The SURVIVOR Project

Read the true stories of sexual assault and abuse survivors, paired with their portraits. As told by the survivors and transcribed by Arnold, survivors take a stand to voice what they have gone through in hopes of others never having to go through it themselves.

Susan Arnold presents her second published work, The SURVIVOR Project.

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Stop Degrading Liberal Art Degrees

At what point did I, or we, if this applies to you as well, accept the stereotype of liberal art majors? When did we stop defending ourselves? Reading Silva’s essay opened my eyes. I had already known that the stereotype against English majors existed, but I never realized how strongly it prevailed.

As a double major in Photography (an art degree) and Writing (an English degree), I receive double the amount of heat. I jokingly switch between the two depending on the situations I am in. (For example, being with my two very left-brained biology degree friends while they discuss anatomy: “What? I’m an art major!”) The fact that I switch between my majors and willingly degrade myself to those with “harder” degrees, shows just how much this stereotype has permeated into daily life.

In the essay, Silva states “But as far as I’ve seen, none of the stereotypes of a STEM or hard science major undermine their future and choices. That’s exactly what the stereotypes and stigmas surrounding liberal arts majors do.” Throughout my college career, I have had people assume that I want to be a journalist (I do not like factual writing), doubted that my Writing major was a real degree (‘It sounds fake.’) and ask what I plan on doing because neither of my degrees guarantees me a job. When in all actuality, everything that we associate with on a daily basis deals with writing or photography, specifically social media and advertisements.

I believe in the art of storytelling. And I also believe that I can change society, even if that change is small. The moment I stop doubting myself, my abilities and my degrees is the moment that I start to change the minds of those around me.

Review for EVERYTHING, EVERYTHING

Everything, Everything by Nicola YoonThis book redefines the YA genre. This inspirational layout is different from any other book I’ve read. EVERYTHING, EVERYTHING is easy to read and heart touching. I think I would have given it a 6/5 if I hadn’t had already seen the movie. (Don’t be mad! It was mother/daughter bonding.)
On the note of already seeing the movie (which I also recommend), it was intriguing to see how the directors adapted the IM, texting, and illustrations from the book to the big screen.
The illustrations really allow the reader to get into the head of Maddy, the protagonist, by seeing the world how she sees it. They also break up the text in ways that make the reading very fast.

Overall, I give it a 5/5.

Review for ‘The Song of Achilles’

The Song of Achilles by Madeline MillerDNF!

I did not even make it 100 pages into this book. I tried, really I did. There were entire passages of description that could have been taken out. The book could have been much shorter if, rather than describe every unimportant detail, Miller had just gotten to the point. I get it, show don’t tell, but readers do not need to see every detail. I’m truly disappointed because I had such high hopes for this book and it let me down.

It was too slow paced and I really just couldn’t get into it.

 

I give it a 1/5 star rating.

April TBR

Artemis is a book that I’ve wanted to read since it came out. I originally wanted to read it because Artemis is my favorite Greek goddess…I actually had no idea what the book was about. If you also don’t know what this book is about, I’ll leave the synopsis below. This is the first I will be reading anything by Andy Weir, so I’m excited to see how I like it.

Jazz Bashara is a criminal.

Well, sort of. Life on Artemis, the first and only city on the moon, is tough if you’re not a rich tourist or an eccentric billionaire. So smuggling in the occasional harmless bit of contraband barely counts, right? Not when you’ve got debts to pay and your job as a porter barely covers the rent.

Everything changes when Jazz sees the chance to commit the perfect crime, with a reward too lucrative to turn down. But pulling off the impossible is just the start of her problems, as she learns that she’s stepped square into a conspiracy for control of Artemis itself—and that now, her only chance at survival lies in a gambit even riskier than the first.

The Dark Prophecy is a book that I’ve been dying to read since I finished the first of the series. I am waiting to buy the book when it comes out in paperback so it matches the first one (which I bought in paperback), so I checked it out the hardcover from the library. I have always loved Rick Riordan’s writing since I started the Percy Jackson series when I was twelve. I’m excited to see where the story goes an how everything ties together because it’s obvious how much thought that Riordan has put into his series. Read the synopsis below.

The second book in the latest series from Percy Jackson creator Rick Riordan. The god Apollo, stuck in the body of a teenage boy, must undergo the second of his trials to regain his immortality.
I got The Edge of Falling from the library because they didn’t have the book by Rebecca Serle that I wanted (it’s down further on the list). I read the inside flap of the hardcover and the plot seems interesting, so I checked it out. I have previously read Serle’s Famous in Love so I know that I like her style.
Growing up in privileged, Manhattan social circles, Caggie’s life should be perfect, and it almost was until the day that her younger sister drowned when Caggie was supposed to be watching her. Stricken by grief, Caggie pulls away from her friends and family, only to have everyone misinterpret a crucial moment when she supposedly saves a fellow classmate from suicide. Now she’s famous for something she didn’t do and everyone lauds her as a hero. But inside she still blames herself for the death of her sister and continues to pull away from everything in her life, best friend and perfect boyfriend included. Then Caggie meets Astor, the new boy at school, about whom rumors are swirling and known facts are few. In Astor she finds someone who just might understand her pain, because he has an inner pain of his own. But the more Caggie pulls away from her former life to be with Astor, the more she realizes that his pain might be darker, and deeper, than anything she’s ever felt. His pain might be enough to end his life…and Caggie’s as well.

This one is also a book that I’ve wanted to read for a very long time, since it came out, actually. I just have never gotten to read it. The main reason that I checked it out from the library is that its sequel is coming out this month (Cerce). I want to read this one mainly because of the Greek mythology that has been interesting to me since I started reading the Percy Jackson series when I was younger. I’ve never read anything by Madeline Miller, so I’m excited to see if I enjoy this story.

Greece in the age of heroes. Patroclus, an awkward young prince, has been exiled to the kingdom of Phthia to be raised in the shadow of King Peleus and his golden son, Achilles. “The best of all the Greeks”—strong, beautiful, and the child of a goddess—Achilles is everything the shamed Patroclus is not. Yet despite their differences, the boys become steadfast companions. Their bond deepens as they grow into young men and become skilled in the arts of war and medicine—much to the displeasure and the fury of Achilles’ mother, Thetis, a cruel sea goddess with a hatred of mortals.

When word comes that Helen of Sparta has been kidnapped, the men of Greece, bound by blood and oath, must lay siege to Troy in her name. Seduced by the promise of a glorious destiny, Achilles joins their cause, and torn between love and fear for his friend, Patroclus follows. Little do they know that the Fates will test them both as never before and demand a terrible sacrifice.

Built on the groundwork of the Iliad, Madeline Miller’s page-turning, profoundly moving, and blisteringly paced retelling of the epic Trojan War marks the launch of a dazzling career.

 

I’m reading this book for class. I think that’s all I think I need to say.
But it’s actually a pretty good read. If you’re interested in writing scripts, I’d suggest picking this book up.
This ultimate insider’s guide reveals the secrets that none dare admit, told by a show biz veteran who’s proven that you can sell your script if you can save the cat!

This is the book that I was originally planning on checking out from the library. After reading its prequel, Famous in Love, I needed to read the second one.
Last summer I binge watched Famous in Love on FreeForm. Sadly, the only thing the show has in common with the book is the names of the characters. Both the book and the show ended with giant, and drastically different, cliffhangers. I did not want to confuse the plot lines of the two, and with the season premiere of the show last week, I need to know what happens in the second book.

After being plucked from obscurity, Hollywood’s newest starlet, Paige Townsen, has a hit film to her name and Rainer Devon on her arm. But being half of the world’s most famous couple comes with a price. No matter where Paige goes, someone is always watching. Soon she finds herself dodging photographers; hiding her feelings for her other costar, Jordan Wilder; and navigating tabloid scandals that threaten to tear her and Rainer apart—and end her career as quickly as it began.

As she navigates her new L.A. life in this sequel to Famous in Love, Paige finds that she doesn’t know who to trust: Old friends could be betraying her secrets, and new friends are keeping secrets of their own.

 

Once again, this is a book that I have wanted to read for a long time and I finally broke down and bought it. I have never read anything by Mary Beard and I am actually excited to learn a thing or two while I read this.
In SPQR, an instant classic, Mary Beard narrates the history of Rome “with passion and without technical jargon” and demonstrates how “a slightly shabby Iron Age village” rose to become the “undisputed hegemon of the Mediterranean” (Wall Street Journal). Hailed by critics as animating “the grand sweep and the intimate details that bring the distant past vividly to life” (Economist) in a way that makes “your hair stand on end” (Christian Science Monitor) and spanning nearly a thousand years of history, this “highly informative, highly readable” (Dallas Morning News) work examines not just how we think of ancient Rome but challenges the comfortable historical perspectives that have existed for centuries. With its nuanced attention to class, democratic struggles, and the lives of entire groups of people omitted from the historical narrative for centuries, SPQR will to shape our view of Roman history for decades to come.
So, in order to get free shipping for my order on ThriftBooks, I had to spend at least $10, the synopsis for this seemed pretty interesting so I just added it to my cart. I don’t think I’ve ever read Siobhan Vivian’s work, so I am excited to see how I like her work.

An intense look at the rules of high school attraction – and the price that’s paid for them.

It happens every year. A list is posted, and one girl from each grade is chosen as the prettiest, and another is chosen as the ugliest. Nobody knows who makes the list. It almost doesn’t matter. The damage is done the minute it goes up.

This is the story of eight girls, freshman to senior, “pretty” and “ugly.” And it’s also the story of how we see ourselves, and how other people see us, and the tangled connection of the two.

Now, with final exams, portfolios and projects coming up, and the fact that I have to pack up and move back home, I’m not sure if I will be able to read all of these books within the month of April. I borrowed Artemis from a friend a couple of weeks ago and really want to give it back to him soon, so that’s the first one I will be reading. And I checked out the three from the library, so I have to finish those before I turn them back in. Obviously, I will finish Save the Cat for class. But the rest of the books I’m okay with not finishing before the end of the month.
What books are you guys reading this month?

‘There’s Someone Inside Your House’ Review


I was thoroughly spooked.

The book was great until the end. Like I said, I was thoroughly spooked and had to speed read the entire thing so that I could actually fall asleep. (I still ended up having nightmares after I finished it.)

When I was reading, the story felt very well paced, it wasn’t rushed and it didn’t try to build up for too long. Yet, when I got to the end, I feel like there were a number of problems that went unresolved. I want to know what happened to the town and the people impacted by the murders. I want to know how the protagonist grows and moves on. I want to know how her relationship with her parents evolves.

There are so many things that I want to know, but never will.

The book just ends too abruptly for me. It’s a satisfying ending, but there are so many things that could have been explained.

 

Overall, I gave it a three out of five stars.

‘Turtles All the Way Down’ Review

John Green possesses a way with words that makes me contemplate life every time I read one of his works. In ‘The Fault in Our Stars’ it was “Some infinities are bigger than other infinities” in ‘Looking for Alaska’ it was “How long is an instant?” (a quote which actually inspired a story I plan to write). In ‘Turtles All the Way Down’ it was “No one ever says goodbye unless they want to see you again.”

Usually, when I read John Green books, I fall in love with the story but cringe the entire time I read it because I cannot stand his writing style. Yet, in ‘Turtles All the Way Down’ I did not cringe. I really enjoyed Green’s writing style for this one. I am sure if it is the same as his previous books and I have just matured or if he is writing differently now that he has finally returned.

I loved the protagonist’s name: Aza. Named because her parents wanted to give her the whole alphabet, wanted to give her all of the possibilities it had to offer. If that’s not romantic I don’t know what is.

I found Aza to be incredibly relatable, and I don’t know if that is something that I should be wary of (read the story to know why). The way her mind works reminds me of how my mind works. I think that’s why I enjoy writing. When I write, I create a physical proof of my thoughts, I get them out of my head and free up storage. Though my thoughts are not as severe as Aza’s I can relate to feeling trapped in one’s own mind.

Daisy, Aza’s best friend, gives a good sense of reality, even though she pretty much lives in her fan fiction. Her and Aza get into a fight at one point throughout the novel, and it was a reality check to me–the reader, not just Aza. That’s something rare in a book, at least how I see it.

The ending was justified, which is something I think that John Green is good about doing. He never creates a far-fetched ending. The ending was practical and realistic and made sense for all of the characters involved, which is something I enjoyed.

This book. I really don’t know how to explain it. But it reached me. Now, as I’m writing this review, the plot and the words are spiraling in my mind. I can only think of the book. How it will stay with me.

Final rating: 5/5