November Book Club

This month’s Book club featured a full house and Ms. Melinson’s book hoard – and, of course, our usual brownies and hot apple cider.

Ms. Melinson shared a bunch of new books: Dear Fahrenheit 451 (hilarious letters to books/libraries), I’ll Give You the Sun (not new, but needs more love), The Rules of Magic (Practical Magic sequel), Thick as ThievesDear MartinThe Epic Crush of Genie LoBook of LiesYou Bring the Distant NearTool of War, and Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine.

Heloise read The Serpent of Essex, a book she picked up because of its beautiful cover. Ms. B read Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe, which was not about the philosophers, but rather characters with the same names. Ms. B loved it for its beautiful, spare prose. She also read Havana Bay and described it as well written and understanding of Cuban culture.

Jewel said she was looking forward to read The Adoration of Jenna Fox over the Thanksgiving break. Alyssa read Dreamfall (the book Ms. Melinson mentioned at the last Book Club that she said she’d never read because it’s too scary) and really enjoyed it. Ms. B brought up that it can be hard to decide what to read, but the more you read, the wider your interests become. She also gave some sage advice: never read at a stop sign. It’s bad for your insurance rates.

For all the books we talked about, check out our Goodreads page!

October Book Club

The weather has turned colder, which means it’s time for Ms. Melinson to bust out the hot apple cider for the October Book Club!

We had a jammed packed house for this month’s Book Club with no leftover brownies in sight. Ms. Melinson talked about a bunch of the new books we just received including The Education of Margo SanchezGenuine FraudMen Without WomenDreamfallThe Bear and the Nightingale (which Emma loved. She described it as creepy, but not horror-movie scary), Dividing Eden, and Jane, Unlimited.

Ms. B read Steeplejack, which she called “fun and wonderful.” She also talked about Lapham’s Quarterly, a magazine that devotes each issue to one topic. Ms. B said she likes  magazines because articles have an easier stopping point whereas books seduce you into finding out what happens.

Luca started reading Robert Pinsky’s translation of Dante’s Inferno and was enjoying it. He also bought the best book ever, The Big Bad Book of Bill Murray, which is like a Bill Murray dictionary. Luca was also “snail-pacing” his way through Einstein’s Dreams and a few memoirs.

Heloise read Bel Canto and recommends it because it has a great writing style. Ms. Melinson said it’s one of her all time favorite books. Josh was excitedly waiting to read the new John Green book Turtles All the Way Down after an almost six year wait since his last book. (yours truly would like to interject that she has read the book and loved it!) Jackson said he went through the stages of grief as the last Harry Potter book was published, but decided to revisit the series via audiobook. Jackson was planning on reading Casino Royale and Ms. B warned him the the James Bond in the books is quite a different character from the one in the movies.

Joe started listening to The Way of Kings audiobook (which is a whopping 45 hours long!) but ended up rereading the book instead. Monique read the “All the World’s a Grave”, a play that uses different pieces of Shakespeare’s writing in one play, and loved it. Emma read Wicked Wonders, a collection of short stories about magical kids. Jewel read The Thousandth Floor, a book where the entirety of New York City exists inside a tower. Layla read Milkweed by Jerry Spinelli and liked it, though she found it quite sad.

To check out all of the books we talked about, visit our Goodreads page!

Bonus:

That blur in the middle of the screen is Luca racing to his seat so he doesn’t miss any of the Book Club fun!

September Book Club

We had our first High School Book Club of the new school year on Wednesday, though we were a bit uncertain of when to start now that Dr. Bell isn’t here! It was nice to see old and new faces alike as students and faculty discussed what they read over the summer.

Ms. Melinson talked about The Hate U Give and mentioned hosting a special book club devoted to the book in October. Keep an eye out for that next month! She also read the book All American Boys, which has similar themes to The Hate U Give. Ms. Melinson also talked about A Gentleman in Moscow, a book loved by everyone who’s read it so far. Both Ms. Melinson and Mr. Wells declared it the “best book of the year”.

Luca said he jumped around a started several different books, including A Confederacy of Dunces (which caused groans from the faculty) as well as some biographies by Nick Offerman and John Cleese. He also mentioned reading Einstein’s Dreams, which Ms. Melinson said was one of her favorite books.

Josh also started a lot of books this summer including a collection of Winston Churchill’s speeches titled Blood, Toil, Tears and Sweat: The Greatest SpeechesWorth Dying For: The Power and Politics of Flags, and Empires of the Word: A Language History of the World, a large book he described as “interesting, but a slog” to get through.

Heloise read some amazing books this summer like The Alchemist, which she said was “life changing” (Doctora suggested that if you liked The Alchemist you should read The Little Prince and compare the two books). Heloise also raved about Mr. Palomar and The Night Circus.

Becca read Saving Hamlet and thought it was amazing with its fantastic, flowery writing and diverse cast of characters.

Ms. Batarseh read a book with a title almost as long as the book itself, Through the Eye of a Needle: Wealth, the Fall of Rome, and the Making of Christianity in the West, 350-550 AD. She said despite its dry title, she loved the book because of the passionate writing style of the author and because it was a book where she had to look up the meaning of words, which is not a usual occurrence for her.

Layla mentioned she likes dystopian books because anything can happen in them and said she read Red Blood over the summer, which she really enjoyed.

Ms. Nellis said she was re-reading Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis. She describe it as “eye opening” and for people who want to know what people outside of California think.

To view all of the books we talked about, check out our Goodreads page!

May Book Club

We had our last book club of the school year on Wednesday, which also was the last book club for Dr. Bell and Dr. Baird as they head into retirement. Ms. Melinson wondered, with Dr. Bell’s retiring, how will we know when to start Book Club next year?

For Dr. Bell’s final recommendation, he discussed The Last Lawsons by Jason Hinojosa’s (who happens to be the new English teacher). He said he enjoyed the different narrative devices used and that it offered good psychological insight into family drama.

Dr. Baird reminisced abut his history of reading (fitting for a history teacher). He said he wasn’t a big reader as a kid, but started reading a lot of novels in college, which led to historical fiction and biographies and encouraged an interest in history.

Ms. B started a lively discussion when she said she thinks summer reading should be for classics and books you don’t have time for during the school year and not for racy beach reads. Dr. Bell thinks that people should read the classics when they’re young and then reread them later in life, which many agreed with.

Anny talked about reading The Dark Prophecy and Lord of Shadows, which is centered around the Edgar Allen Poe poem “Dreamland.” Heloise read All the Light We Cannot See and loved it, calling it “amazing.” And she learned a bit of history from it!

For all the books we talked about, check out our Goodreads page!

Harry Potter Book Club

 

We were jam-packed for our special Harry Potter themed Book Club this month. The library was transformed into Diagon Alley with shops on display, including Eeylops Owl Emporium, Honeydukes, Pottages Cauldrons, Ollivander’s Wand Shop. Students snacked on Cauldron Cakes, Butterbeer, and Chocolate Frogs with trading cards.

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Dr. Bell discussed the psychology of Harry Potter and if magic is real. He explained that the idea of magic doesn’t go away as we get older, but it goes under the surface and takes the form of feelings like “bad juju”.

 

Ms. Connor talked about the science of Harry Potter, specifically potions and chemistry. She discussed how alchemy is the beginning of chemistry and how Harry Potter follows the history of science and the use of herbal remedies, such as the mandrake root.

Ms. Batarseh wrapped up Book Club by discussing the Latin of Harry Potter. She explained how J.K. Rowling plays “fast and loose” with Latin in the books by not using literal translations and by combining Latin words with Anglo-Saxon words.

Week in Review: Spring Break Edition

They say April showers bring May flowers, but this March might just give April a run for its money. It’s been one cold and wet week as we countdown to Spring Break!

The Glass Knife has being having board meetings all week to discuss submissions and other super secret Glass Knife business as they prepare this year’s book.

On Tuesday Ms. Melinson and Melissa met with local librarians to talk about what’s going in the library world and find out what challenges and successes they’re dealing with.

We also enjoyed Tea for Two on Tuesday as a nice pick-me-up from the cold weather.

Dr. Baird’s WWII students have been reading historical fiction set during World War II and blogging about their novels over the past few weeks. They will also write a brief review for the library catalog as well as a longer review for the class that includes an analysis of how the history in the book compares to the history that they’ve learned in class this year. On Wednesday, we had a lively special ediition of Book Club (complete with library brownies) to discuss the books with the class and Dr. Baird and Ms. Melinson. Most of the kids really liked their books a lot and made some really good points about their reading. Many of them also saw the movies, which often differed in significant ways from the books so that gave us plenty to discuss. Here are the books that they read:

Anny – Salt to the Sea by Rita Sepetys

Fred – Eye of the Needle by Ken Follett

Christian – Invasion by Walter Dean Myers

Jesus – Bridge Over the River Kwai by Pierre Boulle

Mac – The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

Quin – A Walk in the Sun by Harry Brown

Nicole – City of Thieves by David Benioff

Esme – Empire of the Sun by JG Ballard

Bonus:

Thursday was National Puppy Day and Alan brought his adorable German Shepard puppy for a visit and many ear scritches.

March Book Club

On Wednesday we had our monthly Book Club for students and faculty to share what they’ve been reading. Ms. Melinson started us off by talking about one of the library’s new books Piecing Me Together and A Man Called Ove (pronounced Oo-vuh).

Heloise read A Tale for the Time Being and enjoyed the changing perspectives between chapters. She recommends this book if you like multiple universes, diaries, and awesome Buddhist nuns. Anny said she reread the Heir series by Cinda Williams Chima and caught new details she had previously missed while skim reading it before. Anny also mentioned looking forward to the release of the Fablehaven sequel.

Dr. Bell talked about a book he’d read called I am a Cat, which surprisingly enough, is narrated by a snarky cat who observes human nature during the Meiji era.

Josh read Atlas Obscura: An Explorer’s Guide to the World’s Hidden Wonders, a bucket-list-worthy book about weird and wacky places across the world. Josh also read Bruce Springsteen’s biography, Born to Run, which he described as having a weird and wacky writing style similar to Springsteen’s music.

Mr. Cunningham mentioned a few books he read including How to Set a Fire and WhyYou Too Can Have a Body Like Mine, and Lincoln in the Bardo. Mr. Cunningham said he liked reading author’s first novels because they’re more raw and it gives a glimpse into their post-college writing. And speaking of glimpses, Mr. Cunningham also mentioned an article from George Saunders, author of Lincoln in the Bardo, called “What Writers Really Do When They Write”, which talks about what writers go through when they write.

Alexis mentioned reading the new Carrie Fisher autobiography, The Princess Diarist, which discusses Fisher’s time on the set of Star Wars. Alexis described Fisher as an underrated and eloquent writer, though also controversial.

To find out about all of the books we talked about, check out our Goodreads page!

February Book Club

On Wednesday we had our monthly Book Club meeting with brownies and hot apple cider.

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Ms. Melinson talked about some recent award winning books, including March: Book Three, When the Moon was Ours, and The Sun is Also a Star. She also talked about a new book from Veronica Roth, author of the Divergent series, called Carve the Mark.

Christian joked that he read The Short History of WWII for his history class, which led to a discussion on textbooks. Yumi talked about finishing The Red Queen and starting the sequel, The Glass Sword. She said it was good, but confusing because of all of the different plots.

Heloise talked about reading The World According to Anna and Carry On, which was kind of a companion book to Fangirl, but too much like Harry Potter and not as good. This led to Dr. Baird wondering about second novels not living up to the hype of the first and Dr. Bell cited Catch-22 as an example.

Larkin mentioned she read The Cursed Child, but found it disappointing. Becca said she read Genius: The Game and loved it, but was disappointed in its abrupt ending. Maryjane talked about a book with a rather interesting title, The Diary of an Oxygen Thief. Anny talked about looking forward to Dragonwatch, the sequel to the Fablehaven series.

For all of the books we talked about this month, check out our Goodreads page!

January Book Club

We had our first Book Club of 2017 on a wet and wintery Wednesday. Thankfully we had hot apple cider to warm us up!

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During this monthly get-together, students and faculty talked about the books they read and received over winter break. Josh read the second volume of The Sandman series by Neil Gaiman and talked about starting a Bruce Springsteen bio.

Luca read another weird book called Mr. Vertigo by Paul Auster. He also read the Bryan Cranston bio A Life in Parts, which he’d mentioned wanting to read at the last Book Club.

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Becca talked about an interesting book, which she described as a ‘choose your own adventure’ style of puzzle and riddle book. Heloise talked about reading Mr. Penumbra’s 24 Hour Bookstore, which she described as “amazing” but with a frustrating ending. She also talked about the Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them screenplay and how reading the screenplay format is becoming easier.

Doctora Portillo discussed the book Between the World and Me, which is written as a letter to the author’s son about race relations in the United States, and said it should be required reading.

Ms. Melinson shared the book Trash and talked about new magazines the library has and some old favorites, which segued into Ms. B reviewing the December 5th issue of The New Yorker and some of the articles and features she found most interesting.

Emma talked about Senlin Ascends, which she was rather iffy on. However, it led to Ms. B asking how many people feel obligated to finish a book once they’ve started. Overwhelmingly, most people voted that once they start a book, they need to finish it to find out what happens.

To find out all the books we talked about, visit our Goodreads page!

December Book Club

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For this month’s Book Club, we talked about books we’re looking forward to reading over the upcoming winter break.

Anny talked about reading The Angel’s Game by Carlos Ruiz Zafon, which is a prequel to The Shadow of the Wind, the book she discussed during our last meeting. Anny also mentioned wanting to finish reading the Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them screenplay, which led into a discussion on starting a Harry Potter themed club or book club.

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Jackson discussed wanting to reread the Percy Jackson books over break as well as working his way up to reading Game of Thrones. Josh talked about finishing Bill Nye’s Undeniable and rereading Neil Gaiman’s graphic novel Sandman. This led to a discussion on how awesome Neil Gaiman is (he really is!)

Luca talked about reading The 13 and 1/2 Lives of Captain Bluebear, which he described as one of the strangest books he’s read. This got the group talking about the strangest books Luca’s read and how it would make for an interesting display (it so would!)

And speaking of strange books, Joe discussed reading The Wolf of the North, which gives away its ending at the beginning and then just sort of…ends. Joe’s anxiously awaiting the sequel.

Ms. Melinson talked about some new books we received, including a topsy-turvy book from Lauren Oliver and a controversial book from Jodi Picoult.

To see more of what we talked about, check out our Goodreads page!