy wanted to learn to fly. John and Michael wanted adventure. Neverland is where Wendy, John and Michael went with Peter Pan, the boy who never wanted to grow up. What an amazing story of adventure and fancy. This book felt like a taste of whimsy and fantasy. Here is a world where mothers can look into the mind of their children and see their innermost thoughts. A world where dogs can act as children’s nurses with all of the caring and competence of a pers…