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!

November Book Club

This month’s Book Club was a little unusual compared to previous months.

But not unusual were the brownies and hot apple cider!

But not unusual were the brownies and hot apple cider!

Instead of talking about new books, Ms. Melinson shared a slew of beautiful books to help cleanse our political palates including Nests: 50 Nests and the Birds that Built Them by Sharon Beals, an illustrated version of The Elements of Style by William Strunk, Jr. and E.B. White, and The Map as Art: Contemporary Artists Explore Cartography by Katharine Harmon.

Anny mentioned reading Between the Lines and Off the Page, both by Jodi Picoult and Samantha van Leer, and loving the different fonts and stylistic changes that represented each author’s voice. This lead to a discussion between Anny and Ms. B about the possible difficulties of collaborating on a book. Anny also said she started reading The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon, much to the delight of of Ms. B and Ms. Melinson, both who said the book is very good.

Josh discussed his enthusiasm for maps and the book he read, A History of the World in 12 Maps by Jerry Brotton. Luca talked about starting Brave New World, describing it as “absurd but good.”

Ms. B recently got Julius Caesar as Artful Reporter by Kathryn Welch through interlibrary loan and talked about how happy she was with that service and how it allowed her to read a hard to find book. Ms. B talked about reading the short story collection Close Range: Wyoming Stories by Annie Proulx and described it as “gritty” and from the “school of realism.”

And after everyone finished talking about their recommendations, there was time to look through all of the beautiful books!

For more information on all the books we discussed at this month’s Book Club, visit our Goodreads page!

October Book Club

book-club-octBob Dylan won the Nobel Prize for Literature. Someone named Jack Thorne wrote the new Harry Potter book. There were no leftover brownies from Book Club. Which of these is true? Surprisingly, we had a few brownies leftover!

Despite being fueled by less sugar than usual, the conversations were quite lively. We started out discussing Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. Luca and Josh had already expressed their disdain for this installment last time, but while Anny disagreed, Ms Melinson was also not too enthusiastic about this one. Anny likes it because it helps fill in some questions she had from the original series such as what house Dumbledore was in. Ms Melinson thought it was nice to be immersed in that world again, but felt more at home watching the movies over the weekend. Our discussions about Harry Potter convinced us all that it’s time for another Harry Potter Book Club–perhaps after Fantastic Beasts comes out in theaters (release date November 18).

Ms Melinson recommended The Rosie Project She said this had all the makings of a romantic comedy, but with enough edge that she still enjoyed it. Quiet Power is a YA version of Susan Cain’s book, Quiet. It has less data but more practical use than the original book. Anny reread a lot of her favorite series books including Fablehaven, Once Upon a Marigold, and Charlie Bone. She also started reading Billy Collins’ new book of poetry, which she was delighted to find a signed edition of at Bloomsbury Books in Ashland.

We had a discussion about Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children since the movie has recently been released. People were pleasantly surprised that they enjoyed the movie, but of course we almost always like the book best! Anny and Alexa thought the movie was less scary/creepy than the book.

Ms Melinson mentioned that while she grew up listening to Bob Dylan and sees the poetry in his work, she wanted to know people’s views on having a popular artist win the Nobel Prize for Literature. Ms Fels mentioned a NY Times article whose author believed Dylan did not deserve the Nobel Prize. A discussion followed about what is poetry? are all songs poetry? Dr Bell talked about the long history of poetry as song. Most people were either thrilled that Dylan won the prize or didn’t have a preference one way or the other.

Stay tuned for more information about a future Harry Potter Book Club so we can further discuss our obsession!