Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Whatcha Reading Wednesday

(The title is lame, I know. I'm working on it.)

With the way the schedule at school has gone the last couple of months, I've had quite a bit of time to do some reading. There's just not much else to do when you're proctoring the STAR test or giving finals. Furthermore, my students this year have been more into reading than many of my other classes, so it's an enjoyable thing to give them reading time, opposed to what it has been in the past: "Juan, read." "Joe, stop drawing on the desk." "Mark, you owe me time after class." "Marie, you either read now or you read with me at lunch." Not fun.

1. The Host, by Stephenie Meyer - The author of the beloved Twilight saga created a science fiction story that has quite a clever plot: a human woman (Melanie Snyder) is taken over by an alien soul (Wanderer), as most of the humans have been. It is not your normal body-snatcher plot, however, because the soul is actually good, much more so than a human. Melanie, instead of disappearing like she is supposed to, holds on and continues to exist, which makes for quite a conflict.

Although this did not have nearly the effect that Twilight had on me (no Edward Cullen...what did I expect?), there are some good qualities. The plot, as I said, is clever, and the characters, though not as complex as I would like, embody truly good traits. Wanderer is purely good, and Melanie is a fighter who stands for what she believes.

2. Sunny: Ward of the State, by Sonja Heinze Coryat - This is the true story of Sunny and her family's struggle during the Great Depression. Sunny's mother contracts tuberculosis and is placed in an asylum. With their father scrounging for work and unable to care for them, Sunny (the youngest) and her older siblings must fend for themselves, and they don't do this well. Soon, they begin to be transported all over the state. All along, Sunny longs for stability, her mother, and home.

I can't say it was my favorite writing style, but it did make me understand ever so slightly the struggle that many went through during the Great Depression. It also explores the strong bond of family, as well as the mother's role in a family. And the ending is a pleasant surprise.

3. Ethan Frome, by Edith Wharton - The story is the king of ironies. Ethan Frome is unhappily married to Zeena, his chronically ill (and chronically annoying) wife. When Zeena's cousin Mattie Silver comes to stay, it is no surprise that Ethan falls for her. As I read this, I was struck by how an author can make her readers sympathize with the people involved in an immoral situation. It is hard not to feel bad for Ethan, even though he is entertaining feelings for Mattie, because his situation seems so unfortunate. Although Ethan and Mattie become desperate, things don't work out as anyone would have planned. Ethan is taking care of Zeena at the beginning, and by the end, Zeena is...well, I don't want to give too much away, but the irony makes the story.

Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl - I read this along with my students this year. I believe I read it during high school, but I don't remember much. I was absolutely amazed by the strength and wit of Anne Frank. Although it breaks my heart knowing what the fate of Anne and her family was, it is incredible how strong they all were and how impactful their story has been in our history. Out of everything we studied in class this year, this struck the students the most.

3 comments:

  1. I don't think the title is so bad myself. You made good, fair summaries of each book. But what is really worth my read?

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  2. Good point...I'll have to add that in today. I think the problem is that none of these were that great to me, well except DOAF, and that one is still somewhat hard to get through.

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  3. The Host looks pretty interesting. I'll have to check it out and report back!

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