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The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao

The Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Díaz, 71/335 pages read.

This novel has several themes within it, such as, internal family problems, the pursuit of happiness in different forms, and the everlasting self-consciousness of people.

  1.   Internal family problems: The Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao is partly comprised of internal family problems, the book has several paragraphs detailing how Oscar and his family struggle due to his mother having cancer and how it affects their daily lives, this leads to the point where his sister runs away because of the false promises his mother makes. The daughter and the mother are constantly fighting due to their family only having Oscar, the mother and Lola (the daughter), this doesn’t help Oscar very well because of his condition of being overweight which leads to the theme of self-conscious.
  2. Self-conscious: The book also implies the theme of being self-conscious, throughout the several pages that I have read, there is evidence that Oscar is self-conscious about his body and about his personal lifestyle of being a nerd. Its Oscar’s self-consciousness that prevents him from going outside and interacting with others, its also the reason keeps him from overcoming his weight problem. He constantly tries to overcome his self-consciousness of his body due to his family giving advice to him about his condition but in the end he cannot, because he is afraid to try.  It ties in with the book because it’s Oscar’s self-conscious that makes the pursuit of happiness very difficult.
  3. The pursuit of happiness: It’s also implied that there is the pursuit of happiness in the book, Oscar or other characters are constantly trying to find their happiness in the forms of having girlfriends/boyfriends, the risk of abuse within relationships or in other manners. The way this ties in with the book is that Oscar once had two girlfriends at the same time but ended with his bad luck with girls after he dumped one of his girlfriends and the latter dumping him. It’s this reason that Oscar is constantly trying to get a girlfriend but cannot, due to either his overweight or his limit of interaction with the outside world. There are several other themes within this book such as superstition but don’t have that much effect on the book just yet, but I would recommend this book to anyone interested in finding these themes within the book.

“The Disappearing Spoon” Pt. 2

The Disappearing Spoon by Sam Kean, number of pages: 346, number of pages read: 346.

Some features that determine if a book is of literary merit is standing the test of time, the realistic characters, emotional complexity within the book, the originality of the concept of the book, and the concern with truth. The Disappearing Spoon may be a nonfiction book, but I wouldn’t consider that it has literary merit; the reason why, the book does have its original concept but its not enough to attract the entire population, although it does have realistic characters (even though its a nonfiction book) they have to have more “pizzazz” to them to keep the reader keep reading. Other reasons is that it needs some time to gain recognition from the general population and not just from one person, although it may not achieve the popularity from everyone there are certain parts in the book that may be recognized as being great. To sum it all up, the book could have needed a better foundation to at least make it gain some recognition and eventually a work of merit.

“To get around this problem, scientists invented the atomic number as a placeholder, which just underscored that no one knew what the atomic number actually meant.” (pg.100) This sentence fits into place with the story, the predicament is that scientists had a run in with cobalt (Co, 27) and with nickel (Ni, 28); the problem was that the weight of these elements had scientists wondering who would precede who, and so the atomic number was created but at the time no one knew what it meant until a fellow scientist figured it out. The syntax of this sentence is not really complicated, its more of a descriptive sentence of which people can understand what is going on; the author might have structured it this way so that the reader can understand the general idea that the sentence gives. On the other hand, the diction of this sentence is not bad either, the author has made the sentence easy to understand so that the reader doesn’t have to pull up a dictionary so that they can comprehend what it actually says; the sentence would have a good impact on the reader because it would make the reader realize that not every scientist knew about their discoveries and that time would pass until people would actually understand what it is. The sentence itself is good because it sometimes sums up what the book is mostly about: the discovery of the unknown and the pursue of the knowledge in chemistry.

 

“The Disappearing Spoon”

The Disappearing Spoon” is written by Sam Kean, the book is 391 pages but really ends at page 346 because past p. 346 are the acknowledgements and notes that explain more in detail about some topics within the book, however I have yet to finish the book due to my location at page 271.

As we all know, I am a fan of fiction and most often write about it in this blog, well I decided to give this book a try knowing that it’s not fiction at all. “The Disappearing Spoon” talks about chemistry (*gasp*), I never thought that I would be reading a book about chemistry but it turned out to be interesting. The author writes about the periodic table and how it influenced some parts of history, since the creation of the periodic table up until now in the twentieth-first century. Reading this book taught me some things, such as why Gandhi hated iodine (I, 53) or why scientists go to gallium (Ga, 31) for pranks. But seriously, the author did put some effort in writing this book (since he was able to research most of the information due to his master’s degree in library science), the amount of facts found in this book is astounding, each topic leads to others but eventually comes back to the original subject. The reason Sam Kean wrote this book is that there “were great stories out there about elements that” people “never got to talk about in chemistry class. “There were hidden and lost stories out there about elements like gold and aluminium (aluminum, the naming situation is complicated) that everyone thinks they know so well.”

The book is still going to be relevant in several hundred years because, its about the periodic table, and as we all know, new elements could be found which could mess up the sequencing of the periodic table again and again; elements could have interesting stories behind them and no one would know, this the reason why “The Disappearing Spoon” was written, to show us that some elements have cool or tragic stories behind them. On the other hand, discoveries of new elements in the near future could create more content for books about the periodic table that could be written in the near future. Chemistry may be changing but the periodic table may be the one changing the most in the near future.

 

I Am Number Four

Book Info: I Am Number Four by Pittacus Lore, 440 pages, book finished

I didn’t get to finish reading Fast Food Nation because it just kept driving me crazy with the amount of facts and unnecessary paragraphs, so I decided to read I Am Number Four because it was the only book that I could read within the limited time (1 day to be exact) and once again I was able to finish the book. Now a letter to the author.

Dear Pitticus Lore,

I understand that this is a name used for publishing also known as a pseudonym, however I am not going into detail about who you are, I would like to say that this book was quite fun to read, it left a feeling of wanting more. On the other hand there were some parts to understand but these error could be easily fixed but that would somewhat affect the amount of books that are already published, don’t worry about it, there are a lot of comments I could say about the book itself and the style it is written, of which I would give but cannot due the amount of comments that I have. In the meanwhile, let me talk about my comments about the book.

The style of the book is very amazing, the style is very casual with a little hint of seriousness in some parts of the book, the style ties the entire book together, the way in which you describe how the main character, John Smith (or Four), uses his Legacies to protect and save those around him was magnificent. Although I do have a question, was it necessary for Sam to come to the conclusion that he needed to kill John and eventually saying that the gun didn’t have any bullets at the end of the scene? That kinda left a sense of dread because if John were to be killed, then the Mogadorians would be able to go after Five, but it was just the style that left that sense of dread. This also leads me to another thing, the plot of the story was perfectly sequenced in the beginning with the death of Three and eventually the encounter with Six and the massive cliffhanger at the end of the book. The plot had points in which something would lead to another such as John’s eventual resistance to heat leading him to save Sarah Hart from a burning house, this is an example of how the story just kept leading to more problems or solutions depending on the scene.

The book itself was amazing, I cannot wait to read more books of the Lorien Legacies series, I hope that my letter helped you understand that there are some ups and downs within the book but the main focus is the quality of the book. I hope that you keep writing more books in the series and that you have my support.

Your fast reader,

Rafael

 

 

The Dark Side of the All-American Meal

Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser is a somewhat fascinating and appalling book, the author tells certain facts about the rise of fast food and the components that support these mischievous companies and how each company such as McDonald’s tries to outsource its competitors by advertising and by false hopes.  The great thing about this book is that there are quite the number of fascinating and sometimes weird facts about the companies that run these fast food chains and how they manage to make profits and sacrifice little to achieve it. However, there is a downside, the amount of facts present in the book, my mind tries to process what is going on while trying to figure out how it shaped today’s fast food chains, and another thing, the author talks about processing  plants in Iowa and ends up talking about ranchers who end up in debt and often give up; seriously, someone needs to slap this author on the head and show some sense into him (no offense Eric Schlosser, I don’t mean it).

Meanwhile the book does have its ups and downs, but there are some amazing facts (not this specific one) such as carmine, which is made out of the “dessicated bodies of female Dactlyopius coccus Costa, a small insect harvested mainly in Peru and the Canary Islands.” This “bug feeds on red cactus berries and color from the berries accumulated in the females and their unhatched larvae. The insects are collected, dried, and ground into pigment. It takes about 70,000 of them to produce one pound of carmine, which is used to make processed food look pink, red, or purple.” Think about it, the yogurt that people eat contain ground up bugs…that is appalling,  but what’s the risk? There is none. On the other hand, there are certain hilarious facts (if you take out the dying part) such as the “slayings of three teenage workers and a female manager at a Chuck E. Cheese’s restaurant.” Anyone want to guess where this happened? The same place where there was a massacre of people in a movie theater, that’s right folks, Aurora, Colorado.

I could go on and on saying certain facts about fast food and how it impacts our lives daily, but I’ll leave that up to the reader, I “would” recommend this book to anyone who has the guts to read a nonfiction book about fast food, and that each topic leads to another one and another one, etc, etc…. However, there is something that someone can learn from this book, but it takes a lot of courage to go through a series of unrelated topics. I’ll end it here but there is a question I would like to ask to the reader, is there a dark side of the all american meal?

Ready Player One Part 3

Answer each of the following questions in well-developed paragraphs.  Be sure to use spell check, proofread, and edit: your responses will be graded for content AND quality

1. Provide the title and author of your book.

The title of this book is Ready Player One, written by Ernest Cline.

2. What is the point of your book?  Did the author achieve their purpose?  If so, how?  If not, why not?  (In other words: what is the reader supposed to learn or realize from this book?)  Use text evidence to support your response.

The point of Ready Player One is to enjoy life, adventure and the 1980’s culture. The author did achieve this by using the 1980’s culture as the basis to this book and also making it a necessity for those trying to find Halliday’s easter egg. “Most of the entries…and ’80s pop culture, mixed with humorous diatribes denouncing everything from organized religion to diet soda.” (p. 7) This quote shows us that the creator of the OASIS had an interest in the 1980’s thus making it as a base for his easter egg hunt. The following quote explains what had happened when there was “a global fascination with 1980s pop culture.” “Fifty years after the decade had ended, the movies, music, games, and fashions of the 1980’s were all the rage once again.” (p. 7)

3. Explain how your book reflects history.  Your book may tie in directly (ie – nonfiction, or fictionalizing actual events) or thematically (ie – your book may be about revolution … how does that compare to what we’ve learned about revolutions thusfar this year?).  If you cannot think of any connections, PLEASE come speak with me IMMEDIATELY!!!

My book reflects the late 1970’s and the 1980’s culture, the book itself has many references to 1980’s culture of which we have not yet gone over, but most of the novels references are actually nonfiction and they all exist (is some way) in the real world. Although we may have not yet gone over what was happening in the 1980s, the novel has some other tie in with past events and people that the reader may or may not know.

4. Persuade me, Tess Mueggenborg, whether or not I should read your book.  You MAY use “I” in this response.  Use text evidence to support your response.

I would recommend this book to anyone who has some knowledge of the 1980’s pop culture, but in some cases its not necessary to know the culture of the 1980’s because the book will have some way of explaining those references. “A famous eccentric, Halliday…crammed with obscure ’80s pop culture…were lost on me the first time I viewed it.” (p. 2) This quote explains to us that the protagonist Wade had problems getting some of the references in this video but as time passed he got to familiarize himself with the 1980’s by reading Anorak’s Almanac of which contained useful information about Halliday and his obsession with the 1980s. Anyways, this novel is a must read for anyone interested in 1980s references and an action packed adventure that will keep the reader on their seat waiting to find out what happens next.

Ready Player One Part 2

  1. The novel, Ready Player One, has 375 pages and I have finished the book.
  2. Ready Player One takes place in Oklahoma, then Columbus, Ohio and finally Oregon in the real world. However, there are many locations in the book that take place in the virtual world, although the time setting is 2045 in the real world. Like the modern world today there is a diversity of races of people in the book. Religion doesn’t have much effect in the book but there are some references to religion in the book.
  3. Although this book’s setting takes place in the future, there are some aspects that relate to world history such as a power struggle for something that influences the people and the occasional resource war but that has no effect until the end of the book. Even though the setting of this book takes place in the future there is one aspect that relates to World History which is the occasional power struggle, such as the Chinese in the past and others in Europe.
  4. I like this book because the author provides very accurate details to set the mood whenever there is a major battle, aside from that there is a the occasional side story which in this case is when the protagonist goes back into the real world. The one comment that made me read this book would be “Enchanting…Willy Wonka meets The Matrix.” The following quote would be the one that got me hooked near the end, “Shoulder-to-shoulder avatars stretched to the horizon in all directions.” This book is absolutely in my top 10 books because the action seems so real, the author does a good job stating the details and making the scene work with the plot. I would recommend this book to anyone who seeks an action-packed plot with twists and turns at every corner.