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Soy Lionel Messi

Hola, Me llamo Lionel Messi. Tengo 27 años. Soy de Rosario, Argentina pero vivo en Barcelona.

Soy alto, deportista y bastante famoso. Me gusta jugar fútbol. Me gusta mucho cantar y escuchar música. Me fascina jugar con mi hijo y estar con familia. Me encanta Sergio Torres.

¿Te gusta fútbol?
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Soy Emma Schwingel-Sauer

   ¡Hola! Me llama Emma Schwingel-Sauer. Soy 15 años y soy de Mount Airy.
Yo tengo morena, alta, linda, y delgada. Me encanta fútbol y gatos. Los nombres de mis gatos son Sammi y Gree Gree. No me gusta nada bailar,nunca jugar video juegos, y dibujar.
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Soy Eva Peron

Hola. Me llamo Eva Peron. Tengo treinta y siete años. Soy de Los Toldos, pero vivo en Buernos Aries. 

Soy de delgada, sociable, y divertida. Muy bonito. Soy de chévere y habladora. Un poco o loca.

No me gusta nada dibujar. Me gusta bailar. De vez en cuando

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Seyni N.

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Hola, me llamo Norma Jeane aka Mortenson Marilyn Monroe . Tengo 40 anos. Soy de Los Angeles, California pero vivo total el mundo. Soy guapa, inteligente y famoso. Las chicas y chicos dicen que soy muy talentosa. Es cierto. 
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Soy Mark Sanchez

Write an autobiographical post. You can write about yourself or assume the role of a famous person.

You must include:
  • a photo
  • an intro paragraph including name, age and origin
  • a paragraph about their physical characteristics and personality
  • a paragraph about their likes and dislikes
  • words from the "Más Palabras para Ti" page of your unit packet. BOLD THEM.
  • Close with a question. Your choice! You can ask the reader about their personality, about their likes/dislikes. You can ask if they like specific things (¿Te gusta...?). 
Screen Shot 2014-11-04 at 11.17.18 PM
Hola, me llamo Mark Sanchez. Tengo 27 años. Soy de California pero vivo en Filadelfia.

Soy alto, deportista y bastante famoso. Las chicas dicen que (say that) soy muy guapo. Es cierto.

Me gusta jugar fútbol americano. Soy muy talentoso. No me gusta nada ver la tele porque es aburrido. Prefiero correr y pasar tiempo con mi familia. Me encanta escuchar música. Me fascina Aldrey y Pit Bull sin embargo (however) no me gusta nada la música de Shakira.

¿Te gusta practicar deportes?
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Soy Mark Sanchez

Write an autobiographical post. You can write about yourself or assume the role of a famous person.

You must include:
  • a photo
  • an intro paragraph including name, age and origin
  • a paragraph about their physical characteristics and personality
  • a paragraph about their likes and dislikes
  • words from the "Más Palabras para Ti" page of your unit packet. BOLD THEM.
  • Close with a question. Your choice! You can ask the reader about their personality, about their likes/dislikes. You can ask if they like specific things (¿Te gusta...?). 
Screen Shot 2014-11-04 at 11.17.18 PM
Hola, me llamo Mark Sanchez. Tengo 27 años. Soy de California pero vivo en Filadelfia.

Soy alto, deportista y bastante famoso. Las chicas dicen que (say that) soy muy guapo. Es cierto.

Me gusta jugar fútbol americano. Soy muy talentoso. No me gusta nada ver la tele porque es aburrido. Prefiero correr y pasar tiempo con mi familia. Me encanta escuchar música. Me fascina Aldrey y Pit Bull sin embargo (however) no me gusta nada la música de Shakira.

¿Te gusta practicar deportes?
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Book review of: Child 44 by Tom Rob Smith

Reviewer: Nicholas LePera

“From his bedroom window Mikhail Zinoviev could see that the barn door was open. It was swaying backwards and forwards into the wind and snow was swirling into the barn”, the vivid description and imagery of Child 44.  The novel was written by Tom Rob Smith, and the book is outstanding, considering it is his first.  The mere thought of future books written by such a talented person is intriguing. Child 44 is followed by two others, The Secret Speech, and Agent 6. His first book, Child 44, was so well received that it is expected to receive a film adaptation. Get ready to see it hit the big screen! This book is not for the faint-of-heart. The harsh Russian winter is as unforgiving as its people. Murder, rape, and alcoholism has its members and you may not take kindly to sexual themes.

The thriller Child 44 takes place in the midst of post World War II in Soviet Russia. From reading history books, I went into this book knowing Stalin was a mad-man responsible for the deaths of millions of his own people. He was responsible for the harsh and villainous tactics used by the secret police. Extortion, murder, torture, and more. This knowledge gave me a fear when reading that something unexpected could happen to my favourite characters due to the type of world they live in.  During such an eventful point in time is why this story flourishes. The time and place of all events created by Tom Rob Smith accurately correlate with the methods of the secret police and the propaganda used by the State to coerce people to following a maniac’s goal.  Agents huddled around the radiator of their GAZ automobile struggling to stay warm as they progress towards a farm they plan to raid has a militaristic feel to it that made me feel the brotherly feel among the crowd but also the connection to the dark deeds these men have done.  From Moscow, to Rostov, circumstances change, not all fear is the same and characters fit the living environment they are in through their dialogue to their actions.

In the boots of lead character, Leo Demidov is an MGB agent, also known as the secret police, which is responsible for carrying out Stalin’s orders. As the reader is introduced to Leo, they will find out his past is not exactly as obvious as one might hope.  His job was to blame crimes upon people who had done nothing.  Falsely placing claims and torturing confessions are the specialty of men such as Leo. The victims, taken from their rooms in the night, all traces of them gone. Nobody bats an eyelash, for if they do, they may be next. These are historical events that tie in with Tom Rob Smith’s main character, Leo who has put all of his faith in the state and lives to serve loyally. His loyalty stretches back as far to the time of being a soldier in the Red Army, it would only make sense for Leo to join the Ministry of State Security  One day events begin to take place which make their way to Leo’s attention causing him to challenge his belief in the state. He is married to a teacher named Raisa, though the marriage isn’t exactly working out. Though he cannot realize why, state deception has cast his mind away from his eyes so he cannot realize what he is doing.  Smith ties in the feeling of the harsh Russian environment through immersing the reader in its weather, but also in its appearance as a Communist nation ruled by fear. You will breathe and feel every city block, every farm, and path traveled by Leo.  From the streets of the Lubyanka to the slums of Rostov-on-don, Smith provides the reader a complete Russian geographic. As more and more events spawn onto the drawing table, Leo becomes baffled. Everything he has been taught and has believed is being disproved in a matter of days. I felt attached, as if I had been in his shoes and I was there for the battle to make a decision on what to do next. Struggling to figure out the truth, he begins to investigate these mysterious murders. We as readers are brought along in the journey, ever present yet ever distant to the story we are enveloped by.

The people he originally arrested had no correlation to these events. Leo knows this for a fact, but is hesitant to disobey the all-knowing state. Each murdered child he has come across has had the same exact autopsy report on how they were killed, surely this was no coincidence. Amongst the chaos, the protagonist is tested by the state. His rivals have given him a test, denounce his wife as a spy. For days Leo debates on the possibilities. Is his lover a spy for the West? He finds himself on the streets with his wife, Raisa, banished from Moscow.

Having been demoted for failing to denounce his wife, the couple finds themselves on their own and Leo at a disadvantage in solving the mystery at large, the murderer. He must conduct his operations in secret and find a way to bring the madman responsible to justice.  The reader may attempt to read this book and infer possible outcomes and scenarios by judging the book in comparison to other shows and books, but each one shall fail.

Within the pages of this book are vast amounts of mysteries and details making it impossible for you to draw conclusions but yet remain entertained. With countless history books, texts, and documentaries, Smith created the most historically accurate fiction of all time.

Searching for answers to his question, Leo will meet new people. What fate will he face in the harsh and barren cold of such an unforgiving land? Leo must redeem himself, for his wife, Raisa. Living a life of lies only makes it harder to search for the truth.

Book: Child 44        Author: Tom Rob Smith        Publisher: Grand Central Publishing

  Date Published: 2008        Pages: 400          Genre: Thriller         Language: English  

Creative Piece: Is a series of events manipulated and scripted to happen in a game called Elderscrolls V: Skyrim. I used the cold and barren environment of the game to represent the story. The time-period of the footage is not completely aligned with the period of the time because I envisioned this book in a new light. The footage appears to be somewhat medieval or renaissance when the book takes places in the late 40's early 50's.
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Little Brother Review

To understand the book Little Brother, one must first understand Cory Doctorow. Doctorow is a member of a group of minds who are of the opinion that all digital media should be shareable. He is against copyrighting, and most of his works are viewable for free online under creative commons licensing. Doctorow believes the creators of the media should have the copyright, and that said media should be free to be used as the creator pleases. These ideas come out strongly in Little Brother.

Little Brother is the story of Marcus, a teenager/gamer/self-made genius. He and his group of friends start out innocent enough, skipping school to play a game. But when a bomb goes off in San Francisco, their homeland, they become captured by Homeland Security. From there, the story becomes a technology driven war of attrition between Marcus’s fellow teens and the government. It is a compelling and terrifying look at what could happen as the United States government goes to extremes to neutralize an internal threat.

This novel is thrilling, full of the choking thought of having your worst enemy be the group you are supposed to trust. There are many points in the early stages of the novel that make you feel the setting well. You are constantly put into situations where it feels like you, not the character, lose people or feel hopelessly lost yourself. The setting, when it isn’t on the internet or main characters’ houses, can give off a very real, close feeling. You also are given enough insight into the characters to start to feel for them, especially during the early parts of the narrative. The most realistic feeling in I felt during this narrative was a growing, infectious paranoia. I truly began to fear the walls themselves, wondering what kind of people my government’s employees really were. Which departments I could trust? Which would readily take me away to control the people around me? The story does a remarkable job turning those we have learned to trust so deeply into the bad guy.

The “trust nobody” feeling of Little Brother is what kept me into it. Cory Doctorow’s writing is at first appealing and witty, but falls short and becomes repetitive uncomfortably quickly. His style feels like an attempt at comedy, and his language is so lighthearted that I almost lose track of the serious tone that the characters situation calls for. The laughs fall too short to actually call this book a comedy. Some people refer to Doctorow’s writing as glorified blogging. The masses are correct. The novel’s focus is lacking. Doctorow fills space that could be used to write a compact, concise story with descriptions of concepts and terms that he uses in the book. This may be an attempt at pushing into the first person point of view as fully as possible, as Marcus is the kind of kid who loves to teach himself as much as he can get his hands on, but it comes off as a drag on the reader. The book is constantly sidetracked by descriptions of random things Marcus knows that range from a paragraph to, several occassions, a full page.

The language posed another issue to me. It felt like Doctorow was trying too hard to play the part of a hot headed young teen. The sound of the book felt unnatural. It felt like someone who was trying to play the character of a teenager, but a forced, stereotypical teenager. For most of the book, I wanted Marcus to stop talking, and for a third person narrator to take over. You could never get behind Marcus on an emotional level. He had four modes: Doctorow fueled blog-like rants on minor things; angry, brooding, authority hating; perverted, unrealistic teenager; and whiny, scared, forced into the spotlight mode. None of these felt like a real human. It is difficult to read a first person novel when you can’t support the protagonist.

Little Brother isn’t a bad book, it just fell short on the expectations that I went into it with. There are plenty of readers who will enjoy it. Anyone who is entertained by the popular young adult novels such as the Hunger Games series and Divergent will be able to find a familiar style of writing and plot structure. Little Brother is also a good entry point for the young to introduce themselves into the cyberpunk and dystopian genres. It is the inflatable kiddie pool of cyberpunk. Any young readers interested in some light, reality grounded science fiction should take some time to read Little Brother.

Little Brother

Cory Doctorow

Self Published via Creative Commons

Published 2007

139 pages

Young Adult Cyberpunk, Light Scifi, Thriller

Hidden Camera Flyer
To decode the message, you must take the underlined keyword (Illuminated) and place it in front of the alphabet, repeating no letters in the code: ILUMNATEDBCFGHJKOPQRSVWXYZ

Now, every letter corresponds to a number from 0-25, in the order that they are written. You can use this to decode the message.


They are in the system. Trust nobody. Not even your family. The walls have ears!

My creative piece is an example of the kind of propaganda that the characters in Little Brother would post. Ideally the explanation for decoding code would be scrawled on the back, to give it the appearance of someone attempting to decode it, and working through it. I have also built a somewhat functioning camera finder based on the instructions above.
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"Digital Fortress" by Dan Brown

Digital Fortress — Dan Brown

Review by Zack Hersh

Snowden on steroids — Digital Fortress is an exciting and wild ride through the NSA and the controversial issues of privacy, but past the plotline, the writing falls short

Who will guard the guards?” The premise of this book is interesting enough: the National Security Agency’s top code breaking machine, the massive and multimillion dollar TRANSLTR, encounters a code it cannot break, called Digital Fortress. It turns out that Digital Fortress is actually unbreakable encryption software that, if released to the public, would be able to encode any digital message or data, effectively protecting it from any unwelcome “snooping” done by say the NSA. This software was created by a former NSA employee, Ensei Tankado, who was outraged by what he thought to be corruption, injustice and abuse of power in the NSA. More specifically, their everyday intrusion into people’s private lives. At the threat of releasing this software to the world, which would cripple NSA intelligence and power devastatingly, and the fact that the code is already inside TRANSLTR, preventing the mighty machine from doing anything else until the code is broken, Digital Fortress essentially holds the NSA hostage.

Only the secret passkey can abort the code, and that is where Susan Fletcher, the main character, and her fiance David Becker come in. Susan is the NSA’s head cryptographer, or code maker and breaker, and is brought in to try to uncover the passkey in a race against time, before Tankado auctions it off to the highest bidder worldwide. At the same time, Becker is sent to Spain, where Tankado had just died of what appeared to be a heart attack, to try to find Tankado’s personal copy of the passkey, all while being persecuted by a mysterious and relentless assassin. For the sake of national intelligence, the passkey must be uncovered before it is too late.

By this point, it should be quite clear how interesting the plotline of the book is. It is twisted and dynamic, with many layers, sides, and surprising or big reveals. But the complex and captivating plot was basically all the book had going for it, and was the only thing that would keep readers. Past the story, the writing fell short. It was mostly hollow and not very sharp, only really descriptive of actions, meaning along the lines of “Then he did this. Then this person did this. Then this person did that”. Of what would be expected of a professional author, especially one as accomplished as Dan Brown, who has found success with other bestsellers like Angels and Demons and The Da Vinci Code, his prose is of egregiously low level. Much of the story was written in a very disappointing way. Then again, this was his debut work. He has since had time to figure some of these issues out.

Each chapter, the story jumped around from different places and characters, which was not only somewhat distracting and introduced numerous additional, and sometimes unnecessary, characters and subplots, but also caused the book to read more like a screenplay than a novel. With the exception of the intricate and well developed plotline, the writing was not of the highest caliber. For example, at a highly climactic scene, when Becker is running from the assassin and encounters a dead end, Brown Writes, “And then it just stopped. [Paragraph] Like a freeway that ran out of funding, the path ended.” This poorly executed simile was just one example of many literary letdowns found within the book’s 500 pages, and took away so much from this moment in the story. Readers may find themselves thinking more about the writing they’re reading instead of becoming immersed in the story, which is a shame, because the plot itself is quite rich. As the plot thickened, the writing did become somewhat more readable and engrossing, however, this high point is the baseline of quality where most writers would be looking to as a starting point, not as a peak. Readers who can ignore and look past errors, questionable decisions, and little irritations may enjoy the book because of the captivating story it tells, but otherwise, Digital Fortress would mostly likely not be a worthwhile read. Readers could instead discover the plot through Sparknotes, or through a simple plot summary.

The book is in the end, wasted potential. The plot is engaging and captivating despite the way it’s written, and tackles and explores the hot and controversial issues of privacy and NSA in a very neutral and unopinionated way, shining light and casting reason and sympathy on both sides of the issues through various characters and their respective views and experiences. There’s so much room for this book to be exceptional in many dimensions, but unfortunately it’s execution ends up being disappointing. It’s a job half done. The story, themes, and ideas are there. But the writing itself is not quite there yet. This stole so much from a book and story with so much potential and possibility. Unfortunately, despite all of the positive attributes Digital Fortress has, readers will more likely than not end up disappointed with it. Digital Fortress has a really neat premises and ideas, however, ended up being wasted potential and a disappointing read. More of a first draft than a final, published piece.

Digital Fortress, Dan Brown, St. Martin's Press, 1998, 510 Pages, Thriller/Mystery
​The video above is a creative response to the book "Digital Fortress" by Dan Brown. It is the lyric video for a song parody of "If You Could See Me Now" by The Script, "If You Could Find the Key". It should be viewed after reading the review.

The White Tiger Book Review

The most complicated people in the world are the most interesting. At least it’s that way for Balram Halwai. The reader gets sucked into a story filled with love, murder, grief, and the struggle for power.

Balram Halwai was a simple man from a simple village named Laxmangarh. However, his life took a turn when his father died of Tuberculosis. This then caused the division of a family. Balram is offered a job to be the driver of the wealthiest family in his village then greed starts taking advantage of his family. He is soon split between money and family. A few months into his career as a driver Balram is afraid of the competition brought a driver that stayed with the family for a longer period of time. Balram does whatever it takes to be the better driver. His actions take him to a road he can’t seem to get off of. By accepting the job, Balram was exposed to parts of India he never knew existed. From brothels to temples, Balram gets the full Indian experience behind the wheels of an expensive car.

On the road to a new life, Balram picks up a few friends who also happen to be taxi drivers. They expose him to the ups and downs of being a driver in the most corrupt city (also most “American”) in India, New Delhi. Balram watches his friends drown themselves in alcohol and women. This piques his interest, seeing has he never “dipped his beak” into anyone and begins to explore his sexuality. He even watches his employers perform sexual acts in the back seat of his car! Balram is then shown how politics is actually ran by watching his employers bribing foreign ministers for tax breaks and steal from the poor. He also sees how easily modern marriages can crumble and how easily people can rebound.

As Balram is further developed in the book, he gains more wisdom. He steps back and sees India for what it really is, which lets him find a way outside of the “Rooster Coop” he believes Indian servants are in. This revelation allows him to siphon gas, work with corrupt mechanics, and work on the black market. Balram believes that what he is doing is for the better good. Until he gets a surprise letter from his grandmother, which was attached with a special surprise. His nephew Dharam. This surprised Balram to the core, which is what sped up his decision to make his life better. Balram tried his best to remove himself from the “Rooster Coop” and move into the Light. He continued to speak of how he was better than the Darkness and that he deserved better because of all of the things the rich stole for him. Balram knew the consequences of his actions, yet he did continued to do it.

The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga, is an excellently written epistolary novel. The use of letters and flashbacks allows the reader into the mind of the main character, Balram. I feel that the language he used when writing this novel made it seem more realistic. It felt as if I was reading a personal journal of an Indian man living in India, rather than a book. Aravind Adiga exploited the political corruption in India through the eyes of a commoner, which was refreshing. Throughout the book, Adiga constantly spoke of the Darkness and the Light, which referred to the different types of India within India. There are many themes that are discussed in this novel, however, I believe that the main theme in this book is the struggle of power. We can see this theme everyday in our lives. In our families, our parents struggle with power, each of them wants their children to do something different and that creates conflict. At school, our teachers struggle with power in many different ways. Whether it be within family, work, or in society, Adiga also expresses this through the Caste System in India. In this novel, the author explores the idea of respect and loyalty. Balram’s struggle with being the perfect grandson and driver, serves to be a problem and it eventually blows up in his face. Balram lusted for power and success and he did whatever he needed to do to get it. The system is what divides the people of the country. There are still conflicts that affect the outcome of politics and success within the country. Balram, the main character, constantly divides the country in two, one being Darkness and the other being Light, this distinction between the two is brought up till the end of the novel. To Balram, Darkness is the part of India that is taken advantage of, he refers to this when he speaks of how the votes for politicians were rigged.  Also, the style of which the taxi drivers spoke in the novel allowed the reader to feel as if he/she were there. Overall, I enjoyed reading this novel.

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"Open" by Andre Agassi

Most people at some point in their lives have read an autobiography whether it be on Malcolm X, Tony Blair, or Al Pacino. Based on the experience with that single autobiography, many readers either claim to love them, or hate them. It is not until you get past what you once thought of an autobiography before, can you finally immerse yourself into the thrilling and idiosyncratic ocean of autobiographies once again. Open by Andre Agassi is the autobiography that may just be the book you need to provide that final push back into the ocean of autobiographical novels.  

Andre Agassi is most famously known for his talents and capabilities on the tennis court but whether he wants this to be his legacy is up in the air. Agassi has been playing tennis all his life-starting professionally at 16-up to the age of 36 where he was physically incapable of performing. Through those 20 years of professional tennis, he managed to pull out eight grand slam single wins and a Master Cup, which earned him the 7th spot in, “Greatest Tennis Player of All Time” list by Sports Illustrated Magazine. With the spare time before his retirement, he founded the Andre Agassi Foundation for Education which lead him to found the Andre Agassi Prepatory School, a charter school in Las Vegas, Nevada. It was roughly three years after his retirement when he wrote this book with the help of some of his best friends, the people who knew him best.

While he spent the greater portion of his life playing tennis, in the first chapter, the first page actully, he blatantly states, “I play tennis for a living, even though I hate tennis with a dark and secret passion, and always have.” For Andre though, quitting was never an option. As a child, his dad would not allow him to quit, as a teen he hated school so much but was given the opportunity to play tennis all day versus go to school and took it, and as an adult, he didn’t have enough of an education to know what or how to do anything else. Most people find this passionate hatred confusing because if you excel at something and pursue it, many assume that you love to do it. That is not the case that is expressed in this book.

Throughout this book, Agassi goes into great depth about the struggles he goes through in tennis and his self-discovery because he has never known exactly who he is. The only thing he has known, is that while he may only be one person, there are two different sides to him, the one that goes out on the court, and the one that exists off the court. In the process of trying to figure out who he is, he experiments with his appearance, usually as an act of rebellion. However, in the book, one of his closest friends helps him to analyse how other see him and in Agassi’s own words, “...people have been fooled by my changing looks, my clothes and hair, into thinking that I know who I am. People see my self-exploration as self-expression.” This really helps you to see through the eyes of the people that see him as both a player and a person and get an idea of the bulwark he puts up to outsiders.

Now that Andre is on stable ground in his life, with his wife Stefanie Graf and two children, Jaden and Jaz, he is content with his life. His wife Stefanie Graf is a retired professional women's tennis player who is considered one of the best female players of all time and to some, one the best tennis players ever.  With his education foundation the fore-front of his professional life, he has no intent of going back onto the courts for anything more than the occasional bout with his wife.

One thing that I really appreciate is how in depth his writing is with his emotions and how he is able to recall all of these moments with such vivid description. It lets you get a better idea of who Andre Agassi is and helps you to get a better understanding behind Andre’s numerous decisions and his feelings toward certain things. However, he does sometimes dwell on things for a little bit too long which is irritating, but it helps the reader to realize what Andre truly values. Overall though, this book is a phenomenal read for anyone because of the many sensitive topics it touches on outside of his tennis life, which makes it relatable to so many different people. I am a 16 year-old girl who can still find connections between my life and his and the struggles and accomplishes he has had. While this book is for anyone who loves autobiographies it is also for those who are willing to try them or give them another chance. Not to mention anyone who is interested in self-discovery, romance, collaboration, working through struggles and going through the waves of life, no matter where the tide takes you.


by: Andre Agassi

AKA Publishing: 2009

386 pages

I call this piece, "On the Flip Side." It represents Andre Agassi and how there have always been two sides to him but he never knew what each of them were. With this, I have one side representing who he is on the the tennis court and the other side representing who he is as a person off the court. 

Keith Hodge

i am doing my my text about me i was born on 12,04,98 i am 15 in a half years old in 29 days i will be 16 i like comer,dibujar,ir al cine and conciar. my likes are leer 
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The Hunger Games Book Review

Suzanne Collins produced a piece of pure fictional majesty in the thriller known as the Hunger Games. Also known for her two other books in the series, Catching Fire and The Mockingjay, Suzanne Collins created one of the most famous trilogies of our generation. She was born August 10th, 1962 and spent the majority of her childhood moving from city to city due to her father’s participation in the Vietnam War. She graduated from the Alabama School of Fine Arts in 1980 as a Theatre Arts major and got her Bachelor of Arts degree from Indiana University in 1985, thus kicking off her career. She helped produce several children’s shows such as Oswald and Little Bear, then she wrote her acclaimed trilogy known as the Hunger Games which really put an exclamation point on her career. Already with the Underland Chronicles under her belt, this trilogy only helped her fame increase in the most positive way. For not only is this trilogy a work of art, but a stern example of how freedom can be reached through constant perseverance. Along with the willingness of the heart to never quit, even during times of undoubtable trial and tribulation; Katniss Everdeen being the woman of example in this obsessive trilogy.

The once great region of North America, which is now known as Panem, has been separated into twelve districts. This districts rely on each other for whatever resources they need to survive. Then of course, there are the richer districts as the lower number ones, and the higher one goes in numbers, the poorer the district. Thus the 12th district, the home of the brave Katniss Everdeen and her family, along with best friend Gale, and her soon to be partner Peeta, is the poorest and least regarded district in the nation. These lower districts being tormented by the Capitol, a tyrannical presence in district 1 of the nation that controls all the districts along with what happens in them. Years ago, this authority was threatened by a revolution by the then 13 districts. However, the Capitol prevailed, and as a result the 13th district was said to be destroyed and the Capitol decided to make a cruel, and unusual punishment as a result to this revolution. The Hunger Games.

Games are played but people of all ages, and are usually enjoyed. Enjoyment by participants of the Hunger Games is not only a showing of one’s attitude, but a showing of one’s loyalty to the Capitol and their regulations regarding the 12 districts. For this games are made to kill, murders of all participants, except one, who then becomes a name written in stone, as a survivor and champion of the Hunger Games. Katniss Everdeen and the volunteering Peeta Mellark are chosen from district 12 to participate, along with two other boys and girls from the rest of the districts to fight to the death. Only one will survive this heated, bloody battle. Everybody for themselves. Who will survive? Who will become the champion?

The Hunger Games book one is an adventure waiting to be adored and praised for its suspense along with the fighting spirit of those in the districts to overthrow the Capitol; a thrilling beginning to an unforgettable tale. Beyond that, the overall theme of never letting freedom flee one’s grasp is an imminent, throbbing reality as Katniss Everdeen refuses to let the Capitol control the games they created, through thoughtful revolution and rebellion. With the book starting out with the already seemingly rebellious Katniss Everdeen hunting outside the walls of district 12 regularly to find food for her family and the Black Market, a theme is already hinted at. Thus the appearance of Gale Hawthorne adds a romantic, caring side to this story, hooking the readers, making them ponder about what is to come next. As the book carries on, its gradual build up to these thrilling games is what the reader is yearning to analyze and devour. Even though in several parts this book fails to meet expectations, overlooking these minor distractions will make one love this book even more. Fortunately, if one is a lover of books regarding rebellion, action, and a fight for freedom, this book should hit the spot.

The overwhelming feeling of the need to rebel and start another, successful revolution pounds at Katniss’ heart throughout this thriller. Her desire to see her family again, to see her best friend Gale again, and her newly found desire to protect Peeta all play a role in her willingness to survive and participate in the Hunger Games. Throughout the entire book however, the hanging questions remains in one’s face like a group of flying gnats, will Katniss survive? Will all her efforts to rebel and free the districts from the Capitol’s strong grip come to no avail? Excitingly, the answer dwell in this exhilarating, compulsive book which is a must read, for Katniss Everdeen is a fighter.

“Author: Suzanne Collins; The Hunger Games; Publisher: Scholastics; Genre: Adventure/Science Fiction; Published September 14th, 2008; 374 pages long.”

Freedom is earned
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The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian


The Story of a Nomad…

The Absolutely True Dairy of a Part Time Indian is a story of a young “nomad” in a quest to find truth, strength, and to gain what he deserves. Written by Sherman Alexie , he has explored the tense struggle between the white and Indian worlds for 15 years. A New York Ties Best Seller, The Absolutely True Dairy of a Part Time Indian, is one of Sherman Alexie best books yet. This book puts readers in the shoes of the Native Americans, you get to know their struggles and how it has affected every aspect of their lives. 

Arnold Spirit (a.k.a Junior)  is a young Native American boy growing up on the Spokane Reservation. Junior was born with many medical problems and everyone picks on him for that. It seems that a person like him would be an outcast and no one would like him, but he has one best friend who will always be there for him, Rowdy. The only way Arnold can have a perfect life is through the cartoons he draws. However, life on the reservation is very difficult. Everyone single person is living in poverty, there’s so much death, hunger, addictions, and a great lack of education. 

One day in school, Junior beams his geometry book at the teacher and gets suspended from school. “My school and my tribe are so poor and sad that we have to study from the same dang books our parents studied from,” Arnold says. “That is absolutely the saddest thing in the world.” When the teacher (Mr. P) who was hit with the book, appears at Arnold's home, Arnold was absolutely afraid that his teacher would beat him up like other kids did. However, Mr. P came to give Arnold a piece of advice. He tells Arnold to leave the reservations because he has seen to many promising students - such as Arnold’s sister, Mary Runs Away - fade year by year, beaten down by poverty and hopelessness. “The only thing you kids are being taught is how to give up,” Mr. P. says. The is the beginning of Arnold’s journey to seek truth and strength. 

“The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian” follows Arnold on his journey from leaving the reservation. He transfer to from Wellpit to Rearden High school, 22 miles away where a bunch of wealthy white kids attend.  He is the only Native American there and he fears that he will become a victim of the big bulky jocks. His “rez toughness” gained him some respect to even land him a spot on the varsity basketball team. 

But back at home, he can’t win back the loves of his neighbors. He is considered a traitor. Everyone believes that Arnold feels superior to the rest of the Indians now that he goes to a “white” school filled with computers and new text books. Arnold’s best friend even turns his back on him. When Reardan plays Wellpinit High in basketball, the Indians boo him the whole game, a race riot nearly breaks out. Triumph and grief come in equal measure. Arnold concludes that he’s smarter than most of the white kids, and wins the heart of a white girl named Penelope. Arnold also becomes friends with a kid named Gordy who is the school genius. Meanwhile on the reservation, his father’s best friend is shot and killed, and his sister dies in a trailer fire. Shuttling between Wellpinit and Reardan, Arnold begins feeling like a part-time Indian. He is Junior on the rez, where he is an outcast, and at school in Reardan he is Arnold.

The way the story is narrated, it feels as if the writer is engaging in a conversation with you. It’s genius because not only does the reading flows, but the narrative itself is apart of a story. Arnold narrating the story delivers one clear message that has brought him, his family, and his ancestors down. That Indians are good for nothing and they deserve what they have. Time and time again, Arnold will say something that shows how ingrained self-hatred is. This, as much as facing racial problems, poverty is perhaps Junior’s most important challenge. I get a sense of purpose in the storytelling.

You know you are reading an amazing book when it breaks you heart into a tiny million pieces. This book doesn’t really sugar code anything. You’re punched in the face with hard reality all throughout the book. It’s starts from the moment the father had to shoot their dog, Oscar, because they didn’t have the money to take him to the hospital, then to when the father would be gone all Christmas because he didn’t have money to buy the family presents. And finally how everyone kept dying of the same thing. Alcohol. But to lighten the mood a little, there are Arnold’s drawings inserted in the book that bring much needed humor. 

The most impressive thing about this book, is that all the horrible, tragic things that happens to Arnold, it doesn’t really shock him. The worst thing is that he accepts it as if it’s apart of his daily life. It’s just completely normal to him. 

I recommend this book to anyone who wants to know about how racial issues can affect self identity. Also to anyone who just wants to know more about Native Americans on a personal level.  “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian” is a truly amazing book about overcoming boundaries which leads to finding a greater strength within. 

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian, Sherman Alexei, Little, Brown And Company, 2007, 230 pages, Race Relations Fiction, Diaries Fiction. 

My Creative Piece is how I interpreted the overall message of the book. I still felt like Arnold's dreams weren't full fulfilled. So using the laser cutter at my job, I rastered an image of a dream catcher with the phase "Dreams Almost Captured". 

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Benchmark Reflection

   I learned a lot from my Spanish Benchmark. One of those things are communication. I learned how to properly talk to group members. I liked how we got to be creative, and talk about the fake experiences we had. I love how we had so much freedom, and how we got to learn from each other when we presented. It could be better by not making us answer the questions on canvas, but instead asking the class these questions. Then somebody can call out, or raise his/her hand, to say the answer. Besides that, this project was very good. And like it, and the grade I got for it.

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Book Review: Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk

Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk Review

Humans are always touted as civilized creatures who transcend the social and ethical limitations of other animals. Quintessentially, we view ourselves as the epitome of current evolution. David Sedaris in Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk begs to differ. In a heartfelt comical way, Sedaris skillfully illustrates the shortcomings of human interaction and often makes, we, the reader think wistfully to ourselves “Did that really just happen?” Sedaris’ writing, which was seemingly intended to degrade and downplay human success and triumph, causes the reader to feel laughter, joy and a sense of precognition which will hopefully save them from the situations chronicled in his masterful piece of art.

The animals depicted in Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk aren’t really animals. The reader is keen to see this very early on in the book. Each animal represents a paradigm of everyday social life in America. We have the gullible sheep, the two-faced trash talking monkey and the self-absorbed condescending warbler. These stereotypes can easily make the reader laugh and look down upon these characters. However they also allow the reader to understand these characters. The questions we, as the reader, may come to ask are “Why is the sheep gullible? “Why does the monkey gossip about other animals?” “What makes the warblers such douchebags?”

The stories force the reader to have either positive or negative thoughts about the animals in the story. Each character is chiseled out with a unique mold that makes them stick out. Each animal has personal ambitions, wants and fears giving the character analysts in the audience plenty of material to tear into millions of little synthetic pieces.

In real life, most people never take the extra steps to understand fictitious characters. Because the characters in the short stories are animals, subconsciously, we are dotting the lines and making the connections which we wouldn’t normally make. The warbler for example didn’t one day just become condescending and arrogant. It was born into a world which nurtured it with that mentality. Experiences and influences in its life caused it to become what it is. In the end, we can come to the conclusion that we really can’t judge a person for something that was out of their control.

Expanding upon the idea that we can understand and sympathize with the animals in Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk, the collection of short stories also makes the reader wonder what animal they are mostly closely related to. When we find the animal we can relate most to we become attached, hoping that everything works out for the animal. However, Sedaris simply won’t allow us this luxury and sometimes gives our characters grimm endings, which not everyone wants to see.

At the same time, we still want to see how everything turns out for the animals because we don’t know which roller coaster ending Sedaris will give us. Though most of the time we can expect the characters flaws to bite them in them in the hiney making them suffer immensely, there are happy endings which puts a smile on the readers face.

To this effect, the entire book is sculpted to have you wonder about how each animals story will end. The reader will want to see some animals succeed in triumph while wanting others to fail miserably. I know that while reading the story of the lazy and selfish bear I wanted him to meet a grimm ending. But the ending I received was a little too sadistic for me bringing to a sympathetic mindset. Sedaris masterfully strums the strings of the human mind making you want to see his characters reach certain resolutions. However, he also makes you question whether or not it was right to wish such harsh fates upon animals when they eventually meet their maker. Characters we may want to die horrible painful deaths because of their flaws, may also be the ones we may eventually come to sympathize with.  

I recommend this book to readers who are infatuated with deep complex characters. Readers who aren’t afraid to have metaphorical jabs taken at their species, should definitely pick up this book. Also, readers who are willing to look in between the lines and uncover hidden meanings. This book’s greatest asset which draws in its readers may also be its biggest flaw. For the reader to absorb as much as they can from each short story in Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk, they must be the analytical satirical thinker. Its a double edged sword in that respect.

In spite of this, the several different dynamics rolled into each individual short story that allows the overall product to accumulate into greatness. Each story is chiseled out to incur different emotions and responses from the reader. Its almost as if sedaris expects to receive such a wide variety of responses ranging from fanfare to disdain. Quite simply put, Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk is the kind of book that everyone should pick up at one point in their lives because it does what most books today fail to do. It makes us think critically about who we are and what we do in relation to the stories we read about. This book is a must read.

Published by Little, Brown and Company

September 8th 2010

176 pages

Humorous Fiction

Creative Piece Link


Book Review: Paper Towns

Book Title: Paper Towns

Author: John Green

John Green is an American author who specializes in books for young adults. He has become very successful in the past few years and has the awards and titles to prove it. Two of his most popular books include his debut novel, Looking for Alaska and his most recent book, The Fault in Our Stars. Looking for Alaska won the Michael L. Printz Award for Excellence in Young Adult Literature in 2006. When The Fault in Our Stars was released in early 2012 it was at number 1 on The New York Times Bestseller List and was recently turned into a movie which became number 1 in the box office. To top it all off, in 2014 he made it on Time’s 100 Most Influential People List. Aside from all of his literary achievements, he has invented a charity called “Project for Awesome,” launched an event known as “Vidcon” and he and his brother, Hank Green, run a popular Youtube channel.

John’s third book is called Paper Towns and follows around a teenager named Quentin Jacobsen who has always been in love with his neighbor, the mysterious Margo Roth Spiegelman. Quentin, otherwise known as “Q,” has been infatuated with Margo since they were friends as children. But after they found the body of a man who committed suicide in a park they lost touch. Years later when Margo climbs through Q’s window and recruits him as an accomplice in her carefully laid out plan for revenge on her cheating boyfriend, he is shocked but agrees to help.

After a whole night of shenanigans, Quentin is excited to talk to his new friend Margo, but she is no where to be found. Q doubts that she left without an agenda and figures she had to have left some kind of clue. So once he breaks into Margo’s room, clues are exactly what he finds. Clues that give Quentin hope that he might be the one to solve the mystery of Margo Roth Spiegelman.

Something that Quentin finds himself struggling with throughout the whole book is trying to understand Margo and how she works. When Margo initially approaches him at his bedroom window in the middle of the night he is mesmerized. Over the next couple days following Q and Margo’s nighttime adventure and Margo’s disappearance, Q realizes that he knows absolutely nothing about the girl he'd fantasized about since his childhood. He’s only known Margo Roth Spieglman, the most popular, pretty, mysterious girl in school but that’s all anyone knows. Margo herself is an unsolved puzzle. But once Q starts finding all the secret clues she leaves behind he learns more about her which leads him to questioning himself.

Paper Towns has it all, humour, mystery, romance and concepts that many young adults will surely relate to. John Green is known for writing books that showcase a teenage boy who fantasizes over an unattainable, mysterious girl who somehow ends up changing their life. But he creates such interesting, outgoing characters and his writing style is so well thought out, clever, and sometimes even poetic that it doesn’t seem like a corny love story. Something that John Green does really well with is his use of language, he knows exactly how to word things to make everything as believable as possible. The conversations had in the book and the thoughts his characters express make complete sense with the mind of teeangers and that’s why his books are so popular. Teenagers and young adults understand and enjoy it. But don’t let that fool you, I’m sure almost any adult would really enjoy any book written by John Green. I would recommend Paper Towns in particular to anyone who is 13 or older, since it is a book written about a bunch of high school seniors there isn’t much of a filter and some of the things the characters say and/or think might not be what all parents want their kids to be reading about.

I have read two of John Green’s other books aswell, Looking for Alaska and The Fault in Our Stars. I finished each of the three books within a very short time period because I couldn’t put them down. I was never bored while reading them and was sucked into the character’s world quickly because John Green’s writing grabs your attention and doesn’t let go. I don’t really have anything bad to say about any of his books except for the fact that I was a little let down by the ending of Paper Towns, not that it was bad I was just left wanting more.

All in all, John Green is a very talented author and the popularity surrounding his books is for good reason. You should definitely give at least one of them a read because you won’t be disappointed.

Title: Paper Towns

Author: John Green

Publisher: Dutton Penguin

Date of publication: October 16, 2008

Number of pages: 305

Genres: Young adult fiction, Mystery

For my creative portion of the project, I drew the route the characters took to New York from Florida to find their friend Margo. A lot of interesting things happen to them on the way so I drew pictures to represent them along their route and visualized their whole journey. I thought that this part of the book, part 3, was very important along with it being my favorite part and I wanted to incorporate it into my creative response.

A Book In Review: The Hyperion Cantos by Dan Simmons

Hyperion Book Review

by Miles Cruice-Barnett

The TechnoCore is a group of AIs (artificial intelligences) that seceded from their human creators. They still choose to work closely with the humans, though they could wipe out the entire race with a snap of their metaphorical fingers. The TechnoCore is even powerful enough to create an ‘Ultimate Intelligence’ that could predict the future. That means predicting every possible outcome in the entire universe with 100% accuracy. At least, it would be 100% accurate if it were not for Hyperion. Hyperion is a planet on the outskirts of a galactic government called the Hegemony. It is a mysterious planet that has many strange things that even the technologically advanced human race and the power TechnoCore cannot understand. The biggest mystery on the planet is the Shrike. The Shrike is a menacing thing that seems to be somehow connected to time. It is known by many names including most notably ‘The Lord of Pain,’ and has been reported to be the cause of much death and destruction on Hyperion. The Shrike is a god to some; others think it is simply a story; yet others believe that it is a monster from the future, but no one really knows the truth about the Shrike, or if it even exists. The book is about 7 people that are hand picked by the Hegemony to go on a pilgrimage to confront the Shrike. However, the majority of the book is comprised of each person’s individual story of why they are on the journey and their personal experiences with the planet Hyperion and the infamous Shrike.

The book is unapologetic about throwing the reader into the strange futuristic system of the Hegemony. There are many terms that are not explained, many places that are not described, and it makes the book hard to follow at times. However, it also makes for a more realistic atmosphere. If someone were to write a narrative of their day, they would not bother to explain what a cell phone is because they would not expect anyone from a distant past to be reading the narrative. Hyperion allows the reader to use context clues and their imagination to fill the gaps of careful description. This is great for people who like to dissect a plot or read between the lines. Because it is written from so many different perspectives, each story has its own writing style unique to the character. Dan Simmons does a great job of capturing the essence of each of the pilgrims with the way he shapes their story telling. Every time you pick up Hyperion it is like there is a new book waiting for you inside, yet each story connected somehow with the same sub-plot of the planet Hyperion and the Shrike. This aids to keep the book interesting, though coherent, for those who might get bored of a book easily.

Time is a strange concept in the book. The development of the Hawking Drive allows travel faster than light speed, but this results in a ‘time debt.’ While you may experience 2 weeks on the ship in a cryogenic sleep, hundreds of years could pass in the outside world. Because of this, time and age are relative things and it makes for an interesting understanding of some of the characters. The Time Tombs are another example of how time is used to craft this book. The Time Tombs are moving backwards in time from an indefinite future. Many of the concepts in Hyperion are hard to comprehend, but those who like a challenge will enjoy it.

The second book in the series is ‘The Fall of Hyperion.’ It is a continuation of the story, but has a completely different point of view that gives some insight to what has been happening in the government and the war for control of Hyperion. It is a great way to create extra mystery and excitement after the stories of the 7 pilgrims are over. The transition of the books is confusing at first, but ultimately they work really well together.

Over all, Hyperion is a challenge worth accepting. The challenge in and of itself is part of what makes the book so enjoyable. It can be confusing and hard to wrap your head around at times, but it creates a world like no other. The writing styles and mysteries of the book will keep you interested the entire time, and the end of each chapter will leave you wanting more. Hyperion is a great book for anyone who loves science fiction, or even someone just looking to get lost in another world.

Hyperion, Dan Simmons. Bantam Spectra. December 1995. 482 pages. Science Fiction.


Book Review: Every Day

Every Day by David Levithan is a literary work that should not be underestimated. Levithan does an excellent job of opening the eyes of teens to a world unbeknownst to them. He is not afraid to step out of the social norms, thus creating a unique concept of equality, humanity, and love. He steps into the realm of LBGTQ through his book Boy Meets Boy which is about a gay-friendly town and a boy who is trying to win the love of another boy. He received the Best Fiction Award for Teens(Top 10) from the YALSA in 2013, Abraham Lincoln Award nominee(2014), as well as being a Lambda Award nominee (2013). He is also the publisher/director of Scholastic.

David Levithan was born in 1972 in Short Hills, New Jersey. His first book Boy Meets Boy was published in September 2003. On his website in the “about me” section, Levithan feels that he could talk more about himself through his books and that’s exactly what he does. He has written a total of 18 books so far and showing no signs of stopping. He has collaborated with many well known authors, one of them is John Green for their book Will Grayson, Will Grayson. He is currently writing a book called Hold Me Closer: The Tiny Cooper Story which is set for release in March 2015.

A, the main character of the book, is 16 years old. A wakes up every day as someone different, not being limited by gender, race, or even language though the area geographically and age are pretty close. Never knowing the warmth and comfort of a family, A has been alone this whole time. A used to be afraid to go to sleep as a child knowing that nobody from that day would be there the next. No matter how much A wanted to stay, it wasn’t possible. One day, A wakes up as a teenage boy named Justin. Not wanting to interfere in Justin’s daily life, A chooses to go through it like a normal day for Justin, but when “he” encounters Justin’s girlfriend, Rhiannon, things begin to change. By digging through Justin’s memories, he sees that Justin isn’t the best boyfriend out there, but Rhiannon is just absolutely perfect. Rhiannon is pushing A’s limits. Love at first sight you could call it, but how is love possible for someone who is a different person each day?

Readers will get the most from this book if they are open minded and can adjust well to varying situations. This book shares so many different perspectives of women and men. With that being said, you must pay attention or else you will get lost from the very beginning. The general audience for this book is supposed to be adults, but this book has been proved to sway more towards teens. Some schools have even made this a summer reading assignment. Barnes & Nobles list the age range is 14-17 years for this book while others say it can go to even as young as 12. Every Day is perfectly executed that David Levithan is able to gain such a wide range for his audience. He is really active in the LGBTQ community with his books.

This book will have its readers thrown into another perspective of life. The need to read what happens the next day has readers gripping their seats. While reading, you are immersed in lives of many people. What is it like to be a woman? What is it like to be a man? What about a drug addict or maybe a twin? These questions are addressed throughout the book and that’s only a few of them. Levithan shows a new side of love and how it can play out. It does not always have to be how it is in the movies, it’s not always as cliché, it can be something completely different, but the feelings are the same.

“The moment you fall in love feels like it has centuries behind it, generations-all of them rearranging themselves so that this precise, remarkable intersection could happen. In your heart, in your bones, no matter how silly you know it is, you feel that everything has been leading to this, all the secret arrows were pointing here, the universe and time itself crafted this long ago, and you are just now realizing it, you are just now arriving at the place you were always meant to be,”(Levithan, Pg 23).

Though the quote is lengthy, it describes the book and the concept of love better than I could ever. It feels like the missing puzzle piece has been fitted. I would most definitely recommend this book to my friends. It was the first great book I’ve read in a while.

Title: Every Day
Author: David Levithan
Publisher: Random House Children's Books
Publishing date: August 28, 2012
Pages: 336
Genre: Literary fiction

Creative Piece:
This is a movie trailer for Every Day. Special thanks to Eamon Kelly for the filming and others for participating!


Book Review - I am the Messenger (Markus Zusak)


I am the Messenger — Markus Zusak

Review by Andrew Roberts

“The gunman is useless.” are the first words of this novel by Markus Zusak.  Ed Kennedy is an insignificant, boring person who drives taxis for a living and plays cards with his friends, Marv, Ritchie, and Audrey, every single night.  His siblings have all gone away to college, but Ed does not think about his life goals, but just lets it pass by like a breeze.  That is, until he inadvertently stops a bank robbery.  To be fair, he does not stop it in spectacular fashion: he starts arguing with Marv about Marv’s car (an old relic that is not worth anything) on the floor of the bank.  The burglar hears them and threatens to shoot, but Ed and Marv just do not care.  They infuriate the burglar to the point where he demands Marv’s car keys and runs out the door to make his getaway, leaving the gun on the floor of the bank.  He tries to make his getaway, but there is one issue: the car will not start.  Ed, Marv, Ritchie, and Audrey stand inside the bank, laughing, until (for some reason) Ed walks confidently out, picks up the gun, and shoots out the window of the car (with Marv wailing in the background) presumably injuring the burglar. Soon he is on the front page of every newspaper, but Ed does not enjoy it.  His fame slowly passes, and he goes on with his monotonous, everyday life.  One day, an envelope arrives on his doorstep, empty but for a lone Ace of Diamonds, listing three addresses and three times.  When Ed realizes that these addresses are his mission, the messages he has to send, his life is never the same.  

The book is divided into five sections: one for each ace (diamonds, clubs, spades, and hearts, respectively) and one joker.  Each ace has three messages, though these messages are written in different ways.  One ace has them carved in stone, while another makes Ed search for addresses in books.  The last card is the most important: the joker is the message when all is revealed and (thought I will not spoil it for you) it is very shocking.  With each message, Zusak sharpens the reader’s perspective of his main point: even the most insignificant person can make the world a better place.  The tasks Ed must do are not overly difficult or complicated, things that require nerves and things one would not do without being told,and things that change lives drastically.  As Ed sends these messages, he becomes more and more confident in himself, increasing his self-worth and making his life more purposed, which is evident in the writing.  The messages become much more personal in nature near the end, as Ed changes not only the lives of the strangers, but changes his life for the better.  He performs miracles, making lives that much better that much more purposeful. The story encourages the reader as the book goes on, with Zusak portraying Ed’s insignificance (at first) and later on his importance, showing the reader that anyone can do anything; even though someone may be the most dull soul one will ever meet, that person is still capable of miracles.  

This one by far one of the best books I have ever read.  I tend to like fictional stories that deal with important life questions, books that tend to be philosophical in nature.  This book definitely fits that category, as Ed goes on a journey of discovering meaning in his monotonous life.  Zusak does an amazing job of making the reader feel with Ed as he continues on his journey.  I have but one complaint: the ending is not explained well at all and is underwhelming.  When I came to the end, expecting a big reveal, I was disappointed, and left the book feeling so.  I could not put this book down, and I loved it.  I would recommend it to almost anyone.  People that are not into stories that make you think (I like to call them philosophical tales) might not like this as much as I did, but will enjoy it nevertheless.  You will not regret reading this book.

I am the Messenger is Zusak’s fifth book; his most famous work being the book The Book Thief which won several awards and is a motion picture of the same title.  He primarily writes books for young adults and resides in Australia.  

I am the Messenger - Markus Zusak

Knopf - 2002


357 Pages

For the creative portion of this project, I chose to do an alternate book cover for this book.  It is shown below.  In the cover, I show all of the messages Ed must send: the four aces and joker.

Book Cover

Book Review

The book I read was called The Stars, Like Dust by Isaac Asimov. It’s about a man named Biron Farrill who is the son of the Rancher of Widemos. When his father is killed the ones who killed him come after Biron who is attending a University on Earth. After escaping near death he travels to find out why his father was killed and what does it have to do with him.

The author Isaac Asimov was born in the Soviet Union. When his parents were immigrating to the U.S he was stowed away in their baggage at the age of 3 and became an American citizen at 8. When he was 9 he discovered his first science fiction magazine and started to write stories at 11 then submitted one at the age of 18. Although the book was rejected four months later he sold his first story. When he was 21 he wrote a short story called Nightfall and then started to write others shortly after. He now has published over 260 books doesn’t seem to be slowing up.

The book is structured in chronological order except maybe on a few occassions. At many parts of the book they use a lot of scientific terms to explain how things work and what is going on. However this can cause the book to be confusing to people at first but it eventually explains enough for them to understand. I think a major Idea in the book is that deep space travel is possible and there might be other habitable planets but that it is very complicated to do.

The book exceeded my expectations with the explanation of their technology. I was expecting it to describe how they are able to travel throughout space but I wasn’t expecting them to explain at all how it works or how they are able to find habitable planets. What fell short was that fact that I was expecting more action in the book. Instead most of the book was on a spaceship either going from place to place or it just staying still in the middle of space. And when the characters were on a planet they were there for like at most fifty pages and then back to the ship.

I would recommend this book to people are interested in science fiction and are interested in books that take place in space. This book is also kind of like a mystery because you don’t exactly know what is going to happen next and there is a real plot twist near the end of the book. However if you are interested in books that are science fiction and have a lot of action in them you might not like this book since it is lacking action, but has a lot of suspense. I thought the book was okay but that’s just me.

Title: The Stars, Like Dust

Author: Isaac Asimov

Publisher: Doubleday

Published: 1951

Pages: 231

Genre: Science Fiction, Whodunit
My Movie 4
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Book Review: Fangirl

Twin sisters Cath and Wren both loved Simon Snow. Like, they were obsessed. They related to Simon Snow, and this fan fiction got them through some major moments in their life including one with their mom. They weren’t  like any other old fan. When they were kids, their life was Simon Snow. But that was soon to change….

Cath is an obsessed Simon Smith fan. It’s still her life. Cath doesn’t want to let it go. Wren, not so much. Both sisters are going to the same college now and Wren believes that the whole Simon Snow thing was just a phase. Wren is over it. She is now in college, over the whole Simon Snow thing, and she thinks her sister should be too. Wren wants to be independent and in this well written story, she distances herself from her sister (Cath). She doesn't want to dorm with Cath, she wants to do things on her own and be independent.

When Cath and Wren don’t share a room, Cath is completely lost and isn’t in her own comfort zone. She doesn’t like it. Her new roommate isn’t what she is used to. She was pretty, had a hot boyfriend, and so many other things Cath didn’t have. Her new professor was different too. She didn’t really reside with him well because he HATED fan fiction, which is what she loved (Simon Snow). Then she met one of her peers in class. He was gorgeous to Cath. A God. This was hard. Meeting all these new people, who did things way differently than she had. She didn’t party, drink, or do well with boys.  It was all different for her, especially because she wasn’t experiencing any of it with her sister.

There were new people, new environments, new opportunities, and Cath didn’t care for any of it. She missed her life back at home where she did everything with her sister. Where she was with her loving father. Where it was okay to love Simon Snow. Where she didn’t have to be alone.

The main person/thing Cath thought about while she was miserable at her college in Nebraska was her father, and his well being. Her father hated to be alone, and he felt lonely because both of his daughters had to leave him for college. Though he was distraught, he didn’t want his kids to worry about him, so he tried to cover up his feelings, but Cath sensed them. No matter how many times her dad told her he was okay, Cath insisted that she would go back home and take care of him, leave her college and find somewhere else to go that was closer to him. Despite all the setbacks and emotions, she got into a groove. College got easier for Cath. She had a very loyal “friend”, got used to the environment, and learned a lot about herself as Cath, not as the twin or as Wren’s sister.

Rainbow Rowell, the amazing and talented author of Fangirl is a Nebraska girl herself, and chose to set this story in Nebraska as well. She lives in Omaha with her husband and two sons. Rainbow Rowell is a New York Times: Bestselling author, and this is only her second book! Her  first novel was Eleanor & Park and Attachments. Rowell writes this story beautifully, despite the swears and curses she wrote with! It is romantic and a bit sexual, full of adventure, and filled with life lessons throughout the whole novel.

I related to this book a lot. Though i’m not in college, I still went through and I am still going through many of the problems Cath (and Wren) encountered in this novel. Especially with the whole “fangirl” thing, because I myself am a fangirl. I was told a lot of the same things Cath was told about growing out of her fangirling and that she needed to get out of that “phase”. I understood Cath’s opinion on it, and also agreed. If you like something, you don’t just have to give it up. Yes, put your priorities first, but you don’t just have to give up on something you enjoy because others look down on it.

People who would enjoy this novel would be mature young adults, definitely above the age 14. People who love fiction, especially fiction set in the modern day. Fangirl is a fun, and  sexy (but not too sexy) relatable book for people who are “fangirls” and “fanboys” themselves. Even if you aren’t a “fangirl/boy”, you’ll still pick up this book and love it! It took me a little while to finish this novel because I am a slower reader, but it definitely isn’t a very easy/light read.


Rainbow Rowell

433 pages

September 10th, 2013

Contemporary Fiction

Creative Piece:

The creative piece tells a little about what goes on with Cath in the novel. The last part of the creative piece is from Cath’s point of view/her voice.


The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven

Sherman Alexie’s “The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven” is a collection of short stories or vignettes about life on an Indian reservation. He uses his own experiences on the reservation and changes the names of the people or sometimes exaggerates the story. This book is a must read that I would highly recommend to anyone who likes realistic, satirical writing.

Sherman Alexie was born Wellpinit Washington on an Indian reservation. He was born with a condition called Hydrocephalus and was not expected to survive, he has several stories that mention this. Sherman Alexie was a good student and in eighth grade transferred to the local farm high school, Reardan High School, where the only other Indian was the schools mascot. He did very well in high school and graduated top of his class. He went to Gonzaga University in 1985, a Jesuit college in Spokane Washington. Sherman later transferred to Washington University where he started writing poetry and short stories.

All of the stories in The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven are loosely based on Sherman or people in his life. The book touches upon racism, poverty, and alcoholism that plague the Indian community. In the passage A Drug Called Tradition two Indian teens go and try a new drug. In this passage Sherman Alexie describes what it is like to be an Indian adolescent with conflicting aspects of your life. The old traditions of their ancestors conflicting with modern aspects of life. For example one of the boys is a storyteller who the other two ask to tell them stories, then after he tells a couple of stories that don’t make sense, about the past and how they are warriors on horses. They tell him to shut up and they go back to talking. This is describing how they want to know about the past and at the same time are scared about what it might be.

In the passages of, “The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven” Sherman Alexie’s use of satirical humor makes the various stories palatable. Without any the humor the stories would be sad without the humor. Sherman Alexie’s dry witted comedy goes a long way in making the book good. It is hard to put a label on the kind of book that, “The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven” is. It is some parts autobiography some parts fiction and some parts non-fiction. If it was written about events further in the past I think it might even be correct to call it historical fiction.

The book has many different characters that all help tell in the overarching story of the book. The different character almost meld together throughout the book so it’s hard to tell that there are different narrators in different stories. The different narrators all have the same feel to them and they have the same personality. But they give the book a lot more depth by creating different perspectives to look back on some of the other narrators, this style of writing lets you see a lot more of the story than just having one narrator would.

This is a very good book that I would recommend to anyone who is looking for a good slow-paced novel that is on the heavier side. It is not a light read but one that I would highly recommend reading, especially if you have previously read and enjoyed any other pieces of Sherman Alexie’s work and you want to read more. This book is a collection of fictional vignettes loosely based on the authors experiences. I would say that you should not read this book if you are under the age of sixteen, due to some of the graphic content. All in all this is an exceptional book that I would highly recommend to anyone to pick up.

Title: The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven

Author: Sherman Alexie

Number Of Pages: 242

Publisher: Grove Press

Published: January 1st 1993

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“Comic Art Propaganda” by Fredrik Strömberg

Comic by definition is “of or relating to comedy” or “causing laughter or amusement,” ( of course these definitions pertain to the comedic comics as well but it does apply to the comic strips we know and love as well. If this is the concrete definition of comics then why do we create such complexities with the artwork that is produced in the comic strip form? Due to the concrete definition many think comics are for kids, but the complexities have changed that generalization. 

Reading the first paragraph of “Comic Art Propaganda” by Fredrik Strömberg challenges that definition and influences the idea that it needs to be elongated or changed completely. The first paragraph of the book isn’t even written by Strömberg, it is by Peter Kuper. Kuper wrote the foreword  for this book, foreword is defined as “a short introductory statement in a published work, as a book, especially when written by someone other than the author,” ( Kuper explains the whole book with the interpretation that you, a reader would have, creating a closer relationship between you the book, and the writer, Strömberg. Kuper’s interpretation of the book becomes more and more relevant as you read through the book. Kuper does a great job of getting the main ideas of the book into one foreword. Going back and reading the foreword after the book creates a sensation similar to reading your thoughts. It becomes apparent as the book continues what Strömberg’s idea was, using Kuper to write this foreword for him. 

Kuper opens his foreword giving a base ground for the readers “Propaganda as we know, is from the Latin- pro, meaning for, and paganda meaning indoctrination of young minds. (if you don’t believe me look it up.*)” (pg. 6). This definition connects back to that definition of comics though the young minds part of the definition. Comics are for kids and so is propaganda right? Strömberg addresses many propaganda filled comics and states “I have delved deep into my own comics library, which s extensive and contains examples from all over the world.” The thing is, he goes on to state that he did not use all of that knowledge in this book because of the accessibility which brings up the issue that the comics from other countries aren’t readily accessible to the general public. Strömberg made do with what he had very well though and gives this disclaimer on the second page. You get to know all the artists that changed the game of comics while learning the influence of the comics whether they knew it or not. You start to understand the different art-forms of the comics and how different comics portray different things. 

One style was Bilderbogen vom Kriege (Picture Stories from the War) directed towards young german boys to persuade them to joining the war. This comic is the exact representation of both the definition of propaganda and comic. The comic used a mixture of the old and new style for the artwork. The artist used “pictures in boxes with rhyming text below” to make it feel like it was from the last century. Also “No speech balloons, onomatopoetic words or any other modern comics inventions were used,” Creating more of a picture book stylized comic rather than the traditional one we all know and love. One thing the artist did keep were the images “were in full color, painted, and very much in the style of the times,”(pg. 48).

Comics are for anyone and everyone, they aren’t just superheroes and over-sexualized women (though that is what they are still mostly made of). There are examples of females taking over and making a name for themselves in the Comic book world. Asia, America, and Europe are the three places where comic books are sold most. Like the manga art that is controlled by more women than in any other major hub for Comic Art. Europe and America are mostly controlled by men while Asia took a different route with Manga art. There is a high percentage of females in the asian world that make for interesting views revealed in the comics. Which gives hope for that definition of comic to change.

This book took me by surprise because the writing was amazing and unexpected in every way. It’s as if you are having a conversation with Strömberg, and you can tell that there was an enormous amount of work put into the book. From the parings of the artwork and Strömberg’s writing, to the flow of the book and relating back to the main idea and purpose of the writing. The book doesn’t have to be read sequentially giving you the freedom to jump from subject to subject in whichever way you please. The book covers so many subjects and ideas and concepts creating a bit of an overload of information so that freedom of choice aforementioned comes in handy. This gives you the feeling of a history textbook but one that you want to read. Giving you the same information from a different point of view and history is all about the point of view.

“Comic Art Propaganda” by Fredrik Strömberg makes you question your idea of comics, propaganda, history, and portrayal giving you brain a great workout. If you like anything involved with art, history, or political influence this book should be in your hands and devoured by your eyes.

Bibliography, n.d. Web. 02 Nov. 2014.

Title Comic Art Propaganda

Author Fredrik Strömberg

Foreword Peter Kuper

Publisher Alistair Campbell

Date of publication July 20, 2010

Number of pages 175

Genre Sequencial Art, Comics, History

​Creative Portion 
"In An Opposite World" this is what it would look like and it was inspired by the comics in the book but in a sketchy style I like to call my own