Book Report #18

Book Equivalent # 18

Words: 418 pages, around 100,000 words

Date: March 10

Title:  Rooftoppers

Author: Katherine Rundell

Genre ~ Non-Fiction / Fiction Type: Historical Fiction

Opening Sentence: On the morning of it’s first birthday, a baby was found floating in a cello case in the middle of the English Channel.

Favourite word / phrase / sentence: 

Sophie had a habit of breaking plates, and so they had been eating their cake off the front cover of A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

Vocabulary and new terms (with part of speech) and definition:

Frivolous (adj) – not having any serious purpose or value. Quelled (verb) – put an end to (a rebellion or other disorder), typically by the use of force.

Reflection, Connection & Personal Response: 

I read this one for Battle of the Books. It’s a fun read, centers around a father-daughter relationship as the main character (Sophie) tries to find her actual mother along with the help of her adopted father and then the many ‘rooftoppers’ (people who, as their name suggests, live on the rooftops) in Paris and they travel through the city. There’s a lot of tropes (like search for ones real parents, or being raised by a wise parent who support their child’s own choices and not society’s, character with distinct hair/eye color, etc.) but it’s a cute read. I also love that she (in the beginning of the book) just straight out used a book as a plate.


Book Report #16-17

Book Equivalent # 16-17

Words: 418 pages, around 100,000 words

Date: Feb 29, 2016

Title:  Thinking Fast and Slow

Author: Daniel Kahneman

Genre ~ Non-Fiction / Fiction Type: Non-Fiction

Opening Sentence: Every author, I suppose, has in mind a setting in which readers of his or her work could benefit from having read it.

Favourite word / phrase / sentence: 

She has a theory that explains everything, and it gives her the illusion that she understands the world.

Vocabulary and new terms (with part of speech) and definition:

Prescience (noun) – the fact of knowing something in advance; foreknowledge.

Reflection, Connection & Personal Response: 

Oh, god. I personally don’t like nonfiction so much, so it might be just me, but I felt that this book was so long. They repeated similar ideas over and over again, that your brain has two systems that control your thinking (System 1 which is the fast-thinking, and System 2 which is the slow, lazy, deeper thinking.) It’s pretty interesting in the long run, and probably’d be more interesting if I was a working adult in the advertisement industry or something. I had to lug myself through this one though. It’s very interesting though, so definitely give it a try if you’re up for it.


Book Report #15

Book Equivalent # 15

Words: 480 pages

Date: Feb 10, 2016

Title:  More Than This

Author: Patrick Ness

Genre ~ Non-Fiction / Fiction Type: Science Fiction

Opening Sentence: Here is the boy, drowning.

Favourite word / phrase / sentence: 

We have to lie to ourselves to live. Otherwise, we’d go crazy.

But,’ he thinks, ‘it’s possible to die before you die.”

Vocabulary and new terms (with part of speech) and definition:

I don’t think there were any too hard words?

Reflection, Connection & Personal Response: 

First off: YES. Such a good book. Character development, good plot, action, deep meaning….and a gay protagonist! How often can you say that?

It’s that opens up on a boy drowning (later it’s shown his name is Seth) and he ends up dying. But he doesn’t expect to wake up on the lawn of a familiar home, in where he first thinks is hell. After looking further, Seth finds two people (Regine and Tomasz) who also seemed to have ‘died’ and woke up in this world. They try to find out what’s really going on, but some people don’t want them to know too much.

Spoilers! But I LOVE Seth’s backstory as a character, and his relationship with his brother and his boyfriend. And when he finds out about how the whole world was a computerized scenario, he realises what he’s done in his pervious life and how he wants to go back to make it all up??? It’s such great character change. I wish it didn’t end on such a cliff hanger, though, with some nice epilogue where it’s all happy in the end or whatever. (Also, I was wondering after all of it, would they wake up everyone? Still keep everyone in the computer world?)

I think the only problem I would have with this book is that (still spoilers) it’s really similar to the Matrix. Like, a lot like the Matrix. But you should definitely read it! It deserves a movie, honestly.

Book Report #14

Book Equivalent # 14

Words: around 90,000

Date: Jan 20, 2015

Title:  Half Brother

Author: Kenneth Oppel

Genre ~ Non-Fiction / Fiction Type: Science Fiction/Realistic Fiction

Opening Sentence: This is how we got Zan.

Favourite word / phrase / sentence: 

Pump me full of helium, I couldn’t have felt lighter.

Vocabulary and new terms (with part of speech) and definition:

Euthanizing (verb) – put (an animal) to death humanely.

Syntax (noun) – linguistics : the way in which words are put together to form phrases, clauses, or sentences

Preeminent (adj) – surpassing all others; very distinguished in some way.

Reflection, Connection & Personal Response: 

I read this book because of Battle of the Books, and I’m gonna be real honest: this is not one of the greatest books I’ve read. It’s so full of cliches like father/family issues, moving/being the new kid, objectifying girls/centering their storyline around guys, unrealistic change of fate to make ‘bad guy’ suffer, etc.

It’s storyline centers around a boy named Ben, who’s parents are scientists who try and raise a chimpanzee to learn ASL (American Sign Language) and be able to communicate with humans. Ben is first appalled by this, but then grows to love the chimp (his name’s Zan, by the way) as his brother. But it’s hard to juggle all of that along with being the new kid in town, trying to keep up with good grades, and having a crush on a girl WHOM HE SOLEY LIKES BECAUSE SHE LOOKS PRETTY???? LITERALLY AT SOME POINT HIS FATHER ASKS IF HE WANTS TO GO TO A SCHOOL SHE ALSO GOES TO, AND HE SAYS “I’m okay with it” WHILE THINKING ABOUT HER LEGS?? I DON’T REMEMBER A SINGLE SCENE WHERE HE LIKES HER FOR HER PERSONALITY OR ANYTHING AND HER WHOLE PLOT SURROUNDED AROUND GUYS AND I MIGHT BE OVERREACTING BUT

Anyways. It’s an okay book, read it is you have nothing else to read. Some parts of the book were funny and I liked the brotherly relationship that grows and the loyalty and love Ben has for Zan that puts a whole new perspective on animal treatment and such. It’s an interesting topic that could possibly occur in now a day times. If you like science-experimentation on communication between ape and man, check it out.

Book Report #13

Book Equivalent # 13

Words: around 71,502.

Date: Dec. 24, 2015

Title:  A Rose for the Anzac Boys

Author: Jackie French

Genre ~ Non-Fiction / Fiction Type: Historical Fiction

Opening Sentence: At 10 am, the street was empty.

Favourite word / phrase / sentence: 

“If they’d let women be generals we’d have sorted out the war in the first sixth months or, better still, not had it at all.”

Vocabulary and new terms (with part of speech) and definition:

hollandaise (noun) – Hollandaise sauce is an emulsion of egg yolk and liquid butter, usually seasoned with lemon juice, salt, and a little white pepper or cayenne pepper. In appearance, it is light yellow and opaque, smooth and creamy.

civvie (noun) – Military term referring to civilian clothing, or someone who is not in the Armed Forces (Army, Navy, RAF)

tobogganing (noun) – A toboggan is a simple sled which is a traditional form of transport used by the Innu and Cree of northern Canada.

convalesced (verb) – recover one’s health and strength over a period of time after an illness or medical treatment.

convalescent (adj) – (of a person) recovering from an illness or medical treatment. (noun) – a person who is recovering after an illness or medical treatment.

Reflection, Connection & Personal Response: 

This story was a really strong one, told from the perspective of a young girl trying to do her part. It really focuses on how there are always others working for the war behind the field, like nurses who bring soldiers back to life or volunteers who spend their hours to make food for them. She switches her jobs, from a canteen volunteer to help give food to soldiers, to a driver for the army, to a nurse, and such. She also suffers loss of people she meets. Also, this is the legit first book that I’ve read that talks about World War One? I knew nothing about WW1, but I know nearly EVERYTHING about WW2. 

Book Report #12

Book Equivalent # 12

Words: around 44,800

Date: Dec. 29, 2015

Title:  The Boy in Striped Pyjamas

Author: John Boyne

Genre ~ Non-Fiction / Fiction Type: Historical Fiction

Opening Sentence: One afternoon, when Bruno came home from school, he was surprised to find Maria, the family’s maid – who always kept her head bowed and never looked up from the carpet – standing in his bedroom, pulling all his belongings out of the wardrobe and packing them in four large wooden crates, even the things he’d hidden at the back that belonged to him and where nobody else’s business.

Favourite word / phrase / sentence: 

“Who’s the Fury?” asked Bruno.

“You’re pronouncing it wrong,” said Father, pronouncing it correctly for him.

“The Fury,” said Bruno again, trying to get it right but failing again.

“No,” said Father, “the – Oh, never mind!”

Vocabulary and new terms (with part of speech) and definition:

courgettes (noun)  – another word for zucchini

Reflection, Connection & Personal Response: 

 I read this book because 1.) My sister had it and 2.) I was trying to avoid my non fiction book, but wow. I finished this beginning to end in one sitting, because it was so interesting. You get to see this whole horrible war pan out, but through the eyes of a rich, immature young boy who doesn’t fully understand what’s going on. And it’s so amazing to see this from this strange perspective, when he makes a friend with a ‘boy in striped pyjamas’ and he doesn’t understand what he’s going through. He just imagines everyone’s living like he is, in a 4 story house with food at their beck and call, and he comes across a boy who’s starving and dying. And then he makes decisions he doesn’t think through, and he sees things in such an innocent manner. It’s just…a super interesting story. Definitely worth a read.

Book Report #11

Book Equivalent # 11

Words: I have no way of telling, unless I count. Which I  don’t have the patience for. It has 232 pages.

Date: December 15, 2015

Title:  The Avengers, Earth’s Mightiest Superheroes

Author: Stan Lee and Jack Kirby

Genre ~ Non-Fiction / Fiction Type: Realistic Fiction

Opening Sentence: “It is because of that accursed Thor that I am exiled to this barren isle, ordered to remain here by Odin, King of the Gods!”

Favourite word / phrase / sentence: 

“But why the costume – why the corny name?”

“Look, do I tell you my problems?”

Vocabulary and new terms (with part of speech) and definition:

I don’t think I ran into any new words?

Reflection, Connection & Personal Response: 

I honestly just picked this up at first because it contained the comic where they show Bucky’s death (an OFFSCREEN death, because apparently they couldn’t show it properly.) But honestly, these collections of comics are funny to read and don’t require too much thinking and are easy, so. It’s really nice to see one of the beginnings of a team of the most well-known comic characters. And of course, you get to see small snippets of the Fantastic Four, the X Men and others.

It’s all really cheesy though, with heroic, strong characters but without much character. It doesn’t really go in depth about their personalities, it’s just them punching things. (I love how Janet [Wasp] calls Hank Pym [Antman] ‘Blue Eyes,’ though, I thought that was cute.)

Book Report #10

Book Equivalent # 10  

Words: 368 pages. 

Date: Nov 29, 2015

Title:  Reality Boy

Author: A.S. King

Genre ~ Non-Fiction / Fiction Type: Realistic Fiction

Opening Sentence: I’m the kid you saw on TV.

Favourite word / phrase / sentence: 

“‘I was going nowhere,’ she says.

‘Oh,’ I say again. ‘Can I come with you?'”

“But what’s crazy and what’s sane when everything is possible and yet nothing ever happens?”

“I look myself in the mirror and ask, ‘What are your demands, Reality Boy?’

My reflection doesn’t have any demands.”

“I was five years old and I already knew it – the day that I inhaled would kill me.”

“In nature, crying is okay. Waterfalls cry all the time.”

Vocabulary and new terms (with part of speech) and definition:

polyethylene (noun) – the most common plastic.

blasé (adj) – unimpressed with or indifferent to something because one has experienced or seen it so often before.

chalet (noun) – a house made of wood with a sloping roof.

Reflection, Connection & Personal Response: 

This book (like most books I read) is a realistic fiction book that is reflective on the main character’s life. In this book, Gerald is famous for being embarrassed on a reality TV at a young age. The whole experience ruins his family even more, making him grow an abusive sister and a mother who doesn’t care. But he makes his way in life and as he grows up, tries find himself and his demands in life.

I really liked how the romance in this book played out: it wasn’t too forced but not too wanted, it just…was. The characters are really nicely developed, especially Gerald. He takes on a whole new perspective, one not very heavily dealt with or represented often.

We never do get to find out what happened to Joe Jr in the end. I thought it was so funny that the author always censored Joe Jr’s swears with ‘@%#*’ but not whenever someone else swore. I honestly liked Joe Jr a ton, though. I’ve always wondered what it would be like to grow up in the circus. He reminds me of a Dick Grayson quote, “Running away to the circus? That was never an option for me as a kid.” (Update: apparently that’s NOT a Dick Grayson quote?? It’s not a quote from anything??? I just must’ve imagined it or something???) I hope he ended up going on his own path and being his own person.

I also think it was super interesting that A.S.King said in a Q&A in the back of the book that Gerald and Glory (from another one of his books) apparently attend the same high school.

Book Report #9

Book Equivalent # 9

Words: around 90,379

Date: Nov. 20, 2015

Title:  The Girl Named Disaster

Author: Nancy Farmer

Genre ~ Non-Fiction / Fiction Type: Historical Fiction

Opening Sentence: Couched on a branch of a mukuyu tree, a girl tore open a speckled fruit.

Favourite word / phrase / sentence:

“You cry if I come back full of holes?”

Vocabulary and new terms (with part of speech) and definition:

stymied (verb) – prevent or hinder the progress of.

Reflection, Connection & Personal Response: 

I already read this book a long time ago, but I re-read it as it was one of the Battle of the Books books. I really love Nancy Farmer’s writings, mostly ‘The House of the Scorpion.’

A Girl named Disaster is a story of a young girl named Nhamo, who journeys across waters in hopes of escaping a potentially terrible future. Alone the way, she must fight for survival and realise more about herself then she could have dreamed of.

There are may (purposeful) grammatical errors in this book, because Nhamo and her aren’t very well-educated, which kind of got weird to read but you later get used to it. It was really nice to read a book from a different culture’s point of view.


Book Report #8

Book Equivalent # 8            

Words: around 69,023

Date: Oct 9, 2015

Title:  Looking for Alaska

Author: John Green

Genre ~ Non-Fiction / Fiction Type: Realistic Fiction/Romance

Opening Sentence: The week before I left my family and Florida and the rest of my minor life to go to boarding school in Alabama, my mother insisted on throwing me a going-away party.

Favourite word / phrase / sentence: “Y’all smoke to enjoy it. I smoke to die.”

“Shoot, you coward. You are only going to kill a man.”

“I am going to take this bucket of water and pour it over the flames of hell and then I am going to use this torch to burn down the gates of paradise so that people will not love God for the want of heaven or the fear of hell, but because He is God.”

Vocabulary and new terms (with part of speech) and definition:

Paradigm (noun) – a typical example or pattern of something; a pattern or model.

Insurmountable (adj) – too great to be overcome.

Placid (adj) – pleasantly calm or peaceful; unruffled; tranquil; serenely quiet or undisturbed.

Entropy (n) – is a measure of the number of specific ways in which a thermodynamic system may be arranged, commonly understood as a measure of disorder.

Soliloquy (n) –  a device when a character speaks to himself or herself, relating thoughts and feelings, thereby also sharing them with the audience, giving off the illusion of being a series of unspoken reflections.

Reflection, Connection & Personal Response: 

I’ve already read this book before, so it wasn’t too surprising to me. There’s mentions of drugs, sex and smoking in it, which is kind of more mature than I should probably be reading. As always, I’ve really loved Alaska and Takumi. Also, re-reading, I now love Katie (who only get’s like 3 sentences in the book) just because she kneed Pudge in the place where the sun don’t shine because she didn’t like how he cheated on Lara.

I also love the Colonel, so much. He’s so truthful and honest, in the way that hurts. At some point (and, warning for spoilers) when Pudge mourns Alaska’s passing, the Colonel goes something like “you don’t miss her, you miss your now idealised version of her that only focuses on her good, not the whole truth of her” and describes her faults and yes, it’s so cruel to do that, but it’s the truth. Also, the Colonel is like, 5 feet.

Every character has a small quirk to them. Pudge remembers people’s last words, Colonel memorises countries, their capitals, and their populations. Alaska hides wine in the ground in the forest, and Takumi can rap amazingly well. It’s really nice that these characters are special in their own way. The plot of the story is not so good, in my opinion. It’s more reflective and romance, sure, but not in the way I like reading it? It’s kinda more hardcore for me. Still a nice book, though.

(Also, I found a surprise bookmark in my old copy. It was a nice discovery.)