Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz

aristotle-and-dante-discover-the-secrets-of-the-universeWhen I pulled out this book from its package and read the synopsis in the back of it, I realized in five heartbeats that this book was going to be a gay romance book. I pretty much had bad experiences reading romance books in the past (I mean, I don’t like Fault in our Stars, like every other normal person on this earth) and at that point, I do support LGBT relationships. Except that I wasn’t quite ready yet to read a novel about it.

But the cover of the novel itself was crammed with a lot of awards. There was the Stonewall book award, the Pure Belpre award, the Lambda Literary Award and the Micheal Printz award, meaning that this is a very promising book. So I walked over to the nearest sofa, and curled up, book in hand and begun to read.

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Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë

wuthering_heights_cover_hayley_potterRomance novels are not really my cup of tea. They end up cheesy, with lines that make me wince. Unlike almost every other teenage out there,  I’m not fond of the Twilight series or The Fault in Our Stars. My first impression of Wuthering Heights is that it should probably be a mixture of romance and classic. It was going to suck. But since it was a novel that is referred to almost every other books, why not? Turns out this novel wasn’t so bad, especially the romance part. Although I really wished it was toned down a little.

The main plot takes place in a form of a story through the point of view of a side character, Ellen Dean, who had watched the main characters in the story through the sidelines. She is a bystander, having almost no impact towards the plot except simply being a messenger, and a character where that the characters trusted enough to confide to. But with her as a narrator, the story was tipped to look bias, and several details missed or misunderstood. Ellen, fondly called Nelly, was a servant and a housekeeper at Wuthering Heights with a family tree faithful to working in the house.

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The Idiot by Fyodor Dostoyevesky

the idiotWhat first comes in your mind when you’re asked to define the word ‘Idiot?’ The dictionary defines ‘Idiot’ as “a stupid person.” with many other synonyms such as ‘fool’, ‘halfwit’ and ‘moron.’ A person that is under the title is normally someone who had done such a stupid act and had tangled himself into a problem which also could involve other people around him. So the question is, who is ‘The Idiot’ in this story? Prince Myshkin is the symbol of perfection towards several people. He is very open and very meek. He will not hesitate to speak what is going on with his mind, something that is encouraged everywhere at the moment.

But what happens when a character like that is introduced into the ‘real world.’; a place full of crime and corruption; a place full of madness, sadness, greed, and poverty? Of course, the growing flower would turn wilted in less then an hour. Prince Lev Nikolayevich Myshkin was first introduced boarding a train. He had just spent several years in Swiss recovering from epilepsy which was a chronic disorder which might lead to seizures at random times. It was apparently connected with the brain, because those with epilepsy had neurological symptoms too.

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The Stranger VS The Catcher In the Rye

strangerWithout hesitation, I can say some literary writers who have influenced me to see the World (with capital W), but the real “giants” who gift me the most impact for my twelve years of beautiful life are Albert Camus and J.D. Salinger.  Last year I picked up a copy of The Catcher In the Rye and I was hooked. Last month, I had a whole stacked of books to read during my school holiday. I pored over them one by one, started to read. The Stranger won my heart straight away. This time, my writing is intended to be a deep dive, side by side comparison of their similaraties and difference. Those who don’t read the books yet might find this article is confusing as I don’t uncover the storylines in details.

The Stranger is a small powerful novella that talks about how a human battle his consciousness to trivialize everything — the killing, his subsequent arrest, his imprisonment, his trial, his conviction, and his sentencing, while The Catcher in the Rye is also a novella which talks about a teenager who has lots of problems in his daily life — getting expelled from school and roaming round New York — and he ends up doing things he isn’t supposed to do, although he thinks the other way around.

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The Bluest Eyes by Toni Morrison

bluest eyeThis book was originally banned and wasn’t allowed to get published until about recently when most people stopped becoming so narrow-minded and superstitious over certain small things. It was written in the year 1970 when Toni Morrison was teaching in Howard University with her two sons, but it wasn’t out again sometime around 2009. But even now, as seen all over the internet, parents are claiming that this book should not even be there at schools, and should be taken out at many homework reading lists and university literature.

Many people are now fighting back. They’re writing articles and academic journals that this book should not be censored, especially after the incident which took place back in 2013 in September, when Debe Terhar – the President of Ohio State Board of Education – announced that the book should be taken out to the Ohio Education Ministry (Ohio was Toni Morrison’s birthplace and is proud of her achievements and awards because of all her books) because it contained ‘child pornography’.

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