Thursday, October 12, 2017

Freaks of Nature

     Reading has been quite a struggle so far in Junior year. Who knew that balancing a life could be so difficult. So much for going with the flow at this point. I've been reading at a pretty slow pace the past couple of weeks. I manage to put a minimum of ten minutes a day solely dedicated to reading. I have learned the hard way that I need a lot more than just ten minutes to complete a book on time.
     I'm currently reading Evolution, Me, and Other Freaks of Nature by Robin Brande. I find this book to be quite enjoyable as it smoothly switches from the serious conversations of church vs. evolution to the daily mishaps in the everyday highschool life.The story follows Mena Reece, a high school freshman. She has recently been kicked out of her evangelical Christian church for writing a letter that exposed the church and her parents' insurance agency, to lawsuit for what members of the Church's youth group did to a fellow high school student. She soon finds herself being abused by members of her former church, is permanently grounded by her parents, and in the middle of her school's evolution versus intelligent design debate. All the while, Mena manages to keep her faith in God though starts to doubt everything else in the world. I found myself relating to so many parts of the book, such as, " And if you're going to watch those scenes, you might as well watch some more, and one thing led to another, and next thing I know, it's a couple of hours later..."(Brande186). I've managed to zone out and focus on something completely different from my homework more often than I'd like to admit. I've never been the best at proficiently managing my time so I'm quite the lazy worker, but I do have those rare moments where I'm able to completely finish my work. I was able to relate to that quote so well because humans are just so easily distracted in general, and in the case of a high school teenager the attention span seems to be a million times shorter.
     An issue in the text that was largely discussed is the public's opinion of gay people in modern day's society. Denny is a character that is gay and tried to commit to suicide due to the narrator exposing the church for its hateful comments towards Denny. Denny felt as if he was the one being exposed and made attempt on his life. This caused Mena to feel extreme guilt and move schools in order to escape the shunning of Denny and the church members. At one point, Mena herself felt like Denny when she was finally expressing her thoughts to her parents, "That the silent treatment at home and the meanness at school were killing me. That I was beginning to understand how Denny felt, having to face those kids everyday"(248 Brande). In many foreign countries, standing up for gay people is considered to be a crime and is generally hated on. Recently a man was shot dead for standing up for a gay man. In the article," Man Shot Dead After Standing Up For Gay Friend Against Homophobic Attacker" Juan Javier Cruz did what he believed was right and saved the life of his friend. Even in America, many people still face persecution over sexuality, even after a year of gay rights being legalized. Evolution, Me, and Other Freaks of Nature taught me that one should never be afraid to do the right thing, even if the consequences are heavy. I believe that everyone should have the courage to do what's right and to help those in need, no matter the outcome.

Citations: MLA: Brande, Robin. Evolution, me & other freaks of nature. Ember, 2011.
Chicago Style: Andrew Buncombe New York. "Man shot dead after standing up for gay friends against homophobic attacker." The Independent. August 08, 2017. Accessed October 10, 2017. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/man-gay-friends-shot-dead-floriday-lake-worth-homophobic-attack-killed-murder-juan-javier-cruz-a7882661.html.

Monday, January 9, 2017

Our Personality

Hello! I have been up to date on the books I've been reading so far. Due to all the free time we had gotten over the winter break, I was able to finish two books. I read Gone by Michael Grant and Hunger, which is the second book in the Gone series.I am currently reading Dracula by Bram Stoker. I have exceeded my goal of reading ten books this semester . I am glad that I was able to complete these books as it shows that I can achieve this goal in the next semester as well.

In the book, Dracula by Bram Stoker, the main character named Jonathan Harker goes to the castle of Count Dracula to gain research. As he is getting to know the count, Dracula states," Remember my friend, that knowledge is stronger than memory, and we should not trust the weaker"(Stoker 97). This quote deeply affected me as someone who seems so vile in all the stories that we learn as a child is now seen as someone who is intelligible and kind. Dracula is portrayed as someone who cares for his guests and their happiness. He is very kind and noble as it seems in the beginning. But as I kept reading, I began to see how he changed and how he really is an evil being both physically and psychologically. That lead me to think if many people in today's world act this way. I mean that in the way as many people may have a false visage towards certain others and have different emotions towards others than the feelings they truly feel. I sometimes even find myself displaying fake emotions in order to incite a preferred response. For example, if someone were to ask me of my opinion of anything they had worked on,  I would most likely say that it is quite good in order to not hurt the person asking about the work . I now realize that having a false face is pretty common and has been for a long time now.

Friday, December 16, 2016

Am I Worth it?

    I have been reading quite well for the past couple of weeks! I have managed to find the time for forty-five minutes of reading every night for the last two weeks! I have felt that this large amount of reading time has lead me to a more focused lifestyle and I have found that I am more easily determined in my work. Enough about me. The last book I read was Will Grayson, Will Grayson by Johns Green and David Levithan. The book I have just started is Zero Day by Jan Gangsei. So far I have managed to glean that Addie Webster is the daughter of president Mark Webster. She had eight years of her life taken away when she was kidnapped at the age of eight. Now with her mysterious return to the white house, she has created unbelievable amounts of tension and suspicion to the First family. Her best friend from when she was eight now sees her as a completely different person. She has lost her sense of humor and seems to be a part of something greater and more dangerous to the country. Now Addie must face whether she will help the people who hadabducted her or her true family.

    As I was reading through the beginning of the book, I found myself asking the same questions over and over. Would I be treated the same if I were abducted? What would I do in order to escape? Would I ever escape? Will I be as accepted back as warmly as Addie? While reading, I stumbled upon the quote said by Addie's mother Liz, "'I love you no matter what Addie. I'm just so happy you're back and here with us.'" I wondered if Addie was worth as much to them because she was the president's daughter. Or was Liz, Addie's mother, just saying that because she was trying to create a publicity boost to her and her husband's name? I had been told about the book that Liz was quite a shifty character as she cared more about publicity than anything else. I became very curious if a nationwide man hunt would be created just for me. I believe that everyone is loved to the fullest and no one would be able to take that away from them. I felt quite annoyed as Addie would hold a grudge against her parents for never showing up and finding her when she was younger. I myself would never do that as I know everything takes time and that things will usually work out in the end. But nevertheless, after reading this book I found myself asking another question. Are you worth it?

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Don't Worry, Be Happy!

    My reading is going well! I have managed to read an hour every night for the past few weeks. I just finished reading Outlander.  I am currently reading Proxy by Alex London, which tells the story of two socially opposite boys whose lives are intertwined through the corrupt system of their government. This government takes life debts to a whole new level as the plot, which is driven by Syd, one of the protagonists, takes the consequences of one's action to be transferred onto the other. Syd has spent his whole life as the receiving end of every punishment created by Knox, the other protagonist . Knox is Syd's patron, meaning Knox is the cause of all of Syd's pain and tortures. After Knox's father causes him to murder a girl, Knox teams up with Syd through the most unfortunate sequence of events and must work with him to escape their corrupted government.

While reading Proxy, I came across the quote, "'Laugh a little Syd,' Knox said. 'Life is too short for perpetual misery'"(160). This quote had really affected me at a deeper level as I have known multiple people who have dealt with certain types of depression. I have always wished that they saw the world with this point of view. Life is definitely made to have fun and succeed at. It has never been easy for anyone and I know that everyone usually goes through the same struggles in their lives. A life should be used to help others and take care of others and to help them find their own way to happiness. I believe that if everyone were to live life with a more positive outlook, they will have a greater future ahead of them and they may never become depressed.




Tuesday, October 11, 2016

The Cruise Ship of Death

    My reading has been quite weak as of recently as I have not been able to find sufficient amounts of time for me to read the books I want. I recently finished Bzrk and am now reading Stiff: The curious Lives of Human Cadavers by Mary Roach. Stiff is  a non-fiction work that describes the uses of bodies donated to science and how they decompose and become part of the earth. Mary Roach takes part in many experiments and observes the usefulness of the cadavers in changing the future. She interviews people who have spent their lives working on cadavers and discovering their secret "abilities"(146), as she likes to call them.  Mary also creates a very cheerful atmosphere of death as she never considers it to be a terrible fate.
    In chapter four of Stiff, Mary Roach lists the benefits of being a cadaver, during which she states "The way I see it, being dead is not terribly far off from being on a cruise ship. Most of your time is spent lying on your back. The brain has shut down. The flesh begins to soften. Nothing much new happens, and nothing is expected of you”(58). This quote affected me deeply as nearly every person on this planet is afraid of death, yet Mary is completely undaunted by the cold grasp of it. My opinion is that life is meant to be lived to the fullest so that when one dies, he or she will carry that presence of adventure to their grave.  Mary believes that life after death is quite luxurious and pleasurable as there are no demands of you needed anywhere and one does not have to constantly meet the expectations required of them as there are none.  I love how this quote is so very cheerful in the face of death and is yet still very true in every aspect. I appreciate how Mary is able to take things into a cheerful manner and how she can relate to the billions of people alive to day through the use of dead bodies. If you ever feel like life right now is completely worthless, just remember that we will all be on our own "cruise ship" as we reach the end of our lives.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Our Fate in the Hands(or Legs?) of a Spider

     I've been reading quite well recently as I have managed to finish three books in the span of one week. The book I am currently reading is Bzrk. The book I have finished most recently is The Alliance by Mark Frost. The Alliance  is the story of how a young teenager, Will,  learning of his new mysterious powers  must deal with the temptations of the perfect life. As Will is forced to make more decisions that turn him away from his goal of a perfect life, he learns that our world is much more insignificant than he'd originally thought and that this may be the end of the world as we know it, or in Frost's term,"TEOTWAWKI"(384).

     In chapter six of The Alliance, Mark Frost uses the character of Elliot to teach the reader of how our fate is tied to our actions. You may think this is obvious, but "fate is one crazy son of a gun"(128). Elliot describes fate as a spider constantly spinning webs of misfortune that lead to greater opportunities and events to make us stronger. He professes a great deal of truth as the world we live in is led by our mistakes more than our accomplishments. We are all where we are today because of our choices and actions. I wouldn't be taking a spanish course if I didn't choose to. Our president would not currently be Obama if he hadn't chosen to run for his position. We wouldn't have the innumerable luxuries we have today if it weren't for the mistakes of our predecessors. If you think your life is getting out of hand, just remember that the "Spider of Fate" is trying to lead in the right direction.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

My Relationship with Books

Hello! My name is Johns and I am in Ms. Mayo's first period class. I love to learn more information of the world through the books I read. I prefer fiction over nonfiction books, but I won't say no if I am required to read nonfiction. My goal is to be reading at least 30 pages per day or at least 45 minutes per day. I am currently reading Rogue by Mark Frost. The nonfiction book I will be reading is Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers by Mary Roach. For my two AP books, I plan on reading the Odyssey and Iliad, both by Homer. All in all, I am a fan of reading, and I can't wait to get started with my new books to read.