Review: Chains by Laurie Halse Anderson

If you, dear reader, are a fan of American history, particularly New York City during the Revolutionary War, this is a book for you.

If you like the Broadway show Hamilton, this is a book for you to read.  Chains is on the other side of Alexander Hamilton. Chains gives an eye-opening look to what was going on outside of the major names and players of the American Revolution.  Chains shows a piece of the underbelly of American history.

The story of Isabel Gardener will break your heart and leave you wanting more at the same time.  Isabel is 13, a slave, caretaker of her younger sister, Ruth, and not one to sit back. Her story is page turning, heart stopping, and will take your breath away.

10 out of 10 for making your mind bloom.

Review: The Bronze Bow by Speare

I’m surprised this book isn’t more well known.

Rating for making your mind bloom: 10 out of 10.

Similar to Ms. Speare’s well known book The Witch of Blackbird Pond, The Bronze Bow also steps back into a historical time period through a first-person narration.

Daniel bar Jamin is eighteen years old and lives in Galilee in about the year, as we know today, 30 A.D or 30 C.E.  Daniel is an outcast having run away from an indentured servitude/ slavery after losing most of his family due to the Romans.  Daniel wants to fight the Romans but also crosses paths with a carpenter named Jesus.  Daniel finds himself in some very tricky situations that are not always what they seem and makes some tough choices along the way.

There are some parallels between Daniel and Kit, the narrator of Witch.  Both are coming of age in a society where they find they do not belong yet are forced to fit in in order to survive.  Both must put their families into their lives even though they didn’t want to. Both embrace people who are shunned by the general society.  Both must make difficult choices.  Religion also plays a major part in both of their lives and stories.

Both of the books received a Newberry Medal.  If you read Witch, The Bronze Bow is a must.

 

Review: The Reader by Bernhard Schlink

For mature audiences only and for those that can handle tough issues and graphic portrayals.

The copy of this book that I found contains notes and a lot of highlights.  I’m wondering if someone, or two, used this for a class or book group, or both.  Finding scribbles and highlights is fascinating because it shows what other people reading the same thing latched onto during the reading.

In today’s day and age, Michael’s relationship with Hannah would be treated as a major crime, the setting for a show like Law and Order’s Special Victim’s Unit.  Olivia Benson would be on the case of a woman having an affair with a teenager half of her age.

This book could only take place in the setting that it does.  Everyone has secrets to hide yet justice is being handed out on a continual basis.

I just wonder for a country like Germany that has forced and compulsory state sanctioned education, just like the United States and a few other countries, how someone like Hannah would have fallen through the cracks and would have never learned to read or write, even functional literacy.  That is the major gap that is left by having the story from only Michael’s point-of-view.  He says that Hannah would never answer his questions.

Having worked with English Learners and with clients who can read barely beyond a second or third grade level as adults, Hannah’s complete lack of anything really makes me wonder.  Did the system just pass her along, so to speak, as happens today even though not many people are willing to discuss the subject.  Did she come from a poor family that the system missed somewhere?  Who knows?  It is left to the reader’s imagination.

Hannah preyed on Michael and the feeling seemed to go the other way as well.  No one is a good guy in this story.  Heartbreaking in some ways, yes, but these are two imperfect human beings.

Daily Prompt: Sail

via Daily Prompt: Sail

This word is a summer word.

Teaching English, English uses this verb to describe what a boat does.  Other uses include a balloon sailing up in the air, or a bird sailing on the wind.  Are wind surfers sailing or surfing or both?

Enya uses this in one of her songs.  She describes sailing away.

In English you can sail in, sail into, sail on, sail up, sail down, sail toward, sail away…..basically any type of direction you need to go.

Years ago I took a basic boating class and the instructor always complained about local birds pooping on the sails.  The physical sails are tough and strong but too much bird poop is a bad thing.

Hoist your sails and live your life.

The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie by Muriel Spark

This is one of those books one can read and think, “Ah, the scandal”.

A renegade teacher.  A possible not so secret lover.  Betrayal by a student.  What could be better?

The more I’ve worked in education, the more I can appreciate this work.  Jean Brodie has no children of her own, so she cultivates her own group from the students at a small private school where she teaches.  Jean Brodie makes the reader cringe and that is a good thing.  Some people may think she is evil and just plain blind to the world around her.  It depends on the perspective.

Why is this point really her prime, if it is her prime at all?  Perhaps Miss Brodie knows it is now or never to cultivate her legacy.

This book could never happen today.  This is a great, well-written, compact story and a classic.  Don’t cheat by watching the movie.

Photo Challenge: Transient

via Photo Challenge: Transient

I don’t have a photo I’ve taken for this word.  Someday.  Yet for right now the word can be discussed.

Transient population.  This expression always pops into mind.

Yet what does it mean to be transient?

This is a word that is related to transport, transportation, transfigure, transpose to go across something.  The suffix trans- and moving of some sort.

Does owning a home mean one is not transient?  Staying in one place for a long while?

What about nature?  Most animals are transient, constantly on the move.  For them being transient is a good thing, usually, and they are listening to what their body, more specifically something in their neurological and reproductive system, is telling them to do.

Are we humans meant to be transient?  Our ancestors were.  Yet being classified as a “transient” today is a negative thing.  Is that because one may not be part of a community for a long while?

Thoughts?

Daily Prompt: Create

via Daily Prompt: Create

Create.  This word can open floodgates.  Everything we see and touch and is created and has been created from something else and/or by someone else unless we began the process somehow.  Even art materials were created by someone else and we take the materials and create something else out of them.

Nature.  Humans are part of nature and we tend to forget that.  Controversies about evolution aside, we all come from someone and something else.  We have in our bodies all of the basic elements on the Periodic Table.  Our eyes have the same types of rods and cones like the horseshoe crabs who have existed since before the dinosaurs.

All religions have a creation story.  All cultures have creation stories.  Every human being has a creation story.

Where does creation fit in with you today?  What will you create today?