Book Review: Wonder

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Title: Wonder
Author: Raquel J. Palacio
Genre: Children
Recommended Reading Age: Everyone
Pages: 315
Level of difficulty: 2/5 Dictionaries

Brief Introduction

Auggie wants to be an ordinary ten-year-old. He does ordinary things – eating ice cream, playing on his Xbox. He feels ordinary – inside. But ordinary kids don’t make other ordinary kids run away screaming in playgrounds. Ordinary kids aren’t stared at wherever they go.

Born with a terrible facial abnormality, Auggie has been home-schooled by his parents his whole life. Now, for the first time, he’s being sent to a real school – and he’s dreading it. All he wants is to be accepted – but can he convince his new classmates that he’s just like them, underneath it all?

Favourite Quote

“Doctors have come from distant cities
Just to see me
Stand over my bed
Disbelieving what they’re seeing

They say I must be one of the wonders of god’s own creation
And as far as they can see they can offer no explanation”

~ Natalie Merchant, “Wonder”

Reasons for Recommendation

With the recent craze of social media, youngsters are highly focused on their facial features and have become more and more materialistic. The book gives insight to what truly is important in this fast-developing World – to be grateful and accept ourselves as who we are. Hence, the book is a great lesson for all.

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The book teaches us that the we should never judge a book by its cover, a person by his or her face. There is always more to meets the eye. The book shall make you more appreciative of the things you have, and resilient when hard times come. Wonder is one of the many books that has left a great impression on me, while changing my attitude towards society. I strongly recommend you read it!

Movie Trailer

The book has its own movie! Here’s its trailer!

photocredit: Google images

I am Rosa Parks

There’ve been many before myself.
Brave women who decided they would not allow themselves
To be pushed around.
However, it is me
They call a heroine.
A term I do not deserve more the others.

‘That’s the lady who dared’

I hear my name in whispers around corners,
As people squeeze themselves in small cars,
And take long walks to workplaces and schools.

I have never felt more overwhelmed.
To see a community stand tall, strong and proud as one
regardless of colour?
Breathtaking.

There shouldn’t  be glory in standing up for oneself.
However, if it is what shall move the nation,
I shall gladly allow it.

For the right to speak one’s mind, should be a right for all.

The fire has been lit and it shall keep burning.
We shall not stop
Until we can all walk hand in hand, as one
And sit side by side, as one.

In remembrance of the Montgomery Bus Boycott that began on 1st December 1955 (-1956) after the arrest of Rosa Parks that very day. 

Book Review – The Speechwriter: A Brief Education in Politics

Name: The Speechwriter: A Brief Education in Politics
Author: Barton Swaim
ISBN: 978-1-4767-6992-9
Genre: Politics, Non-Fiction, Memoir
Pages: 204
Difficulty: 3/5 Dictionaries

Brief Introduction:

Barton Swaim is new to the world of politics, but he is now a speechwriter for a local governor, and is willing to learn. Indeed, he learns a lot. Through the eyes of Barton Swaim, we get an honest insight into the ins and outs of the world of politics.

Favourite Quote:

“Stella, I wish you had said that.”

She had tears in her eyes.

Reasons Why You Too Should Read It:

  1. What is politics?

Swaim is still trying to figure it out, and you probably are too, so pick up this book! Swaim brings you on a range experiences, from his miniscule tasks to the emotion every staff felt after the governor’s scandal had destroyed their hard work.

  1. It is raw and honest.

Yes, Swaim is neutral in his writing. He ‘wrote [the book] because he had to ” and for you to enjoy. In addition, he is not afraid to tell you how he felt when his writing was sent back by the governor, or what he did to try to keep his job. This allows us readers to trust the book, thus giving us reliable insight into the world of politics.

  1. How is language used?

Of course, with the job of a speechwriter, Swaim’s experience revolves around writing. In fact, there are a few chapters that focus solely on writing and the use of language. For example, Swaim teaches us the importance of nuance when he begins transcribing his letters to understand “the reason for [the governor’s] choice of words”. In addition, I realised that we all have a unique set of writing style, and it speaks volume* about us.

*You’ll understand the reason for the phrase if you read the book 🙂

A long overdue book review, my apologies. I would love to hear what you guys think and know what book(s) you are reading now. Do leave a comment!
Love, Temidayo 

Book Review: Things Fall Apart

I’m so sorry it’s been so long. I have been a little busy with school work. I do hope you enjoy the book review and shall pick up the book 🙂

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Title: Things Fall Apart

Author: Chinua Achebe

Genre: Historical Fiction, Literature, Postcolonial critique; tragedy

Recommended Reading Age: 15 & above

Pages: 166

Level of difficulty: 4/5 Dictionaries

Brief Introduction:

Okonkwo strives to be as different from his deceased father as possible. He believes that his father  who was lazy, unreliable and poor was not a man, especially one that he should look up to. Hence, Okonkwo challenges himself to be strong, respected and abled. In addition, another struggle that happens in the book is between the traditional customs of Umuofia (the village) and the new customs of the white missionaries.

Favourite Quote:

“an old woman is always uneasy when dry bones are mentioned in a proverb”

Reasons Why You Too Should Read It:

  1. Reading Far and Wide

It’s probably a book that many (students) would not pick up by choice. Hence, even more reasons why you should. It invites you to Nigeria, a country that you most likely haven’t been to and allows you to learn about its past and old traditions from a local perspective. In addition, it talks about colonialism very subtly from a local perspective, giving readers most likely, a new insight into the topic.

  1. It’s packed with moral lessons.

Each chapter is like a short story of itself. There is a lesson to learn if one takes the time to be critical. For example, in CHAPTER NINE we learn that no one, no matter how strong shall be spared from guilt if they have wronged. Now, top this off with the numerous proverbs and fables that run across the pages of the book, and who ever reads this book, critically enough shall be blessed with wisdom. 🙂

  1. It is a short novel.

The book doesn’t have many pages, doesn’t have challenging vocabulary and has many chapters. Hence, you shall be able to read the book with great ease. You can even easily stop to think and reflect about the events. With the above, one can truly appreciate the message between the lines of the book.

This book review was also uploaded onto goodreads.com, do go take a look

Deeper Than A Lifetime

In response to “The Knife” by Keith Douglas

Keith Douglas describes his poems as “extrospective” meaning that they are focused on external impressions rather than inner emotions. I believe, “The Knife” does not fall into that category and thus intrigues me the most out of all his poems. I would describe “The Knife” as a love poem; a love poem written in the midst of war at the point where dead was most evident. Hence, I believe it is one of the most sincere love poems that could be written. Although it is a love poem, its title is a word associated with danger, hurt and death for which I believe the poem was written for Ying Cheng. Ying Cheng also known as Betty Sze was an elegant Chinese lady who dated Keith during his university days. Unfortunately, her love for Keith was not as deep as his and thus the refusal of his proposal which lead to her being the unrequited love in Keith’s life. “Deeper than a Lifetime” aims to give Keith a second chance at a love that seemed so pure, to tell Betty all the things he wished he did and how differently he would have done things.

 

Dear Betty,

To turn back time and make my choices again,

I wish I could say that I would do everything exactly the same,

But unrequited love is only less painful when compared to once-requited love.

I wouldn’t have loved you as hard.

I wouldn’t have dived into the deep end of the pool just like that.

I would have tried much harder, with more suave to make you fall at your knees for me and my love.

I would have made you shed the sophisticated coat you wore whenever you met me,

The one I knew you wore to mask your true form.

I would not have hid the romantic that I was.

I would not have pretended not to be the simple guy who just wanted you to love him, who took this to be more than just a fling.

I would have took you to feel the breeze in your hair more often, and to take long walks in the parks arm in arm, so that you understood the small yet important things in life.

I would have brought you to rooftops to watch the sunsets and sunrises that although were beautiful, weren’t as beautiful as you.

I would have brought you to water bodies to swim so that you could wash away all the uncertainties that you carried on your shoulders, so that you stopped calculating every move before you made them.

I would have ensured that you knew that time stopped when I looked at you, when I was with you.

I would have made sure that my ‘I love you’  s were loud and seductive, but could only be heard in the wind as your long black waterfalls danced to its melody.

I would have made sure you thought of me every day without fail, the same way that not thinking of you each day felt like a bad day.

I would have made sure you understood that such selfless, aching love only came once in a lifetime, to make you more courageous to follow the tune of your beating heart.

I would have made sure that you cried when I had gone to the army, that you sent letters – a short remedy, and a reminder that you hadn’t forgotten me.

I would have made sure that the next time I saw you, would be as I, with you boldly held in my arms.

I would have made sure that I hadn’t die in a war when I had much more I wanted to say to you, to scream at you, to show you as Keith Douglas.

Don’t say that I am full of regret, because I am not.

It would be easier to forget you entirely,

But I guess I can’t.

My love for you runs deeper than just a lifetime, and I can’t

Say goodbye until I have achieved what I truly believe is

Worth living for.

Book Review: Book vs. Movie Edition – The Great Gatsby

Book

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The Great Gatsby

Name: The Great Gatsby
Author: F. Scott Fitzgerald
ISBN: 978-0-00-736865-5
Genre: Romance, Young Adult Fiction
Pages: 140
Difficulty: 4/5 Dictionaries

Plot Summary:

From the eyes of Nick Carraway, who we eventually find out is the only true friend of Jay Gatsby’s, we learn what Gatsby has sacrificed and done for Daisy Buchanan’s love.
In short, the story is about love, and how unreliable love can be especially when it is built on lies and misguided principles.

Favourite Quote:

“Whenever you feel like criticizing anyone,” he told me, “just remember that all the people in this world haven’t had the advantages that you’ve had.”

Reasons Why You Too Should Read It:

1. It’s a great book to boost your vocabulary.

Basically, for half of the book, I was stumbling on two or three new words on every page. Words such as hilarity, echolalia, caterwauling. It’s also a recommended book for those who shall be taking the SAT.

2. You learn a number of moral lessons.

You learn the ugly trait of greed and carelessness. You learn the hard truth that life isn’t always fair. You also learn that eventually the ones that we can truly depend on when all things fail is family. There are some friends that might become family, but not if the relationship was built on lies.

3. It’s a classic.

The book tells a story of the bygone age of US history. In the 20s, the parties were bigger, the morals were looser and by 1933, prohibition ended because it was clear, it had backfired. People were making their own moonshine or getting alcohol through other illegal means. The Great Gatsby is a window to the world that most Americans wanted to learn from as America became a wealthy superpower in the years after.

Movie

The Great Gatsby (2013 Edition)

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If I had three words to describe the movie, they would be: wild, jazz and elaborate.

In my opinion, the book trumps the movie because there is more sincerity and emotion in and between the characters. Such as that seen through Daisy and Gatsby’s love, Wilson’s pain and Nick’s disappointment at the end of the novel. I believe this is because the movie was produced for the big screen and is thus flamboyant. The audience is distracted by all the glam, and the focus on the moral lessons are minimized.

In addition, although I understand it is natural for there to be some slight differences between the movie and the book, I am pretty surprised by one. In the movie, I think Gatsby is portrayed to be a villain. One example would be when he takes Nick out to lunch and decides to tell him his story while speeding across town. It was clear that he was scheming – trying to confuse Nick and get him to believe his lies. Also, there were strange phone calls and expressions that supported such an impression.

In the book on the other hand, upon my first reading, Gatsby is portrayed to be a man who is foolishly in love. Even though he isn’t a saint, his mistakes and evil doings all seem to be the fault of Daisy’s or have Daisy as the reason.

When it comes to a book with a movie, I always read the book before watching the movie (which ever was published first, books/plays based on a movie are not as common). I would recommend doing so because you get the most accurate version of the story. What about you? What’s your habit? 

P.s I would love to hear your take on which was better, the movie or the book?

P.s.s The review was also uploaded to Goodreads, do have a look!