As time passes I find myself more and more captivated by the core values seemingly promoted by philosophy — the way of thinking about complex issues in relation to one’s self, one’s knowledge and how one conducts his/her life. Being someone who considers themselves in relation to others a relatively deep thinker, I enjoy the act of metacognating (thinking about one’s thoughts). Philosophy has many different branches — metaphysics, epistemology, etc. Broaching topics from existence, the process of thought, knowledge etc., philosophy is generally thought to be a large field of science with many sub-topics.
Why is philosophy so broad in comparison to other sciences? Well, the simple answer is, it’s not. However, the longer answer is due to the fact that figuring out how to best logically reason out one’s own rationality requires a lot of different elements in order to do so. Now, why is it that nowadays people speak of philosophy as a “dead” field? How can a field that involves critical thinking, self-awareness and determining the important questions surrounding one’s existence be pronounced dead? Unbeknownst to me until recently this seems to be the common notion surrounding this study of thought as well as other humanity-related subjects and liberal arts. Continue reading →
The Fault in Our Stars by John Green is a tragic, yet youthful and captivating book. It features a girl named Hazel Grace who meets a boy named Augustus Waters at a support group for people who have cancer. Augustus uses his wish that he received when he first learned of his cancer to fly to Amsterdam to meet a Peter Van Houten, the author of Hazel’s favorite book, An Imperial Affliction. Right from the beginning, Hazel’s sarcasm mixed with Augustus’s charm stuck to me, and have ended being two of my favorite characters in any book I’ve ever read. The writing was very unique, in that it used beautiful analogies, and was able to blend in a lot of humor despite its tragic topic. To any readers out there that enjoy a little mix of everything I would definitely recommend this book.
The Perks of Being a Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky is in a way very interesting in that it is vague so that you have to infer what is happening. This book is about a boy who goes by the alias name as Charlie who is beginning high school and decides to document his life through letters to the his friend, the reader. Charlie has no friends, except for Michael who committed suicide back in eighth grade. When Charlie begins high school he meets Patrick, Sam and many of their friends who teach him how to have fun. I really enjoyed this book because it is in a way, a coming-of-age type of book that really introduces the reader to many different things that are important in realizing that happens to everyone. The author was able to expose the types of things that teenagers and people go through in life. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone of any age.
Lord of The Flies, by William Golding is chilling, and showed the savage side of a human. This book begins with a plane crash on an island, and a group of boys with no adults stranded. Humanity versus savagery is a big theme in this book. It quickly transitions from them trying to remain together as a group to a chaotic and bloody scene. This book was really creative in the symbolic representations that the author had chosen. And I found it really interesting to how the boys had divided the way that they did, and how much they had changed from British school boys to savages. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who enjoys symbolism and the capability of how savage a person can really become.
“You’re an Alpha and I’m an Epsilon,” he said in a defeated tone, “it’s that simple.”
“Why would you say that?” I replied confused as to why he’d reference the Brave New Worldcaste system at a time like this.
“The reason is because it’s true; I’m always sub-par to you. I always get B’s and C’s even when I try, why is that?” he replied with aggravation in his tone.
I thought about this question for long after the incident itself has occurred. What seemed like a normal day in my French 3 class has turned into a festered pot of jealousy that was dividing a good friend and I. This jealousy was fueled by competition that I couldn’t help but wonder if education was to blame for. I tend to be a strong academic student and he tends to have a bit more of a struggle. He’s extroverted and outspoken. I’m quiet and often too shy at times. What could I say to him? I didn’t know why he got B’s and below while I obtained A’s on most school assignments.
“Is intelligence a natural-born gift? I mean, I try to surround myself with smart people and I think that it may help but it never does,” he asked in a concerned voice. I remained silent—after all I was the one who “didn’t understand” what it was like to struggle in school. “You’re so lucky, you have a high GPA and can get into any college you want when you’re older, you don’t worry like I do” he said very assured by his comment. However, what he didn’t understand was that I faced the same worries; the “validation” of an A didn’t secure how I felt about my own work ability much less my intellectual competency. I replied after some though in the most honest yet respectful way I knew how, “I don’t think it’s either or, I think intelligence is something we all have but it comes in a spectrum like everything else around us. Yet it doesn’t mean one can’t work to improve what they don’t like about how they perform, it’s one’s job to work towards improvement”.Continue reading →
Summary: In a futuristic Chicago, sixteen-year-old Beatrice must choose among five factions—each with very different values. Her decision will define her identity for the rest of her life. The decision is made more difficult when she discovers that she does not fit into one particular group, and that the society she lives in is not as perfect as she thought it was.
Gut Reaction: Loved it!!
Why: Divergent is a book that really makes you think. Beatrice constantly struggles with her identity—she doesn’t fit into society like everyone else seems to, but is forced to hide it. She is sure she belongs in one place, but she always seems to discover something that sets her apart. This struggle is very prevalent in teen life today—people feeling like they don’t fit in anywhere. I enjoyed reading this book because of how it connected to the lives of my generation. I also really enjoyed Beatrice’s character, because she is unusual. She is small and plain with a slight build, but the tasks she is presented with help her to discover her strength—both physical and emotional. It was interesting and satisfying to follow such a real character, even in such an unreal setting. I love how the plot slowly morphs itself, and the ideas made me question what I really think is most important.
Who would like this book: This is great for all the Hunger Games lovers out there. It is similar in some ways, but the plot is completely different so it doesn’t feel like a copy at all. It also has more romance than The Hunger Games. I would recommend a little more of a mature audience than for The Hunger Games (Grade 8 and up) in order to understand its “deeper meanings”.
Tangerine is a book about oranges and lies. Set in and around Tangerine County, Florida, it’s the journal of 12-year-old Paul Fisher. Paul is distinguished from others his age by his glasses, which he says would have survived to be unearthed by archaeologists if the dinosaurs had worn them at the time of their extinction. He’s been told his entire life that he is a walking cautionary tale: don’t stare too long into a solar eclipse or you will go blind. Oh. Hold on a second. He can see just fine. What’s up with that? He does not remember a solar eclipse happening in his lifetime, and he is certain that he would have known not to look at it. There are many things he doesn’t remember. It is almost as if the memory is there, but he simply cannot see it in his mind’s eye. Continue reading →
Summary: Charlie, a shy and naive 15-year-old, is trying to come to terms with the suicide of his best friend and cope with his own mental illness. About to begin high school and unsure of how to feel, Charlie starts to write letters to a stranger he heard is nice. In these letters we follow Charlie through the ups and downs of high school as he learns about love, friendship, and stepping out of your comfort zone.
How many stars would you give this book and why? I would rate this book 10/10 stars. The letter format is intriguing and the story flows beautifully. Each letter is like a chapter. All of the characters are well-developed and I feel like I know each of them personally.
I started reading it because… I loved the title of the book, as well as the cover page…
I kept reading because… I fell in love with the characters and their friendship.
What you loved/hated/couldn’t get enough of… I loved Patrick (one of Charlie’s friends). He is one of the funniest characters I have ever come across and his presence in the book makes it a million times better.
Anything else we should know…The Perks of Being a Wallflower is now a major motion picture. Released in 2012 the author (Stephen Chbosky) also directed the movie. The film and its soundtrack are both incredible.
Websites of Interest: Here’s a linkto the movie trailer.
–Laura, 16, Greenwood
Editor’s Note: Perks is one of those books that just keeps drawing people in! Check out our other reviews of this title! Many different contexts, but all love all the time. 🙂