Week 16 Blog: Wrap Up

Well… the semester is almost over. I will say that I enjoyed reading this semester (like I always have), so I’m sure I will continue reading books.. but probably not as often as I did during this class. I will say that this blog has taught me different reading and writing skills that I didn’t […]

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The House of Dies Drear by Virginia Hamilton

I recently finished all 19 chapters (279 pages) of The House of Dies Drear by Virginia Hamilton. I haven’t always given older books the time of day, but I really enjoyed this one.

The book begins in a dream. Thomas, the main character, is running in a forest from an old man with a white beard. His dream ends, and he wakes up in the car with his family; his mother, father and his younger twin brothers, Billy and Buster. The family is moving from North Carolina to their new home in Ohio on Thomas’s birthday (happy birthday Thomas!). They find out that their new home used to be a stop on the Underground Railroad (I always feel the need to remind readers that it wasn’t an actual railroad, nor was it underground!), and it still has its hidden rooms, passages and pathways. Thomas’ father is very excited about moving into the house because he’s a US Civil War history teacher and a historian. Just like his father, Thomas is very excited to find out what the house has in store for him to explore, but he is excited for another reason as well. He finds out that the house might be haunted by Dies Drear, the man who owned the house, and the souls of runaway slaves. Dies Drear was an abolitionist, and he spent a lot of his time giving away food, money and kindness to runaway slaves. ***SPOILER ALERT***, he was murdered by bounty hunters in the 1860s. Thomas finds this out by not-so-secretly reading the deed to the house his father was given before agreeing to rent the house, which reveals all the interesting “secrets” about the history of the house.

What I enjoyed most about this book was the setting. It gave me this really eery and creepy feeling about reading it. I would definitely recommend this book to my fellow classmates and anyone who wishes to read it.

“That was a good dream. Good and scary, he thought.”

332 words

 

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This Star Won’t Go Out: The Life and Words of Esther Grace Earl by John Green

This past week, I read all 431 pages of This Star Won’t Go Out: The Life and Words of Esther Grace Earl by none other than John Green. This book, I will say, really amazed me. I think I have a new favorite author! But, enough about me.

Esther Grace Earl was diagnosed at age twelve with thyroid cancer and lived with it for four years. Because of her cancer, she spent most of her childhood/teenage years in her bed. She enjoyed writing in her journals. Sometimes, she would get upset and anxious because she feels as if she isn’t doing enough to help others, despite being sick and confined to her bed because of her sickness. Esther’s character really attracted me because of her selflessness. Although she was sick, she didn’t use that as a crutch to keep her from helping others. She put her ailment aside and put others first. At the end of her life, she became a famous internet celebrity among “nerdfighters”. Nerdfighters were people who dedicated to “increasing awesome and decreasing ‘worldsuck'”, including John and Hank Green, the author and his brother. They encourage curiosity and compassion for others. Nerdfighters who had never met Esther blew up her social media accounts with love messages.

***SPOILER ALERT***, she died. And all the nerdfighters were very sad. What I found most interesting about this book was the way Esther’s character was portrayed. She wasn’t a depressed cancer patient all the time. She was portrayed as a ray of sunshine who valued love and compassion. In her  journal entries, she desperately hopes to be seen as a human being, not a cancer patient, which was the best part of the book, IMO. I would definitely recommend this book. 5 stars from me.

“Just be happy, and if you can’t be happy, do things that make you happy. Or do nothing with the people that make you happy.”

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The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

I recently read all 256 pages of Stephen Chbosky‘s The Perks of Being a Wallflower for my English Composition class and I must say, this was a pretty great book. The main character, Charlie, recently lost his friend Michael, due to suicide. To cope with the stress, he began to write letters to a kind stranger. Charlie is a sophomore in high school, and he befriends his English teacher, Bill, who eventually becomes his mentor. After meeting Bill, he decides to step out of his comfort zone and make a couple of friends, Sam and Patrick. They’re step-siblings, and the trio eventually become inseparable. Throughout the school year, Charlie goes on his first date, tries drinking, plays around with some drugs and makes and loses a couple more friends. He even creates his own “mixtape” full of amazing music, and reads a couple books. His new friends brought out a side of him that he never even knew of. His at-home life was pretty stable, until he finds out about an appalling family secret which results in hospitalization for Charlie, due to a severe mental breakdown. He writes another letter to his “friend” in hopes of being discharged from the hospital and forgiving his aunt Helen (she was the reason he had the mental breakdown), and making more friends. Charlie has hopes of actually being active in his own life instead of just letting it pass him by.

“Things change. And friends leave. Life doesn’t stop for anybody.”

I really enjoyed this story because I could relate to Charlie’s life. In high school, I was shy just like he was. I was also a Wallflower. The only thing that I didn’t like about this story was that it wasn’t longer! This book was so good that I read it in two days. I would’ve loved for Charlie to meet the person he was writing letters to, but the fact that he didn’t made the story even better. The letters that Charlie wrote were so realistic, I felt like I was the one writing them! Props to Steven Chbosky for such a great book.

“And in that moment, I swear we were infinite.”

I loved this book. Five stars from me.

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