Post #4: Background Information

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https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-pacific-15353971

According to the BBC profile of Laos, The Lao People’s Revolutionary Party (LPRP) keeps their media on a strict leash, so little news is known about Laos outside of the country. Laos is a Southeast Asian country that crosses the Mekong River. The capital of the country is Vientiane, home of the That Luang Monument, and around 820,000 people. Another major city in Laos is Pakse, where the Mekong and Xe Don rivers collide. It contains the luxuriously decorated Buddhist temple often visited by monks. Laos is known for its mountainous terrain, Buddhist monasteries, and hill tribe settlements. Evidently, the Buddha’s breastbone is housed in the That Luang Monument, along with many other things that are important to the Lao people. The population of Laos is currently around 7,275,560 people, most of them centered around the tropical lowland along the Mekong River. The population has grown about 1.55% since last year. Lao is (obviously) the most major language spoken is Laos, along with English and French being popularly featured foreign languages taught in schools across the country. Buddhism is the most common religion practiced in Laos, along with Laotian Folk Religion, which encompasses a vast majority of different religious beliefs. Other, less common religions include Christianity, Islam, and Jewish. The unemployment rate in Laos is .57%. In 14th century AD, Fa Ngum made Buddhism the state religion. Then in 1560, the capital was changed from Luang Prabang to Vientiane. Later, in 1953, Laos became independent from France. And that’s about all I could find 🙂

 

Book Club Personal Response

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I. Loved. This. Book. I thought it was extremely, incredibly well-written. The author included fantastic metaphors, similes, and awe inspiring fluency. I was captivated throughout every word of this book. The only thing I hated (which I also loved) was the ending, which I will not give away due to spoiler purposes. It made me sad the way that Yael treated Adele’s brother, Felix, considering he was just trying to help his sister out, unaware that she wasn’t actually his sister. The ending made me angry, and also Luka’s personality makes me kind of upset. All in all, it was pretty amazing. There were certainly some lines throughout the book that stuck out to me, but I regret to admit that I can’t remember them, especially because there were so many. I feel like I understand so much more about what the Holocaust looked and felt like, and how it might have felt to fall under Hitler’s rule. I would recommend this book to anyone interested in historical fiction, or the events of the Third Reich.

Book Club Response 2

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Since the last blog post, I have finished the book. All I have to say is that there is a LOT that happens. After being kidnapped by the Soviets mid-race, the racers are able to escape by way of Yael showing her true self to the leader and convincing him to let her and the other racers go so she can complete her mission. They narrowly escaped, packing themselves into a stolen transportation vehicle with only a few sustained injuries. Once they make it to the next landmark, they are given new bikes that aren’t half as good as the ones they had before. They find that Katsuo was able to reunite with his bike and ride all the way to the next landmark, now hours in the lead. Everyone is hopeless; they will have no chance of catching up to Katsuo unless they can take him out. I will stop there, because after that I will be spoiling the book. All I can say is that the whole ending came as an astounding surprise at the way it unfolded compared to the way I thought it would go.
The scenes we decided to use were some of the most defining scenes in the book. Mine was the scene when Yael is with Vlad on the farm, and he is training her to become stronger. They are visited by another member of the resistance and Yael is given her assignment to kill Hitler in the next Axis Tour. She is also forced by Vlad to look at the tattooed numbers on her arm for a little while every day so that one day she will be able to handle them and not let them bother her, which led to her finally accepting herself and being able to hold back and push down the pain of her past.
Wolf by Wolf highlights the Holocaust, the Axis Tour, and the reign of Hitler. It shows that there were a lot of people that were for, and a lot more people that were against, the reign of Hitler. In my research I found that 6 million Jews were killed during the Holocaust, out of the total 9.5 million Jews that lived in Europe at the time.
Pregnant prisoners in the Nazi Ghettos and camps were put into “care” centers where their babies were forcibly aborted.
(both found in https://ajcongress.org/content/6-horrific-facts-about-holocaust)
The last fact I found was that young Jewish children were especially targeted by Nazis, and if the didn’t suffocate on the cattle cars because of the amount of people crowded into them, then they were promptly forced into the gas chambers. 1.1 million Jewish children died.
https://www.factretriever.com/holocaust-facts

Book Club Response 1

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The book that I am reading for this book club is Wolf by Wolf, written by Ryan Graudin. I am about halfway through the book, and so far the book has been highly entertaining. Yael, the main character, is a Jew who begins her story on a train, clinging onto her mother’s skirt and squished between lots of other people for days. When the train arrives to its destination, what Yael calls “the death camp”, a doctor who looks almost like an angel assigns her to be his test subject. After weeks of being trapped in the death camp, underfed and beaten, Yael has realized that the doctor is anything but an angel. He pokes and prods her with needles, noting her “progress” and scrutinizing her constantly. The story skips to 12 years later, where Yael is just finishing up her fifth wolf tattoo, all of them a representation of loved ones long gone. She has joined a resistance against Hitler and the New Order with the ability to what some would call shape-shift. She can change her appearance to look like anyone around her, including taking small traits from multiple people and putting them together to become a whole new person. Her mission: to join the motorcycle race across continents, called the Axis Tour. She is posing as a former (and only) female victor: Adele Wolfe. She and her fellow resistors are able to successfully kidnap the real Adele, and join the race without raising suspicions. But a couple problems arise: the real Adele’s brother, Felix, has joined the race at the last moment in an attempt to convince her not to race. Adele also seems to have an apparent history with a fellow racer and victor, Luka, which Yael knows nothing about due to Adele’s success in keeping this particular information from the public. With these two issues constantly threatening to unravel Yael’s secret and get her killed, she races across the continents with only one goal in mind: win the race = kill Hitler. So far she has had some run-ins with near-death experiences, endured fights between her “brother” and Luka alike, and fallen behind almost irredeemably in the race, until a major sandstorm hits and she is able to forge her way to the front while everyone else hunkers down due to the nonexistent road. Currently, Yael is seconds from being exposed by Felix. He has noticed the small but sure differences in her personality and actions, and practically witnessed her changes in appearance on her way to collecting files from a resistance contact.

Ryan Graudin was born in Charleston, South Carolina. She has a severe case of wanderlust, and is constantly traveling. She was raised amongst constant music, play, and fairytales, and by the time she was in high school she knew for sure that an author was what she wanted to become. https://www.ryangraudin.com/theauthor

 

Book Show and Tell #2

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For my second book show and tell, I read the book Firefight by Brandon Sanderson. This is the second book in the Steelheart series, which we already read as a class. The storyline follows the characters David, Prof, Megan, and Tia: The Reckoners. Their purpose is to find the weaknesses of and then kill Epics. David, the main character, is forced to leave Newcago for the first time in his life to travel to the strange city of Babilar and join forces with another group of Reckoners. A new enemy, who also happens to be an old friend, has resurfaced to cause trouble. Regalia, a dangerous and high Epic, has the ability to control water, and appears to the Reckoners several times using water to imitate an image of herself. Their goal is to find her base and destroy her from the inside out, but they slowly begin to realize that she knows more than they think; more than even they know. David discovers things about Epics and Calamity that he never imagined, and the dark side of certain characters begins to unfold as they are pushed to their limits to fight against Regalia. In the meantime, they are trying to fend off another high and slightly insane Epic, Obliteration, who is set on exploding the city. This book is action packed, with a small taste of mystery and romance thrown in for effect. I would recommend this book to anyone who has already read Steelheart or any other books by Brandon Sanderson, and just anyone who likes action and intensity in a book with no chill 🙂

Blog Post #6

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This picture depicts the scene in The Paper Magician when Ceony arrives at Magician Thane’s house and is staring up at it in astonishment because of how disconcerting and unwelcoming it looks.


Ceony quickly notices how cluttered and messy Magician Thane’s house is, and yet, it is neat and organized at the same time; everything is exactly in its place.

As Ceony explores the house and gets to know Magician Thane a little better, she notices that he has a ton of books. He has shelves full of them in his room and all around the house.

Magician Thane assigns “A Tale of Two Cities” to Ceony to read, along with multiple other books, to practice her imaging techniques, and also just because he likes the book.

Ceony is also assigned a human anatomy book, which she has a hard time understanding the point of. Little does she know that when Mg. Thane’s heart is stolen from his chest by Lira, an old lover, this book will come in handy in allowing her to Fold a paper heart that will keep the Magician alive until further notice.

This picture just reminds me of the moment when Ceony Folds six little birds and sends them out a window to track Lira, and Thane’s heart, down.

This picture reminded me of when Ceony found the giant glider Folded neatly in the room Thane had told her not to enter, and followed the little bird to the place that Lira was hiding. She was thrilled that she had the ability to fly.

I think this image is an interesting perspective of how, maybe, the paper that has been Folded and brought to life has the ability to see and perceive what is going on around them.

The conflict of The Paper Magician is coming together well. I did not expect that it would take this dramatic of a turn, but it was a welcome surprise. I think the author is moving the story along well, and I’m enjoying this cute little book so far. 🙂

Blog Post #5 – Book Gifts

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I have received books as both Christmas and birthday gifts, and I loved them. I did let my mom know each time which series/books I’d like to add to my library in my room, and then she chose from there which ones to get me. Usually I will be in the middle of a couple of books during the holidays so I have to wait until after I’ve finished my reads to start the new book gifts. I absolutely love getting books for Christmas, because, for the most part, quality hard cover books can be a little more on the expensive side, and it’s nice not to have to pay for them. I have never gotten a book as a gift that I didn’t want or didn’t like, mostly because I always ask for books/series that I’ve read before and would like to own so I can reread them as many times as I want. 🙂
There are four ‘official’ books in the Fallen series, which is the series that I’m reading for the Series Project. There is also an ‘in-between’ book, and then the last book follows the love story of one of the prominent characters, Cam, because the book before this one finishes the story of the previous main characters. I would most definitely give this book to anyone that is interested in time travel, fantasy, otherworldly, and angels vs demons types of books.
We don’t have any special plans for the holidays, we’re just planning on going up to my grandparent’s house for a Thanksgiving dinner, and then for Christmas we will most likely have some cousins come over through Christmas and the New Year. Other than that, I don’t think there is anything unusual that we will be doing. But I am still VERY excited 🙂

Blog Post #4 – Social Justice Issues

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The book Dumplin’ was written to address the issue of size and body discrimination. Main character, Willowdean, has been overweight and larger than average her whole life, but up until now, she’s always been fairly comfortable in her own body due to her loving aunt Lucy’s advice and guidance.  But now that she’s kissed a boy far out of her league, she’s become more aware of her size and shape.

The whole issue involving socially acceptable body weight and size began not long ago. The word “fat” became an insult fairly recently, whereas it used to be the equivalent of showing off your wealth and your high-and-mighty position/social status. It meant that you were rich enough to pay others to do the work for you, and you had time to sit around and gain weight because of the abundance of food you could afford. But then obesity was discovered to be a health risk, and in the 1940-50’s, it was decided that “thin” and “lean” were the new beauty trends and the ideal health expectation. It was also decided that “obesity is caused by gluttony”, as an article featured in the Life magazine describes it.

However, in today’s society, we have created Body Positivity movements to reduce fat-shaming and help overweight people feel more comfortable in their own skin. There have been many waves of body positivity movements as the decades have progressed and more people have found their voices among the crowd. Books, movies, motivational speakers, and many other forms of spreading the news have focused on getting rid of the concept of the “ideal body”. People such as radio host Steve Post, author Lew Louderback, model Tess Holliday, etc. have been a huge part in spreading awareness involving this particular issue. @EffYourBeautyStandards was created by Tess Holliday herself to address this world-wide issue.

Dumplin’ is a modern book that ties all of these beliefs and movements and issues into the main character and the life she lives. Will is able to introduce her own way of thinking, which includes not caring what you see in the mirror and enjoying yourself, no matter what you look like. She is like by her friends, coworkers and even some popular boys because of the confidence she retains through all circumstances of her life.

I am loving this book so far. Not long ago, I read a book called Please Stop Laughing at Me, which is a memoir based on the reality of bullying and the way it can impact the victims’ life. These kinds of books entertain you in a new way and bring to light the pain and suffering that victims endure due to people not understanding their situations and being inclusive and nonjudgmental.

Blog #3 – Series Project

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I decided to read the Fallen Series for this project. I began this series a couple of months ago and had to set it aside for a while to read a few assigned books, but now I am able to pick it back up again. I’ve read the first two of the five books, and I plan on finishing Passion by October 31st, Rapture by November 15th, and finally, Unforgiven by November 30th.

Book Show and Tell

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For my Book Show and Tell, I read the book Vixen. It is the first book in The Flappers trilogy, which I have also finished. This series follows multiple characters, but mostly goodie-two-shoes-turned-flapper Gloria Carmody. Her best friend, Lorraine, fiancé, Sebastian, and cousin, Clara, are all stars in this riveting series as well. We are thrown back in time to the Roaring Twenties, where girls no longer want to follow rules and play nice for the men. Gloria is known for her Good Girl reputation, until one night she takes a stand and sneaks out to a speakeasy. From that point on, hers and the lives of her companions are turned upside-down and backwards and they find themselves and discover true love.

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