Halo: Contact Harvest by Joseph Staten (***)
This is the story of Sargeant Johnson from the Halo universe. It also details the human's first contact with the Covenant on the planet Harvest. I thought this was the best Halo novel since the very first one. It was written very well and like the others have both a Covenant and UNSC viewpoint. Recommened to anyone interested in the story of Halo.
One Child by Torey Hayden (****)
This story is told from the viewpoint of a teacher in a resource room. She talks about how her new student, who was supposed to be impossible to get along with, is just a bit misunderstood. The little girl was raped by her uncle and neglected by her father, left to die by her mother, so she has a lot to overcome. However, with the help of her teacher, she progresses through the school year and winds up being ready for the next grade by the end of the year, even though she doesn't want to leave her new best friend, her teacher.
Someone Elses Kids by Torey Hayden (****)
This book was exactly like "One Child" but it instead profiled Torey's helping with 4 other children, all of whom have unique situations. One is a pregnant teen, another is a child with autism who cannot communicate, another is a girl who cannot read, and the last is a boy who still believes his dead father is with him and is a bit mentally disturbed. All of the storylines are wrapped up nicely and it makes you feel good to know that there are good people out there like Torey, and that any child can be helped if we just give them the time.
In Progress: Democratic Schools by Michael Apple and James Beane, Ordinary Resurrections by John Kozol, The World Without Us by Alan Weisman
Democratic Schools by Apple and Beane (***)
Story that profiles many different types of schools and the effect that a democratic mindset has on them. Pretty cool book if interested in education.
Push by Saphire (**1/2)
Story of a girl who has had a child at age 12 and another one on the way now at age 16. She has been kicked out of highschool by a school system that does not care about her. her home life is a mess; the father of both of her children is her actual biological father. The story follows her journey from her lowest time to getting her life back on track. Very graphic and is told from the girls point of view so the language used is full of slang and curse words. very eye opening, I was glad to find out this was a fictional story, but I'm sure it does happen. I thought it was too short, only 140 pages, ended kind of abruptly.
Animal Farm by George Orwell (****)
Sadly enough, this is the first time I have ever read this book. This book is different from anything else I have ever read. It tells the tale of an animal uprising on a farm of animals that is sick and tired of obeying their human overseer. The story progresses from the uprising, to the animals running a nice, utopian like societ, to its bitter downfall because of the greed of a few pigs. I thought it was interesting and thought provoking, really makes you think about our own government.
Literacy in American Lives by Brandt (*1/2)
First of all, I was forced into reading this book for an education/english class that I am taking. The book starts off really slow and Brandt drones on and on about what she wants to do with the book. Her overall goal is to showcase several different people's use of literacy and how it has affected their lives. However, she states that she is not going to be interviewing a very culturally diverse group. This is where she completely lost my attention because I feel that to have a good gauge on the study of literacy, you need to panel a diverse audience. While her studies are interesting, the lack of diversity and the seemingly same story told again and again just did not do much for me.
The Summons by John Grisham (***1/2)
The Summons was a book that I did not know anything about going into reading it. As with all Grisham novels, I figured that it was about a lawyer and a twist-turning plot so I was happy to be reading this for fun for a change. The story starts out with a lawyer who goes to visit his father. Upon arriving at his dad's house, he discovers him dead and also about 3 million dollars in a couple of boxes. The son does not know what to do and decides to take all the money and load it up into his car. He starts to get harrassed and is even threatened a few times. He eventually finds out that the money was given to his father by a lawyer as a thank you for winning a big payoff verdict. The people who are trying to get the money back are the same people that originally delivered it. That problem is taken care of by the lawyer that gave the money originally, but the problem remains as to how Forrest, the other son fits in. Forrest actually knew about the money the whole time, but like his brother, did not know what to do with it so he put it back where he found it to see what his brother would do with it. The book ends with Forrest telling his brother to talk to him again in a year when he gets done with rehab. Pretty lame ending and it brought my rating down at least half a star.
The Bretheren by John Grisham (***)
This story was very confusing at first with the vast number of characters that was introduced within the first 10 or so pages of the book. The story follows two different sets of main characters. The first set is the actual bretheren, which is made up of three judges who are in a federal penetentary because of some various falls from grace. The second set is made up of some people surrounding one man's bid to become the next President. Aaron Lake seems to be the perfect candidate but he has a secret that might wind up costing him more than he could imagine. The bretheren have set up a scam to hook in well-to-do gay men into a scandal and threaten to expose their identitiy unless they pay them hansomely. Eventually, the bretheren figure out that it is the president to be Aaron Lake who they are communicating with in one of their operations and they immediately devise a plan to be handsomely paid. In the end, the bretheren wind up out of prison, with 2 million, and banished from the US for a period of 2 years. Aaron Lake is convinced that he needs to pick up a wife and fast and then to immediately shoot out some kids.