Summary of the Books That I Have Read This Year and How They Impacted Me
Out of all of the writings we have read this year, the book with the greatest impact on me was The Little Prince because it taught me many valuable life lessons. In The Little Prince, the narrator crashes his plane in the Sahara desert and meets a little boy out of nowhere. He then learns that this it the little prince, who came from a faraway planet. The Prince decided to leave his planet and ended up meeting many strange individuals from other planets. Each of them taught him many different lessons that helped him live his life. At the end of the book, the prince returns to his planet and the narrator wonders and hopes that the prince will one day return. This book was filled with many different lessons that I can incorporate into my life, which is why I think this book had the biggest impact on me.
This book has shown me that I should not oppress my childlike nature and whimsical imagination but rather glorify it. Many adults tend to lose their imagination as they continue to grow up because of societal standards and how others will view them. Honestly, that is a fair process because adults are not quite fond of other adults that bask in their childhood fantasies. Personally, I have been trying to live out my childhood for as long as I can, but it has gotten harder as the years go by because of school and my newfound responsibilities as a teenager. Additionally, I have learned that what is most important in life can be shown through the heart and cannot be seen from the eyes. I believe that this book should be read by everyone, no matter the age because it will help people realize what is most important to them.
Jean-Dominique Bauby’s memoir The Diving Bell and the Butterfly showed me that I should appreciating every day much more. In his autobiography, he writes about his time working as editor-in-chief for French Elle Magazine, his experiences of suffering a stroke at age 43, and the effects this had on his life. After the stroke, his whole body was paralyzed, except for his left eye. By blinking, he was able to communicate with people and write his book slowly by blinking for each letter. This signified that even though he may have been physically suffering, his mind was perfectly intact. Throughout the book, he imagined traveling to different locations, being with his wife, and eating delicious foods. Two days after the French publication of his memoir, he passed away leaving a lasting legacy.
This book has shown me that I need to acknowledge the little things in my life and even the world around me. In my life, I take many things for granted and I intend to stop doing that because I have become much more grateful for everything in my life. Nowadays, it is very easy to get carried away with all of the negative things going on in the world and in our lives making the negativity overpower us. This book helped remind me that even in the most miserable circumstances, everything can be worked through. The obstacles in life can be seen as a device that transforms the negative thoughts into positive ones.
In Hans Christian Anderson’s The Steadfast Tin Soldier, a boy received a box with twenty-five tin soldiers and all of them are the same, except for the last one that is missing a leg. The toy soldier with one leg fell in love with a paper ballerina, and since she poses in the way a ballerina would, it also looked like she has one leg. Soon later, the soldier fell out of the window and was picked up by a child, who places him in a newspaper boat and let him float through the gutter. A fish found the soldier and swallowed him, but the fish was caught and the soldier made it out alive. Luckily, the soldier ended up in his original house and continued to stare at the ballerina. One of the boys grabbed the soldier and threw him into the stove, but he held onto his gun and continued to look at the ballerina, whilst being burnt. After, the wind blows the ballerina into the stove as well. The next day, the maid opened the stove and found a small tin heart and a metal spangle from the ballerina that represents his love for her until the end.
Throughout his journey, he stayed loyal to his duties as a soldier and continued to hold his gun tightly to his chest or salute. This fairy tale has shown me that if I concentrate too much on one specific thing, I will lose focus of the world around me and eventually collapse. The soldier only cared about the ballerina and did everything in his life to stay loyal to her and his duties as a soldier. He ended up losing sight of what was important, which happened to be surviving his certain circumstances. It has been about ten years since I have read and heard this fairy tale for the first time and I think that now I truly understand how it applies to my life as teenager, who is just trying to get by. I spend about ten hours of my day at school mostly focusing on my schoolwork and then a few more hours of homework each night. I think that as I continue through my teenage years I am constantly reminded that I am losing sight of what should matter most to me. I focus so much on school that I forget about other aspects of my life including my family and friends. This fairy tale has helped me remember what I value most in my life and to prioritize.
Brave New World by Aldous Huxley had a great impact on me because it showed the complete extremes of effects after taking away basic rights that belong to human beings versus letting a human do anything that they please. In a Brave New World, a dystopian society is portrayed with the control of dictatorship to ensure stability The main characters, Lenina and Bernard were dating, which was against the rules and went on vacation to a Savage reservation in New Mexico. The director of hatcheries, Tomakin told Bernard not to go and threatened to exile him to Iceland, but he and Lenina went anyways. People that have been designated as unworthy of utopia have been confined in a reservation and behaved differently than those that lived in the real world.
Once Lenina and Bernard met Linda and her son, John, they learned that Linda and John lived at the reservation because Linda came with Tomakin, who abandoned her. She then found out that she was pregnant with John and knew she would be unable to return back home. Lenina and Bernard took Linda and John back to utopia and John eventually committed suicide because the people did not accept him for who he truly was. This book has demonstrated the opposite extremes of humanity when something so vital is taken away or given completely. This book has shown me that I should be lucky for being able to have my own emotions and live comfortably because without it, the world would be a dull place. In both of the societies shown throughout this book, they describe what will happen to humanity if emotions are taken away and the world is restricted from almost everything or if there are no rules and everyone lives barbarically. As expressed by Huxley, neither of these societies are ones that a person should want to live in because of the horrible things in both.
A Midsummer Night’s Dream by William Shakespeare was a wild play that focused on different elements of imagination and true love. In the beginning of this play, Hermia and Lysander were in love, but Egeus wants Hermia to marry Demetrius and said that if Hermia does not marry Demetrius, she will die. Helena was in love with Demetrius, but he loved Hermia. Lysander and hermia escaped to the forest in order to live together. At the same time, Titania and Oberon were arguing over who got to have custody of the little boy she was raising. After, Oberon sent Puck, Oberon’s jester, to find the potion that makes a person fall in love with whoever they see first. Oberon took pity on Helena and told Puck to put some potion in Demetrius’s eyes, so that when he wakes up the first thing he will see will be Helena. Unfortunately, this plan did not go correctly and Puck put the potion in Lysander’s eyes. Lysander fell in love with Helena because she was the first person he saw. Obern placed some potion on Titania’s eyes and Puck gave Nick Bottom, an man practicing his acting for the wedding, a donkey head.
The first thing Titania saw was Bottom, so she fell in love with him and released the boy to Oberon. Since Oberon’s plan was complete, he released Titania from her potion and Puck released Nick Bottom from his transformation. Both Demetrius and Lysander were in love with Helena, so Oberon and Puck reversed the effect of the potion on Lysander and made sure none of them ever remember this happening. I think that this was a wonderful play that kept me wondering what would happen next at every page. This play also showed me the differences of love. Lysander and Hermia had true love because they both only wanted to be with each other once his potion ws reversed. However, Demetrius and Helena’s love does not seem true because he still had potion in him at the end of the play. This play was a delight to read because of the imaginative and creative storyline, but I think that Demetrius deserved better in the end because he did not truly love Helena in his heart.
Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt explains his journey to America and all of his hardships that he had to face on the way. Frank McCourt described his childhood living in extreme poverty with an alcoholic father and a mother, who just wanted to feed her children. Frank’s family lived in New York, until his sister died and both of parents became depressed. After, they moved back to Ireland in order to be with family and they ended up in Limerick, Ireland. Throughout the book, their family had little to no food, shelter, or money because Frank’s father spent all of his money on alcohol. Eventually, Frank moved in with his uncle, earned enough money from distributing newspapers, and saved up money to move back to America. This book has shown me that putting in the hard work and effort leads to good things. The only thing Frank really wanted in life was to return back to America, but he had to deal with many obstacles in his way all while caring for his family. Additionally, this book has led me to begin to think more about those that are in need and who are living in poverty every day. Now, I have become more grateful for everything that I have in my life.
Although The Golem and The Jinni by Helene Wecker is a wonderful book, it did not leave the biggest impact on me. This is a story about an unlikely friendship between two mythical figures, a Golem and a Jinni. Chava the Golem is a creature made of clay, who was brought to life by a rabbi that performed kabbalistic magic and died at Sea. Ahmad the Jinni is a being made of fire that was born in the Syrian Desert, who was trapped in a flask and released in New York City. Both of them try to fit in with their current surroundings while masking their true selves. I liked this book because I do not usually read the genre of fantasy making it quite an interesting read. Additionally, I did not like the Golem and the Jinni until close to the end of the book making the beginning and middle much less interesting. Overall, this book did not teach me any important lessons, but it did contain a very interesting story and only because of that, I would recommend it to others.
Lastly, A Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn was ranked last on my list of books because this story did not interest me as much as the other books. This book focused on Ivan’s hardships throughout a day in prison and how he experienced life. As much as it is important to understand the troubles that others went through in order to appreciate my life more, the storyline did not grab my attention. This book showed me the horrible conditions of prison that many people had to suffer and the struggle for survival. Overall, this book did not impact me because it did not personally relate to me or teach me something new about myself. Therefore, this book sits at the bottom of my list of books we have read this past year in Seminar.
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Out of all of the writings we have read this year, the book with the greatest impact on me was The Little Prince because it taught me many valuable life […]