Book Review


By Denebola | Published: November 2007
By Ben Tolkin Slaughterhouse-Five, by Kurt Vonnegut, is one of the funniest yet most depressing books I have read. It tells the story of Billy Pilgrim, a World War II veteran who has "come unstuck in time." Pilgrim constantly slides around to different parts of his life, allowing the author to quickly juxtapose stories of his unhappy marriage in middle-age with semi-autobiographical accounts of the firebombing of Dresden, Germany towards the close of the war.

A Great and Terrible Beauty

By Denebola | Published: October 2007
By Abi OshinsTake your average Victorian boarding school story, gossipy clique book, Gothic mystery, and dark fantasy. Mix them together and you'll end up with Libba Bray's A Great and Terrible Beauty. The book features Gemma Doyle, age 16, from colonial India. After her mother's mysterious death, she is sent to Spence Academy in England, a finishing school for girls with an out-of-bounds east-wing that was destroyed by a fire. As Gemma settles into the academy, she finds herself in the company of popular Felicity, bedazzling Pippa, and plain Ann. She also starts having strange visions in her dreams leading her to a whole new world called the realms. Gemma shares the realms with her new friends but is warned to ignore both the visions and the realms by a mysterious boy by the name of Kartik.

In the Time of the Butterflies

By Denebola | Published: October 2007
By Jennifer Lee In the Time of the Butterflies by Julia Alvarez shadows four Dominican sisters suffering under their dictator, Trujillo's, political oppression and harsh cruelty. The sisters become underground resistance workers known as Las Mariposas, or “The Butterflies. Giving hope to the oppressed Dominicans in their darkest hours, the sisters become a symbol of defiance and bravery. Though not “suspenseful in the sense of a thriller, complete with murdering psychopaths and screaming teenage girls, In the Time of the Butterflies offers another more subtle, yet still relentlessly driving, sense of suspense. Because the sisters chose to forsake safe and happy family lives in the pursuit of freedom, their lives hang in a delicate balance.

Angels Fall

By Denebola | Published: October 2007
By Jessica DuffFor me to want to read a mystery novel (or in this case a “suspense/thriller), the book must have at least one of two things. First, an interesting plot. Who would want to read a boring book? Secondly, if the main character is entertaining enough, I find a good character can keep even a second-rate plot going. Fortunately for me, Angels Fall by Nora Roberts had fulfilled both of my little requirements and kept me enthralled for a week. I stayed up late and only got three hours of sleep finishing the last of the 444 pages'€the end was great.

Is the reign of the book over?

By Denebola | Published: October 2007
By Hye-Jung YangTraditionally, students would find information for school assignments through books; however, with the advent of the internet and personal computers, the face of research has changed entirely. Many teachers are currently cutting down on the use of the internet for research for essays and projects. Instead, they require a specific number of book sources. Sites such as the free online encyclopedia,, are said to be unreliable among the teaching community because articles can be written and edited by anyone. Regardless, many South students still prefer the internet to books, finding it reliable and more efficient than books for their purposes. “I like the internet better because you have so much information at your fingertips that's easy to look through, whereas in books, you must go through the table of contents, skim through the chapter, and possibly look through many different books and not find what you need, freshman Bianca Ho said.

The Russian House

By Denebola | Published: October 2007
By Ben SoltoffIn The Russia House by John le Carré, an unpretentious book publisher becomes entwined in the intricate world of Cold War politics and espionage. The Russia House, a division of the British Secret Intelligence Service that deals with the Soviet Union, intercepts a manuscript intended for Barley Blair, an Englishman who runs his family's publishing company. The manuscript contains valuable Soviet military secrets and the scientist who sent it wants Blair to publish them.


By Denebola | Published: October 2007
By Christos TikelisSadly, I have fallen out of the great reading habits I had when I was younger. It's embarrassing. Back in Peace Corps I read a novel or two a week. No cable and few distractions of modern life made for great thinking and great reading. But I have been reading some Stephen King short stories. One in particular piqued my attention as a mystery/suspense story. “In the Deathroom reminds me of the old television show Alfred Hitchcock Presents and the Roald Dahl stories on which most of the better episodes are based: they're icons of a simpler black-and-white age of storytelling.

Once Upon A Country

By Marshall Cohen | Published: September 2007
Author: Sari Nusseibeh with Anthony David Governments frequently dehumanize their enemies in times of war. It is the only way that soldiers and politicians can overcome their basic human instincts to engage in the inhuman and inhumane actions that war demands. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict has raged for over half a century now, and both sides have gone far down the road of dehumanizing the other in order to more effectively continue the struggle. Israeli soldiers are compared to Nazis and Palestinian "gunmen" appear faceless and devoid of the human characteristics that might allow us to empathize with them and consider their plight. Sari Nusseibeh's autobiographical story of the Israeli-Palestinian struggle runs against this trend.     It is a refreshingly personal account of events told from the point of view of an intellectually rigorous child of both the 1960's and of a respected Palestinian family of ancient times. Professor Nusseibeh is exactly my age. The photographs that he includes in the book could have been ripped from my own family album. Comparing albums one can see his hair and my hair expand to ethnic versions of the "Afro" at the same moments in time and predictably turn to thinning mounds of white at another.
By Christine Busaba It has been nearly 60 years since the creation of Israel and 40 years since the Six-Day War that gave all of Jerusalem to the Israelis. While to some this seems like distant history, for Sari Nusseibeh, a Palestinian from a prominent family in East Jerusalem, this history is all too real. Nusseibeh, professor and president at Al-Quds University in Jerusalem, was pulled into a life of politics, following years of family involvement with the Palestinian cause. 

Book Beat by Jess Zellner-Kline

By Denebola | Published: September 2007
By Jess Zellner-Kline My favorite summer read was Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling. While I've enjoyed all of the Harry Potter books, the last installment was by far my favorite. As always, Rowling created a mix of action, adventure, humor, love, and sadness. In Deathly Hallows , Harry is forced to deal with the deaths of mentors and friends as he attempts to defeat Lord Voldemort. It was one of the most serious books in that it was evident either Harry had to vanquish Voldemort or be vanquished himself. The knowledge that anything was possible in this novel made it the most gripping book of the series and kept me on the edge of my seat.

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