Thursday, June 2, 2011

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time by Mark Haddon

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time by Mark Haddon is a story told from the first person perspective of Christopher John Francis Boone, a fifteen year old boy with Asperger's, who currently lives in Swindon with his father. His disorder makes it very difficult for him to relate to and understand human emotions, although he is very good with animals. This also means he is very good at logical things such as maths and sciences. He also knows all of the countries in the world, and their capitols, as well as many prime numbers. Among his peculairities is his irrational fear of being touched. Routine, order, and predictability help him get through his day to day life as well as shelter him from the outside world, until one afternoon when he finds his neighbor's dog, Wellington, impaled by a garden fork. This discovery inspires him to be like Sherlock Holmes, his idol, and solve the mystery of Wellington's true murderer, and throughout his journey, his investigation leads him down many unexpected paths.

Discussion Questions:

1. Christopher's father confesses to killing Wellington in a moment of rage at Mrs. Shears and swears to Christopher that he will not lie to him ever again. Christopher thinks, "I have to get of this house. Father has murdered Wellington. That means he could murder me, because I cannot trust him, even though he said, 'Trust me,' because he told a lie about a big thing," (122). Why is Christopher's world shattered by this realization? Is it likely that he will ever learn to trust his father again?

2. In this novel, some scenes seem comical. Why are they funny? And, are these same situations also sad or frustrating?

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

A Walk To Remember- Nicholas Sparks

"Love is like the wind, you can't see it but you can feel it."

What happens when the highschool stud falls for the crazy science girl? Stories like these never end well. When Landon Carter fell deeply in love with Jamie Sullivan their lives were changed forever. They grew up in the same schools. He was the rebellious boy, and she was the Jesus-freak of a girl. Her father was the church's reverand, she was the one always with her bible in her hands.

When Landon got into some trouble, he was told he had to participate in the school play. Which was ran by Jamie and her father. As he began spending more time with her, he began slowly falling in love. He was no longer embarassed of her nerdy outfits, or her bible. He learned more about her on a personal level. She was an amazing singer, really smart, an only child living with her dad, and loved each and every one of the stars. The more he learned the harder he fell for her.

Until one day, she found that she had lukemia a deadly form of cancer. She knew she had little time to live, but she did not tell Landon until she was visibly sick. She just wanted to spend all the rest of the time she had with her loving boyfriend and caring father. When Landon found how sick she really was, he was truly upset. He bought her a star and spent as much time with her as possible.

"Love is patient love is kind...."

1) What would you do if you had one day left on earth?

2) Do you think it's possible today, to fall for someone you thought you "knew" all of your life?

Monday, May 30, 2011

I am The Messenger

The protagonist in this novel is a nineteen year old cabdriver in a big city of Australia. His name is Ed Kennedy. Ed is what some may call, “your average Joe”, but he proves more than that in the story. Out of all of his siblings, Ed still lives in the town that he grew up in. Ed hasn’t quite opened his eyes to his future that he could potential have if he would just try. Ed lives a very simple life unlike his siblings who have high paying occupations. His family isn’t mentioned in great detail. His mother claims that Ed is a failure just like his dad who never accomplished anything in life, and died an alcoholic. “You’re just like him.” (Zusak, 39) is the response Ed’s mother gave him when Ed asked why she didn’t approve of him. Ed’s mother does love him, but does not love the fact that he is headed the same way in society as his father.

The beginning of the novel starts off with Ed and his friend Marv, going to the bank, but while they are at the bank a robbery is present. Ed is titled a hero in the newspaper the following day, because he stops the gunman in his tracks inadvertently when he decided to flee away. Ed is asked by the police to come to court to serve as a witness to the robbery. At the end of the trial, the gunman says this to Ed, “You’re a dead man” (Zusak, 39) Ed is quite frightened by this since the robber is only in jail for six months. Ed finally forgets about the saying until a few days later when he starts to receive playing cards in his mail. After Ed is crowned a local hero in the newspaper, his life starts to give him a range of feelings. He only receives the ace playing card in the four suites. Each card had a total of three titles, addresses or clues for Ed to help him find his recipients. He never learns who sends all the aces of each suit until the end, but each suit is symbolic to how Ed must help the people. For example, the people he met with the ace of diamonds symbolized the need to protect peole from physical or emotional harm. The order of the aces went diamonds, clubs, spades and then hearts. From the beginning to the end of the novel, Ed’s life is totally changed by the one day he thought he was just going to go to the bank.

Discussion Questions:

1.If you were chosen by a random person to deliver messages to such strangers would you be willing to do it like Ed? Why or Why not?

2.Who do you believe is sending Ed the secret messages and why?


Illusions is a tale of Donald Shimoda and Richard Bach. They meet on one day, both flying biplanes across the country, giving people rides for a living. But Donald is different; he’s a messiah. The thing is, he never wanted to be. So, possibly out of boredom, Donald starts teaching Richard how to be a messiah himself. They keep on flying from town to town, Donald teaching Richard more and more about himself, others, and the world they live in. In all honestly, the plot of this story is more of a way of organizing Richard’s ideas about philosophy so my efforts here are limited. But the lessons in this book are likely to stay with me for the rest of my life.

1) At times, Richard had trouble believing what Donald was doing and saying; at one point, Donald walks through a wall. If someone was doing things like this, do you think you would be able to believe it?

2) One of Donald’s lessons was that “The mark of your ignorance is the depth of your belief in injustice and tragedy.” Do you think this lesson is true?

Sunday, May 29, 2011

"The Time Machine" by H.G. Wells

Time. Everybody knows of it but how much do we know? Some say their are four dimensions; length, width, depth and time. If we can manipulate length, width and depth, then why not time? This first person story views the life of a journalist who is a witness to time travel. This character meets a man known a The Time Traveler. The Time Traveler tells the narrator of his breakthrough and of his occurrences in the future. To many, the future is not how we think it would be according to Wells. Many of the other people in the book do not believe the Traveler, but the narrator hears in his voice that he is not lying and eventually witnesses this. Wells is trying to show that there is no such thing as a utopia through this book, no matter how much we long for one.
1. If you could time travel where would it be to?
2. Do you think time travel is possible?

The Choice; Nicholas Sparks

The Choice begins with Travis Parker, a carefree single man, loving and living the life. He lives on the water in North Carolina. He hangs out with his buddies and is a veternarian. One day his dog and his neighbor's dog have a run in with eachother. His neighbor, Gabby Holland, yells at him for his dog in her yard because her dog is pregnant from his. Gabby is a physician's assistant and has been in a relationship with her boyfriend, Kevin, for a long time. Gabby and Travis begin to get to know eachother and their chemistry is undeniable. Kevin isn't always around and this makes it harder for Gabby to decide what she wants. She ends up with Travis. They get married and everything is perfect. They have a child but ten years after they meet, there is a terrible accident. Travis and Gabby are driving and Travis gets into a car accident. He is fine but Gabby suffers and is in a coma. She is in the coma for months, and the doctors think she won't make it. The choice for Travis is to let his wife go or hold onto hope?

1. If you were Travis, would you keep your hope or let go?
2. How would you feel if you were responsible for causing somone else pain? Like how Travis feels guilty for getting in the car accident.