The Book Thief starts in January 1939, in Nazi Germany. The main character, Liesel, was traveling on a train with her mother and brother when her brother suddenly dies. Liesel was only nine at the time, and the wound that was inflicted then, she would bear forever. At her brother's burial site, she stole a book for the first time, earning her the name "The Book Thief". Her story is told from the perspective of Death, who is depicted as an immortal being with feelings and a heart.
Liesel then traveled to Himmel Street, where she lived with her foster parents for the remainder of the book. Liesel made new friends, finds a family, and overcomes the grief caused by her brother's passing there. But most importantly, she discovered the power and impact of words there. The power of words is the central theme or message of The Book Thief.
Throughout the book, Liesel steals more books and becomes braver and more mature. Initially, she was a child who didn't know about all the beauty and ugliness in the world. But as the plot developed, she experienced more of the brutality of WW2 and found her role in her community. After she learned to read, she started to spread the love that was caused by words to her neighbors, by reading out loud during air raids. She also learned to love and understand people better.
The author, Markus Zusak, used the symbolism of colors to illustrate a picture of the world that Liesel lived in. For example, when Death described a scene, the sky was always a different color or texture. When describing a bloody battlefield, the sky was described as plasticky, to show the stillness and emptiness that was caused by the death of soldiers.
I highly recommend this book to readers looking for a thought-provoking and intense book. Liesel's and the other characters' lives were presented in a very relatable way, which will make readers question their own attitudes on life and the world.
This book was alright. I had to read this for school once and actually quite enjoyed it. This is a great book for anyone who likes quick mystery reads. The plot is one that makes the reader want to continue reading! The book is about a mysterious doctor named Dr. Jekyll. Jekyll is a well respected man but awfully strange. If this sounds interesting I suggest reading it! Yes, it wasn’t my favorite, but I enjoyed the mysterious plot.
The story of Win and Loss, one of Ernest Hemingway’s most famous works, The Old Man and the Sea introduces us to a fisherman Santiago. He is old, but he has determination and a goal. He wants to catch his Big Fish. He does not give up even after eighty four days of failure and on the eighty-fifth day luck finally smiles at him. Big Fish is on the hook. Three days of confrontation between the fishermen and the fish reveal Santiago’s incredible inner strength and will power. But when he finally comes back to his hut, exhausted and barely alive, he’s left only with a skeleton of his dream and a poor illusion of a better life.
The deep symbols that the story contains can be interpreted in many different ways. Some of the readers may find the old man’s hunt as a waste of effort on a goal that is not worth risking his life. Others, however, will discover Santiago as their role model and an example of undefeatable human nature and endurance on the way to the dream. But this controversy and ambiguity is exactly what makes the book so unique and attractive to the generations of readers.
The language of the novella is typical for all Hemingway's books, simple and straightforward, however, this time the symbolic meaning is hidden under the coat of realistic story. It encourages the reader to think and reflect on the pages that he’s read and on his own life as well and find his own interpretation of the fisherman’s story.
If you are looking forward to diving into the fascinating world of dwarves, wizards and elves and feel ready to fight evil wolves, man-eating trolls and a fire-breathing dragon Smaug, then The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien is definitely for you. A warm children’s fantasy novel, which, however, will captivate the hearts of many adults, takes you to the atmosphere of fairy tales that you were listening to by the fireplace as a kid.
The main character, hobbit Bilbo, at first reminds us of ourselves. He, as all the hobbits are supposed to do, loves eating good food, spending time at home and making their houses cute and cozy. However, his routine crashed as a dropped pot, when a wizard Gendalf knocked at his door. Welcoming him inside, Bilbo could not even imagine that soon he would go on a true adventure all the way to the Lonely Mountain and save an ancient treasure from the claws of a furious dragon. On his way he will meet many different creatures, make friends and enemies, defeat mountain trolls, get captured by giant spiders, get into another captivity right after that, outplay Gollum in the caves and get the magical ring. But what is more important, Bilbo will turn into a brave warrior (what a shame for the entire generations of hobbits!) and a loyal companion.
The author's writing style and original universe makes it impossible to stay indifferent to the story. Kind and soft narration wraps you as an old blanket and keeps you cozy even in the coldest evenings. Younger readers, as well as their parents, will find many life lessons on the pages of The Hobbit, such as why it is important to make smart choices, appreciate your friendships and be ready to help those who are in trouble. The book is an awesome pick for both family time and independent reading.
Medea by Euripides is a play about a princess in Greek mythology. She is betrayed by her husband when he weds another woman and Medea vows to take revenge. She plans to hurt everyone who hurt her, but by doing this she puts people who did her no wrong at risk. Will she end up getting revenge and living out her days or will she join the same fate that she curses down upon? I recommend this book to anybody who is into Greek mythology or would like to get into it. This is a fast read of about 50 pages.
Oedipus the King by Sophocles is a Greek play that follows the tragedy and downfall of this King. He is presented by a messenger that a disease has spread across his land and he needs to save his people. He sets out in search of this issue, but slowly comes to the realization that this something is a someone within his borders. What if this someone who needs to be eradicated is one who governs it? I would recommend this book to anybody who likes Greek mythology or the adventure genre.
The Awakening by Kate Chopin is a fictional novel that questions what it is to be an independent woman in a male dominant society. Edna lives in the Creole society in New Orleans that values the idea of women being a housewife. Edna strays away from this ideal and attempts to break the boundaries of what women think and can do. Is Edna strong enough to break these barriers or will the barriers break her? I recommend this novel to anybody who loves twists and turns and what it truly means to be independent.
I chose this book because I had watched the movie and was curious as to how the book was in comparison. I found that both were great overall and I don't dislike one more than the other, but the book felt more mature than the movie. Overall I really did enjoy this book, the detail in the book was a great touch, as well as was relatable. Personally, I felt a connection to some of the characters having to leave for college and trying to get the best possible score on the SAT. There is only one thing I did not enjoy about this book though, which is that there is a lot of smoking. The smoking feels a bit excessive, especially when the book follows a freshman in high school, so the amount of smoking I feel like does not portray a true aspect of what that would look like in real life. I would recommend this book to an upper teenage audience since there are mature topics such as brief sexual scenes and smoking. I gave this book 4 stars since I felt like it was very well written and an enjoyable book to read; the deduction of one star was due to the portrayal of smoking. This is honestly a great read that I personally love, I would definitely recommend it!
The Things They Carried is an interesting narrative about a group of soldiers as they navigate the horrors of the Vietnam War. Each chapter is fairly short and tends to have a lot of action or interesting commentary, so it was pretty engaging. What I didn't love, though, was the author's combination of realism and fiction. He used his own name as the main character, but experienced fake scenarios with people who never existed. It was sometimes frustrating, not knowing what was real or not. O'Brien was a soldier in the war, but he said that fictional war stories are a way for him to convey important messages of courage without reliving the trauma of his actual experiences. This is a unique genre, so it's worth a try if you like realistic fiction.
Ten strangers are mysteriously summoned to an isolated island... where murder awaits. Agatha Christie crafted an intricate web of betrayal and suspense, a must-read for any avid bookworm. This read was completely unpredictable - everyone was a suspect until the final, jaw-dropping reveal. The setup, the characters, and the gripping plot made this the best murder mystery I have read in years. With its trademark twists and a chilling ending, no one should miss out on the masterpiece of And Then There Were None.
This book was a fascinating piece of literature. The author described war in more of a psychological format, as in the effect of war upon the mind, then a physical format. It reminded me of Robert A. Heinlein's Starship Troopers in its attention to the mind of a soldier. Many Civil War veterans would get a shock meeting Mr. Crane because they thought he had been in the Civil War when he hadn't. It was interesting how Crane referred to the main character, Henry Fleming, as "the youth". He uses similar naming for the other characters, like "the tall soldier," and "the friend." I enjoyed the book, and I'm impressed at how Crane, according to actual soldiers, so acutely described war on a minute-to-minute basis, when at the time of writing, he hadn't ever been in battle. This book almost felt like an experiment of Crane's, like he was just exploring new ideas. The result was international fame and a famous landmark of American fiction.
Reviewer Grade: 9
Thankfully, the older language in A Tale of Two Cities is slightly more manageable to read than other classics, so I was able to enjoy it. The story is about a young woman named Lucie and her father, Dr. Alexandre Manette, who had been smuggled out of prison and struggled with PTSD. Lucie is able to rehabilitate him and she falls in love with a young man named Charles. However, the last quarter of the book is a whirlwind as the characters discover one major factor: Charles may be involved with Dr. Manette's unrightful imprisonment. Each character is well-rounded and very practical under the gruesome circumstances of the French Revolution, though social norms of the time period still painted Lucie as incapable regardless of her courage in healing her father and coping with court troubles. The unexpected ending was my favorite, and is still memorable long after finishing the book. Despite the intimidating factor of the publication date, still give this book a try.
The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis is a novel told in correspondence. Specifically, letters back and forth between a demon called Screwtape and his nephew Wormwood. These demons write to one another about all sorts of things, as families do, but mainly the humans. In this book, humans are the occupation of demons. Keeping them distracted, discontent, and leading them to misery is a merit of any accomplished demon. Readers will enjoy Wormwood's questions of "why must we do this?" or "is there a better way?" as he struggles with his mission to lead humans astray. Screwtape and Wormwood discuss many relevant issues of our own time, and the subject of spiritual warfare is present throughout. The Screwtape Letters is highly recommended for fans of Lewis as an introduction to more serious work or works on theology.
The Great Divorce by C.S. Lewis is a metaphysical novel following a bus tour through the afterlife. Strangers embark on wild journey through Heaven, Hell, and everything in between. As the story unfolds, characters realize every choice they make has a consequence, and their eternal destinies await them. Lewis speaks to universal experiences of grief, loneliness, and tragedy; his characters' stories are slowly told throughout the novel. Readers will enjoy the characters with varying backstories, explaining why they got on the bus tour. Follow humanity and hope unveiled in The Great Divorce. Next Stop: your bookshelf!
I first read this book when I was much younger and have read it many times since then, yet not in recent years. I just finished reading it once again about a month ago. Just like when I read the Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe for the very first time there was so much magic and wonder that engulfed me once more, and will again many times more.
It begins during the Blitz in 1940 with a family of four kids, Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy. They, like many other children during this time, go to the countryside of England to escape the war and be safe. Yet their time in the countryside will be much different than any of the other children’s. They arrive at this mansion owned by a professor, who has a housekeeper that doesn’t want children there and makes sure that they don’t touch anything. The four children don’t want to leave their family and their home in London, but the homesickness fades away quickly once they start to have fun in the house and find a world of magic and endless possibilities. Lucy, the youngest of the four, finds a wardrobe hidden away in a spare room in the house, in it are a bunch of fur coats. She makes her way through with her eyes closed as the soft fur rubs against her cheeks when she suddenly feels something prickly and cold. She finds herself in a wood in the middle of winter and a faint light in the distance, the light coming from a singular light post in the middle of nowhere and nothing to power it. Here she meets Mr. Tumnus, a faun, who invites her for tea and cakes. She spends hours with him and learns about the land she is in, Narnia which is in a 100-year winter, and that she is the first human in this strange land in a long time, as well as that there is a witch, the White Witch, who has enslaved all of Narnia. When she returned she had been gone for hours, yet to her siblings, it was mere seconds, they didn’t believe her and when they went to check the wardrobe there was no wood. Edmund was especially mean about it but followed her in the middle of the night and found himself in the middle of the same forest she described and Edmund met the White Witch. One day all four children were rushed into the wardrobe as the housekeeper gave tours of the house since it had many relics, and they found themselves all in Narnia, not at all ready for the adventure ahead of them.
This magical place and book always make me feel like I was there with Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy, as they had their adventures. The magic that C. S. Lewis was able to resonate with me every day as I too looked for a magical portal to a world unknown. This book is so enveloping as you read and finish it, it stays with you for years, making you think in ways you never thought of before. This book is an amazing book for anyone looking for an amazing fantasy book or a book that every time you read it you see something new.
Reviewer Grade: 12
The Count of Monte Cristo serves as a literary masterpiece in both its prose and its raw images of humanity. Following Edmond Dantés on a journey of injustice, desperation, vengeance, success, readers are immersed in over a thousand pages of story about morality and the human experience. Through the chronicles of Dantés, his ruses, and his eventual persona, the Count of Monte Cristo, readers are able to explore France high society during the Napoleonic Wars, but also the injustices within the lower classes, and stories from everyday life of prisoners, laborers, and those outside of the elite. At its core, it's a book of adventure and romance, but the adventure is not without purpose. The manipulation, disappointment, and pure emotion are the driving forces of each character, and what makes the book such a special read.
The BFG is the type of book you read once and continue to read over and over again. Personally, I have read this book several times all the way from elementary school to high school, and has remained one of my favorites to this very day (for more context I first read this book in school). From the crazy word concepts to the illustrations, this book keeps you interested with every page. I recommend this book to those in grade school and above; the language is easy to read as it tells the story from the viewpoint of a young girl. There isn't much I could say I disliked about this book, the end of the story was very heartwarming while the book kept you on you're toes all throughout. Fair warning, a frequent scene in this book is giants eating children, so if you are reading this to someone younger who may be scared easily, I would take that into consideration (in clarification the scenes are NOT graphic and are kid-friendly). It was an exciting read, and the illustrations do a great job at giving your mind something to picture as you read along throughout the book. The book isn't too long itself but I feel like it suits the storyline well. I gave this book 5 stars for several reasons, but the main idea is that: it's very well written and illustrated, a good read for young ages and above, and it is genuinely a very good book.
Crime and Punishment is a novel like no other. Set in Russia in the mid-1800s, Crime and Punishment watches the mental anguish suffered by a poor man forced to turn to murder in order to survive. The work has been cemented as one of the greatest pieces of psychological writing of all time and for good reason. Raskolnikov is a deeply tortured protagonist, and Dostoevsky brutally captures his emotions, fears, and motivations throughout the novel. As other characters with conflicting motivations threaten Raskolnikov's plans and schemes, his stress only becomes more powerful.
Crime and Punishment is not an easy novel by any means. The writing style is fairly archaic, and conversations can run on for what feels like forever. However, the story is so well thought out and executed that it deserves a read from anyone interested in psychology, literature, or even acting (the story serves as an excellent example of a character study from which one can take notes). Do not expect light reading or a feel-good story, as this book will take the reader into the desperation and pain experienced by the protagonist.
Crime and Punishment is one of the best novels of all time, and although it is a challenge to read, it is absolutely worth it for its views on society and man's mental state. If this review has sounded interesting to you, do yourself a favor and check it out today.
Sense and Sensibility follows two sisters, Marianne and Elinor, who have been left destitute following their father's death. Marianne is an impulsive romantic who chases love wherever it will lead her. Elinor is logical and socially conscious, and hides her turbulent emotions even from those closest to her. Together, the two of them will survive scandal, family drama, and first loves in an attempt to find the prized middle ground between passionate expression and silent intelligence.
This is not the best Jane Austen novel. I've only read about one and a half of her other works, but I can guarantee anyone that this is not the best Jane Austen novel. My main problem with this work is that it has all the drawbacks of a Jane Austen classic (slow pace, meandering conversations, way too many characters) with none of the expected romantic investment.
There's still a lot of great stuff about this book. The best thing for me was the main character, Elinor. Elinor is the character through which we sees the story, which has a lot of benefits. It makes her sister's antics more endearing and impactful. It makes her romantic situation more sympathetic, which it needs. It also makes the book much more interesting, because Elinor is an amazing character! She's funny in the best, most sarcastic way possible. She's observant and intelligent, so its great to watch how her mind works. She deeply loves the people around her, and gives everyone new dimensions. She is what makes this book special. The other benefits, I'd say, is the general humor in the writing, the drama of the story, and the sustained level of tension.
The thing I don't like about this romance novel is that it doesn't do what its supposed to do: create a compelling romance. Both sisters have romances that both end somewhat in tragedy, which is supposed to be very sad and moving. This works a pretty well with Marianne, since her situation involved a lot of deceit and drama that was very fun to read. It does not work at all with Elinor. Elinor's love interest is present for very little of the novel, and is so boring that I already forgot his name for this review and wouldn't have remembered it while reading the book if Elinor didn't think about him so often. And she does think about him a lot, which doesn't make sense to the audience, since he's offered so little of himself as a character to be a compelling love interest. This wouldn't be as big of a problem if romance wasn't the central pivot of the book, but as it stands it's distracting to see the intelligent, charismatic lead longing after someone the audience couldn't care about less.
All in all, this book is still very good, and worth a read! I'd recommend this to anyone who likes regency romance, interesting female lead characters, moving emotion, and lots of drama!
Reviewer Grade: 12
Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury is a dystopian novel written in 1953. Although some of the concepts and references are harder to understand due to when the story is written, it still holds many good messages relevant today. In this novel, books are banned, and firefighters burn houses with books inside instead of saving them. They are the protectors of happiness because books make people unhappy. Fahrenheit 451 follows a fireman, Guy Montag, as he starts asking questions about his job and society. This novel has many hidden meanings and is worth the time to read. The author does a beautiful job of keeping the writing and concepts simple enough for younger audiences. Overall, I would give it a five out of five stars.