Tag Archives: Greenwood

Jacob – What I look for in a novel…

novelsThe term “novel” encompasses so much territory that it seems silly to talk about them as a whole. Everything from Anna Karenina to the Twilight series falls in that category. Nevertheless, I’m going to try to explain what kinds of features that I enjoy in a novel and why I like them. Obviously, these are just my preferences. I don’t expect everyone to agree.

According to Dilbert cartoonist Scott Adams, “Movies and books form a mental structure in your head of what is possible and what is not. But these are artificial structures based on the rules of fiction. They do not necessarily represent what is practical or possible in the real world.” By this, he means that the principles of cause and effect work differently in fiction than in real life. If, say, someone in a movie punches a jerk in the face in the middle of school, and everyone respects him for it, you might get the wrong idea about what would actually happen in real life. Probably something closer to a long term suspension. He’s saying that if you read a lot of fiction, you might start to confuse reality and fantasy, resulting in some mistaken impressions of how the world really works. That’s one reason why I like books that have good internal consistency. Continue reading

5 Things to Do in Michigan

michigan I visited Michigan recently and thought I would write a post about fun things to do in the state.

 

 

 

 

1. Eat!CT  CTFL 080911-TRAVEL sc-trav-0808-food-mackinac-fudge MJW
If you go at the right time of year (summer), there are fresh cherries and blueberries (a specialty), available at the many fruit stands and farmers markets around the state. Also, Macinac Island is home to amazing fudge. In fact, the island itself is pretty amazing.

 

beach_water_quality_web2. Swimming!
Michigan has so many beautiful beaches and lakes to swim in, including the Great Lakes. It’s a great way to escape the heat, and it’s good exercise too!

 

 

3. Outdoor Music!
A great way to relax is by listening to music, and you can do it enjoying the fresh air too. You can listen to something different (without auto-tune) and support small bands.

4. Scenery!
Get outside, get exercise, and see the beautiful scenery. There are so many lakes, forests, and beaches to see, and you’ll want to see them all.

5. Wildlife!
Living in the city, we don’t really see much wildlife, besides the occasional squirrel or raccoon, but Michigan has more to offer in that department. You can spot deer pretty easily (if you’re paying attention), and many other animals you wouldn’t find at home. Just be careful, you wouldn’t want to run into a bear out in the woods.

I’ve listed some of the things to do in Michigan, but obviously not all of them. You can check out some of these travel guides at the library to help find amazing sites and things to do while you’re there:

-Corinna, Greenwood, Teen Blogger

GWD

Cut the Lights: Compromise and Artistic Vision in Theatre

Cut-the-Lights-CoverTitle: Cut the Lights

Author: Karen Krossing

Gut Reaction: An enjoyable and relatable book, but lacks depth.

You must read this book because… This novel explores the art of theatre through the lens of aspiring director Briar as she set out to produce her very first play, Wish Upon a Star at her performing arts high school. Along the way she must manage an unruly cast, a lethargic stage manager, and hostility from a fellow director, as she quickly discovers that the reality of her production may be very different from her original vision of the “perfect” play.

Cut the Lights is a novel heavily geared to the teenage demographic, even more so than your typical Young Adult book. The characters, setting, and primary conflict are all designed to revolve around one’s life in high school. The novel itself is written in realistic fiction format and as such intends to make the issues it addresses as relatable to the reader as possible. In that aspect the novel is quite successful as the author depicts believable characters facing problems and exhibiting emotions that appear genuine, thus allowing for greater empathy with the protagonist. The beginning of each chapter reads like a play and even includes a series of stage directions. These quirks along with the general humor scattered throughout the novel both add to its appeal.
The glaring issue with the novel lies in its attempt to cover too many issues. The novel is only a short 129 pages, yet introduces topics ranging from difficulty in compromising one’s own ideas to suicide. This causes the novel to seem overly simplistic and superficial. The author brings so much subjects into her novel, yet fails to sufficiently develop and maintain them throughout the novel. A secondary problem stemmed from the sections in the book where the author seems to have fallen into using clichés. The overarching story arc that Krossing utilizes in which protagonist receives challenging task, protagonist endeavors to succeed in their task, everything falls apart and it seems the situation is hopeless, but then the protagonist miraculously succeeding and pulls everything together, is in my opinion, a bit trite and made the ending all too predictable.

Despite its shortcomings, I did find Cut the Lights to be an interesting read. I recommend the novel to anyone looking for a light and quick read, though as I mentioned previously the book is clearly written with teenagers in mind.

Read this if you like…

–Ziqi, Greenwood, Teen Blogger

GWD

Very Bad Things – easy & light-hearted

Very Bad Things by Susan McBrideTitle: Very Bad Things

Author: Susan McBride

Very Bad Things is the definition of a book that you can’t put down. It’s relatively short, fast paced, well written, and has an interesting plot. What it is not is the type of book that you’re likely to think about for months after you read it. Writing this a day after reading the book, I find myself having to think hard to remember exactly who the characters were and what happened. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing. The plot revolves around the central protagonist Katie, and her new boyfriend Mark, with whom she is completely enamored. Her best friend Tessa, however, is not so trusting. This seems to be confirmed when a picture of Mark sleeping with another woman comes out, although more important is that the woman’s gone missing after the encounter.

Still, it’s obvious that there’s more to the story. It feels as though the book has a plot twist every few pages. These twists, however, always fall short of being truly shocking, thanks to a fair amount of foreshadowing and the switching of perspectives from Katie to Tessa to Mark that robs the story of some of the surprise. Despite this, the plot stays entertaining throughout, enough so that I read the whole book in a single sitting. The characters aren’t the absolute most original. They are engaging enough to be relatable and keep you interested in what they’re doing, but not particularly deep or memorable.

Overall, the writing and the plot keep this book interesting and fun throughout. I would most recommend this to anyone who feels that they aren’t reading as much as they probably should be, and can’t seem to get into a book that’s not for school. This easy and light hearted book is a perfect reintroduction into the magical world of reading.

-Jacob, Greenwood, Teen Adviser

GWD

May Book Horoscopes!

IntroWhy hello there, all you Push To Talk readers! The Greenwood Teen Advisory Board is proud to present you with this month’s issue of the Monthly Book Horoscopes, which are book recommendations based on YOUR Zodiac sign!

It’s May, and that means that the end of the school year is finally within reach. We thought we might take a look back and celebrate what school is actually all about (and no, it’s not torture)… learning! Each year we read a lot of great books in school, so this month’s issue consists of books which we were forced to read for school and ended up loving. We hope you enjoy them as much as we did! ❤ 🙂

haroun and the sea of stories

Aries Haroun and the Sea of Stories by Salman Rushdie

This beautiful story tells the tale of Haroun, a boy who, in telling his own story, discovers what exactly makes stories and storytelling so important. The book is full of adventure and fun magical realism!

 

 

great expectations

Taurus Great Expectations by Charles Dickens

We know what you’re thinking. “Seriously? That book sounds soooo boring…” Not so! Great Expectations is fun, and nowhere near as dry as you may expect. It’s a classic… you HAVE to read it! 😉

 

 

madame bovary

Gemini Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert

Originally published in 1856, this groundbreaking novel sent major, scandalous waves crashing through French society. It cleverly satirizes society in a way that is also quite dark, intense, and somewhat sad.

 

 

night

Cancer Night by Elie Wiesel

This book is a tragic and important memoir. Elie Wiesel describes his experience as a Jewish prisoner in the concentration camp Auschwitz-Birkenau. Though it is short, it is well-written and very meaningful.

 

 

as i lay dying

Leo As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner

This book is told from the perspectives of members of a poor southern family when their mother dies, leaving them questioning the value of their existence and relationships with others while their family begins to fall apart.

 

joy luck club

Virgo The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan

This book tells about the lives of four Chinese immigrant families in San Francisco. It tells about the struggles of living as an immigrant in America, and the story is centered on the game of mahjong, which they play together.

 

 

1984

Libra 1984 by George Orwell

If you haven’t read 1984 yet, you should, because it is essentially the prerequisite to all those fun YA dystopian books we are seeing so much of today. The thrill and caution of this classic will haunt you for a while. Remember, Big Brother is always watching so he will know if you don’t read it!!

 

raisin in the sun Scorpio A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry

This is a raw and moving play about an African American family living in the 1950s. They not only struggle to prosper in a discriminatory society and to coexist with one another in a difficult environment.

 

 

pride and prejudiceSagittarius Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

Do not dismiss this novel based purely on its reputation as a “romance novel.” Give it a read and you will be blown away by the hilarity and brilliance of Jane Austen’s wit as she satirizes the society of Regency England.

 

legendCapricorn Legend by Marie Lu

Legend takes place in the Republic, the dystopian remnants of the western United States. Day is 15 and has failed his Trial, making him the most wanted criminal in the Republic, and June, another 15-year-old, is commissioned to hunt him down and kill him. Nobody expected what happens next…

 

little princeAquarius The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

While this book is intended for a younger audience, it has a beautiful message that is prevalent to people of all ages. This little prince will remind you to live life with an open imagination and a kind heart.

 

 

running in the familyPisces Running in the Family by Michael Ondaatje

This autobiographical novel explores many different writing styles and methods as Michael Ondaatje retells his own story along with that of his family. This book is full of beautiful imagery and careful examination of the relationships we have with other people.

 

Thank you so much to everyone who has been reading these Horoscopes so far this year. We hope we’ve taken care of you and that you’ve found something good to read every month. We love you (almost as much as we love books)!! Happy reading!

Greenwood Teen Advisers

GWD

 

Teen Poetry – PJ – One of Those Afternoons

One of Those Afternoons

I could simply look at my shoe
If our conversation dulled to a bore
or if we didn’t know what to do
Though it might come back with a roar.
Marching onward down your block
costumed from head to toe,
wringing water from my socks
and wishing it would snow
both our eyes shades of oceanic
blue, staring up at the sky.
We have no need for all the panic
that shows those who have to try.
Hand in hand with a friend.
Truly together until the end.

–PJ, Greenwood, Teen Adviser
GWD

April Book Horoscopes!

Book logoHi there, readers!  We promised you a special horoscope surprise this month, and the time has come to unveil it.

As you may know, April is National Poetry Month.  So, in honor of this event, our teen astrologers have carefully selected a phenomenal collection of poetry as your suggested reading material this month. It’s time for you to find out which poetry is best suited for YOUR Zodiac sign. 🙂

AriesAries  Pushing Through Solid Rock” by Rainer Maria Rilke.

Rainer Maria Rilke was a poet from Austria who wrote hundreds of beautiful, lyrical poems in different languages like German and French. To read more, check out Poems of Rainer Maria Rilke, an eBook compilation of his work.

It’s possible I am pushing through solid rock
in flintlike layers, as the ore lies, alone;
I am such a long way in I see no way through,
and no space: everything is close to my face,
and everything close to my face is stone.

I don’t have much knowledge yet in grief
so this massive darkness makes me small.
You be the master: make yourself fierce, break in:
then your great transforming will happen to me,
and my great grief cry will happen to you.

 

TaurusTaurus  “A Suggested Campaign Song” by Alice Duer Miller

Alice Duer Miller was a feminist writer and poet who wrote satirical poems for the women’s suffrage movement in the early 1900s. You can find more of her work by following this link or by checking out one of her books, such as Women Are People!, from the library.

We are waging-can you doubt it?
A campaign so calm and still
No one knows a thing about it,
And we hope they never will.
No one knows
What we oppose,
And we hope they never will.

We are ladylike and quiet,
Here a whisper-there a hint;
Never speeches, bands or riot,
Nothing suitable for print.
No one knows
What we oppose,
For we never speak for print.

Sometimes in profound seclusion,
In some far (but homelike) spot,
We will make a dark allusion:
“We’re opposed to you-know-what.”
No one knows
What we oppose,
For we call it “You-Know-What.”

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