Saturday, July 26, 2008

To Kill a Mockingbird

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee is the story of Scout Finch and her family. Scout is growing up in the South in the 1930s with her brother, Jem, and her father, Atticus. Atticus is a lawyer who has taken on an extremely controversial case against a black man. Scout and Jem are caught up in the middle of the case while trying to have fun as kids. Meanwhile they are also attempting to discover their hermit neighbor, Boo Radley. Read this book if you love classic American literature, if you like a good law drama, or if you enjoy a mystery. I give it a 10 out of 10.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

The Prophet of Yonwood

The Prophet of Yonwood by Jeanne DuPrau is the prequel to The City of Ember. It follows a girl named Nickie who travels to Yonwood, North Carolina with her aunt in order to sell her great-grandfather's large house. This town has recently had interesting events occurring including the vision of a prophet about a fiery future. The town now follows the prophet's mumblings as it attempts to create good in a world seemingly headed for disaster. This book is not nearly as good as the other two. It rambles on about disconnected events and stories that don't really add up until a final, last minute chapter that summarizes many years and tries to connect this story with the other Ember books. Read this book if you are reading the series, if you are interested in stories about blind faith, or if you are planning on reading the other two books and want to get the crappiest one out of the way first. I give it a 6 out of 10.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

The People of Sparks

The People of Sparks by Jeanne DuPrau is the sequel to The City of Ember. Lina and Doon await the arrival of the rest of the Emberites to the new place they have found. They then come upon a tiny town known as Sparks whose citizens are at first willing to help the Emberites at least until they are able to live on their own in a few months. However, as tensions rise between the two groups of people, war seems imminent, and it's possible that the horrors of humans that destroyed the world and the population years ago might rise again. Read this book if you want to know what happens after The City of Ember, if you're interested in questions about human relations, or if you just enjoy a good, short, easy-to-read book. I give it an 8 out of 10.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

The City of Ember

The City of Ember by Jeanne DuPrau is a novel about Lina and Doon, twelve-year-olds living in a city called Ember, a place that is lit by large lights all over the city. Ember seems to have fallen on some hard times, however, and blackouts are becoming more and more frequent. When this happens, pure blackness swallows all of Ember. No one has ever left Ember as the unknown regions are also full of complete darkness. Doon suspects that he might be able to help the city of Ember, and begins to search the generator that runs all of Ember's electricity. As times seem to be getting worse, Lina discovers a clue that might help them escape. Lina and Doon must work together in order to figure out how to save Ember before it's too late. Read this book if you like mysteries, if you're interested in novels that take place in a strange future, or if you enjoy book series. I give it an 8 out of 10.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

The Handmaid's Tale

The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood is a dystopian novel about a woman who is stripped of her rights and her family when a powerful religious male-centered organization takes over the United States. Women are gathered up, re-educated, and assigned to positions in society. Offred's daughter is taken from her, and she is eventually assigned as a handmaid which means that she lives with a Commander and his wife. Her duties are to do the shopping and to become pregnant by the Commander in order to bear him and his wife a child. The birthrate has declined over the years, and this is he way the new government decides to take care of the problem. The novel is written from Offred's point of view as she details her daily life as a handmaid and the history of her own life that led her to this point. Learning about the society little-by-little through Offred's words is enticing and makes the book a page turner. Read this book if you enjoy dystopian novels, if you like novels written from the first-person perspective, or if you want to see what our society would be like without women's rights. I give it a 10 out of 10.