Moneyball, written by Micheal Lewis, is a narrative, nonfiction novel based on the miraculous 2002 season of the Oakland Athletics. Micheal Lewis was inspired to write about the Oakland A's because of the statistics behind the game. He realized that even though the Oakland A's had one of the lowest budgets in the MLB at the time, they were winning an unusually high number of games. What Micheal Lewis wanted to know was: why was the cost-per-win so low in comparison to other teams? Was the Oakland A's performance a fluke, or was it not?
Billy Bean, the general manager for the Oakland A's and his trusty statistician, Paul DePodesta can answer both. Billy realized that he had to look at the game differently to obtain an advantage over other teams. All the "good" players followed the money, leaving the unpicked players for the teams that could not afford the good ones. The problem was that Billy Bean could not afford the good ones. Paul DePodesta found a way to search through the seemingly useless pile of players to find stars. He realized that some player's traits, such as batting average, were overvalued in the market, while some, such as on-base percentage, were undervalued. DePodesta saw that a player, in the eyes of the market, with a low batting average was worth more than a player with a high on-base percentage. He realized that he could buy high quality players for less, and that is exactly what he did. I liked the book because it has interesting statistics in it, and it also highlights the ingenuity that went behind one of the best seasonal records in the MLB.
I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings, written by Maya Angelou, is an autobiographical account of Angelou's childhood. When Maya is a young child, her parents divorce. After the divorce her parents send her and her brother, Baily to Stamps, Arkansas to live with their Grandmother, where her Grandmother, affectionately referred to as "Momma", runs a convenience store. Angelou, despite her self-consciousness, appears to have had a great childhood growing up in the store. After about five years, Angelou's dad unexpectedly comes in and takes Bailey and her to their mother, who was living in St. Louis. While there, Angelou is molested by her mother's boyfriend. The boyfriend is quickly murdered and Angelou feels responsible for the death.
I liked to book because Angelou highlights how anyone can do what they set their mind to, and even in bad situations a human can grow immensely.
I first read this book after it was recommended to me by a teacher, and needless to say, it instantly became a favorite.
Food: A Love Story is the second hilarious memoir by comedian Jim Gaffigan about - you guessed it - food. It covers the culinary distinctions throughout geographical regions of the United States, the difficulty of eating healthy in a world of delicious junk food, the conspiracy that lead to the creation of the Chimichanga, the shame at eating at McDonalds without children, and more. This book has it all. I highly recommend this book to anyone and everyone who wants a good laugh.
Reviewer grade: 9
With all that goes on in the world, politically and socially, it is important to seek out resources and educate yourself on the topics you care about. This book was that for me. I like how the author used her credibility as a doctor to share facts about abortion while also opening up a platform for individuals to tell their deeply personal stories. This book is heavy and heartbreaking and empowering. I can't recommend it enough.
When Breath Becomes Air is an autobiographical, nonfiction, story of Paul Kalanithi, a man who has worked his whole life to pursue his dreams. Kalanithi is a top neurosurgeon-neuroscientist a couple years away from graduating medical school. Even before graduating, million dollar offers pour in for Kalanithi to head new, top research facilities. However, disaster strikes: lung cancer. Kalanithi talks about his progression from seeing people in the patient's chair to being the one in the chair. Throughout his journey, Kalanithi informs the reader of the life cycle, the importance of hard work, and most importantly, family and love.
If you're looking to get educated on LGBTQ+ history, this is a great book to try. I loved hearing about some of the most influential figures of the LGBTQ+ movement and their impact on others. They persevered even through backlash from events like the AIDS epidemic and built a community where everyone is welcome to be themselves. Some parts can get slow to read, but the authors use modern language and humor to appeal to a variety of audiences and make history more entertaining. This book is so empowering, give it a try!
This is a compelling story of the popular World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago and the serial killer who took advantage of it. Set in the late 1800's, David Burnham and H. H. Holmes receive equal attention in alternating chapters between the fair's fascinating architecture and the growth of a heartless killer. I liked reading about the trials and errors of the fair and technology in the 19th century. Also, Holmes' terrifyingly calm demeanor added suspense to what would happen to his victims. It is a cool turn-of-the-century book, but the shift between monotone construction and graphic murders was an interesting style that isn't for everyone.
Simply Philosophy is a collection of different ideas and concepts about a ton of topics, also showing different points of view.
This book remains one of my favorites because it takes ideas from famous philosophers in history, and then explains them in ways that are easier to understand. It uses helpful graphics and real-life examples to explain detailed concepts. One of the ideas I liked the most was from René Descartes, explaining why humans can never be sure that anything except their consciousness exists. The book was also very organized, putting similar ideas in the same sections.
I wavered between a 4 and 5 star review here, but my reviews are based on storytelling ability, not necessarily how little I enjoyed hearing about the details of Auschwitz. This author did a fantastic job of telling the stories of nearly 1,000 women while letting some of their personal accounts lead the pace and tone. Though the characters were hard to keep track of at some points, there was constant clarification of individuals to develop empathy for the girls in the Holocaust. There was also some groundbreaking information on the sexist disparities between records of the female experience in Auschwitz- as soon as you think life couldn't have been worse for these prisoners, it is revealed that women were treated the absolute worst. Definitely worth the read if you can stomach the tragedy.
If you have read my first review, then you now that this sequel was a wish come true. I say this because I was so excited to have more stories from James Rallison in the first place, which I did not see coming. I am choosing one story to talk about in this review and that story is the missing mattress. He starts talking about how he isn't the "let me speak to your manager," type. This sets up the story pretty well because it gives that little bit of foreshadowing that makes you want to keep reading. The next thing that happens is that the movers don't bring his mattress from his old apartment to his new house, and they apparently have no idea where it is. He checked his account were all of the pictures of his stuff that needed to be moved had been posted, and lo and behold, his mattress wasn't there. He decided to call customer service and see if his mattress was on his friend's account and the other person on the phone asked him to describe it to confirm it was his. Normally he is an expert at mattress description, but today he was drawing a blank, so he just asked whether or not there were two mattresses in his roommate's account. Sadly he/she, couldn't, "disclose that information." Because of this, he attempted to fairly describe it and they said that they had a mattress that fit the description he gave. They said that they would move it to his account if it was his, but just to be safe, he called his roommate to look at his account and he said it only had one mattress in it, so he assumed they moved his mattress back to his account. He checked his account the next day and, NO MATTRESS. He filled out a missing item form on the website and still 2 days later, no mattress. He was going to have a guest room in his house, so he decided to just buy his guest bed and mattress now. The company finally found his mattress a week later, and he returned with a passport, a suntan, and passable Spanish.
I liked how the author made a sequel because it gave me even more hilarious stories to enjoy before I fell asleep at night. I didn't dislike anything about this book per say, but as I said before, I do wish there were even more stories. When you finish it, it is almost like a disappointment, and you just decide to read it again. I chose this because I had already read, and thoroughly enjoyed, the first one. It wasn't predictable because you can't really predict a book that is full of different stories with each of them having their own little plot. I would recommend this book to anyone who possesses the ability to read and enjoys a good laugh.
Reviewer Grade: 8
Diving straight in, this book isn't a single story. It is actually a collection of stories from James' childhood that are about, of course, "How to be cool and other things that I definitely learned growing up." As to not give too many spoilers, I will only give the premise of one of my favorite stories in the book, Harry the Moth. Harry is a White Lined Sphinx Moth that was hanging out on their porchlight when the door opened, and he was drawn into their house. James and his twin sister Faith find him hanging out on the windowsill, put him in a jar, and they decide to keep him as a pet. Back when James thought his mom had good ideas, he listened to her suggestion that he should take Harry to his kindergarten class so he could be the class pet there. The teacher realized that having a class pet with a lifespan shorter than a year would be a bad idea, so she decided to release him a recess so they all could learn about nature. This was also back when he thought his teacher had good ideas, so they released the moth, and he had a great life left. 10 seconds. Those moths were probably supposed to only come out at night, so it flying around in an open space during the day gave the birds a free excuse to eat it. I guess this story is to show how James learned not to think that his mom and teacher had good ideas and never to release moths during the day. All the stories have little bits of funny wit and irony that make it a good read.
I liked this book because it gave me even more comics and stories from the Youtuber and Cartoonist, James Rallison. The only thing that I didn't like about this book was that it wasn't longer! Every single story in there is so good that when you finish, you just want more. I chose this book because, as I said before, I had seen James' YouTube videos and I wanted to read more of his stories from his childhood. This book wasn't predictable as it didn't have one story to follow so it meant that it took lots of twists and turns that were interesting to read. Based on all of this, I think this is one of the best books that I have read this year and would recommend it to anyone.
Reviewer Grade: 8
The Diary of a Young Girl is a series of diary entries written by Anne Frank, a young girl who recounts her experiences during the Holocaust. Anne writes her experiences using memorable quotes, and even through her tough experiences, still manages to write with a sense of hopeful optimism, and Anne's belief in the world and humanity are both inspiring and tear-jerking. Anne writes in the voice of a young girl but also writes in an astonishingly real and mature way. Reading her diary entries will educate all readers on what it was truly like to live through the Holocaust, and will help those who want to be informed to be more educated on the event. The Diary of a Young Girl carries out the message of hope and teaches readers the horrors of history. All age groups should most definitely read this novel, as it holds majorly valuable lessons and will hopefully teach all audiences not to repeat our past mistakes.
How ‘Bout Them Cowboys is a great sports book. It gives a detailed description into the inner workings of arguably one of the greatest sports franchise’s. This book contains fantastic football stories and interviews with the Cowboys owner, former players, and fans of “America’s Team.” I really enjoyed learning about the history of the Cowboys. And I chose this book because I am a huge football fan. I would recommend this book to any sports fan who wants to learn more about the football business. Throughout this book, I could sense the loyalty and commitment that great players feel to their Dallas Cowboys.
I rate this book five stars. The book is an autobiography written by Shawn Johnson about her experience growing up as a gymnast. Beginning with her experience in school and ending with her experience at the 2008 Olympics, the book is both motivating and inspiring. I can relate to Shawn Johnson in her determination and the in the way she dreams big. I would recommend this book to anyone, and it is in my top ten books of all time.
Born A Crime is the story of comedian Trevor Noah's childhood in South Africa. Each chapter follows a certain theme and features a lesson which Noah learns and takes with him as he grows up. Noah confronts darker, more serious topics with an endearing sense of humor and a resilient perspective, making the autobiography wise, poignant, funny, and heartfelt.
Trevor Noah's mother was the most influential person in his life. Being born to a black mother and white father during South Africa's apartheid, he was a "crime" under the law, but his mother made sure that he still had all the opportunities that other children did, and even more. She gave him knowledge and experiences, taught him how to respect women, and never stopped laughing. As Noah vividly portrays his mother, she comes alive on the pages of his autobiography. His story is also her story--of love, loss, pain, and joy.
This is a book that everyone should read. It speaks to the complexity of racism and its lasting consequences, but it is also entertaining and engaging. Noah tells stories of sadness and hardship alongside funny anecdotes that will make readers laugh out loud.
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, written by Rebecca Skloot, is a book detailing the life of Henrietta Lacks. Henrietta Lacks unknowingly donated her cells to one of the most important fields of research, cancer cures. Her tumor cells, also known as “HeLa”, are extraordinary in that they replicate fast enough to create a whole new human in under 48 hours. This book is fascinating in more than one way: it explores the history of her and her cells, and it explores some gray areas in rights to cells and parts of dead entities. Instead of focusing just on one topic and one family, it expands to include many that have had to deal with bio material rights. I personally found this an interesting but slightly disturbing read. I recommend reading this one to learn about the history of cell rights and their gray areas.
"Free Lunch" by Rex Ogle was one of the best books I've read all year. A true story, this book follows a 6th grade boy living in poverty. Both his mom and dad are unemployed, and he is forced to babysit his two-year-old brother, rather than hang out with friends. He doesn't even have time to complete his homework. Rex is determined to succeed, but struggles to focus in class because of his constant hunger - all his family can afford us cheap junk food. I liked his character development throughout the story, and how he gradually grew to be a better and more mature person. I'd recommend this for anyone interested in nonfiction and coming-of-age stories. It's a fairly easy read with simple language, best for younger tweens and teens. Just a warning, though: the story deals with heavy topics which may be triggering to some, so if you are sensitive to this sort of material, it might be best to avoid.
Reviewer's Grade: 8
I Am Malala is a moving story about a young girl and how she not only fought death from a bullet, but also fought for her rights to education. The main character in our story, Malala, was a strong young girl who stood up for herself and fought for her rights to education, and many other rights for women and girls. In 2012, Malala was shot point-blank on her head on her way back from school, and somehow survived. Even after almost dying, she continued to spread her message of hope, truth, and miracles, and even became the youngest person ever to earn a Nobel Peace Prize. I loved this book because Malala's words and actions were very inspirational, especially for a young women, and made anyone feel that if they try hard enough and stand their ground, they can inspire thousands. If I were to give this book a grade out of 10, I would give it a 10/10.
Unbroken (teen version) is a well crafted biography written by Laura Hillenbrand. Unbroken tells the story of Louie Zamperini, an Olympian and bombardier of World War II. Louie was mischievous and trouble-making as a young boy until his older brother, Pete, introduced him to running. As Pete urged Louie into the sport of running, Louie began to desert his old ways and commit himself to running. Louie soon was at the top of his school in running, setting new records and winning numerous races. Louie’s skill carried him all the way to the 1936 Berlin Olympics. Reaching the strongest point of his life, Louie hoped to travel to Tokyo for the following Olympic games. Unfortunately, terror came and his dreams were to be put on hold. World War II struck, causing Louie to enter into the Army Air Forces as a bombardier. Louie and his team of airmen faced many near death experiences. Although these were blood-curdling situations, none would compare to what Louie was soon to face. On a rescue mission in May of 1943, Louie’s plane crashed. The crash led to a terrifying and unfathomable journey on which Louie survived life on a raft and the wrath of Japanese guards of the POW camp he resided at. Louie went through incomprehensible pain from being beaten by his captors, having to perform forced labor, going through starvation, and constantly battling a sickness. He was also robbed of his self-esteem and was treated like he was worthless. Consequently, Louie’s story is breathtaking and intriguing. Unbroken provides insight on the torturous lives of POW during WWII and the determination and perseverance of many during WWII.
I highly recommend this book to anyone who is a WWII buff, history lover, or is in search of a thrilling and breathtaking story. I enjoyed it because I am interested in learning about World War II and I found the book to be moving. Unbroken is fascinating and is not dull or boring. The book will leave you wanting more and you will find it hard to put it down. However, I found the beginning part to be a bit uninteresting and tedious, as it told about the planes and equipment for World War II. Once that part is over, though, the book is quite exhilarating. I would caution that younger children should not read the book, as there are some graphic and gruesome scenes of how the POWs were treated. I would suggest the book for teens between the ages of 13-16, since there is an adult version of the book for those older than these ages.
Unbroken is one of my favorite books, and anyone who is interested in history or is seeking an electrifying story should read it.
The book The Glass Castle is an autobiography by Jeanette Walls, going through her hectic life and how she handled everything. I liked this book, but it's about a really sensitive topic, and it could go through a lot of overwhelming and gross details towards the middle of the book, so I recommend for more sensitive readers not to read this. I picked this book because I saw that we had to read it in school, so of course, I wanted a little peek of what it was about. The start of the book was more calm, but readers could start to tell that her family isn't the way it's supposed to be. Throughout the book, there will be a lot of surprising and unexpected events, most not very wanted. I wouldn't say I "enjoyed" the book because that would sound wrong, but I felt the need to keep reading, seeing what happens next. I feel like a lot of students could relate to Jeanette. Maybe our conditions might not be as bad as hers, but readers could feel luckier and safe to be living a better life. But overall, I do recommend this book to less sensitive readers.
Reviewer Grade: 10