Genre: Non-Fiction (Love, Modern Society, Psychology & Philosophy)
Level of difficulty: 3/5 Dictionaries
Rating: 4/5 Stars
In today’s age, love is portrayed as this fluffy feminine thing that is unproductive, and that we could do without. bell hooks challenges that narrative going as far as to argue that love is irreplaceable (something we inherently crave for and need, especially to create a more inclusive world), a skill to be learned, and a value to be defined. The author goes on to prove so by using personal experience, and psychological and philosophical work by others on similar topics.
“The wounded heart learns self-love by first overcoming low self-esteem.”
Reasons To Read It:
1.It’s packed with moral lessons.
The novel is only 237 pages, however, there is a lesson, if not lessons in each chapter. There were many times I had to put the book down after reading a chapter to process and ponder on what I had just read. To think critically about what was read and ask questions. Nevertheless, the book was not placed down for too long as its beautiful writing and full-packed insights were enchanting.
2. It is a timeless novel.
Despite the book’s publication being 2001, it is still relevant 20 years later. This is a book that needs to be read at different stages of one’s life and at different ages too, not only because of its prominent reminder of the power of love but also because there shall be a different takeaway each time it is read.
Title: Wonder Author: Raquel J. Palacio Genre: Children Recommended Reading Age: Everyone Pages: 315 Level of difficulty: 2/5 Dictionaries
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?
“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.
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!
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
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.
“Stella, I wish you had said that.”
She had tears in her eyes.
Reasons Why You Too Should Read It:
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.
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.
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
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.
“an old woman is always uneasy when dry bones are mentioned in a proverb”
Reasons Why You Too Should Read It:
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.
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. 🙂
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!
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
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.
“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.
The Great Gatsby (2013 Edition)
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!
Title: Will Grayson, Will Grayson Author: John Green and David Levithan Genre: Romance, Young Adult Recommended Reading Age: 15 & above Pages: 310
In Chicago, in the most unusual location, on a cold night, Will Grayson meets Will Grayson and their lives change forever. Not only do they create an impact on each other but they do too on those around them, and behold, sparks of everything is ignited from friendship to love. Would a strong friendship blossom or shall hearts be broken?
“weltschmerz: the depression one feels when the world as it is does not line up with the world as you think it should be”
Reasons To Read It:
It is brutally honest.
This isn’t a cliché love story. It is honest and raw, one that significantly speaks from the perspective of Tiny Cooper, a character who represents a group of individuals whose love lives are usually taboo. In addition, we get a peek into the struggles of being a teenager in this modern day society.
It’s a good bowl of chicken soup.
With Will Grayson, Will Grayson, you reflect. You challenge words and phrases that you probably failed to before in the past such as ‘best friend’. You ask yourself if you are as courageous or as passionate as Tiny Copper when it comes to pursuing what you love and in turn, you learn a little more about yourself .
It’s an easy read.
It didn’t take me long to finish the book, roughly a week and this was because of the humor and unique writing style employed in the book. For those who have read John Green’s work, you are most likely aware of Green’s carefree; make you laugh out loud writing ability he holds. The same was present in this book. In addition, the change in lowercase caps to differentiate the Will Graysons made it easy to follow the story.
Do let me know if you did or did not enjoy the book. Feel free to also leave any book recommendations.
The review was also uploaded to Goodreads, do have a look!</strong