Books Reviewed by Students Posted on April 12th, 2016 by

Reading Workshop Graphic

Seven students participated in the Spring Reading Workshop (NDL-201), a .25 credit course that met during the first half of the semester. Students read and discussed a book together (this semester it was Celeste Ng’s Everything I Never Told You, which turned out to be a great discussion book!), read and shared their own reviews of a second book of their choice, and reflected on their own reading tastes and the place of reading in contemporary culture.

Here’s the list of books students selected to read and excerpts from their reviews. All of these books are available (or currently on order) in the Library:

  • The Weight of Silence by Heather Gudenkauf is a dramatic novel that holds readers in suspense until the very end. For most of her life, seven year old Callie has been selectively mute. Her family does not know what traumatic event in her childhood caused her to stop speaking…As readers piece together the stories of each character they are left in suspense wondering what happened to Callie, what caused her to stop speaking, and what event took place that finally caused her to speak again.”
  • “Mitch Albom’s The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto is in its most basic sense a biography of a musical legend, “the greatest guitarist ever to walk the earth,” but it is also much more than that. It is also a story of Music, and how it is able to affect the lives of others through those who, like Frankie Presto, are drawn to the talent at birth…It is a gripping composition of life, love, pain, loss, music, and the mysterious connections that bring people together in unexpected ways.”
  • In Room: A  Novel, “Emma Donoghue creates a chilling story by bringing to life the room in which five-year old Jack and his kidnapped mother have now made a home…With its creative plot, Room is a story that you’ve never read before and will never read again. It is a story of the unbreakable love between a mother and a child in a horrifying situation.”
  • I Wrote this for You was written by “the unusual author name of pleasefindthis…The emotions in this book intensify as the reader flips the pages of short poems, pictures, and long passages that allow the reader to interpret the scene that the author is describing…Since the author is anonymous and there is no central character or plot, it allows the reader to truly reflect on the poems and what [the book] means in their life.”
  • My Antonia by Willa Cather: “In a novel about life in the old Midwestern countryside, one expects to find tales about things like how a boy became a man and built a farm, or a cheesy love story involving a horse and buggy ride. This novel however, is none of this sort. It is a surprisingly refreshing take on what life was really like in those hard times…Ultimately, this is a story about how determination and community build people up and how that community lasts a lifetime.”
  • “The novel, Invisible Man, by Ralph Ellison, is set in the U.S. right before the Civil Rights movement, when segregation laws prevented black Americans from basic human rights…The novel addresses social and intellectual issues that African Americans were forced to overcome. With racism…the struggle to find a voice in a ‘white world’ appears nearly impossible as shown in the novel.” The student recommends this novel for group discussions.
  • Restless by William Boyd: A “gripping” novel in which a British woman learns in the 1970s  of her mother’s true identity as a Second World War spy.

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