A lot of kids seem to dislike this book; it's one of the ones they always make you read in high school and analyze to death. Luckily, I got a good Eng...moreA lot of kids seem to dislike this book; it's one of the ones they always make you read in high school and analyze to death. Luckily, I got a good English teacher. But that aside, this is one of my favorite "classics" ever.
On the surface, it's just another survival story, one that progresses to a violent and unfortunate struggle. But underneath, there is a seething, fascinating sea of allegory and metaphor and symbolism. And I happen to be a sucker for that kind of stuff.
Because I have always been able to sense a very human truth in "Lord of the Flies". As awful and repulsive as the boys' behavior is, you can't help seeing that's it's true. This is how human beings behave when fear and ignorance prey on them. Their violence and madness is very real, and that's one of the scariest things about this book.
Ralph and Piggy, Simon and Jack, opposites, foils, representatives of the different strengths of the human psyche. Their nemesis the Beast, the invisible terror that drives their descent into savagery.
And then of course, there's the Lord of the Flies himself, the chilling avatar of darkness who knows what's really going on.
"Fancy thinking the Beast was something you could hunt and kill!"(less)
Had to read the entirety of this play in 9th grade...not Shakespeare's best, and certainly not the pinnacle of romance it's always made out as.
I hardl...moreHad to read the entirety of this play in 9th grade...not Shakespeare's best, and certainly not the pinnacle of romance it's always made out as.
I hardly have to explain the story, so I'll just skip to my reactions. First, I like Shakespeare's language most of the time, but for some reason this play got on my nerves. Maybe because the characters were literally taking pages to express the sentiments of a single sentence.
The other part of this play I dislike is the hype that it carries as being "the best and original romantic star-crossed lovers tale." It's practically synonymous with epic love; it's bled into pop culture and expressions and everything else. And yet break the story down, and it's almost ridiculous. How does teen suicide, naive desire, and foolish families add up to the end-all of meaningful love stories? All I'm saying is, I hate when people get starry-eyed about this play when I've read so many more meaningful books about love and relationships. (less)
I'm not sure what could possibly be said about this book...I mean, I'm sure almost everyone has either read it or tried to read it at some point.
It i...moreI'm not sure what could possibly be said about this book...I mean, I'm sure almost everyone has either read it or tried to read it at some point.
It is a series that I hope and believe will survive the ages; it has already transcended age groups, countries, languages, and interests around the world. Somehow, this book has been granted a true touch of magic, whether by the creativity of the author, the heart of its fans, or some unknown factor that we can't pin down.
It isn't the most original of stories; an orphan boy, bogged down by truly awful relatives, whose life is turned completely around with the knowledge that he has a greater purpose; a wizard who is a virtual celebrity among the magic folk for surviving a dark wizard's curse.
But maybe what sets 'Harry Potter' apart is the world. I, and countless other readers, have been invited by the easy, effortless writing to enter this world, meet these people, and make it our own. Rowling has only begun to tell Harry's story in this novel, and yet she is already painting a world so deep and wonderful that it seems almost natural to want to step into it and stay there. Characters you can speak with. Magical creatures and objects you want to see and touch. Hogwarts and its grounds, where you eagerly follow the amazed, naive, determined, confused, utterly real Harry Potter...who you just know is going to achieve great things.
Rowling once said that she never really created Harry Potter; he "strolled into her mind fully formed." I think that is true, even while I hold great respect for Rowling for bringing his story to us in such a way. But I've always liked to think that Harry Potter exemplifies a quality I've always believed in; that the best characters are not made...they are found.(less)
This book, or more rightly this trilogy, changed my life. It still stands today as one of the most imaginative, thrilling, touching, powerful series t...moreThis book, or more rightly this trilogy, changed my life. It still stands today as one of the most imaginative, thrilling, touching, powerful series that I've ever read. I hope it stays that way, because it's hard to imagine a richer story than this.
Lyra Belaqua is a girl from a universe much like our own...but with just a few changes that make all the difference. In Lyra's world, each person's soul exists outside their body, in the form of a symbolic animal companion called a daemon. It's a fascinating concept taken to its fullest in this series. Lyra lives wild and mischievous in Jordan College, a university in the Oxford of her world, along with Pantalaimon, her daemon.
But changes are moving in Lyra's world: a group of mysterious and frightening child snatchers called Gobblers are taking kids away to the far north, to do something horrible to them. The gyptian boat-people are uneasy. And everyone, including Lyra's forbidding Uncle Asriel, seem to be obsessed with a strange substance called Dust, which may be the key to unlocking everything. And Lyra is pulled into the heart of it all when her best friend Roger is kidnapped by the Gobblers, and she decides to go in search of him.
Witches, armored bears, betrayal, adventure, horror, destiny, hope...this book is only the beginning of an epic story that will span universes. The characters are incredibly real and easy to like or hate. They grow realistically, especially Lyra. And the symbolism and allegory of the deeper story beneath this fantasy drew me instantly, making me think philosophically. This book, like 'Harry Potter,' 'Young Wizards,' and others, will always be one of my favorites for the ages.
I loved this story from the beginning; of course I'm a big dragon fanatic, so this twist on the idea of human/dragon encounters was a draw for me.
It'...moreI loved this story from the beginning; of course I'm a big dragon fanatic, so this twist on the idea of human/dragon encounters was a draw for me.
It's a well worn story; ordinary farmboy discovers amazing object that will change his life. But it works, so well. Eragon is hunting in the dark and mysterous mountain range the villagers call The Spine, when a blinding flash produces a strange blue stone. And when the stone turns out to be an egg that hatches one of the last remaining dragons in the land of Alagaesia...Eragon's life turns upside-down.
There are witches and werecats, storytellers and elves, traders and monsters, travelers with secrets and vicious monster assassins. And Eragon and Saphira, his bonded dragon, will undertake a quest to a sanctuary called the Varden, where rebel warriors will offer protection to the last known dragonrider in existance. And with the tyrant king Galbatorix himself as an enemy, Eragon will need all the knowledge, friendship, and protection he can get.
Paolini's writing is wonderfully lyrical, and I love how he makes Saphira a true character; I've never seen a dragon fleshed out so fully in fiction. And the world of Alagaesia is also developed well; a beautifully drawn map on the first page adds to the realism. This is definitely one of my all-time favorite "dragon books."(less)
Another of the few books I had to read in school that I truly enjoyed. I had the priviledge to meet Ray Bradbury himself and have this book signed.
In...moreAnother of the few books I had to read in school that I truly enjoyed. I had the priviledge to meet Ray Bradbury himself and have this book signed.
In a world where fireman are made to burn, not to extinguish, there is one man who will slowly begin to question his world. Guy Montag, once totally satisfied with the job of burning books and their owners, is slowly waking up. With the help of a gentle and insightful young woman named Clarisse, Montag follows a confusing and difficult path to realization. Battling a futuristic world where television occupies much of one's life, and everything has been modernized to the point where no one really lives anymore, Montag will have to break the greatest taboo of all, and turn to books to find the true answers.
While the book is complex and the language is by no means straightforward, I loved the message and the layers of the characters. Like the best of the genre, this chilling, futuristic science fiction novel reminds us where our priorities must lie, lest we slip down a dark path to a place where knowledge is forbidden.(less)
There is a very good reason this book has won honors nationwide and is used in school curriculums. There is also a good reason why it is on the Nation...moreThere is a very good reason this book has won honors nationwide and is used in school curriculums. There is also a good reason why it is on the National List of Most Banned Books.
"The Giver" is a stunning, striking tale of the future, but firstly it is a story of a young man growing up. Jonas, on the edge of adulthood and ready to be given his Assignment in life, is suddenly and shockingly chosen to be the town's next Receiver. The Receiver is charged to live apart from the community, and to perform the task of holding all the peoples' memories of what once was.
As Jonas navigates his training with the current Receiver, a wise and bluntly honest old man, he will slowly be allowed to peel back the layers that surround his utopian community, receiving memories from a time in the past. His rise out of blissful ignorance is both a painful and inspiring thing to watch, as he comes to understand that in the perfect world than mankind has created, no one is really living anymore.
What could our future hold? What if everything in our lives; jobs, spouses, children, were decided for us? What if feelings like fear and pain became nonexistant, only to also carry with them love and joy and color? What if...? These are the questions that Lowry dares us to consider in this incredibly powerful novel.(less)