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Book Review

  • Book Review, Books

    Fluent Forever – Book Review

    This is a fascinating, enriching book that teaches the reader how to teach themselves a foreign language. It explains how the brain works and retains information in an interesting, attention-grabbing way. The author uses several funny anecdotes about his journey in language learning, and how it shaped his own life. At first glance, it seems boring or uninteresting, but I was unable to put the book down. 9.5/10

  • Book Review

    Grapes of Wrath: A Book Review

    In the book Grapes of Wrath, published by John Steinbeck in 1939, a family is forced to move out of their homeland and migrate towards plentiful land. The Dust Bowl posed a great threat not only to this family but all farmers and their loved ones. One important underlying message in the book is the importance of the women in a household. Ma Joad in the story is seen throughout the book as a hero and a mentor.

    First off, she is very welcoming, through allowing strangers (including homeless men) to sit down and share a meal with her. On the journey there, she puts on a fire, makes food, and sacrifices her food in order to give to the poor, hungry children around the camp. (SPOILER) She also keeps quiet when crossing the border to California in order to trick the guards into letting them through because the grandmother was sick when in reality she was dead the entire time. Ma was lying next to a corpse all night! While many believe that the man is the real center of the family, Ma Joad is able to break these types of gender roles and assumptions. Not only is she extremely confident, decisive, and friendly, but she also serves as the literal backbone and center of the family, supporting them throughout the entire experience.

    The book even mentioned her as the “citadel of the family”. She nurtures her daughter, Rose of Sharon, through the course of her pregnancy, while also managing to keep her impulsive and aggressive son, Tom Joad, in the right state of mind. Ma Joad is able to represent all women across the world. She is able to depict the idea that a family would not survive without a woman; a woman is just as important as the male in a household. A woman like her must be able to carry not only physical things but emotional things on her shoulder as well. She is an excellent representation of how women are capable of withstanding hardships and gain strength throughout the way!

  • Book Review

    A Book Review of The Invention of Wings

    The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd is the type of book which needs to be read. This novel is historical fiction, as it takes place in Charleston, South Carolina, with a timeline which spans from 1800 to the late 1820s. This was a time in South Carolina when the slave population was often higher than its neighboring southern states. The story focuses on the lives of two girls, the first mentioned in the book is Hetty Grimke, known as “Handful” to the slaves she lives with. Handful’s mama is a courageous dreamer, with a knack and love for stitching quilts. She craves freedom for herself, but for her daughter most of all, and she will try whatever she can in order to achieve it. Mama’s courage rubs off on Handful as she grows up, feeling the weight of slavery grow increasingly stronger.

    The second character is an ambitious girl named Sarah Grimke, daughter of the slave-owning Grimkes. Her personal motto is “live audaciously”, and she has a strong moral compass. When she receives Handful, presented as “Hetty”, as a birthday gift, she knows that she has to find a way out of it. Soon she attempts to free Handful using what she has learned about law from her father. But her plans are defeated and her ambition to become a lawyer is trampled. She struggles with her reputation, safety, and hope.

    The two girls begin to grow close but as they grow into their very different lives, they start to drift. However, as fate would have it, their lives become far more intertwined than they would had expected. I love this story because each character is written with incredible depth. It flows with symbolism and is tied together with the theme of womanhood and sisterhood. Slavery and race is a tough topic, and The Invention of Wings makes this part of history far more personal than a history book ever could. That being said, the novel does contains scenes which I would not recommend for younger readers. It is intended for a mature audience, so I would not advise readers any younger than fourteen to read it. In conclusion, This novel is something which every woman can relate to and learn from. The Invention of Wings is a book to inspire.

  • Articles, Book Review, Books

    The Captive Maiden: Book Review

    The Captive Maiden
    By Melanie Dickerson

    We’ve all heard the story of Cinderella, and probably watched more versions of the movie than should be humanly possible. But when you open up The Captive Maiden, you find a completely new take on our beloved classic.

    Gisela leads the life of a sweet, young lady in the early 1400s with her father and her horses. That is until her father mysteriously marries and dies in one chapter. You know the drill; horrible stepmom, ugly step sisters, and servitude to both. What makes this story different, is not only the setting but the twists and turns of this well-known fantasy.

    Valten plays our “prince” as the son of a duke; he’s chiseled, and Gisela is taken by his rough, yet seemingly layered appearance. He is holding a jousting tournament for all to see, and Gisela must find a way to attend if only to get a small taste of the life she’s only dreamed of.

    As you follow Gisela through her story, you find her to be kind spirited, strong willed and determined that no one will stand in the way of Love. The danger is amidst though, as Gisela’s step family realize she might actually have a shot at winning Valten’s heart.

    What is going to happen in this retelling of Cinderella? You’re usual happy ever after?

    Read to find out!

  • Book Review

    Book Review: Kazoo

    If you look around at the magazine options available specifically for girls, you’ll probably see a pattern. The covers usually have a pop singer or actress all dolled up wearing a dress and makeup, and words like “gossip” and “drama” scattered on the page in big, bold text. A lot of these magazines are all about hair, fashion, nails, dolls, and not much else. Although there’s nothing wrong with hairstyles, fashion, nails and dolls, is that really all girls are interested in? What about science and sports, the outdoors, math, art, animals, and other interests? What about female role models who weren’t just child TV stars? This is why the magazine Kazoo was created. The first issue came out in the summer of 2016 and sold out fast.

    The publication focuses on empowering girls ages 8-10, and appealing to interests less commonly found in most girls’ magazines. I wish this had been around when I was younger. I was very interested in science experiments, wildlife, and outer space, things I could only find in magazines that were just for boys, or both boys and girls. It’s great that this magazine includes those kind of things, targeted for girls. Hopefully more material like this will be found in the media and other publications in the years to come.

  • Book Review

    Hamilton: A Review

    Who is Alexander Hamilton? Take a look at the 10 dollar bill, get real close. What are you seeing? A dead president? WRONG!!!!! An orphan, a writer, a scholar, a father, a husband, a soldier, perhaps a cheater?

    Lin-Manuel Miranda knows him all too well. You may have heard of him, you know the creator of Hamilton: An American Musical and In the Heights. He plays a superb Alexander and portrays every aspect of pain and struggle America was never exposed to. Aside from the fact that the cast is color blind it’s also almost completely rap songs. We get a look into the life of Alexander Hamilton and what really happened to him. Did you know that he cheated on his wife for an extended period of time? Or that he paid for her to her knowing and conniving husband?

    Hamilton includes dual-role casting, Alexander’s son Philip plays John Laurens. President Thomas Jefferson plays Marquis de Lafayette and President James Madison playing Hercules Mulligan, both African-American actors. Finally Peggy Schuyler, Alexander’s sister in law, also plays his mistress Maria Reynolds.

    How did Hamilton fall to his demise when he was George Washington’s(Christopher Jackson,African-American)right hand man? Is it because he was never satisfied as Angelica Schuyler (Renee Elise Goldsberry) so vividly states? No,it’s because he stood for what he believed until the very end. With his gun to the sky he reminisced on his life, his father left and his mother died in his arms. The soldiers he fought with fell to their deaths as the pressed on during the war. His own son, his first born died for him, protecting his name and his cause. Secretary of Treasury, Founding Father Alexander Hamilton threw away his shot at almost the very spot his son was shot. The shot fired from the gun of the man he befriended, the one he fought and planned with.

    Who lived to tell his story, spread his legacy? Who else but his wife Eliza (Phillipa Soo)? She raised funds for the Washington Monument and rebelled against slavery. She established the very first private orphanage in New York City. After all it is the greatest city in the world, Alexander as proof, in New York you can be a new man.

    *Soundtrack Available on Spotify, I highly recommend listening.*