Monday, February 27, 2017

Women's Lives and Relationships Annotation - The Help

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Author: Kathryn Stockett
Title: The Help
Genre: Women's Lives and Relationships, Historical Fiction
Publication Date: February 10, 2009
Number of Pages: Paperback- 544 pages
Geographical Setting: Jackson, Mississippi
Time Period: 1960s
Series (if applicable): Not a series

Plot Summary: 
The Help takes place in Jackson Mississippi in 1962 during the Civil Rights Movement. Through alternating chapters from the viewpoints of the three main characters, life as an African-American maid in the south during the 1960s is described. Aibileen Clark is one of the main characters who is an African-American maid, raising her seventeenth white child, normally she quietly takes orders from her employers, but because of the way she is continually poorly treated by her employers she is having trouble staying quiet anymore. Her friend Minny Jackson, who is also a maid for a wealthy white family, has never been able to keep quiet about how she is treated. Lastly, is Skeeter Phelan, a young, wealthy white woman who recently graduated from college, even though she has accomplished so much, to her mother's dismay she still hasn't found a husband. Skeeter usually confides in her maid, Constantine, but she has seemingly disappeared and no one will tell her where she has gone. These three story lines intertwine and the women begin to work on writing a tell-all book on how southern African-American maids are treated by their white employers. Even though they are aware of the risks involved they continue their work in hopes of inspiring a change in the world. 

Subject Headings:
Civil Rights Movements-Fiction
African American Women-Fiction
Jackson Mississippi-Fiction

This book is heartwarming, funny and leaves the reader wanting to know more about the wonderful characters described in the book. The three main characters are smart, funny, and strong willed, they prove to themselves and to their community that they deserve a place in the world and deserve to be treated with respect and dignity. This book is hopeful and readers will root for their favorite characters and delight in the downfalls of their least favorite characters. The Help is a must-read.

3 Terms that Best Describe this book: Historical, Heartwarming, and Humorous

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors:

Freedom in the Family: A Mother-Daughter Memoir of the Fight for Civil Rights by Tananarive Due and Patricia Stephens Due-Mother and Daughter give alternating view points of the Civil Rights Movement in this book, it describes the hardships that African-American women faced during the Civil Rights Movement.
Sisters in the Struggle: African-American Women in the Civil Rights-Black Power Movement by Bettye Collier-Thomas- This book discusses the importance of women during the Civil Rights Movement, even though their stories were rarely heard. Various women heroes stories are told throughout the book.
Women and the Civil Rights Movement, 1945-1965 by Davis W. Houck- This book discusses the importance of the roles that women, both black and white, played during the Civil Rights Movement. This book presents 39 speeches that women gave during the movement during the most intense times in the 1950s and 1960s.

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors:

The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd- Both books take place in the south, in the 1960s. They focus on strong African-American women who fight for their rights.
The Queen of Palmyra by Minrose Gwin- Both books are set in a racially segregated Mississippi during the 1960s, they focus on how the Civil Rights Movement changed society during that time.
Dollbaby by Laura Lane McNeal- Both books are set in the south in the 1960s, Dollbaby focuses on a girl who finds a family in the most unexpected place, and she learns to understand the difference of races for the first time.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Science Fiction Annotation - The Martian

Author: Andy Weir
Title: The Martian
Genre: Science Fiction
Publication Date: Self-published in 2011, published in 2014
Number of Pages: 369
Geographical Setting: Mars and Earth
Time Period: Unknown
Series (if applicable): Not a series

Plot Summary:
Mark Watney who is presumed dead by his crew mates, is accidentally left behind when a dust storm on Mars forces the team to abort their mission. He is injured and only has a limited amount of food and supplies which he will have to use to last him until the next trip NASA makes to Mars. Through Watney’s resourcefulness, smarts and good sense of spirit he is able to stay alive long enough for NASA to realize he has survived and they are able to create a rescue plan in order to save Watney from the deadly planet of Mars and possible starvation. Using his desire to survive, resourcefulness, engineering and botanist skills he continually confronts one obstacle after the next until he can be rescued.

Subject Heading:

This book is fast-paced and easy to read despite its use of technical math and scientific terms.  It is suspenseful and thrilling, yet really humorous and entertaining at points. Watney’s desire to survive is what I found most appealing in this book, he is a strong, relatable, smart, courageous character and the reader will cheer for his survival throughout reading the book.

3 Terms that Describe this Book:  
Humorous, Suspenseful and Entertaining

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors:

The Case for Mars: The Plan to Settle the Red Planet and Why We Must by Robert Zubrin- This book describes how humans can be sent to Mars using present day technology.

Mars: Our Future on the Red Planet by Leonard David- This book explains that Mars is next in line for space exploration and how human habitation on Mars isn’t too far off.

Destination Mars: New Explorations of the Red Planet by Rod Pyle-This book describes NASA and the European Space Agency’s plans to conduct four different trips to Mars in the near future. It describes the history of Mars exploration and the challenges and difficulties of traveling there.

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors:

Seveneves by Neal Stephenson- Both of these books are science fiction and they deal with survival. In each book the characters deal with the planets natural forces which causes imminent danger to them.

Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer- Both are relatively recent sci-fi books about survival, although this book deals with a group of people, it is the first book in a trilogy and it is more eerie than the Martian.  

I am Legend by Richard Matheson- Both books are about  a man trying to survive on a plant, although in I am Legend there are vampires after the character in I am Legend, I think both are suspenseful and similar enough for readers to enjoy both.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Review: Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon

Maddy is basically allergic to the world and she hasn’t left her house since she was very little. Her immune system can’t handle the outside elements or so she’s been told her whole life. She spends her days inside her house with her mother and nurse; she studies her schoolwork, plays games with her mother and is often found on Tumblr. She has accepted her secluded life, until she meets Olly, the new boy next door who is wild, funny, and nice and wants to meet Maddy face-to-face. Her mother objects at first, so they are only allowed to speak through emails. Soon Maddy finds herself willing to risk everything in order to be with Olly, even if that means her health starts to decline. The book ends with a plot twist that makes readers examine the meaning of true love and loving so deeply that you would do anything to protect the ones you love. Interspersed throughout the book are beautiful drawings by Yoon’s husband, lists made by Maddy and email and text transcripts that bring the book alive. This engaging story is humorous, relatable, and endearing. Readers get to follow Maddy’s story as she discovers life, love and forgiveness of others for the first time in her young life. Yoon has developed characters that are so relatable and likeable; Maddy and Olly’s dialogue between each other is face-paced and witty. Readers will fall in love with the characters of Maddy and Olly as easily as they fall in love with each other.