Saturday, October 24, 2009

Book Review: The Reader

After receiving help from a woman while he had fallen ill, Michael Berg's life changes forever. Hanna is like no woman he has met before, and she shows him a totally different side of life. They spend one summer together, taking bike rides through the German country side and every night Hanna asks Michael to read to her, and soon he is falling completely in love with her. But then one day, she disappears and doesn't see her for years, but instead goes on with his life and becomes a lawyer. While in school, he joins a seminar where they get to go to real trials and figure out the case for themselves. The trial they observe is the convicting of guards of the concentration camps shortly after World War II ended, and there, to his surprise is Hanna. Michael questions everything he knew about her and the secrets she has always kept inside.
I found this book to be completely mesmerizing. The characters grabbed your attention and you quickly started caring about them and tried along with Michael to see past Hanna's pretenses. The story can be quite sad, especially during the trial after hearing the horrible things the Jews went through at these concentration camps, things Hanna took part in. More than great storytelling, is a character study which discusses ethics, shame, and who should be blamed for the horrors that was the Holocaust. I would definitely recommend this for anyone who loves a historic novel and want a novel that goes deeper into human nature, and most importantly, the power of love. Grade: A

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Seeing with "Brand New Eyes"

Even to this day, I can still remember hearing Paramore for the first time. A friend of mine burned me a cd when I was a freshman in high school, back before the band was well known, and I fell in love! They had a sound that was unique, and lyrics that were real and that everyone could relate to in some way or other. When Riot was released, Paramore was known all around the world and instantly won the hearts of people both nationally, and internationally. It was a nice change to hear real music after years of boy bands and pop princesses. That album was real and raw, and I listened to it every day, even jamming to it on the way to my first day of college. Boy, did I need it. Then Decode came out for the Twilight soundtrack, and even that was a major hit. I didn't just love it because it was dedicated to the best couple ever (I'm sorry but it is true!) but it had a sound that was original and lyrics that went beyond vampirism. To my disappointment, after that last hit, Paramore kind of disappeared and not one single hit came out for about six months! I was trudging along through the winter and spring until one day I saw Ignorance was released as a single on iTunes and I jumped for joy. Okay maybe not jumped but I did squeal! The song, though it was a distinct Paramore sound, it was new for the band. It was a nice change from all the club hits that had been rotating on the radio for weeks on end. Don't get me wrong, I like Flo Rida as much as anybody else, but I can only hear "Low" so many times before I want to rip my hair out. Finally, on September 29, 2009 "Brand New Eyes" was released and it was amazing! The sound is awesome, and the lyrics are deep and real, and their music has a way of making you feel the emotion the song is trying to evoke. There is not one song I don't like and that is extremely rare. My favorites are: Careful, Turn It Off, Looking Up, and Only Exception. These are the songs that actually belong on the top ten charts on iTunes but what can you do? I seriously recommend this album if you want a change from the norm! Please comment and tell me what you think (good or bad) of the new album!
Go here to listen to Careful and other songs from the album in full: