Catching Fire


         Catching Fire, written by Suzanne Collins, is the second book from the three book, Hunger Games series.  The second book opens up with Katniss in her new life as a victor. Even though she is very wealthy,  hunting is still a daily activity.  Katniss continues this talent because she wants to help Gale’s family, that is struggling to pay for food.  Katniss and Peeta prep to take a victory tour through the districts, to promote the next hunger games.  However, after the previous games, many uprisings against the capitol have been occurring in other districts.  This has caused commotion within the tour and has shown Katniss and Peeta what has been going on outside of District 12.  After the tour the two victors find out that the games will be fought by victors instead of newcomers.  Once in the games, Katniss and Peeta make alliances with other victors.  One of the victors discovers a way to cut off the power in the arena as well as the cameras.  A wire is wrapped around a tree and connected to an arrow.  When the recurring lighting strikes the tree, Katniss shoots the arrow into the wall and breaks the power.  When Katniss wakes up she finds herself in a plane with Gale and other victors.

In all I am a huge fan of the Hunger Games books.   I love the constant thrill and plot changes that Suzanne Collins plays out so well.  The story line and odd way of life are very intriguing to me.  I also really enjoy reading books that have some kind of love story and this book definitely satisfies that desire.  If you love to read action filled books and romance novels, then this is the book for you!

-Lauren Smart

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The Fault in Our Stars: John Green




         The Fault in Our Stars is a beautiful and well known written book by author John Green. Its about 17 year-old Hazel Grace Lancaster who has cancer in her lungs, who is forced by her mother to join a support group. There she meets other kids who are going through different medical problems. But one boy stands out to Hazel Grace and that boy’s name is Augustus Waters. Like Hazel he suffers from cancer himself. Hazel and Augustus become closer, bonding over literature, and they fight their cancer together. Each of them help their friends out and are always there to support one another. Whether it be going to the hospital or taking a trip that might be the last big they do. 

      Once you start reading this book, you’ll fall in love with the humor and heartbreaking relationship that Hazel Grace and Augustus Waters both share. Through the story, your constantly pulled into, you feel like you’re apart of the friendship that they share.  You will feel like you’re there experiencing everything with them. This book is really easy to sit through and will not bore you at all. I really enjoyed this book, and I know others will too.  I think John Green, wrote a great young-adult book and I would definitely recommended this book to others.

                – Mackenzie Slagle


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The Scarlet Letter : Hawthorne

varnes, cora

english; strempek



The Scarlet Letter : Of What Does a Sinner Look?

The Scarlet Letter, is the featured novel, in this current circumstance; of which I am scheduled to introduce. the tale proceeds as such:

A woman, Hester Prynne, is tried, banished, and shunned by her village, in 17th century Puritan Boston. She wears the mark, on her bosom, of the scarlet letter so all will know her sin. Her sin; is the committing of adultery; whilst managing also to have a child with the man of whom she committed said crime with therein. She lives in a cottage outside of the village alone, far from anyone else, so that she will remain unbothered as well as obedient. during these shocking events, various simultaneous alternative, ones, occur in addition. Hester’s ex-lover, of whom does not claim genomes of which exist in that of her child, is a particularly jealous man of whom deems it necessary to infiltrate a humble, unprovocative, seemingly angelic physician so as to reside in the village his beloved, in the current timedoes as well. he is, in a very much real state, jealous. he is jealous and malicious towards the man of whom conceived a child with Hester. this man he wishes to seek. this man, whose identity he has not yet been offered, is his prey. this may very well be a concerning scenario. All of the occasions, previous, are then paired and violently engaged, so as to sum the bodily features of the plot, therein; as well as garnish it’s highness with the letter of scarlet, in various, varying states, of which proceeds as so in hiring the hue of which it has sworn–Scarlett–for representation in these, said, manners. the letter, of the royal shade, acts as an epitome for sin, holiness, and of course guilt. these, incognito, chromosomes are deliberately shy, so as to allow the reader distraction towards that of the paint, of which it –the letter of Scarlett– is smothered, that manages to severely pigment, several, intricately planted, objects whose existential purpose is intended to receive further contemplation. this is a recurring practice of Hawthorne’s and has achieved such a rank so as to attend the skeletal anatomy of the tale. 

For example, most notably, there is a selection of excerpts, of which i am to demonstrate so, of which tend to this sculpture generously. in the opening milestone of the novel, Hawthorne offers such an, unhealthily deliberate, emphasis on the roses of scarlet,

“This rose-bush, by a strange chance, has been kept alive in history; but whether it had merely survived out of stern old wilderness, so long after the fall of the gigantic pines oaks that originally overshadowed it, –or whether, as there is fair authority for believing, it had sprung up under the footsteps of the sainted Anne Hutchinson, as she entered the prison-door, –we shall not take upon us to determine. Finding it so directly on the threshold of our narrative, which is now about to issue from that inauspicious portal, we could hardly do otherwise than pluck one of its flowers, and present it to the reader. it may serve, let us hope, to symbolize some sweet moral blossom, that may be found along the track, or relieve the darkening close of a tale of human frailty and sorrow.” {p. 46 \ Hawthorne, The Scarlet Letter}

It is quite obvious that this event applies to such a ranking of, scarlet, mascots. Pearl, the child of Hester, is quite regularly referenced, addressed and/or cited as a particularly pigmented young femme. she, according to her mother, the scarlet letter herself and is then, in later instances, given such titles of which phone various species of scarlet plumage, so as to draw the child as such. an example includes a plucked rose of scarlet announced like so; in having been inquired as to who made her, the child responds, “that she had not been made at all, but had been plucked by her mother off the bush of wild roses that grew by the prison door.“. In th(ese)is instance(s), the shade, and its significance, attend the plot an additional time. 

thus, this manner of which the text is presented is increasingly interesting. I very much enjoy the use of textual symbolism, though it is very theatrical, in the most un-theatrical of ways. Hawthorne has a propensity to deliver his mind in an, on occasional occasion, amusing manner, of which cites the classified from the writer to the reader. this is a notably casual approach to such a production and an arresting experience for a bystander such as myself.

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Station Eleven: Emily St. John Mandel


Station Eleven, by Emily St. John Mandel, is a novel that follows the story of multiple characters before, during, and after a major pandemic. The story starts in a theater, where one of the actors in a play seemingly suffers a sudden heart attack. This part of the novel centers around Jeevan, a member of the audience of the play. Jeevan soon learns of the upcoming pandemic, though is left with many questions. The story then advances twenty years, to a world where the contemporary setting of the first section seems distant.

Twenty years after Jeevan attends the play, Kirsten, a young adult who has little to no memory of the old world, is a member of the Traveling Symphony, a group that performs for various settlements across what was once the midwestern United States and parts of Canada. Kirsten and Jeevan, along with every other character in the novel, are connected in some way. Arthur Leander, the man who suffered the heart attack just before the end of civilization, has direct connections to most of the characters, whereas others may never have met.

Despite following several different characters and settings, Station Eleven is incredibly polished and smooth. The transitions between settings are seamless. The writing is both simple to follow and thought provoking.

Station Eleven is an incredibly well written novel. The characters are rich and well developed. The story has strong themes. The plot has great depth. The novel has a good balance of seriousness and humor. The novel is much more than just a post-apocalyptic drama.

Jesse Block

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The Mark of Athena: Rick Riordan

For my choice book I decided to jump back into Rick Riordan’s series of the Heroes of Olympus. After rereading the second book in the series, The Son of Neptune, I got the third, The Mark of Athena, last week and started reading that. For whatever reason, it didn’t quite have the same engrossing impact on me.

I thought the book was good, it has a similar plot and theme as the other books in the series, the characters are still good, but I never got that “one more chapter” feeling. I never felt like I didn’t want to put the book down. I wanted to go to sleep more than I wanted to keep reading more often than not.

There are probably a few factors contributing to this, as when I used to read these books I was younger, I had less responsibilities, less homework and studying to do, and my life didn’t revolve around my practice schedule. Usually when I really get into a book, I read it for long periods of time at once. Last week, I had to fit the reading in between other assignments, sleep, and practice, so I did about 30 minutes of reading a night for 5 nights.

As far as the book goes, the start was slow as it took three chapters to gain my bearing on where the plot was going. I usually like to have an idea of what is to come, so I can make my own little predictions. I really don’t like reading when I’m out of sorts with the story. The setting is about half a year after the end of the second book, and the main characters Leo Valdez, Jason Grace, and Percy Jackson are united at the Roman camp. From there they need to plan a mission to Greece to stop Gaea the evil Earth god from rising and taking over the world. To further complicate things, Leo Valdez is possessed by Gaea and sets fire to the Roman camp. This then pits the Romans against the Greeks as well. The chosen seven demigods are traveling to Greece in a race against time as they have stop the giants from waking, shut the doors of death to the underworld, and also before the Greeks and Romans destroy each other. The chosen group is traveling throughout the United States, fighting off Greek mythological monsters in landmarks like the Georgia Aquarium, Fort Sumter, and on the Atlantic Ocean. The group’s journey is constantly being interrupted by famous figures from Greek and Roman mythology like Chrysaor, and Hercules. Eventually they reach the final challenge who is Arachne, the last guardian of the Athena Parthenos. The Athena Parthenos is what the chosen group has traveled all the way to Rome for. Annabeth defeats Arachne, but she and Percy are dragged into the underworld and now need to find a way to escape death; setting up the next book in the series.

Stevie Gould

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The Son of Neptune: Rick Riordan

I had no idea where to begin with my choice book, so I decided to look on your 100 books to read before college, and a couple books from one series caught my eye, again.

The Rick Riordan books were by far my favorite books when I was in middle school, and I saw that the a couple of the books from his two Greek Mythology series were on that list. It brought back so many memories just looking at it, and out of curiosity I clicked on it just remind myself what it was about.

After re-familiarizing myself with it, I remembered that I started the second series, the Heroes of Olympus but never finished it. I read the first book in the series around the week it came out. I’m pretty sure I had my mom preorder it for me, actually. I finished it within a couple days and then of course had to wait another year or so for the next book to come out. When I started thinking about it, I know that I had bought the second book, “The Son of Neptune,” As I dug it up in my closet last week. I had no idea if ever read it.

I started doing research on the series to see if I could somehow remember where I’d left off in the series after I flipped through the book. What I found through my research was that the memories were there but they felt like they were covered with cobwebs. I could remember certain chapters and parts from the first two books clear as day, but other important parts of the put I had no recollection of. It was really frustrating, but I decided to just jump back in the end of the first book, because I knew I remembered that one, and then read the second. For a day right after I got back from Bakersfield I just devoured the second book, The Son of Neptune just like tore threw the other books Riordan wrote when I was 12, 13 years old. 

So, in the The Son of Neptune, the main character from the previous series of Riordan books, Percy Jackson, is found wandering around in Southern California without any of his memories. He’s in the same position that Jason Grace, the Roman, was in a couple of months ago. It’s no coincidence that the two powerful demigods from the Greek and Roman camps respectively are having similar experiences. When Percy gets to Camp Jupiter, the Roman camp, he makes friends with the guards of the camp; Frank Zhang and Hazel Levesque. Frank and Hazel are outsiders at Camp Jupiter, so they can relate to Percy’s position and help him adjust to the new life in the camp without his memories. The three of them then receive a direct prophecy from Mars, the Roman god of war to go on a quest to rescue Death from the giant Alcyoneus somewhere hidden in Alaska. During the trip, the friends learn that the evil goddess Gaea is awakening from several thousands of years of dormancy with the goal to destroy the gods and the human world.

  • Stevie Gould

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The Sirens of Titan: Kurt Vonnegut

Image result for sirens of titan

 “The Sirens of Titan is a hilarious attempt to chronicle the problems of capitalism and the human search for meaning in an absurd world.  The main character, Malachi Constant, is the richest man in a future America.  A Donald Trump type character, he believes his great wealth is due to divine favoritism.

      This idea is quickly turned on its’ head when he goes on an adventure through the solar system with Winston Niles Rumfoord who is unstuck in time and space.  Rumfoord had traveled through something called a  chrono-synclastic infundibulum which is described in the novel as: “those places … where all the different kinds of truths fit together.” It makes it so he does not exist in a physical form but is rather a wave phenomenon who can materialize into a physical form in random parts and times in the solar system.  He frequently tells people about their futures that turn out to come true.  He also showed Constant how human existence and human purpose was to make a part for a broken Tralfamadorian robotic space traveler as the Tralfamadorian had manipulated humanity to evolve and develop for the express purpose of making the robot part.  

       This is linked to the major theme in the novel that people who are in power, by means of political position, wealth, or both got their power by a series of lucky breaks or as the book describes “a victim of a series of accidents” and thereby do not deserve the admiration of millions. The book says that the meaning of life is not written by a God nor is it to follow any doctrine or person blindly. It is  rather to “love everyone that is around to be loved.” I would highly recommend this novel as it shows to all of us that success isn’t everything and that the rich and powerful, although they may seem like gods to us, are just people who turned out to be luckier than we did.”

– Jory Jones


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