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Feb. 9, 2011

Book nook

by Claire Sleigh, Print Managing Sports Editor, Ombudsman and Design Team
Remember back in elementary school when we had all that time on our hands? Back then, the most nerve-racking part of the day was show-and-tell, and there was always time to play and relax. Now, with all the stress of classes, finals and extra-curriculars, finding a free moment to curl up and read a book can be a challenge. For Blazers looking to squeeze a book between physics homework and soccer practice, Silver Chips provides a selection of four different quick reads that are sure to make a lasting impact.

Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro


While some may recognize Never Let Me Go as the blockbuster hit of the past summer, the original novel deserves its own recognition. A stunning story about the pains of growing up, the careful balance between dreams and reality, and the dynamics between friends, Never Let Me Go is a must-read. The narrator, Kathy, grows up in a utopian world at a British school called Hailsham. The story is told in flash-backs as Kathy begins to accept her ominous destiny. The reader is plunged into this new world as Kathyís equal, as she assumes that the reader is already fully knowledgeable and often neglects to explain sudden plot twists. This strange yet riveting guessing game adds to the eeriness of the book, pulling readers in. But this suspense factor merely adds interest to intricate character developments and moving plot, the true backbone of the story. Kathy and her two friends, Tommy and Ruth, struggle in separate ways with their identical fates, but Kathyís loyalty to her friends and her reaction to the social system propels the plot. Never Let Me Go is a reflection on the dynamics between people as they grow and adapt, a relevant part of our high school lives.

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

The fast-paced, attention grabbing, yet moving series of the decade is Suzanne Collinsí The Hunger Games. Readers will devour this series. Itís impossible to put down, irresistible in its climactic action, and disturbing in its satire of a world gone horribly wrong. Set in the world of Panem and dominated by the tyrannical Capitol, The Hunger Games draws on the idea of the gladiators under the Romans. Children from different districts are pitted against one another in an intense battle for survival. The situation complicates when the protagonist Katniss is thrown into the rink with a boy who loves her and is bent on saving her life. Both a meditation on how the body and mind react under pressure and a reflection on those basic values that should never be compromised, The Hunger Games is sure to thrill. Later books in the series are equally fantastic and will draw readers into the twisted world of Panem. Irresistible and heart stopping, the series will appeal to anyone with a sense of adventure.


Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood by Marjane Satrapi


Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood is in a literary category of its own. Both a touching memoir and a humorous graphic novel, the story is told through the eyes of author Satrapi growing up as a child through multiple revolutions in Iran during the 1980s. Satrapi captures the essence of childhood, complete with fantastical dreams, puzzling questions and the daily trials of growing up in a community that is shaken by revolution. Readers will fall in love with Satrapi as she struggles to understand her place in the world and tries to cope with the terrors she witnesses daily. Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood uncovers the history and humanity of Iran, a country that is often misunderstood. With growing unrest in the Middle East it is important to understand this volatile area from all perspectives. Even those who are skeptical of what is essentially a non-fiction comic book will fall in love with Satrapiís artwork and plow through the story in a matter of hours.


Zeitoun by Dave Eggers


Zeitoun is the true story of one man who stays in New Orleans as Hurricane Katrina is approaching and the city is being evacuated. A Syrian native, Abdulrahman Zeitoun, loves both New Orleans, with its buildings and vibrant community, and the United States. The book shows how the hurricane brings out the best in Zeitoun, as he paddles silently around the city in his canoe saving neighbors and friends, and highlights the worst aspects of the U.S. government and law enforcement agencies. The most arresting part of the book comes with the realization that Zeitounís tragic story is true and happened in our country five years ago. When reading the book, it is possible to be swept away by Eggersí powerful yet accessible storytelling and the absolute absurdity of the situation, but these travesties are no fictional account. In the wake of Katrina and 9/11, fear of both the Muslim and African-American communities led to widespread discrimination and, in Zeitounís case, even violence. Zeitounís story was found by the Eggersí project "Voice of Witness" in their quest to bring knowledge of human rights violations to the public.



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