Thursday, October 21, 2010

What to read... What to read...

As of late, or really the last few years, I have found that the number of books that I read has dramatically decreased. I've realized that such a lamentable decrease is because lately I have heard less and less good about them and more and more bad. However, today I actually see some potential for entertainment in three books.

  1. Catching Fire, the second book in The Hunger Games series, will continue the tale of Katniss and her accidental rebellion against the capitol. I find that many times I cannot leave a series unfinished, and a series as action-packed as The Hunger Games is definitely no exception.
  2. Apocalypse Wow, a satire regarding the end of the world, was suggested to me by Lauren Gunderman, and maybe she could obtain if for me from her dad. And Lauren, if you are reading this, thanks for your offer and suggestion. Really, at this point, as previously stated, I am almost out of books. Moreover, this sounds very funny, based on what you said. So anyway, thanks again.
  3. Well, if I read Catching Fire, then Mockingjay naturally is another target, much for the same reasons as well. I must say, I am rather skeptical of some people's claims that Mockingjay is "the best book ever," but based on Collin's previous work, the book promises to be an incredible read.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

3B Annotated Reading List

Brown, Dan. Angels and Demons. Leicester: Thorpe, 2007. Print.

Vatican city is plunged into panic as a powerful, dangerous technology is stolen from the world's foremost scientific research institution, having the potential to vaporize the city. Moreover the cardinals of the Catholic Church are in conclave, and all the cardinals are in Sistine Chapel, all except the four that are up for election. These events are tied together by an unlikely villain, and an equally unlikely hero arises to oppose that villain: He is the renowned Harvard Symbolist, Robert Langdon.
Langdon seems to fit an intellectual archetype, because he is simply so knowledgeable, and can figure pretty much anything out. Moreover, he is not a fighter or violent person at all, considering he had "the Hassassin" at gunpoint and still ended up nearly dying. I realize this could be offensive to other intellectuals, but all I'm saying is his character fits the stereotype: smart, sensitive, and abhorring performing violent acts himself.
710 Pages

Brown, Dan. The Da Vinci Code. New York: Anchor, 2006. Print.

In his second adventure, Langdon finds himself of a "Grail quest," traipsing about through Western Europe with the French police in hot pursuit. With a cryptographer of their ranks assisting him, he finds that he must crack the codes left by a brilliant man, the highest member of a society dedicated to protecting the grail, and discover many secrets not meant for his eyes. However, the secrets the grail contains could rock the world, and more specifically, the church, to the core, and one group will not let this happen under any circumstances. Enter Opus Dei, in The Da Vinci Code.
One dead ringer of seemingly all for Browns books is a complete unexpected twist near the end, preceeded by a vague, enigmatic enemy. In addition, this enemy always seems to end up being a close ally, bent on using whatever the entire quest is for to better mankind in their opinion. I'm sorry if that doesn't make much sense, but I am trying to accomplish two things; explain Brown's typical plot devices, and keep the specific characters names unanoucned. After all, who does not hate spoilers? Anyway, this knowledge makes for regular readers a sense of anticipation, a desire to see who is the defector, and for the new readers a very complex seeming plot web disrupted by a sudden moment of insight when the true enemy is revealed. These assets make Langdon's writings very interesting and holding, as well as spellbinding and time-consuming (in a good way).
597 Pages (Please count as 3 books.)

Friday, October 15, 2010

Reading Reflection

For the last nine weeks, my independent reading has reopended my eyes to good books. Prior to this period of time I could never find any good books, but after reading Nineteen Minutes and The Hunger Games I realize that some good series and authors do still exist. This has begun to increase the sheer volume of the books I read, as well as the amount of time I spend doing this enjoyable activity. This, upon becoming a habit, has begun to help me dig deeper and understand certain aspects of texts better. For instance I doubt if I could have ever noticed the pun in Peeta's name. Peeta, the baker's son -peeta bread, unleavened bread.

"Inking my thinking" does indeep help me figure out the text and pull more out than ever before. Had I not, perhaps the complexity of BNW and the names therein would have eluded me, for I would never had really been forced to think about the purpose of their names. Also Huxley's use of pneumatic definately would have.

Next sememster I hope not to read a book in the last two weeks, and also improve the speed and depth of my reading even further. Finishing the "The Hunger Games" series would help quite a bit, as well as finishing old series that I am interested in, such as the Inheritance Cycle, and the Left Behind series. Overall, this quarter's reading has been quite nice, far better than bearable for a change. I must say, I'm looking forward to more excellent books.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Socratic Seminar Reflection

Our Socratic Seminars proved to be a more than adequate method of researching further into BNW well as a rather fun way to use class time to build our understanding of the book, and the benefits of calmly discussing as opposed to arguing. Prior to entering the discussions I never realized how unlike Bernard Marx and Karl Marx were. I thought there were quite similar, but thanks to Connor, I now know differently. He pointed out that Bernard being Bernard, an individual in his time, goes against Karl's idea that eventually all individuality will be wiped away. So as opposed to the Marxes being quite similar, they are ironically different. Of course preparing for my seminars gave me a deeper knowledge for the book. I recall realizing that Huxley's use of the word "pneumatic" does mean having a good feminine figure (which explains why he used it to describe Lenina so often) but it also means full of air! Hollow, void, empty! And those words describe Lenina, as well as most members of the society perfectly. I finally realized just how careful Huxley was with his words.

I must say, my groups were quite insightful, and my contributions helped bring the group through those awkward silences, as well as commented in the heat of near-debate. The example with Connor previously mentioned almost erupted into argumentation, but the topic thankfully changed.The difficulty laid not in the talking, or the continuation of the conversation, but stopping when time was called. I remember asking a question with less than ten seconds left and continuing to talk about the subject for a few more minutes. One attribute I discovered about my self is that when push comes to shove I can keep a conversation going as well as an audience laughing. Honestly, there is nothing I would change about the seminars, or my performance, the former it seems like Sophocles perfected.

The Sophoclean Seminars were a wonderful way to share information and learn about our own discussion preferences. More later would be quite preferable, and would more than improve upon my working knowledge of whatever text we are researching.

1st Quarter Annotated Reading List

Huxley, Aldous. Brave New World. New York: Harper Perennial Modern Classics, 2006. Print.

Continuing his grandfather's legacy of writing on controversial topics, Aldous Huxley composes Brave New World, a sneak peak into what Huxley believes is the future of humanity. Between the global society bent on experiencing nothing but pleasure, and the savage reservation where a brutal religion which appears to be a mish-mash of many others, Huxley's portrayal seems not only bleak, but hopeless. However, a few individualistic people do exist, who defy the social order, and attempt to bring change to their unethical society.
(268 pages)

Picoult, Jodi. Nineteen Minutes. Thorndike, Me.: Center Point Pub., 2007. Print.

At the beginning of a normal day, filled with usual conversation, casual gossip, and everyday classes, a cataclysmic event rocks the foundation of a town beyond its core. A boy, an student at the local high school decides to come to school, armed and dangerous, and shoot with little to no concern for his victims. As he is alone and on a warpath, he is eventually apprehended, and his trial ensues, in which his lawyer, despite knowing his client's guilt, performs every task within the law to ensure the shooter receives all the legal protection possible. Guilt seems inevitable, but something is amiss, a key witness and he have had a complex relationship for years, and she may just hold the key to the chains that bind him; literally and figuratively.
(464 pages)

Collins, Suzanne. The Hunger Games. New York: Scholastic, 2009. Print.

Many years into the future, all of North America has fallen into rubble and disuse except for a single area of civilization, twelve districts and one central area. Some time ago, the districts rebelled against the center, but their attempts were futile. As a painful reminder, each year two children are chosen from each district to participate in the "Hunger Games," in inhuman battle for survival in which only one of the children survive. This year, in District Twelve, a volunteer puts her life on the line for the sake of a loved one, and must face an acquaintance that once saved her life. She must also face people that have prepared her whole life for the games, who did not volunteer for the sake of another, but out of selfish greed and desire for recognition. A battle for survival, notoriety, and her heart ensues as she enters The Hunger Games.
(374 pages)

Plus BNW articles on tab = 6 books