Tuesday, April 28, 2009

The Good Earth Review

Few writers have ever told a story on a level with Pearl S. Buck's The Good Earth.

The Good Earth is a story of life in all its twists and turns. It follows the life of a Chinese peasant who drags himself up out of the mire into success, and how his success was the undoing of him.

This book just drew me in. When reading it, I felt like I knew Wang Lung, the main character, personally, and was right beside him through all his troubles and successes. When the last pages turned, I felt as if a part of my own life was done and over.

Before reading The Good Earth I knew very little about China. I still know very little about China, but that doesn't lessen the power and intimacy of the story. Life is life, no matter what country you're living it in.

Although this book was easy to follow in its plotline, I don't suggest it for youngsters, or for light reading. The Good Earth is a serious book and it should be taken seriously and read with respect.


The Giver Review

The Giver by Lois Lowry has long been one of my all-time favorite books.

It's about a society that is entirely different from anything we know. The main character is aboy named Jonas, and in his society there is no color. For Jonas's friends, family, and fellow community members, there is no music, no emotion, no difference.

The society is one founded on Sameness. Nothing is overly distinguishable from anything else. There's not even any weather.

This Sameness is achieved through the storage of all the memories of the past in one person: the Receiver.

The Giver is about the things that would have to be sacrificed for perfect peace and similarity and also about what happens to people when emotions are removed. It was a very good book, having more insight and truth in only 192 pages than many people have encountered in all the books they've ever read.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Animal Farm Review

Written by George Orwell and published in 1945, Animal Farm is a satirical, dystopian novel that parodies the events of the Russian Revolution of 1917 and the Stalin era.

In Animal Farm, animals play the parts of the Bolshevik revolutionaries. Pigs are used to portray Stalin, Trotsky, Lenin, and Molotov. Dogs are Stalin's secret police, the NKVD. There are equines and sheep for the proletariat, rats for the nomadic northerners, and even hens to represent the Kulaks.

The novel is intriguing and makes history interesting in a new and horrible way. It was not written to comfort or to soothe, not to entertain or to give the reader that fuzzy, satisfied emotion that comes with a happy ending. It was written to tell.

I suggest this book for those readers who seek a deeper understanding of the Russian Revolution or for readers who just like to think about the ironies of fate: what better irony that this one, a revolution that turns into a worse dictatorship that the one before it?

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Waiting on the Lilacs

One week is not enough.

Spring break rolled around this year right when I was needing it most. I was so relieved to just sleep on Monday that I kept sleeping until one in the morning. My break consisted mostly of relaxing, chatting with friends, and working withmy dad around the house.

I got caught up on a lot of reading I had wanted to do. I reread (for the eighth or ninth time) East by Edith Pattou, started Brisingr by Christopher Paolini for the second time, and even read a short story written by a friend of mine.

I spent a lot of time sleeping and just lazing around. If I'm being honest, I have to admit that I'm a bit of a couch potato. Okay, so I'm a huge couch potato. But hey, that's what breaks are for, right- being super lazy. :)

Unfortunately, I also had to work some. One day I helped dad pick up branches that had fallen during and after the big ice storm and we took down three fences in my horse fields. After that, though, I stayed inside and cleaned the house while mom and dad made flower beds.

Spring is one of my favorite times of the year. I love flowers and get very excited for the Spring-time blossom. Without Spring break, I would miss a lot of the first flowers of Spring. Unfortunately, my favorite flowers, lilacs, didn't start to bloom until after break was over.

Excert from my 'Anthem' essay...

"Anthem tells an amazing story. The following quotes show the very moments where the message of Anthem is most thoroughly defined:

“The glass box in our arms is like a living heart that gives us strength. We have lied to ourselves. We have not built this box for the good of our brothers.”
“I wished to know the meaning of things. I am the meaning.”
“I owe nothing to my brothers, nor do I gather debts from them.”

These are the moments in which Equality 7-2521 takes the steps towards Prometheus. These are the moments that define his journey from slave to master. These are the moments that characterize the victory of the strong, individual Man over the cruel, controlling Men. At the base of a ladder is the Mass. The Mass is cruel and evil and wrong. At the top of the ladder is the Strong. The Strong is many, and every one is one alone. The ladder is a journey, each rung a step that must be taken to move away from the Mass and towards the Strong. The purpose of Anthem was to show the steps in the most personal way possible. The three quotes above are the steps of the ladder that are the most grueling, and they are the most rewarding to Equality. "

- from Slave to Master, an Anthem essay by Emily Q.