Monday, October 31, 2011

Book of the Month - October 2011


The Book of the Month award for October 2011 goes t0...

...The Death Cure by James Dashner


I think that it is safe to say I knew that this would be the book of the month before the book even came out. You all know I love this series as Maze Runner was last December's Book of the Month, and now that I have read each book a few times I think that Scorch Trials may have really deserved it, but as I said in Death Cure's review, it tops both to be the best in the series.

Anything else would be redundant, and since I just wrote Death Cure's review about a half an hour ago, I don't feel like restating all of that, so I'll just leave you plenty of links to the review. Like this one.

Wait, I do have more to say! As I briefly mentioned in the Death Cure review, James Dashner is writing a prequel to the Maze Runner Trilogy! It will be entitled "The Kill Order" and is scheduled to release next August.

Please leave any comments on the book, or your personal book of the month as well!

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The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

Mark Twain


Synopsis:
After his adventures with Tom Sawyer, Huck is now living with the Widow Douglas who tries to civilize the boy. Soon, his father comes to town and learns of Huck's new-found wealth, he takes the boy back home with him in the woods. However, after being beat by his father on many occasions, Huck fakes his death and takes off down the river to start a new life. On the way, Huck meets up with Jim, the former slave of the Widow Douglas' sister, who has run away fearing being sent down south. On their voyage down the river, Huck and Jim meet many new people and have many odd encounters that help Huck grow morally as a young man.

My Thoughts:
As you can likely assume from the "moral growth" comment at the end of the synopsis, I read this book for AP English. It was a nice story, but much of the story seemed to lack a clear direction for the plot to follow other than a journey down the river. This may have just been my perception of the book since we spread out the reading over many weeks, but I didn't find it particularly captivating until the very end. However, as we looked at the story from a literary view in my English class, Huck's development throughout the story is done very artfully, showing gradual growth instead of suddenly being "enlightened" into a moral person. Still, many of the characters bothered me by how ridiculous they were; not only the duke and king, but also Tom in the end of the book. It is definitely an appropriate book for an English class, but certainly not a book I would recommend for a casual read.

Questions for Thought:
1. Would you let Jim travel with you, knowing that in that time helping a runaway slave was a detestable action?

2. How would you get rid of the duke and king, if at all?

3. Would you let Tom make Jim's escape complicated and delayed, just to "do it right"?


Please leave your comments and answers!

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Catch-22

Catch-22

Joseph Heller


Synopsis:

Yossarian is a bombardier in WWII who believes that everyone is out to kill him. After a comrade is killed in a bombing run, Yossarian is severely scarred and does all he can to remain grounded. Eventually he works up his resolve to finish his tour of duty, but every time he nears the number of required missions, his commanding officer, Colonel Cathcart, raises the number of required missions in a bid to impress his superiors and gain a promotion to general.

My Thoughts:
I know that the above synopsis is very short and rather dull, but this book was quite entertaining. Catch-22 is probably one of the funniest books I have ever read. The book is filled with hypocritical, circular statements and "crazy" characters that had me laughing out loud through much of the book. However, be warned that the plot can be hard to follow since it is completely out of order and frequently will spend chapters at a time on various sub-plots. The book actually starts somewhere in the middle of the action. However, there is a purpose behind the odd chronology as I discussed in my English paper I wrote over the book thoroughly describes. However, I won't bother you with all of the detailed analyses that the paper covers. All of the characters are very unique and leave a lasting impression. Still, Yossarian is by far my favorite as he seems to get himself into the weirdest situations. Really, I'm not sure what else to say about the book. (It's a great book to read but can be hard to discuss. So just read it.)

Please leave your comments! (Questions are just too hard for this one.)

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The Death Cure

The Death Cure
Maze Runner Trilogy
Book 3

James Dashner

Synopsis:
Thomas and the Gladers have been told that they are finally done with the Trials. WICKED has all the data that they need to create the blueprint for a cure. Or so they say... After all of the Lies, Thomas, Minho, and Newt don't know what to believe, and when Rat Man Jansen brings them to get the Swipe removed, the trio decide they don't want their minds messed with any more. After a failed escape attempt and period in confinement, Jansen says that WICKED must restore Thomas, Minho, and Newt's memories, but surprisingly Brenda, who has worked for WICKED the entire time, helps them escape at the last minute. After wandering the surprisingly empty WICKED complex, the group escapes with the help of Jorge and his Berg. After arriving in Denver, the group is confronted by a group known as the Right Arm, a secret organization trying to overthrow WICKED! After all they have been through, all of the friends they have watch die, Thomas, Newt and Minho finally have a chance to strike back at the organization that started it all...

My Thoughts:
Wow. I knew this series was good, one of the best I had ever read, but The Death Cure pushed it WAY over the top. For this first time in my life, I can actually say that I have a favorite series: The Maze Runner Trilogy. (Which won't exactly be a trilogy for long....if you saw my facebook post the other day you already know this: a prequel is in the works! I'm pumped!) Okay, I guess I need to focus just on THIS book. Alright, first of all, James Dashner did a phenomenal job at creating the outside world. I can only imagine how complicated it would be to create a world that is advanced enough to have WICKED's technology, scared enough to be ravaged by the Flare, and is still realistic. However, his description of Denver and the Crank Palace are very believable and logical. Little details such as holographic ads in the city and all of the glass at the Crank Palace being broken for weapons show just how much thought was put into making a realistic environment. Also, the character development is great. The whole conflict with Newt as he nears the Gone is.... well I don't even know how to describe it. You become Thomas in those scenes. The emotion in them is so powerful I had to stop reading for a few minutes just to pull myself back together. Another complicated relationship is Theresa. With her betrayal and love of WICKED she becomes hard to like, but the relationship she and Thomas developed in the first book still makes you want to like her. Although Brenda certainly complicates the relationship. And then WICKED..... I still don't know if they are good or not. That last page of that report at the very end of the book was so strong I was in shock for a few minutes. (I don't remember if I mentioned it or not, but I was sort of the same way after finishing Everfound, but even worse this time.) And then how WICKED wants to get the last information from Thomas....it reminds me of Unwind....I really freaked out when they were about to start the final procedure... All of the complexity and detail of this series continues to amaze me, even after rereading the books multiple times. Even more incredible is that each book continued to get better and better, which so rarely happens. This last book captivated me so much I read it in one day. I downloaded it to my Kindle the moment I woke up the day it was released and read until I finished it that night. And this was on a school day. Since then, I have been able to convince a few of my friends to start this series and they have all loved it. Some of them haven't read for fun in years and this series has rekindled a joy of reading. I think that is the ultimate compliment a book can get.

Questions for Thought:
1. How would you react if you were one of those not immune?

2. Would you choose to get your memories back? Why or why not?

3. Would you risk trying to escape, or would you play along with WICKED?

4. Could you really trust Brenda after learning she lied to you in the Scorch?

5. How would you react knowing that Theresa and the other Gladers left you behind?

6. After escaping from WICKED, where would you go? Would you go to Denver to make sure WICKED can't control you anymore, or would you run to some secluded part of the world and start a new life?

7. Would you be able to trust Gally after everything he did in the Maze and immediately after?

8. How would you react to Newt in the Crank Palace?

9. Would you be able to kill one of your closest friends if they desperately wanted it? Especially if it would save them from suffering and hurting others?

10. Would you be able to sacrifice yourself for the hope that it would cure the Flare?


Please leave your comments and answers!

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Friday, September 30, 2011

Book of the Month - September 2011


The Book of the Month award for September 2011 goes to...



...Human.4 by Mike A. Lancaster!

I'm glad that I finished this one in September and not August, because it really deserves to be Book of the Month, but I'm not sure it could have beat Outside In. The idea behind this book was very original in my mind, and totally baffling. Since are such a technology-driven society, it is interesting to consider how life would be if we could be upgraded just like our computer operating systems. Also, as my friends and family know, I have taken a C++ programming course and am currently taking a Java programming course and really enjoy programming, so this book combined two important aspects of my life.

Well last month I know that I said I would get this review up in a more timely fashion, but this one has taken even longer to get up. This semester has been very busy for me, but I should have a lighter load at least for a few months, so I hope to keep you all more up to date. Anyway, you should expect a few more posts tonight to update the blog through the end of November. If I don't get that far today, know that I will be getting that far soon. Thanks for understanding!

Please leave any comments on the book, or your personal book of the month as well!

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The Son of Neptune

The Son of Neptune
Heroes of Olympus
Book 2

Rick Riordan

Synopsis:
Percy Jackson cannot remember anything ab0ut his past. Knowing only his identity, Percy finds himself racing toward Camp Jupiter, a haven for Roman demigods. Though most of the campers are suspicious of the strange new arrival, misfits Frank and Hazel quickly befriend Percy. Quickly after arriving at the camp, Percy and his two new friends are sent on a mission to rescue Thanatos, god of death, from Gaea. To make matters worse, the difficult quest is made even harder since monsters won't die!

My Thoughts:
This is one of the best Percy Jackson books yet. I was a little disappointed in the first book (which somehow didn't get a review...I'll have to work on that...) of this new series that Percy didn't make an appearance, but this definitely made up for it. The introduction of new characters with the whole Roman camp is a welcome addition to the book, and this series is lining up to possibly be better than the first. As always, Riordan includes lots of humor in this book, making it (for the most part) a lighthearted read. However, I do miss the entertaining chapter names that came with the original Percy Jackson story, but the way that Riordan narrates from different characters' points of view is another way the new books stand out. All in all, this was a great book that I would definitely recommend!

Questions for Thought:
1. How would you react if all of your memories strangely disappeared?

2. How would you react to Percy showing up at Camp Jupiter were you already a camper there?

3. Were you Percy, would you have accepted Reyna's offer to be a praetor?

4. Would you capture Ella for Phineas?


Please leave your comments and answers!

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Ashes, Ashes

Ashes, Ashes

Jo Treggiari

Synopsis:
After disease has killed nearly the entirety of humanity and natural disasters have shaken her world, Lucy has been forced to live alone in the remnants of Central Park. For months, she has survived on her own, but one day a mysterious boy shows up and warns her of a pack of wild dogs that are hunting her. The boy, Aiden, tells Lucy about a band of survivors that live in the ruins of the city, but Lucy is hesitant to leave with Aiden. However, when a tsunami destroys Lucy's camp, she sees no choice but to seek refuge with Aiden. At first camp life seems wonderful with plenty of food, modified showers, and better shelters, but when a group of Sweepers invade the camp and kidnap some of its inhabitants, Lucy realizes she is not as safe as she believes. Moreover, she is angered that nobody in the camp is trying to rescue the kidnapped survivors, she decides to take charge and try to free them herself.

My Thoughts:
For the past few months, I have been hearing phenomenal reviews for Ashes, Ashes, but, in my opinion, the book does not deserve them. Something about the book just didn't seem plausible to me. The fact that Lucy could live alone for MONTHS and never see a single person until Aiden seems very unlikely, even given the large percentage of the population that died. New York is a big city. She would have found someone. I didn't have too much of a problem with the sweepers or medical staff, but a few of them were too much. I can understand drive to find a cure, but it wouldn't turn you into an evil maniac. The whole story just felt a little uncomfortable to me, so it is definitely not one I would recommend to most people. It tried to hard to be like the Scorch Trials and didn't work. (Sorry to sound so negative; it wasn't an awful book, it just wasn't good.)

Questions for Thought:
1. Were you immune, where would you go to live? Out in the woods like Lucy, find a group to live in (like Aiden's), or somewhere else?

2. How would you react if Sweepers invaded your camp?

3. Were people you barely knew kidnapped by Sweepers, would you risk your life to save them?

4. If it was thought that you carried the key to a cure in your blood, would you sacrifice yourself for the chance you could save humanity?


Please leave your comments and answers!

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Friday, September 02, 2011

Human.4

Human.4

Mike A. Lancaster


Synopsis:
The trouble started when Kyle Straker volunteered to be hypnotized at the annual Millgrove talent show. Trying to help his friend Danny by voluteering to be one of four people to be hypnotized, Kyle prays that he wouldn't do anything too stupid under Danny's influence. However, when Kyle and the other three volunteers wake up, the entire town is frozen in whatever action they were when the four were hypnotized. After an hour of panic, everyone wakes up and Kyle is escorted home by his parents. However, though they look and sound like his parents, Kyle senses that they are not the same people he knows. When he asks about the talent show, their perception of events is completely different of his own. A doctor arrives at his house to check up on him, and Kyle claims to just feel a little ill and pretends to go take a nap. While the adults think he is taking a nap, he hears the doctor tell his parents that his is one of the 0.4 and must be dealt with. Confused and scared, Kyle races around town trying to find the other three people who were hypnotized. When they recount similar tales of strange behavior, the quartet gets scared, and rightfully so. The whole town is now their enemy...

My Thoughts:
Though a somewhat hard book to summarize, this book was a phenomenal read! The format of the book itself, being a transcript of 3 cassette tapes recorded by Kyle and transcribed by one of the 1.0's. Then, the concept of the book, treating people like programs (well, in reality more like 'objects'), was so clever. Even if this was as far as the story went, it would have been a great book, but it had more! There was a fair amount of humor in this book, unlike many recent dystopian stories. (At one point, the story turns in a very surprising direction only to flip back the other way, and it totally killed me! Read the book, you will understand...) Though really, one could argue that this is a utopian story where the narrator got left out. I recently read an article that acknowledged that many dystopian stories are very good, but that "the end of the world just isn't fun anymore" because it is getting too depressing without humor. At the end of the article, the author even goes so far to say that he wishes that authors would start writing utopian stories, and depending on how you look at this book, it satisfies both of these criteria. Another thing that I like about the book (and kind of hate at the same time) is that the ending doesn't give you all of the answers you want. It leaves you wondering about a crucial decision that the main character is about to make, and you have many questions about the nature of the new world. Talking about the book now is making me all excited about it again! If that doesn't tell you its a good book, I don't know what will.

Questions for Thought:
1. Would you/have you ever volunteered to be hypnotized?

2. What would you do if you woke up from being hypnotized and found everyone frozen?

3. How would you try to help Mr. Peterson?

4. Would you try to run away from your family after they started acting weird, or would you stay and try to figure out what was going on?

5. How would you react after seeing the entire town "joining hands"?

6. Would you have entered the silos and been upgraded, or would you stay a 0.4?

7. What do you think Lily and Kyle chose to do after recording the tapes?

8. Would you consider this book a dystopia? If not is it a utopia, or one in the making? Why or why not?


Please leave your comments and answers!

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Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Book of the Month - August 2011


The Book of the Month award for August 2011 goes to...




...Outside In by Maria V. Snyder!

Every once in a while, the moment I finish a book I can tell it will be a Book of the Month. This is one of those books. I loved the prequel to this book, Inside Out (May's Book of the Month), and this sequel was definitely better in my opinion. I could continue to say how great it was, but then it would just be a repeat of its own review, which can be found here.

Sorry for the somewhat short post, I sort of forgot I hadn't posted the Book of the Month. In my mind I had posted this with my Human.4 review, but that didn't really happen. Since then I've forgotten the things I was going to say. I will do my best to get September's up in a much more timely fashion. I hope to have two more books up this month as well, so keep your eyes peeled!

Please leave any comments on the book, or your personal book of the month as well!

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Sunday, August 28, 2011

Blog Update....8 Weeks Late




Hey guys! How's it going?

What? Not good? Oh yeah, my bad, I guess I should have told you that this update would be late instead of right on July 3rd when I got back from camp....

Well, there isn't anything you can do about it and you have 11 posts (now 12) in 2 days to make up for it! (If you are looking at the post dates of some of them, thinking "Wait, some of these were posted back in June and July, they didn't come today..." should first of all be thinking "Dang! How did he manage to pile 4 blog posts into one minute, conveniently the last minute before the month changed?" and then realize that I have magical computer powers that lets me go back in time to look like less of a slacker. Well, really it is just to keep the Books of the Month in the right month, but anyway, the "not looking like a slacker" thing is a nice bonus. Now back to your regularly scheduled programming. That isn't regularly scheduled at all.)

So sorry I have not posted in a timely fashion, but hopefully all of these posts will help make up for it, especially this one.

Well, school has started, and unlike my dreadful premonitions of having absolutely no time to read and therefore not being able to post here, I have read more in the last week or so than in the previous two months. Of the recent stuff, I was totally pumped about Outside In. It was definitely a step up from Inside Out, and even that was really good. So check it out. (That means both of them if you haven't read Inside Out.)

I have been in book-lover heaven recently because I have realized how much stuff is coming out soon! Here is what I can remember quickly, but I am sure there is more.

Inheritance
Well, as many of you know the Inheritance Trill- I mean Cycle (Stupid series name change....gets me every time....) is one of my all time favorite series. I am such an Eragon nerd that I was Eragon for Halloween one year and won the Shur'tugal costume contest. Plus, my most popular posts have all dealt with the Inheritance Tri- Cycle (Dang, it still got me!), especially the Eragon Book Three Predictions. I may or may not make a predictions post in the near future. It depends on how much homework my teachers want me to have. (So if you really want a post, you should email them and tell them to not give me much. ;) )

Anyway, the final installment, Inheritance, is coming out November 8! Still pretty far away, but I'm pumped, nonetheless. You can see the cover below with the green dragon that was originally going to be the cover for #3, but Chris decided that the trilogy should have a fourth installment....If you are interested in a chapter exerpt, check out the Barnes and Noble page for Inheritance. You have to scroll down a little ways to get to it. To see some thoughts by the experts at shurtugal.com, click here and look around. There is some very intriguing stuff.

The Death Cure
One of my more recent favorite series is The Maze Runner Trillogy, which I will probably reread in the near future. Its conclusion, The Death Cure, will be released on October 11. I am super pumped! Here is the cover:Some information can be found at the Maze Runner Website, and the Kirkus review can be seen on James Dashner's blog. Both places have info on the book, but you will probably find more on the blog. I hope we finally get some answers in this one!

A few other books of importance (not that books not mentioned aren't) will be released soon, such as Rick Riordan's Son of Neptune coming out in early October, and others have already been released, like Pittacus Lore's The Power of Six! With all of these fantastic books coming out, it is hard to keep track of everything, so make sure to visit your local library and/or bookstore often for the latest teen reads! (Wow that was cheesy, but it really is good advice.)

I would like to have discussed some new Hunger Games material that has been released, but that will have to wait for another update. If you have any announcements about the movie, please comment and let me know! I'm not always good at keeping up with the latest news!

As always, please leave your comments, questions, complaints, concerns, etc. You can contact me in a multidue of ways. First of all, you can comment here on this post, or any other post here on the blog! I love to hear from you all, even if it is a "Sounds like a good book!", so take the twenty seconds to post. The next way is to post on the Corey's Book Talk facebook page! Another method is to @ mention @CoreysBookTalk on Twitter. Finally, if you are lucky enough to know me in person, you can talk to me about book stuff any time!

Well, that's all for now. Happy reading!

Corey

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The Dead and the Gone

The Dead and the Gone
Life As We Knew It Series
Book 2

Susan Beth Pfeffer


Synopsis:
In Life As We Knew It, Miranda heard reports that New York was devastated, but she didn't know many of the details. In The Dead and the Gone, we hear what happened from the perspective of Alex, a hard-working Puerto Rican student at a prestigious Catholic school. Alex was never concerned about the moon being hit by a meteor. In fact, he nearly forgot it was going to happen. But when he is walking home the night of the incident and the moon grows huge, followed by a killer storm, he starts to get nervous. Once he gets to his apartment with his two sisters Bri and Julie waiting for him, Alex learns that tsunamis have started crashing against the New York coast. As a few days go by, Alex is concerned, having not heard from his parents since before the incident. His uncle Jimmy gives him lots of food from his grocery store, but Alex is still concerned. Though he manages to stay calm and keep his sisters under control at first, when people begin dying all around him, Alex begins to get scared...

My Thoughts:
As much as I enjoyed Life As We Knew It, this one just didn't do it for me. I'm not really sure why, since it should have been more intense than its companion, but something about the story couldn't keep my attention. My guess is that since I live in a setting more like Miranda's, I couldn't relate to Alex as well. The circumstances were even more dire since Alex's parents were gone, possibly dead, and there were many more plot twists throughout the book that in its companion. Really, there isn't too much else for this one that I have to share. I guess I felt that parts were unrealistic, such as Alex not being able to get food from apartments in his building. To me, once people left, knock on the door to make sure nobody's home, then find a hammer or something and break off the doorknob or something to find the food. In a twelve-story apartment (at least), Alex should have been able to find plenty of food or goods to trade.

Questions for Thought:
1. Would you be able to go back to school after such a scary event when your parents are gone?

2. Would yo have sent Bri away with the hope that she would be better off, or would you have kept her to protect her yourself?

3. Would you let yourself believe that your parents were dead, or that they were just stranded?

4. Would you have sent Julie away with your uncle with hopes that she would have more food?

5. Is body shopping moral? Either way, would you be able to do it?

6. Would you have tried to tough it out in New York, or would you have left immediately?


Please leave your comments and answers!

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Outside In

Outside In

Maria V. Snyder


Synopsis:
The revolution is over, the Pop Cops are gone, and the Travas are imprisoned. Trella thinks that this means a nice, normal life now, but continued tension between the scrubs and uppers has led to work strikes and resentment toward the Committee. Trying to avoid the frustratingly slow politics, Trella leaves the comittee for more time to explore the new levels she found, but when the Inside is bombed and the transmission goes out, putting them on a collision course with an asteroid, Trella knows that a nice, relaxing life is not in her new future. By working with her old allies Logan and Riley, as well as some new friends, Trella works to investigate who is bombing the Inside. However, leads are turning cold and the network is starting to shut down. After weeks of growing tension, Logan confides in Trella that there is someone on the Outside who wants in...

My Thoughts:
Inside Out was one of the best books I've read this year. And this one was even better. Coming from me, that especially means a lot, because I hardly ever will say a sequel beats the original book, but Snyder has done a fantastic job raising the bar. Outside in was packed with lots of action, bringing in many new fight scenes, especially in the second half of the book. The constant betrayals and lies between different factions with different ambitions keeps the reader wondering who really wants to protect the Insiders and who is looking for power. The plot kept twisting and turning, making me hate having to put the book down. I read this in just over 24 hours, which is fast even for me, but I also did this right at the beginning of school, so that should tell you how much suspense is in this thing. If you enjoyed Inside Out, this is certainly a worthy sequel. Very good work, Ms. Snyder.

Questions for Thought:
1. How would you go about getting the Committee to start making the important decisions instead of griping about the silly little things?

2. Had you found the "bubble monsters" at the top of the expanse, would you share the information, or keep it secret?

3. Would you be willing to live with a woman who had betrayed both resistance movements and claimed to be your mother? Would you be willing to find out if she really was?

4. Would you believe Logan that the Outsiders really exist without the camera proof?

5. After being "kidnapped" by Jacy, would you still trust Bubba Boom, or would you flip?

6. Once you were collared by the Outsiders, would you still try to fight, or would you give up knowing they could control you at any time?


Please leave your comments and answers!

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Life As We Knew It

Life As We Knew It
Book 1

Susan Beth Pfeffer


Synopsis:
Miranda thought that the meteor that was going to hit the moon would just be an excuse for her teachers to give more homework, and in the days leading up to the event, this premonition is coming true. However, as Miranda, her mother, and younger brother Jonny watch the collision, they are terrified as the moon moves significantly closer to Earth! The next day, after a few classes at school (and a monstrous thunderstorm), Miranda is pulled out of class by her mom to go get as many groceries as possible. Things were worse than anyone could have imagined. Reports of massive tsunamis, earthquakes, and increased volcanic activity have sent Miranda's world into chaos, and her life will never be the same...

My Thoughts:
This book was much better than I expected. It has been sitting on my shelf for a number of months now, but I was never motivated to pick it up until I wanted something to read after finally finishing East of Eden but didn't want to wait for a library book. As it turned out, it is a fantastic story. Really, it is quite realistic, seeing that at any moment something could collide with the moon and send it closer to Earth. On top of that, the side effects of tsunamis, earthquakes, and volcanoes make a lot of sense. What I really liked about the book was the way society reacted. Since the characters in the story are living in the same society as we are, it makes the story much more believable and realistic compared to some futuristic dystopias. Also, you can picture the madness in grocery stores and angry citizens at the events. Though most of the book takes place in Miranda's house and would have the potential to get boring or repetitive, the way it is narrated though Miranda's diary keeps the focus on interesting, unique events. That writing style worked very well for this story. Overall, it was a great book!

Questions for Thought:
1. Were an meteor supposed to (innocently) hit the moon, would you make an event of it, or simply watch from home and keep the rest of the evening normal?

2. Once you had seen the moon move closer, what would you do? Just proceed like normal until you really knew what happened?

3. Were you Miranda and were rushing for supplies in the grocery store, what would you go for first? Your favorite food that may be in the middle of a large crowd, decent preserved food with a somewhat smaller crowd, or try to get lots of cans that nobody wants, like vegetables, while there isn't much competition?

4. Once things really started looking bad, would you try to head to a better part of the country, or would you stay at home and hope for the best?

5. Were you the government, what would you be doing to try to help in such a large disaster?


Please leave your comments and answers!

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East of Eden

East of Eden

John Steinbeck


Synopsis:
Adam Trask has had nothing short of a rough childhood. His mother died before he was old enough to know her, and his father has forced a military lifestyle on Adam and his step-brother Charles. Adam, who has never been competitive, hates the lifestyle and resents his father, but Charles is envious of the love their father gives to Adam, even though Charles is the stronger, tougher child. Eventually, Charles nearly kills Adam out of jealousy, and Adam heads off into the army at his father's request while Charles remains at home. After leaving the army, Adam is lost and wanders for years before coming back home to Charles. One day, a terribly wounded girl shows up on the brothers' doorstep, and Adam falls in love with her. After nursing the girl, Cathy, back to health, Adam marries her and they head off to California to start a new life. However, Adam doesn't see that Cathy doesn't really love him and is only using him to get her strength back. Once in California, Adam and his new servant, Lee, befriend a family of Irish immigrants, the Hamiltons. As time passes, Adam and his children struggle with their pasts, ultimately leading to many characters' demise.

My Thoughts:
Sorry for the somewhat rough synopsis (and questions, once you get there)....this book was so long and complicated that it is hard to sum it up. Throughout the story, so many characters are followed for significant lengths of time that it makes it hard even to say who the story is even about. Also, it is hard to discern what the final conflict will be until you are 2/3 of the way through the book, so it is hard to set it up without giving too much away. Anyway, I read this book for my AP English class, and after my initial doubts, I did wind up enjoying the book. At times, the story can be dry, especially when Steinbeck is simply describing the general way of life at the beginning of each "part" of the book, but once the multitude of main characters are introduced, the pace picks up. Still, most of the book was about everyday life of a large cast of characters instead of a straightforward plot, so for me the book was less enjoyable than some of the other recent fiction I have read, but the story definitely had more "deeper meaning" in it than my typical reads.

Questions for Thought:
1. Which Hamilton child are you most like? Why?

2. Were you Lee or Samuel, how would you go about getting Adam to acknowledge his children?

3. Who is to blame for the tragic end to the story? Cal? Adam? Cyrus? Cathy?

4. How would you react if you found out your mother was Cathy/Kate?

5. Was Abra right to stay with Aron so long, even though she knew that he didn't really love her?

Please leave your comments and answers!

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Sunday, July 31, 2011

Book of the Month - July 2011

The Book of the Month award for July 2011 goes to...



...Ranger's Apprentice: The Emperor of Nihon-Ja by John Flanagan!

July did slightly better than June with a whopping 3 books, but two of those were nonfiction stories that were not really "enjoyable" reads, so this month's choice was quite clear. However, don't think that this was just a granted since it is a fiction book, this book really deserves a Book of the Month, even if it goes to the whole series.

As I said in the review post, I love this series and always have. I started it years ago, and the first two books of the series were some of my first reviews of this blog, so this series has some sentimental value for me. Also, as I said, I love studying this time period, so all of the creative battle planning is right up my alley. The story had lots of clever plans that can only be expected by two rangers, and I love the characters that have been developed so well over the 10 book series. I look forward to rereading these in the future and reading John Flanagans new works in the future.

Please leave any comments on the book, or your personal book of the month as well!

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Ranger's Apprentice: The Emperor of Nihon-Ja

Ranger's Apprentice
Book 10
The Emperor of Nihon-Ja

John Flanagan


Synopsis:
Horace has been sent to the exotic land of Nihon-Ja to exchange pleasantries with the emperor and learn new fighting techniques. Just before leaving, one of the emperor's generals revolts and tries to take the throne for himself! Horace, who has seen the kindness in the emperor's heart decides to stay and help the emperor and his small band of loyal supporters. However, Horace knows he can't beat the rebels alone. Horace gets a message to Princess Cassandra asking for help, and she goes straight to Halt and Will for help. Right away they set off to help Horace and the emperor, also accompanied by Alyss and their newer friend Selethen from Arrida. Though help is on the way, Horace and the emperor still have an army nipping at their heels with nobody but local woodsman and a rumor of a fortress deep in the mountains for help. Will Halt, Will, and their friends arrive in time to help? Will just the 5 Araluens and Selethen be enough to defeat an army of vengeful Nihon-Jan? Find out in this fantastic conclusion to the Ranger's Apprentice series!

My Thoughts:
First of all, I must say, I am terribly sad that this series is over. Though it may be a little young for me now, I still love this series. I reread the entire series lately, and I was able to pick up on so many references to our world history through the different peoples in the books, which was a lot of fun. Plus I love the medieval/renaissance periods, so this time frame of book is right up my alley. As a book in the series, I think it was one of the best. It was certainly the largest to date (I believe...) and for good reason. Time had to be taken to set up the background of Horace's trip, for him and the emperor to flee to the mountain fortress (the name currently escapes me), for help to arrive, and for all of the battles to take place. The way the fighting occurred was very innovative, as Will's plans usually are, but the ending to the battle seemed a little too easy. I know it was hard getting to that point, but seeing as it was the "epic conclusion" to the series, I was hoping for a little more. Granted, I loved the actual ending to the story, though an epilogue maybe a year later would have been fun and made the closing more final. Still, a fantastic end to a fantastic series.

Questions for Thought:
1. Were you Horace, would you help the emperor knowing you might well be killed in a battle that isn't yours to fight, or would you go home as would be expected?

2. How would you have delayed the perusing army if you were the emperor?

3. How would you have encouraged the Kikori to fight their "upper class" of warriors? How would you train them?

4. What would your tactic be against Ashoka? Would you wait out a siege, attack them head on, or something else?

5. Would you be able to let Cassandra and Alyss venture into dangerous territory to enlist the help of potentially barbaric people?


Please leave your comments and answers!

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Alive

Alive

Piers Paul Read


Synopsis:
On October 13, 1972, a Fairchild F-227 was en route to Chile from Uruguay, bringing the Uruguayan Old Christians rugby team, along with friends and family, to a tournament in Santiago. As the plane passed over the immense Andes Mountains, a blanket of clouds blocked the vision of the pilot. Shortly after this change in weather, the plane ventured off course and began its descent into Santiago while still deep in the heart of the Andes. When some turbulence caused the plane to drop several hundred feet, the forty-five people on board were alarmed to see mountains nearly ten feet away from the plane’s wing. Suddenly, the tail, followed shortly by both wings, snapped off the Fairchild and the plane crashed into the snowy mountain valley. When the debris settled, only thirty-three passengers remained alive to face their terrible circumstances. Only minimal food remained on the plane, most of the luggage was lost, and many of the passengers were injured. In his book Alive, Piers Paul Read chronicles their desperate attempts to survive high in the Andes and the miraculous rescue, after seventy-two days, of sixteen crash survivors, finally able to escape their nightmare.


My Thoughts:
This is the second book I had to read for AP English this summer. Unlike the other survival story, Alive was not narrated by a survivor. Read was never involved with the accident and didn't know those involved until he started writing the book. This meant that much of the story wasn't very personal, and many emotional moments that really happened were dulled down by the book. One nice thing about this book was the more detailed discretion of the parents' search for the missing Uruguayans. It made up for some of the lack of emotion by sharing the parents' emotions. Also, though the start in particular seemed to lack emotion, the later half of the book felt very adventurous with the expeditions starting. Still, I cannot credit this to Read, but to the situation itself. Once again, this was not a pleasant book to read, especially since canibalism was the main method of survival, but it was still a good story that is important to hear from the view of the survivors.


Please leave your comments on this book, or your thoughts on nonfiction stories in general!

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Not Without Hope

Not Without Hope

Nick Schuyler


Synopsis:
On February 28, 2009, Will Bleakley, NFL players Marquis Cooper and Corey Smith, plus their personal trainer Nick Schuyler set out from the Florida coast to deep-sea fish in the Gulf of Mexico. The trip started rather uneventfully, the only abnormality being Nick’s seasickness due to the choppy waves that morning. As the day wore on, the waves became increasingly violent, and the group decided to head back to shore. When the anchor got stuck on the ocean floor, the young men, all in the best physical shape of their lives, tried pulling it up, but it would not budge. In a second attempt to free the anchor by using the power of the boat, the craft flipped, launching the athletes into the freezing waters of the Gulf of Mexico. All food, water, clothing, and means of communication were trapped under the boat, nearly impossible to reach. Not Without Hope, narrated by Nick Schuyler, the only survivor, tells the story of the friends’ struggle to work together for survival in the frigid Gulf waters.

My Thoughts:
I think that this is a Book Talk first: a nonfiction book. I had to read two nonfiction survival stories for an AP English project this summer, and this is one of them. Usually I am not a fan of nonfiction, (though Into Thin Air, an Everest survival story, is an exception) so it was interesting to read about actual events for a change. This story, narrated by the survivor, is very personal and makes you feel like you are there on the boat with the four friends. Schuyler's account of the story is very emotional and greatly affects the reader. Though the story can get repetitive at times, it gives an accurate account of the events, or at least as accurate as Schuyler remembers. I will admit parts of the story were very captivating, but since I knew that the events actually happened to people, it was not a pleasant book to read. The stress that Schuyler experienced is transferred to the reader, leaving you unsettled after reading it for long periods of time. Still, I do think that it is good to read stories like this to get an accurate account of such events. In fact, Nick Schuyler wrote the story for the very purpose of distilling any rumors about the accident.


Please leave your comments on this book, or your thoughts on nonfiction stories in general!

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Thursday, June 30, 2011

Book of the Month - June 2011

The Book of the Month award for June 2011 goes to...



...Enclave by Ann Aguirre!

Well, it looks like June is another March, meaning that there are only two books to choose from, but this one was the clear winner.

Enclave was very suspenseful and had a well-developed dystopian world modeled off of our own. Part of the reason I liked it so much was that it reminded me of The Hunger Games (which I promise will eventually get a review on here), but it was certainly not a copy of the story in any way. Really, the only similarity was the fighting for survival in various ways. It was certainly a very good suspenseful book that I would strongly recommend!

Please leave any comments on the book, or your personal book of the month as well!

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Enclave

Enclave

Ann Aguirre


Synopsis:
Deuce has finally been fully accepted into the Enclave as a huntress. It is her job, with her partner Fade, to bring in as much meat as she can from the underground network where the Enclave resides. However, this is a job easier said than done. Fade, her partner, is from the outside and has never been fully accepted or trusted by the Enclave. However, that is the least of Deuce's worries. The Freaks, semi-intelligent mutated humanoids, are getting smarter and more organized, so danger lies around every curve in the dark tunnels. However, when the Enclave refuses to listen to Deuce and Fade about the threat, they are banished to the topside, the true surface of Earth that is even more dangerous than the underground tunnels. Fade and Deuce have only one hope to life: escape to the north, a place rumored to be truly safe from gangs, rival Enclaves, and gruesome Freaks.

My Thoughts:
Enclave is one of my favorite recent YA dystopian novels. The brutal struggle for survival reminds me of Katniss in the arena of Hunger Games, however Deuce's companion, Fade, is slightly more helpful that Peeta when it comes to the constant fights for survival. The suspense in this book was well maintained by a few key plot twists, mainly the transition from the tunnels to topside, but certain alliances were interesting and frustrating to the reader. The book clearly shows how in desperate situations, deadly enemies can be come invaluable allies. It also warns us that ignorant stubbornness can lead to one's demise. Thinking back to the book, I am curious what the Freaks really are. At first, I thought they had once been humans that caught some sort of terrible disease, such as in The Enemy, but since they were getting more intelligent, that theory seems unlikely. My one complaint about the book is that the end seemed a little bit too easy and perfect. I have heard rumors of a sequel, though I haven't looked into it, so maybe it will make me feel better about the supposed utopia that was found. Aside from that one complaint, this book really was a great read, and a quick one, too, if only for the fact that you won't want to put it down.

Questions for Thought:
1. What job would you want to have in the Enclave?

2. Would you try to resist the poor leadership in the Enclave, or would you play it safe and just deal with it? If you would resist, how would you go about it, and how would you change things?

3. Were you banished, would you try to survive in the tunnels or go topside?

4. Had you been in the Enclave your entire life and were suddenly thrown into strange life on the surface, what would your plan be?

5. Would you ever be able to trust an ally that had once tried to kill you and your best friend?


Please leave your comments and answers!

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The Marbury Lens

The Marbury Lens

Andrew Smith


Synopsis:
Sixteen-year-old Jack, after drinking far too much at an end-of-the-year party, finds himself kidnapped by a local serial killer. After days of abuse and frantic stuggle, Jack manages to escape his captor, but the experience has haunted him. Jack only confides in his best friend, Conner, but they agree not to tell anyone and risk canceling their two-week stay in London that summer. Conner tries to reassure Jack that things will be okay once they reach London, but after arriving, Jack is handed a strange pair of glasses by a stranger, and by looking through the glasses, Jack can see into another world. In this world, Jack is responsible for two young boys, protecting them from hoards of humanoid demons, and Conner is desperately trying to kill him. Meanwhile, back in London, Jack is starting to fall in love with a beautiful English girl, but his sense of reality is dangerously blurring...

IMPORTANT NOTE: I would tell ANYONE who is not in high school to avoid reading this book, and even if you are in high school you may want to wait a few years. This book had rather excessive cursing in it, not meaning once or twice a chapter, but more like once or twice a sentence. Though this is a slight exaggeration, it isn't by much. Also, there is considerable sexual content in it, so it is NOT a book for young readers.

My Thoughts:
The Marbury Lens was very good, EXTREMELY suspenseful, but at points very confusing. Really, the confusing nature of the book makes it more effective since it chronicles Jack's struggles to deal with serious trauma, and most of the time he had no idea what to think. I had to go back and reread some portions of the book to understand them better, but I still struggled in some parts. As noted above, the book contained a lot of swearing, and even though it plagued the book, I could understand the reason Smith used it so much, partly from hearing certain students talk in my high school combined with the incredible stress that Jack must have been feeling. I would say it helps the reader understand the trauma that Jack feels, but it can be annoying for those who don't approve of, or at least don't use, curse words. The section in Marbury is what really intrigued me, and I wish more time had been spent there. This ruined world, similar to ours, and seemingly connected (especially during the train scene), is very complicated, yet the reader does not get much insight as to the history or laws of Marbury. As I was reading it for enjoyment and not for deeper literary meaning, I didn't really find what Marbury was supposed to symbolize in our world, but I would love to hear your thoughts on the subject. Two possibilities that pop in my head are that it shows peoples' true nature, either to follow one's bestial instincts or retain order and compassion for others, or that it was simply the state of someone's mind who has gone through trauma. Either way, it is a complicated yer important part of this book that can be open to individual interpretation. Overall, the story was very well written with excellent characterization, but I can hardly call it a relaxing story, and once again it should only be for older readers.

Questions for Thought:
1. After escaping from Freddie, would you have run to the cops, back home, or to your friend for help?

2. Had you seen Freddie after escaping like Jack and Conner did, what would you have done?

3. After the two traumatic incidents, would you have still gone to London, or would you have stayed home to recover?

4. If some stranger handed you the Marbury Lens, would you keep it? Would you still keep it after looking through it the first time?

5. If you were in Marbury and you saw your best friend trying to kill you, how would you react?

6. If you were in Marbury as one of the "demon people" like Conner, what would you think of yourself?

7. What do you think Marbury is?


Please leave your comments and answers!

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Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Book of the Month - May 2011


The Book of the Month award for May 2011 goes to...


...Inside Out by Maria V. Snyder!

Kind of like last month, this wasn't too hard of a choice. Though I love the Gone series, the later books in the series aren't quite up to par with Inside Out, and though some aspects of Inside Out and 1984 were very similar, Inside Out was a much more enjoyable read than 1984.

Inside Out was excellent, and though it took a bit to get into, the suspense in this book was created beautifully, and the many unexpected twists and turns leave you shocked. This is certainly a book dystopian lovers should read!

Please leave any comments on the book, or your personal book of the month as well!

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Inside Out

Inside Out

Maria V. Snyder


Synopsis:
Trella hates her life as a scrub. She is constantly working, cleaning the ducts and pipes that fill the Inside. When not working, she is packed into dangerously close quarters with thousands of other lowly scrubs that live in the lower two levels of the Inside. Normally, Trella tries to be alone and seek solitude in the maze of pipes, but when her friend Cog introduces her to a new Prophet speaking of a way out of the Inside, Trella begins to look for crucial information that can help her, and the rest of the scrubs, escape. Soon, the Pop Cops get suspicious, but to Trella's surprise, the other scrubs begin to cover for her. Trella's list of allies begins to grow, but she knows that the stakes are high, and unless they escape soon, the revolution will fail...

My Thoughts:
Inside Out kind of seemed like a mix of 1984, Mockingjay (Hunger Games #3), and parts of Pathfinder. Trella is fairly similar to Katniss in that she hates the governing body that is oppressing the majority of the population, and then becomes a symbol of revolution. However the government itself reminds me of the one in 1984. The Pop Cops that will arrest and kill you if they suspect you are even thinking "treasonous" thoughts are much like the Thought Police. This combination makes for a really suspenseful book, and especially toward the end, the plot takes turns that you would hardly expect! The plot gets rather complicated quickly, so it was hard to write a short synopsis that covers very much of the story, but believe me that this was a fantastic book that you should definitely read.

Questions for Thought:
1. Were you Trella, would you have listened to Cog and the Prophet and got his tapes?

2. If you were involved in the beginnings of an escape attempt and had learned that LC Karla was watching you, would you continue?

3. Would you have trusted Riley? Were you Riley, would you have trusted Trella?

4. Would you have let a previous traitor be a part of your revolution?

5. How would you set up a new government for the Inside?

6. Knowing that the jobs of the scrubs still will need to be done, how would you go about deciding who does "scrub work" and who gets the nicer jobs?


Please leave your comments and answers!

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Monday, May 23, 2011

Blog Update with Broken Records!


Hey everyone! Book Talk has broken some important records!

Okay, to start off with, this has been the longest amount of time I have consecutively blogged on my blog. I have had 3-6 blogging streaks (I can't remember the exact number. If you have some free time on your hands and it means that much to you, you can go look in the archives and figure it out yourself.), and this one has been been 6 months long! I intend to just keep letting that number grow, but I thought I'd share the milestone.

Related to that previous record, 2011 now has 37 posts, beating out 2006's 32! I was going to tell you this new accomplishment earlier, but I figured I'd wait until I could reveal the final record as well.

The final record broken is actually happening RIGHT NOW! (For me anyway, since I am writing the post right now...) THIS post, yeah, this one RIGHT HERE is the 100th post on Book Talk! That's quite a few, and once again, it should keep on growing!

Alright, now that the records are out of the way, I get to talk about whatever pops into my head! First of all, I want to say happy end of the school-year to everyone! Not sure if you are out yet or have been out for a week, but it is about that time of year when we get to kick back and relax for a few months before doing it all over again. Make sure to visit your public library or local bookstore and keep reading throughout the summer!

I promised I would keep you updated on Hunger Games stuff, so here is latest I have found:
This is the first picture revealed of Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss. Although the she is 20, in this image at least she seems believable age-wise. The hair is very good and the outfit seems to be what they describe in the book. The only thing that doesn't make me think Katniss is that Katniss is supposed to have been nearly starving most of her life, where in the picture she looks skinny, but still well-fed. I totally understand that to look starved would be nearly impossible to fake for a movie, and it really is a minor detail. Really, most of my doubt for Katniss has been wiped away. I just can't wait for more news!

Hmm....I think that is all of the book-related news that I have for the moment. My closing announcement is that I will be at a camp from mid-June to early July, and I have no idea when I will be even able to read, let alone post on the blog. I hope to be able to still get a lot read and have books to review when I get back, but if you don't hear from me for a few weeks, know that I am not giving up on the blog, I'm just away for a while.

As always, please leave some recommendations for books to read, your own thoughts on recent books, any new Hunger Games news (or other book-movie news), and any suggestions for the blog in general!

Happy reading!

Corey

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Friday, May 20, 2011

Plague

Plague
Gone Series #4

Michael Grant


Synopsis:
With Nerezza destroyed, Drake incarcerated, Caine gone, and people hard at work doing their jobs, things seem like they might be peaceful in the FAYZ. However, Albert fears that the water supply is going to run out very soon, so he sends Sam, Dekka, Jack, and Taylor to look for a new lake a few miles away. As they leave, a strange flu seems to be spreading throughout Perdido Beach. Kids are developing severe fevers and begin coughing so hard they literally cough up their lungs and die. Dahra is trying to deal with it the best she can, but without proper training or supplies, she feels helpless. Soon, Drake breaks out of his basement prison and is on the loose, looking for the gaiaphage. Perdido Beach is in chaos, but Sam, many miles away, is oblivious to their troubles. After happening upon a train full of sweet Nutella and sodas, Sam and his crew are in high spirits. Even better, a new site to relocate by a huge new lake is found, but while exploring, Sam and his friends are ambushed by Drake and his new insect army! With little help to fight Drake, and a whole army of car-sized beetles storming Perdido Beach, the only hope may lie in Sam's dire enemy, Caine!

My Thoughts:
Plague may have been the best book in the series to date. Though it was super sad to see Sam and Astrid's relationship crumble, there seemed to be just as much hope in this book as despair. After the weird run-in with Hunter, Sam's excursion makes the reader happy due to all of the exciting new discoveries, mainly the train. I was really hoping the whole time that Diana would be successful in transforming Caine, even if I disapprove of her methods, and I'm glad she left him when he changed. I hope she continues to stay a good person up at the lake. ***SPOILER ALERT*** The whole meeting that split the kids between Sam and Caine was satisfying because they were able to meet peacefully, but I am super disappointed that more didn't go with Sam. I mean, come ON people, can you really forget that Caine was the reason your town was burned down, that your power is off, and you have a bunch of dead friends??? ***SPOILER OVER*** I continue to really like Quinn now that he has accepted his role as fisherman. I am still confused as to what Pete really is, and what his relationship with the gaiaphage, but I think we will get some answers in the next book. The only problem is, I have caught up to the author and have no more books waiting! :( Really, the book was very good, and the mixture of happiness and sorrow/anxiety seemed a little more balanced this time. Great series!

Questions for Thought:
1. What do you think Caine's child will be like?

2. Caine has now helped Sam fight Drake/gaiaphage twice. Can he be trusted?

3. Do you think that Drake can be destroyed?

4. What do YOU think happened to Little Pete?

5. If you were just an average kid, would you go with Sam or stay with Caine at the end of the book? What if you were Quinn? Or Albert?

6. As always, would you leave the FAYZ or stay? Does this differ from your previous answers? Why?


Please leave your comments and answers!

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Lies

Lies
Gone Series #3

Michael Grant


Synopsis:
Life in the FAYZ is worse than ever. The power is now off forever with the power plant destroyed and Zil's Human Crew is growing more openly antagonistic toward the "freaks" in Perdido beach. Sam is growing frustrated with the slow pace that the council is addressing the problem, and friction is growing between Sam and Astrid in particular. Sam learns that Orsay, a girl who can enter the dreams of others, claims to be able to see people outside of the FAYZ. She and her new assistant, Nerezza, are spreading the news that it is safe to "poof" at fifteen, that it brings you back into the real world. Eventually, a vision shows her that death is another way out. When the council hears of this, they try to hush it up, scared that kids are really committing suicide. However, the real trouble, as usual, comes from Caine. Caine and the Coates kids are starving, but Bug knows of an island that should be stocked with enough food for months. Caine manipulates Zil to begin a fire through the town as a diversion to escape, and for Sam, Edilio, and the rest of Perdido Beach, the trouble is only beginning...

My Thoughts:
Sorry for the rather poor synopsis, I read this book and the next, Plague, back to back, so the details run together and I kept thinking of the plot of Plague, not Lies. I would have blogged before starting, but I was on a weekend trip without a computer. Anyway, I was happy to see that the gaiaphage really is alive still, because it really seemed way too simple in the previous book. The way Sam kind of looses control in this book kind of freaked me out; I didn't think he was capable of such hostility. As we learn more about Little Pete, it seems to pose more questions than answers. It is hard to tell sometimes if he is even against or for the Darkness. I also wonder if it is really true that the people who die or poof just appear outside, or if it was a vision that the Darkness wanted Orsay to see in order to manipulate others. My guess is that it was to manipulate, especially the way that Brittany described its relationship with the wall, but the fact that there really were parents and TV crews outside when Pete made the wall go away temporarily does make you wonder if it were true or not. I'd say that this book may have been better than Hunger, but it was a lot more depressing.

Questions for Thought:
1. Were you on the council, would you try to keep Orsay quiet, or let her speak, not knowing if she is telling the truth or not?

2. How should Zil be taken care of? He is an obvious problem, but how could it be done fairly and without making him a martyr?

3. What really happens when you poof?

4. Do you think that the darkness can be destroyed? How?

5. What do you think would happen to the FAYZ if Little Pete died?

6. With new hardships to face, would you leave the FAYZ or stay? Does this differ from your previous answers? Why?


Please leave your comments and answers!

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Monday, May 09, 2011

1984

1984

George Orwell


Synopsis:
Winston is not the same as most of the people in 1984. Winston, despite being a member of the Outer Party, has committed serious thoughtcrime, and when, not if, he is caught, he knows he will be killed. Winston is a member of the Ministry of Truth, or Minitrue in Newspeak, and he works to correct the past to make sure the Party was always right, that Big Brother always made the correct predictions, and that all who were vaporized could never have existed. Unlike most truely orthodox employees of the Inner and Outer Parties, Winston secretly wants to rebell, thinking that things used to be better in the world and Big Brother is lying. Winston starts keeping a Diary of his thoughts, but to whom he does not know. As he puts it, "Either the future would resemble the present, in which case it would not listen to him: or it would be different from it, and his predicament would be meaningless."Still, Winston has hope. One day, a young worker in the fiction department slips Winston a note reading only "I LOVE YOU". Soon after, they find a way to secretly meet beyond the reach of the omnipresent telescreens and the dreaded Thought Police. As their relationship grows, Winston becomes more and more desperate to find a way to rebel, but he knows that every step he takes is a step closer to death...

My Thoughts:
This story is deep. The entire time I was reading, Winston was making very philosophical theories about humanity and, especially toward the end, contemplating the existence of reality itself which the Party seems to override. The book was very good, however I would recommend reading it at a slower pace than all in one day so you truly can enjoy it instead of rushing through like I had to for my English report. This is definitely a book that young adults should read, not only since it has many good themes throughout but also since it makes you think a lot. Personally, since it was such a deep book with very formal and elaborate language, I would recommend reading it again at some point to try and understand more of the undertones of the story that may have been lost the first time through. This kind of story always leaves me thinking about it for a long time afterward, and it is obvious as to why this is considered a classic.

Questions for Thought:
1. Why is the society described in 1984 possible or impossible to appear in the future?

2. Winston describes the proles as being humans while the members of the Party are not. What, in your opinion, makes this distinction?

3. In his book, Goldstein seems to imply that a utopian society could be eventually created if the upper and middle classes were willing. Do you think that a classless society where everyone has the things they need is possible?

4. Winston believes that he is the last true man. Obviously there are others being tortured in the Ministry of Love, but most cases seem to be significantly less extreme than Winston's. Do you think that his assumption is true?

5. Will the proles ever gain enough desire and intelligence to overthrown the Party, or to even know they should?

6. Could such a society as the one created by the Party ever seem like a utopia for those living their? Once Newspeak is perfected and people can never truelly commit thoughtcrime, this seems to be the intent of the Party.


Please leave your comments and answers!

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