RHS READING CENTER!
Life of Pi by Yann Martel

The book Life of Pi by Yann Martel tells a story of a young man who was on his way to Canada onboard a cargo ship named Tsimtsum with his family. While carrying dozens of passengers and wild zoo animals, the ship unexpectedly sinks, leaving Pi and a few animals as the only survivors stranded on a single lifeboat. One of these animals includes a bengal tiger, named Richard Parker. Knowing that his whole family is gone and his life is at risk, Pi has to figure out how he can survive with minimal materials and lack of hope. He learns to live alongside a tiger and manages to keep them both alive for many months until they finally end up on the coast of Mexico. He encounters many situations of hopelessness and times of absolute fear, yet he has only one goal in mind- to survive. I really enjoyed reading this book for many reasons; one reason being that the story it tells is unimaginable and even after reading the book, I don’t understand how a young man can be given so many obstacles and still manage to survive, while stranded in the middle of the ocean. I think…

Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand, Review by Tristan H.

In a breathtaking adventure, Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand, exploits the challenges some soldiers experienced during World War II. Unbroken is set in the time of World War II, following Louis Zamperini, a former Olympic long distance runner turned bombardier. Hillenbrand manages to put together a story full of pain and sadness, and still make an amazing story. What’s even more fascinating, Unbroken is a true book–Louis Zamperini is a real person who has been through all of the scenes. An important theme in Unbroken is resilience. Louis Zamperini has shown constantly throughout the book that he is a resilient person. For example, despite having cracked ribs and bleeding in pain from getting ganged up on by other runners, he managed to crush the original NCAA Championship record (1,609 meter run) at 4:20, he ran a 4:08.3. After all this, he had only missed the WORLD record by 1.9 seconds. However his run and finish would stand as the NCAA record for nearly 15 years. Despite being injured during the race, he had one of the most stellar performances in a long distance run, ever. Another example of resilience is when Louis is captured by the Japanese Navy, and he was…

Hole in My Life by Jack Gantos

Choices have consequences. Jack Gantos, author and protagonist of Hole in my Life, learns this lesson when he is a young man just out of high school. He is living on his own during his senior year of high school. His parents are in St. Croix, trying to provide for the rest of the family, but he wants to finish his education. He is all set to go to college, has been accepted, but something spurs him to put his education on hold. His ideal college is University of Florida, and when he goes up for a visit, the dean of the school tells him he is not allowed to keep his car, his only possession, on campus. This revelation shakes him, and he decides to not go to college. After this first mistake, Jack returns to his family in St. Croix, where he gets roped into a world of drugs. He agrees to sail a boat filled with hash up to New York from St. Croix for $10,000. Inevitably, Jack and his sailing partner, Hamilton, get caught with the drugs on board, and he is then convicted and given a prison sentence of up to six years, but, because…

Monsters by Rich Cohen

Monsters by Rich Cohen was not only great for  Bears fans but for any sports fan in general. A good alternative title would be “The Heart of Chicago” because this football team gave the city life, a new identity, and most importantly, a championship. This story takes place in Chicago during the 1985 season. Then, it takes you to the present, where the players are now, and how their lives have been away from the game. This team proved that Chicago is and always will be the Chicago we all know and love, as the tough and rumble mid-west football city. Cohen wrote this book to provide insight on how the Bears lifted the city and brought them all together. There was no north or south side, it was just Chicago.       The first page of the book, describes how Cohen got 2 super bowl tickets, “. . . in a manner I won’t bother to go into. . .” (Cohen 1). This grabber makes you wonder how did he get the tickets? Did he steal them? Did he scalp them? “That’s what I want to know. How did he come into (“illegal”) contact with them. The author…

Jobs – Walter Isaacson
Biography , Narrative Non-Fiction , Non-Fiction / December 20, 2016

  Steve Jobs is the biography of Jobs written by Walter Isaacson. It is written to tell the story of how Apple started and its co-founder’s life and what went wrong and right in the company’s development. Almost all of our modern-day cell phones and computer technology was based on or inspired by something Steve Jobs and Apple envisioned, designed, and assembled. During Jobs’s childhood, he would get into a lot of trouble because he was so much smarter than everyone else. He played some pretty crazy pranks, one of which was when he and a friend made an unauthorized “Bring-Your-Pet-to-School” day in elementary school. They made posters and everything and the next day the school was a zoo. He would act out in school because he was just bored. Later in life, his boredom led him to experiment with hallucinogenic drugs and to pursue certain types of religions that discouraged  showering, resulting in body odor. He thought eating natural foods would prevent that body odor but it didn’t work. Ultimately, he smelled, and people were repulsed by him at work. For example, at Atari his stench and his habit of not wearing shoes caused his co workers to hate…

The Glass Castle – Jeanette Walls
Narrative Non-Fiction / November 2, 2016

Review by Caitlin Rogan How would you feel if you never lived anywhere long enough to make friends and you had to dig through dumpsters to find food? The Glass Castle is about Jeannette Walls, a young girl who lived a nomadic lifestyle. Throughout her childhood, Jeannette’s parents, an alcoholic father and a free spirited mother, moved her and her siblings around. Never living anywhere long enough to find her place, Jeannette, now an adult, recalls her childhood and the struggles associated to it. Jeannette’s mother was an artist. She was kind to her children, but unable to support them due to stress. I didn’t like Jeannette’s mother. I found her to be a burden, refusing to leave her abusive husband. She put her kids in danger and was selfish, leaving her kids with no food while she spent their savings on art projects. Jeannette’s father was an alcoholic. While an intelligent man by day, as he was drunk at night, he was abusive. He moved the family often, escaping the tax collectors. I did not like the father. Rex was not a good person, and like the mother, left the kids to mature at a young age. Despite their…

My Friend Dahmer – Derf Backderf
Drama , Graphic Novel , Narrative Non-Fiction / September 22, 2016

My Friend Dahmer is a very unique graphic novel written by Derf Backderf. It’s a story about how he grew up With Jeffrey Dahmer who grew up to be one of the most notorious serial killers ever. Backderf went to high school and was even friends with Dahmer. They weren’t best friends or even good friends, but they occasionally hung out. The Graphic novel spans throughout their high school days and slightly after they graduate. The graphic novel, is in the perspective of backderf, who is the author and illustrator. It shows the leadup to how Dahmer would become an infamous serial killer most people know him as today. Whether it was his severe drinking problem or issues his family had, Jeffery had a rough upbringing. His mother and father ha a bad relationship and were always fighting which had a strong effect on him. He was also dealing with his sexuality at the time becuse he was gay but coming out in those times was not ok like it is now. He was very odd but was able to make some friends by imitating  someone with cerebral palsy, and people thought his impersonations were funny. He never had any…

Finding Me
Autobiography , Drama , Narrative Non-Fiction / September 22, 2016

Finding Me, written by the courageous Michelle Knight, has been a book that I have wanted to read for the past year, practically since it came out.  I am ecstatic to say that all of my expectations and hopes for the book were met.  This heart-wrenching story opened my eyes to a world full of horror, misery, and escape that was a result of pure heroism. On August 23, 2002, 21 year old Michelle Knight was kidnapped off the streets by a man who would hold her captive in his disgusting Cleveland home for the next 11 years.  This book recaps the horrifying events that Michelle Knight had to suffer through, while kidnapper Ariel Castro enjoyed every minute of raping, abusing, and his mental destruction of Knight.  But, when Castro kidnaps two more girls over the span of a few years, will that be her new found hope for escape?   If I had to give this book a movie rating, it would be rated R.  Going to this book, I had no idea how graphic and truly terrifying the details of the kidnapping would be.  Of course I knew they would be bad, but I did not know that…

American Sniper – Chris Kyle

American Sniper by Chris Kyle is the story of a Navy SEAL, Chris. Since a kid,  Chris has dreamed of serving our country in some way. After struggling in school and dropping out of college he goes to work as a farm hand for his friend. While there he gets the call he’s been waiting for; a Navy recruiting officer tells him they want him to join the SEALs. As he goes through the training, he realizes he is not in as great of shape as he once thought. Although he may not be as fit as others, his mental attitude and perseverance make him rise to the top. Once training is over, he is sent to California where he meets his team and prepares for what they all know is coming, their deployment. Eventually they are sent over seas for the Iraq War, and the story turns into a mix of fighting and fighting back emotions. Unlike other war stories there is a very personal touch added between his personal stories and the input given by his wife, Taya. During one operation in Sadr City he was leaving a house where they had been hiding when something terrifying happened, “A shot…

Bob Dylan Chronicles – Bob Dylan
Biography , Narrative Non-Fiction / March 14, 2016

The Bob Dylan Chronicles by Bob Dylan is the story of Bob Dylan the kid from Minnesota who traveled across America to New York to make his mark on the musical world as a folk singer. While in New York, he played at many musical locations such as Cafe Wah and others, until he was discovered. After that, he went on tour with some of the best of all time such as Tom Petty, The Band, etc. When he was on tour with Tom Petty, Dylan was at his lowest point, and he thought there would be no way to come back from the creative slump he had fallen into. But he did recover and produced some of the greatest music of the time with albums and songs such as Desire with “Hurricane” and others including “Like a Rolling Stone.” Not too long into his career, he turned to the electric guitar at the Newport Folk Festival. This was the start of the musical legend who played with the best of all time and influenced the best of all time. For instance, in this book it talked about how he would listen to Roy Orbison, and how he had a huge…