Books I Want To Read (list)

I’ve been collecting a list of books that look interesting to me which I eventually would love to read. I included an Amazon link to each of these books as well as quotes all taken from Goodreads:

  • Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close: Jonathan Safran Foer
    • “Why didn’t I learn to treat everything like it was the last time. My greatest regret was how much I believed in the future.”
  • The Wrath and the Dawn: Renee Ahdieh
    • “This dangerous girl. This captivating beauty. This destroyer of worlds and creator of wonder.”
  • The Girl on the Train: Paula Hawkins
    • “The holes in your life are permanent. You have to grow around them, like tree roots around concrete; you mould yourself through the gaps.”
  • What If?: Randall Munroe
    • “They say there are no stupid questions. That’s obviously wrong; I think my question about hard and soft things, for example, is pretty stupid. But it turns out that trying to thoroughly answer a stupid question can take you to some pretty interesting places.”
  • What is Not Yours is Not Yours: Helen Oyeyemi
    • “It was the usual struggle between one who loves by accepting burdens and one who loves by refusing to be one.”
  • Monster: Walter Dean Meyers
    • “My job is to make sure the law works for you as well as against you, and to make you a human being in the eyes of the jury.”
  • Speak: Laurie Halse Anderson
    • “I have survived. I am here. Confused, screwed up, but here. So, how can I find my way? Is there a chain saw of the soul, an ax I can take to my memories or fears?”
  • Song of Achilles: Madeline Miller
    • “I could recognize him by touch alone, by smell; I would know him blind, by the way his breaths came and his feet struck the earth. I would know him in death, at the end of the world.”
  • Eleanor and Park: Rainbow Rowell
    • Eleanor was right. She never looked nice. She looked like art, and art wasn’t supposed to look nice; it was supposed to make you feel something.”
  • A Monster Calls: Patrick Ness
    • “You do not write your life with words…You write it with actions. What you think is not important. It is only important what you do.”
  • The Girls: Emma Cline
    • “You wanted things and you couldn’t help it, because there was only your life, only yourself to wake up with, and how could you ever tell yourself what you wanted was wrong?”
  • November 9: Colleen Hoover
    • “When you find love, you take it. You grab it with both hands and you do everything in your power not to let it go. You can’t just walk away from it and expect it to linger until you’re ready for it.”
  • The Martian: Andy Weir
    • “They say once you grow crops somewhere, you have officially ‘colonised’ it. So technically, I colonised Mars. In your face, Neil Armstrong!”

All American Boys Review

“If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.” -Desmond Tutu

               Almost every day, you can turn on the news to find another black man or woman was violently murdered or attacked for little to no reason by the police. With the prevalence of social media today, these crimes spread quickly throughout the internet and draws attention to the ever growing issue of police brutality. You’ll find some people arguing for hours on TV, some protesting and organizing calls to action, while others will stand in solidarity with the victims using hashtags of their names, such as #TamirRice, #Sandra Bland, and #Eric Garner. All American Boys, a book which I chose to read over the summer, is an artful fictional retelling, as well as a poignant reminder of the issue of racial injustice and police brutality in America.

               The book tells the story of Rashad and Quinn, a black teen and a white teen, respectively, who attend the same high school. Rashad’s journey begins when he goes to the convenience store and a cop brutally attacks him for assaulting a white woman, an act which Rashad did not commit, and now he must watch the country in turmoil from his hospital bed. Quinn’s story begins at the same time when he witnesses this act and starts to struggle with confronting what he’s seen and his whole place in this. As the book progresses, we follow Rashad and Quinn as they are both forced to come face to face with the fact that racism is still prevalent in America today and is affecting both of them in ways they never would have thought of.

               Overall, I believe All American Boys is one of the most important books kids can read today, and I highly recommend it to anyone who likes reading about modern issues through fiction. After I was done reading, I realized this book impacted me in ways that youth fiction so often fails to do. The only problem I really had with it is I wish it tied up all the loose ends and gave some conclusion to both character’s stories. One of the parts that struck me the most was how it was told in different POVs, which was a perfect decision from Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely. Not only does it give a first-hand account on how racial profiling can affect someone’s life and how yes, it is real, but it also provides an interesting perspective from the white community. Quinn is forced to acknowledge what happened and decide whether he wants to stay silent, in turn standing with the oppressor, or use his privilege to speak up for what is wrong. Many white Americans either ignore things or want to do something about it but don’t know how, and Quinn is the perfect metaphor. Rashad did not want to be dragged into this life, but he had no choice, and while he once thought this is not something that happens anymore, it is now happening to him and he has to confront that and also use his position to speak up. This is what makes All American Boys an ideal approach to a subject very difficult to talk about, as well as a beautiful and powerfully written story of two boys living through the American reality, however unfortunate, we all live in from both sides of the story.

“Had our hearts really become so numb that we needed dead bodies in order to feel the beat of compassion in our chests? Who am I if I need to be shocked back into my best self?” -All American Boys, pg. 296

New Beginnings

Hi! My name is Taja and I am a freshman in high school. My favorite subjects in school have always been science, english, and art. In my free time, I like to read, write, draw, as well as play piano. While this blog was created as a digital portfolio for my Gifted Honors English class, I hope over the course of these years it will grow along with me. I’ll be using this blog to post projects, book discussions, opinion essays relating to school, and other miscellaneous posts, so I hope you’ll join me on this journey! Thank you.