Monday, May 15, 2017

How to be a Legend

Hello! Now I can't lie so I'm going to be completely honest with you. This year was, honestly, one of the first years that I actually started reading outside of school. I had kind of a love hate relationship with books because I loved the stories but the fact that I had to sit and actually read, when I could be playing video games or something, was somewhat of a challenge. However this year I made school a higher priority because it is starting to get harder. In the spring semester we were told to read a book at all times, and finish it then move to the next book. One of the first books that I read earlier in the year was a book called Legend, written by Marie Lu.

The message of Legend is one relating to morals in life. In the book Lu conveys the message that despite possession of vast materials, or wealth, at the core people are the same, we experience the same emotions and act the same way. Lu sends this message by creating a close relationship between Day and June both of which have their differences in both wealth and possessions. Day is considered to be a "street rat", often stealing from stores, betting on local fights, and rummaging through garbage for food. He chose to live this way, nonetheless, and is on a mission to acquire medical benefits for his family, for they think he is dead. He does not have much but has enough to get by for himself and his younger friend Tess. June, however, lives in luxury for her parents worked directly for the government and was given the utmost care and benefits the government could provide. Her brother, Metias, is a soldier of the army, and June is a child genius getting a perfect score on her trial test, a standardized test given to all children at the age of ten to decide their careers later in life. After capturing day June was given two hundred thousand notes, currency of the government and is in fact a great amount. These differences are overlooked when the two, very different in social class, are brought together for a common goal and is disregarded when their relationship grows. This can be seen when Day says to June, "You're brilliant, but you're a fool to stay with someone like me." June replies by saying, "Then we're both fools." ( Lu pg. 303). Lu also gives the reader thoughts to carry outside of the book when Day says, "I wonder what we would've been like if I'd been born into a life more like yours, and you had been born into mine. Would we be just like we are now? Would I be one of the Republic's to soldiers? And would you be a famous criminal?" (Lu pg. 304) This helps pass the message, Lu is trying to give, that we should judge and love people by their character and behavior rather than their social or economic status. Lu also asks her audience about their character, with the second quote, asking if it would be different if you were very wealthy or poor, would you as a person, internally, differ than who you are today?

Legend is a book about June and Day, two kids living in two different governments in a split America. June is a child prodigy working for the republic and is on a mission to find the killer of her brother Matias. She later finds out that it was Day, the Republics most wanted criminal who has caused havoc on them for years. June is set off to find who killed her brother when she meets day, discovers that he's the one who not only wreaked havoc on the government but also killed her brother, turns him in. However, on the quest to find the killer of her brother, and before she held Day guilty, the two had built a strong relationship, so when given a chance to kill him, June bails him out and hops on a train to Las Vegas with him to save Days brother who is being held with the Patriots.

Overall Legend is a great book, and Lu is a great author. Currently I am planning on finishing the series, (my friends finishing before me is playing a small part), and maybe expanding to other Lu written books like The Young Elites series she just wrapped up this past October. I truly aspire to read more and blogging will certainly help me stay on task!!

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

A Door To 1984

In the english class I'm taking, throughout the year you are expected to read a decent amount of books that vary from style, genre, tone and so on. So far this year I've read 5 books, and currently I'm reading 2 books. The book I am most invested in, and is also my AP book, and currently reading is 1984 written by George Orwell

1984 was written in 1948 and is about a man named Winston Smith who is considered to be crazy because he thinks freely. In the society the government is everywhere, eyes and telescreens everywhere and it is almost impossible to try to avoid them. Big Brother is the center of the government, called the party, yet is actually a symbol rather than an actual being.  The party is everywhere through the thought police or the children or telescreens or even people going undercover. You are being watched at all times and you cant get away with anything. Just thinking of rebellious thoughts is illegal, which is called thoughtcrime. The party is circled around the motto "War is peace, freedom is slavery, ignorance is strength." a motto all people are supposed to live by. Winston, being a minority, sets out to disrupt the stability of the party, but in doing this he has to understand the how and why the party takes the precautions that it does. The how is very simple but can be explained further in depth in a book O'Brien supplies to him, written by the Party's enemy, but Winston's ally, Emmanuel Goldstein. Winston reads the book but later gets caught and sent to jail where he is tortured and beaten and after that is for you to read.

1984 was written just after the second world war had ended. In this time period you can see a lot of authors writing scared, concerned for the future, and also warning them, because of all the recent havoc that's occurred. You can see fear, philosophic ideas and strong opinions by the authors in this time. One example is a quote from the book itself, "Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past" This gives readers an idea that was broadcast beyond the book, altering the way people think and act. 

The style of 1984 is very unique in a way. When I first saw the book I groaned immediately at the sight of it; the book had nearly 300 pages and the text was microscopic with minimal line spacing. I don't want to conclude that the book is boring, but the way Orwell writes makes the book drag on in certain places. The story doesn't really move fast and is extremely detail oriented with amazing vernacular (a reason why I want to keep reading). The word choice is impeccable and can be easily followed through out the book. However, Orwell drags the book a lot applying details that, I feel like, aren't very necessary, and lacks constant progression. Even though these things bother me, it is simple to see how this book has become so popular. It amazes me how a book written 70 years ago can still be relevant, understood, and enjoyed by readers today. The dramatic vision and elaborate characters allow the book to flow easily. This is a book I would recommend to others as long as they can take it.

Friday, April 7, 2017

Starting My Priorities

Hi, my name is Evan Williams, I am 15 and I'm a 10th grader at Hebron High School in Carrollton Tx. I run track play football and wreck in video games, but one thing that hasn't been a huge hobby for me and now is is reading. In the past I've never been a big reader, I never saw the enjoyment in it and I would rarely do it; only when I was grounded stuck in my room would I read. I think i didn't like reading too much because I never did it, which changed 9th grade year second semester when my teacher made us pick books that we wanted to read. Books like Gym Candy by Carl Deuker and Payback Time by the same author really sparked my reading interests. Since then I've read only 5 books but I want to increase this amount by the same time next year. The book I am currently reading is Prodigy by Marie Lu and is the second in the Legend series. Although reading isn't my number one hobby currently, I wish to improve on it in the future to better my vernacular and improve my thinking. 

My goal is to read at least two more books by the end of the school year, and currently I am on pace to do so. I read around an hour and 20 minutes a day because of the given 20 in my second period and one hour at home. At school I read Prodigy but when I'm home I read, an AP title book, 1984 by George Orwell. I've been reading this book for a good month now and I enjoy it so far even though I am not finished. 

I am still relatively early in my reading stages, although I plan and desire to improve on it as well as encourage others to read so they can improve their skills too!