Silent

The silence woke her. It was all wrong, it was too quiet. Yet, the radio played in the background and there were people dancing everywhere. However, it seemed as if her brain muted the sounds and they seem to dim and eventually disappear. She was a lonely flower in the cracked, dry earth, while others were bright, warm flowers in a meadow. They were everything that she was not, and they ridiculed her, laughed at her, pointed at her. She didn’t really care. At least, she thought they didn’t bother her anymore.

She wondered what silence sounded like, as it was what woke her. As hard as she tried, her memory seemed to be muffled and covered up. She couldn’t remember what really woke her. Was it really the silence? Or was it more? At first she thought silence must sound white, lifeless, and dreary. Then she walked up to the attic. In this dusty, light-filled room, silence became something entirely different. It was placid and almost warm. It was still and it was almost beautiful. Unlike downstairs, in this attic, she no longer felt beleaguered by the dancing people and the wild party. All of a sudden, she opened her eyes and felt the lurid scene unfold in front of her. She was immediately ill and she sprinted down, turned on the Christmas music, and attempted to calm her illness. This illness defined her unlike anything else, and she let it because she lacked the courage to overpower it. It was due to this illness that she always faints and she always questioned the sounds of existence. She thought that she was insane. She had no friends and her parents are constantly fretting over her. However, what she doesn’t see was that what she has is not a mental illness. It is her own personality dying to shine through the mask that she has covered it up with. Inside, she was beautiful.

-Angela L.

As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner

Written in 1930, this novel written by William Faulkner follows the Bundren family. Told from the perspective of over 10-15 different characters, the Bundrens are on a mission: to carry out the wishes of their dead mother and bury her with her family. The only problem? This will be a LONG journey. Throughout the novel, hidden desires and motives are uncovered, as the reader discovers the true reason as to why various members of the Bundren family agree to fulfill their mother Addie’s last wish. From the quiet Cash to the observant Darl, every member has a secret reason as to why they are on this trip. And it is not just to bury their mother out of respect.

Written near the start of the Great Depression, this novel completely goes against the “typical family” stereotype. Rather than everyone being very supportive and loving of each other, it is as if everyone is just a hired actor forced to spend time with everyone else in the family. Each family member goes on this trip for every reason except to actually bury their mother. Some characters are easily disliked in this novel (cough, Anse, cough), while other characters are grown to be well-liked.

-Kobe L.

As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library

Lord of the Flies by William Golding

I recently read this book for my English class, and it was surprisingly good to read. Normally reading books for English feels like a chore, but for this book, it was entertaining to read. 

The book is about young boys from England who crash land onto a deserted island. It is never specified where they crash land but we predicted it was somewhere in the Pacific. The main boys in the book are Ralph, Piggy, Jack, Simon, and Roger. The boys have to learn how to survive in this harsh society they have made. 

They first start off by appointing a leader and making up rules that are essential to follow. Throughout the book, however, we can see a natural progression of rules being broken and people fighting for power, doing whatever it takes to achieve that–even killing. The book Lord of the Flies is mainly about the innate evil in the boys and if they are affected by the environment around them, or if they naturally had the evil inside of them. 

During the book, there are sometimes where we are going to have to say goodbye to some characters (no spoilers), but overall it is an amazing book. It is probably the best book I’ve read in English ever!

-Phoebe L. 

Lord of the Flies by William Golding is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library. It is also available for download from Overdrive

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

This month, I read To Kill a Mockingbird, written by Harper Lee. The story follows Jean Louise (Scout), a young girl who loves to explore the world and her town, Maycomb. She also has an older brother named Jem Finch and a father, Atticus Finch, who is an attorney. The story follows Jean Louise’s daily life, leading up to a big case her father is working on defending Tom Robinson, who was accused of a crime he did not do.

This story takes place in the 1930 during the Great Depression. Racial tensions also ran high in the South during this time, which added to the story. During Atticus’ closing statement to the courtroom, the story becomes very intense. Atticus is by far the most convincing lawyer in Maycomb but he is defending an African American against a white person. Back then, colored people were thought of as property, not people, and they did not command any respect. Atticus’ client loses the battle, and the reader really feels how biased the court, and the South, was during that time

This part of the book was my favorite, because even though Atticus knew his chances of winning were slim, he still gave it his best effort. I also liked the segment just before the defense was presented, when a group of men were about to kill Tom. Before they have a chance to do it, Scout stops them. As the fight is about to start, Scout recognizes one of the men. She introduces herself and tells the man to say “Hi” to his son, Scout’s friend. After that, the man calls off his friends and they leave. This scene really moved me. It represents how everyone is human and shares common ground. When Scout asks the man to say “Hi” to his son, the man realizes that he has a family, just like Atticus or Tom. If he killed Tom, he would never be the same, and his family would always look at him differently.

Overall, I thought this book was very moving. It had a great mix of comedy, suspense, and dramatic impact. I would definitely recommend this to eighth graders and up.

-Daniel C.

To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library

Film Review: Gladiator — When Rome Comes Back to Light

“There was a dream that was Rome. You could only whisper it. Anything more than a whisper and it would vanish, it was so fragile.” ― Marcus Aurelius

What was Rome like? Based on all the historical texts and books we read, and the movies and videos that we watched — extravagant and grandiose couldn’t be more pertinent here. In the magnificent villas surrounded by luxurious furnishings, rich men and women in crimson, indigo, and saffron yellow silk tunics were served with cornucopia and exotic dishes. Servants and singers chanted carmens and played tibias along with Roman poetry written by Virgil, Horace, and Ovid. A Roman bath at the end of the day and away from partying lives would be more than one could ask for…

Maximus Decimus Meridus made Rome’s march to victory against the barbarians possible.  He brought prosperity and glory to Rome and the Empire. Yet, the greatest General of the Roman Empire had not even set foot in this Xanadu once in his life. He was out on the battlefields when Commodus, the son of the Emperor, hid in the carriage. It was not because of Maximus’ bravery and excellence in war that earned him the trust of the man in purple, but it was his heart for the people that ‘persuaded” the emperor to give him Rome.

He declined. All he ever wanted was to return to his family. He turned his back from this beautiful city, the fruit of his accomplishment.

But…it was too late…

Fate seemed to detest a hero who did not follow the conventional path. No one would have thought Maximus would eventually enter the gates of Rome invited by vengeance. Sold as a slave who is “a father to a murdered son and a husband to a murdered wife, Maximus became a gladiator. Driven by intense grief and the desire for revenge, he fought his way to most grandeur fighting pit in all of history only to discover the truth about himself and Rome.

The reality was antithetical. Under the facade and the rule of a tyrant, daily lives of the people were casted over with a shadow of suffering and fear.  It is till then that Maximus understood why Marcus Aurelius trusted him instead of his very own son. The emperor’s words of responsibility, “To give power back to the people of Rome and end the corruption that has crippled it. ”

The story of Maximus’ return of power to Rome is intertwined with trust and betrayal, hope and despair, as well as love and camaraderie. Rome is the light of the world, but it can be dimmed if misruled. Is Maximus truly the one to bring back and turn on this light?

The ending is very sentimental (not going to spoil anything, just my personal feeling). But Maximus Decimus Meridus will be forever known by time as the general who became a slave, the slave who became a gladiator, and the gladiator who defied an emperor.

There was a dream that was Rome. It was light.

-Kate L.

The film Gladiator is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library

The Strange Case of Origami Yoda by Tom Angleberger

The Strange Case of Origami Yoda is a very great first book to a very interesting book series. The Strange Case of Origami Yoda is about a bunch of 6th grade middle school kids who make case file trying to decode the mysterious origami Yoda and the kids who makes Yoda, Dwight. Tom Angleberger’s book is a masterpiece of humor, storytelling, and funny drawings. The book even contains a little middle school romance.

Two things that make this book unique is the way it tells the story and drawings. The way this book story is told is through many different peoples perspective. This book is case file, so a lot of different people tell different funny stories in the book. The drawings all over the book really makes the book stand out. You got give Tom Angleberger and Jason Rosenstock, the two people who drew all over the books. The drawings inside the book make the book more teen-friendly. And, an added bonus to this epic case file, there are instructions on the last page on how to fold a legit origami Yoda! This book is a book I would recommend to all ages. Make sure to get it!

-Brandon D.

The Strange Case of Origami Yoda by Tom Angleberger is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library

Book vs. Movie: Lord Of The Rings: Fellowship of the Ring

The Lord Of The Rings series is just beautifully written By J.R.R. Tolkien. The Fellowship of the Ring is the first book in the series. Personally, I enjoyed both the book and the movie. They both totally immerse you in the world of Middle Earth, bringing you into the immense fantasy world the J.R.R. Tolkien has created. Giving you an escape from the real world, where you can, just for a couple of hours, live in the world of the Shire and Mordor with hobbits, dwarves, goblins, wizards, elves, and the all seeing eye. It is all a creative adventure that keeps you on your toes the entire time, wondering what is going to happen next.

As always, the book is better than the movie. It just goes more in-depth into the lore and the story. It has more characters and just more detail than what can be explained in the movie. The book tells the story of the adventure of Frodo Baggins, who has come into possession of the One ring, an extremely powerful ringed forged for the Dark Lord who, after thousands of years of submission has yet again started to rise. It is not an easy book to read and requires a lot of attention and comprehension, which is what makes it so easy to get lost in the book and forget about the real world.

The movie, however, is still very good. Unlike other books made into movies, the Fellowship of the Ring movie still follows the original story line, just cutting out some of the smaller details. It of course, is not as good as the book but it still is a great movie. Also, the soundtrack of this movie is amazing. It is one of my favorite movie soundtracks and it just help makes the movie great.

Overall, both the book and the movie are great. I would totally suggest both of them to anyone though, reading the book before watching the movie will probably help give you the full picture of the realm that J.R.R. Tolkien created.

-Ava G.

Both the novel and film are available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library.