Monday, January 9, 2017

Discovery at the Destination

Hey readers! Let's discover one more novel together and I hope you enjoy this last blog post.

I had hoped to have reached my goal of reading 20 books, but I'm sorry to report that I have only read 13 novels this semester. I wish I had more time set aside to read, but unfortunately I fell just short of my goal. My total number of pages has been down as well because of the lack of reading done over Christmas and the past few weeks. I hope to go above and beyond 13 books next semester even though I will not be in English class. But enough about my lame excuse for not reading, and let's get to the book.

For my last entry in this class, I chose the book The Lost Crown by Sarah Miller for its accurate historical content and amazing characterization of 4 sisters around my age. This novel is set in Imperial Russia right before World War begins, and these sisters are in fact grand duchesses and the beautiful daughters of Tsar Nicholas the Second. The plot goes to describe each of their accounts of the political unrest across Europe and the terrors occurring within their homeland. The royal family is moved all across Russia for reasons found in your world history textbook that I will not reveal. I thoroughly enjoyed this book because I'm fascinated with history and all the past revels to us, and the remarkable stories of these young women.

Through every trial the government and people thrust upon them, the sisters loved and relied on each other, and stated, "where we go next, we go together" (Miller 320). The compassion these sisters had for each other and their country was overwhelming, and prompted me to think of the love I have for my family. I discovered that no matter where we are in life and what tribulations are thrown our way, my family should stay close in our love for each other. Family is forever, and I know that's such a cheesy line, but it certainly is applicable to my and others' lives. We should respect our parents for all they sacrifice to keep us healthy and happy, and we should care for and look out for our siblings so they feel special and important. Life isn't easy, but it certainly is more enjoyable and bearable with those you love beside you every step of the way.

I hope you enjoyed this reading roadtrip as much as I have and I wish you the best year yet!


Friday, December 16, 2016

The Distance Between 1984 and 2016

Hello readers! Thanks for joining me once again on my reading roadtrip! :)

This semester is coming to a close, and I would to update everyone on my goals and accomplishments for English class in order to keep me accountable. I am currently on my thirteenth book, and I am fast approaching my goal of twenty novels read. This Christmas break will bring more free time so I should be able to reach my goal. My total page numbers have been down, but that should change very soon. My next blog is my last entry for English, so I will do my best to find a great last novel to write about. Hopefully by then I will have read 20 books and will continue reading throughout the second semester.

I have been assigned to read a book from the AP list these past few weeks, and as you can infer from my blog title, I will be discussing the novel 1984 by George Orwell. This dystopian book was a prediction of sorts of what the year 1984 would look like. Even though most, if not all, of these projections were falsely foreshadowed, the purpose of the novel was not to tell the future, but to warn of possible situations if humanity continues in our current direction. As portrayed in the book, the government is highly controlling, and the laws set on humans, their lives and even their thoughts are extraordinarily severe. It really opened my eyes to what could occur with overprotective governments and the effects of brainwashing on the population.

Winston Smith is the main character of the story, and he was one of the only ones seeing the world as it really was, and not how the oppressive government depicted it. He has many moments of realization about life, including the deep thought of “He who controls the past controls the future. He who controls the present controls the past.” (Orwell 35) This quote goes to show the significant power your choices have on the world and those around you, including yourself. 1984 was over 30 years ago, and now 2016 is coming to an end. I don't know about you, but I have accomplished a lot this year and have made many choices that have affected my future. For example, I quit school choir this year, and because of that one decision, I was able to move up to varsity tennis. This had a major impact on my life, all due to one choice I made the end of freshman year. This repercussion applies to an abundance of things in life, including science. Isaac Newton's Third Law states that "For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction." When applied to life and science, there will always be a consequence for your actions, whether it affects you positively or negatively. 

I hope that you will take the time to dwell on your response to circumstances in life and make thoughtful decisions on how your actions affect others. 

Have a Merry Christmas and a very blessed and happy New Year!


Thursday, November 10, 2016

Fiction and Fears - Approaching the Maze...

Hello readers! So glad you're joining with me today on this reading adventure.
We're moving along in our road trip, so there's a lot to discuss.

To start, in the past few weeks I have read a lot more, getting closer to my goal of reading very day. I have begun (and finished) a new series that i will discuss in more depth below. Because this series intrigued me so much, I have enjoyed and spent more time reading. It's amazing what a great book and a little bit of free time will do! However, I am well behind my 20 book goal this semester/year, as I am currently reading my 10th novel. Even though I am behind on this goal, I have read over 1,000 pages just in the last 2 weeks! (I really liked this series if you haven't picked up on that yet!) After finishing that series (you'll find out which one in a minute...), now I need to challenge myself with a book from the AP reading list. I hope to finish that within 1 or 2 weeks depending on the difficulty level of the novel.

And my choice reading was... The Maze Runner series!! (It was pretty obvious in the blog title, but you can still give me pity applause...) This series is about a group of teenagers who are being tested by the government in order to weed out the best and the brightest. They are put through multiple trials including a maze, scorching temperatures, and surviving in a forgotten city, just to name a few. In The Maze Runnera common response of the teens was fear when facing multiple tribulations, but as one character stated, “If you ain’t scared… you ain’t human." We all need to realize that fear is a natural human tendency, so it is ok if you are scared at times. For me personally, I tend to stress a lot about my classes, homework, and friends, so fearing the worst is my struggle. But in all of the stress and nervousness, it is completely natural for us to have fears, as long as it doesn't overwhelm you. I was encouraged by this novel because of how the characters have accepted the fact that fear is just a part of our lives. 

There are different kind of fears that we struggle with. Some can be scared of snakes or creepy bugs (gross), but some can also be scared of the dark or the unknown, or even afraid of being alone or dying or losing a loved one. I can guarantee you that I've had many of those fears myself. We are all different, but we are connected by our desire to feel safe and comforted. I hope you know that it's ok to be scared, and that you are not alone in your fears. 

Thanks for embarking on this trip with me! 


Thursday, October 6, 2016

Non-Fiction and Not Forgotten

Hello loyal readers!! Welcome back to my reading roadtrip!

As promised, today I'm going to discuss my choice for my non-fiction book. Drum roll, please! And our winner is... Not Forgotten by Kenneth Bae! (Cue confetti and clapping and "We Are The Champions") After much thought, this selection is a wonderful novel that I know inspired many people. Our next stop is fast approaching so let's go explore!

My non-fiction book, Not Forgotten is about a missionary's imprisonment in North Korea and the struggles of his two-year arrest. The author Kenneth Bae was a pastor led by God to go and help the hurting North Korean people. He had traveled over a dozen times to this country, but one minor mistake led him to be considered an American terrorist trying to overthrow the DPRK government. The Democratic People's Republic of Korea took him prisoner immediately, and he was moved from prison to labor camp to the hospital, losing a lot of weight and suffering from malnutrition. Although, the only force that kept him filled with purpose and passion was his faith in Christ. Bae dove into the Bible and Scripture, feeling the Lord's presence at the time where he felt most alone. During his darkest time of emptiness and despair, Bae realized that “The moment I stopped praying, God, save me, and instead prayed, God, use me, I felt free.” He had discovered that instead of trying to escape the situation, he instead could use every breath and effort to make the most of his circumstances. This should be our challenge: that we must use all of our energies toward changing our perspective positively and fulfilling our purpose to help others. 

I know that sometimes we may feel forgotten and all alone. But I can assure you that you are not. Everyone of you readers is loved and watched over by God, the king of the universe. No matter what you may be going through, there is a Creator who loves you very much.
One of the darkest times in my life was in middle school (I know... eew). During those 3 years, I really struggled with not having a friend. My best friend had switched schools and I had no one left to turn to. Sitting by myself at lunch was really hard for a social person like myself (I really, really, really like to talk). My experience was not even close to what Bae dealt with, but I can understand the struggle of feeling forgotten. But one thing we have in common is our faith and assurance in Christ that He will provide and be with us always. All of us truly are not forgotten. 

So, readers. Sorry for the sappy stuff above... I just needed to share my heart with you and help you understand how much this wonderful book encouraged me. Bae reminded me that there is hope in every circumstance and that you are never alone, and I hope that inspires you as much as it did for me. Today, just please remember that you are not alone and not forgotten. 


Thursday, September 15, 2016

First Stop - The Help

Welcome back, readers! I hope you're intrigued for the walk down literary lane, because we're approaching our first stop on this road trip.

I am currently re-reading The Help by Kathryn Stockett, and I enjoy it as much as I did at the beginning of summer. So far I have read 430 pages throughout the past 2 weeks, and hope to finish it soon. I am behind my reading schedule of 20 books mentioned in my last post, so I need to pick up the pace and increase my speed limit on this road trip. I typically read very fast, but I have not read outside of class enough to make a dent in my to-read list. This weekend I hope to finish my current novel and start digging into another one soon. After looking at my list, I will most likely select Not Forgotten by Kenneth Bae as my non-fiction novel. More details coming soon about that choice. As for now, I am going to read, read, and read some more! :)

As I mentioned earlier, I am currently reading The Help for a second time. This book raises some important topics such as the concept of slavery, and how the segregation impacted daily life. In this novel, the story is set in Jackson, Mississippi where the conflict between whites and blacks is a daily struggle. A white lady named Skeeter has a passion for writing, and finds herself taking sides in the segregation debate, leading to her using her talents to help the blacks around her. Skeeter begins to write a book about the life of the black help, building relationships with the maids she passes by every day without a second glance. When trying to convince other maids to tell her their story, Skeeter states, "We want to show your people might understand what it's like from you side. We hope it might change some things around here" (192). Skeeter and the maids took a huge risk in standing up for the blacks, and the protest of slave treatment could eventually lead to their deaths if they made one wrong move. The purpose and drive of these ladies is so powerful as they are giving up so much to give help to the help and raise awareness for the racism that occurs in the nation. I appreciate their boldness and passion to stand up for the right thing; their gumption is something I could use more of every day. This story helped open my eyes to not only what slavery was like, but also how a few people can make a difference by taking action and committing to sharing their opinions.

A common theme portrayed through The Help is how you can stand up for what's right if you have the resources and reputation to do so. Skeeter used her talents to give a voice to those without it through writing about their lives. We should take a page from her book and grab a soapbox and brainstorm how we can change the the "norm" in our world.

 So - let's get back in the van and keep on driving. Our first stop was a success and I cannot wait to see what other destinations are approaching.


Monday, September 5, 2016

Are We There Yet?

Welcome readers! I'm Katie Snyder, and together we are going to embark on an epic reading adventure! I hope you stay tuned to discover the wide world of literature, and enjoy it as much as I do!

Now, a little bit about myself. I am a high school student with many interests and hobbies, and reading is included in the broad list of what happens in my crazy schedule. I play tennis, sing, play guitar, and do homework. Can you guess which takes the longest? Yep, the one with the "work" in it... I also have an amazing family with my awesome parents, silly siblings, and my cute puppy named George.

Anyway, this year in English class we had to set some goals. In order to push myself, I have chosen to read 20 books this semester/year. See, that is a big goal even for someone who loves to read. Finding the (much needed) time to just relax in a comfy chair and read for hours at a time is more challenging what with all the other school work, but it is totally worth it. Another goal I am hoping to accomplish is to read more dystopian style novels. They seem to be trending in my generation, so I would love to check out a couple. I thoroughly enjoyed works such as The Hunger Games and Divergent, so I'm excited to check out some more in that genre.

Some other novels included on my reading list are Lord of the Flies, a non-fiction book I am undecided on at the moment, and 2 novels on the AP reading list. All of those listed will be great new books for me, and I cannot wait to travel into them with my readers!

So... are we there yet? Not quite. But, sit back and enjoy the ride through literature.