Authors We Love: Ray Bradbury

Ray Bradbury (August 22, 1920 – June 5, 2012) was, and still is, a well-renowned author known for his science fiction, fantasy and horror short stories and novels.

Born in Waukegan, Illinois, Bradbury’s start as a writer began very early on at the age of 12. He had a fateful encounter with a carnival magician by the name of Mr. Electrico who proclaimed “Live forever!” to which Bradbury decided to never stop writing.

Soon after this encounter at age 14, the Bradbury family moved to Los Angeles. When the Great Depression hit, Bradbury couldn’t afford to attend college so he instead attended the local library three days a week for ten whole years to acquire his education.

Over the course of his career, Bradbury published thousands of literary works including 400 short stories and 50 novels. In addition to this, Bradbury has also earned dozens of awards including the World Fantasy Award for Lifetime Achievement, the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America Grand Master Award, and the Pulitzer Prize Citation.

I was first introduced to Ray Bradbury in the 6th grade with one of his short stories titled All Summer in a Day. The story is about a group of students who live on the never-ending rainy planet of Venus that have never seen the sun with the exception of a young girl named Margot who only moved to Venus five years prior. As our class read through in monotone uninterested voices (as most children do), I remember sitting there in awe at his simple yet elaborate descriptions of simple things such as the sun or the rain, the fantastical world he created on Venus, and the development of the characters in only a couple of pages. I remember that being the first time a short story truly made me feel something, like a deep pit in my chest.

The second short story I ready from Ray Bradbury was A Sound of Thunder, a story about time travelers who have something in drastic in store when they arrive in the past and return to the present. It was in this short story that I was truly enamored by his descriptions of the dinosaurs which were so incredibly elaborate that I felt like I was standing right there in front of them. It was when I read this short story that I set my own goal of creating scenes of such immaculate sensory description.

Ray Bradbury was not only a spectacular author but a person with an incredibly inspiring story and a true passion for something he loved to do. If you’re looking for a good long read or a good quick read, this is an author that will give you something interesting to read for years and years on end.

-Elia T.

The works of Ray Bradbury are available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library. They may also be downloaded for free from Overdrive.

Authors We Love: Jules Verne

Jules Verne was a French author, poet, and playwright. He was born on February 8, 1828 in Nantes, France. He was the author of many popular classics that are still read today by many people in the world. Unfortunately, his writing career didn’t start off as well as he would have wanted. His dad did not support Jules following his dream in writing. He wanted his son to pursue a career in law and become a lawyer. Jules Verne did not want to be a lawyer, he wanted to write novels! 

In 1856, Jules Verne met Honorine Morel at the wedding of one of his old college friends. They later got married in 1857 and had their first and only child in 1861. They named him Michel Verne.  Michel Verne later helped finish writing his father’s stories after Jules Verne passed away. 

Jules Verne is the author of Journey to the Center of the Earth has proven to be one of his most popular books. The story is about a scientist who believes that volcanoes in Iceland have a path that leads to the Earth’s core. So, the scientist and his nephew travel into the caves that led them into the Earth. They take a journey where they find ancient fossils and evidence of huge humans. Then, they make it to the surface by erupting out of Earth inside a volcano.  

He has also written another top classic called Around The World In 80 Days where Phileas Fogg makes a bet to travel the world in 80 days. He takes boats and races through the countries as he works to win his bet. Then, he meets a French servant named Passepartout, who helps him save a princess from India named Aouda. They take Aouda along on their journey around the world. Then, they race to the meeting with the people to see if they won the bet. 

Jules Verne is also the author of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea is about Captain Nemo and his submarine named Nautilus. He takes 3 passengers on his submarine and they go on an underwater expedition around the world. They face giant squids along the way that try to attack the submarine just like they have attacked ships from all around the world. Captain Nemo and his passengers try to survive the underwater attacks by the squid and try to escape! 

Jules Verne was the author of many popular books that are read by millions of people all around the world. His books have been translated into 140 languages and he is called the most translated author of all time. He gathered ideas and got inspiration for his stories while traveling around France and Europe. 

The French novelist isn’t just a very important and loved author because of his adventurous stories and new ideas, but his books are read because his adventures make readers feel like they are witnessing the adventures themselves. Readers keep coming back to read more of his books because of the ways how his stories make them feel. When I read Jules Verne’s tales, I loved reading because the books made me feel excited and kept me wanting to read more and more. 

Many of Jules Verne’s books were about traveling and exploring the world. In books like Around The World In 80 Days, 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea, and A Journey To The Center Of The Earth, are all books that include traveling whether it is on Earth’s surface, or underwater. He mainly wrote science fiction books combining world science and his creativity to make amazing stories filled with action and adventure. 

In 1886, Jules was shot in the leg by his nephew, and that bullet stayed there for the rest of his life. For several months, Jules had to rest and put his leg up. Fortunately, he was able to walk with a cane months later he was shot. Later when we was 77, in 1905, Jules Verne suffered a stroke and was never able to recover. He sadly died on March 24, 1905.

-Mert A.

The works of Jules Verne are available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library. They can also be downloaded for free from Overdrive.

Authors We Love: Nathaniel Hawthorne

10 Things You May Not Know About Nathaniel Hawthorne - HISTORY

Nathaniel Hawthorne (1804-1864) is the founder of American psychoanalytic fiction and the first writer of short stories in the history of American literature. He has been called the greatest American romantic novelist in the 19th century. Hawthorne was born in Salem, Massachusetts in the United States. His family believed in the Christian puritanism, and Hawthorne was influenced by puritanism. After graduating from Bowdoin college in 1825, Hawthorne returned to Salem, where he wrote and published dozens of stories and short stories. In 1839, Hawthorne worked in Boston customs for more than two years, and then entered the “brook farm”, where he was exposed to transcendentalism and got acquainted with Emerson and Thoreau, the representatives of transcendentalism.

Later, Hawthorne went to Salem’s customs office, where his work experience there has a direct impact on his writing “The Scarlet Letter”, which consolidated his solid position in the American literary world. Hawthorne was evaluated as a spectator of life, and his attitude to life determined his interest and insight into people’s inner and psychological activities. He was deeply influenced by the thought of original sin, and the original sin was passed down from generation to generation. His representative works include the novel “The Scarlet Letter”, “The House of the Seven Gables”, “The Blithedale Romance”, “Twice Told Tales”, and “Mosses from an Old House”. Among them, “The Scarlet Letter” has become the world literature classic where Henry James, Edgar Allan Poe, Herman Melville and other literary masters are deeply influenced by it.

The works of Nathaniel Hawthorne are available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library. They can also be downloaded for free from Overdrive.

Authors We Love: Fyodor Mikhailovich Dostoevsky

Fyodor Dostoevsky - Wikipedia

In the middle of the 19th century, Russian society was full of contradictions and crises. The tyrannical rule of the tsar and capitalism weighed heavily on the psyche of the people. Dostoyevsky’s novels mainly depict the misery, contradiction, hardship and desperation of people living at the bottom of the society, reveal the depravity and destruction of human nature and the split of human spirit in this pathological society, and show the darkness and filth of the Russian society under the shadow of the autocratic rule and the capitalist system. His novels depict the bullied and insulted, and try to show the misery of the characters hidden in the dark corners of the slums. Dostoyevsky describes people who are divided by themselves, reveals multiple personalities and shows the return of human nature. Dostoyevsky is an expert in psychological description. He is obsessed with pathological psychological description. He not only writes about the results of behaviors, but also focuses on describing the psychological process of behaviors, especially those abnormal behaviors, near coma and madness.

The characters’ abnormal thinking and behavior are exactly the characteristics of his works. The intensity of Dostoyevsky’s psychological description is in proportion to the bewilderment of his thoughts. Dostoyevsky mainly adopts a non – temporal narration in dealing with the timing of the novel. Because he preferred to choose the most intense, terrible and extreme events as the subject matter of the novel, and was keen to show people’s psychology in the crisis, the overall rhythm of the work was extremely unstable. In the description of characters, Dostoevsky broke the tradition of describing characters in Russian literature since Pushkin. He not only described their impoverished situation, but also revealed the soul of the characters, not only sympathizing with them, but also associating with them. The strong is a story element opposed to the weak, mainly referring to those who have money and power but disregard any moral principles. Their most important characteristic is to get their own way. The rescuer and the rescued are another pair of story elements in Dostoyevsky’s novels.

If the antagonism between the strong and the weak constitutes the first clue of the narrative of the novel and highlights the author’s humanitarian feelings, then the second narrative clue composed of the rescuer and the rescued reflects the author’s thoughts full of religious meaning, which is of more metaphysical significance in thinking about the way out of the society. The latter two narrative elements are gradually developed in his novels. The story element of the savior is the perfect Image of Christ in Dostoevsky’s novels, the embodiment of the supreme good. At the beginning of creation, the image of the savior appeared in the form of a kind of good behavior, namely self-sacrificing love. After his return from exile in Siberia, Dostoyevsky shifted his focus to religious exploration, and the rescuer began to appear in his novels as a concrete and sensible figure. His character gradually became full and distinct, and he was no longer confined to the scope of love, but had a broader social content. In the novel, this element is the external manifestation of the author’s thoughts, and the author mainly reflects his own religious ideal of salvation through it.

Therefore, such characters are flat and are the “mouthpiece” of the author’s thoughts, often giving people a sense of paleness. The rescued person is the most important story element in his novels. Compared with the rescued person, this kind of character image is more abundant. The image of the rescued first appeared as the image of the visionary in Dostoevsky’s novels. This image inherits the tradition of superfluity in 19th century Russian literature and has the characteristics of superfluity: dissociating from the society, holding a critical attitude towards the society and possessing the characteristics of thinker. So his novels end with the triumph of the savior’s mind. But as an artist, Dostoyevsky always triumphs over himself as a moralist. He was deeply aware of the social reality at that time when people still had no way out depending on religion. The contradiction of his thoughts makes the main part of the novel present an open structure, and the ending presents an open state in a closed form.

The foundation of Dostoevsky’s novels is binary opposition, mainly composed of four story elements: the strong, the weak, the rescuer and the rescued, among which a theme of “salvation” runs through. Secondly, the structure of Dostoevsky’s novels is inconsistent. The construction of elements in his novels mainly consists of three parts: the antagonism between strong and weak — the conflict between good and evil in the heart of the saved, and the conversion of the save and the saved. However, due to the mutual influence, interweaving and inhomogeneity of various contradictions, the novel is open and incomplete in content. The reason why Dostoevsky adopted such a structure pattern in constructing novels is closely related to his religious thoughts and perplexities. Dostoyevsky’s novels mainly adopt two perspectives: inner perspective and omniscient perspective. First of all, his novels mainly show people’s self-consciousness. All kinds of consciousness have a relationship of equal dialogue, so the first-person inner perspective and the third-person indefinite inner perspective are the perspectives often adopted in his novels.

This perspective reflects Dostoevsky’s religious confusion and exploration. Secondly, the omniscient perspective of Dostoevsky’s novels is mainly reflected in the beginning and the end of the novels, which has two functions: one is to serve the characteristics of the perspective inside the main body of the novels, and the other is to serve the religious thoughts of Dostoevsky, thus forming the characteristics of the closed form of the novels. In addition, there are some “meta-novel” narrative modes in Dostoevsky’s novels, which also convey the confusion in his religious thoughts, no matter for the narrator, the hero or the reader. Thus, we can conclude the perspective mode of Dostoevsky’s novels: the main body of the novels mainly narrates from the inner perspective, and the beginning and end of the novels often adopt the omniscient perspective. Dostoyevsky’s construction of the time mode in his novels is mainly reflected in the following aspects: first, he no longer places events in the process of time like traditional novels, and is keen to describe the process in detail; instead, he cuts time, adopts a non-temporal narration, and pays attention to the synchro meaning of time. Secondly, it is also reflected in the psychological time intervention in the novel. He always likes to put the characters in the two poles of contradiction and in the atmosphere of tension, so as to describe all the secrets of the human heart. Hence, the psychological time is much longer than the story time.

-Coreen C.

Authors We Love: Leo Tolstoy

Leo Tolstoy (Novelist) - On This Day

Tolstoy has done a lot of thinking on human nature in his novels. From these thinking, we can see the most real aspect of Tolstoy’s spiritual world. Tolstoy’s reflections on human nature were inspired mainly by the history and reality of Russia at the time. On the one hand, traditional Russia was a patriarchal society, and the Orthodox Church determined the way people thought and felt. Tolstoy was also deeply influenced by the Orthodox Church, whether his attitude was one of acceptance or reservation. On the other hand, the European spirit of enlightenment also exerted a deep influence on Russia, which shook the foundation of traditional Russian belief to a great extent.

The influence of the spirit of enlightenment on Tolstoy was also significant, which made Tolstoy suspect the basic doctrinarian system of Orthodox Church, and he would not think about the issue of faith like ordinary believers. However, Tolstoy did not fully move towards the Enlightenment position of individualism in Europe, so his thinking on human nature often drifted between the two, sometimes like a believer, sometimes like a humanist. The utopian thoughts in Tolstoy’s works are mainly reflected in the resistance against violence and slavery, the opposition to private land system, and the opposition to the promotion of capitalist material civilization and evolution.

He demanded the return to a healthy farming life through the work and moral practice of everyone to establish brotherhood, equality, harmony and fraternity of all human beings. Tolstoy created epic novels. The historical facts are blended with artistic fiction, and the bold and unrestrained brushwork is mixed with delicate description. Tolstoy shows his personal face in a large group portrait. The epic’s solemnity is interspersed with lyrical monologues, which are varied and magnificent. He is good at handling the structure of many clues and the threads are all joined together seamlessly. He can break through the closed form of the novel as magnificent as life has no beginning and no end.

Tolstoy’s artistic charm lies not only in reproducing the macro world, but also in portraying the micro world. Tolstoy has mastered the dialectical development of the mind unprecedentedly in the world literature and described the evolution process of the mind under the influence of the outside world in detail. He dives deep into the subconscious and show it in a harmonious connection with the conscious mind. Tolstoy’s artistic power is real, and it is evident in the shaping of character. He faithfully describes the multifaceted, rich, and complex nature of his characters, not just their dominant side or a dominant state of mind.

He does not conceal the faults of his beloved, nor does he stifle the glimmer of light that flashes in the heart of the character he reveals. He does not sugar-paint, exaggerate, idealize or caricature, but always shows his true nature by the help of real and objective description, thus seeing greatness in the ordinary or, conversely, showing its horror in the ordinary phenomena. Tolstoy’s style is chiefly characterized by its simplicity. He strives for the fullest and most accurate reflection of the truth of life or expression of his own thoughts. Therefore, although he is strict in art, he does not seek to win by skill alone, nor does he seek formal delicacy and avoid long compound sentences, but only seeks the maximum expression. In order to show the disillusionment of the characters in structure, he often adopts the method of flashback. In language, the novel strives to be simple and concise and easy to understand, close to folktales.

-Coreen C.

Authors We Love: Lewis Carroll

Lewis Carroll - Wikipedia

Charles was the third of the eleven children of Dodgson. Charles loves his mother best. He regards his mother as one of the sweetest mothers in the world. His mother is a good housekeeper and pays great attention to the children’s preschool education. At the age of seven, Charles was said to have read Bunyan’s The Pilgrim’s Progress, as well as Maria Edgeworth’s Practical Education and Hannah Moore’s The Shepherd of Salisbury Plain. At the age of 12, Charles was sent as a boarder to a grammar school in Richmond, ten miles from Croft. He is diligent and eager to learn. The principal told his parents that his eloquence and the ingenuity and diction of his Latin prose proved him to be an extraordinary genius.

In 1846 he was sent to Rugby, which soon came under the rule of Thomas Arnold. When he first went there, he was unhappy and often bullied and called a “fool” (a clumsy athlete). He was often mocked because of his childhood stammer. On the other hand, when he did not receive prizes for classics, theology, mathematics, etc., he seldom went home. During the holidays, he began writing a series of home magazines for his siblings. At the age of 14, his first magazine was called an “inspiring and instructive collection of poetry.” It includes many humorous poems, some of which are in the doggerel style, while others are contemporary traditional poems written for children.

He composed poem in the form of a ballad taught people never to annoy their sisters, followed by a magazine illustrated by Charles himself. After leaving Rugby in 1850, Charles wrote his own masterpiece, The Rectory Umbrella And Mischmasch, while preparing for the Oxford entrance examination at home. The book shows that Charles was already an outstanding writer for a comic magazine. He also wrote plays for a puppet theater. His cousin introduced him to the novelist Francis Edward Smedley. He showed some of the poems to Edmund Yates, who, to compete with Punch, had started a penny magazine called Comic Times. Charles wrote four poems for the magazine.

When the Comic Times closed, he began writing for the latter Yates magazine, The train. Charles’ chief contribution to The Train was poetry. In publishing “Solitude,” Yates chose one of two pseudonyms offered by Charles: Lewis Carroll. These are the two Latin names of Charles, keeping the alphabetical order and then turning back to English. He was a priest and never married. He was very fond of children, and his favorite was a little girl called Alice Liddell. On the fourth of July, 1862, the author and a friend of his took the three Liddells and rowed up the River Thames from Oxford to Gostowe. On the boat, he told Alice a little story, which he later turned into a manuscript of Alice’s Adventures Under Ground and presented to her.

The manuscript is only 18, 000 words long, and the illustrations are by the author himself. Later, the author revised it to the present scale, changed the title to Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, and asked the famous painter Sir John Tenniel to illustrate it. The first edition was published on July 4, 1865, as a memorial to that trip. The story tells the story of a little girl named Alice, chasing a rabbit in a dream and falling into the rabbit hole, began a long and dangerous journey. This fairy tale breaks through the traditional moralistic formula of western European children’s literature with its magical fantasy, funny humor and high poetry, and has since been translated into many languages and travelled all over the world.

Carroll later wrote a companion piece, Alice Through the Looking Glass, which became popular in the world along with Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. In 1868, Carroll published his encryption method. This type of encryption is known as Lewis Carroll’s ciphers. Cryptography introduces the concept of a secret key, which determines which row of secret tables to replace according to the key, to counter word frequency statistics. The password’s key space size is 26m, so even if the value of m is small, using the exhaustive key search method can take a long time. For example, when m=5, the size of the key space exceeds 1.1*107, which is beyond the scope of exhaustive search by hand calculation.

Charles was writing parodies and satires. Works such as The New Belfry (1872), The Vision of the Three T’s (1873) and The Blank Cheque (1874) attacked the reforms of many colleges and universities. In 1879, he tried to study children publicly. Because he has a terrible stammer, but he can communicate with people through the camera. In his second year at the school (1856), Carroll bought a complete set of photographic equipment (The Wet Print) and photographed Tennyson, the Poet Laureate, and the Prince of England. But he was most attracted to girls around the age of 7, and he took every opportunity to photograph the girls he met. Only in front of the girls, Carol will not have any psychological barriers. The only work he did during this period was Rhyme? and Reason?

-Coreen C.

Authors We Love: F. Scott Fitzgerald

Fitzgerald was born on September 24, 1896, in st. Paul, Minnesota, to a family of small businessmen. His ancestors, who had once been rich and powerful, have faded down to his parents’ generation. In 1913, supported by relatives, he attended Princeton University, an aristocratic institution of higher learning in the eastern United States. But he had no interest in his studies, often missed classes and failed exams, and focused almost entirely on social activities. He managed to get into the school’s literary group, was invited to the most famous clubs, shook off his country accent, and developed a standard “advanced” English, trying to subtly erase differences of birth. In 1915, when Princeton’s theater troupe toured the United States with his comedy “The Evil Eye,” he was barred from performing with the group because of his grades.

In the spring of 1917, the United States entered World War I, and Fitzgerald joined the army. In late 1918, Fitzgerald left the army and headed to New York, where he found only a job writing the words for a little-known advertising agency. In June 1919, his lover Zelda lost patience and called off the engagement. Early experiences led to Fitzgerald’s lifelong sensitivity to money. In 1919, Fitzgerald returned home with nothing. Published in February 1920, the novel “This Side of Paradise” became an instant hit for its vivid sense of The Times, and the first edition sold out in a few days. Magazines began to scramble for him.

On December 21, 1940, Fitzgerald died of a heart attack caused by alcoholism at the age of 44, leaving behind an unfinished work, “The Last Tycoon”.

He is a legendary author with a flourishing life, but his outstanding literary understanding and writing abilities did not leave him with a glorious ending.

-Coreen C. 

The works of F. Scott Fitzgerald is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library. They may also be downloaded for free from Overdrive

Authors We Love: Edward Morgan Forster

E.M. Forster | Biography, Books, & Facts | Britannica

Forster’s eyes were sharp when he looked down to diagnose industrial-age Englishmen, and he saw signs of illness, but when he looked up to give directions to his fellow-patients, the prescriptions were never right. The direction he seeks is always out of history and reality, so the mismatch between diagnosis and prescription is inevitable. In fact, the other culture did not allow Forster, who had a dual cultural identity and consciousness, to truly wander between the different cultures and face the panic and emptiness in the heart of the British middle class as a man who lived safely on the edge of cultural transition. He could only view the world from the perspective of bourgeois freedom and humanism. The internal contradiction of cultural identity forced him to violate the logic of life and culture and turned the connection into a diagram of his subjective desire, so the internal rupture of his works was difficult to be dispelled. As the representative of the traveling class, Forster took the British culture as the reference point and starting point, and looked at the countries and people he visited with some kind of overlooking eye. The imprint of British-centralism spreads with the extension of his vision as a British, and also with his anxiety about the future and destiny of the British empire. Forster did not oppose the humanism spirit rooted in the core of European culture for thousands of years since ancient Greece and Rome. From the standpoint of the cultural elite of the middle class, he hoped to transform the cultural tradition and make it elegant and interesting, to express the spiritual needs and tastes of the cultural elite of the middle class and reflect their voices. Forster represented the life of the British middle class in his works of art with great expressiveness and insight.

He was not concerned with countries or politics or economics, but with the friendship between people, the value of people, the perfection of human nature and the communication between different cultures. In other words, he was interested in the relationship between people and the conflict, estrangement, divergence and difference that these relationships reflect. Forster called on people to abandon the blind adherence to British moral concepts and social traditional customs, to eliminate individual, gender, class and race prejudice and estrangement, and to find common ground among human beings. Forster advocates an infinite and inclusive love in a multicultural world, regardless of nationality, religion, class or belief. At the same time that he made the appeal for connection, he was always aware of the difficulty of connection. The awkwardness and failure of the east-west cultural connection in A Passage to India caused Forster to have doubts and confusion about the reality of integration. These doubts and perplexities are also reflected in the creation of novels. For example, the marriage between Margaret and Henry in Howard’s Divorce has no credibility. These doubts and perplexities are also reflected in the creation of novels. For example, the marriage between Margaret and Henry in Howards End has no credibility. Margaret chose Henry as her connection object out of the need of the plot of the novel. The focus of the novel’s narration originally lies in the expression of profound estrangement. Another example is the mental state of the characters under colonial rule in A Passage to India. Aziz’s attitude towards the Indians is mixed with several states of gallantry in humiliation, helplessness in hatred and awakening in anesthesia.

Fielding is the continuation of Forster’s desire to connect, the embodiment of the ideal. Therefore, in the novel texts, readers often feel the contradictions and entanglements between Forster’s idealism complex and his actions of knowing the connection is not feasible. As a famous English critic and theorist, Forster plays an important role in the history of Western literature, which is inevitably influenced by the special social and cultural conditions at that time. Forster’s unique life experience and implicit homosexuality, as well as his deep feelings towards the east-west antagonistic background after his three trips to India, made him construct the utopian dream of connecting different nationalities, countries and classes with the good wishes of the world. Forster’s novels are famous for their complex, obscure and confusing themes. A general survey of Forster’s novels reveals that their themes are not clear and single, and it can even be said that their features are mixed. Therefore, in the process of reading, they can constantly provide readers with the stimulation of new reading horizons, and at the same time bring them more confusion about the content and significance of the works. About Adela’s experience in the cave, the author is no longer omnipotent and omniscient, but just as in the dark as the reader. The mystery of prophecy is not to be solved, but to be marveled at. This narrative method leaves readers a great imagination space, and also effectively reflects the multi-level theme of the work. The theory of intertextuality coincides with his purpose of writing. By exploring the intertextuality in his novels, it opens up a new way for his research.

In this way, a thorough exploration of his novels reveals that the seemingly chaotic theme actually contains the same meaning, that is, the response to the intellectual’s mental dilemma in the Edwardian period of England, trying to find a new standard of ethics and morality and explore the way to the realm of perfection. When Forster was writing novels, he inherited the social moral theme of 19th century realistic writers such as Jane Austen and Dickens. His novels reflect the social reality at that time, with a strong sense of social responsibility. Through A Passage to India, Forster mercilessly exposed the colonial rule of Britain and strongly criticized the racism of white supremacy. In A Room with A View, it criticizes the marriage based on property and praises the love of choosing partners from the angle of humanity and compatibility. In Where Angels Fear to Tread, Forster criticizes the conservative, isolated and selfish British culture and praises the open and enthusiastic Italian culture by comparing the British and Italian cultures. Reading Forster’s novels, we can feel the author’s deep concern for people. An important theme running through all of Forster’s works is to expose the banal and false moral concepts and social norms of the British middle class, and to expose the traditional prejudices that restrict people’s minds and hearts. In Forster’s novels, we can see the contrast technique commonly used in the traditional English creation. Forster is good at expressing his views through the contrast between characters and scenes.

For example, in A Room with A View, Forster cleverly compared Italy and Britain through the arrangement of scenes to show the differences and conflicts between the two cultures. He also made full use of the contrast between George and Cecil to show the conflicts between the two cultures and concepts. Cecil is a person who refuses to admit and tries to hide his natural and sacred feelings. He is immature in his feelings. He is a disparaging character in Forster’s works. In stark contrast to him was the straightforward, bold, passionate George. Like his father, he never hides his opinions and feelings. In his works, Forster used symbolism a great deal, and reached the point of proficiency. Among Forster’s six novels, the titles of four novels have obvious symbolic significance. A Passage to India takes its title from the poem of the same name by Walt Whitman. The opening of the Suez Canal in 1902 greatly shortened the journey time from England to India. The poet praised the progress of human science and technology linking different countries together. Whitman’s poem is full of light romantic, optimistic and positive emotions. But Forster chose A Passage To India as the title of his novel, which has an ironic meaning. Forster borrowed the term “rhythm” from music and successfully applied it to his novels. Forster’s major novels all have different complex rhythms, just as different music has different rhythms. For example, Ansell painted circles within circles and streams in The Longest Journey, the image of water in A Room with A View, the archetype of fire and the image of wasps in A Passage to India. The recurring, repetition and changes of the key words “moon”, “flower”, “mending” and “ghost” in Howards End make the novel coherent, rhythmic and musical. Forster emphasized the relationship between people and the value and integrity of people. Some of his characters, such as Lucy in A Room with a View, the Schlegel sisters in Howards End and Fielding and Adela in A Passage To India, were spokesmen for Forster’s values. In A Room with a View, Lucy abandoned the bargaining chip of property and chose her lover from the emotional perspective of human nature and mutual affection between men and women. Her choice represents a middle-class yearning for freedom. Through these descriptions, Forster’s humanistic thought of eliminating prejudice has fully demonstrated that his novels have complete story plots and rich characters, and a large number of artistic creation techniques such as comparison and satire rooted in the tradition of English literature.

-Coreen C.

Authors We Love: Ruta Sepetys

Ruts Sepetys is one of the most well known young adult historical fiction authors ever! With historical fiction being my favorite genre, I consider myself proud to say that Ruta Sepetys is my favorite author of all time. I have read all of the books she has written and I consider every single one of them to be some of my favorite books. 

Unlike many historical fiction authors, she doesn’t exclusively write about one event in history. With a setting like New Orleans, Barcelona, and Siberia, Sepetys takes us into a plethora of historical events, with different time periods, people, and settings. 

One specific thing I love about historical fiction is you learn something along the way, and all of Ruta Sepetys writes about overlooked events in history. These aren’t things you learn from your history textbook, they’re much more than that. Her books take you on a journey through events like the Wilhelm Gustloff, a ship that took 10 times the lives the Titanic did, and is the biggest maritime disaster of all time. But for some unknown reason, nobody talks about it, except for Sepetys.

Not only does she shed these huge historical events to light, but she does also these events justice. Although what she writes is fiction, the historical events they’re based on are all too real. Sepetys does an amazing job of research. In her most recent novel, The Fountains of Silence, the back of the book offered more details about her writing and research process, as well as pages of her notes. Sepetys do years and years of research for just one novel, and by reading the books you can tell how much effort was put into them. 

As for her World War Il novels, she has interviewed countless figures, both strangers and family, that were involved in those events, and based some of her books off of real events her family has gone through. 

Another part that I really love about her books is her writing style. With short and quick chapters, the writing allows you to be constantly engaged. The constant point of view switches keep you on your toes and makes every single one of her books a page-turner.

Between Shades of Gray (2011): Not your everyday World War 2 novel, Between Shades of Gray shows the dark side of Polish deportation and labor camps. With a knowledgeable protagonist and a family trying not to fall apart in the face of war, this brutal novel is a must-read. My Rating: 9/10

Out of the Easy (2013): Out of the Easy is a novel describing the life of the daughter of a prostitute longing to be free and live her own life outside of the bustling city of New Orleans. When a customer at her bookstore is found dead, she finally finds the escape she’s been looking for. My Rating: 7/10

Salt to the Sea (2016): The biggest maritime disaster, and the long path refugees are forced to take to flee Germany, this story tells the tale no one wishes to tell about World War 2.  In this novel, everyone has a secret to tell, and with them come guaranteed tears. My Rating: 10/10

The Fountains of Silence (2019): the Fountains of Silence tells the unknown story of how the Spanish people recovered after their own civil war. Told through the eyes of a photographer tourist from Texas, and a hotel employee who works hard for every penny she earns. This novel shows the trials and tribulations of most families during the reconstruction, but the star of this novel is truly the romance. Greatest of all, you get to learn about what’s really happening with the Spanish government behind closed doors. My Rating: 9/10

-Asli B. 

The works of Ruta Sepetys are available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library. They can also be downloaded for free from Overdrive

Authors We Love: Jack London

Jack London - Oakland - LocalWiki

In Jack London’s works, one can often feel the complex of heroism. There is the worship of life itself and the pursuit of primitive form and spiritual freedom for the meaning of life and existence. In Jack London’s work, the protagonist is merged with the harsh wasteland, where life tends to take on a primitive form, releasing a desire that is the opposite of what the vulgar world will never be familiar with, a kind of intense, leaping and even violent emotional anger. The combination of freedom and passion of Dionysus gives out the most primitive call of life — tenacious survival.

Jack London is a writer of very complex ideologies. For many ideas that influenced the social history at that time, London accepted them almost without any choice. Influenced by the social and historical environment at that time, and without any formal and systematic education, London’s ideological beliefs were complicated and contradictory. As a result, many London researchers believe that London’s thinking is chaotic and lawless. His philosophical views, though confounded and discouraged by their many contradictions, should be carefully combed and studied. Jack London, a writer with the ideas of reform and progress, keeps pace with the times and views women from a broader perspective.

Far from being an anticlimatic feminist, However, London advocated women’s independence while also extolling the traditional virtues of women as faithful male partners. London not only expressed her definition of the “perfect woman” but also greatly enriched the female characters in American literature by creating a group of “superwoman” characters who were gentle, submissive, strong, and capable. London and his work provide a case study of American society and culture at the time. The period of childhood and adolescence in London was very miserable. Although London’s works are vast, fragmented and difficult to categorize, it is possible to draw a simple line through the works of early, middle and late London. That is the transition from the male-dominated narrative to the female-dominated narrative, through which is London’s eternal love for life and endless exploration and pursuit of the meaning of life.

-Coreen C.