Vivian is a senior at MUHS and works at VBS during summer and winter vacations.
This book has the most absurdly interesting plot I have ever read. At once dystopian, historical, and deeply human, it's hard to distinguish which genre this stellarly written book belongs to. With Never Let Me Go, Ishiguro has crafted a subtle and deeply touching story about the lives of a class of people born to be organ donors for their richer peers. Though the story begins with three children and follows them into their normal-seeming adulthood, the darkness of their almost inevitable futures hangs over the mood for the entirity of the book. Beautifully created in every way, I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to feel a desperate sadness in the pit of their soul or just read a fascinating book.
In the beginning, this book feels like the literary equivalent of eating cotton candy. A delightful piece of historical fiction that will be liked by Downton Abbey enjoyers, perfect for summer reading. Soon, with the outbreak of WWI, the plot turns more serious and what was once a carefree English town is a place of grim events that leave the reader heartwrenched and deeply invested in the lives and woes of the characters. As an avid WWI enthusiast, I would recommend this book to anyone who shares that affinity, enjoys historical fiction in general, or watches an absurd amount of period dramas. Deeply satisfying, charmingly written, and yet still serious, The Summer Before the War is one of the best books on the subject of WWI I have read to date.
Probably my favorite book of all time, Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children is part of the rare breed of book that does not get worse the more you read it. Despite being written for young adults, the writing style stands the test of age, as do the charm of the characters and the intrigue of the plot. For those who enjoy horror, history, eerie photography, and fabulous world-building, this would be a great pick. It is also worth saying that the rest of the series does not disappoint, or fall into the 'bad second book' trap that so many series fail to avoid. Every twist is interesting, and each of the many characters is different and wonderful. Based on the fascinating union between vintage photography and prose, Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children is fun to read while retaining the maturity necessary to be read over and over.
I have an enormous amount of love for this book, as it combines many of my favorite things in life and writing. The early 20th century, Brooklyn NY, historical accuracy, and girls who like to read, all combined in a beautifully written book that is at once charming and tragic and altogether lovely. I would recommend A Tree Grows in Brooklyn to anyone as a timeless classic that holds great wisdom and value but is also tremedously fun to read. I would especially recommend it to bookish teenage girls, for despite having been written in 1943, the vividness of this portrayal transcends the period and is still just as powerful and relevant today. I love this book with all my heart.
I wouldn't usually refer to a nonfiction book as a page-turner, but with Dead Wake Erik Larson has truly created something unusual. The narrative of the last voyage of the Lusitania is told through the narratives of several historical figures, many of whom the average person probably hasn't heard of. This account of a globally disruptive historical event reads the same as a novel,going on many fascinating tangents that bring the world of 1915 to life. I would recommend this book to anyone who is remotely interested in WWI, naval history, the twentieth century, or good writing.
It is the nature of all books surrounding the Holocaust to be gut-wrenching and deeply horrifying, and in this way Maus is not unusual. But the frame tale structure and Spiegelman's unique art style bring the early 1940s to life in a way that few other books have managed to do. The allegorical art brings dimension to an utterly human story, following the life of Spiegelman's father, a concetration camp survivor. The historical narrative is interspersed with scenes from the modern day, where Spiegelman navigates his complicated relationship with his father and the psychological struggles of living a much easier life than his father had. Haunting and worth reading dozens of times over, I would recommend this book to anyone who is interested in history, art, or interesting narrative structures. A perfect choice for an avid historian or graphic novel enthusiast.
This is the perfect book for people who are interested in WWI but who aren't particularly fond of military strategy and numbers. Meyer offers a full portrait of an era as well as a war, with sections on the personalities of important leaders, authors of note, advances in medicine and science, and nearly every aspect of society. A World Undone is intimate and delightful, full of stories and anecdotes that bring the events of WWI to life in a way that is rare in nonfiction. I would recommend this to anyone who enjoys history written to make you feel things, or anyone who wants to know anything about WWI.
There is a disappointingly small number of books in the world with a young, dynamic, fun, intelligent, and relatable female protagonist, but Persepolis is one of them. A completely refreshing narrative about coming of age in Iran in the 70s and 80s, the story follows Marjane through the struggles of growing up, both in general and in the wider context of Iranian national events.
I read this book as part of a literature class I was taking in my junior year of high school, and I was extremely surprised to find that it became probably my favorite book in the course. A harrowing tale of adventure and myth, this interpretation includes some of the most beautiful writing I have ever come across. Being in verse, Gilgamesh is a very quick read and definitely a good one. As someone who tends to prefer twentieth century history, I was surprised by how vivid the Babylonian times were. I would recommend this to anyone who enjoys adventure, poetry, nature, or history.
I raced through this book in about two hours because I could not put it down. The narrative style, the protagonist, and all the other characters were gripping. Written in verse, The Poet X is a unique book, with an aspiring and endearing slam poet as its protagonist. I don't usually enjoy verse, but this book was delightful and painful in the way that all self-discovery must be. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys slam poetry or vibrant charaters and settings.
In WWI literature a lot of attention is given to the horrors of the War, the senselessness of the conflict and the supposed inevitablity of its occurrence and scale. But To End All Wars focuses on those who opposed the war in their lives and activism. An interesting read in this age of political uncertainty and nationsalism (which could, of course, describe almost any era). To End All Wars is an example of that rare genre: nonfiction that reads like a story. I would recommend this to anyone interested on WWI or historical activism (particularly British suffragettes). Educational while simultaneously fun.
To be perfectly honest, the only reason I actually read A Room with a View is because I had already seen and loved the 1985 film (horrible, I know). I immediately fell in love with the Italian and English settings, the vivid and funny characters, and the lighthearted romantic comedy feel of the movie, and Forster's unusual writing style only made things better. If a tad more serious, the book retains thne same level of humor and charm that the movie so faithfully portrayed. The stuffiness of the twentieth century characters is even more obvious with Forster's writing, which brings the time to life. I would recommend this book to anyone who liked the movie, enjoys history, or loves a light, funny, and historical comedy.
Fangirl is an ultimately charming book, built on two interwoven storylines: the college life and romance of Cather, andthe fantastic adventures of Simon and Baz, characters in Cather's fanfiction. A perfect read for anyone who delights in fanfiction, creative writing, or realistic stories about introverted, bookish girls. This book is a fast and comforting read that doesn't make college seem terrifying, also including a romance that isn't riddled with red flags, which is always nice. I would recommend this to anyone who enjoys Rainbow Rowell's other works or is just looking for a good read with dynamic characters and a compelling plot.
While admittedly very dark and occasionally gruesome, I thoroughly enjoyed Lord of the Flies, due to the fast-paced plot, the fascinating characters, and Golding's clear-cut writing style. The plot of the book follows a group of schoolboys stranded on an island without any adults, and the power dynamics, hierarchies, death, and disaster that ensue. The main lesson of The Lord of the Flies is that, if left alone, adolescent boys have the potential to be horrible people. I would not recommend this book as a comforting fireside read, but it's perfect if one is looking for something visceral and oddly satisfying.
As a WWI nerd of many years, I can say that this is without question one of the best WWI books out there, and a great introduction to one of the most horrific events in world history. Somehow it manages to be funny and at times incredibly gut-wrenching, even when you havbe read it at least five times. Nathan Hale has done soemthing very impressive in writing this book, for it concisely summarizes the intensely complex war into a child-friendly book using animals that wear funny hats. Even as a teenager I enjoy this book every time I read it, and would recommend it to anyone interested in WWI, graphic novels, compelling artistry, or a fan of Hale's other works.
Over the course of my lifetime I have read thirty-one books about WWI (and counting), and this is by far one of the best. A gripping story that does not feel like it was written in 1928, All Quiet on the Western Front gives you the feeling in the bottom of your stomach that only a good book can.
There are many reasons to recommend this book, including its wonderful protagonist and unashamed feminism, but what I found truly compelling about Jane Eyre is the inescapable eeriness infused om Brontë's writing. Equipped with a slightly bizarre plot, this book is best appreciated by those who like dark period pieces, vivid imagery, and eccentric characters that are distinct from any other fictional people you will find. Best enjoyed at night with a hot drink.
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