This book is about Ernest Shackleton and his ship, the Endurance, sailing to the Antarctic circle in hopes of being able to cross the continent and be part of the first team of explorers to do so. However, 100 miles from land, the Endurance became stuck in ice and the men were trapped their all winter. Things became worse as the ice moved and crushed the boat. Stranded on feet, Shackleton and his men were forced to find a way to return to the nearest whaling station island hundreds of miles away past a frozen wasteland and a treacherous ocean.
As I am a history teaching major, I kept looking at it from a history paper perspective rather than as a piece of literature. In doing so, I kept becoming disappointed and finding downfalls with the book. But then, I realized what I was doing, I looked at it from a literature perspective again. It is a very interesting story and I love how the author, Armstrong kept us in suspense. I loved looking at the pictures–it helped to bring the story alive.
Because it is a thick book, and there is a large part of their journey with no pictures, I would recommend it to at least 9th graders. I’m sure boys would love this type of story more than girls–rowdy men all on their own fighting against the harsh forces of nature.
The Book Thief takes an interesting view on World War II Germany. It is narrated by Death, but it is not in any sense a paranormal YA book. The main character is a young girl named Liesel who struggles with reading. Her young brother dies and she is put into a foster home in a poor part of Munich. Death tells us about her story–how she struggles to read, steals a few books, refuses a kiss to young Rudy, comes to love her foster parents, and hides a Jew named Max. However, in the end, as all books should, there are a few twists and turns in this macabre book.
This is now one of my favorite books and I regret i read it so fast. It is very creatively written–I mean to narrate with Death even though he is not an important character–genius! It is very creatively written–almost in the style of a stream of thought, journal-like, personal essay.
The book discusses right vs. wrong very well. Not all Germans are evil, it is ok to use bad words at those you love (it is a form of love), stealing is ok in circumstances…
Words. Words are another HUGE motif! It reminds me so much of Inkheart trilogy by Cornelia Funke. The power of words. Those who control the words, control everyone else.
To be honest, I cannot find weaknesses with this book. Maybe that is why it is a Printz winner!
Anyone who reads this would absolutely love it. However, since it does deal with heavy, deep, dark topics, I would suggest the book to high school students in the least.
This was actually the first time I read S.E. Hinton’s realistic fiction book. When I was younger, I had read a book called the Downsiders and thought it had something to do with this book. I was wrong. This book is about Ponyboy (yes, that is his real name) and his friends–they are “greasers” and looked down upon by the “Socs” (high society kids). Ponyboy and his friend Johnny get in some big trouble after a rumble with some Socs and the book follows them through running away, a church fire which made them heroes, and the effect that their hard life had on them.
As I was reading this, I instantly thought of it as a mix between the movie, Grease, and the musical, West Side Story. That is the main issue of the book–different groups of kids who misunderstand or have prejudices against each other and how they have to life with it or find a way to overcome it. Hinton does a good job making it realistic fiction because she alludes to popular slang and terms, as well as fads such as the Beatles. This probably came very easy to Hinton as she was only 17 when the book was published.
Whether or not she meant it, Hinton had a motif of eyes. Every character’s description focuses on their eyes and then is reflected in their personality and actions. I love eye motifs and think she did it very well. She based the book on an issue between two gangs at her school and she wanted to explore it from the side of the “greasers.” Again, I think she does a well enough job with this as Ponyboy begins to see things differently after he meets Cherry and as Johnny reveals his own feelings.
But, besides those two aspects, I felt this was a very dry book. The events didn’t seem to flow well enough into one another–it felt like different episodes and it was very easy to tell where an episode would end. I do believe that young teenage boys in middle school would enjoy this book, especially because of all the “rumbles” throughout.
Reading is having fun. Reading is having an adventure, becoming new people, living different lives, all without moving an inch.
Being literate, to me, is the continuous practice of being able to read comfortably. You have to practice reading, just like anything else, but enjoy it. If you are mumbling and grumbling, how will you improve?
What I love about reading is it it shows our divine potential. Our divinity is our imagination, which in writers is manifest before readers as books and stories. It is their own world given to us to participate in. And, since I am a history teaching major, it also means that I become a time traveler and am able to witness history live in front of my eyes.
The books I read as a kid are still the same genres I read today. I’ve always been entranced with historical fiction and fantasy. Maybe it’s because I, myself, am a daydreamer and a writer that I year for a time and place not my own. To see mysteries at work and understand them is what I love the most. Sometimes I’ll even read specific characters’ dialogue out loud–I become them; I live a different life.
Reading is what dreams are made of and how they come true.