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Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Hannigan's Honors English Two Summer Reading Discussion

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Honors students desiring credit for doing their summer reading assignment should leave at least three substantial comments in the comments area below. Two of the comments should be about the book you read and one should be in response to someone else's comment about a book you did not read. The comments should highlight your understanding of the books (through the other reader in the book you did not read) and inspire confidence in the teachers that you did, indeed, read these books. Unconvincing commentary will receive no credit.

Comments

The Professor and the Madman, by Simon Winchester, was interesting to read but a little creepy at times. It always got me wondering what would happen next though.

Posted by Mikaila Gutierrez at Wednesday, August 28, 2013 14:12:42

The Garcia Girls, by Julia Alvarez, was a book I could relate too. About ethnicity and the hardships of being a girl adjusting to moving to the states. Probably my favorite book I read this summer.

Posted by Mikaila Gutierrez at Wednesday, August 28, 2013 14:15:20

Into the Forest, by Jean Hegland was a moving book. While reading it,I was absorbed into the lives of the two girls, but I couldn't help thinking about my own life. If the world did end up like there's, I wouldn't know what to do with myself. I'm a wasteful person, but after reading this, I've felt more thankful for everything that I have. The ending did leave me with an empty feeling, they go into the forest, and then what? The ending just leaves it up to the readers imagination, but I really find no fun in that. Overall, this book was is now one of my favorites books of all time. At the end of the book, I felt like I was best friends with Nell. And although she is a fictional character, watching her grow from a scared, panicking child to a confident and heroic women was one of my best experiences this summer.

Posted by Aiko Pasion at Wednesday, August 28, 2013 16:09:42

In the book How the Garcia Girls Lost their Accents by Julia Alverz, four girls develop an issue of learning their customs, traditions, and how women are suppose to act in their native land, in order to fit into their cultural society.

Posted by Rudra Gandhi at Wednesday, August 28, 2013 16:12:10

“The moving moon, full, gibbous, or crescent-shaped, shone at last for the navigators of the eighteenth century like a luminous hand on the clock of the heaven. The broad expanse of sky served as a dial for this celestial clock, while the sun, the planets, and the stars painted the numbers on its face.” (Sobel 88)
The passage above is from the book Longitude by Dava Sobel. In between these lines it tells what John Harrison feels when he sees the stars and the moving moon. He feels as if he’s found the solution to his problem. Where he sees everything on the moons face. What pulled me into this passage were the similes, metaphors and the comparison of the moon and the hand on the clock of heaven.

Posted by Rudra Gandhi at Wednesday, August 28, 2013 16:14:01

The Rape of Nanking, by Iris Chang. This book was
interesting and informing; interesting because it
told stories of some of the Nanking massacre victims
and what they went through at the time: their wifes
and children being taken away from them and the woman including children were raped,beaten,kidnapped,and every sold into the Sex slave trade and some girls were as young as 10! Informing because it tells that the Japanese all throughout history have taught their students that China had attacked Japan first, but it was actually the other way around and when the Chinese heard they became furious. To this day many Chinese still have hate in their heart because they never learn to forgive the Japanese. I could relate to this book because the Chinese had gotten taken advantage of and because I am such a nice person, a lot of people like to take my kindness for weakness and try to get over, but I am someone who doesn't let others stomp all over them, I like to stand up for myself.

Posted by Janessa Broadnax at Wednesday, August 28, 2013 16:18:45

The Rape of Nanking, by Iris Chang, was a very gruesome and horrifying book. Especially the pictures. However it did open my eyes to how under educated I am about the world. I didn't know that any of this happened before I read this book. I'm happy that I read it, because it really opened my eyes to things. I was sicked by the Japanese and their actions. Killing people with dogs, killing people for sport. Raping and murdering thousands of innocent civilians. But the book also shows that there were people there to help them, like John Rabe and the rest of the people in the Saftey Zone. Early in the book, while I was reading about the various ways the civilians were captured, I wondered about what it took to dehumanize someone so much that they weren't ashamed at what they were doing. But after reading about how the Japanese army was treated by their superiors, I did feel a LITTLE sympathy for them. They had an outlet to release their anger, so I could understand that. What I couldn't understand, is how the could take it far enough to be able to rape women, in age groups varying to 10-80. In the end, I can't say i enjoyed this book for it's content, but it did open my eyes to how blind I was to the world, and how horrifying wars can become.

Posted by Aiko Pasion at Wednesday, August 28, 2013 16:36:43

The Rape of Nanking, by Iris Chang is a revelation book of sorts. It talks about a greatly overlooked injustice done by the Japanese during war time. Much of the crimes committed were sadistic in nature where it seems that the Japanese army would torture a man just for sport. This book shows three opinions, the torturer,the victim, and a witness. Part of it reasons that the Japanese army had struggled for so long with little success and in their frustration they lashed out in horrible ways such as rape and torture. Another part shows the constant fear of being raped,tortured, and killed. In my opinion this book could be very important in recording the atrocious event long overlooked but being half Japanese myself, much of this book was hard to read. One of the hardest things that I thought of when reading this book was the fact that it was true. In a fiction book i could possibly brush it off since it isn't real but the fact is that it did actually happened. One of the reason I chose this book was i wanted to know the truth about what happened and all the actions done by the Japanese. I find it sickening that so many Japanese soldiers tortured and raped many innocent people with no remorse. I for one am ashamed of and for those soldiers who committed the acts. To reiterate what Aiko Pasion mentioned about how horrific wars can become, the acts mentioned in this book bring a whole new reality to my perception of war.

Posted by Kristi Yanagihara at Wednesday, August 28, 2013 17:53:44

Memoirs of a Geisha, written by Arthur Golden, is the story of a girl named Chiyo (later known as Sayuri), who strives to become a geisha. This book really dives deep into the psyche of what a geisha would probably think in her years of becoming a geisha. Chiyo would often get into trouble, but it wouldn't stop her in her quest to become one. After living in an okiya, a home for geishas, for quite a while, Chiyo finally graduates from apprentice and becomes a geisha, with her new name Sayuri. From then on, Sayuri talks about her new life as a geisha. It's very interesting to hear about how geishas live, as well as learn a couple Japanese words while reading it. The book as a whole was very entertaining to read, and for those who don't like to read, you can always watch the movie.

Posted by Matthew Young at Wednesday, August 28, 2013 18:07:59

In the book Days of Obligation, by Richard Rodriguez a man had hoped to unite the cultures of California and Mexico together. But that hope had long faded and now he must decide where his loyalty is dedicated to. He had saw California with much optimism compared to the rough lands of Mexico. This book did great on describing how the main character saw California and Mexico. I enjoyed reading this book over the summer.

Posted by Kevin Khau at Wednesday, August 28, 2013 18:09:58

The Rape of Nanking by Iris Chang is a book I am glad I read. Although at first I could barely stand to read more than a few chapters at a time because it was so heartbreaking to read about the torture and traumatizing experiences the Chinese went through, I still found this book intriguing and wanted to read on. I am astonished at how I have never been aware of this before. I never learned about it in class which shocked me while I was reading it. It talks about how the Japanese army had made a game out of killing and raping and brutally torturing innocent Chinese of all ages, from babies to elders. I don't believe something like that can just be ignored by the world and I wish everyone could read about this to learn about what happened. So even though the whole story pretty much sickened me, I believe that the book was a good lesson.

Posted by Prianka Daud at Wednesday, August 28, 2013 18:11:00

Gun, germs, and steel had a interesting title. Just looking at it I thought it was about war, and I was partially right. However it also focus on the warfare that was done unknowingly. It also showed why Eurasia had a huge advantage from the start: with more livestock and other living advantages.

I found the characters in Don Quixote very believable and detailed. I felt that there was a lot of lying going on throughout the different parties. I almost cried when Don died. I found my mind changing throughout the whole story.

I'm starting to wish I read the Rape of Nanking instead, not because the idea is nice, but because I don't want to be ignorant of the calamities, both personal and major.

Posted by I'm Travis Garcia at Wednesday, August 28, 2013 18:14:20

The Rape of Nanking, written by Iris Chang, is a book retelling the gruesome acts that the Japanese did during Second Sino-Japanese War. I, myself, am not much of a gore person, but reading this book made me realize that not everyone is as nice to their prisoners as I would be. I'm not sure if it's bloodlust or what, but the Japanese did some really messed up things to the Chinese after they captured their city Nanking. Since I'm part Chinese, I start to really feel bad for my people. The Japanese would torture, burn alive, and kill most of the prisoners that they had. And for the women, they raped them and did all kinds of sadistic things to them. It's scary to think that that's how the world was back then. Unforgiving and cruel. Thankfully, there was the Nanking Safety Zone that Chinese refugees could live in. It fills me with hope knowing that the Americans and Europeans risked their lives to make it happen.

Posted by Matthew Young at Wednesday, August 28, 2013 18:20:41

Guns, Germs, and Steel, by Jared Diamond is a book that describes human history from when humans were hunter-gatherers to the 1800s. It tells about the roots of Guns, Germs and Steel to the spread of food production to the history of many societies. It also describes the evolution of technology, writing and, government/religion over the years. Overall, this book was kinda boring, but had some things that were pretty interesting to me. In the end I wasn't too interest, but I got to learn how things came to be.

Posted by Kevin Khau at Wednesday, August 28, 2013 18:23:31

In response to Kevin's reading of Days of Obligation, it must be hard choosing between two things like that. I probably couldn't choose because to pick one side would mean that you'd lose the other. And I can't deal with stress like that. I want to be able to choose both sides, without any consequences. However, I know that can't always be the case.

Posted by Matthew Young at Wednesday, August 28, 2013 18:23:51

I'm regretting that I didn't decide to read The Rape of Nanking, not because its cruel. I want to know about the tragedy that occurred and the aftermath of it.

Posted by Kevin Khau at Wednesday, August 28, 2013 18:31:07

The Rape of Nanking by Iris Chang is an interesting book, no doubt. Iris Chang talked about how the Chinese were brutally raped, murdered, and even mutilated. She talked about how the Japanese even made games about killing them. For example, how many men they could decapitate in a certain amount of time, was a way to entertain themselves. When the Japanese got bored, they would even just kill innocent people. It's sickening to even think that the Japanese probably didn't even think of the Chinese as humans at all. I understand that they thought of the Chinese as the enemy and that they thought lower of them, but did not even one thought come across their mind that maybe what they were doing was wrong? Even if this was a while back, I think that some morals are even just instinct.

Posted by Tara Tomas at Wednesday, August 28, 2013 18:32:01

Longitude, by Dava Sobel is a book about how scholars who studied the ways of longitude and how it works to perceive accurate time from different places on the globe determined by longitude. In the United Kingdom of 1714, there was the "Longitude Act", a prize money to whoever solves the longitude problem of finding the pricise determination of a ship's longitude. John Harrison invented the marine chronometer which is used to determine different times on the clock as it adjusts to longitude around the globe. Therefore, making it perfect for him to receive the longitude prize. The Board of Longitude decided to give half the prize money to him. Harrison was shocked and mad. Honestly, I would be really mad also. In addition, the Board of Longitude ordered Larcum Kendall to copy his creation of H-4 to make K-1. I am glad congress made copy right laws in America. I am pretty sympathetic to John Harrison's work because he made the world function easier. Overall, this book was very interesting to read because I learned a lot about how real clocks actually function with the earth's longitude. To add on to what Kristi Yanagihara talked about the Japanese army's brutality, I have watched some Kung Fu movies before and I saw the Japanese armies torture Chinese families. It was just sad.

Posted by Isaiah Jenkins(Period 6) at Wednesday, August 28, 2013 19:22:59

October Sky, written and narrated by Homer Hickam, tells of a personal account of the adventures of the Rocket Boys of Coalwood Virginia. The story inspired me very much, how Hickam and his friends who make up the bulk of the term Rocket Boys overcame obstacles in their way, such as struggling to make their home-made rockets practical in comparison to real rockets launched by professionals. The book interested me very much, as I could relate to certain parts. In particular, I found it very connecting when they used the scientific process of test and failures to determine what would be the most effective modifications on their rockets. I also really liked the point Quentin, their "scientist", made when he told Hickam not to make too many adjustments at once, otherwise they wouldn't know what made the rocket fly. Overall, I really enjoyed the book and am glad to have read it.

Posted by Stanley Hsu at Wednesday, August 28, 2013 19:31:07

Longitude by Dava Sobel was a very interesting book, written more savory than most straight up history textbooks. I liked how Sobel explained the different approaches to solving the problem of longitude, starting off with how a clock was the right approach, then going on about other different approaches such as astronomy, and ultimately ending with stating that a clock was the answer (or I should say, chronometer). The struggles of John Harrison (the inventor of the chronometer) and his watch intrigued me; how could a watch capable of withstanding changing temperatures and rocking wave motions not win the award for finding longitude? Dava Sobel answered this question when she talked about astronomical favoritism by the directors of the board of longitude, who were the judges of what is the most practical way of finding ones longitude at sea. It comes pretty obvious to me that a clock is more simpler and efficient than making astronomical calculations on a rocking boat in cloudy weather, but nonetheless, the race to finding longitude was worth the read.

Posted by Stanley Hsu at Wednesday, August 28, 2013 19:53:56

American gods is an epic tale about recently released convict named Shadow. He gets a job offer from a mysterious man who goes by the named of Wednesday. He learns that the world he once knew is filled with the gods and legends of old, who feed on the belief and worship of their followers. Shadow finds out that Wednesday is trying to gather the gods, who came to America through immigrants flooding from every corner of the earth, to fight the new man-made gods of the modern age. These gods get their power from the American addiction to the media the internet. Reading American Gods was like forgetting to tighten the bar that holds you from falling on a roller coaster. I was unprepared for the shocking twists that American Gods has in abundance. I really enjoyed reading about the small towns forgotten of America while following Shadow's journey, they really round out perspective of the reader. I'm happy that I read this book because of its deep insight on the things that Americans today uphold the most and the questions it raises on religion today.

Posted by Nathaniel Austria at Wednesday, August 28, 2013 20:02:07

October Sky is a historical fiction that captures the coming-of-age of an ambitious Homer Hickam. In a coal mining town in West Virginia, he and his rag-tag group of friends try to aim for outer space by building rockets. Inspired by the launching of Sputnik, Homer's "rocket boys" look for a way to find their own way out of Coalwood, by learning how to transform scraps of the metal left by the mines into meticulous works of physics. Together, with the eventually support of Coalwood, they learn that they can truly aim for the stars. As I read October Sky, I found myself compelled to root for these underdogs. As a teenager I had to connect to the many conflicts that Homer along we his friends had such as not fitting in, disagreeing with your parents opinions, his awkwardness around girls and feeling like your future is some kind of inescapable nightmare. I also admired the dedication Coalwood had to its youth. There are many instances in October Sky where we see an older member of Coalwood, whether it be a veteran steel cutter or a science teacher go through obstacles to help Homer and his friends.

Posted by Nathaniel Austria at Wednesday, August 28, 2013 20:02:49

In the book Memoirs of a Geisha, I felt that the main character's ,Sayuri, journey to becoming a geisha is something most people in the modern era could not relate to. But her transition into adulthood is some many could relate to such as going to school and striving towards a dream.So I found it quite enjoyable to read because it tells me that even people with totally different lives can have similar experiences.

Posted by Hmwe Thinn at Wednesday, August 28, 2013 20:10:39

In response to Kevin's comment on Germs, Guns and Steel, I'd like to know about how Germs Guns and Steel would differ from what the kind of information students would find in a history textbook. It also makes me wonder about the what kind of effects history has for today.

Posted by Nathaniel Austria at Wednesday, August 28, 2013 20:14:41

Well in reponse to the comment about novel The Professor and the MMadman it mad me think of the story of Dr.Jekel and Mr. Hyde. Considering that Dr. Jekel was a Professor in his own way and Mr.Hyde was a madman.

Posted by Hmwe Thinn at Wednesday, August 28, 2013 20:15:33

In response to Tara's comment on The Rape of Nanking, I can understand what you are feeling when reading about human beings doing animal/un-human like things. I remember back last year in Asian American Studies when we were told about the horrible things that were afflicted to Asians (such as rape, slander, and inequality) by either other Asians and/or Europeans, and I felt half horrified, half angry. How could anyone allow things like that to happen? I should have probably read The Rape of Nanking, but I wouldn't enjoy having to experience those kinds of feelings again.

Posted by Stanley Hsu at Wednesday, August 28, 2013 20:17:10

Profiles in Courage, by John F. Kennedy was about the lives of the different Senators who served in America. John F. Kennedy created this book to profile the senators he thought that really fought through what they believed in dealing with severe criticism and hatred throughout their political campaigns. Furthermore, one Senator I strongly remember was John Quincy Adams(our 6th president), who broke away from the federalist party which was a pretty big move by him. I found this book less interesting then the Longitude, but I thought it had some good information to know about our history of different political powers. Finally, to add on to Kevin Khau's book "Guns,Germs, and Steel", it is pretty extraordinary how human society changed over time.

Posted by Isaiah Jenkins(Period 6) at Wednesday, August 28, 2013 20:17:25

In the book Germs, Guns and Steel ,Jared Diamond talks about the resons different civilization ended up developing or even eventually being wiped of the map.In my opinion, it is just Natural Selection but more complex due to technological advances such as weapons and methods of food production.

Posted by Hmwe Thinn at Wednesday, August 28, 2013 20:21:11

The Professor and the Madman by Simon Winchester could be mistaken as a fiction book, in my opinion. Yes, everything in the book is real, but you never really hear about people who suffer from paranoia, nowadays, or anything that can be classified as "crazy." Dr. Minor (William Minor) actually got his mental illness from post traumatic stress (this is what I am implying) due to his time aiding those in the War. I found that particular piece of information interesting because I personally haven't witnessed post traumatic stress in person (although I don't think I would want to). Even though the book talked more about the dictionary, it was interesting to learn about how it came together. It was especially interesting that Murray put aside the fact that Dr. Minor was in a mental hospital, so that they could work on the dictionary itself. Reading this book made me think of how we neglect the dictionary. A lot of people just go and look up a word for an essay they were doing, or to make sure they used the word right, but it's not like we truly are thankful that it's there.

Posted by Tara Tomas at Wednesday, August 28, 2013 20:30:49

The Rape of Nanking, by Iris Chang, is a very eye opening book. It taught me that the world is not always full of wonderful things. When the Japanese invaded the city of Nanking, they're actions toward the innocent Chinese people were by far monstrous. From raping women of all ages, even little girls, to using innocent people as targets for killing contests for leisure. There are major parts in this book that make me dislike the Japanese but as I read further, the author gives bits and pieces of the other side of the situation, which gives me a little understanding of why this historical disaster happened. This is one of the things I liked about the author. She doesn't make you hate the enemy, as much but, she is notifying us the good in what they did even though it is just little things. After reading I don't think all Japanese are heartless people anymore. But I still think the Japanese soldiers are ruthless and undisciplined human beings. They have no mercy and it disgusts me. This book isn't all about cruelty though. We learn about the important people, who are foreigners, that helped in the international safety zone preventing harm to people who entered. I admire their heroism and bravery for saving so many innocent people. In my thoughts, The Rape of Nanking is a book of tragedy but also a book of courage. It gives me a really big image on what reality really was. That is why I highly recommend this book to be read to people before they come in adulthood.

Posted by Angela Arguelles at Wednesday, August 28, 2013 20:32:56

Into The Forest by Jean Hegland, is probably one of my favorite books. After reading this story, it made me thankful for the things that I have in my life. One of the main things that I've learned in this story is not to take things for granted because anything could change in an instant. The two sisters in this story started off with a pretty decent life until everything started to crumble (an apocalypse happened), and they found themselves living on their own. One of the things I've enjoyed about reading this book is watching the characters grow. They started off as perplexed individuals to confident and independent people. Overall, this book really inspired me to be more appreciative of the things that I have and to take life more seriously.

My response is to Tara Tomas' reading of The Rape of Nanking:
It's crazy how much things change in just a few decades. I can't believe that humans could treat one another like that, when we're all the same.

Posted by Charmaine Cuanan at Wednesday, August 28, 2013 20:34:17

To Destroy You is No Loss by Joan D. Criddle and Teeda Butt Mam is a very eye opening book. It follows the life of a young girl and her family during the Khemer Rouge rule in Cambodia, a time not that well known of by most. This book highlights the aftermath of a war and the result of merciless leaders. Right from the start I was captured by the intensity of Teeda's nightmare of a life, learning how things can change quicker than the blink of an eye, one moment overjoyed with relief and happiness that the hardship is over, the next discovering that it was only the tip of the ice berg. As I was reading I couldn't even imagine what it would be like to live in Teeda's shoes for one day, working back breaking hours watching your every move to keep away from the eyes of Angka. It was really interesting to see how Teeda's family adapted to survive, acquiring strategies and creating rules to stay alive from "Never be first" to "Always fit in". I can't believe how ruthless the Khemer Rouge were, tearing families apart without a second thought, killing off the population to only those who farm. Along with the genocide, they still kept the remaining population barely living providing just enough rice flavored "soup" to work. Bloated bellies and frequent deaths from starvation became the norm. Kids starting from 8 to the elders in the villages were expected to work, whether it was spying on other villagers to watching those too young to handle the demanding jobs. One passage saying how each person was a grain of rice, only significant when there is many in a bowl struck me. I thought that each grain of rice was just as imporant as another, contributing its own share to the world. Even if one grain of rice isn't all that special to many, to a starving person who knows how much it means, they are one grain of rice fuller than they were before. Along the road I was wondering," What if the Khemer Rouge changed their motto from 'to destroy you is no loss, to keep you is no benefit' to 'to destroy you is no benefit, to keep you is no loss'. Then a whole load of things could have been prevented. "The Odessey of a Cambodian Family" is dead on to the book because her life really was a journey. This was a real non-stopper for me waiting for the happy ending which after four horrible years finally came for Teeda and what remained of her family. I've now seen how easy it is to take simple luxuries for granted. In the end, I genuinely felt happy for her after reading of her struggles and challenges not many would experience in a lifetime.

Posted by Joseph Wycoco at Wednesday, August 28, 2013 20:37:55

In response to Matthew Young's comment on Memoirs of a Geisha, I completely agree with what you said about it being interesting to learn how geishas would live. I know that geishas are actually just Japanese entertainers and they entertain by singing and/or dancing. I recently found out that when America found out about geishas, they thought that geishas were used to pleasure men and so some people mistake geishas for being Japanese prostitutes. I'm not sure if this is completely true but this piece of information also encourages me to read the book as well as Matthew's comment. It makes me want to actually find out how geishas grow up to become what they are.

Posted by Tara Tomas at Wednesday, August 28, 2013 20:49:06

Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe is a very interesting book. It depicts the daily life of the Umuofia clan and the famous man of the clan, Okonkwo. Okonkwo was a man who was harsh to his family but sometimes he had a little compassion even if he does not show it. He was afraid that he will end up his father, a useless man. He constantly remind himself to not become like his father and strive to be completely opposite of him. Nearing the end of the story, the whites came into the village and set up their church. The story then depicts how did the Umuofia clan dealt with this change. Some ended up following the whites but some were completely against them. This is a very interesting book worth reading.

Posted by Ament Chia at Wednesday, August 28, 2013 20:51:20

To Destroy You is no Loss: The Odyssey of a Cambodian Family, by JoAn D. Criddle, is such an inspiring story of a 15 year old girl who evacuated her hometown because of an invasion by the Khmer Rouge. I would say this story is similar to The Rape of Nanking, by Iris Chang, but has a little more mercy from the invaders. Instead of killing those who didn't rebel against what they were told to, these people were forced to move into, what seemed similar to, concentration camps. In these camps everyone was expected to work on the fields from night to day with no breaks at all. There was so many things wrong with this but the main character, Teeda, did not complain out loud. She only cared about her family's care and nothing else. That's what I love about Teeda. She is so selfless. Being the same age as her I don't think I would've been so hardworking. Reading this book makes me realize that I'm a very lazy person and I need to help people more often. Altogether, I'm happy that I read this story because of the things I've learned about not only the people affected in this event but also myself

Posted by Angela Arguelles at Wednesday, August 28, 2013 20:51:55

Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden is a book about a young girl named Sayuri who is sold into an okiya with the sole purpose of becoming a geisha. Throughout the book she is constantly targeted by Hotsumomo, the Okiya's only Geisha who ultimatly makes all the money. Much of the book is spent by Mameha (Sayuri's "Big Sister"), trying to turn Sayuri into a proper Geisha while Hatsumomo tries to ruin her at every step of her journey. I found this book quite enjoyable being that there was a definite plot and throughout the book the characters were well defined. The character that I thought progressed the most was Sayuri where in the beginning she thought she was absolutely hopeless and never desired to be a Geisha but after she meets the chairman, she is inspired to be a geisha in the hopes of eventually getting closer to him. I think Sayuri is my favorite character because i admire her hope for love. Even though she suffers through many hardships she eventually finds her way and manages to begin a relation ship with the chairman. I think that it is this type of love story that i like best where its more of a past love story than a twisted vampire/witch/ werewolf story. I think that one of the themes of this story is that we should never give up hope no matter how bad life seems at the time

Posted by Kristi Yanagihara at Wednesday, August 28, 2013 20:57:20

Hey Mikaila, I can totally relate to your situation. I've moved out to California from Pennsylvania, so I can understand and relate to her because I had so many friends where I used to live, and I had to sacrifice so I know how hard it must be to adjust to a new setting that you don't anyone, or anything. And trust me the East and West coast are two different coasts, different styles, different personalities. Sort of like two different planets...

Posted by Janessa Broadnax ( 1st Period ) at Wednesday, August 28, 2013 21:02:33

The Rape of Nanking by Iris Chang is about the Japanese occupation of the Nanking, the Republic of China's capitol during World War 2. The story is shown from the perspective of the Japanese Military, the civilians of Nanking and the Westerners that set up the Nanking Safety Zone for civilians. The book is very graphic especially with the pictures showing how the Japanese Military continuously raped and murdered the civilians occupying the city. I found the book to be a lot more disturbing than I thought it would be already knowing the demoralization of American soldiers fighting in the Pacific. However this book takes it to a new height showing one of the main reasons why many Chinese still have conflicts with Japanese. The soldiers used men for killing contests and forced women into underground prostitution even though rape was against the laws of war. This book is a bit disturbing however I believe it shows the true nature of war and its effect on everyone, not only the victims but the effects it puts on the soldiers as well. All in all, can't war just be decided over a cup of tea and not the bloodshed of millions?

Posted by Eric Lam at Wednesday, August 28, 2013 21:18:24

American Gods by Neil Gaiman had a very complex plot that incorporated many twists, secrets, and mysteries together. Simply analyzing the book at the surface, one would see a story about the much "messed up" life of an ex-convict named Shadow who just happened to meet with some very quirky individuals. Actually, I really enjoyed the plot, sub-plots and his style of writing. Yet by looking deeper into Gaiman's writing and intent, it was easy to find many thematic threads with critically social implications. For example, the “old” gods representing faith, values and beliefs brought to America by immigrants were fighting a losing battle. The “new” gods of technology, consumerism and around-the-clock media were having an upper hand. Bilquis (the Queen of Sheba) was no match for the Technology Boy and Eostre (the goddess of spring and fertility) has become the all-too-materialistic Christian feast of Easter with bunnies and colorful plastic eggs. It seemed that the “sacred” was long gone because just like Shadow once said “America is not a good place for gods.”

Posted by Ann Nguyen at Wednesday, August 28, 2013 21:38:15

Jean Hegland's Into The Forest was a great read. The story takes place in a world where running water and electricity is no longer available at your fingertips. Nell, the narrator, writes in a journal given by her sister Eva, recording their experiences in this very possible futuristic world. From reading the quite depressing journal entries, we learn that Nell and Eva are just two girls who had their whole lives planned out only to have their futures torn by their crumbling society. With their mother taken by cancer and their father unexpectedly killed by a horrible chainsaw accident, the sisters are left to fend fom themselves in this place so unfamiliar to them. It is with their determination, strength, and will to live that they are able to endure. It wasn't the struggles that kept me reading but it was how they got around those obstacles, whether it be learning how to live off the fatta the land by your deceased mother's book or hunting wild boars in the dark of the night. I saw how the bond between the sisters only strengthened with these challenges though at some points their inner sibling feud did pop up (ex: gasoline scene, chocolate kiss scene). As their story continues, you get a feel of what its like to live so isolated from the rest of society with no news incoming or outgoing as well as not knowing if help is on its way or if it's long gone. When their food rations were decreasing slowly but surely, I felt the suspense of , "What's going to happen if their food runs out? How will they survive? WILL THEY?" That to me was the most interesting part of the book, wondering what will happen to the two from one entry to the next. Of course some events weren't that predictable such as Eva's rape and pregnancy which only made the book that much more suspenseful. Early in the book we learn that the bears that once roamed the part of the world where they live no longer do. I think that this has a meaning to it other than the fact that there are no more bears. Towards the end to the story, Nell has an encounter with one of these creatures and it reappears when the girls find foot prints of another human by their house along with the prints of a bear. From all of the evidence, I'd say that the bear resembles a kind of hope in the story, the hope of a new and better life. When the world collapses around them, the bears leave. Not so surprisingly, the bear returns when Nell and Eva learn how to survive on their own. The bear prints chasing away the man's (most likely Eva's rapist) goes to show that the figure that casted a dark shadow over their lives is finally being lifted from their shoulders giving them the hope of a fresh start. The best parts of most books are the endings and as Aiko Pasion mentioned, it did leave the reader kind of hanging. Overall, this was a very inspirational, interesting book. I gained a new sense of how I see the world, learning how hard life would be without the things we are so lucky to have.

Posted by Joseph Wycoco at Wednesday, August 28, 2013 21:43:37

In response to Tara Tomas' comment about The Rape of Nanking: What you said really interested me about how the Japanese did not see the Chinese as equals, people for that matter. If what you say is true, then it probably wasn't the first time or was but only to happen again(depending on the time in history it took place). In my Asian American Studies class last year, we learned about Chinese immigrants to American and at some point, they were considered as "the Yellow Peril". They were looked down upon and not respected for fear that they would take over the West. These "games" mentioned seem very cruel and wrong and I can se why you would feel the way you do. I'd probably feel the same way. The book does seem interesting, resembling To Destroy You is No Loss, the book i read. I would like to read that book not for the cruelty but more for the information on something I don't know about.

Posted by Joseph Wycoco at Wednesday, August 28, 2013 22:02:13

Angela's Ashes by Frank McCourt is an interesting book. It shows how he had to go through struggles and whatnot throughout his life. What I got out of the book was that we shouldn't let our social status prevent us from getting what we want. Just like how Frank wanted to get out of Ireland so badly. Even if he was shunned and all that, he pushed through it. I think this is a great book and I would definitely recommend for other student's to read it.

Posted by Tatiana Bernal at Wednesday, August 28, 2013 22:05:08

The Rape of Nanking by Iris Chang was disturbing but very intriguing. It showed me that the world wasn't all rainbows and butterflies, as if I didn't realize that a bit already. All the rapes and innocent people being harmed just made me terrified of society back then even more than the society we are all apart of now. Although there were some noble acts throughout the book. Like how the doctor stayed and operated on the people who couldn't pay for free. That just refreshes my view on humanity, it actually does give me hope. In the time that I was reading The Rape of Nanking, it slowly gave me a different view of the wars back then.

Posted by Tatiana Bernal at Wednesday, August 28, 2013 22:15:46

In response to Kevin's comment on Guns, Germs and Steel, the fact that you mentioned that the book describes the evolution of technology and all that makes me want to read it. I mean, it does sound boring to think about but I would like to actually learn about all of that, I guess.

Posted by Tatiana Bernal at Wednesday, August 28, 2013 22:26:39

Rape of Nanking, by Iris Chang, is indeed a very gruesome and eye opening book. I was left in shock when finding out such brutal events had occurred. This book definitely helped me gain more knowledge on history of the rough times the Chinese went through due to the torturous acts done by the Japanese. For example, many women were raped in public and even in front of their families. Most women got impregnated and did not even have the choice to keep the baby
or else they would have been murdered. Such cruel acts done to the women back then makes it hard for me to believe that these events even occurred because Its such an inhuman act. It makes me ask, "Did the Japanese not have any conscience?" To me, every human being should have a sense of conscience, and if not, they are not even considered a "person" to me. The Chinese were also murdered by the Japanese for their own entertainment. The Japanese would take over the towns and destroy buildings. It was a very traumatizing war for the Chinese. I think that many Chinese soldiers gave it their all and fought courageously. They did not give up and even if they did not succeed, they still fought for what they loved. It wasn't just the soldiers but many doctors too. Although the Japanese took over, it does not mean that it is the end for the Chinese. We have come this far to today and it just proves that justice will be served if we have perseverance and fight for what we love. I must admit that it was a disturbing book filled with many tragedies, but it shows the true reality of conflict, life, and war. War isn't just a game. It's a serious matter and I truly believe that this book proves it. I highly recommend this book to everyone because it gives you a better understanding of reality and the history that they might not have ever heard of. I must admit that this is not an everyday kind of book that people choose to read but it is definitely something new that could change your perspective on how you see the truths of reality. And reading something like this was definitely a first for me.

Posted by Reter Wong at Wednesday, August 28, 2013 22:32:11

Longitude, by Dava Sobel, tells a story of how many people from around the world attempted to solve the vexing problem of finding a precise method to determining the longitude of a ship. Although many were searching for a method, Sobel focuses the story on Jhon Harrison's pursuit on the prize. Harrison was thwarted at every attempt he made to claim the prize. The story shows the rivalry between people at this time to claim the kings ransom. Indeed, I think that everyone was intelligent in their own ways of claiming the prize by trying to calculate longitude. Until reading this educational story, it had never occurred to me how different latitude and longitude were. This book classifies both history and science and gives the readers a mix of both which made the story interesting when the author talked about astronomy and such. It also helped me gain more knowledge on how clocks revolve around longitude, and I never really payed attention to stuff like that until reading this story. I think that Sobel did and excellent job on making this tale Interesting to read by telling the story of the rivalry and discoveries that occurred along the way because that helps us gain accurate knowledge.

Posted by Reter Wong at Wednesday, August 28, 2013 23:05:57

In response to Kristi Yanagihara's comment on Memoirs of a Geisha, I can relate to how you see the relationship between the chairman and Sayuri. I agree about your comment on her hope of love that is keeping her going to achieve her dreams of becoming a geisha. It shows that her love for the chairman is truly sincere. And although she faced many hardships in her life, she kept going no matter what for the sake of the chairman by making sacrifices for herself. She did have a troublesome past, considering she was chased by Hatsumomo who tried to ruin her life. All the hardships she went trough makes up her strong character. The more hardships and challenges you face in life, the stronger you become. You have made me feel interested into reading this book and I think the love story behind it is what will make me interested.

Posted by Reter Wong at Wednesday, August 28, 2013 23:17:00

The Rape of Nanking, by Iris Chang ,was definitely an appalling novel.I shriveled up reading many parts of this book.The events that took place in this novel were horrendous and unpleasant to picture in your head while reading.Can you even imagine the pain and misery that everyone in china had to bear.Especially the children , your parents getting killed or raped in front of your own eyes? Things like this are so unorthodox. Even in times of war , events like this would be ,like kids say theses days, doing way too much. The most horrible event i found was the soldiers forcing the familiess to perform incest for their amusement, and holding contest to see who could murder innocent people the fastest. What type of sick , twisted , and psychotic people find these things fun and entertaining.The events explained in this book were things that people could only have nightmares about.Its just so mind boggling , like how can you kill innocent people like that. Burying people alive , impregnating a women then cutting open her womb and pulling out the fetus for amusement. Where are the humanity in these people. They act so carelessly , like did they ever think about how they would feel if any of these things happened to them.To be honest i wish they would know how it felt.I just cant seem to stress how horrible it was for these innocent people with just mere words.40 men a night? Raped to death from exhaustion? Just what in the world were these people high on? They even tried to blame in on the Chinese people . Like so what that they didn't have the perfect goverement or their way of life wasn't the way you guys lived it. That definitly does not entitle you to take over their capitol and not just force your goverement upon them countless inhumane acts. This book was like nothing i have ever read before. Not ever have i been pulled into a book and have so many disgusted and hateful thoughts on so many people. These events were not war , they were inhumane and insane acts. Abuse of power and abuse of control was all that seemed to occur in China. This book was so well written , yet that seems to be a bad part for the reader. It's just so depressing to even think about these events. I didn't even witness these things happen and yet i can see the things that happened have definitely scarred me.I just look up to the heroes who stood up in these desperate times that took place. They deserve a good and peaceful after life.It just goes to show that , when there is bad and evil in this world , there will always be good too.

Posted by Henry Sam at Wednesday, August 28, 2013 23:24:00

In the book "The Rape Of The Nanking", by Iris Chang is a very surprising book. It showed how the tough times people had to deal with back in the day. It was very horrible to read that the soldiers would rape women. It was very unbearable to read that soldiers would do that. They would "slice open vaginas" for their amusement. It was also astonishing to know that they raped women of any age. No matter how young or old , or if you were in labor they would still rape you. I recommend this book to be read because it shows you how people lived and what they had to go through. It may be unbearable to read but it will tell you how people dealed with life.

Posted by Kiret Pattar at Wednesday, August 28, 2013 23:34:36

In the book ,"Left Alone", by Jean Hegland is a very good story. I am glad I read it because it shows how two sisters Nell and Eva were living a life very well until it all goes bad. They lose their mother to cancer , their dad dies in a chainsaw accident and it starts to cause problems. Both of the sisters had a very tough time dealing with the situations . It was very inspiring to read because they overcame the obstacles that got in their ways. I recommend this book because it shows how if you work together you can overcome anything and they did. It may also bring a special bond between th because they both wanted the same thing and they ended up getting it.

Posted by Kiret Pattar at Wednesday, August 28, 2013 23:49:23

To respond to mikaila Gutierrez's book it sounds like a book where a lot of people can relate to. I feel that way because most students often have to move and being a certain race can be very hard to fit in. When a kid has different traditions than other kids its very hard to be comfortable for who you are. I wish I could've read this book too because I'm positive people can relate.

Posted by Kiret Pattar at Wednesday, August 28, 2013 23:58:36

Angela’s Ashes, by Frank McCourt, is an amazing, adventurous, heart warming story about the life of poverty seen through the eyes of a young child named Frank. Throughout the story, there were many challenges and struggles that include family tragedies, that were faced by a young boy, and his own broken family. Frank surpasses all of the major obstacles thrown at him throughout the story, and manages to be passionate and loving. He struggles through an alcoholic father, death of siblings, starvation, sickness, and many more. As you read along the story, you are able to recognize how each character is able to pick themselves up and develop their own strengths to make themselves content and happy with their lives. This book was very touching, and allowed me to imagine, and create my own image of what it would be like to live through hardships and poverty. It has opened my eyes to give more thanks to what I have and the many blessings that are granted to me. Angela’s Ashes was a well-written story that many people, including myself with family struggles, can relate to. This is a story that I truly recommend for others to read and be interested in. I’ve learned many things, including how to appreciate what I have. I’ve also learned that if I really want something, I must strive, and be dedicated to pursue my goals and reach my happiness. This compares to how Frank was dedicated to saving money to move back into New York. Despite his horrible experiences, he managed to pull through, stay humble, and appreciate everything he gained. This was a truly inspiring story that I recommend many to read.

Posted by Stephanie Serrano at Thursday, August 29, 2013 00:31:03

Into the Forest, by Jean Hegland, is honestly a book that I can extremely relate to. I really enjoy the fact that it excludes the role of male supremacy and actually gives the women a chance to show off their own skills rather than being compared to men and what they’re capable of. We have gotten so used to knowing what the male population can do, and how they are the ones to survive independently and take care of the women. This story portrays otherwise, and shows that woman are much more capable to do more than society reveals. Into the Forest is a novel that revolves around two independent teenage girls named Nell, and Eva, that must cling together, work hard to survive off of the little rations of food, support themselves and one another, and learn to adapt to their secluded area. Apparently, power is shut down throughout America, and their known society collapses and basically prepares to become extinct. Civilization has some how vanished. There are many heartbreaking, dramatic tragedies introduced throughout the plot. The two sibling teenagers loose their mother to cancer, and are left alone with their father. As the apocalypse becomes more serious and dangerous, not long passes before they loose their father as well, in a simple chain saw accident. From that moment on, all they had was each other in the lonesome world. Despite the differences and bickering of the two siblings, they stuck together and only had one another to live off of. There were various turning points, and plot twists that were involved in this story, that made it very interesting. The author did a splendid job in making the characters such strong, independent people that would do anything to surpass the struggle and survive in the cruel world. It surely interested me how the two strong characters would work together and defeat any obstacles that stood in their way. I feel as if this book would attract many of the female rather than the male, because you are able to see and reflect how female teenagers, are able to carry themselves. In my opinion, Into the Forest was a very powerful and painful book to read. I can say that I strongly relate to many parts of this story. Especially with being abandoned by parents, feeling alone, and having to simply raise yourself. Though there are many unrealistic scenes in this story, and the ending was a bit poor, I really enjoyed reading it.

Posted by Stephanie Serrano at Thursday, August 29, 2013 01:43:46

In response to Reter Wong: After being able to read through your commentary, along with the other students commentary, the book The Rape of Nanking has fully caught my attention. As I can see that many other students enjoyed reading the book, it has caught my interest and persuades me to pick up the book and actually read it myself. As I read through the responses, I can already tell that this story has a wide variety of Asian history included. It makes me think about freshman years Asian American Studies where we learned about the unfair treatment towards the Asians and how they worked together against white supremacy. Reading that in the book, that the Japanese brutally tortured the Chinese people makes me think about what I have studied last year. We had a brief understanding that the Chinese and Japanese immigrants joined forces together and worked against white supremacy. Knowing that the information in the book is completely opposite to what I have learned, triggers my mind and makes me even more willing to continue on reading it and finding out the remaining plot. I would never have thought that similar races could be so cruel to one another after everything they have faced together. It is truly shocking and unpleasant to the mind.

Posted by Stephanie Serrano at Thursday, August 29, 2013 01:44:56

For me, reading The Rape of Nanking by Iris Chang was both emotionally draining and historically eye-opening. What happened in Nanking at the time (which lasted for months since the fateful day of December 13, 1937) have been suppressed, hidden or denied for so long. These killings, rapes and inhuman acts committed by the Japanese soldiers with the tacit approval or condonation of the Japanese government have made me to question the assumed “fundamental goodness” of humanity. But in the midst of these diabolical acts and unfathomable wickedness, there were some flickers of hope and compassion. I had nothing but admiration and respect for the few people mentioned in the book who have risked everything to help and save many Chinese victims in the city. Indeed, there were specific chapters written about their sacrifices and heroic deeds. They were Doctor Wilson, a surgeon, Ms. Vautrin, an educator, and Mr. Rabe, a businessman (interestingly, he’s a German with Nazi affiliation too!) Thousands of victims and ordinary people of Nanking have been saved. Indeed, their compassion has brought faith in humanity to me again (after being shocked, saddened and angered in learning about the atrocities described in the book.)

Posted by Ann Nguyen at Thursday, August 29, 2013 05:43:26

In response to Kristi Yanagihara’s comment on Memoirs of a Geisha, I have not read the book but I did watch the movie a long while ago. Yet I assumed the basic plot and themes of the book and the movie were similar. Even though the story, supposedly based on a true account, happened in a totally different time and culture, I agreed with you that the type of love presented in the book (or the movie I watched) was more natural and real than the purely made-up and twisted love of vampires, witches or werewolves of late. But there were certain aspects of the bygone culture of geisha in Japan that I did not like. For example, the required submissiveness of a mistress/a geisha and the general attitude toward women of the time have made me cringed some time. The whole story was quite melancholic and that was the reason I did not pick the book to read this summer.

Posted by Ann Nguyen at Thursday, August 29, 2013 05:44:57

Into the Forest, by Jean Hegland, was a moving story about two siblings struggling to survive the collapsing world around them. It caught my attention because I did relate to them since I do have a sister. When I read it I would wonder how my life would be if I been put through in their shoes. Both of the two girls have been put through the toughest part of their lives by loosing their parents and yet almost losing each other. Yet at the end, through all their obstacles they remained intact.
It also made me think about everything in life we have now. The technology and other resources that we have in life that makes us live may just leave at some point in our life. This story made me learn to take everything we have now for granted.

Posted by Aisleen Santos at Thursday, August 29, 2013 06:12:14

Angela's Ashes, by Frank McCourt, is about the character named Frank who struggles his obstacles in life. He has a father that is not there most of the time which leaves just his mom and his siblings to fight poverty. Frank also takes a journey into him being a boy to a man. This story made me feel emotional inside when Frank was in the hospital and that was the only moment in which his Father gave him affection. Yet, even if his father was the only resource to feed the family, it encouraged Frank to get a job and help the family instead. This story I would say is one of my favorites at this moment. I am glad that I chose this book because out of all the struggles in life you go through, there will always be hope and happiness at some point.

Posted by Aisleen Santos at Thursday, August 29, 2013 06:23:28

I read Profiles in Courage by John F. Kennedy .

This book was very inspiring . It described lots of unknown things about Presidents not only Mr.John F. Kennedy . I didn't know what to expect but what the book showed me and taught me was beyond any of my expectations .

Posted by Leah Tesfai at Thursday, August 29, 2013 08:03:57

I liked the book Profiles in Courage because it was very interesting. President Kennedy wrote descriptive personal history of eight senator's courage and actions within governmental systems over the years.

Posted by Alyssa Nguyen at Thursday, August 29, 2013 11:06:28

I read The Professor and the Madman. I thought it was really boring in the beginning because it was very uninteresting. I was really intrigued when Dr. Minor became mad and when Mr. Murry found Dr. Minor and created the Oxford dictionary.

Posted by Alyssa Nguyen at Thursday, August 29, 2013 11:13:09

I read "The Professor and The Madman" I'm redoing my comment after seeing all the others. In the beginning, the book didn't catch my eye and I was reading lazily. But after the shooting in the book, I was pn the edge of my seat. I thought it was very interesting how Dr. Minor wasn't even bothered after commiting his crime of murder. After reading more of the book and finding out he was insane, I began to understand it more. Some parts were boring and some were too detailed. Like the part where Dr. Minor cut off his...member because he was insane. But all in all, I thought the book was very good and I'm glad that I read it. Dr Minor was by far the most interesting character and was my personal favorite.

Im in your first period honors class (79713)

Posted by Mikaila Gutierrez at Thursday, August 29, 2013 16:10:41

I also read "How the Garcia Girls Lost Their accents" and this was my favorite book to read over the summer. The four Garcia girls could be relatable to many people. How they immigrated from one country to the states and had to be forced to adjust to their new living style. But I found myself yelling at the characters in the book and how they would act. They changed from their humble village lives to adapting and trying to fit in with the troublemakers of the US. They started smoking and constantly getting in trouble. They had love troubles in the states and went through a lot of hardships. I found the book a real pageturner and finished it in 2 days. Their parents seemed cool but really strict and I wouldn't want all their rules enforced on me. But I still really loved the book. (Redoing my comment. Im in your first period)

Posted by Mikaila Gutierrez at Thursday, August 29, 2013 16:24:04

In response to Leah, Profiles in Courage sounds like a book that can teach you a lot. I would've liked to read it. Seeing the title, I wouldn't know what to expect either but after seeing all the comments about it, I wish I did. It seems really cool and interesting. I'm always up for the unexpected and this sounds like it

Posted by Mikaila Gutierrez at Thursday, August 29, 2013 16:34:05

I read Don Quixote by Cervantes. The protagonist, Don Quixote, is considered to be an old man who lives with his niece, a 40 yr. old housekeeper and a "gentleman",as Cervantes describes. The story takes place in a village in La Mancha in Spain. In Don Quixote's time it was only natural to have dirt floors and no toilet. Basically, it was a harsh life compared to today's. For Don Quixote, he had a better environment to live life in; he had a house with his own library and was much bigger and fancier, for a lack of a better word, compared to the many ignored people of society who lived there lives in poverty. Living in these times, what did Don Quixote do? He read. He read book after book after book about knights. He read about the Marquess of Mantua and Baldwin to the Twelve Peers of France. Don Quixote would read them for 2-3 days and nights on end. There's a proverb, "Too much of a good thing isn't so much of a good thing." When you read it stimulates your brain and helps to educate you on complex ideas and problems taught by the author through the story. This would be considered a "good thing", correct? But if you read too much without rest, then the result will be that there is too much information being fed to your brain that your brain doesn't have the ability to organize the real and make-believe of the stories. In other words, you will be thinking that you are actually a knight who fights evil and has many adventures, like Don Quixote. His mind started to create illusions of the creatures the knights in his books fought. For example, on his first misadventure to be made into a knight he thought an inn was a castle with beautiful princesses and a king who ruled it. In reality, though, the princesses were just women who worked there and the king was the innkeeper. Because Don Quixote was so immersed in his books that he would read for nights on end without rest, he could not tell reality from fantasy. Despite this, he still found someone who believed that he was actually a dubbed knight. Sancho Panza, was a poor man with a wife and kids in a poorly made "house"; if you can call it that, in La Mancha. Unfortunately, he lived in poverty and could not take care of his family well. So, when Don Quixote told him to be his squire and all the riches, specifically, an island, that would come with their line of work, he cain yes without hesitation. Sancho Panza describes himself as peaceful and what I would call a little timid. With this kind of personality, he was always fretting and scared for his master and his own boil safety. Like the time he and Don Quixote met people dressed in white carrying a coffin through a field at night. Actually, they were grieving for a lost one nd monks were offering to pray for the person while carryon the coffin to the burial place. But as you can imagine, Don Quixote related it to one of the stories he read. He took his lance and attacked them. Meanwhile, Sancho was very frightened and shivering. He was always telling his master to run or hide from danger but Don Quixote was stubborn and determined to fight like a real knight. Though, their misadventures outnumbered their real adventures but since they're called misADVENTURES, they are adventures in the name. For example, they went to an inn where they were beaten by the inhabitants for misunderstandings during the night. They were dumped in the barn for being dead, considering all the blood they lost. Miraculously, though, hey survived and ran away from the inn or castle as Don Quixote thought again. Another one, Don Quixote were finally far from the inn that they were passing through a forest and had no water. Luckily, they heard sounds of a waterfall and were overjoyed but that didn't last long when they started to here loud bangs. After a night of sleep, cleverly devised by Sancho Panza, Don Quixote bravely went to see what horrible creature it was but it turned out to just be hammers banging on metal.
All in all, it was a good book for readers who like to take their time when reading. You'll need to anyway with how small the words are and how many are on each page though the chapters are fairly short with only 4-10 or more. There are two parts to the book as well. Despite the ending to Don Quixote, the person not the book, it was a satisfactory conclusion.

Posted by Katrina Bonoan at Thursday, August 29, 2013 16:43:00

Commanting on Alyssa Nguyen, I also wanted the Professor and the Madman but it was booked with requests from a lot of students since the beginning of summer. However, I did get Longitude by Dava Sobel which was interesting but not as interesting as I thought The Professor and the Madman would had been since it was very informative about lines, sailing and so on. I still want to read the Professor and the Madman though. So, hopefully, I can get it soon. =]

Posted by Katrina Bonoan at Thursday, August 29, 2013 16:46:52

I read The Rape of Nanking by Iris Chang. The book really opened my to eyes to how corrupt a government can be. The Japanese committed atrocities and ruined China all for power. It was disgusting and horrifying reading the things they did to the people, especially the women and girls. The worst part was that the book had real images that gave me nightmares. The Japanese would do anything just to keep the public from knowing what they were doing.

I also read October Sky by Homer Hickam. This book was very inspiring. The main character Homer, was told several times that his dreams to build a rocket were stupid and would never come true. He never let them stop him and kept building until he won the national science fair and put the little town he lived in on the map. He gave people hope and went on to work for NASA. I thought it was screwed up how his jealous brother trashed his rocket stuff and went out with the girl he liked. I loved how in the end the town started encouraging and supporting him and his friends.

In reply to Mikaila's comment about The Professor and The Madman. The book sounds kind of interesting to read and creepy. If the Dr was insane is that why the title is called the professor and the madman? I don't think I'll read it anytime soon, but I like the mystery it seems to have.

Lorna Calderon period 7

Posted by Girl With The Turtle Backpack at Thursday, August 29, 2013 16:58:30

The Professor and The Madman by Simon Winchester is about a troubled young man named William Chester (W.C.) Minor. During his childhood, William would be around beautiful "exotic" girls on the island of Ceylon. This was believed to be some of the cause of his insanity. When he moved back to the Unite States, he finished school at Yale becoming a doctor. W.C. Minor was later accepted be an Union Army surgeon. There is one significant time in which William had to brand an irishmans face due to the man deserting from the Battle of the Wilderness. This was another theory that some people have on how Dr. Minor could have become insane. At the end of the Civil War, Dr. Minor was moved to New York City and used his off duty time to go find some joy and happiness in prostitutes. He was moved around the eastern United States until, one day the Army moved Minor to a mental institution in Washington D.C. After some months, seeing that Minor didn't have any improvement at all, they moved him to the UK. Minor lived in Lambeth, London taking up a self indulgent life. Haunted by his past and guilt, Minor believed that people were genuinely after him every night. Minor would come have nightmares about people sneaking into his room to perform some sort of sex act or take him somewhere else.This actually leads Minor to kill George Merrett one day, thinking that Merrett was the man trying to break into his room. Minor was found not guilty due to the reason of insanity and was sent to a mental institution in Crawthorne where he spends much of his life. In this asylum, Minor has managed to help create the Oxford Dictionary, always sending in words along with definitions. He was one of the most effective volunteers. Dr. James Murray is one of the most famous editors of the Oxford Dictionary. These two people spent most of their lives devoted to create the dictionary.
This novel was a very interesting read. The whole plot and how the dictionary was made is so intriguing to me. The people are so interesting and come from different backgrounds, yet they can still work together to create something that everyone needed. It's really amazing to me how Dr. Minor can do something that helps so many people when he, himself has a mental problem (paranoia). I would definitely recommend this to someone.
Jessica Leung Period 1

Posted by Jessica Leung at Thursday, August 29, 2013 18:33:07

King Leopold's Ghost, really brought me back to the realization that there definitely is more than meets the eye. King Leopold was made out to the Congolese as this great man that would help them become independent by colonisation, but it was all a lie. King Leopold took advantage of those poor Congolese and it sickened me. Not only that, but it reminded me of modern day greed. I'm not really into politics, I hardly know anything about it, but King Leopold kind of makes me think of George Bush. Not because of the actions he took as a president, but because of the lies and how greedy he is. However, as much as I hated how greedy he was, I was stunned by the fact that if a Congolese native refused to work in his plantations, they were beaten to death. All I can say is, when I picked that book, I had no idea what I was in for. I'd definitely recommend that book to anyone.

When I read The Rape of Nanking, I was disturbed. I had no idea that Chinese civilians were victims of cruel torture and maltreatment. Not only that, but I was shocked that the Japanese were the oppressors. In fact, I thought they were allies! Although, I'm not much of a history fanatic, so that explains a lot. After I read Ms. Chang's book, I realized Nazi and Japanese are not so different, the only thing keeping them apart is the amount of people they murdered. The part that really made my stomach turn was the fact that they buried them waist deep in the sand and let dogs tear them apart. In my own opinion, I think the Japanese really committed their atrocious acts because they believed they were the 'top dawg' and Chinese were not worthy, and because the Chinese did not surrender.

In response to Mikaila, that book sounds like my type of book, good choice. Your comment about it makes me curious on what it's about. By the way you were explaining it, it kind of reminds me of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Another thing, what did he cut off? You didn't really tell, you just left a ... Anyways, I felt the same way when I started reading my book as well, I hated it and thought it was excruciating, in the end I did end up enjoying it though.

Post Script: Sorry for posting this a little later than everyone else
-Felix
First Period

Posted by Felix Balajadia at Thursday, August 29, 2013 19:00:57

In response to Mikaila Gutierrez about How the Garcia Girls Lost their Accents, I think that I can only agree with half of what you are saying. I think that the sisters acted the way they did after they moved to America was because they were all being discriminated and put down. Most people would want to change themselves when they are being bullied. For example, there was one time in the book in which Carla was being bullied because she couldn't speak english properly.I think that everyone wants to fit in and thats what the sisters had to do to fit in. people make mistakes all the time but the Garcia sisters will learn from them. I can agree with you that the book is great.

Jessica Leung Period 1

Posted by Jessica Leung at Thursday, August 29, 2013 19:11:59

I read "Longitude" by Dava Sobel.

Longitude took place during the time when explorers were still sailing in the ocean and going on adventures. Unfortunately, not all of them made it back home. Even some of the most famous explorers, like Magellan, got lost over sea. That's when the king decided to offer a prize of one million dollars to whoever could find the solution to this terrible issue. Many inventors offered their ideas to the king, some of them weren't even inventors. Many people failed, but then came John Harrison. How he was able to find the solution on his first try remained a mystery, young John never actually had a formal education.

I really disliked how John Harrison was forced to give up his precious clocks to the board of longitude for testing. He spent years working on them just to have them taken away to be "tested." What makes it even more worse is that the board of longitude assigned the project to John Harrison's worst enemy, Nevil Maskelyne. Maskelyne was also trying to win the prize money for finding the solution to the longitude problem. He would do anything in his power to make sure that Harrison's invention wouldn't be approved! I honestly thought that the board of longitude should've been wiser when choosing their people.
In the beginning, I totally thought that the board would immediately approve John's clock method for finding longitude. The method was said to be very accurate compared to other ones. I became really angry when Nevil Maskelyne was elected to be part of the board of longitude. That made him automatically more powerful. He lied to the board of longitude saying that he took Harrison's clock on multiple voyages, but instead, all he did was leave it bolted u next to a window. The clock was fragile and it required high maintenance, therefore, it eventually got slower and it became way off on the calculations.

In response to Ann Nguyen, The Rape of Nanking seems like it would be a really interesting read. I think it would be kind of depressing for me to read about stuff like that, but I would definitely learn a lot of things.

Posted by Daphne La, Per. 7 at Thursday, August 29, 2013 19:19:53

In How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents by Julia Alvarez, it is about the Garcia family who move to the United States after running from the secret police in black V.W.'s. It goes through each of the girls lives and describes how the sisters "lost their accents", meaning they became more Americanized. It goes throughout their journey to America but it starts off in present tense and goes back a time period until it gets to their childhood. The sisters have a hard time adjusting to the American customs and they are even bullied at school. It shows the point of view from each of the family members point of view. (Papi Carlos, Mami Laura,Carla, Sandra, Yolanda, and Sofia)Some of the conflicts that are in this book are sexuality, language, and male superiority.

Sexuality was a major conflict in this book because this is what causes relationship struggles for Sofia and Yolanda. Specifically for Sophia, the time when her sexuality became a problem for her and her family's relationship was when her father found love letter from a man. Her father goes on to say,"‘Has he deflowered you? That’s what I want to know. Have you gone behind the palm trees? Are you dragging my good name through the dirt? ... Are you a whore?’"(30). This was something that was considered very dishonorable. He felt that she was just throwing her family name through the dirt.It puts a strain on their relationship as father and daughter.Lanugauge is another conflict in which the sisters have a hard time adjusting to. They are bullied at school and their father and mother don't agree on which language they should speak at home. There is a real struggle between the traditions and American ways. Its hard to adjust and find a good balance between the two especially when they are influenced all the time. Finally, I think that male superiority is another conflict because it shows how in different parts of the world, gender roles are different and we can see the change when the sisters take a visit back to the Dominican Republic and see how their cousin changes his attitude and behavior toward them.

Overall, I think that this novel is very good. I didn't enjoy it as much but I think that there are many lessons that we can learn from the Garcia sisters.

Jessica Leung Period 1

Posted by Jessica Leung at Thursday, August 29, 2013 19:35:08

The book I read was The Rape of the Nanking. This book was a real eye opener in a way that made me question everything, from the three different points of views. I wonder form stuff from why didn't they fight back to where is the guilt and to why are we letting the Japanese hide their history. This got me thinking on how people have the guts to slice some other person's head off with no doubt in their mind, specially a person who surrendered to you or a young child. I personally would chicken out and probably run for my life away from this madness,if I were a Japanese soldier. What disturbed me the most was the story of the woman's stomach getting ripped open and the little fetus was pulled out and thrown to the ground. I literally had to stop reading to stop myself from gagging.
My thought from the Chinese people's point of view is why did they not fight back? If you know that you are going to die, why not fight for it? Overall, the book The Rape of the Nanking was a new experience for me to see all of those people die and to question everything relating to war.

Posted by tiffany chung at Thursday, August 29, 2013 19:36:27

Oops in responce to Tiffany chung, she's in period one

Posted by Tiffany chung (again) at Thursday, August 29, 2013 19:37:52

I read the American Gods by Neil Gaimon. This book is about a man, Shadow, who learns that his wife is dead as he gets out of jail, and finds out that she was killed by gods so that their plan would work out. Shadow was unaware that he was the son of the All-Father, Odin, and was needed to trick the old gods and new gods into fighting each other so that Loki and Odin gained power from the war that was supposed to happen, according to their plan. If Shadow hadn't realized what they were doing, they would have gained a lot of power from the old gods and the new gods killing each other over a false conflict made by their leaders, Loki and Odin. I did not really enjoy reading in the main character's point of view because I did not like him. First of all, he was an adult, and reading in a adult's point of view is weird, uncomfortable, and boring in my opinion, probably because I am a teen. Second of all, his response to finding out that there were gods was absurdly mild. He basically went along with anything without even saying something like, "wow". Other than this, I loved reading this piece of work. I think that the idea of the new gods and old gods having a war because of desperation over their need to be believed in by people in order to survive. Gaiman put his gifted imagination to work and produced this amazing book. It was a deeply interesting read, and I even learned some things about America that are true. America has no ancient history which caused them to lack any ancient gods that many other countries possessed, therefore making America a bad place for gods, according to the book. I highly recommend this book to anyone, especially, those who enjoys a creative piece of writing.

Posted by Quentin Monasterial at Thursday, August 29, 2013 19:51:04

In response to Katrina's comment of the book Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervante. This book sounded like something I would have enjoyed reading. I could, to a point, relate to the main character because I LOVE reading fiction and sometime start thinking of myself being in one of the fictions stories I have read, although I don't act it and start running around thinking I'm a super hero. But, I think it would be cool to read about someone who does this, because in my opinion, it sounds entertaining. I may even put this book, on my "Books to Read" list. I personally do not think that if someone read as many fiction books as Don did, you wouldn't start acting like they're in one. I think it would expand your imagination to a higher degree, unless of course the person is influenced easily.

Posted by Quentin Monasterial at Thursday, August 29, 2013 20:09:14

One of the books I read for the Summer Reading assignment was "Memoirs of a Geisha." This story was told by a former women who was a geisha in Gion, Japan. Her previous real name was Chiyo, and had her whole life changed in front of her after her mother falls ill and her father sells her sister, Satsu, and her. Chiyo is an interesting character. She is known for her unusual color of her eyes, which are a color of blue. After the separation of her family, thinking she would be sold together with her sister, those two siblings also became separated. Chiyo is now a new maid at a okiya and has no knowledge of where her sister is. Throughout the first few days days when she arrives, she befriends Pumpkin, who also works as a maid in the okiya. Chiyo is also bullied by the only geisha in the building, named Hatsumomo who is the antagonist, in a way, in the book. After a few weeks CHiyo was given the opportunity to become a geisha. ALl went well at first until she mess it up by trying to escape with her sister after she found out she was sold to a prostitute house. Chiyo never sees and hears from Satsu ever again. Through these few years, CHiyo was taken out of her lessons in becoming a geisha. At this one time, she meets a nice man and sees that geisha were accompanying him. She was inspired and is determined to become a geisha in order to see him again. Several years later when Pumpkin has become a apprentice geisha under the wing of Hatsumomo. Suddenly out of nowhere, well-known geisha named Mameha comes out and asks the owner of the geisha, Mother, if she could take Chiyo under her wing as apprentice. And with that, Chiyo went back to her lessons and soon enough after she worked hard, she become Sayuri and a apprentice geisha. Sayuri had many difficulties in the beginning due to the interference of Hatsumomo, since she wanted Pumpkin to be the successful one and benefit off this since if Pumpkin was successful she would become the adopted daughter of the okiya and Hatsumomo will also be in the deal since she is the geisha sister of Pumpkin. One day, CHiyo meets the man, Chairman, again at a sumo match, and turned out he was the a friend to the president of the Iwamura Electric company. Many events happened after this, since the meaning behind the meeting of the president was getting him to bid for Sayuri's mizuage. A lot of bidders were after this, since Mameha made a plan by giving some of the men good impressions on Sayuri. In the end, Dr. Crab won. This mizuage was the most expensive one throughout Gion. No geisha had ever been sold to this much. Soon the mizuage ceremony was completed and SAyuri was a full fledged geisha. Of course, Hatsumomo was mad because Sayuri had paid up her life debts too. More good things happened after this. Sayuri was the one who became the daughter of the okyia. Hatsumomo was also thrown out of the okyia because she became unbearable. Sayuri became one of the most successful geisha ever. She gave a hiatus to her work as a geisha since the World War II started to begin. Soon after the war was over, she continued her works of becoming a geisha with Pumpkin. THough towards the end, Pumpkin betrayed Sayuri and turned out she was against Sayuri all this time because she was the one who was adopted. Chairman also tells her what his plans were and how he felt, he was the one who helped her back up on her feet because he told Mameha to adopt Sayuri. He was supporting her all this time after he found her. Chairman becomes Sayuri's danna. I felt that this was the most touching part of the story since this was the first time Sayuri had a true feeling of love. The story also showed me what it was like to go with the flow of life. Sayuri always adapted to her surroundings and always worked hard to be the best person she can become. I recommend this book to everyone and anyone who likes to know about how someone else's life was like.

Part 1
Period 7
Vivian Ou

Posted by Vivian Ou at Thursday, August 29, 2013 20:10:51

Another book I read was "The Rape of Nanking" and it was a horrifying and life changing story about the Japanese invading into the cities of China and brutally killing the innocent. THey didn't care who they kill, as long as they were the "enemy". Japanese military were corrupting the lives of young male children for war. They gave the young male children war like toys. THey influenced them to hate Chinese people and to like war. Even in early life the children were corrupted and ripped from innocence. They treat war and death like it is nothing. Most of the soldiers have the thought that their life is "valueless" as said in the book. They aren't even human during the war. They are "killing machines". People have brainwashed the Japanese military and told them to do all these horrifying things. During the attacks, many people were brutally murdered, forcefully raped, and painfully tortured. Many lives were taken, and the people who have lived and survive the attacks have been changed for life. The men, women, children, and elders were all badly effected. It didn't matter who you were. If you were thought to be a solider or previous solider in the military, hence all the men and old men, they were killed. If you were women, you were raped then shoot and killed after they were finished with you. They didn't care about the age too. The victims of rape were often from age twelve to eighty. The book gave me a new insight of how the world is and can be. Many things can be so cruel and you may not even know about it until you find out. Not everything is what they seem. For example, in the book, a Japanese man who was a kind doctor told the author how he when he was a cold-heart killer himself when he was a solider during the war when he was young. During the war a lot of organizations and countries tried to help out with their everything. During the war even the fearful Nazi helped out the Chinese because of the assaults. That's how bad the attacks were. I felt a lot of respect for the people and countries who have helped out in this massacre. Then all paused their opinions about each other and help out China. For anyone who has the curiosity and the willingness to see the world in a different way, I completely recommend this book to them. It gives them a new insight of life.

Reading Stephanie Serrano's comment and opinions of the book she read, "Into the Forest" seems like a book I would read. I support females a lot and I find myself a bit of a feminist. It gives off the idea that a girl is not always a damsel in distress, all helpless and weak. It goes against the model of a female in society. The book gives and idea what would happen when we don't have the "important" things we need right now. It is electricity. The girls, Nell and Eva, ripped apart from both their families now have to step up to the plate and help each other through hard difficulties that they have never had and been prepare for before. I am currently hooked to this interesting book and I want to read it and find out what happened to them? What will they encounter? I want them to find somewhere where they would settle and call home. Therefore, I would enjoy to read this book as soon as possible.

Vivian Ou, Period 7
Part2

Posted by Vivian Ou at Thursday, August 29, 2013 20:11:18

In responce to Charmaine's post about Into the Forrest, I think that story sounds like one of those shows that play on tv about apocalypses and crazy things things that happen to the characters. Think I might enjoy reading this book because I like to put myself into the character's shoes. I also think it is better to read a book instead of watch the show.

tiffany 1st period

Posted by tiffany chung at Thursday, August 29, 2013 20:46:20

I read To Destroy You is no Loss: The Odyssey of a Cambodian Family by Joan D. Criddle. The book follows the life of a Cambodian girl, Teeda, and her family during the rise of the Khmer Rogue and the fall of her hometown. Under threat of death, they are forced to move out of their home to become unpaid laborers, working for long periods of time with very little food. The Khmer Rogue's ideology was “To keep you is no benefit, to destroy you is no loss.” This is completely opposite to the mindset that most people have these days. Nowadays, we believe that everyone is special and unique in their own way, and everyone deserves a chance at life. This book really forced me to accept the true horror of what human beings are capable of. Over 25% of Cambodia's population was devastated in under three years due to the Khmer Rogue's efforts. I think it's a very important event in history that everyone should know about, just like the Holocaust. I really admired how strong Teeda was during this horrible nightmare. It seemed like everyone was trying to destroy her, but she refused to submit and kept going until she reached freedom. There are many times when I complain about my life and think I can't keep on going. Teeda's struggles remind me that I have it easier than a lot of people out there.

I also read Arthur Golden's Memoirs of a Geisha. Before this book, I had never heard of geishas, so it was refreshing to learn all about them and their roles in Japan. The story is about a girl, Chiyo, who grows up in a poor fishing village but later becomes a successful geisha. Her journey is not easy, and throughout the story, another geisha, Hatsumomo, constantly plots against her and enjoys torturing her. However, Chiyo still works hard to become a well-know geisha, as she really has no other choice. She has no family to help her out and becoming a geisha is the only way she can survive. This made me think about all the opportunities we have here in America. As long as I work hard and dedicate myself, I can be whatever I want to be: a doctor, lawyer, etc. I've never really thought about how some people out there have no choice in life and work hard to become something they don't want to be just so they can survive. I am also amazed at Chiyo's courage and determination. She lost her loving family and was thrown into an unknown world where she is nothing more than something that brings in income. However, she adapted quickly to her new home and didn't let anything discourage her.

In response to Tiffany's post about The Rape of Nanking, do you know why the Japanese attacked the Chinese? I don't know what drives human beings to commit such terrible crimes. We learn a lot about the brutal wars and murders in history, but like you said, a lot of horrible events are covered up and hidden. While depressing, I really want to read this book so I can find out more about this. Do you think the Chinese have forgiven Japan for the things they've done in the past? Now that China is rising and becoming a superpower, will they go back for revenge?

Emma Li period 1

Posted by Emma Li at Thursday, August 29, 2013 22:19:35

One of the books I read for the summer assignment was "Guns, Germs, and Steel" by Jared Diamond. The book was very informative and gave me an understanding to some unanswered questions I had about human history. Like, why were the Europeans the ones to colonize in America and not the Native Americans colonizing in Europe? Or why did other societies advance faster and further than others did? This book answered those somewhat simple questions in a very detailed and complex matter. From agriculture, disease, political organization, innovation, metals and many more other major factors that changed the modern world we live in today. I also learned how societies were not able to advance because of agriculture development and how the first farmers had shaped today's most common crops and domesticated animals. This book was a very interesting pick-up and if want to learn more about our human history and how our world is the way it is today.

I also read "Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell" by Susanna CLarke. This book is about two men who are destined to revive magic back to England. In their quest they find that they have uncommon viewpoints on English magic and each wants to spread magic in their own way. This story is very peculiar in its own ways but is very exciting and is a page turner. In the beginning I was a bit bored with the story but as I went on it got deeper and deeper revealing the outcomes of the magicians' mistakes and how magic was eventually brought back to England. I recommend this book as it is very entertaining and hope to see a sequel in the near future.

In response to Vivian Ou's commentary on "The Rape of Nanking".
"The Rape of Nanking" sounds like a very interesting but disturbing book to read. But I would like to educate myself and hope one day to pick-up "The Rape of Nanking" and become aware of the brutal history between China and Japan. From your commentary I feel interested in reading "The Rape of Nanking" and hope to one day read it and learn more about this massacre and Japan's war crimes against China.

Posted by Chouaib Trady at Thursday, August 29, 2013 22:45:02

I read “October Skies” by Homer Hickam. This book was quite the morale boost and very charismatic. The main character Homer aka "Sonny" attempts to build and successfully launch a rocket after hearing about the launch of the Russian satellite called "Sputnik" on the radio.After failing his first attempt to launch a rocket, his father loses all hope in him and believes that he is never going to succeed in life. Besides having struggles with his father he also has multiple conflicts with his older brother, himself and girls. Despite his struggles, Sonny also uncovers who his supporters are in the town of Coalwood.As he attends high school, he meets fellow students and teachers that encouraged him and contributed in the construction of Sonny's rocket. With all the encouragement and support, Sonny enters and wins the national science fair. He proves his father wrong and pursues a career at NASA.I loved the ending of this story, he went through so much to achieve his dream. He never gave up on his personal goal and kept true despite what people think of him. It also goes to show you that with determination and knowledge you can clear all obstacles.

In reply to Jessica's comment about The Professor and The Madman, this book sounds fascinating. The fact that a paranoid doctor took part in creating the Oxford dictionary blows my mind. Should have read this book over summer. - Rafaelle Francisco Period 6

Posted by Rafaelle Francisco at Thursday, August 29, 2013 23:39:19

The fiction book i read was "Into the Forest" by Jean Hegland. I fell in love with the book after reading about 20 pages or so of it. I've always been interested in post-apocalyptic, wasteland type of books and this book certainly was that type. I felt so connected with the two sisters because it reminded my relationship with my own brother. Parts in the book made me have emotions for the character and made me feel like i was there with them. Not wanting to put any spoilers, I really felt bad and was scared for Eva when a great ordeal happened to her. This book has really made me a better person and made me understand that i should be thankful for what i have and to always love a person no matter what happens. I'd say the only complaint i have for the book is the ending because it felt like a cliffhanger and never really gave any hints of what might happen to the sisters after the events of the book and if things will change for the better.

For a no-fiction book, i read "Longitude" by Dava Sobel. Before i read this book i had no knowledge of the Longitude problem that happened in the 1700s and early 1800s and how it was a big deal. This book greatly explained the events during that time and the many people who tried and failed at solving the problem. The book didn't just talk about the man who finally solved the problem, John Harrison, but also told about his competitors and they're inventions or ideas of finding longitude. For example, it told about Harrison's main competitor, Nevil Maskelyn, who came up with the Lunar Distance method to find longitude. I was fascinated with the book cause it was helping me understand more about this problem i never knew about, it also helped me tell the difference between latitude and longitude, two things that i always got mixed up with. I would recommend this book to people because it's certainly fascinating and will teach you about a not well known problem in the 18th and early 19th century.

In response to Chouaib's comment about "Guns, Germs, and Steel." This book sounds very interesting and i too had similar questions to the ones you had. I've always had an interest and curiosity over why and how Europeans conquered and colonized many other lands. I believe that "Guns, Germs, and Steel" will answer my question and help feed my interest and curiosity, and I look forward to hopefully reading it one day.

Posted by jacob galuego at Saturday, August 31, 2013 15:57:27

In response to Jacob's post about the book he read, "Into the Forest". I feel that this book is interesting and it is engaging. I like stories about the bonds of families and this seems to be a book that I will want to read.

Posted by Ament Chia at Saturday, August 31, 2013 19:06:09

Profiles in Courage by John F. Kennedy is an inspiring book about U.S. senators and their displays of admirable courage in the face of hardships, be it man versus nature, or man versus man. Doing what one believes is right, and not for what others believe is right, despite the obstacles.

I particularly enjoyed Sam Houston's chapter, for he did not yield, and did what he believed, and was resolved to lose his office of governor of Texas.

Posted by Alvin Zhang at Saturday, August 31, 2013 19:38:34

In response to Vivian Ou's comment about "Memoirs of a Geisha", that sounds like a very interesting book to read. I love books that are in first person, and the life of a geisha would be interesting to read about. I don't know a lot on what kind of training geisha need to go through, so I might read this book in the future.

Posted by Aiko Pasion at Saturday, August 31, 2013 19:45:29

Longitude: The True Story of a Lone Genius Who Solved the Greatest Scientific Problem of His Time by David Sobel is a book about the troubles of a certain John Harrison, an 18th century clock-maker, and how he accomplished the making of an early marine chronometer that could determine longitude at sea. Determining one's longitude on land was fairly simple compared to this. This caused sailors to lose their bearings as soon as they couldn't see land in any direction, which was obviously problematic for trade and exploration.

Despite the title, the book also speaks of his competitors, who came from many different fields, and their own methods of trying to solve that dilemma. For example, Nevil Maskelyne was an astronomer, so he decided to go about the longitude problem by using lunar distance, which measures the angle between the moon and another celestial body to calculate Greenwich time. Using Greenwich time allowed mariners to determine their general latitude and longitude.

I found this book to be a valuable insight on a valuable event in science and history. I was somewhat embarrassed in reading this book, because I had to reread several sections to understand what was going on, but I enjoyed it nonetheless.

Posted by Alvin Zhang at Saturday, August 31, 2013 19:57:17

Aiko's comment about Into the Forest by Jean Hegland leaves me with a desire to read the book. I wonder what she meant by, "If [our] world did end up like [their's]..." Is it apocalyptic? Is it a desolate and barren wasteland? What is it? I want to know. I also like endings that leave you in a state where you wonder what happens after it's over. I suppose that's from reading so many R. L. Stine books. The director M. Night Shyamalan is also famous for his twist endings. I really liked The Sixth Sense, and it's always stuck with me. I think I'll really like this book.

Posted by Alvin Zhang at Saturday, August 31, 2013 20:08:28

I JUST REALIZED THIS IS FOR MR. HANNIGAN AND NOT CAMPBELL.

Posted by Alvin Zhang at Saturday, August 31, 2013 20:09:05

I read the book "Memoir's of a Geisha" by Arthur Golden.

The main character of this story is a girl named Chiyo, who is also known by her Geisha name Sayuri. I was very mesmerized by how Mameha describes Chiyo in this quote on page 82, paragraph 4: "Waiting patiently doesn't suit you. I can see you have a great deal of water in your personality. Water never waits. It changes shape and flows around things, and finds the secret paths no one else has thought about-the tiny hole through the roof or the bottom of a box. There's no doubt it's the most versatile of the five elements. It can wash away earth; it can put out fire; it can wear a piece of metal down and sweep it away. Even wood, which is its natural complement, can't survive without being nurtured by water. And yet, you haven't drawn on those strengths in living your life, have you?" From my perspective as I read through the book; I see Chiyo's water element the most as she surpasses Hatsumomo, a rivaling Geisha and antagonist, who is often compared to a fire with her dangerous personality. Which symbolizes, to me, Chiyo putting out Hatsumomo's flame. Chiyo's birth mother even had the same eyes and a great deal of water in her. Chiyo's father though has a lot of wood and as you can see in the quote, water and wood go hand-in-hand.

My favorite character is Mameha. She is Chiyo's teacher, mentor, and sister in every sense. Mameha takes in Chiyo as her protégé even though Chiyo has many debts. Debts due to Hatsumomo always framing Chiyo for stealing and the fact that Chiyo tried to run away by climbing the roof tops to meet with her sister did not help since it resulted in her falling off and breaking her arm. You can imagine that was a huge medical bill all on it's own. Hatsumomo even made Chiyo ruin one of Mameha's beautiful and expensive kimonos on purpose. So you would think Mameha would hate poor Chiyo but no. Mameha understands how Hatsumomo is very, very well and that Chiyo has done nothing reasonable to even upset Hatsumomo. Hatsumomo just dispised Chiyo being a possible threat to her high and respected place in the Okiya since she's the only one being the one who brings the money in at the time to care for the whole place and it's residents.

In response to Nathaniel Austria's comment on October Sky, I immediately thought of the movie. I never got to finish the film completely but I bet the book is probably different but better to. It sounds like a very inspirational novel and from the way Nathaniel describes it. There's a lot I'm missing out on apparently. I would like to read about Homer Hickam more and his "Rocket Boys" when I get the chance now.

Posted by Jade S. Cabug at Saturday, August 31, 2013 23:40:49

I've been interested in mythology since late 6th grade, and when I saw that American Gods was based on world mythology I was extremely excited. I'm a fan of books full of adventure, mythical creatures, and extraordinary heroes and sadly American Gods did not deliver this. Instead I got a book full of very explicit vocabulary, detailed sex scenes, and dragging scenes that seemed unnecessary to the story-line. Shadow, lost son of Odin, was charged with 6 years of prison for battery and attempt in murder but was released after three years for good behavior. A week before Shadows due date of release Shadow’s wife was killed in a car accident while giving oral to his boss, who was driving. On Shadow’s flight home he meets Wednesday, also known as Odin, who attempts to hire Shadow as a personal guard. Shadow was reluctant at first, but was finally persuaded because he knew he had nothing else to lose. American Gods is set in America after the rise of technology, where America is in a stage of new fads that come and go. Due to America’s ever changing ideas, religion and beliefs become less and less important as times pass. Gods who were once worshiped by immigrants of America started to lose their reins of power and new, more powerful gods started to appear. Wednesday hired Shadow to protect him and help him persuade old gods to fight the new gods. Wednesday’s attempts could not rally enough gods to participate in the war, but after the new gods assassinated him all the old gods agreed to fight in the name of Odin. The old gods and new gods fight believing that there was only room for certain types of gods, but did not see the real picture. Shadow figures out that Odin and Loki wanted to use the new gods and old gods as pawns so they could sacrifice their blood and chaos to them. Shadow comes back from the dead and stops most of the gods from killing one another.

I honestly felt that American Gods story-line was too dragged. Gaiman puts so much detail into Wednesday’s attempts to rally up gods for his war, but only spends two chapters on the war. Also, the war was barely described. He did not mention the gods who died and poorly explained the battle. Gaiman mostly focused on Shadow’s character development. Shadow starts off as a care-free type of guy who never acted before thinking, but he grows to become a modern hero who cares deeply for the gods and heroes he meets throughout the book. Shadow did not start off as what I believed a hero should be. Shadow did not start with any signs of heroism in him and I could not say he was brave. He was not scared of his dead wife who followed him and spoke to him in corpse form, but it was not because he was brave but cause he really didn't care and was just glad to see her. What makes Shadow stand out of the other heroes of books I've read is that he doesn't believe he is important or that it is his destiny to be a hero. He never chose the hero life, he kind of got pulled into it by flipping a coin and using chance.

I can sat that I did enjoy American Gods. I’m not used to literature that was written for an older audience. I liked the characters in this book because they were like normal people. The gods weren't described as powerful beings who were ten feet tall with glowing swords. They were portrayed as frail and weak middle-aged or old people who struggled with their own lives and could hardly get by. The under-exaggeration of these supposedly great beings made this book stick out. I’m not at the age to truly enjoy the serious passages Gaiman wrote, but I can say that I did enjoy his profanity. My favorite part from this book is when Shadow tried to escape the CIA and was given assistance from Odin’s raven for directions to a close by city. Shadow tries to make a joke by asking the raven to say, “Nevermore” and the raven shot back “F*ck you.” Little signs of humor and profanity made this book worthwhile. I can't say this is my favorite book, but the ending was amazing! The beginning and middle was slow-paced, but the ending was one of the best I've read so far.

Posted by Liberty J at Sunday, September 01, 2013 00:15:42

Guns, Germs, and Steel by Jared Diamond is practically Satan in book form. Jared Diamond theorizes the reason why Europeans were the most powerful race in the world. Diamond does not believe that race has anything to do with Europe’s achievements, but that they were just luckier than other people. Europeans lived in the largest continent and therefore had the most domestic-able animals and plants. Also Europeans neighbored the great civilizations of Asia, Middle East, and the Nile valley that independently adopted agriculture and took some of their ideas and used them (metallurgy, science, agriculture, etc.). After agriculture was taken up, Europeans had enough food to feed more mouths and more time to create inventions to further simplify their lives. Europeans had a large population and therefore people who were curious about the world grew up and became the great adventurers that we read about in history books. Diamond did not once talk about races having different biological differences that allowed them to achieve certain things.

I felt that I lost my train of thought while reading this book. Diamond repeated old points and often stressed certain things in different chapters. I had a feeling that Diamond was just on repeat. Most times I found some things he said to be boring, like the idea that some plants and animals that were adopted from other regions of the world could not last in a new climate or time zone (Europe domestic animals taken to Africa). I dislike being given so much information at one time, and therefore I could say my brain felt like mash potatoes after just one chapter of this book. I can say that I have a whole new perspective on world history. I believed that Europeans were just overall better than others, but now I can just say they were just lucky to be given so much resources from their lands.

My experience with this book was not a walk in the park. The first few chapters I got extremely tired and felt that my usual reading pace was slower than usual. I pulled through and finished the book. I can say that I’m glad I pulled through. The information I attained really helped me with my AP World homework. I could easily write about the Neolithic Era, Fertile Crescent, and early civilizations of the world. I learned new things I didn’t know before. I know Europe is located in the largest continent in the world, but so does China. Chinese people developed agriculture thousands of years earlier than Europeans, but did not become the over-takers (but also did not get overtaken). I learned that China was more united than Europe because they had more flat land. Europe had many different civilizations and societies because they had rockier lands with natural barriers that divided the people. Because China was unified, one ruler had the power to deny someone’s request to further expand China’s already large territory by exploring and overtaking others. It took Columbus 5 rulers of Europe to be approved and sponsored for a voyage out of Europe. I feel slightly smarter after reading Guns, Germs, and Steel. I don't like non-fictions and I really dislike informative/historic non-fictions, so Guns,Germs, and Steel wasn't the most practical choice but did had enough benefits to be worth reading.

Posted by Liberty J at Sunday, September 01, 2013 00:16:27

Response to Alvin Zhang:

When going through the list of fiction books, I searched up Longitude on Google and found a summary about it. I wasn't interested in reading about scientist attempting to fix map measurements so I didn't even consider this book at all. After reading your comment, I'm glad I put it aside. I get bored of non-fiction so easily and this is still an unappealing topic to me. I'm also not that into science, so I think I'd also have to reread this book to understand what is happening.

Liberty J Onia
Period 7

Posted by Liberty J at Sunday, September 01, 2013 00:43:32

The novel October Sky by Homer Hickam is among one of few stories that is capable of changing your mindset. It certainly did mines. After the satellite Sputnik was launched by Russia and raced across the night sky of the small town of Coalwood, Homer then became inspired to build his own rockets one way or another. He saw this as an opportunity to get out of Coalwood and his father's coal mining industry that was slowly dying with no future. With the help of his friends they formed their own group calling themselves Big Creek Missile Agency (BCMA) and were known as the Rocket Boys all over the town. Many times they failed but Homer had this idea—this vision. Despite the obstacles he faced and feelings of doubt, Homer was able to surpass that. And this is one of the reasons why I enjoyed this book so much. He took this idea of his even if his future was blurry and he made this idea become reality. This book inspired me so much and reminded me that even if we find ourselves in hard times we should get back on our feet and never give up regardless. Because anything really is possible.

Posted by Jessica Benitez at Sunday, September 01, 2013 23:46:05

In his book, "Things Fall Apart", author, Chinua Achebe expresses the radical effects of change and imperialistic influence from Europeans on 17th century Nigerian Culture. The main character, Okwonko, in efforts to become nothing like his penniless and lazy father grows into a brutal, ambitious and stern being which had a great effect on his son. I am inspired by Okwonko's great level of achievement of being a great war man and wrestler, successfully growing yams from the rich, and raising a large family of three wives but I feel he goes wrong when you constantly avoids showing affection to his children and forcefully nags them to perfection. I found it no surprize when his eldest son left to be a christian and a teacher, he was simply pushed to hard by his father, and his father realized this as his son slipped away from him. I think this was a really important and modernly applicable theme in this story. I additionally like how the author, Chinua Achebe uses Nigerian vocabulary of Igbo language and the celebrative culture expressed in the story to disprove the white stereotype of villagers lacking culture and intellect. Another key issue that must be mentioned is that culture, like the culture of letting twins die in forests or having social untouchables, often lack sense and ethics but are passed down regardless. It really amazed me when Nwoye thought about this issue and left his culture for that reason. I think that overall this book was extremely accurate in its representation of the Nigerian Culture and I learned alot about the world and the ingorance of cultures from this book. It is really saddening that the author has died just recently, but his book and his message will continue to live on.

The second book I read was "Guns, Germs, and Steel" by Jarrod Diamond. I was fascinated at how Jarrod took Yali's question, of why some societies were more advanced than others and why some societies are excluded from the line of modern progression. As always interested in world issues and biology, I think Diamond put them well together like by saying that large extinct ostriches may have been the domesticated horses of Australia but because they were killed slowed development in the area. His theory on environment drew a logical parallel with Charles Darwin's concept of how development is affected by environment. Although the book showed other theories like isolation, or method uses, or conservative culture, I felt that the environment was the most convincing. I also really like how his book was organized with his title, Guns meaning a societies ability to use force against another, Germs, the use of biochemical weapons, and steel the aid of technology. The spread and interconnections between societies was also an important concept to grasp. The way how explained that through contact of societies, although exact blueprints are not shared, ideas are, and I think that's responsible for why why have multicultural items that accomplish similar things but in different shapes and forms. Also having watched the documentary as well, I found a key misunderstood concept that people in tribes were actually proven to have higher IQ's than people in the modern world. I believe thats because for the modern world everything is handed, where as tribal beings must use wit to survive. So at the end of the day Jarrod Diamonds approach to the question of societal superiority and inferiority is highly logical and draws significant justification with Charles Darwin's theory of environmental factors playing a large role in societal development. This book has made me curious to how modern day would be different if distribution of power had followed Diamonds theory but in a different direction, say Africa was the United States of today, how would things have been different?

In Response to Jessica Benitez, October Sky by Homer Hickam: I really like how this book, October Sky, presents a story of inspiration of how a person as simple as Homer, with the weak and miserable state he was in was able to control his fate and make its success by creating the Big Creek Missile Agency. It is important that you mention that he failed many of times because like many discoveries and achievements in our past, failure is inevitable. The fact that he surpasses his failure and works with them is what truly interests me to read this book. This book to me sounds really similar to a popular 2009 Bollywood film, "Badmash Company", director, Yash Chopra. In the story, a group of average friends pursue a huge business idea, risking everything and almost loosing it all, they eventually see success because like Homer they believed and never gave up. I would be interested in reading that book, thank you for sharing, Jessica.

Kunal Sharma.

Posted by Kunal Sharma at Monday, September 02, 2013 11:51:13

Sorry for one of my comments I put the wrong title it should be ,"Into the forest" by jean hegland.. Sorry

Posted by Kiret pattar 1st period at Monday, September 02, 2013 18:59:19

Under the numerous recommendations of my upperclassmen friends, the first book I chose to read was "Memoirs of a Geisha" by Arthur Golden. As someone who is a fan of watching movie adaptations of books, I just had to give this book a shot. Needless to say, sometimes you really should listen to what Rotten Tomatoes says about movies. When you read Golden's book it's impossible for you NOT to be transported into Sayuri's world. I found myself screaming in frustration every time Hatsumomo made Sayuri's life hell, gasping in disbelief when Pumpkin betrayed someone who considered her a friend, and pouting miserably when I remembered that the Chairman had a wife the entire time I was waiting for him to sweep Sayuri off her feet. (I mean seriously what a loser!)I guess what bothers me the most was that the movie didn't capture any of that. Arthur Golden's words pulled a reader in, each time I opened the book he was able to make me feel like I was sitting right there in the okiya while I watched Sayuri, Pumpkin, Mameha and Hatsumomo deal with the daily drama and that is exactly what the movie did not do.

Reading this book made me want to learn more about Japanese culture which is precisely why I, like my friends, would recommend it to anyone who asked. There have been few moments in my life where a book honestly compelled me to want to learn more about something and that is exactly what "Memoirs of a Geisha" did.

While I personally wished the book had ended with Sayuri finding a way to get out of her debited life at the okiya without the help of the MARRIED Chairman, I do respect her for going to such great lengths to get what she wanted. I mean, sure she hurt many people along the way, and yeah, maybe she was unnecessarily cruel to people to get to the Chairman but those are the reasons I respect her so much. I appreciate anyone who is ambitious enough to fight for what they want and Sayuri was that girl. Though I don't understand all of the choices she made, I find Sayuri as a role model of sorts. Reading her story made me remember it's okay to fight for the things you want for yourself, especially if they mean that much to you. As someone who's looking to major in the business field I think it was a pretty good lesson to learn.

Erika Cospin
6th Period

Posted by Erika Cospin 6th Period at Monday, September 02, 2013 20:37:06

"Angela's Ashes" by Frank McCourt was the second book I chose to read from the recommendation of a Barnes and Noble employee who told me it was all about Nazis. So, as a 15 year old girl who's always found herself interested in the Holocaust, I figured I'd try it out. After reading "Memoirs of a Geisha" when I realized was also going to told in memoir form I was totally excited. Finally, a non fiction book that isn't just straight facts in small font. But you can imagine my surprise when I'm halfway through the book, reading about how Frank McCourt's childhood was literally the worst EVER and still waiting for the Nazi's to come in when I finally sit there and think, "You know maybe this book really isn't about Nazi's..."

There really isn't much I can say about the book besides saying it was just HUGELY depressing. I had to read 363 pages of a boy's suffering in Ireland. I watched this boy lose his siblings, starve to death, and watch his father drink all the money away. Basically, what I'm trying to say here is that when I finally finished 363 pages of total misfortune and unfairness I ran to my mom crying about how grateful I was for everything she's done for me and our family and how glad I was she moved to America from the Philippines. Frank McCourt was able to find a way out, and though it took years, like many he returned to America ready to start a better life and though I may never know if he was able to accomplish that unless I buy the sequel, I closed the novel satisfied that McCourt was never again going to have to go through the things he suffered as a child.

Sometimes it really angers me that there are really people out there who have to suffer the same things as Frank McCourt, people who wonder everyday if they will have food in their stomachs, or new boots to wear in the winter and there are others who have everything given to them from the day they're born. Why can't the world be fair? I've never read a book that's ever made me feel the way "Angela's Ashes" did. I feel like a wannabe super hero, someone who is so angered by the injustice in the world and wants nothing more than to fix everything, but the thing is I feel powerless to help. For now I'll start with donating to charities and volunteering but you never know, maybe one day I'll try the whole cape and mask thing.

Erika Cospin
6th period

Posted by Erika Cospin 6th Period at Monday, September 02, 2013 21:26:35

One of the books I read was "Memoirs of a Geisha", by Arthur Golden. In this novel, you see Chiyo (later known as Sayuri)grow up. When she is young and lives in her hometown, her mother becomes sick and they find out it is cancer. Her father did not know what to do, they came from a poor family and it was already hard enough for him to support his family. Eventually, Mr. Tanaka talks to Chiyo's dad. Chiyo does not hear clearly and assumes that Mr. Tanaka is talking about adopting Chiyo and her sister, Satsu. Chiyo has always been very find of Mr. Tanaka. He was very kind in her eyes. Later, she is dragged away from her family, even her sister, and Chiyo realizes that she has been sold to a geisha house.
What fascinates me is the relationships Chiyo has with Hatsumomo and Mameha. Hatsumomo continuously bashes on Chiyo even though she never did anything bad to her, whereas, her relationship with Mameha is the complete opposite. Mameha is able to guide Chiyo into becoming a very successful geisha in ways that seems so simple and with ease. I never read anything about Mameha being negative towards Chiyo.
Another thing that interests me are the twists and turns in the book. They seem to be pretty realistic in my view. Twists & turns such as when the Chairman gives Chiyo the handkerchief and later finds out that the Chairman was the reason that Mameha became Chiyo's older sister. Or when Chiyo believes that Pumpkin is her friend and in the end finds out that Pumpkin doesn't see her that way. Overall, "Memoirs of a Giesha" is a great book and I would reccomend it. The story is amazing, as well as the writing. The similes and metaphors were one of the best parts of the book and the way the author describes the life of a geisha really helps you understand the book.

Posted by Navleen, 7th period at Wednesday, September 04, 2013 16:46:52

In response to Liberty J 's comment:

When I heard of Guns, Germs, and Steel by Jared Diamond from upperclassmen who had this assigned to them the previous year, they told me to not read it because it's very long. After reading Liberty's response, I have regrets on not choosing this book. It gave me interests because I want to know more about Diamond's theories about the Europeans. Why did she think it was just luck for their success? I also regret not reading this book because liberty said that it helped her with understanding terms and ideas for AP World History. That course is a very hard and I would take any advantages to making my knowledge expand more on that subject too. Just because this book is long, doesn't mean it's a bad and boring book. If I had the chance, I would read this book in the near future. It will for sure help me with, not only English but, strengthen my knowledge in other subjects, such as history.

Posted by Angela Arguelles at Wednesday, September 04, 2013 17:05:10

Tom Jones

Henry Fielding's Tom Jones features a wide cast of characters. He incorporates different characteristics into many of them, making them each different in their own way. While there are many characters who seem the same at first glance such as the landladies at the inns where Tom and other company rest at, they are not simply rehashes for simple plot development. It reflects that there are no two people who are truly alike, though they may be very similar indeed.

What I also liked about these characters is the fact that they are quite morally realistic. For instance, there are characters that appear to be on the "good side" (side of the main character), but that doesn't mean that they're excused for the things that they do. He shows that even good people can have weaknesses and that even bad people can be given many opportunities for redemption, no matter how late in life that may be. This depth is something that you don’t see so often in many books. It shows the complexity of humans and how a person capable of performing both many good and many bad deeds.

Take Black George for example. He was Tom’s friend. Tom had done so many things for him such as providing his family with money secretly by selling his own horse or providing him with a well-paying job. Despite all the kindness given to him, George stole the money that Tom had lost. He could not resist the temptation of stealing the money. As a result, it made him guilty, yet he acted as a messenger several times for both Sophia and Tom.

Even the protagonist of the story is not exempted from this. Tom Jones is not a perfect character. He may be the owner of a very generous good-heart, but he still had a problem with women. While the great love he pledged for his Sophia seemed genuine, it still did not prevent him from sleeping with several women throughout the course of the novel. He was not loved by everyone, and was even misunderstood throughout most of the books. Just as George and Tom were not perfectly good, characters like Mr. Square were not entirely bad either.

Mr. Square was one of Tom’s mentors who frequently scolded and punished Tom when he was a young boy. He not only concealed the truth regarding the real reason for Tom’s drinking during the time of Mr. Allworthy’s illness, but also slept with Molly Seagrim, who was already pregnant with child. However, when he realized that he was about to die, he regretted his actions and wrote a letter to Mr. Allworthy. In the letter, he admitted the things that he had done and had admitted that Tom was not a bad person. In fact, it was this very letter that had finally convinced Mr. Allworthy to allow Tom back into his estate.

All in all, Tom Jones was a very, very long book. After attempting to read this book several times, I found that it was not as difficult as I thought it would be. However, it’s suggested that you head into this book with The realistic way that Fielding had written this book makes it something that I do not regret choosing as one of my summer assignment books.

In response to Navleen’s comment about the “Memoirs of a Geisha”:

I’d have to say that I was interested in the plot. If I find that I have some time to spare, I might consider reading this.

Hearing about Chiyo being sold by her family in order to pay for her mom’s treatment was sad. It appeared as if they had no choice. Then again,I guess there are times when it looks like there is no other choice. Do you think that Chiyo’s parents sold her to give Chiyo a better life, or do you think that the parents sold her to pay for her mother’s treatment?

There is one other thing that I’m curious about though. Does the book ever mention about what happens to Chiyo’s older sister Satsu, or is she only mentioned a few times in the book?

Posted by Jan from Period 1 at Wednesday, September 04, 2013 20:32:12

To continue my responce of The Rape of the Nanking, I was most inspired by Li Xouying. She was one of the only people to fight back and give those disgusting soldiers what they deserved. Her story started off when a group of 3 soldiers cornered her in a room to try to gang rape her but they weren't expecting what came at them. She faught back with all of her might after getting stabbed 37 times times with a bayonet and a fully formed baby about to be delivered. I was in total shock when she, out of many other people, faught for her life and the only thing she regretted was not knowing karate to beat the soldiers like they did to the other civilians. I am really moved by her actions and I feel like they should be awarded with some sort of medal of awesomeness or something.

The other summer book I read was Memiors of a Geisha by Arthur Golden. At first, I wasn't really interested in the book when I first started to read about Chiyo/ Sayuri. I felt like the story about her becoming a geisha was being stretched out too much and didn't have very many exciting moments that caught my eye. The story starts out as a girl named Chiyo and her sister getting recruited by a fairly wealthy man in their poor town. He lets Chiyo become a geisha and that's what the perspective of the book is from. Chiyo tell us her struggles of becoming a formal geisha. She also sees a man she will want to be with in her life and Chiyo renames herself Sayuri. I didn't find any very surprising things that happened and I feel like there should have been more twists in the plot than just for her to go after this man known as the Chairman and becoming a formal geisha. What confused me was how she knew she was in love at such a young age. Usually, people wouldn't be that attached to a person they see momentarily. Later int the book, a nearring the end, may have been the most interesting part of the story. First, the Chairman and Sayuri meet again on a trip with other friends like Mameha, Pumpkin, and Sayuri's danna and going to be danna. Mameha is Sayuri's coach to becoming a geisha, Pumpkin is Sayuri's childhood hfriend and a danna is kind of like a husband but you aren't officially married to the other person. Then, Sayuri comes up with a plan on getting rid of her danna and her soon to be danna, Nobu. It is a very easy plan but for some reason, Pumpkin messes it up. Instead of bring Nobu to the site as told, she brings the Chairman. I thought this was the biggest twist the book had, but I still feel like it wasn't all that surprising and was too short for my liking. I also didn't get the full message of why Pumpkin brought the Chairman instead of Nobu. Overall, Memiors of a Geisha was not one of my favorites, but it was well written and has a movie that is similar to the book.

Posted by Tiffany Chung at Wednesday, September 04, 2013 20:33:20

Angela's Ashes is a nonfiction written by Frank McCourt that mainly focuses on two things: His childhood and how he survived it. Frank first introduces us to his younger self as a four year old in Brooklyn, NY. There he encounters his first experience with the death of his 2 month old baby sister, Margaret. And as a young child I suspect that he doesn't quite understand the concept of death. But later on you come to realize that death and loss soon becomes a big aspect of this book. After Margaret's death, Frank's family decides to move back to Ireland hoping to have a better life. However they experience more difficult times and hardships— with Frank's alcoholic father spending all their money in the pubs, with starving and living off of bread and tea not knowing when their next meal will be, the illness and the freezing, and eventually the death of Frank's younger twin brothers.

What saddens and breaks my heart the most is not the death of these children because eventually we are all going to die too, but the fact that they died so young that they are never going to get to experience life like the rest of us are given a chance to. They will never get to feel how it is to be in love. They will never know what it is like to live in a warm happy household. All they got from their life to remember is what it feels like to starve and have a dad who barely comes home and when he does, he won't even hold you because he is so drunk, but instead sings irish songs and forces you to say you'll die for Ireland, and what it feels like for sickness and death to take over you.

I honestly don't know how Frank was able to go through all this. But I admire him because he was able to push through and find light even in the darkest parts of his childhood. This novel broke my heart then mended it back together then ripped it up again and then slowly put the pieces back where they really belonged. Angelas's Ashes really emphasizes, "We can't choose where we come from but we can choose where we go from there."

Posted by Jessica Benitez at Wednesday, September 04, 2013 23:43:51

In response to Jan:
I definitely think you should read it, especially since you are already interested in it! The writing is very different than I've read in any other books and I enjoyed it!
I think Chiyo's parents sold her and her sister, Satsu, so they would have a better life. Seeing what their conditions were like, I don't think their parents had too much to give them anyway.
Chiyo's sister is mentioned a lot in the beginning of the book (on their way to getting sold), other than that, she's not mentioned that much. Once, Chiyo meets Satsu after being sold they plan to escape but Chiyo was not able to. After that, Chiyo only mentions her a few times when she remembers her. (Sorry for spoiling a small part of it).
This usually puts me into deep thought about how she has no family in the end. It's just her and a few others that she knows well. Her character is very well developed and the author shows how having no family affects her.

I have a few questions: what part of the book "Tom Jones" were you able to relate to most or made you think of anything that has occurred? Also, after Black George stole the money did him and Tom remain friends?

Posted by Navleen, 1st period at Thursday, September 05, 2013 16:48:40

In response to Navleen's comment

Haha, I'm sure that one day I will get a chance to read that book, just not at the moment. It does seem different from the books that I normally read, and I think that it will be definitely worth it.

Hmm, I see. Those were almost my exact thoughts surrounding Chiyo's parents' decision. I guess it makes you realize that though some decisions may seem heartless or cruel, there still may be some other reason for things that we may not even know of unless told by the author otherwise. There might be secret motives that ultimately end in the best way possible, despite not looking so well at the start.

I find it a little sad that Chiyo and her sister Satsu were not able to escape together or that they never met each other again. What seems even sadder is that fact that Chiyo wasn’t able to escape and that she would have to grow up without any family. And don’t worry about spoiling it. ^^ I’m sure that I will probably forget about it by the time I find a chance to read the book. Besides, I’ve heard that knowing about some spoilers were a good thing. ;)

Well, I think we could relate to all the misunderstandings that happened throughout Tom Jones. There were times when characters eavesdropped on conversations, and, while not hearing everything, went to go off on their own to tell others about their “discoveries.” As a result, these kinds of things caused many unwanted drama which could have been prevented if people had just kept quiet.

There were many times when things like these happened at my old school. Some classmates of mine had heard something from another friend who had heard it from another friend who had seen it happen. When some of these rumors had reached the ears of the principal and the teachers, things had already escalated. The drama that occurred had gotten worse. However, things probably wouldn’t have been this way if some people had learned to be a little quiet.

Yes, I’m aware that these incidents are normal in most schools, which is why I mentioned it. It is in our nature to assume some things without consulting the people involved to see if the things that we have heard are true. This can lead to poor judgment from not hearing or knowing the whole story. It is also in our nature to not mind our own business. We just seem so interested in what everyone else is doing that we do not really think about the things that we need to do.

By the way (spoiler alert =P), Black George’s theft was eventually revealed. Tom did not hold a grudge against George for what he did. Eventually, George became consumed with guilt and he just disappeared. In fact, he was still considered a friend. Nothing was mentioned about his after that.

Posted by Jan from Period 1 at Thursday, September 05, 2013 21:16:30

Hello.
I read The professor and the Madman by Simon Winchester. The book is about the Madman (Doctor Minor), who fears the lower class because he thinks they are out to torture him after he branded an irishman for deserting the army during the civil war. He also really doesn't like Irish people. Because of this fear, he shoots a stranger and then is put into an Asylum in England (because he was in England), but because he is so respected in the army in America he is given special treatment in the Asylum, so he orders books and books and books. In one of the books he finds and ad and responds to it, because he says: yes he will help in the making of the Oxford English Dictionary. I really liked the fact that his friend Prof. Murray, the one in charge of making the OED, didn't become any less of a friend or pull back in any way after he found out that Dr. Minor was insane. I also kinda sorta laughed at the fact that some journalist fabricated a story about their first meeting, which means that the media was making stuff up even back then. I just found that humorous.
I also read Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe. In the book Okonkwo strives to show that he is a strong person, and throughout the book his strength and courage is tried as he has to kill a boy to whom he has become a surrogate father, accidentally kill another boy and then banished from his village, and then face the coming of missionaries. I, personally don't like missionaries in literature because they are really stupid and mean, so when I read that missionaries were the last straw for Okonkwo, I got really angry... at the missionaries. I also think I like Enzima, because she is really respectful, and also Okonkwo's favorite child.
In response to Emma's comment about The Rape of Nanking, I agree with what your saying about how people should know about things in history like population devastation. hey that kind of rhymed.
This is Liliana B. from period 3+3 (6th period)

Posted by Lilliana Batalao at Thursday, September 05, 2013 22:25:25

Over the summer one book that I read was "American Gods" by Neil Gaiman. Although at some parts of the book it was as if I'm totally lost and don't know what’s going on, the books descriptions kept my mind wondering of how Neil Gaiman could possible write a book so descriptive and adventurous. In "American Gods" Shadow who is the main character serves three years in jail as a peaceful prisoner anxiously waiting for the day he is released.

Back at home Shadow lives with his wife in an apartment which they had rented after their marriage. After spending so much time in prison Shadow just anxiously wants to go back to Laura, his wife and never go back to prison again, but sadly this does not happen. Unexpectedly Shadow is called into the prison warden’s office. Afraid that he is going to be sentenced to another year in prison Shadow doesn't expect the warden to tell him that his wife has died in a car accident.

Shadow is released early to go to his wife's funeral. While traveling in a plane back to his home town a storm occurs setting the planes direction off course. Since he has landed in a different airport Shadow has to take a different plane back home and on that plane he ends up sitting next to an old man who calls himself Mr. Wednesday. Mr. Wednesday tells Shadow many things about his past which Shadow is surprised to hear from a complete stranger and then Mr. Wednesday offers Shadow a new job as his body guard. At this point the book takes a major turn making you feel as if you are reading a whole different story.

As Mr. Wednesday body guard, Shadow learns about many things he thought weren't real for example he learns that Mr. Wednesday is actually a god and lots of the people he meets with Mr. Wednesday are also gods or other mythical creatures too. When Shadow comes to meet Mr. Wednesday this book gets really frustrating to read, all because of the gods and other creatures talked about in the book.

To me it was as if Neil Gaiman wanted to drag the book and added all the parts about the gods and other creatures changing the whole conflict of the story. As a reader I’m not really sure if I would recommend this book to friends unless, one they love reading, two they’re an excellent reader, and three if they love mythology. Altogether "American Gods" is a great book but the dramatically changing plot sometimes threw me way off course.

The other book that I read was "Guns, Germs, and Steel" by Jared Diamond. The thing that annoyed me about this book was its length, after reading a chapter I would always check how many more chapters I have till the end of the book. This book had many facts that I didn't know, for example one fact that I thought was really fascinating was of how almonds were poisonous in till they were domesticated by humans.

As Jared Diamond says in the book that telling the history of how white society has come to be far more advanced than some of the other societies is not enough to fit into one chapter book which Jared Diamond did but he has to take out some of the facts. “Guns, Germs, and Steel” starts out with the introduction of Yali and the question that he asks Jared Diamond making him write this book to answer his question 25 years later. The question that Yali asks is “Why is it that you white people developed so much cargo and brought it to New Guinea, but we black people had little cargo of our own?”(pg. 14)

When you think about this question it makes you think that Yali is making white people look superior and the black people look weak against them, but if you consider that the Europeans had long cold winters in which that had to stay inside allowing them time to create new inventions and make life easier. This is how Jared Diamond answers Yali’s question but with his story of how he came up with this answer and the history leading to his answer.

I have to say that all the research and facts that Jared Diamond learned over 25 years to write this book all goes to him and all his hard work should be given credit to. One thing about this book is that you can’t just read it in like a week or a few days because of its length and the historical events in the book. Something that I liked about this book is how Jared Diamond added little stories of things that relate to the history and facts in this book making easier to read. It’s hard to imagine how hard Jared Diamond had to work to write this book. To people that love history and are always willing to learning try "Guns, Germs, and Steel" it should be a great challenge.

Posted by Amanpreet Kler 1st period at Friday, September 06, 2013 18:49:09

Response to Jessica Benitez on "Angela's Ashes"
The way you emphasized how Frank had to watch his younger siblings die at such a young age also made me sad and mad of how their drunk father ruins their lives by wasting their money. One question that I had about this book is why didn't their mother do anything to save her family, unless there mother has died or left them. In this book I bet that Frank's character is really strong. I wonder how an author could write such a tragic story.

Posted by Amanpreet Kler 1st period at Friday, September 06, 2013 19:07:48

*I'd like to clarify that the maximum length for a comment is 5000 characters and my comment for my book (Wild Swans) is more than 5000 characters so I have to leave two comments for it. In total, I will end up leaving 4 comments (2 for my fiction book, 1 for my non-fiction book and 1 for my response.) Sorry for the trouble Mr. Hannigan!*

Wild Swans, by Jung Chang, is a book about three generations of women that go through the hardships of living in China. From living through the Kuomintang takeover to having the Communists defeat the Kuomintang and starting the Cultural Revolution, these three women (Jung's grandma,Jung's mother, and Jung herself) have allowed their lives to be dictated by China's government.

The book begins with Jung's grandmother's life and it explains her life growing up. The story immediately jumped to explaining China's interesting customs. For example, "bounding" feet was a struggle most women had to go through in order to be seen as desirable by men. This strange custom got me hooked into the story as I got more into it. The story continued on to Jung's grandmother eventually ending up being a concubine to a powerful general, General Xue. She was "sold" off to him by her father. He only arranged this marriage because he knew his daughter was eligible (she was really beautiful) and also because he needed a good ranking for his job (he would receive a high title if his could marry Jung's grandmother to General Xue). After they got married, Jung's grandmother had to live in a large house that General Xue bought just for her. Most of the time she was alone in that house, and there was rarely any love or communication in their relationship except for a few letters. She lived in that house for six whole years. She had no one to accompany her except for the cook and the maid. When the General did visit though, he only spent a few nights. He then left again to return back to his work. Eventually Jung's grandmother got pregnant with Jung's mother. A year after being isolated with only her daughter, Jung's grandmother had to report to General Xue's main household because he was sick and near death. She had to deal with the criticism his wives and other concubines gave her. It was extremely intimidating for her and after General Xue died, she ran away with her daughter (Jung's mother) in order to avoid General Xue's second wife from keeping her baby.

The story regains its stability once Jung's grandmother finally finds a new husband for herself that is good enough for her. She was a concubine so that made it hard for her to wed off to a new man. However, after having several therapy sessions with Dr. Xia, she managed to find comfort and love in him. She married him, despite the fact that he was a Manchu and his entire family disapproved of their marriage. One of his sons shot himself in attempt to persuade his father to not have a wedding, but Dr. Xia still wanted to marry Jung's grandmother. After having their daughter go through constant bullying from Dr. Xia's other grandchildren, Jung's grandmother and Dr. Xia decided to move to another province. They spent their lives in a small hut-like house in a poor village where Dr. Xia could continue his practice as a doctor.

The three of them spend their lives living in the harsh conditions of the Japanese taking over China until finally, the spot American planes fly overhead and realize that Japan has lost their war. After that, the Kuomintang took over and this is where Jung's grandmother gets greatly influenced by the Kuomintang. Jung's grandmother's relatives all receive jobs are government workers for the Kuomintang. The entire time Jung's mother is attending a all girl's school and she is educated about the Kuomintang. When the Kuomintang starts to fall and chaos starts to happen, corruption and madness spreads throughout all of China. The amount of rapes and violence scares me and absolutely is eye-opening.

Moving on, the Communists begin to gain power, and Jung's mother develops an interest in the Communist party. When she becomes old enough, she does her first task (smuggling explosives into a Kuomintang territory and blowing up the place). This starts the strict dedication and connection Jung's mother has with the Communist party. This is when the story begins to directly shift into Jung's mother's life...

Posted by Brenda Yang at Saturday, September 07, 2013 21:13:27

*This is my continued comment for my fiction book, Wild Swans.*

... Jung's mother gains a lot of respect from the Communists and eventually, she meets a Communist man named Wang Yu. They both fall in love and have go through a very non-traditional process in order to get married. As I'm reading about the Communist revolution and how Communism is spreading throughout China, I realize that a lot of traditional Chinese customs are being disregarded. A lot of Communists are putting down traditional customs, and this upsets me because traditions and customs are personally what I see as important. This upsets Jung's grandmother too, and I can feel the same disappointment she feels with her daughter. This part of the story is what caught my attention the most. I realize that Jung's mother's dedication is beginning to take over her life. She begins to put her job over everything. Jung's mother's strict dedication to the Communist party takes over not only her life, but her entire family's life as well. She experiences a miscarriage, depression and even more emotional issues because of her job as a Communist. The relationship between her and her husband Wang Yu crumbles. He also puts his job as a highly powerful Communist leader in front of her too. This was when their lives began to completely revolve around Communism. They were so dedicated to their cause that it had taken a toll on the four children they end up having. The family goes through constant problems because of Jung's parents' jobs. The family has to move to a new city, and eventually all the children grow separated from their parents because they barely see them. Jung's parents are so caught up with their work that they don't have time to spend time with their kids. This also creates more friction and hate from the children whenever Jung's father abuses or scolds them. However, Jung has a strong relationship with her father though. I think her father favors her more than her other sisters and brother. I think her relationship with her father and the influence he had on her is what made Jung join the Red Guards. She--like both her mother and father--experienced and witnessed the violent things they did with a brave mind.

Eventually, Jung's father ends up in detention because he openly questions Chairman Mao's actions. They label both of Jung's parents as capitalist-roaders, which gets them into a lot of trouble because they have to go through embarrassing public meetings and constant torture. Her parents end up being separated because Jung's father has to stay in detention, which ends up giving him major health and mental problems. Jung often visits him in detention and tries to spend more time with him to make him happy. I found this part touching because after all that her father has put her through, she still loves him more than anything and cares for his comfort more than he will ever care for her's. This shows the strong relationship a father and daughter can have. In a way, it reminds me of my relationship with my father.

Towards the end of the story, Jung's father passes away. After a few attempts to find an ideal job for herself, Jung ends up enrolling in a University after the death of her father. She chooses English as her major and is offered a scholarship to go to England. Zooming out to what is happening in the rest of the country, China ends up a bit lost as the death of Chairman Mao is announced. A lot of scholarships are given out for the Chinese to study in America/the West, and a lot of people end up going to the West to attend universities. To me, this symbolizes a new found freedom. I see this as the Chinese being released from the tight grip Chairman Mao used to have on them. I feel like this ending was a good way to add closure to the story. It gives a feeling of freedom and that is what was exactly what the characters in this book needed towards the last few chapters in this book.

I personally liked this book because of the cultural connections I could make to it. Reading about a major period in China gave me an interesting point of view on how life in China used to be. I chose this book because I felt that it would give me a good look into the history and lives of people who lived through the Cultural Revolution. It ended up being everything I did not expect. It was more violent, intense and heartfelt. I gained a lot of respect for Jung's character. I also learned a lot about traditional beliefs when Jung's grandmother explained them in the story. I liked that because it was one of the reasons why I chose to read Wild Swans. I wanted insight on how my culture was years back and I am glad I gained a good knowledge on the things people used to believe in. It makes me feel more linked to my ethnicity and culture. Overall, this book allowed me to understand and personally connect with the history of my culture and I am thankful I chose to read this book.

Posted by Brenda Yang at Saturday, September 07, 2013 21:17:16

Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden is a story of how a girl devoted her life to win over the affection of the Chairman. Chiyo was only a little girl when she was taken away from her family and moved to work in a teahouse. Here is where she would spend a part of her childhood working as a maid. Her new “family” treated her with hardly any kindness. One day she was fooling around and broke her arm and her new mom got very mad at her and said she was wasting her money on Chiyo to pay for her injury. I felt very sorry for her because she never asked to have this life style nor be treated like a slave. You could tell that she felt miserable in her new life and wanted to escape it. One day however, she met a man that would change her perspective in life. He was the Chairman and she fell for him instantly. He was the first man to ever show her kindness and she saw him as a sweetheart. For Chiyo to fall for a man who was more than half of her age was something I found very disturbing. To know that this middle aged man was showing interest with a 9 year old made it very hard to read. Also, to make matters worse, Chiyo became a geisha just so she could get close to him again. Geishas are known to be mistresses to men across Japan that pay to be with them. So for the next few years of her life, she made sure that she became the best geisha she could be. She went through so many hardships in her life while becoming a geisha and even after. Her whole childhood was taken. As the years went by though, you saw Chiyo break out of her shyness. She was now independent and was able to speak up for herself. Chiyo later was done with not being with the Chairman and said it was enough. She got to confess her love for him and he got to as well. In the end Chiyo got to be the Chairman’s and all of her years of work paid off.

Posted by Casey Villa at Saturday, September 07, 2013 22:37:22

Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt was a memoir of how a little boy grew up with nothing. Frank grew up in a small town in Ireland. He had a mom who struggled to keep her family healthy and well, a handful of younger brothers, a dad that drank all of their savings away. He lost three of his younger siblings before they turned 5 and this was the reason their dad was always drunk. He was always depressed knowing that his babies were dead and he couldn’t do anything at all to save them. This really upset his wife because he was supposed to use that money to get food for his starving children. While reading this part in the memoir, it sounded very brutal. Every time Frank wrote that his dad came home drunk again singing Roddy McCorley and Kevin Barry songs I would get so irritated. This man obviously didn’t care about his family at all. Since he had very little to survive on throughout his childhood, Frank made a very courageous decision. He decided to get a job when we was around twelve years old. I think this was such a thoughtful and considerate thing to do. Especially being so young, he took the initiative to be the one who would provide for his family. In my opinion, he was the father figure to his younger brothers. He was doing all he could for his family, but Frank had a dream of his own. Frank wanted to go have a life in America. He would save up throughout his teenage years and said by the age of nineteen he would have enough to make it there. These years went by very quickly for him and the next thing you know, he’s on a boat to America. I really enjoyed reading Angela’s Ashes because it showed that even if you don’t have much in life, you can push yourself to accomplish great things.

Posted by Casey Villa at Saturday, September 07, 2013 23:08:59

In response to Amanpreet Kler:

Frank's mother actually did do all that she could do to help her family survive. From begging for food on the streets to even having a sexual relationship with her cousin just so she and her children were allowed to live under his roof. And yes, this story is tragic. However, there is a happy ending. I am grateful that Frank McCourt had the courage to publish this book and share his story after all that has happened to him. He wasn't ashamed of his childhood but instead embraced it. This novel has a lot of depth to it behind all the words written on every page. It definitely makes you appreciate everything that you have and helps you understand the struggles of poverty and loss. I absolutely recommended this book to everyone.

Posted by Jessica Benitez at Saturday, September 07, 2013 23:13:48

In response to Casey Villa:
Angela's Ashes seems like a very interesting book that I might want to go read in the future. I enjoy books that make people aware that you are privileged and should be thankful to have this lifestyle. It sounds like Frank struggled a lot but I am glad that he had the courage to push through all his life obstacles and never gave up.

Posted by Prianka Daud at Sunday, September 08, 2013 12:04:15

In response to Alvin
I also read Profiles in Courage by John F. Kennedy over the summer. However my feelings towards this book are different than yours. It truly is a well thought out and well written book. It does reflect the hardships the senators faced. However as I was reading this book I fell asleep about three times. It was a touching novel yet it seemed to bore me. I have nothing against US history but this book didn't quite catch my interest.

Posted by Melody Mann at Sunday, September 08, 2013 17:03:54

Over the summer I read Profiles in Courage by John F. Kennedy. The booked talked about how the US senators faced many problems along the road to success. It's really something to look up to for the readers who view this book. The book stresses on how one should do what they think and feel is right regardless of what may stand in your way.
I may have read this book in its complexity yet it was a struggle for me. The beginning was highly interesting because the introduction explained the background and such. As the book went on I lost the urge to continue so day by day finishing this novel became a challenge. Time to time I would even fall asleep.
I tend to love the books based on US history but this book wasn't my cup of tea.

Posted by Melody Mann at Sunday, September 08, 2013 17:14:22

The second book I read for my summer reading was Longitude by Dava Sobel. This story is about a person who solved a major problem of their time period. In this book John Harrison was the 18th century clock making wise man. Over the course of the book it unraveled how the mystery was ultimately solved.
This book had me stuck in confusion for a quite a bit of time. I had to start over a few chapters due to the fact nothing was making sense to me. But I rather enjoyed this book over Profiles in Courage. I didnt fall asleep just as much.

Posted by Melody Mann at Sunday, September 08, 2013 17:21:49

To Eric Lam's "The Rape of Nanking by Iris Chang:

Isn't the whole concept of war about arms and fighting for dominance? Otherwise it would be a negotiation between two nations without the truculent, no? But I also read The Rape of Nanking and I agree with you on how the images and descriptions were truly distressing, I could barely force myself to look at the pictures and the stories about infants being ripped from their mothers and being suffocated. *shudders* Very unsettling.

Posted by Ben Limsumalee at Sunday, September 08, 2013 19:29:23

It's an odd feeling, when you are from a country known for it's gleeful residents and even being nicknamed the "Land of Smiles" and you learn that shortly after the reign of Pol Pot over Cambodia ended, huge bodies of Cambodian immigrants flooded into Thailand's borders seeking shelter and while some of them were helped, others who arrived later were shot. In To Destroy You is No Loss by Teeda Butt Mam, these immigrants weren't originally sentenced for death but after the Thai government could no longer handle so many immigrants, some were taken away in buses to be turned back into Cambodia on another section of the Thai/Cambodia border. When the buses arrived at the border, the immigrants were ordered to descend down a steep mine field and all those who resisted or refused to move were killed. Even those who tried to bribe the soldiers were not above death as shown when a Chinese man pooled together money from a group and approached a soldier. The soldier relieved the Chinese man of his Baht and shot down his whole group. It's perfectly logical that the Thai government could only handle so many foreigners but the way they disposed of the others… I feel a certain degree of shame that my country would get their hands dirty like that…

Posted by Ben Limsumalee at Sunday, September 08, 2013 19:40:16

In response to Ben's comment, To destroy you is no loss,
Many innocent people were killed in during the reign of Pol Pot. It is quite saddening hearing more stories like this happening across the world however I don't think that violence or addition to genocide was the right thing to do in a time like this. Many of those people ran away from Cambodia because they saw their families slaughtered and when they run away to the border in order to avoid this are now faced with innocents being killed again. I plan on reading the book later in my free time because the story is very similar to Rape of Nanking with the same level of gruesomeness and bloodshed.

In response to Ben's comment on my comment,
Well war is an ugly thing and yeah it would be called a war without an invasion and occupation of another nation but what I'm trying to say is that instead is the Chinese should not have ran away from Nanking and rather surrender just like France did to the Nazi's. In doing so, China had just made their troubles even worse especially with everyone knowing they had already loss. It's even more depressing hearing that China knew they loss and would rather run away then become POW's.

Posted by Eric Lam at Sunday, September 08, 2013 19:45:09

In response to Eric Lam's comment to my comment:

Good for you. Thanks for sharing.

Posted by Ben Limsumalee at Sunday, September 08, 2013 19:55:47

In Angela's Ashes by Frank McCourt was about the author, himself, life story. Frank's story takes place in Limerick, Ireland. He moved there and wishing that they should have stayed in New York. Like he said it was a miserable childhood and wondered how he survived it. This book is an eye opener because Frank had many unfortunate events. Which made me realize, we should really appreciate what we have. Also that our parents would go through a lot just so you could have good life. In his case most of the time his mother did all of that. On the other hand the way Frank described his life in Ireland seemed all muted. Although along the way there were certain times that have that color,emotion that wasn't depressing. Also how Frank contrast things. How despite all the pain and tragic events, there's strength. The love,that will brighten the gray. For me, I mostly admire the strength because Frank is practically reliving his life in this book but he made it bittersweet. It was heartbreaking, at the same time it was lovely. Also that this book shows poverty and it relates to families today. Shows what they could be dealing with. Which made me even more grateful for what I have.

Posted by Allyson Suntay at Sunday, September 08, 2013 20:06:30

In How the Garcia Girls Lost their Accents by Julia Alvarez was about the Garcia sisters moved from Dominican Republic to the United States. In the book the girls felt out of place because of how they were judged. Kids at their school teased them because of how they were. Being prejudice to the Garcia girls. This goes to show how people choose to judge a person. The way they look and talk. How you don't fit in mostly. This is were I got disappointed in the girls. They lost their true selves just to fit in, not feel so out of place. Also how powerful a judgement can make a person change from being them, to someone their not. It was a powerful book because it teaches you that you change by what others want. That you shouldn't change yourself for who others, who don't even matter. Change is good but it should be something you want, not what others tell. This book really gives you something to think about.

Posted by Allyson Suntay at Sunday, September 08, 2013 20:32:19

October Sky is about a kid named Homer Hickman that lived in a coal mining town named Coalwood. After seeing Sputnik, a Russian satellite, go to space, Homer has been determined to make a rocket to go to space. His friends and he decided to make a rocket to go to outer space. They called themselves the "Rocket Boys", and everyday they would try to make a rocket that will work. At first, no one believed they would be able to make a successful rocket. For example, Homer's dad was one of the people who had the littlest faith that the rocket idea will work. As time flew by, their rockets were able to travel farther. They improved their rockets by using better material, chemicals, and taking special math classes to make their calculations better. At the end, the Rocket Boys were able to achieve what they have always dreamed of. I really liked this book because it taught me a very important lesson to always go for your dreams, no matter how impossible it may seem. Even if your dreams seem impossible, you can still achieve them with hard work and never quitting. The more you try, the faster your dreams will come true. Also, the book taught me to go for my dreams even though people disagree with it. Whatever people says does not matter. The only thing that matters is what you think about yourself and your ideas. Disregard everyone else. I think October Sky is a really good, inspirational book and I recommend you to read this book.

Posted by Sharmayne Tanedo at Sunday, September 08, 2013 20:48:35

Angela's Ashes is a non fictional book by Frank McCourt. The book talks about the struggles the author faced as a child in Ireland. His family had to go through poverty, and their father was no help because he spent all of their money on drinks. Most of Frank's siblings died in an early age, which made his mother depressed and his father drink even more. I couldn't imagine how hard it was for the family when the kids died, especially for Frank because he was watching his family fall apart. The story mainly focuses on how there had been many problems that struck the family. Frank nearly starved to death. He had a miserable childhood, and since his parents barely made any money to help the family survive, Frank had to work in an early age to earn money for his family. I think he is the most hardworking, caring kid. Frank was really determined to make money to survive, and he spent it wisely, unlike his father. This showed how Frank was more responsible than his own father. Frank was able to earn enough money to move back to America in the end. This booked made me realize that other people are not as lucky as I am, and i should appreciate what I have right now. I realized that I shouldn't take things for granted. There are many families who barely have anything to survive. This book was a heartbreaking story about a family struggling through poverty, and it will really open your eyes about how unfortunate some families are in the world. I recommend you to read this book so you can see life in a different perspective.

Posted by Sharmayne Tanedo at Sunday, September 08, 2013 20:49:21

In response to Allyson Suntay's post about How the Garcia Girls Lost their Accents, it seems like an interesting book. I hate it when people get bullied because of their ethnicity, but stories about it always interests me. I do believe that change is good though, but only in certain occasions. If you are changing to impress someone else(like in the girl's case, to stop getting teased), then you shouldn't change yourself. If you are changing to become a better person because you want to, then change is perfectly fine. This book seems like it has a lot of valuable lessons about finding your true identity and how you are going to deal with the society if you are different.

Posted by Sharmayne Tanedo at Sunday, September 08, 2013 21:01:30

For my non-fiction book, I read To Destroy You Is No Loss by Joan D. Criddle. The book in general is about Cambodians during a phase in Cambodian known as "The Cambodian Holocaust". This is a time where Pol Pot developed his own democracy (which wasn't really a democracy at all). All Cambodians lived in villages where they were assigned to do jobs of hard labor such as rice planting or tapping trees. Pul Pot believed that agriculture was the way to Cambodia's success and that people who could read or write were useless and brainwashed by the West. The Cambodians were treated poorly and rules were extremely strict. The story is told from Teeda Butt's point of view, which made it even more emotional for me.

To start off, I had no knowledge of the Cambodian Holocaust. I didn't know that it happened in the 1970s either. When reading this book, Teeda often talked about how they listened to to the radio. People from the West would talk on the radio and they were so unaware of what was going on in Cambodia. People from the outside world had no idea what was happening in Cambodia. This upset me because when I read about the amounts of deaths, it made it sick to think that so many people died and that so many people were unaware of their murders. The reason for the killings of people ranged from unreasonable to absolutely tragic. Teeda's father was killed because he worked for the Lon Nol Khmer Republic (the Republic that was defeated by Pul Pot). I felt so bad for her entire family. At first, they thought he was alive because the Khmer Rouge forced him to write a letter to his family saying that he was okay and had to be held back to training. This was an obvious lie, and soon enough Teeda's family found out. Teeda's mother was the most devastated.

The main events that really pulled my heartstrings in this story were when Teeda talked about her sufferings while she was forced to do labor work. She often contemplated suicide. However, she said she couldn't go through with it because if she did, her entire family would be punished as well. There was a strict rule that if one person committed suicide, then their entire family would be held responsible and killed. For me, this was a new way of looking at suicide. I never really thought it could ever be thought of that way. Teeda was so sick of her life that she wanted to kill herself, yet she had to avoid that action in order to save her mother and sister. In a sense, this allowed her to save her life and her mother's and sister's as well.

Another thing that Teeda often emphasized was the lack of food labor workers received. Even after long hard days at work, the workers only received a small bowl of watery porridge. Most people suffered from starvation and in other villages, people suffered from famine. It was rare when people got anything else to eat. Sometimes they hunted anything with meat and had to return it to the village so it could separate into portions. The village leaders who didn't do any labor work at all got more food than all the other laborers. I couldn't even imagine how hungry Teeda and the rest of the people all throughout Cambodia must have been. It made me so grateful for the food I have today. I used to take my food for granted, but after reading chapter after chapter about the hunger pains and lack of malnutrition, I knew I should to be thankful that I even had food in the first place. In a way, reading about hunger in Teeda's situation was eye-opening for because it gave me a new perspective on my personal problems with eating. I am glad I was able to understand hunger on a whole new level.

Overall, this book was a big eye-opener for me. It informed me on the tragedy going on in Cambodia that I had no clue about. I honestly am glad I now know about the Cambodian Holocaust now because I have gained a lot of respect for Cambodians who have went through and survived the labor work they were forced to do. This new knowledge I have gained from this book really made me look at many things in my life in a new perspective. I am absolutely grateful for my life and I will continue to be thankful for all the things I have. Teeda's life story is more than inspiring. It shows how strong and tough she is and that is a quality that I absolutely admire about her. She survived through 4 years of hard labor. She is one of the strongest people I know. I really hope that more people will read this book because I am positive it will give them a new outlook on life. After reading about Teeda’s struggles, I’m sure they’ll be more than thankful for all that they have today.

Posted by Brenda Yang at Tuesday, September 10, 2013 20:02:00

In response to Casey Villa's comment on Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden, I think that what Chiyo put herself through is somewhat common to what girls put themselves through today. A lot of people go out of their way to impress the ones they admire, however in Chiyo's situation, it was more drastic. Becoming a mistress, in my opinion, is crossing the line. From what I recall from your comment, Chiyo is still young and she should not be handling herself that way. I also find it disturbing how she is going after a man that is much older than her. I think the fact that Chiyo barely received any kindness as a child is what made her try so desperately hard to be with the Chairman. He was the only person that showed her kindness. I can imagine that Chiyo must have felt appreciated by him and I think that is what influenced her to love him. This book seems like something I would read. After attempting to analyze Chiyo's thoughts and motives, I want to read the book to find out if my thoughts are somewhat close to correct. I will try to read this book in my spare time. :)

Posted by Brenda Yang at Tuesday, September 10, 2013 20:19:59

First Comment
Into the Forest was a very interesting book. It had me thinking about what it would be like to live in a society that has nearly collapsed. Eva and Penelope living in a house in the middle of nowhere and surviving on their own was a big accomplishment. They had to can and save all their food. I do not even know how to grow produce and how to harvest it in large amounts and since Eva and Penelope are just a couple years older than me, I have realized how little stuff I can do. They were orphaned after their mother died of cancer and their father died of an accident. When society collapsed, it came at the worst time for them. Penelope always wanted to check the computer and Eva always wanted to just listen to some music to dance.

What had me thinking was how unprepared Penelope was when Eli came to find her. Her thoughts were somehow confused and she had sex with him with no birth control, given her situation, a baby would just make things even harder. She decided to leave her home for Boston with Eli without thinking about it clearly and decided to go back home after a day of walking. Eva, however did get pregnant, after she was raped and this made things hard for them. Penelope helped Eva do a lot like giving her medicine and helping her get some meat by killing a pig. However, after Eva gave birth the baby got between them and Penelope left and went to live in the forest. They later reconciled and Eva burned the house down so all 3 of them could live in the forest together.

Posted by Isaac Tong at Tuesday, September 10, 2013 21:29:57

Second Comment
In response to Jan's comment on Tom Jones.
Wow! Tom Jones sounds interesting your comment prompted me to search the book up and i just realized that that book is part of a series that has 18 books. There is a total of 346747 words. Wow that is a lot of reading. The book is historical fiction which is one of my favorite genres.
Isaac Tong 7th period

Posted by Isaac Tong at Tuesday, September 10, 2013 21:50:08

In response to Jan continued
I would also like to add that all the sex in the book has made me question if the book is really interesting. Affairs and sex really ruin a story for me. Also how realistic are the characters like are they like people at public high schools in the 21st century?

Posted by Isaac Tong at Tuesday, September 10, 2013 21:56:47

In response to Sharmayne Tanedo’s comment on October Sky, it sounds like a very uplifting story to read. The character Homer seemed to show if you set your mind to something, you can achieve it. This is such a great message to spread. For Homer to be told that he’d never make it by his own father must’ve been really hard. I know for me how discouraging it would feel to know that my own parent didn’t believe in me. Also you said that his rocket failed a lot over the years. It sounded like Homer could’ve given up any time that he wanted. The fact that he didn’t is really inspiring about following your dreams. I personally liked how he built the rocket with his friends. It’s is really cute how they called themselves the “Rocket Boys”. I wonder if their friendship grew over time considering the commitment they put into the rocket. October Sky sounds like a story that I would want to read since the message is very uplifting.

Posted by Casey Villa at Tuesday, September 10, 2013 22:06:00

Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden is a story about how a young girl ,named Chiyo, matures into a independent woman. Many of the aspects that lead her to become a successful woman were results from difficult obstacles she faced during her geisha life. One major struggle Chiyo faced was being forced into the geisha life. Being taken from your family and shipped away is a terrifying and confusing experience for any age. She constantly rebelled and searched for her family.Chiyo's ability to be alone and away from her family is something adults can manage; not children.With each attempt at finding her family Chiyo failed and had to accept her new life. This new life consisted of days of hard labor. She would act like a slave to a home of apprenticing geishas. With the slightest mistake the mother of the house would disown and be ashamed of you. Not only was she accepting her struggling life but, she began to improve it. She worked hard to be the best geisha she could. At such a young age it is remarkable that Chiyo put so much effort into improving a terrible situation. She went to school and found people to help her. Eventually she was able to have one of the most popular geishas as her older sister. Her older sister, Mameha, helped Chiyo establish a great geisha start. Becoming a great geisha was as torturous as her life as a maid in the geisha home. As Chiyo became a great geisha she fell in love with a chairman. This man was the first to show her any kindness. With a life filled with hard work and sadness it's obvious that Chiyo would fall in love with the first sight of kindness. To become closer to the chairman Chiyo strived to become a better geisha in hopes of impressing him. In the end the chairman and Chiyo confess their true feelings for one another and end up together.
Overall I enjoyed reading all of the struggles that Chiyo had to face. It provided insight into a culture I was vaguely aware of. To read about the hardships that many little girls faced made me amazed. I never would have imagined facing a life filled with hard labor, pain, and sadness. Not only was a torturous life unimaginable, but the image of little girls being mistresses was disturbing. Having men twice your age pay you to attend parties that could potentially lead to sexual activity is horrible. I could never have been in Chiyo’s place. Reading her stories really made me grateful for not being a geisha.

Posted by Kristina Pimentel at Wednesday, September 11, 2013 20:41:31

Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt is a moving story about how a young boy, named Frank, grew up with little to nothing. His life was filled with several struggles.Frank grew up in a poor family that was barely making ends meet. Many of the obstacles placed in Frank’s life were family related. His father was the only source of income to his family, but being an alcoholic, he hardly brought any income home. He would spend night after night in the bar drinking away his paycheck. The fact that his father was taking away money that could have been used to improve his family’s life was horrible. Frank’s family was not only living with a drunk father but was also living with a struggling mother. Frank’s mom had to raise him and all his siblings on her own. She spent her life trying to keep everyone healthy and alive. After having some of her children die at such young ages she became very depressed. The childrens deaths not only had a rough affect on Frank’s mom but also on his father. He spent more time drinking and getting drunk. Whenever he came home without a paycheck Frank’s mom would become frustrated. I couldn’t imagine being put into Frank’s position with a drunk father, constant fighting, the death of his siblings and little to live off of. All of his struggles seem too much for a young boy. Not only did Frank face these challenges, but he overcame them and set out to make a better life. At a young age Frank got a job in an attempt to try to help his family. Frank’s actions of becoming the leader of his family were astonishing. He took matters into his own hands and provided a better life for his family. Frank’s dreams were not to have a job and support his family, he wanted to live a life in America. He spent a couple of years saving up his money and eventually got on a boat to America. It is amazing what hard work could do. The fact that Frank had nothing, but worked hard and to achieve life, he wanted was inspiring. Not only did he achieve his goal but he did it at such a young age.

Posted by Kristina Pimentel at Wednesday, September 11, 2013 20:47:03

In response to Allyson Suntay’s post How the Garcia Girls Lost their Accent, it seems like a bittersweet story. The topic of peer pressure and social norms is still relevant today. It seemed interesting how the girls tried so hard to fit in. Everyone wants to fit in; but it seems as if the girls’ desire to fit in was more important than their want to stay themselves. With everyone constantly reminding you of how different and weird you are it can be too much to handle, and I’m interested in how the Garcia girls dealt with it. Having a different culture should be embraced and shared and not something to be ashamed about or hidden. I was disappointed when Allyson mentioned how people were constantly judging them. All the girls did was move to America. It is sad to see how moving to a new country for a better life turned into leaving your old culture behind and becoming a totally new person.

Posted by Kristina Pimentel at Wednesday, September 11, 2013 20:49:28

Rape of Nanking
This book was very interesting. I have known before about Japanese atrocities throughout Asia and in Nanjing, or Nanking but I never knew the extent was this brutal. The Japanese were humiliated of being forced to sign a treaty with America because they had no way to defend themself so that is a reason for their expansion but even before this in the 1500's the Japanese have tried to take over Korea and China, so this isn't new. I feel that the war crimes committed are really similar to genocide. Nearly half the population that remained in Nanking was killed. Rape was widespread. Throughout China, a total of around 19 million people were killed. In Nanking alone, estimates of around 200000-400000 people were killed. The people that didn't die, either fled the city or lived in the safety zone. The safety zone saved lives and was started by a group of westerners that were living in Nanking that did not leave. The safety zone was not perfect, some people did get captured by the Japanese, but hundreds of thousands did survive. What really disgusts me were the killing competitions. There were competitions to kill 100 people first using one sword and whoever killed 100 people first, won. These were found throughout China, but the one in Nanking was found in a Japanese newspaper. Bodies of dead people were found throughout the streets. The Japanese executed Chinese soldiers that surrendered to the Japanese. They killed all of them thousands in a day and dumped the bodies in rivers and buried them. They even pulled the fetus out of a pregnant woman and killed the woman by pulling her organs out. What makes me mad is how justice was not carried out because of the civil war in China. None of the governments that claimed sovereignty over China wanted compensation. w=With the worsening tensions over the Diaoyutai islands the ROC, PRC. and Japan still are enemies and Japan doesn't even recognize their past. Japan has committed war crime throughout Asia and they need to recognize that. They need to teach their students in textbooks that would mention the war crimes in order to make sure nothing happens like that again. Especially with the Diayutai Islands, something could happen again. However, extreme Japanese conservatives refuse to even talk about the past crimes and forge documents that would prove that Nanking never happened. They destroyed some proof of Nanking. Some Japanese soldiers have come out to apologize, it is about time that the Japanese issue an official apologize and issue compensation for war crimes in Nanking, but throughout Asia.

Posted by Isaac Tong at Wednesday, September 11, 2013 22:03:13

Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra is about a man, who named himself Don Quixote, that is obsessed with chilvary and becomes crazy. He has a room filled of books on that subject. One day, he decides to become a knight-errant because he knows all there needs to know on chilvary. He gets his lance and sword, polishes his armor and goes on an adventure. He finds an inn and thinks it is a castle , so he asks the "castellan of the castle" to knight him. He goes in all sorts of adventures that he imagines like a battle when it is just sheep and wizards and a stolen coach when it is actually monks and someone's coach. Unfortunately, he dies from a fever after battling the Knight of the White Moon who is actually his neighbor, Samson Carrasco.
King Leopold's Ghost by Adam Hochschild is about Leopold II, king of Belgium, who desperately wanted colonies, so he thought of Africa. He set up his own image by acting as a humanitarian and philanthropist, but he wanted to exploit them for rubber and ivory. He sent Stanley to map out the Congo. On this mission, most of the crew died. Afterwards, Leopold sends out agents look how things are. The people of Congo had weak weapons compared to Belguim, so he went to colonize and called it the Congo Free State. Everyone around the Congo was doomed. Leopold and his allies did slave raids and most of the slaves died of exhaust or being whipped or beat to death. Quite a bit of the slaves had their hands chopped off. Before his death, he sold Congo to the Belgium government and burned all the evidence linking him to Congo.
October Sky by Homer Hickmam seems like a good book based on the description by Sharmayne Tanedo. I like how it tells us to pursue our dreams even when others do not believe you can do it. It teaches us that all we need is for us to believe in ourselves and to take every step needed to accomplish that goal.

- Isaiah from seventh period

Posted by Isaiah Gerardo at Thursday, September 12, 2013 17:07:54

In the book How the Garcia Girls Lost their Accents by Julia Alverz, four girls develop an issue of learning their customs, traditions, and how women are suppose to act in their native land, in order to fit into their cultural society. For example, when the sisters are asked a question and Yolanda replies, "In halting Spanish, Yolanda reports on her sisters. When she reverts to English, she is scolded, ‘En Espanol’ (Alverz 7). When Yolanda replied back in English her aunts did not appreciate her answer because it was not in their native tongue. Also, this shows that her aunts did not approve the way the four girls shaped their identity. For instance, Yolanda's love for guavas inspires her to pick some before she goes up north: "This is not the states […] A women just doesn't travel alone in this country. Especially these days", Tia Flor says (Alverz 9). In Yolanda’s culture women have to act a certain way and Yolanda was lectured for not knowing this custom. This proves that Yolanda is unfamiliar with her own customs. Finally, during a game where Papi has to guess who kissed him a women comes up, " gave the old man a wet, open-mouthed kiss in his ear. She ran her tongue in the whorls of his ear and nibbled the tip. [.] He tore at his blindfold as if it were a contagious body whose disease he might catch [.] with shame at having his pleasure aroused in public by one of his daughters"(Alverz 39). Sofia's ongoing conflict with her father represents a struggle for control of her sexuality. Their arguments also illustrate the cultural differences between the United States and the Dominican Republic. The four Garcia girls; Yolanda, Sofia, Carla and Sandra came back to their native land not knowing their customs, traditions and also, the way women were treated or suppose to act which lead to many issues throughout the book.

“The moving moon, full, gibbous, or crescent-shaped, shone at last for the navigators of the eighteenth century like a luminous hand on the clock of the heaven. The broad expanse of sky served as a dial for this celestial clock, while the sun, the planets, and the stars painted the numbers on its face.” (Sobel 88)
The passage above is from the book Longitude by Dava Sobel. In between these lines it tells what John Harrison feels when he sees the stars and the moving moon. He feels as if he’s found the solution to his problem. Where he sees everything on the moons face. What pulled me into this passage were the similes, metaphors and the comparison of the moon and the hand on the clock of heaven. After reading this passage I felt like this book is not just about finding the longitude but it’s about the journey and the experiences that John Harrison had gone through. His feelings and his thoughts were a big part of his journey. When I got up to this point in the book I felt like it was an okay book to read but, as soon as I got to this part in the book I felt like there’s more to this book then I thought. I felt like I just read the most inspiring passage. It was inspiring because to me this passage is saying; we should look at things beyond what they are, and to imagine them as nothing before. It makes me want to go and see the simplest thing in the world and not think of it as just a flower or a piece of grass but the details that it has. Another thing that this passage did was it described the moon so well, he John Harrison just didn’t describe the moon but he felt it shining on him. I read this quote a couple of times to fully understand what the meaning was and what it meant to me. I couldn’t go ahead until I knew what every single word meant. As soon as I knew what this passage meant I continued on into this book and every passage made me wonder more, all because of this passage.
To response of Isac Tong on the Rape of Nanking. I wanted to read this book, but i couldnt get it at the library. It seems very interesting. The title pulled me in into thinking of what it is about and i thought or think that it is about a japanese girl having a rough time in life. Well the only way to find out is to read the book.

Posted by Rudra from sixth period(new version) at Thursday, September 12, 2013 17:30:09

One of the two books I read over this summer was The Rape of Nanking by Iris Chang. This non-fiction book greatly affected me emotionally. The fact that such a tragedy occurred yet is unknown to the majority of the public saddens me. The book was frightening, shocking, yet interesting at the same time. It is about the Nanking Massacre that occurred in Nanking, China a few years before World War II. Hundreds of thousands Japanese soldiers were given the permission to do whatever they could to take over Nanking - which included rape and murder. It was horrifying. Soldiers raped any women in sight – no matter how young or old - and killed them afterwards. There was one incident where a pregnant woman’s fetus was pulled out of her stomach. I was greatly appalled at how cruel and inhumane the Japanese soldiers acted, and it left me very angry. Another thing that shocked me was how the soldiers raped and murdered everyone – even the people that weren’t involved in the war. Some were killed one by one, while others were killed in groups of hundreds. Many people were even buried in holes and stabbed all at once. There were also a few Chinese decided to surrender to the Japanese, yet they were still killed. I was also surprised at how only a few people tried to fight back. If they were going to die anyways, why not attempt to make a difference? If only one person rebels, it wouldn’t make much of a difference. However, if everyone wasn’t so afraid, they could’ve fought back. I was even more surprised when I found out that some of the people that made the biggest differences weren’t even Chinese. One of them, John Rabe, was a Nazi (Nazis had an alliance with Japan at that time), yet helped the suffering Chinese by helping establish the Nanking Safety Zone. People like him saved many lives, and more heroes like him need to exist. To me, the Nanking Massacre was a period of suffering and injustice to the Chinese. This book significantly affected my perspective on war. Every death counts.

-Moira Duya (7th period)

Posted by Moira Duya at Thursday, September 12, 2013 17:35:38

First Comment: I read Wild Swan

Wild Swans written by Jung Chang was a book that traced the revolutionizing China very descriptively.
It was my favorite book of all the three I read. Mainly told a family history that spans a century, recounting
the lives of three female generations in China. The author's mother worked for the chairman Mao Zedong
during the Communist Party. Her grandmother was a beautiful women who had a concubine to a high warlord general. The plot introduced the sufferings Chinese had to went through during the invasion of
Japan. This book interested me because of its packed emotional punch that is hard to overstate. Not only is
great suffering described but also great courage and bravery. I often found myself wondering how I would
have acted if I found myself in similar situations to the author’s parents and whether I would have the
courage to act as they did.

Second Comment: I read Things Fall Apart

Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe is an interesting book. It interested me in many different themes covered within it. The protagonist Okonkwo's attitude was outrageous. Even though he tried to be the best in the village, but while under some circumstances, his plan just simply couldn't get any further. For example, the white mans came to the village and took it over. Okonkwo thought of everything he could do to prevent this from happening. However, he didn't realize one thing that was vital which let to the downfall of the powerful Umuofia village, that is Okonkwo himself battling against the whole group of white people. After reading the book. I get that he didn't want to be like his father but wanted to be a muscular person, but this reminds me of when my uncle told me, sometimes taking a step back under circumstances means going forward.

Third Comment (Response to Lorna Calderon):

In reply to Lorna Calderon's comment about the October Sky, I think this book seems very interesting to read. I am really inspired of what the little kid can endure all the preventions from the outside and finally able to make his dream successful and went to NASA. It looks like the book is a little encouraging. So, I will perhaps get a chance to read this book and discover more interesting facts from it anytime soon.

Alex Mu from 7th period
Honor English 2

Posted by Alex Mu at Thursday, September 12, 2013 18:07:48

I read "The Rape of Nanking" by Iris Chang

I did not enjoy this book. Now, don't get me wrong it's a very well written book. I just couldn't enjoy it like i would normally enjoy a good book. I was taught that descriptive writing is a good ability to have but in this book i think i could have lived without it. Chang's descriptions of the horror that the Japanese military committed during that time made my stomach turn. I do not enjoy detailed descriptions of people being murdered in the streets. However this book wasn't all doom and gloom. In some aspects in was inspirational and heartwarming. One specific section of the book stood out to me. It might have just been because this section was the only one without mutilation or politics, but it was my favorite. It was the section where Chang told the stories of the heroes of the Rape. One hero especially stood out to me, and his name was John Rabe. He was a Nazi living in Nanking at the time, and i so greatly admired how he could put the people in front of himself. There were times where he jumped in front of a gun to save a Chinese person. I also admired how he could exercise his power as a Nazi to get what he wanted; which was to keep the Nanking citizens safe. Nanking was his home, and he had no intention of letting it fall easily.

Overall, i can't really say i enjoyed it seeing how it almost made me throw up at certain points, but it is a book that i think everybody should read. "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it"

Posted by Kevin Nguyen at Thursday, September 12, 2013 18:35:18

"Things Fall Apart"

This book hit home for me. My own father is a lot like Onkonkwo. Except he never beat of course. However he's stubborn, he doesn't like change, and he loses his mind when people try to go against his will. Like Onkonkwo he suffers for it too. In the story Onkonkwo loses his son, his home, his beliefs, and eventually, even his life. My father didn't face anything on this magnitude, but he still faced consequences. For example, now almost no one in our family wants to talk to him, but enough about me. Other than being able to relate to it, I didn't really enjoy this book. I liked how the other tried to show how we should accept change with Okonkwo being an example, but honestly I think there is enough media with the same message already. To add on, i don't think this was the best way to deliver this message either. Maybe I'm just stingy because I had to read this book instead of going out with my friends this summer, but this just is not one of my favorite books.

Posted by Kevin Nguyen at Thursday, September 12, 2013 18:44:27

The first book that I read for the summer reading assignment was The Rape of Nanking, by Iris Chang. The reason why I choose this book was because when I was looking over the list of books in the non-fiction section, it really caught my eye with the title. The book was very informative. It got me thinking why are we were never taught about this. This book opens my eye to the awful things that the Japanese did to the Chinese, like the use of live prisoners for target practice, or the rapes that occurred to the women of China. What I found interesting was that at one point in the book where it was from the perspective of a Japanese soldier, he said that using the Chinese as live target practice was difficult at first. He said at the beginning he felt guilt but as time went on the emotions, he felt were going away and it started to feel numb. It really showed the cruelness on the human race. I never would have thought that innocent people would really fear for their life, now I can partially understand how those Iraq’s citizen’s who are getting killed for nothing feel. Another part that interested me was when a member of the Nazi, John Rabe, helped the Chinese by creating an International Safety Zone for the Chinese that chose to take refuge there. I really showed that there is still some good in the world left and it’s just not all bad.

Posted by Anita Diec at Thursday, September 12, 2013 19:16:11

The second book I read was October Sky, by Homer Hickman. This book was about Homer and how he wanted to send rockets out into space. He and his friends that lived in the small town of Coalwood got together and started to build rockets. It was a book that changed the way I thought. It taught me that you should always follow your dreams and never give up. It was interesting to read about his rocket building and where he wanted to take shortcuts in changing multiple things at once but it didn’t work out as planned, so when Sonny and Quentin went back to see what cause it to fail, they couldn’t because they didn’t know what caused it to do so. I found that part really relatable because I like to take shortcuts in doing my work and in the end it doesn’t work out whereas if I just took my time and didn’t take the shortcut it wouldn’t have gone as disastrous. I also enjoyed reading the part where he was knocked of his feet a bit, where Mr. Bykovski had just died in the mine and Sonny blames it on himself and him being the reason that Mr. Bykovski died. I really enjoyed it because it showed the ups and downs of the book and just life in general. It’s also something that’s relatable to me too, like when I do something that causes someone else to get hurt I get so much guilt from it. In all honesty, I think that this book is amazing and everyone should read it.

Period 1

Posted by Anita Diec at Thursday, September 12, 2013 19:18:24

In Response to Brenda Yang (about Wild Swans):

Wild Swans was a book that caught my eye in the book list and your comment makes me wish I would've just gotten the book for personal enjoyment!

Your book reminds me a lot of the fiction book that I chose to read for my summer assignment, Memoirs of a Geisha. Both books featured strong female characters, love, and eye opening culture! Like you, I also found my self surprised with some of the customs of the time period I was reading about. It's hard to believe that once upon a time women were really treated so lowly and I too feel grateful for what we have now. I remember feeling so proud of Sayuri when she got her happily ever after because even though it wasn't perfect it was what she wanted and what she dreamed of. The three women in your story seem so inspiring so I'm sure you felt proud at the end of your novel as well.

I love how you described the story; the way that three generations of individual stories seem to all intertwine smoothly and elegantly makes the novel seem that much more interesting. I'd love to read it in my spare time and I hope it leaves the same impression on me as it did to you.

-Erika Cospin

Posted by Erika Cospin 6th Period at Thursday, September 12, 2013 19:25:33

The second book I read was the non-fiction book, The Professor and the Madman, by Simon Winchester. The book is about William C. Minor, who greatly contributed to the Oxford English Dictionary. However, Minor was not a normal person. He was hidden in an insane asylum – after he murdered an innocent man. He was not a bad man, he was just mentally disabled. However, his insanity did not affect his intellect. When entries for the dictionary were being accepted, he took the opportunity and shared his knowledge with everyone outside the asylum. Submitting hundreds of words, he proved that a “madman” is not necessarily stupid. Minor is much more clever than a normal person, but his knowledge did not matter to most people due to his disability. It was such a shame that such a talent died unknown. If he had not been insane, would he have been a famous figure? James Murray, the main producer of the Oxford English Dictionary and the “Professor”, also did not think that Minor would be an insane person. Although he was aware of the one person who sent hundreds of words to him, he was not aware of his character. He assumed he worked for the insane asylum, not be in it. If you think outside the lines, this book is an example of how even mentally disabled people can be extremely intelligent. This book gave me a new perspective on mentally disabled people – who are they really on the inside?

-Moira Duya (7th Period)

Posted by Moira Duya at Thursday, September 12, 2013 19:48:30

To Kristina Pimentel’s comment about Angela’s Ashes, it seems like an interesting book to read. From what I’ve read I would really enjoy reading this book. Frank having to work so hard is just so inspirational. I always just think that these kinds of books just make me realize just how privilege I am. I really interested in finding how he gets through all of these problems, and just how he felt through the whole thing.

Period 1

Posted by Anita Diec at Thursday, September 12, 2013 19:50:59

In response to Sharmayne Tanedo’s post about Angela’s Ashes, I would like to comment about how inspirational the book sounds. Living in poverty is hard enough, but having a father who wasted all their money for his personal uses instead of helping the family makes life even more difficult. No one should ever have to experience their family falling apart due to financial problems. Frank seems like a responsible and hardworking man – and I don’t think he deserved all of this struggling. Also, the fact that this is a true story breaks my heart. There are many people like this, and I’m glad that there’s a book that describes what their lives are like. It seems like a great read!

-Moira Duya (7th Period)

Posted by Moira Duya at Thursday, September 12, 2013 19:55:04

Over the summer I read the book "Longitude" by Dava Sobel. It is a book that is basically about the Longitude problem back in the 1500's or so. To be honest it was a pretty boring book to me, probably becuase I'm not really into the non-fiction category. Basically the book was going through all the different people that were trying to solve the Longitude problem becuase of the prize money, which was a lot. A board was even created. Many people were trying to solve this problem mainly by building devices that can calculate the longitude. At first it seemed impossible until finally someone by the name of John Harrison was able to create some machines that would calculate the longitude most accurately. There were some people that were jealous and made replicas, but he won the majority of the prize money. That's pretty much what the book was about, and to me it was a bore. Obviously there was no real plot but the facts in it were vague and most of the book was talking about the people. I had no emotional feeling throughout reading the book, like it was monotone for me.
Response to Moira Duya:
In response to Moira Duya's The Rape of Nanking by Iris Chang, it seems like a very grotesque book. I don't know if i can read it though since, according to Moira, there are very detailed parts in the book. It does seem like a very interesting book to read though, and it is a significant part of history. Many people may be affected by it and it kind of gives different viewpoints of Japan.

Posted by Rafay Warsi at Thursday, September 12, 2013 20:41:35

One of the two books I read was Angela’s Ashes by Frank Mccourt. This book was about Frankie, a little boy born in America. He grew up in household that lived pay check to pay check. His father was a drunk and spent all the money he earned on pints (beer) which meant the family didn’t have much money. They all moved to Ireland hoping for a brighter future. But their situation remained the same in Ireland as it did in America. Frank grew up most of his childhood in Ireland and learned the ways of the land. Frank and his family lived in a little shack with small rooms that they could barely afford. He became a bright student and soon after a mail boy. His family had 5 sons and 1 daughter, 3 of which died. His father went to the British war to help out with money and send a few extra pounds home. His father sent no money home and they were forced to move out. After this they moved into another mans home and Frank got into a big fight with this man. The man started to strangle Frank so Frank left and lived in his deceased grandmas house. His brother also went off to a war. After living in Ireland Franks only dream was to move back to America for more opportunities. Frank didn't have to pay rent or support anyone, so all he had worked for went into his pocket. He eventually saved enough money as a mail boy to travel to America where he lived the rest of his life.In the end he accomplished his life long goal of going to America where the possibilities are endless.

The first book I read was Profiles In Courage by John F. Kennedy. This book was about seven senators who had the courage to do what was right even though it might result in the loss of reputation. These seven senators consist of John Quincy Adams, Daniel Webster, Thomas Hart Benton, Sam Houston, Edmund Ross, Lucius Lamar, George Norris, and Robert Taft. Each senator showed their struggles and thoughts about being in charge. They faced a difficult decision of whether to do right and be hated to do wrong and hate themselves.

In response to Moira Duya's story about the professor and the madman. I think that story sounds like an eye opener for all of us. It shows that disabilities wont always hold us back and prevent us from achieving our goals. The madman is a great example of a person with a great stuggle who doesn't let it get the best of him. I find it fascinating that he thought he worked in the insane asylum instead of being a patient there. He had the mindset of being a genius and didn't think of himself as a person with a mental disability.

-Marya Hosseinpur

Posted by Marya Hosseinpur at Thursday, September 12, 2013 20:43:58

Rocket Boys is a memoir by Homer Hickam Jr. After witnessing Sputnik fly over the small company town of Coalwood, Homer and his friends are inspired to create their own rockets. They study physics, and read about the rocket scientist Wernher von Braun. They eventually form the Big Creek Missile Agency. After many failed attempts to launch a rocket, the boys gained a greater understanding of rocket physics and rocket building. When Homer and his friends first started creating rockets, many people of Coalwood doubted that they would ever succeed. However, Homer and his friends didn't let that stop them. As time went by, the boys gained a greater understanding of rocket physics and construction. They improved their rockets, and eventually created rockets that could fly straight into the air with extreme precision. The boys were able to achieve their goals of flying a rocket successfully. This book is great in that it teaches you to follow your dreams no matter what. Homer's father told him that they would never be able to build a successful rocket. Despite what his father said, Homer continued following his goals and eventually created a successful rocket with his friends.

Posted by Ryan Ng at Thursday, September 12, 2013 20:55:18

How The Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents, by Julia Alvarez is about the Garcia family's immigration to the United States from the Dominican Republic. The 4 daughters of the Garcia family were picked on relentlessly as they struggled to conform into American society. The girls become more “Americanized” (hence how they lost their accents). The girls experience some “culture clash.” Being so young, the girls were more susceptible to influences from the American culture (some of which got them in trouble), while their parents were much more steadfast in their Dominican values.

Posted by Ryan Ng at Thursday, September 12, 2013 20:55:29

In response to Anita Diec (Rape of Nanking):

The war crimes committed during the Rape of Nanking sound horrible. What would drive human beings to commit these atrocities against their own species? I also wonder why this event isn't talked about as much as the Holocaust. Do you know whether many Chinese today still hold a grudge against the Japanese for this horrible event?

Posted by Ryan Ng at Thursday, September 12, 2013 20:55:38

In response to Isaac comment on "The Rape of Nanking"

I Agree with you that what the Japanese did was unacceptable and they need to be reminded of their crimes in their textbooks. I was also wondering what you liked about the book? because obviously you didn't like the gruesome stuff... I think there were some thing to like about it though.

Posted by Kevin Nguyen at Thursday, September 12, 2013 21:05:07

In response to Moira Duya's comment about Professor and the Madman, your response about this book caught my attention. When I was looking for my summer reading books, I completely skipped this book as one of my interests. Though right now, you changed my mind and made me want to read this book. The way that the story is about a man who is judged by something he is not caught my attention. People think that since he is disabled, they expect him to not know anything, but in reality, he has an intellectual mind. This story can contribute to many aspects in life. How people treat others in the outside and not the inside. I would definitely take this book into consideration because of the questions I have on this book. How did the way people think he was due to his disability affect him? What persuaded him into sharing his knowledge?

Posted by Aisleen Santos at Thursday, September 12, 2013 21:08:48

Karina Phan
Mr. Hannigan H/English
Period: 6

Book 1: The Rape of Nanking by Iris Chang.
Overall this book was very informative about the area of Nanking, and World War 2. Honestly, the book was too descriptive for my taste. It described how the women of Nanking were raped, how people were murdered in such abundant amounts, and much more.

For me, the book was challenging to read. Iris would put a lot of information on one page. The page would be filled with different types of names and dates. In the end, she would make a connection between all the names. I'm wasn't so familiar with that type of writing. As i went along with reading the book, i became more familiar and read it more easily.

Nanking was invaded by Japan. Japan would teach men, from when they were young boys, that they should defend what is theres. Also, to make sacrifices even if it means to be a human bomb, you should be honored. They were very strict and taught them how to be obedient (in the wrong ways, by physically punishing). Many boys and men were recruited for war headed towards China. They were very successful at making China fall apart in certain areas. They needed to conquer one more place, and that was Nanking. Japan had a plan to block off all the ways to escape. They did that. once they got into Nanking, they disrupted the peace in a way no one would imagine. They had not mercy towards the Chinese. They would kill innocent citizens, rape girls and women of all ages, and destroy buildings. They even stole ancient artifacts to keep for themselves. I don't like to go into much detail about how they murdered and raped. It's too disturbing. Japan was truly disrespectful. Japanese soldiers weren't even punished for their wrong doings by their officers and commanders. Although they killed so many people and China seemed hopeless that even Chinese officials fled, China had some foreign help. Germans, and mostly Americans tried their best to protect Chinese people and even soldiers. All the people who helped where mentally drained because they would have to work so hard to protect. Some were even abused by the officers. After America bombed Japan, Japan withdrew from Nanking. They tried their best to cover up what they had done. They spread a propaganda that their people believed. If i didn't read this book, i would've never knew that all this happened between the two countries.

I learned that the topic of China(Nanking) having a war against Japan, was not so popular to media and such. I have never even heard of Nanking until i read the book. I didn't even know that Japan raided China during WWII. I wonder why this topic hasn't been taught in school. In the book, Iris talks about this. She even did research on why it wasn't being covered. The United States doesn't cover it because it can "create problems" with their alliances. In China, they do cover it, but since they forgave Japan, they don't go into depth about it. Japan, their textbooks literally has about 2 lines of the Rape of Nanking. In Japan, they didn't want to show their students the horrifying things they did to China. Also, since Japan surrendered, they showed "weakness". Basically, they do not want themselves to look bad. Who would?

Posted by Karina Phan at Thursday, September 12, 2013 22:11:03

Book 2: Things Fall Apart
Overall, i enjoyed this book. It wasn't too difficult of a read. The names are somewhat complicated and close to each other so remembering the characters took longer. The man character though, is Okonkwo. He was a successful farmer. He grew the king crop, yams. He was a well respected man through out his village. He was a strong warrior who took pride in everything he did. Okonkwo was everything his father wasn't. Okonkwo's father, Unoka, was a man who lived for music in his younger years. Unoka owed many people money and was largely in debt. As he was dying, he was taken to perish in the wilderness because of his swelling. Since Unoka wasn't a wealthy, respected man, Okonkwo despised his father. He became successful during his young years in life. He grew yams and wrestled. Many praised him, even though he was not humble and showed no affection.

After Mbaino, killed Ogbuefi Udo's wife, instead of going to war, they had to sacrifice a virgin and a young boy. THe young boy was Ikemefuna, who end up living with Okonkwo for 3 years. Ikemefuna bonded with the family and was treated like one. He saw them as his own family as well. Nwoye, Okonkwo's eldest son, saw Ikemefuna as a wise brother. Ikemefuna helped Nwoye developed int a young man, Okonkwo was pleased. But after 3 years, the leaders if Umuofia decided that Ikemefuna will be killed. Okonkwo didn't want to look like a coward so he obliged. After Ikemefuna died, Okonkwo felt great sorrow, but he didn't know why. This for-shadows that Oknonkwo will loose a son/ son figure.

When Ogbuefi Ndulue died, he had a great funeral. Shots(guns) were saluted to him. During the last shot, people were dancing, but in the middle there was a horrifying cry. Okonkwo had accidentally shot Exeudo's 16 year old son. It was a law that Okonkwo would have to flee form the land for 7 years because he killed a clansman. Okonkwo's crime was considered "female" because he didn't do it intentionally.

Oknonkwo and his family moved to his motherland in Mbanta. Uchenclu, Okonkwo's dead mother's kinsman took care of Okwonkwo. As Oknonkwo was there, white men came to villages. They were missionaries and tried to convert people to Christianity. Some people joined including Nwoye. Okonkwo disapproved, and relied on his other children to make him happy.The white men built their churches and would have conflicts with the clan. They also brought in government with them and built a court house and jail.

Since the church and clan had many conflicts, Okonkwo wanted them out of the village. The masked spirits went to the church and destroyed it. The villagers came back to the clan, and Okonkwo was pleased. MR Brown, a leader if the missionaries, called a "meeting" for the 6 leaders of Umuofia to meet in his headquarters. The leaders end up being handcuffed, brought to the guardroom, had their heads shaved, teased, and were punished/tortured. Mr. Brown demanded 250 cowries for each man to be bailed/ released. Once they were released the leaders called a meeting. At the meeting, a messenger from Mr.Brown was decapitated by two hacks fro Okonkwo and his machete.

Mr.Brown was furious and was out to look for Okonkwo. The leaders led Mr. Brown and his men to Okonkwo. It turns out that Okonkwo had hung himself on a tree. The leaders couldn't take down the body because it is now evil. Mr. Brown's men took down Okonkwo. He had committed suicide, who thought he would? I don't understand exactly why Okonkwo took that action.

Posted by Karina Phan at Thursday, September 12, 2013 22:11:33

In response to Kajol Shankar: Wow, it sounds like a very interesting book the way you described it. I agree with you that it's very sad to know that the book was non-fiction, and the story was so tragic. It seems like you fully comprehend with the book and since you even gave a review on the ending of the book it proves that you read it. Great job for giving a summary of the main events in the book! I just bought the book from Amazon, can't wait to read it!... Even though it sounds like all tragedies....

Posted by Karina Phan at Thursday, September 12, 2013 22:12:12

Gericho Tamayo
Period 7

Comment #1: Things Fall Apart

The people in this world are extremely diverse. People who don't travel will never be able to explore the many cultures of this world. Things Fall Apart, by Chinua Achebe, depicts the world of African tribe life and the core emotions of humans. Okonkwo, the main protagonist, is a village leader who came from a lazy, unworthy father. Because of that, Okonkwo decides to surpass his father and become a great man with a huge compound. This reflects the human nature of embarrassment and resentment to his father. He can't understand his father's way of easy living and laziness. His dislike for his father fuels his desire to become the best man in Umuofia. This shows that everyone lives their own lives. People shouldn't complain about other people's lifestyle, but to work toward making their own better.
Okonkwo also doesn't show feelings deemed "unmanly" on the outside. He, instead, turns to coldness. He is unkind to his own son even if he did something good. Men in the tribe are afraid that showing affection is womanly. Okonkwo clearly shows that. In the book, Christians move into African tribes to preach their religion. Their beliefs clashed with the tribe's beliefs. Because they didn't understand each other, conflict arose. Okonkwo certainly did not like the idea of change and of things unknown. He commits suicide after killing a messanger for "white men." He probably felt tired of his unfair life and the changes going on. Was he justified for his action? He was banished, lost his crops and house, and was forced to watch his hometown get poisoned by the foreigners. Okonkwo was just tired. He didn't feel the world needed him. In the end, he couldn't change anything.

Comment #2: The Rape of Nanking

The Holocaust caused by the Nazi's killed six million Jews. We should be aware of that. But there was another mass killing that happened in World War II. The Rape of Nanking, by Iris Change, clearly explains the incident. Most people aren't aware of the massacre that happened in Nanking, China. The Japanese, known for their manners, mercilessly killed 260,000-350,000 people in the city of Nanking. Within a few a weeks the crime was committed. There was much tension between China and Japan at the time. The two countries fought over Korea and China lost. When, Japan invaded China, an atrocity occurred that is beyond words. Instead of simply capturing the city, they pilfered and burned the city down. They killed in ways unthinkable to the normal person. They beheaded the civilians and soldiers alike. They made prisoners clean bodies of the dead before they died themselves. Many were lined up at the river to be mowed down my machine guns. These actions were all done covertly. It's amazing that human beings are able to do things so inhuman. The soldiers behaved like machines. The rape of women is also a controversial topic. Women shouldn't be treated as objects. They were disposed of as though they were by the Japanese. The Japanese trained their students to become unmoral killing machines and yet they deny it. The Germans payed for the crimes against humanity yet the Japanese try to cover it up. I am quite amazed. The Rape of Naking has become the most eye opening book I've ever read.

Comment #3: Response to Bill Peralta

Longitude, by Dava Sobel, doesn't sound like an interesting book. Harrison basically tries to measure longitude but encounters problems. In the end he makes a watch that's accurate enough but he doesn't get the full prize. I don't know much of what his journey was like. It seems like a very monumental task but it just doesn't sound exciting. Where does he travel and who does he meet? Is there conflict with his crew? What troubles does have making H4? I will read this book to find out, but it will be secondary reading material.

*I posted this on the wrong discussion.

Posted by Gericho Tamayo at Thursday, September 12, 2013 22:54:34

For my summer reading, I read American Gods by Neil Gaiman. It is one of my favorite books actually because I love mythology and magical realism, stories that are like real life except with a little something added. Some of my favorite parts of the book was when Gaiman interspersed plot chapters with stories about someone's own Coming to America story and how they brought their beliefs with them. There is a story of a souvenir-peddling Middle Eastern man in New York, disenchanted with life until a djinn who drives taxis switch lives with him. Then there is the woman who transported all of the creatures she believed in into America by honoring them with her old country's traditions. Then, when she died, no one else continued these rituals so her creatures, tthe ones she transported to America, just floated on, barely clinging to existence. These little parts stitched the story together and made the world-building quite sturdy and solid. 

 In particular I loved how regular people's beliefs had brought these powerful, almost-immortal gods to life. They needed people's worship, these immense beings. Their whole existences depended on the whims of humans. Eventually the old gods weaken because their people stop believing in the old wives tales. Their people's children never believe from the start the fairytales and myths and legends of days gone by. After all, they might be good stories but how do they pertain to our life now? No one in America would believe in them at all; they have Christainality, Judiasm, Islam, ect to use. Instead, new gods rise up in our modernity, the gods of automobiles and electronics and planes. Gaimen mentions in an almost casual manner the car gods are powerful and sleek from having human sacrifice dedicated to them on a level unprecented before in history. This is such a fascinating way to think about the world. It makes me think of how old beliefs adapt to a new world, how people devote their time and money to new things, and then how quickly they abandon them for the next. I, of course, highly recommend American Gods. 

In response to Moira's comment about "The Professor and the Madmen": I find the last few sentences ignorant and ableistic. Being mentally disabled does not equal being insane and neither does it connotate to being stupid. It is false to assume being mentally disabled automatically means someone is slow or unintelligent. Minor should not be used as an example of how, supposedly, disabled people can be intelligent too. He committed murder for heaven's sake! Why would you use him as a shining example of 'oh, being mentally disabled doesn't mean someone's stupid'? People were right to distrust him because he had killed someone. Having a mental disorder (which begs the question if he even had one or not and if he did how can we even trust that fact if it was diagnosed in the 1900s) does not predispose someone to murder! Having a mental illness does not ever mean someone is insane or 'crazy'. Don't make these kinds of assumptions.

Posted by Alena Wang at Thursday, September 12, 2013 22:58:30

Comment #1: The Rape of Nanking, by Iris Chang, was a very informational book but also very gruesome. In this book, Iris goes back to WWII and the invasion in China by the Japanese. The Japanese take over a certain city named Nanking, and were given orders to do nothing but kill. The massacre that happened in Nanking was one of the biggest massacres in the world. Over 350,000 people were tortured to death. Dead bodies pilled up on the beach and rivers were read with blood as soldiers turned murder into a sport. The training for the soldiers was just meant to harden their harts and make murder a soft thing in their hearts. One group of soldiers were assigned 3 Chinese people each and they were told to kill them in the most creative way they could think of. They did decapitations with a smile on their faces. Then they would take those heads, and line them up on posts and put cigarettes in between their lips as a joke. They would burry the Chinese people half way, and let German Shepards rip them to pieces. They would burry people alive, lit them on fire alive, or just put them in groups and light them up with a machine gun. In one of the visual aids towards the middle of the book, they show a Chinese man strapped to pole and. Japanese man stabbing him with his knife. She said that the Japanese used the Chinese as practice targets, and they would repeat the stabbing even after the victim is dead. The women, are a whole other story. All women were raped or tortured In some disgusting way. Most women were strapped to chairs of repeated attack from the men. Once the 20 or more Japanese men were done with their business, they'd kill the women, and throw her in the pile with the other corpses. Some women were forced into doing pornographic poses. Many women were removed of their clothing, tortured, and then killed to remove the proof. In this book, Iris goes into deep detail of what tortures were used against the Chinese and just shows how tragic of a time this was. One of the hardest parts about reading this book, was that you were reading it. The visual aids don't show up till about the middle of the book, but until then, your mind gets to create it's own picture of what happened. This factor, just adds to the difficulty of reading this book, but it was very informational and interesting. I hooked the whole time and I couldn't stop reading. It was a wonderful read.

Comment #2: In response to Kristina Pimentel: I like the idea of the book, but it doesn't sound like there really is any plot twists or climax. It sounds more like a documentary to me. The setting of the book and the tone sounds like it could have gone in so many different ways. Why would the author just let Frank grow up and move? I understand that he had to take up the position of "the man of the house" but why couldn't he have accomplished even more? I was very surprised to read how the book started great and hooked me, but had such a terrible ending.

Note: I'm really sorry that I posted it past midnight! I am doing this from my tablet amd when I clicked "Add Comment", it gave me a loading screen for about 25 mins and finally failed so I had to retype the whole thing.

Posted by Arjun Bhagat at Thursday, September 12, 2013 23:26:38

Bill Peralta
Period 7

First comment:

Guns, Germs, and Steel. Quite a fascinating book by Jarod Diamond, but at times, quite boring as well. I read this book because it was supposed to help me somewhat with AP World History. Indeed, it did. The book begin's with Yali, a person from New Guinea that asks a question similar to, "How were Europeans able to conquer so many places, while other humans weren't?" The title of the book comes into play. The answer is through guns (weapons), germs (foreign diseases), and steel (advanced technology). Spanish conquistadors invading Peru were an example. Their weapons were superior in battle, they brought diseases such as smallpox, and they had the technology to sail all the way from Spain to South America. A good portion of the book describes the innovations of agriculture and food production, both of which are very important in human living. Further in the book, explanations of earlier societies are shown. Diamond explains the differences between a tribe and a state, the rise of China, and the reasons why Europeans wanted to expand out to the Americas. While the "white" people were constantly advancing their technologies, other places stayed somewhat primal. The epilogue gives the true answer to Yali's question. The Eurasian "white" people were able to conquer much more because of their geography. They simply had better conditions in the places they lived in. They domesticated animals and plants, migrated quickly due to favorable conditions for travel and agriculture, and had more stuff to start with. Basically, the Eurasians were lucky. That gave them a jump start on technology, evolving into a jump start on the rest of the world.

Second Comment:

For my second book. I read Longitude by Dava Sobel. The version I read was the illustrated one that included pictures of texts, notebooks, important people, and instruments. The aim of the book was to describe the journey of finding a reliable way to calculate longitude. A monetary prize was offered to the man that can solve the problem. Many times have people been lost at sea because of the lack of navigation, so King Charles II built an observatory to solve the problem of finding longitude at sea. The mariners at the time were able to use latitude, because it's simply a set of measurements going from North to South. Sobel stresses the issue with longitude. The Earth is constantly spinning. Measurements are variable. Methods like astronomical positioning proved to be ineffective. Those measurements are to become what we now know as longitude. John Harrison was up to the challenge of solving this. He hypothesized that a person can calculate longitude by knowing two factors: the current time on the seafaring vessel, and the current time of the ship's home port. Harrison's accomplishments weren't in the measurements. They were in the timekeeping. He created a series of maritime watches that had to be extremely accurate regardless of circumstances like movement, altitude, atmospheric pressure, etc. Harrison spent 19 years making the third edition to this series, but the watch still proved inaccurate. He finally cape up with the H4, a watch that was accurate enough to exceed the longitude standard. He exceeded it by three times the required accuracy. The people at the board of longitude still weren't convinced, so Harrison didn't get the full prize, only a small portion. His clocks were used to find longitude at the Royal Observatory. That building in Greenwich now has a bright neon light running through it, which officially marks the coordinate of 0 degrees longitude.

Reply To Henry Fong on the book October Sky:

My favorite thing about your explanation of the book was probably the reason for the BCMA's formation. A bunch of teenage boys were inspired by an international space race, so they followed their dreams and did what they loved. Even though other people laughed at their creations, they still kept creating rockets. Unfortunately, Sonny's father didn't agree with this idea, and he wanted his son to be a miner instead. I'm surprised that Sonny's mother allowed him. Usually, it's the mother that prevents the child from doing dangerous things. Also, I like how the mining town's name is Coalwood. It seems very appropriate. By your description, I see that the book has the typical "good ending" that everyone wants. Although Sonny didn't become a miner, he became the first person in Coalwood to get to college. That is a much more honorable feat than being another member in a whole family of miners.

I accidentally posted this on Mr. Campbell's discussion page yesterday instead of yours, Mr. Hannigan.

Posted by Bill Peralta (period 7) at Friday, September 13, 2013 05:11:47

In the fictional book called Memoirs of a Geisha, an elderly woman named Sayuri retells her life of becoming a geisha and all the hardships she must face to accomplish her goal. The story then begins at the place of her childhood where she and her older sister Satsu are sold to Mr. Tanaka for money to help their mother's health. Though later Mr.Tanaka gives them away to a geisha dresser named Mr.Bekku. Who then separates the two sisters by leaving Satsu in a in prostitute house and then leaves Sayuri in okiya in care of the geishas. Sayuri then must defend for herself and adjust to the new lifestyle of becoming a geisha apprentice with a little help from her friends and mentors along the way. Where she must give up love to survive in the world were men spend thousands of dollars on gaining the virginity and owning their own personal geisha. Arthur Golden is able to invite you into a world that is filled with lust, jealously, love, hardships, and courage. Where falling in love is the worst thing you could do to yourself and where there is no limit to how you seduce a man.
Reading this book opened my eyes to a new world where your body becomes an item to gain money and where the word no is not to be used lightly. The characters just don't become words on pen but living beings that breath, think, and talk like you do. Simply words on pages are able to become living people who you are easily able to connect to and feel emotion for. The characters become someone precious to you that you just can't bear to part with or see to get hurt. This book has becoming one of personal favorites an allowed me to be extremely grateful for the lifestyle I live. This book was not only able to make me adore it but also educate me on how looking at the past makes you see all the things we take for granted.

Posted by Elise Yap at Friday, September 13, 2013 20:43:59

In the novel, American Gods By Neil Gaiman, a convict, named Shadow, gets released from prison after his wife is purposely killed in a car accident in order to get Shadow out of jail earlier so that his father, who is a god, can set his master plan in motion. His father, Odin planned, along with Loki, the leader of the new gods, to start a war between the two groups of gods without them even knowing that they were set up, so that Loki and Odin would gain power from the battle itself. Shadow figuring all this out, was able to stop them war from raging before it was too late. I though this was a great work of imagination. First, I want to talk about Shadow. I really liked how he accepted everything with no questioning the credibility of the existence of gods because I found it to be a little humorous too. I also enjoyed the ending, when he found out all about who he is and his part in all this as if he achieved enlightenment. Also, in my opinion, the thought of new gods and old gods was unique and entrancing. The book heavily emphasized that America was a bad place for gods due to the lack of ancient history and wavering beliefs/religion, proven by gods either being new or old. Overall, this novel was a great read and expanded my imagination in terms of mythology and gods.

Posted by Jesus Alarcon at Friday, September 13, 2013 21:17:52

In response to Bill Peralta's comment on Guns, Germs, and Steel. This book sounded like something I could read to help me understand my AP world history a little better. In addition to this I would also more knowledge to rely on. There probably could have been information on there that isn't in the book of AP world history. I like how the title basically answered the questions: "How were Europeans able to conquer so many places, while other humans couldn't?" This proves that the book is a reliable book that I would benefit from greatly. I might pick it up sometime in the future.

Posted by Jesus Alarcon at Friday, September 13, 2013 21:25:35

The other book I read was the non-fiction book, Longitude by Dava Sabal. This emphasizes the importance of longitude and how it relied on so heavily in order to actually tell where they are going. Many ships have been lost at seas attempting to figure out how to find the mysterious concept of longitude. I never knew how important longitude was until I read this book. A major factor to telling longitude was the clock, and the clock can become inaccurate by other natural phenomena that you would never expect to effect it, such as: weather. Any slight miscalculation, and you would end up lost at sea! I learned a lot from this book in terms of what you need to calculate longitude, how to calculate longitude, and what factors can effect this process. It was an intriguing read.

Posted by Quentin Monasterial at Friday, September 13, 2013 21:38:07

In the book rape of nanking by iris Chang i found it quite horrifying. First of all what the japanese did to the chinese was well unexpected. MY opinion i thought the chinese and japanese were like best friends but in this book they are like villains and the chinese are like dogs. They beat the chinese for fun. They even did it with dogs... What were the japanese people thinking. I am glad i read the book over all and it informed me much about what i haven't learned yet. Also it was totally unnecessary for then to kill so many people. They trained their men to become killing animals and treated woman like toys just tossing them aside after they were done with them

The second book i read was longitude by daivd sobel
The book in my perspective, was alright. It was pretty much just about a dude that wants to find out how to measure longitude. Many people were trying to solve the problem by building machines that could calculate the longitude At first it seemed impossible until someone named John Harrison created some machines that would calculate the longitude accurately. There were some people that were jealous and tried to make copy cats of the machines, but he won most of the prize money. That's mostly what the book was about, and to me the book was really boring as well.

@Elise yap: Memoirs of a Geisha seems pretty interesting but idk about the prostitute house think that really isn't my cup of tea. Plus why would he separte the 2 sisters? it seems to rated R and how did themom get ick in the first place? Also i agree with you i never know that there was such a time period in asian that that happened where men owned women just for pleasure. Im glad that change

Posted by Antoinette Loya at Friday, September 13, 2013 22:32:33

The first book, The Professor and the Madman by Simon Winchester, was mainly about the contributors of the Oxford English Dictionary. The two main contributors that were talked about the most were James Murray, the professor and the editor of the OED(Oxford English Dictionary), and William Chester Minor, a surgeon and war veteran who has turned mad. Dr. Minor lives in a asylum because he killed a father on his way to work thinking he was an Irish man attacking him. Since Dr. Minor is locked up he decides to be part of the many contributors of the OED. Minor stands out in particular because he is able to send so many slips of paper with words that need to be in the dictionary. Murray and Minor develop a great friendship and write to each other, but they never meet face to face. Murray finally becomes curious about Dr. Minor because he never shows up to any events that Murray invites him to, so he decides to visit him at the asylum. Murray realized that the letters were being sent from an asylum but he thought Minor, having the title of a doctor, worked there. Once he figures out he is a patient, it does not effect there friendship and they remain close friends until old age. I, personally, found the book a bit boring until Dr. Murray goes completely insane and cuts off his male organ.

The second novel, Moll Flanders by Daniel Defoe, was following a woman's life and all of her struggles. Originally not having the name, Moll Flanders was born in Europe to a mother who had stolen and was being convicted. Having being with child, she was bailed until Moll was born and then taken to American. Moll spent her childhood with a widow who is a mother to Moll and teaches her things like chores and manners. Moll always said at a young age that she wanted to be a women that could take care of herself and make her own money, Moll was also very beautiful and grew into a beautiful teen. When the widow died, a family who had taken a liking to Moll, let her stay with them. They had two girls and two boys around the same age as Moll. The brothers fall in love with Moll and she has an affair with the older brother, secretly. Then the younger brother proclaims his love for Moll to the whole family and wishes to marry her. The family looks down upon Moll because, although she is beautiful, she has no money. After the older brother leaves Moll, she is decides to marry his brother, who soon dies after the marriage. After, she marries a man who's a draper and leaves the country because he is a fugitive. Then, she meets a man whom she moves out to American with and has a child with. She finds out that they share the same mother and goes back to England utterly disgusted, leaving her husband/half-brother, child, and mother. Once she returns, she befriends a lady who is a widow. The widow marries a shipman and leaves Moll realizing that she isn't going to get a husband because she has absolutely nothing. She becomes a mistress for a while, but then the man doesn't want to see her anymore because he got sick and had a religious epiphany. Moll wants to marry a banker whose ahs a wife who is cheating on him, but want to wait for the divorce. While she is waiting, she meets a woman who fixes her up with a man who says he is rich, thinking that Moll is also rich, despite her not saying anything. He turns out to be a fraud and they go their separate ways. When Moll returns to the banker, he is divorced and ready to get married. Once married, Moll has another husband who has died. Lonely and poor, Moll meets a women and they result to stealing. They succeed for a long time but Moll is eventually caught, goes to jail and is sentenced to death. Moll is afraid of jail and dying but she meets her draper husband in jail and they get their sentences reduced and moved to Virginia. Moll sees her abandoned son in Virginia and learns that her half-bother is blind and mad. Everyone believes that his wife has died. Her son finds out that Moll is his mother and they form a relationship. She moves back to England with her husband at an old age, and they live the rest of their living looking back at all the mischief they got into. I really enjoyed this book because Moll wasn't the typical type of women at that time, as in rich and beneficial to her husband, but she did what she had to do. I also found it interesting how women who men married did not have to be beautiful and that the pretty ones were made into mistresses. Despite all the men Moll was with and all the mistakes she made, she ended up happy. I feel Moll had a very eventful, exciting life that taught her a lot.

In response to Jessica Leung: I read a book very similar to How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents. It had the same theme of moving to America and having to become Americanized, but very different morals. I like how both our fiction books dealt with girls who guys like but there is always someone who disapproves.

Posted by Jovanna Brinck at Saturday, September 14, 2013 21:22:26
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