Category Archives: Reason: Pre-Reading for Cameron

1984 by George Orwell

1984 is one of those books with themes that continually appear in pop culture and everyone, whether they’ve read it or not, know the basics of how it goes. There’s Big Brother and the Thought Police and the constant fear that you’ll be picked up and just vanish because you said something in your sleep or made a face that was construed as being anti-Party. The main character, Winston, realizes that history keeps getting rewritten (he works in the department where they do just that after all) and that things aren’t what the government claims. The only problem is pretty much everyone else seems to buy into it all, and if they don’t they no longer exist (and never existed). Some things in the book are frightening when you look around and see shades of them in real life (don’t believe what you see and hear… only I tell you the truth). The gaslighting is amazing. If anyone wonders what gaslighting is, reading 1984 should help them understand. The end is rather depressing and give a bleak outlook on what a society like the one portrayed would do to free thinkers. I highly recommend reading it to older teens and up.

5 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2019: 55
Pages Read in 2019: 14,783
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Filed under Classic, Dystopian, Reason: Pre-Reading for Cameron, Reason: Well-Educated Mind Challenge

All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque

All Quiet on the Western Front is a rather intense depiction of World War I. It is told from the viewpoint of a young German soldier. It goes deep into his psyche as he comes to grips with the loss of his friends, killing people who only are his enemy because someone above him said so, and what the point of war is at all. It is sometimes hard to read as the descriptions can be graphic, but they also seem honest. The book really makes you think about war and what it does to the individuals who do the fighting (it is definitely not pro-war). I highly recommend it to older teens and up learning about World War I.

5 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2019: 51
Pages Read in 2019: 13,186
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Filed under Realistic Fiction, Reason: LitHub Bingo, Reason: Pre-Reading for Cameron

King Leopold’s Ghost by Adam Hochschild

I never knew about King Leopold II of Belgium obtaining the Congo as a possession. I never knew about the atrocities committed there and the slave labor used to collect rubber. King Leopold’s Ghost tells the story of Leopold II, what happened in the Congo in the late 1800s to early 1900s, the efforts to stop it, and how things continued even after the king’s death. It is given through the eyes and writings of those who were there including, where possible, the Congolese people themselves. The writing is engrossing. The history is laid out quite well. On occasion it does drag and is sometimes repetitive. I recommend this book to late teens and up interested in the Belgians in the Congo.

4 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2019: 50
Pages Read in 2019: 12,946
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Filed under History, Reason: LitHub Bingo, Reason: Pre-Reading for Cameron

The Autobiography of Andrew Carnegie and the Gospel of Wealth by Andrew Carnegie

I enjoyed Andrew Carnegie’s lightly edited autobiography a lot more than I expected I would. He had a very interesting life and is truly an American Dream rags to riches success story. It’s a little bit over the top in showing how good he was and sometimes it rambled from one thing to another without any rhyme or reason. For the most part, though, even when it totally rambled, it was quite fascinating. I highly recommend The Autobiography of Andrew Carnegie and The Gospel of Wealth to older teens and adults interested in Carnegie.

4 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2019: 45
Pages Read in 2019: 11,663
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Filed under Memoir, Reason: Pre-Reading for Cameron

Refugee by Alan Gratz

Refugee follows the stories of three children. Josef is a Jewish boy on the St. Louis in 1939 hoping to be admitted to Cuba, Isabel is a Cuban girl in 1994 attempting to escape to Miami in a little homemade boat, and Mahmoud is a Syrian boy trying to go from Aleppo to Germany in 2015. The stories are told one chapter at a time changing the story with each chapter change. I found this to be very jarring at first and was not a fan of that set-up at all. I eventually got used to it. Ultimately the stories intertwine even though they happen such a distance apart in time and location. The main characters are fictional, but they are based on composites of actual refugees and what they experienced actually happened to people. In the author’s note, those things are detailed, including which characters were real people and which specific people some of the fictional characters were based on. I highly recommend this book to middle grade readers and up wondering what it is like to be a refugee.

4 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2019: 40
Pages Read in 2019: 10,589
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Filed under Historical Fiction, Middle Grades, Reason: LitHub Bingo, Reason: Pre-Reading for Cameron, Reason: Pre-Reading for Fritz

Sacajawea by Joseph Bruchac

Told in alternating voices of Clark and Sacajawea, Sacajawea tells the story of the Corps of Discovery as if the two were answering young Pomp’s (Jean Baptiste Charbonneau) questions. It is extremely well researched, often paraphrasing from the actual journals written by Lewis and Clark. The two voices are very distinct making it easy to identify the current speaker. At times it dragged, however, making it easy to put down for a while. I recommend it to anyone wanting to learn more about the Lewis and Clark Expedition.

4 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2019: 37
Pages Read in 2019: 9875
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Filed under Historical Fiction, Reason: LitHub Bingo, Reason: Pre-Reading for Cameron, Reason: Pre-Reading for Fritz

Mother Teresa by Wyatt North

Mother Teresa was an amazing woman. This book gives an excellent overview of her life and the things she accomplished. It is biased toward her ever doing little to nothing wrong and pretty much being a saint (though it was written before she was actually canonized). It is a quick read. I highly recommend it to anyone wanting to know more about the good Mother Teresa did in the world.

5 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2019: 35
Pages Read in 2019: 9457
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Filed under Biography, Reason: LitHub Bingo, Reason: Pre-Reading for Cameron