As per all of Nicholas Sparks books I bawled through the last 100 pages. Interesting plot twist, I assumed that someone would die true to form but was...moreAs per all of Nicholas Sparks books I bawled through the last 100 pages. Interesting plot twist, I assumed that someone would die true to form but was surprised to find out that no one did. Although enthralling, can only be read during certain moments in one's life that call for a necessity of tears and heartbreak. (less)
When Steve Lopez sees Nathaniel Ayers playing his heart out on a two-string violin on Los Angeles'...moreLindsey #17 The Soloist - Steve Lopez
The back says
When Steve Lopez sees Nathaniel Ayers playing his heart out on a two-string violin on Los Angeles' Skid Row, he envisions this "Violin Man" as the topic of his next column for the Los Angeles Times--only to unearth an even more extraordinary story about the mysterious street musician.
More than thirty ears earlier, Ayers had been a promising classical bass student at Julliard--ambitious, charming and also one of the few African-Americans at the school--until he gradually lost his ability to function, overcome by a mental breakdown. When Lopez finds him, Ayers is alone, suspicious of everyone and deeply troubled, but glimmers of that brilliance are still there.
From an impromptu concert of Beethoven's Eighth in the Second Street tunnel to a performance of Bach's Unaccompanied Cello Suites on Skid Row, the two men learn to communicate through Ayers's music. Their bond takes tortuous turns as Lopez imagines he can change Ayers's life--finding him lodging, reconnecting him with his family, taking him to Disney Concert Hall to meet a former Julliard classmate. For each triumph, there is a crushing disappointment, yet neither man gives up. And though it's Ayers he initially sets out to save, Lopez finds that his own life is profoundly changed.
I was expecting this to drag on since it is one of those "heart-warming" stories, however I really love it. Steve's relationship with Nathaniel is an excellent portrayal of what everyone has experienced in the toxic friendship. Nathaniel is the kind of person everyone wants to root for and help but as Steve finds out it is difficult to deal with the bad times especially when they are so much more frequent than the good.
Nathaniel has his ups and downs but sadly, the small progressions he makes make the reader sad without really knowing why. The repetition of the actions become a bit daunting but I really enjoyed the moral of the story. I think it coincided well with my counseling classes. I felt like it was a good preview of some of the things I might be working with. (less)
Amari's life was once perfect. Engaged to the handsomest man in her tribe, adored by her family, and living i...moreCopper Sun - Sharon Draper
The back says
Amari's life was once perfect. Engaged to the handsomest man in her tribe, adored by her family, and living in a beautiful village, she could not have imagined everything could be taken away from her in an instant. But when slave traders invade her village and brutally murder her entire family, Amari finds herself dragged away to a slave ship headed to the Carolinas, where she is bought by a plantation owner and given to his son as a birthday present.
Survival seems all that Amari can hope for. But then an act of unimaginable cruelty provides her with an opportunity to escape, and with an indentured servant named Polly she flees to Fort Mose, Florida, in search of sanctuary at the Spanish colony. Can the illusive dream of freedom sustain Amari and Polly on their arduous journey, fraught with hardship and danger?
I really like Sharon Draper's YA collection for the most part, specifically the Hazelwood High series but I found this book more difficult to sift through. She took almost ten years to write it and it is one of the most popular books she has written. I found it to drag on in certain areas that I wanted to go faster. The story of Amari made my heart hurt which was probably the goal but some of the things were on the graphic side, pushing the envelope on YA but still bothered my core. If you like historical fiction this really might be a great option for you. This would also be excellent to read in conjunction with a African-American history course. (less)
I think I started this in the middle of the series. Oops, I probably would have been less confused for the first part...moreDexter in the Dark - Jeff Lindsay
I think I started this in the middle of the series. Oops, I probably would have been less confused for the first part of the book had I known.
The back says:
In his work as a Miami crime scene investigator, Dexter Morgan is accustomed to seeing evil deeds… particularly because, on occasion, he commits them himself. But Dexter’s happy existence is turned upside down when he is called to an unusually disturbing crime scene at the university campus. Dexter’s Dark Passenger—mastermind of his homicidal prowess—immediately senses something chillingly recognizable and goes into hiding. Dexter is alone for the first time in his life, and he realizes he’s being hunted by a truly sinister adversary. Meanwhile he’s planning a wedding and trying to learn how to be a stepfather to his fiancee’s to kids—who might just have dark tendencies themselves. Macabre, ironic, and wonderfully entertaining, Dexter in the Dark goes deeper into the psyche of one of the freshest protagonists in fiction.
You know how you get really angry about seeing all of the good scenes from the movie in the preview? Ya, that’s is what this back of the book did. That is basically the entire book, leaving very few things out.
The Dark Passenger is Dexter’s special schizophrenic friend that lives in his mind and tells him how to kill people. This takes the reader a good 100 pages to figure out however.(less)
I listened to Sharon Draper at a conference for English teachers. She was captivating and an excellent speaker. That being said I felt like I should a...moreI listened to Sharon Draper at a conference for English teachers. She was captivating and an excellent speaker. That being said I felt like I should at least attempt to read some of her work before listening to her speak. The books are catered to young people. This one starts with a group of basketball players who are drunk driving and get into a car accident. The story chronicles what happens to the people around Rob, the boy who died. How do lives change, move on or cease to exist when you lose a part of yourself. The story is the struggle of Andy Jackson to stay alive and get by with the guilt of what he has done. Trilogy(less)
A recommendation from Davis. A quick read until the last 70 or so pages which seemed to drag on in a hot mess of depressingness.
The back says:
Card has...moreA recommendation from Davis. A quick read until the last 70 or so pages which seemed to drag on in a hot mess of depressingness.
The back says:
Card has taken the venerable sf concepts of a superman and interstellar war against aliens, and, with superb characterization, pacing, and language, combined them into a seamless story of compelling power. This is Card at the height of his very considerable powers —a major SF novel by any reasonable standards.
Generally, the world is at intergallactic war in which the “government” is recruiting people to help fight the battle against extra-terrestrial buggars. Yes, I understand that I just lost vast cool points with that brief analysis but the book was actually far more intellectual than I expected from a YA SF novel. In fact I sorta just assumed aliens would attack people would run, Will Smith would propose and that other guy would wear dark sunglasses and carry a sweet gun.
However, there is definite analysis of the hegemonic prowess the United States asserts amongst the world and the inane idea that we can in fact rule the world but more accurately put the galaxy. Ultimately the discussion of hearsay and manipulation are overpowering themes in the novel. Creating a discussion of what we will do when mentally we are torn apart and challenged. Ender, the main character’s constant evaluation of his life, state and future are both fervent and disheartening. He is at best a child who literally has the weight of the world on his shoulders.
Thus as a teacher my mind immediately goes to the idea of progress in and out of the classroom and how much weight and pressure is too much. Do we function under the idea that ultimately we can push and push and push until they break but if they are meant to do it they recover. One should automatically assume that for at least a good portion of our lives we should play, right? What happens if the need and idea for play is gone? Why don’t we just start apprenticing early as the book recommends and dismantle school and education for those who aren’t worthy, that would make my classroom life vastly easy.
I really enjoyed the book although the last 80 or so pages make me think about slasher films and cutting myself it was so depressing. Redemption is a key theme but even Ender’s redemption is saddening and doesn’t provide an immense amount of hope for the rest of the world.(less)