Tag Archives: literature

A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry

Cover via Goodreads.

Rating: 3/5 stars.

A Raisin in the Sun details the story of a working-class family struggling to make ends meet. The Youngers are then faced with a difficult decision that brings their colored heritage and the lives of their ancestors to the forefront.

Although this book and Death of a Salesman have some similar themes, what makes A Raisin in the Sun much better is its dynamic dialogue and the conflicting desires of its characters. Continue reading

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Filed under 3 stars, Book Reviews, Books

Life of Pi by Yann Martel

Cover via Goodreads.

Rating: 3/5 stars.

Life of Pi will make you think.

Initially, I was unimpressed. The book jacket promised a survival story about a boy on a boat who has to contend with not only the elements, but a ferocious tiger too. However, the book began with copious reflections on religion and random musings about animals. I understand that the author probably wanted to set up the story and provide some initial food for thought, but the only thing I appreciated out of the first 100 pages was the idea that people can believe in more than one thing (whether it be religion, or just conflicting ideas in general) and still be a good person. Pi practices multiple religions, but he has good intentions and a pure heart.

I liked the second part of the book. I did not love it, but I liked it. Continue reading

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Filed under 3 stars, Book Reviews, Books

A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway

Cover via Goodreads.

Rating: 2/5 stars.

If I had read and rated this book two stars a year ago, perhaps I would have felt guilty. But that phase of my life is over. Though I am still somewhat scared that all of my future English professors will peer into my mind, feel my distaste for A Farewell to Arms, and proceed to punch me in the face.

There are a lot of great literary things going on here, and I can see why Hemingway in general is so well-received. Despite his imperfect personal life, his writing conveyed great beauty at times. This book delves into the brutality of battle and war, the torrid tale of two star-crossed lovers, and a multitude of other motifs and themes. If my ratings were based solely on literary merit this book would be much better off.

But, this is a book I wanted to feel. Continue reading

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Filed under 2 stars, Book Reviews, Books

Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller

Cover via Goodreads.

Rating: 2/5 stars.

When I finished reading this book in my AP Literature class, I literally cheered, clapped, and high-fived my friends sitting next to me. The cycle of complete despair had been broken! My soul could now sing a song of optimism and joy!

Before I read this book, I still had a sliver of doubt in my mind. The doubt that I should include a myriad more classics to my reading list, that my brain would rot and rupture under the strain of contemporary fiction.

No. Just, no. Continue reading

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Filed under 2 stars, Book Reviews, Books

Tell The Wolves I’m Home by Carol Rifka Brunt

Cover via Goodreads.

Rating: 5/5 stars.

When I finished this book, I felt overwhelmed. Like every bit of beautiful writing and bittersweet emotion had filled my heart and made it ready to burst. There are some books that you finish and think “thank goodness I’m a reader” or “thank goodness I got to read this one.” Tell The Wolves I’m Home is one of those books, and easily the best book I’ve read in 2012. Continue reading

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Filed under 5 stars, Book Reviews, Books

Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

Cover via Goodreads.

Rating: 3.5/5 stars.

I like books that make me feel. I felt pretty anguished and surprised when I read about babies being electrocuted on page 20. Why would anyone electrocute innocent babies, you ask?

‘They’ll grow up with what the psychologists used to call an ‘instinctive’ hatred of books and flowers. Reflexes unalterably conditioned. They’ll be safe from books and botany all their lives.’

No! Not books! Condition them to detest Doritos or cottage cheese – anything but books!

I also like books that make me think. Here is a quote that made me think (I sent it to a friend via text, too): Continue reading

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Filed under 3.5 stars, Book Reviews, Books

The Road by Cormac McCarthy

Cover via Goodreads.

Rating: 3/5 stars.

I encountered my first issue on page four. It was intense enmity at first sight.

“He thought the month was October but he wasnt sure. He hadnt kept a calendar for years.”

Apostrophes!? What happened to those magical things? Then, on page five… Continue reading

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Filed under 3 stars, Book Reviews, Books

Reviews of Kaplan SAT Subject Test Study Guides for 2011-2012 US History and Literature

I apologize for my absence, I’ve been really busy since school has ended! I will update with a more personal post and respond to messages/comments  soon, but I felt the need to catch up on my book reviews first.

I’ll start with the SAT subject test in US History and then proceed to Literature. These are just my thoughts on the books themselves – if you want my advice on preparing for the actual exams, please don’t hesitate to contact me via private message or comment!

Cover via Goodreads.

Rating: 5/5 stars.

I actually didn’t read most of the material in this book, though after scanning through it I would recommend it to those taking the test. I used another book to review, and felt that after taking the corresponding AP course for US History that I had sufficient knowledge already. Continue reading

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Filed under 5 stars, Book Reviews, Books

The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger

Cover via Goodreads.

Rating: 4/5 stars.

I am Holden Caulfield.

Okay, not really. I wouldn’t want to be on the receiving end of all the animosity people feel toward him. He does deserve the hate – he’s hypocritical, judgmental, whiny, and somewhat of a jerk overall. In fact, his awkwardness around the concept of homosexuality almost angered me.

But, as a seventeen-year-old male (just turned 17 last week!) I can honestly say that I connect with Holden. Continue reading

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Filed under 4 stars, Book Reviews, Books

Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk

Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk

Rating: 2/5 stars.

“You are not a beautiful or unique snowflake. You are the same decaying organic matter as everyone else, and we are all part of the same compost pile.”

Well, that’s depressing.

I actually thought that while reading most of the novel. Either something along the lines of “well, that’s depressing” or “oh my gosh, so much violence.” There is definitely a reason the book is titled Fight Club.

And the book should be depressing, as it deals with heavy and unpleasant topics such as excessive materialism, lack of individualism, and deindividuation. Continue reading

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Filed under 2 stars, Book Reviews, Books