The Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson edited by Thomas H. Johnson

One of the most talented poets in history makes her mark in this collection of all Emily Dickinson’s discovered prose. Her poems create beautiful stories and imagery  that delve into deeper topics like death, love, and finding one’s happiness. Emily Dickinson is an inspiration to me and a great many others. She can take the most simplistic aspect of day-to-day household events and transform them into a work of glorious art. Thats what drew me to her poems: how she can shine brilliant light upon her surroundings and present the complicated beauty of it.  A masterpiece such as this, I think, should be passed on to a bored friend sitting next to you, a family member wanting to pass the time, or maybe yourself reading this.  Her poems will captivate you with their multi dimensional virtuosity for hours to come if you wish to explore the world as she saw it.

-Jalen X. Greene


The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman

Summary: The storyline is an intertwining of Tom Sherbourne and his wife Isabel’s life after they decide to raise a ship-wrecked baby as their own and the life of the baby’s mother and how each react when they find out about each other.

Why I picked it up: It was my choice for the Book Club assignment for AP Lit over December break!

Why I kept reading it: I needed to find out what would happen to each of the characters (whether they would accept or deny the truth and new revelations) and think more about how to judge the actions of two opposing sides when each side is so morally gray.

Who would I give it to next: Anyone! But particularly freshmen; they’re more likely than other high school students to be at the point where it’s hard to take into consideration the consequences of one’s actions and acknowledge that there are more perspectives than one’s own.

Reviewed by Selena H.

The Road by Cormac McCarthy

Summary: The book sets itself sometime in the near future in a post-apocalyptic, perspective of the world, where a son and his father are one of the last surviving “good guys.” In this book, both of the protagonists remain nameless, the book begins with the boy and his father both waking up while suffering from a nuclear winter, which is dominated by rain, snow and almost freezing temperatures. Unfortunately, the pair decide to head south for the almost endless winter. While on a constant alert for shelter and food, along with the fear of other belligerent survivors or cannibals.

Why I picked it up: I selected this book, because I seen the movie The
and I took an interest in the movie and liked the general feel to the
movie, because it had strong themes of the father-son relationship, survival of the fittest and how humanity had broken down because of the apocalyptic event which took place. Additionally, this book was also highly recommended by Mrs. Accorinti for me to read, which is one of the other reasons on why I selected this book.

Why I kept reading it: I kept reading this book, because I have always been
interested in the genre of a post-apocolyptic era. I proceeded to read this
book because the book was quite ambitious, and used constant foreshadowing and used cliffhangers at the end of each of the chapters. Furthermore, this book somewhat kept me wanting to read, because it I wanted to know what was going to happen to the pair, at the end of the novel.

Who would I give it to next: I would recommend this book, to readers who like he mystery genre, because of the foreshadowing throughout the book, along with other individuals who like the sci-fi genre, due
to this book taking place in a fictional world of a post-apocolyptic environment and how humans
attempt to survive in the annihilated wasteland

by Jonathan Brizuela

Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen

cover of Water for ElephantsSummary:  Jacob Jankowski, in his nineties, is agonized by memories of his past as a vet for the Benzini’s Brother’s Most Spectacular Show on Earth after having jumped, unknowingly onto their circus train. The circus management decided it would better to let him stay instead of kicking him off after finding out that Jacob was studying to be a vet and could take care of the show animals. There are three amazing characters that Jacob meets working on the show. First is August Rosenbluth, the schizophrenic circus boss who befriends Jacob. Second is Marlena , the star of the equestrian act that Jacob falls in love with. Last is Rosie, the show’s elephant that seems to be impossible to train until Jacob finds a way to get through to her.

Why I picked it up:  It looked like an interesting story. I’d never read a book about a circus before, especially a second-rate circus from the Depression Era. Lot’s of people said it was a really nice book, so I felt good about it.

Why I kept reading it:  It WAS an interesting story, different place, different time. It’s very well written with lots of detail and amazing characters. It’s also very heartfelt.

Who would I recommend it to next:  Anyone and everyone. Water for Elephants is a great book.

Black Boy by Richard Wright

Black Boy CoverBlack Boy, by Richard Wright, is an enchanting non-fiction novel which follows the course of the author’s life from his childhood to his mid-thirties. Early on in his life and during his teenage years, Wright burns down his house in a freak accident, is abandoned by his father and is forced to move from place to place in order to make a sustainable living. As he approaches his twenties, Wright joins a Communist party in Chicago and eventually realizes the corrupt, mangled ideas which are entwined in his society. The primary reason I picked up this book was because of its tendency to appeal and connect to the reader in a personal way. The vivid imagery kept me hooked to this book and pushed me to read every single part. I would definitely recommend this novel to anyone who is fascinated by American society in the early 1900s.

Reviewed by Saravan P.

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

 The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald, originally published in 1925, is an “American Classic” that can still be enjoyed today by much of America’s modern youth. For those with an appreciation of the beauty and elegance so often associated with lifestyle before the Great Depression. Fitzgerald does an exquisite job of bringing the characters to life in such a way that demonstrates how the “roaring twenties” shaped their lives. The novel follows Nick Carraway in the summer of 1922 as he both stumbles and soars through trials of romance, deception, and action. One of the things that make The Great Gatsby so unique is that while the novel is told from Nick’s perspective, he does not end up seaming to be the main character; after all he is not for whom Fitzgerald named the book. This of course proves interesting, as the reader hears Nick’s thoughts and feelings despite the fact that it is not he on whom the novel focuses. Readers who fear of being bored with books that take to long to even begin to develop a plot have nothing to be concerned of with this novel. Fitzgerald jumps right in, beginning to set the stage for a wonderful story before you even turn the page. The Great Gatsby provides a wonderful sense of entertaining reliability with such tag-lines as “Old Sport” with out becoming overly predictable. Because it has elements of human nature that are timeless, this novel has survived decades in American bookstores shelves. For that reason, and many more, the human nature of this amazing novel makes it a necessary addition to American homes.

By OdesssaRose M.

A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams

A Street Car Named Desire, by Tennessee Williams, is an amazing novel that demonstrates how love cannot take place between two lovers under harsh conditions. Blanche is the main character in the story and experiences love but it just cannot happen. She visits her sister, Stella, in New Orleans and falls in love with one of her husband’s best friend. However, the relationship between Stella’s husband and Blanche is very stressful. Thus she is unable to love her husband’s best friend. Blanche has a very mysterious past and Stella’s husband is very curious and suspicious of her and once he finds out that she was sleeping around, he immediately informs his best friend. If only Blanche was truthful and did not hide her past from the one she loved, she could have still been with him. If you were to pick up this book in your local library, you would be nothing but satisfied. I personally enjoyed reading this novel, as I believed that the storyline and plot had to deal with everyday life scenarios. I would personally and strongly recommend this book to any reader who is interested in books that deal with realism and true love.

By Justin M.

Our Town by Thorton Wilder

200px-Our_Town-1 The play, Our Town, is a Pulitzer Prize winning play/book by Thornton Wilder about life. Wilder portrays many amazing aspects in the book. He does this by revealing and portraying everyday concerns of people and then by manipulating successfully how everything works. The book is interesting in how it shows life and it’s devastations as well as the positives. Another interesting aspect about the play is how people die when they don’t want to, they thus come back as spirts. Wilder brilliantly plots life as the book goes from start to finish and then astonishes us. I recommend reading the book Our Town by the brilliant novelist Thornton Wilder because of the book’s intensity and it’s interpretation of life. (Side Note: Wilder’s play, Our Town is now a classic play that is performed by professional actors as well as amateur actors. The play can be seen almost anywhere, it’s success is amazing.)

Our Town is set in Grover Corners, New Hampshire. Grover Corners is a small, rural and isolated Town. We learn about various characters who involve as the story progresses. Characters: Dr. Frank Gibbs, Mrs. Julia Hersey Gibbs, George Gibbs, Rebecca Gibbs, Mr. Charles Webb, Mrs. Myrtle Webb, Emily Webb Gibbs, Wallace “Wally” Webb, Simon Simson, Mrs. Louella Soames, Howie Newsome, Joe Crowell, Jr., Si Crowell, Samuel “Sam” Craig, Joe Stoddard, Constable Bill Warren, Professor Willard, and the narrator. Our Town is basically about a love between Emily Webb and George Gibbs, its about their life and all the hardships they must handle. Emily is also faced with problems within her own family, especially her mom. Mrs. Julia Heresy Gibbs loves gossip and normally gossips with rest of the woman in the story. This gossip is also spread by other woman, which make many things hard in Grover Corners as well as bad. The book plays out of life problems and how people deal with them, and how they deal with death. A high of the book is when Emily dies however cannot expect it and returns as a spirt. The play, plays on with many spirts and becomes interesting hence the spirts. The play is a drama, and the drama becomes very interesting as the story progresses.

Our Town is very enjoyable play/book because Thornton really evolves and involves the characters and gets us interested. It’s a worth reading book and will tell you about life. Thornton tells us about life through a small town which relevant to a middle of no where town and shows us the cruelty of life, however, how life is still very precious.

By Sid M.

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

To Kill  A Mocking bird ImageIn my life, I know I might not have a chance to go to Alabama which make me do not have a clue how Alabama looks like. But the novelist Harper Lee makes me feel I have been there for a long time. In this novel, it is told as the memories of an eight years old girl, Scout Finch in Maycomb, Alabama, in the hot summer of 1935; during the deepest depression in United States that had ever experienced. When a lawyer named Atticus Finch, Scout’s father decided to defend an innocent black man accused of raping a white woman. The town seems to be divided by the case: black and white.
To Kill a Mockingbird is filled with many interesting characters like Dill and Scout. Dill is a friend of Scout and Jem, Scout’s brother. Dill is a strange boy, but when you get to know him, he is actually not that strange. He says thing like “I’m little but I’m old,” which also show he’s a funny guy but pretty sad.

Scout is the main reason that attracts me to the novel, because her voice can brings you into the book. She makes you see and feel things what she sees and feels things. There is a lot going on in the book and Scout tells you everything.

A white lawyer in order to help a black innocent guy to find not guilty, but if you want to know what is actually happening in the novel and what happen to Scout, Dill and the rest at the end, go read To Kill a Mockingbird!! Everything in the book is living and breathing while you read.

By Janet P.

Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller

Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller is a play revolved around the character of Willy Loman, a sixty year old striving to create his American dream. Miller follows the use of “grotesques” in his character of Willy Loman, as it seems Willy is completely focused upon his dream of becoming wealthy by being well-liked. This play can also be seen as a critique upon society’s definition of success and also the cold manner of business upon its loyal employees. This play not only reveals a message, but does it in such a way that readers can sum up conflicting emotions that lead to thoughts of societal change. At points, one may dislike Willy Loman due to his motto of being well-liked and he himself is not a likeable person. Yet, at the same time, readers pity this “common man” who is merely trying to survive in America. One may also see Miller’s use of characters to show what change needs to be done. Through Willy one may see a target of the

business world of “eat or be eaten” slogan. Biff Loman is the character who learns from his father and changes for the better. He realizes that only when he changes the establishments his father has instilled in him may he ever be happy. Death of a Salesman can be considered a tragedy, as the sense that Willy Loman plays the role of a tragic hero. Through his own inner flaw Willy meets his demise. Although fighting for his dream, Willy commits suicide. Death of a Salesman truly is a classic play that is perfectly fit for the America’s past times and even today.

By Vanessa P.