Friday, April 21, 2017

Review of Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte, review by Tulip Sengupta

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte is a staple of literature from the Victorian era. The novel’s protagonist, is a female, Jane Eyre, who is nothing out of the ordinary. Jane is an orphan, and lives with her abusive aunt and cousins, until she becomes an adolescent. Then, Jane is sent to Lowood Institution, which she attends for six years. At this school, Jane gradually develops into a young woman, yet is still unsure of her identity. After teaching for two years at the school, after graduation, Jane accepts a job as a governess at Thornfield Hall, where she falls in love with the master of the abode, Edward Rochester. Jane’s relationship with Mr. Rochester is enticing and captivating; the reader can never expect what will happen between the two. The majority of the novel is focused on their complicated relationship.
Forced to read this novel for school, I initially despised the book. From its blandness and usage of high vocabulary, I could not stand the book. However, midway through the book, my opinion of the book took a complete 360. The author began to take a stance and for a lack of a better term, jab, at the gender divide and class system of the time. Although Jane Eyre is far from the ordinary, the character, Jane Eyre, is the ordinary. This is one of the few books written during that time period in which the female heroine is not unconventionally beautiful. All in all, I would definitely recommend this book. Although it may seem like a dull and painful read at first, the novel is compelling and keeps one at the edge of their seat.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Review of “Graceling” by Kristin Cashore by Sanvi Mitra

Review of “Graceling” by Kristin Cashore
Born in a world where she is feared for her power, Katsa has never experienced proper treatment before. Born as niece to the king of the land, luxury should be her right, yet she receives none of it. She is the king’s lap dog, running to where his dirty work needs to be done and sprinting right back to his castle, with a leash that she tied around her own neck.
Learning to accept the identity of oneself, self-discovery and opening up to others are some of the prime aspects of “Graceling” by author Kristin Cashore.
            With a 4.1 average rating on Goodreads, you would expect “Graceling” to be a quality read. And although most of its parts will pull you right in and make you connect to the characters, the novel has its downsides. Various things, one of them being the reasoning of the characters for their actions, is completely missing. Many would think it is to create suspense and mystery, and before reaching about a hundred pages you are convinced that explanations will come soon. They don’t.
            So you keep reading, and reading, but the suspense just creates more tension and the major explanations never come. This was hands down the most aggravating part about “Graceling”, with the tension building over and no reasoning in play. Albeit, there were still parts in the book where you would want to cry with the characters, grieve with them, relish in their joy, but it all still came down to this: why is this happening?
            With all the appraisal about “Graceling”, I was very excited to read this book. I have a spot for strong female protagonists, and the book’s blurb mentioned something of the sort, so the book was instantly in my hand and checked out.
Needless to say, I was disappointed in the end. I loved Katsa and her ability to fight, but I was appalled at her lack of mental strength. I expected her to develop, and she did in some aspects, but remained weak in her thoughts and emotions.
If you cannot stand a cranky character with mood swings, this wouldn’t be a top-notch book for you.


By Sanvi Mitra.

Saturday, April 08, 2017

Saleena's reviews 4/8/17

Maggie's story reads like fiction but is actually a touching story of first love at summer camp.  The fact that her first love is also a girl is not as big a deal to the reader, but for Maggie and for the time (and place) it is a HUGE deal; and it is explained in all the honesty and awkwardness of a young teen.  I really enjoyed this sweet biographical graphic novel.






This book won all kinds of awards, so I picked it up because "I should keep up"; and I should....but this is also a touching story of a young person trying to deal with their sexuality and nonconformity in a world that demands conformity and for people to pick a gender & stay there.  Riley starts a blog as a way to work through things, but when the blog goes public (no spoilers, you knew it was going to happen) life becomes much more complicated for this already emotionally fragile soul.   This isn't the best book ever written; however, it is an emotional one that tackles a subject not often discussed....so it is worth the time.


                                             

I fell in love with Moon Girl the moment I started reading.  Yes, she is a bit young; but the stories aren't for little kids, because she is struggling with her gifts and her worries in a world of superheroes (and villains).  I adore this series and can't wait to read more about the little scientist girl who accidentally bonds with a time travelling magical dinosaur.....it's funny and touching and awesome!






At first I thought this was a SF novel.....but as I read it I realized it was more of a "what if".....what if politicians could get permission to widely distribute a drug to "calm down" the population of "no good kids"?  It isn't all that out of the realm of possibility....scarily.  Sutcliffe takes us to this place and shows us a specific confrontation happening over 6 days, the reasons for it, the consequences of it and the fallout from it.   This is an intriguing and suspenseful novel that is VERY well done.







If you don't know what the Stonewall Inn is, you definitely should read this book.  It's a nonfiction look at the history of the gay rights movement, focusing on the role of the Stonewall Inn.  Very informative and a very quick read that will explain a bit of history, and the power of the people.











I had no idea who Jonathan Daniels was, so this book intrigued me with it's photo cover of a priest and a young African American girl....and I am so glad I read it.  Wallace shows the civil rights movement from a different perspective, but really works hard to show the full picture.  Daniels wasn't some do-good white person, he genuinely cared and that deep commitment to equality cost him his life; but also showed the flaws in the legal system when his killer went free.   This was very informative, with lots of photos and references; my only complaint is that it is SO big and heavy it was difficult to hold while reading....and I worry that people won't borrow it because of it's size.  You should read this.



Speaking of books you should read, the final book in the Graphic Novel biographical trilogy of John Lewis's life is amazing.  It did win a TON of awards, but rightfully so, this book series and this book show so much that words alone might fail to capture.  You really feel like you are there because the artwork is so affecting.  Definitely a must-read book and book series.
(And if you don't know who Congressman & Civil Rights leader, John Lewis is; this is your chance to find out.)


 Lumberjanes is a fun, funny comic series set in the best (or worst) summer camp ever.  You will fall in love with the characters, their dilemmas and their adventures.  Read them....read them all.












The Rules is a creepy, suspenseful action thrill ride.  It grabs you from the first page and doesn't let go.  Someone has changed a scavenger hunt and made it deadly.....who did it?  Who will survive?  Who will die (and how)?  At the beginning of each chapter is a rule from the person who is telling the story...the voices alternate among all the players.  I couldn't stop reading this and assume there will be a move soon.....really.



I had no idea of the history of Tetris, but hey, it's a history of a game, told in graphic novel format...so I gave it a shot.  I found it fascinating.   Very factual but with lots of interesting side notes so that it felt like a fictional tale.










Another biography of someone that I had no knowledge of; Minamoto Yoshitsune.  I was fascinated and intrigued at the life he had and thinking I may have to read more about it; which is the perfect compliment for a brief biography...it has everything you need to get a taste but even if you go no further; you will have all the information about this infamous Japanese Samurai.




Sachiko is a powerful and brief biography of a woman who survived the bombing of Nagasaki.  The author places us firmly in context, what people knew and didn't at the time about radiation; and also about being in Japan while they were occupied and under censorship rules of the US.  This story really affected me, and by showing the life of one single person; you learn about so much.  Highly recommend this book, I just can't say enough about it.

Thursday, April 06, 2017

Review of “Graceling” by Kristin Cashore by Sanvi Mitra


Review of “Graceling” by Kristin Cashore
Born in a world where she is feared for her power, Katsa has never experienced proper treatment before. Born as niece to the king of the land, luxury should be her right, yet she receives none of it. She is the king’s lap dog, running to where his dirty work needs to be done and sprinting right back to his castle, with a leash that she tied around her own neck.
Learning to accept the identity of oneself, self-discovery and opening up to others are some of the prime aspects of “Graceling” by author Kristin Cashore.
            With a 4.1 average rating on Goodreads, you would expect “Graceling” to be a quality read. And although most of its parts will pull you right in and make you connect to the characters, the novel has its downsides. Various things, one of them being the reasoning of the characters for their actions, is completely missing. Many would think it is to create suspense and mystery, and before reaching about a hundred pages you are convinced that explanations will come soon. They don’t.
            So you keep reading, and reading, but the suspense just creates more tension and the major explanations never come. This was hands down the most aggravating part about “Graceling”, with the tension building over and no reasoning in play. Albeit, there were still parts in the book where you would want to cry with the characters, grieve with them, relish in their joy, but it all still came down to this: why is this happening?
            With all the appraisal about “Graceling”, I was very excited to read this book. I have a spot for strong female protagonists, and the book’s blurb mentioned something of the sort, so the book was instantly in my hand and checked out.
Needless to say, I was disappointed in the end. I loved Katsa and her ability to fight, but I was appalled at her lack of mental strength. I expected her to develop, and she did in some aspects, but remained weak in her thoughts and emotions.
If you cannot stand a cranky character with mood swings, this wouldn’t be a top-notch book for you.


By Sanvi Mitra.

Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton, review by Nina Soukhanovskii

Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton.  A Quote to Consider: “With a shiver of foreboding he saw his marriage becoming what most of...