Book Review: Fathers and Sons by Ivan Turgenev

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Time period: Realism

This is another book that I just finished in English class. I generally would not recommend this book to people who do not like dense reading, although the book isn’t very long. Fathers and Sons was written in 1862, during the realist era, and as such, focuses a lot on science and the different philosophical ideas arising during this time. The books explores nihilist ideals as well as an increased focus on science, which seems to be a recurring theme during this time period.

Image result for fathers and sons turgenev

————————————

Arkady and Bazarov are visiting Arkady’s father at his manor in a province in Russia. Arkady’s father welcomes the two boys into his home but his brother, Pavel, is taken aback by the introduction of nihilism, which both of the young boys seem to support.

After a few days home, Bazarov and Arkady go to a dance where Arkady meets a wealthy widow named Anna Odinstova. Originally infatuated with her, Arkady talks with her about many things, including Bazarov. Anna then invites the two of them over, but to Arkady’s dismay, talks only to Bazarov and dismisses Arkady to entertain her sister, Katya.

Not long after this does Bazarov realize that he has feelings for Anna. But Bazarov’s strong nihilist ideals and disbelief in love, and Anna’s unwillingness to fall in love again sets up obstacles that may never go away.

If you would like to read this book, you can purchase it here: Fathers and Sons (Oxford World’s Classics)

Book Review: La Vida es Sueño by Pedro Calderón de la Barca

Hey everyone! Sorry that I haven’t posted at all for a very long time but I got caught up with a lot of work and also had a lot of debate tournaments in the last few months. Here’s the next book review!

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Genre: Fiction

Age Recommended: 14 and up

This book was part of a reading assignment that I had in English class recently. I enjoyed it immensely because of the way the author made the reader sympathize with the main character’s situation, even though he was portrayed in a bad light. This book was actually written during the Renaissance period around 1635 and was one of the more famous Spanish works.

Image result

————————–

Segismundo has been trapped in a dungeon simce he was born. “A man among beasts and a beast among men”, he has nowhere to go and nobody to talk to except his jailer, Clotaldo.

However, one day, a young woman, Rosaura, and her servant stumble upon Segismundo when searching for a person. Segismundo immediately falls in love with Rosaura, with her being the first person that he has ever seen besides Clotaldo. He professes that since seeing her is death, not seeing her would give him something far worse, life, because giving life to an unfortunate man is like giving death to a fortunate one.

“pero véate yo y muera;
que no sé, rendido ya,
si el verte muerte me da.
el no verte qué me diera.
fuera, más que muerte fiera,
ira, rabia, y dolor fuerte;
fuera vida; de esta suerte
su rigor he ponderado,
pues, dar vida a un desdichado
es dar a un dichoso muerte.”

Soon after, Segismundo is freed from his jail cell as a test to see if he can control himself out of shackles or not. If he can, he will be King. But if not, he will see nothing but darkness for the rest of his days.

If you would like to read this book, you can purchase it here – this is a dual language version with both English and Spanish: Life Is a Dream/La Vida es Sueño

Book Review: When You Never Said Goodbye by Meg Kearney

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Genre: Realistic Fiction

Age Recommended: 13 and up

This book was an ARC, courtesy of NetGalley

I didn’t really enjoy this book, because while it was a good story and has well developed characters, I felt that the author tried too hard to drag the story out. Even though this book was the third in a series and I easily understood it without having read the first two.

when-you-never-said-goodbye

—————————–

Liz’s adoptive father has just passed away, which is making her more eager than ever to find her birth mother. After saying goodbye to her mother after another long Christmas, Liz goes back to college with her mission fresh in mind.

When Liz begins investigating her birth mother, all she hits are dead ends. Most people aren’t willing to help her, and those who are willing don’t know how to. Liz finally learns tiny details about her mother through untold sources and begins to piece together an image which she believes to resemble her mother.

However, when a lady finally approaches Liz, claiming to have information about her birth mother, Liz isn’t entirely sure if she wants to know anymore.

Will she eventually find her birth mother?

If you would like to read this book, you can preorder it here: When You Never Said Goodbye: An Adoptee’s Search for Her Birth Mother: A Novel in Poems and Journal Entries

Book Review: Ida B by Katherine Hannigan

Rating : 4.4 out of 5 stars

Age Recommended: 8 and up

ida b

Ida B. is a great book about the ups and downs of homeschooling. Katherine Hannigan shows how school can be great for some, while not so great for others. This book was really inspirational in terms of what a person could do when they put their mind to something.

Ida B. was a character whose ingenious ideas could change the world, and I found myself believing in her as much as her own parents did in the book. If we had more people like Ida B. in this world, it would make the world a much better place.

Ida B. is a girl who “quit” school in her mind the very day she started. She walked out of school at the end of day, and said ” Mama, this will not do.” I found this sentence very funny because it was coming out of the mouth of a kindergartner.

It was like they were keeping her in a dungeon. She sounded so defeated. Ida B.’s mother accompanied her to school the next day.

At the end of the day they both walked out with hunched over shoulders, and a defeated look on their face…

“Mama, this will not do.”

“I know.”