Sunday, September 30, 2012

A Walk to Remember

A Walk to Remember
Nicholas Sparks
240 pages

In 1958, Landon Carter was in with the popular crowd, although he didn't know why. He  didn't play football, he was not the Senior class President. Landon didn't question his status though, he just lived it. Jamie Sullivan was the daughter of  Beaufort's Baptist minister, and she always carried a bible with her school books. She was shy and kept to herself, and the last person Landon thought he would fall in love with.

A Walk to Remember  is written through Landon's unique teenage voice. Landon changes and grows as a character the more the story evolves, and I can honestly say, I found myself wishing I was Jamie over and over. Over and over.

My favorite quote from the book is the following:
Love is always patient and kind. It is never jealous. Love is never boastful or conceited. It is never rude or selfish. It does not take offense and is not resentful. Love takes no pleasure in other people's sins, but delights in the truth. It is always ready to excuse, to trust, to hope, and to endure whatever comes.

This love story is sweet and charming, nothing overly dramatic or sensual. I even found myself fighting tears during the last chapter. If a book can make you laugh out loud, or watery-eyed, then you know the author did their job. They wrote you a story you are bound to never forget, as in the moment you turned that last page you know you have not only read the book, but experienced it. And that is the greatest feeling ever.

To watch the trailer of the movie version click here.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

How to Write the Best English Notes Ever

Before writing, find at least five different colors to use. They can be pens, like shown at the left, or colored pencils work fine too. Be sure to designate them a role as well. (For example, important dates may always be written in orange.)

The first thing you should do is give your notes a date. This will help you to go back and find them later. Second, give them a title. Make it a simple one, just stating exactly what the notes are about. Examples: The Civil Rights Movement, Pride and Prejudice - Chapter 1.

Next, think of a few categories that will help you to organize your notes. In the example shown in these pictures, I am researching Kurt Vonnegut, so some of my categories are Education, World War II, and Career. Make sure these titles are written larger, or are in some way more defined then the bullets beneath them. (Mine are written in pen and then highlighted.)

Making note of quotes that relate to plot, or reveal something about a character or theme, is very important to having effective English notes. Write them in the middle of the page, or in a different color. Always make sure that you have written down who said the quote as well. In the picture at the left, the quote, "We could have saved the world, but we were just too damned lazy." from "A Man Without a Country", is written clearly, and is centered on the page.

When taking notes on a novel, be sure to always refer to page numbers. This will be helpful later when you need to refer back to a specific quote, important event, or character description.

I find that categorized bullet-points arethe most effective way to take notes. This form of note-taking will be helpful when reading, researching, or listening to lectures. Always be sure to write down just the most important information, or things you are mostly likely to forget. It is so unessasary to have ten pages of notes that describe each and every outfit the character wore in the story, or that list every, single, poem ever written by Robert Frost.

Remember, that there are many styles of note-taking, and that you should pick the one that works best for you!

In case you were interested in Kurt Vonnegut, the author of Slaughterhouse-Five and Harrison Bergeron, this was the website I used to take the notes featured in this post.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Friday, Saturday, Sunday

The past few days have been very busy, so unfortunately, I was unable to post on Friday and Saturday. In this post, I have several pictures to make up for the lost time.
12:29pm - Happy Fall!
3:45pm - With such nice weather today, I decided to sit outside and draw.  

5:00pm - Haven't had time to really sit down and read this yet, maybe after I have finished posting this.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Thursday, September 20th

Just as a reminder, this week I am posting in pictures as part of my "This Week in Pictures" series.

8:50pm - A good book, cookies, and milk make a good combination

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Wednesday, September 19th

7:35pm - Having a little fun with my flashcards!
8:26pm - This is my favorite quote from A Walk to Remember, I know it is a little blurry, but I hope you can still read the powerful message it resonates.
(Review to come for this book shortly)

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Tuesday, September 18th

5:57pm - This picture does not do any sort of justice to the amount of rain
that is coming down right now.
7:28pm - Photographed above is my favorite bookmark, purchased in
The Birdwatcher's General Store in Cape Cod, MA, and chapter seven of
A Walk to Remember.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Monday, September 17th

As stated in yesterday's post, I am trying something different this week, by posting my days in pictures with only short captions. Enjoy!

5:39am -  Oh Monday morning, how I love you!
4:46pm - Truth be told, this is the first time I am reading Martin Luther King Jr.'s most famous speech, I Have a Dream. For homework I was supposed to analyze the speech, making notes and writing down important quotes. This one is my favorite: "With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood."
7:12pm - The library. Isn't it a lovely sight! I was in need of some new reading material, and I had some others overdue...oops!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

This Week in Pictures

For the next seven days, I will be documenting my reading, scenery, and interests in pictures. I plan to write a blurb or two just for photo clarification, but this should be fun as well as a challenge.

I spent the day today on the lake, not really reading, but just relaxing and trying to keep warm. The wind had me bundled in a sweatshirt, yet the sky was cloudless and the sun strong. I guess the weather couldn't make up her mind this afternoon.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Everyone Needs a Prince Charming...

Between the Lines
Jodi Picoult & Samantha Van Leer
358 pages

More specifically, Delilah needs a Prince Charming.

After falling in love with a children's fairy tale she found in her high school library, strange things start to happen. For instance, the main character (the one she secretly has a crush on) starts to talk to her. At first, Delilah thinks she's going crazy, but soon she finds herself on a mission to help the prince escape from his fairy tale, and into the real world.

Between the Lines is told in a unique way: switching from Delilah's point of view, to Oliver; the prince, and passages from the fairy tale itself. These passages are complete with beautiful drawings, like any classic fairy tale.

Delilah is a fully developed character, complete with all of the unfortunate high school experiences. For instance, during swim practice, she gives the head cheerleader a black eye, and falls in and out of friendships. The setting of this novel is not as precise as I would prefer, description is lacking.

Jodi Picoult, the author of My Sister's Keeper, and Nineteen Minutes wrote this novel with her daughter. As said in the Author's Note, "I would say one line, then Sammy would jump in with the next.". In some books with more than one author, the reader can tell the difference between one and the other's writing style. There is no need to worry with Between the Lines, as this story is written cohesively.

This book is really targeted for the young adult audience, but for a teenager, I think this book would be a bit lacking. It is told beautifully, but a younger-aged audience would appreciate it more.

All cover photos on Off The Shelf are credit to Google Images.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Looking for Alaska

Cover Credit: Google Images
Looking for Alaska
John Green
221 pages

Miles Halter is the average teenage kid, except for the fact that he has an obsession with famous last words. In the hopes for some adventure, he enrolls at the Culver Creek Boarding School in Alabama. But on top of getting some ridiculous adventure, Miles gets Alaska Young, a sexy, daring, and self-destructive kind of girl. Together, they search for the answer to the question: How do we get out of the labyrinth of suffering?

Told in first person, John Green creates Miles to tell the honest to God truth. Miles speaks to you in a way so righteous, so raw, straight down to the explicit language he uses. Looking for Alaska follows the average teenage plot: you crush on a girl, you get in a little trouble, and then something doesn't go as planned.

The theme most pronounced throughout the novel is the question above.  How do we make our way through the labyrinth of life, without encountering all of that suffering? All those wrong turns? The dead ends? Miles tackles the true problem though, how do we continue with life, after our suffering knocks us down? What is worth standing back up for?

I know those are a lot of questions for one young adult book to answer, but isn't that why we read? I know I read to find answers. Answers that connect the fictious worlds I love to the one I wake up to everyday. Answers that describe who we are as people, and what our purpose is.

John Green seems to tackle the most difficult questions in each of his novels, and somehow creates answers that spark further throught. Looking for Alaska will have you laughing, tearing up and pondering Miles in his quest for life's meaning.

Looking for Alaska is a Michael L. Printz Award Winner.