Thursday, March 12, 2015


by TheEquestrian

The magic is only in what books say, how they stitched the patches of the universe together into one garment for us.”  Ray BradburyFahrenheit 451

Books are my life.  I grew up loving books, being the youngest of three children; and being the only girl in my family and my neighborhood. My mom and I were the only ones who loved reading, and it was something sacred between us. Though I found times to do other things I enjoyed, but when I found pure serenity was in a book. But what if we ran out of reading material, what is there were no more books? What if books were banned? This is the book lovers greatest fear!

Abibliophobia is the fear of running out of reading material, and with my self- diagnosing talents, I sure know that I have this phobia. I always get afraid that I will run out of books and things to read, and I know this may seem irrational or silly, but it is a real fear. I could not imagine a world without books, life would just not be the same.

In the book Fahrenheit 451, life is not the same. Books are not allowed, it is a crime to even own a book. If you have a book in your house, it will be burned by the ‘firemen’. Books are made out to be evil, they are full of lies and fake people, well that is what the society thinks. The main character Guy Montag, who is a fireman, and burns books in his society. He is known as a ‘fireman’. But he has a big secret, and he wants things to change, he is tired of things being the way they are.
It doesn't matter what you long as you change something from the way it was before you touched it into something that's like you after you take your hands away.”                          Ray BradburyFahrenheit 451

So while reading this book, it really brought to my attention, that there are two possibilities. Number one: this type of world in any sort of way will never happen, because we will be able to stir ourselves away from that sort of world. And that it is logically possible for our world to turn into a dystopia because we will never let that happen. Number two: we turn into a ‘dystopian’ society, and begin becoming controlling and either having an oppressive government or no government at all. We begin to have extreme poverty for everyone or a huge level of poverty, propaganda begins to be posted and controlling minds, and free thinking and independent thoughts become banned. Many of these examples we have read about in books, such as Fahrenheit 451. There doesn’t seem like much of an option anymore. Will we one day be controlled by a higher power that doesn’t let us have thoughts or opinions?  Will we no longer have books?

Friday, March 6, 2015

Themes of Howl’s Moving Castle

By Jet

Just as a heads up, this text analysis will be about Howl’s Moving Castle, the book, not the movie by Miyazaki Hayao.

Howl’s Moving Castle is a book by Diana Wynne Jones, and it is about a young girl who is the eldest of three sisters, named Sophie Hatter. Sophie is extremely talented at making hats and clothes and one day, she accidentally offends the Witch of the Waste, who consequently turns her into an old lady. She hobbles off to the Wizard Howl’s moving castle because he is the only one who can break the curse. When she enters the castle she meets a fire demon named Calcifer, strikes a bargain with him, and meets Howl. She discovers that she has a powerful magical gift to ‘talk life into things’, breaks the contract between Calcifer and Howl and helps Howl defeat the Witch of the Waste. In the end, it turns out that she and Howl both fell in love with each other, and they decide to live ‘happily ever after’ together. Of course, with someone as vain as Howl and someone as stubborn as Sophie it can never be a perfect fairy tale.  This story is the anti-thesis to all fairy tales in which the damsel in distress is saved by a handsome prince who can do no wrong, and they live in perfect happiness for ever after. It also brings up a few interesting themes.


Sophie Hatter constantly tells herself that she is never going to amount to anything because she is the eldest. Even as an old lady, she makes remarks like  ‘“It may be the curse hovering to catch up with Howl,” she sighed to the flowers, “but I think it’s being the eldest, really. Look at me! I set out to seek my fortune and I end up exactly where I started, and old as the hills still!” (ch 18 pg 342)

As well as ‘“I’m the eldest!” Sophie shrieked. “I’m a failure!”’ (ch 21 pg 416)

Sophie is convinced that all the mistakes she makes are because of her being the eldest. She thinks that she is not pretty and that she will never amount to anything solely due to the circumstances of her birth. This may be because  “In the land of Ingary, where such things as seven-league boots and cloaks of invisibility really exist, it is quite a misfortune to be born the eldest of three. Everyone knows you are the one who will fail first, and worst, if the three of you set out to seek your fortunes.” (ch1 pg 1) But this is actually proven wrong when it turns out that Sophie is the one with a strong magical gift, and she ends up marrying the famous Wizard Howl.


Calcifer:  “You need some courage up in ‘ere”

Courage is an integral part of Sophie’s journey, because she is terribly timid in the beginning and doesn’t even stand up to her own stepmother, who uses her to make hats and doesn’t pay her a wage even though the hat shop is very prosperous solely due to Sophie’s efforts. This can be seen in Sophie and Howl’s first encounter on May Day.

“The girls strolled in fine pairs, ready to be accosted. It was perfectly normal for May Day, but Sophie was scared of that too. And when a young man in a fantastical blue-and-silver costume spotted Sophie and decided to accost her as well, Sophie shrank into a shop doorway and tried to hide.” (ch1 pg 19)

When she is turned into an old lady she is a lot bolder, because she feels like she has the right to certain things due to her age and that she has a lot more life experience. Later on, she faces the Witch of the Waste head-on and manages to defy her.

Howl embodies an element of courage which is quite contrary to the conventional definition. The stereotypical ‘courageous hero’ is usually someone who isn’t afraid to battle dragons and face his fears head-on. Howl, on the other hand, is more realistic. He has to deceive himself into believing he isn’t doing something to make himself do it.

"Not likely!" Howl yelled. “I’m a coward. Only way I can do something this frightening is to tell myself I’m not doing it!”’ (ch 21 pg 415)

Howl has convinced himself that he is a terrible coward but he is actually quite brave. He only tells himself that he is a coward so that he can get out of responsibility and ‘slither out’. This is akin to everyday situations in which people tell themselves they’re not really going to do something, they’re not really going to get on that rollercoaster, while they wander up and stand in line. It’s the same principle, except taken to the extreme. The author herself states in an interview:

“The fact is that he is quite brave in some directions and only frightened when he is face to face with someone whose powers are equal to his own. Then he has to trick himself into dealing with them.”

I think that this is a very human type of courage, in which being courageous isn’t a complete absence of fear, but feeling that fear and being able to proceed anyway. Howl is a very true-to-life character because he has human emotions and so many faults that he hardly fits into the mould of a traditional hero. This allows readers to identify with him and thus, endears him to them.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

The Phrontistery

by KitKat

Okay, so I found this website called The Phrontistery; it’s just one huge compilation of crazy words that people don’t use often, and my goodness are they AWESOME! Who knew that the act of eating while lying down had a name? Well, it does; “accubation”. More? Who knew that there were 81 words to say “nonsense”?

Guys check out this website! Wouldn’t it be great if people talked like this? “Aw man, I’m so farctated; Thanksgiving was killer!” Farctated means to be stuffed (as with food). Did you know that 21st century humans are famous for apocoping (cutting of the last sound of a word)? I’m going to challenge you guys to find a word on this website, and put it in the comments along with the definition.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Stop Dreaming, Start Living

by Jules

To see the world, things dangerous to come to, to see behind walls, draw closer, to find each other, and to feel. That is the purpose of life.
-Life Magazine's motto

Okay, so I love this movie. I really love this movie. I first saw it in the theatre with my family. We were planning to see Frozen, but it was sold out. So we went to see this one. I had no idea what this movie was going to be about or what it was. So we find our seats and sit down. Munching popcorn as the lights dim. The first surprising thing about this movie is the director. Ben Stiller? I didn't even know he did that! I thought this movie was just going to be some dumb comedy at that point. Don't get me wrong I love a dumb comedy as much as the next guy, but I kind of wanted something with more heart and I got it. 

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty is about a man who is a dreamer, with his head always in the clouds. He works as a negative asset manager for life magazine and in the beginning of the movie Walter gets a roll of film from a photographer named Sean O' Connell saying negative number 25 is the “quintessence” of life and it should be used for the last issue of life. He can't find number 25 and he goes all around the world to find it. The movie is actually based off a short story by the same name and there was another movie by the same name made in 1947.

One the big reasons I like it so much is the traveling aspect of it. Since I can remember I've always wanted to travel. It's a huge dream of mine to see the world. I want to experience the culture, see the scenery, eat the food! I want the adventure. The plot line is good and the movie leaves you happy. I also love the beautiful scenery, which the movie flaunts perfectly they do a good job showing people too. What the world is like. I also like the soundtrack which features my favorite band Of Monsters and Men. Their song Dirty Paws plays when Walter is in Iceland which is where the band is from. 

I've read quite a few reviews on this movie, Rotten Tomatoes gave the film 50%, while IMDB gave it a 7.4, on Metacritic the critics gave it a 54 (out of 100) and users gave it a 7.6, Pluggedin gave it a 4/5, so the movie has mixed reviews. I'm not saying this movie is like the holy grail of movies or anything, but I think its worth watching and maybe you will too.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015


By HissyFit

The Lego movie was released in 2014 merely for entertainment, or so everybody thought. Just a funny, heartwarming movie. What else could it possibly be about? It’s more than what it seems. I personally think that this movie was meant for more than entertainment. It also has a message send that our society actually needs right now. The message that everyone needs to hear: “you are special”.Emmet is an ordinary guy in a perfect world of Legos. He knows everyone in the city and has lots of friends. His favorite show is where are my pants, his favorite song is everything is awesome, and his favorite thing to do is follow the instructions. After accidentally getting into trouble, Emmet finds out that he isn’t at all special…and he certainly doesn’t have any friends.

*pause right there for a minute. Have you ever felt or been told that you’re not ‘all that’ after all? I have; and it’s been hard to get over! In our society, bullying and putting other people down has been a big problem and getting bigger. Every cause has its effect. A person with low self-esteem will likely have much less success, and much poorer a life than the average person. Also, depression (most often caused by social abuse) can lead to self-harm, substance abuse, and even suicide. This is an epidemic in our country.*

In a mad dash to escape from the trouble Emmet is in, he meets a stranger who keeps saying Emmet is, according to prophecy, ‘the special’: “One day, a talented lass or fellow, a special one with face of yellow, will make the Piece of Resistance found from its hiding refuge underground, and with a noble army at the helm, this Master Builder will thwart the Kragle and save the realm, and be the greatest, most interesting, most important person of all times. All this is true because it rhymes.” Gee, what Emmet wouldn’t have given to be called that again…

SPOILER: the whole story of the Lego movie was made up and played by a young boy with a big imagination. He looked at Emmet, a seemingly ordinary, generic, and regular construction worker, and turned him into a hero. The boy’s father denied Emmet to be anything special.

*And, you know what? People are going to tell you that. Say that you’re not something special. There is no achievement in not being told it, but there is in what you make of it. You can let it infect you or you can put a cast on your heart and sign it yourself. Sign that they were wrong. Sign that you are special, no matter what they say. Emmet was scared, and thought that nobody was there for him because everybody saw him as little and first, he believed it. But he didn’t let that stop him in the end.*

Basically, by the end of the movie, Emmet realizes that, even though the prophecy was a bluff, he really is special. And so is everybody else who thought that they were nothing extraordinary. Emmet finds out that when darkness rises (metaphorically), everybody is a professional at saving the world just being who they are. Nobody needs to change, nobody needs to level up, because nobody has time for that.

“You don't have to be the bad guy. You are the most talented, most interesting, and most extraordinary person in the universe. And you are capable of amazing things. Because you are the Special. And so am I. And so is everyone. The prophecy is made up, but it's also true. It's about all of us. Right now, it's about you. And you... still... can change everything.”

I feel like this is a very important message that everybody needs to hear when they feel like they’re at the bottom of the pyramid. I still remember the times that people told me how to feel about myself. Told me that I was good for nothing. Said that I wasn’t worth anything. Thinking that I could change the world was merely a dream. I am 100% sure that there is somebody out there feeling the way I did right now. Those people need to know that they can be the one meant to change the world being just the way they are. You are the special who can change the world. And that is the message I believe The Lego Movie was meant to get across.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Why We Should Judge Books By Their Covers

by Will Hunter Friedman

One of the few clear lessons I still remember from my Kindergarten Teacher. Treat others the way you want to be treated, and don’t judge a book by its cover. In this, my second blog post, I am going to explain why you should through that advice out the window.

First things first, I love reading and always have. When I was young, I was fairly conservative reader. I used to listen advice like don’t judge a book by its cover. Now I don’t. When I followed that age-old rule, I would basically read my way through the fiction section of the library in alphabetical order.

It sucked. Sure, I found some really good books, but the majority of them just weren’t interesting to me. Then, I changed. I stopped going in order. I now go to the library, and walk the shelves. I look and see if there are any new books in a series I enjoy. If there are, I check them out. If there aren’t, I browse the shelves. I look at titles, authors, and most importantly, covers.

I think that covers are one of the best ways to tell if you will like a book. I know that they are for me. The artwork produces a response from my subconscious. If I like the cover, I’ll feel drawn to the book, and, more often than not, will really enjoy it. If I’m not drawn to the book, I move on. Now, I know what you are probably thinking. “Wait, won’t your system make you miss good books that you would have otherwise read?” Good question Imaginary Blog Reader! Yes, it will. On the other hand, my system also makes it less likely for me to waste time reading lots of books that I don’t like.

I know that you may disagree with me. There are those among my readers who will no doubt protest that my system is luck, or erratic. That is your right. I disagree. I have great faith in the subconscious. I firmly believe in thin-slicing, a concept that is explained in the book Blink, by Malcolm Gladwell. The theory basically says that your subconscious will repulse you from books you won’t like, and will draw you towards books you will like.

Thanks for reading! If you have any questions or comments, please let me know, as I’d be happy to address them.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Like Someone in Love

by Edoardo Tarkovsky

Like Someone in Love, a film directed by Abbas Kiarostami, is a refreshing mix of throwback and neo-drama. It’s something of a comeback of a film for Japanese cinema, which in recent years has faded into obscurity in the world of international cinema.

In Like Someone in Love, we follow a young woman named Akiko in her daily life. We watch her become acquainted with an old man and run into her angry bum of a boyfriend. In a two-hour time period, the audience watches a seemingly unimportant series of events unfold.

But it would be a mistake to think of this all as pedestrian; Like Someone in Love is heavy with feminism that echoes the work of Kenji Mizoguchi, Mikio Naruse, etc. A noteworthy observation is that the men in Akiko’s life (her boss, her boyfriend, and the old man) all in some way, shape, or form make life harder for her. In a story that spans over less than twenty-four hours, she experiences a big barrage of adversity.

This film by Kiarostami is more than meets the eye. Its underlying themes really aren’t that far off from what we saw in the golden age of Japanese cinema. Like Someone in Love is at its heart a sympathetic piece of feminism. It goes back to the roots of Japanese films tastefully. From the ‘40s through the ‘60s, we had directors like Mizoguchi and Naruse distinguished by their feminism. Today, we have Kiarostami’s film Like Someone in Love.