Monday, January 9, 2017

Holden the Hater

I've had the opportunity to read many good books over Christmas break, but I didn't. I read a couple of short stories that weren't as good as the Catcher in the Rye. I am somewhat happy to say that this is the last book I will be reading and blogging about in this class. I have become a bigger fan of reading during my time in this class (as long as it's a good book of course).
There's a lot of things in The Catcher in the Rye spark wonder in me. For example, the vocabulary that enforces the 1940's time period, the narrator, Holden Caulfield's mindset, and the weird characters. But out of these, the most interesting thing is Caulfield's mindset. The most outstanding thing about his mentality is that he hates most everything. It is very hard to find something that pleases Caulfield, besides his "kid sister", Phoebe. He says straight forward what he hates, for example he "hate(s) the movies like poison, " and says simply, "I hate fist fights." These are a couple of things that he doesn't like, among a list of people he is associated with. At first I thought I was similar to him, but I adore the movies and fist fights. I'm just kidding about the fighting, but Caulfield got more and more pessimistic as the story went on, and that's what really makes me uncomfortable. People with a lot of negativity, like Caulfield, bring other people down; although I understand his point of view very well (because he narrated every second), the whole book feels like he is just complaining about things that have happened, as well as things that are happening, to him. He says other people have inferiority complexes, when really he is the one that is dissatisfied with everything.
This made me wonder if Caulfield would like me or not, given that he only likes his dead brother and his kid sister. I'm not like the jerk roommates that he describes, or the perverts in the hotel, or the rude cab drivers; so would I be the type of guy that could actually be Caulfield's friend? I really don't know, and frankly I'm not sure I would want to be. He has a very unique insight and perspective, but he thinks he knows everything, he's a hypocrite and he hates more things than he appreciates. Overall The Catcher in the Rye was not like any novel I've read before, and I like that. Even though there wasn't a crazy ending or major climax, it still made me want to keep reading, and any book that I want to read in less than a week is a good book to me.Image result for holden caulfield

Monday, December 19, 2016

1984 in 2016

I have read a couple books since my last blog and started reading Thirteen Reasons Why, which I have almost finished. I am now very close to my goal think I will surpass it by the end of the year. I read Anthem because I did not read it last year; I might blog about it next because it feels like a really condensed version of 1984.
1984 is a terrific and challenging book to read. It is hard to find a dystopian novel that I really enjoy, but this one is really interesting and eye opening. Winston Smith is the protagonist that finds himself hiding his feelings and thoughts from "BIG BROTHER," a man who represents a whole society and government. In this government no one can be individual and everyone must work for Big Brother, so in theory everyone is equal. But it feels like George Orwell was being very sarcastic while writing this, because some of the things he wrote are humorous. Right off the bat he uses certain phrases and words that make the reader think and maybe even laugh at the humans' version of equality. Orwell uses paradoxes throughout the novel to make his point clear. All of the citizens must recite the motto "WAR IS PEACE - FREEDOM IS SLAVERY - IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH" every day. These phrases contradict themselves but no one notices or cares because they have been taught to do what they are told and say what they are told. These sentences are repeated multiple times always in all caps; each time it is read again, it becomes clear that Orwell does not think highly of war or strong government control. His purpose in writing this wasn't to predict the future, but rather provide an example of what totally equality might look like.
Equality is a common issue today amoung women, gay people, and different races. As for as economics go, socialism has failed all the time in history, so I don't expect to see free college anytime soon. But social issues are different; we will never be truly equal because that would mean that no one could have ambition, fame, or ego. These things are natural and perpetual -- someone is always going to want to be the king of the hill. Besides that fact, race equality and gender equality can be implemented more, but it takes both sides to accomplish; in any circumstance, getting people to work togetherness can be difficult, especially with past conflictions between them. 1984 doesn't have the answers to all of these questions but it is a great read and educational even as a science fiction.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

You're a Wizard Albus

After reading Capitalism and Freedom, I finally got to reading Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. I finished this book really quickly because I have been looking forward to it and have already started my AP book, 1984 by George Orwell. I am going to read a lot more at home because 1984 has a lot of words per page and about 300 pages; I hope to finish it in two weeks or less. When I finish 1984 I will be halfway to my goal. I am at a non consistent pace, but I read some books faster because I'm more interested in them and that makes up for the time I lose while reading a book that I'm not as interested in.
The style in Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is unaccustomed to the Harry Potter franchise. None of the original books were written as a screenplay, but finally 18 years after the seventh book was released, a new story is given to Harry Potter fans as well as a new form of writing. I am glad JK Rowling gave her fans a different view in this continued story that has been anticipated for years. It is not just Rowling though; Jack Thorne, a playwright, and John Tiffany, a theatre director, wrote it with her-- she had help from experienced professionals in the theatre field. Reading it from a third person point of view sprouts a way more intimate feeling.
Near the end of the story, Harry talks to Dumbledore in search of wisdom. After Dumbledore admits he loved Harry (familial love), "The two men are overcome with emotion"(258). Italics are used here because it is a stage action, or in this case, a narration--not a line verbalized by an actor. One of my favorite things is how direct the narrations can get. Although they can be said more gracefully or elongated, the way Rowling phrases them adds extra impact. For instance, it could have read, "Dumbledore struck the deepest region of Harry's heart, and his heart melted with him," but that isn't abrupt enough. While watching a play, the audience has to keep up with the action as it happens in front of them, and narrations have to be simple enough to understand.
Moreover, the narration amplifies imagery. For example, Dumbledore tells Harry he didn't want to hurt him, then "He begins to cry but tries to hide it." When I read that, and other narrations, I was stunned. Picturing Dumbledore with red eyes, trying to hold back his tears makes me want to cry myself. Dumbledore is like a father that Harry never had, and although I have a father, I still have many people I look up to and love. My uncle introduced me to photography and continues to teach me things about it. Sometimes I think I should quit, but I know that he is proud of me and I can ask him anything when I need some wisdom. 

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Freedom before equality

     Since reading Lord of the Flies, my pace has slowed down. The syntax and diction are very complex and I didn't realize that a short book can be just as hard, or harder to read, than a lengthy book. Nevertheless, I am finishing a nonfiction book, Capitalism and Freedom by Milton Friedman. This book has a vast vocabulary as well, since it is a political book, and I felt the need to at least highlight some quotes that I thought were interesting. If I wasn't doing that it would take a lot less time to read, but I really want to comprehend all 202 pages of this book and create my own opinions. When I finish my nonfiction book I will probably get back to reading Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, since I have had to read other books. I plan on using Harry Potter and the Cursed Child as one of my fiction books in the next nine weeks. I am sticking to my 10 book goal in year and think if I keep pushing myself I can get there.
     Milton Friedman's voice shows right off the bat in Capitalism and Freedom. But I'm not just going to look at Friedman's voice in this one book, I'm going to look as Friedman as a person. Of course his voice basically shows who he is and expresses his opinions; but I also want to know why he wrote this book, where he got his facts and how reliable they are. These questions blossom after reading the first few chapters, because when reading some of his good points, I started to wonder what Friedman had gone through and what kind of research he had done.
     Friedman must has a lot of experience with politics and money; he published this book when he was 50 years old. He lived through the Great Depression and the two World Wars. So it's not like he remembered every fact brought up in his book, but he was living at the time, unless it was before 1912. With his experience and his own opinions, plus tons of research I imagine, his points become acutely valid. And as a strongly opinionated man, he felt the need to find answers to some questions asked by politicians, company owners, citizens and so forth.
 Friedman had a few answers, a few solutions, and a few opinions that aren't totally supported with facts. He believes that "A society that puts equality before freedom will get neither," but "A society that puts freedom before equality will get a high degree of both" [177]. Given Friedman's boosterish tone, one purpose we can assume he had is to provide countries or societies of any size to be successful in making their citizens satisfied; that means free, equal, wealthy or just united in general. Most dystopian fiction novels prove this. The idea behind a perfect world is equality, right? Well, the popular book (now a movie) Divergent, is an ideal example that equality isn't the only thing that holds a society together, and it's definitely not the only thing needed for a flawless world. It is near impossible to have a world without superiority, and Friedman recognized this. But he doesn't just leave that fact there; he suggests that if freedom comes first, then a great deal of equality will naturally come with it. Whether this is true or false is not in black and white, because there are exceptions. But to take one step closer to true equality, maybe even world peace, means proposing any idea that has the potential to change the world. 

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Books Aren't Just Words

I have been fairly successful at keeping a constant reading schedule. I finished The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick in one week, and I wish to finish a single book every week. The Invention of Hugo Cabret has 533 pages, but 284 of those are black and white pictures. Besides the number of pictures, there is still 26,159 words. In order for me to finish books at the current rate, I probably need to read at least 3 hours out of class weekly. I do want to challenge myself more, so I am going to find books with deeper concepts and higher level vocabulary.
The Invention of Hugo Cabret was one of the easiest books I've read. A lot of the pages are only filled halfway with words and half of the whole book consists of sketches, but these sketches are a brilliant add-on to this novel. They are placed in the right moments and help you imagine scenes more vividly. Some people may not like the style or get the purpose of some of the pictures, but whichever way you feel about it, you cannot deny that it makes this book considerably unique. Arguably the most important picture is a "rocket [flown] right into the eye of the man in the moon" [176]. Image result for the invention of hugo cabret moonThis sketch comes from Hugo's Father's favorite movie. Hugo's father was a mechanical man who taught Hugo how to build and repair nearly anything at a young age. His dad died when Hugo was still young, but he left a mechanical man that could write and/or draw something by itself. Hugo repairs the man and when it is cranked up, it "created an image that Hugo recognized immediately" [251]. The reader can turn the page and visualize exactly what Hugo sees at the same moment he sees it. However, readers can be creative and may want some things left to their own imagination, and Selznick leaves little room for readers to imagine their version of the man in the moon. But based on his original target audience (young readers) it was a good decision. When you know there is going to be a picture after the last sentence on the page, it makes you curious and makes you want to turn the page quicker.
I find this book very similar to music. A lot of times when I listen to music I think about what the music video would look like, but only select songs deserve their own video. This graphic novel has select illustrations that are significant to the plot; not every single encounter between characters has a picture. I would recommend this book to anyone looking for a different style and an easy read.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Introduction

Hello, my name is Logan Wynn. I am a sophomore attending Hebron High School. I have never been a big reader because I thought it was a waste of time. It took forever for me to finish a book so I just didn't read for a while, but this year I plan to read at least 10 books. I only expect to read 4-5 this semester including Lord of the Flies and my non-fiction book, Capitalism and Freedom. I like all types of books, from informative psychological books to exciting fiction novels. I do not have a daily page goal because some days I might not read out of class and some days I might read for a whole hour before bed. I have already read The Invention of Hugo Cabret and I hope I can finish a book every one or two weeks. I think this semester will boost my overall motivation to keep on reading as I get older.