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Book Review

Nixonland

By Nathan Yeo | Published: October 2008
Ever shot a moose? Live in a small town? Have big guns and strong religion? Friends with a guy named Joe Six-pack? What about Joe the Plumber?
Where are the old-fashioned “political histories of the United States? Historians such as Arthur Schlesinger Jr. (whose three volumes on Franklin Roosevelt remain more relevant by the day ) and Richard Hofstadter (whose American Political Tradition remains widely read and taught half a century later) wrote about political parties, coalitions, and the twists and turns of government policy from election to election.

Freak

By Rebecca Becker | Published: March 2008
Author: Marcella Prixley It is no secret that middle school girls are sometimes mean and often irrepressibly evil. When adult writers try to write about this meanness, or about teenagers in general, they often get it wrong. The dialogue sounds forced, the slang improbable, and the issues at hand cliched or unremarkable. (I remember reading a horrid book when I was in middle school called Maybe by Then I'll Understand, about which the less said the better). Alternatively, young adult literature often panders to its teen audience in the most cynical ways. Aimee Friedman's South Beach is a good example. It tells the story of two sixteen-year old girls and their largely unsupervised spring break trip to South Beach, Florida.

Old Possums’s Book of Practical Cats

By Denebola | Published: March 2008
By Amy Richard When asked to write about a book of poetry, I instantly thought of my favorite book, T.S. Eliot's Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats. I was initially introduced to these poems through the Broadway musical, Cats, which is based on Eliot's collection of poems. After enjoying the melodic drama on stage, I went straight to the source. The book begins with some practical information about the naming of cats and continues to describe how a cat has three names: an everyday family name, a particular name, and then a name that only the cat knows and will not reveal. Eliot sarcastically illustrates the pickiness, secretiveness, and unusual habits of cats, citing specific ones with examples. My favorite is Mr. Mistoffelees because he reminds me of my own cat and all the trouble she gets into.

Where the Sidewalk Ends

By Annie Orenstein | Published: March 2008
Shel Silverstein's Where the Sidewalk Ends is a collection of poetry that many children have come to adore. Silverstein addresses common childhood concerns like monsters under the bed while portraying a fantasy world full of dreams and, of course, unicorns. While aimed at children ages four to ten, Where the Sidewalk Ends is an enjoyable read for all ages. Whether it is learning the right way to fake being sick in order to avoid school, or obtaining that forbidden cookie after dinner, this laugh-out-loud, rhyming poetry is sure to grab your attention.

Selected Poems of Emily Dickenson

By Denebola | Published: March 2008
Every year for my birthday, my grandfather sends me a book of poetry by Emily Dickinson. As you can imagine, it is alittle tough to muster enough enthusiasm for that “thank you so much, just what I've always wanted, when faced with 200 pages of 19th century literature – especially when you are nine years old and what you actually want is an Easy-Bake Oven.

Cien Sonetos de Amor

By Zoe Geller | Published: March 2008
Pablo Neruda's Cien Sonetos de Amor is a collection of love sonnets written in Spanish. Translated into English by Stephen Tapscott, it contains poems inboth languages.

An Interview With Marcella Pixley

By Elisa Spinner | Published: March 2008
Denebola: What inspired you to write this book? Marcella Pixley: I was a strange kid. When I was in middle school (Brown Jr. High), I was proud of being different. I used to wear buttons with slogans. One of them said, “Dare to be Different, and  another said, “I am a Carbon-Based Unit. I loved science fiction and fantasy, and was an avid player of Dungeons and Dragons. When I walked down the corridors and saw all of the other girls in their designer jeans and perfect-feathered hair (it was the eighties), I felt like a different creature. I didn't pay any attention to my clothes or my hair. I was sort of greasy and my clothes all came from the local second hand shop. Plaid shirts. Jackets with rainbows and unicorns. I wrote in a journal'€a yellow, spiral bound notebook, which I took with me everywhere and scribbled in madly whenever I was uncomfortable.

Book Review: Alex Tolkin, Class of 2009

By Denebola | Published: December 2007
The Battle Over the Meaning of Everything by Gordy Slack certainly has lofty ambitions. It hopes, in a two- hundred-page volume, to use a recent sensational court case in Dover, Pennsylvania, to make a broader point about the fundamental divisions in belief among Americans and citizens of the larger world. It hopes to clarify the issues that seem to separate religion and science, and would like to reaffirm the importance of reason in an increasingly unreasonable world, and to increase the average American's skepticism when one or another American claims to have found Truth.

Book Review: Sally Rosen, Science Department

By Denebola | Published: December 2007
Conservative'€even fundamentalist'€forces today are like Counter-Reformation waves smashing against one contemporary institution after another. A notable targets is science, and for those in Dover, Pennsylvania, USA, recently, the effect was like living the Scopes Trial, on HBO.

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