Monday, May 18, 2015

Book Review: David Copperfield

David Copperfield by Charles Dickens

Recommended For: Ages 10 to Adult (reading and interest level)

Rating: PG

Young David Copperfield has a wonderful life until his mother remarries a stern, hard man named Mr. Murdstone. Bringing with him his even harder sister Miss Murdstone, young David's life is made a misery. After continually failing at his lessons and biting Mr. Murdstone, David is sent to a boarding school where he makes several friends. After something tragic happens, David is sent to work in Mr. Murdstone's bottling business, where he boards with the Micawber family. Finally, it gets to be too much for him and he runs away to his aunt, Betsy Trotwood, whom he has never laid eyes on. And there is where the true adventure begins.

It always takes me a long time to finish a Dickens book. I started this book not long after I finished Nicholas Nickleby and Hard Times. Now that I've finished it, I may be able to say that this has been my favorite Dickens book I've read so far, and I've read five completely through. Although I forgot some of the more minor characters and events because it had been so long since I  had picked it up, I still enjoyed it very much.

Writing: 5/5
Charles Dickens is an impeccable writer. This book is no exception. It is written very well.

Setting: 5/5
As all Dickens' books, it is set in England. It is very realistic and vivid. You can envision the places they're at.

Plot: 5/5
Oh, my goodness. While as with any Dickens book, it is difficult to extract the main central plot, it is still very good. Complicated and twisted, but in a good way. In a way, this is all part of the Dickens charm. I always wanted to read more.

Character Development: 5/5
It is this that makes Charles Dickens such a unique and great writer. From Mr. Micawber to Steerforth to friendly Tommy Traddles to humble and conniving Uriah Heep to the interesting Aunt Betsy Trotwood to the sweet and well-influencing Agnes Wickfield to the complex David Copperfield himself, every character in this book is rich and fleshed out and unique.

In other words, this is one acclaimed classic you don't want to miss! Now maybe I can focus on finishing Great Expectations...

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Movie Review: Gravity


Recommended For: Ages 13 to Adult

Rating: PG-13 (for intense perilous sequences, some disturbing images and brief strong language)

Dr. Ryan Stone (Sandra Bullock) is a brilliant medical engineer on her first shuttle mission, with veteran astronaut Matt Kowalsky (George Clooney) in command of his last flight before retiring. But on a seemingly routine spacewalk, disaster strikes. The shuttle is destroyed, leaving Stone and Kowalsky completely alone - tethered to nothing but each other and spiraling out into the blackness. 
Okay, we didn't really plan on seeing Gravity. After watching Once Upon A Time on Sunday, we went to HBO and Gravity was just beginning. It was only an hour and a half long, so my dad, my sister Rebekah and I stayed up to watch it. Surprisingly, it was a very simple movie, and when it ended, I could understand why it won all the awards it did.

Technical: 5/5

Strangely enough, the movie only had two actual actors and six minor voice roles. However, it worked. It worked very well. If the movie had gone on any longer than it had, it would have dragged, but it was just the right length, so it didn't drag. And the visuals were amazing. Earth was beautiful.

Setting: 5/5

The movie's set in outer space. As far as outer space goes, it seemed accurate, not that I know much about spaceships and that sort of thing, but it seemed very accurate.

Plot: 5/5

The plot is very simple, but this is good. The plot is exciting, there are no plot holes (I don't really see how there could be) and it's seamless and streamlined. They did an excellent job on the simple plot.

Character Development: 4/5

You can't really develop a character in a movie when they're alone for most of the screen time. But Dr. Ryan Stone was as well-developed as she could be under the circumstances. I didn't feel that I knew Matt Kowalsky that well, but honestly, he didn't get much screen time, so he was more of a minor character. And for a minor character, they developed him quite well.

In other words, this movie is worth watching. Yes, there are a few bad words, though honestly, not many. There is one shot of a guy whose face blew up in his helmet, so...yeah. Don't let little kids get a glimpse of that. I recommend watching this movie.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Book Review: Ancient Rome: How it Affects You Today

Ancient Rome: How it Affects You Today by Richard J. Maybury


Recommended for: Ages 12 and up

"Ancient Rome" discusses what happens when higher law principles and a free market economy are ignored. Mr. Maybury uses historical events to explain current events, including the wars in the former Soviet Empire, and the legal and economic problems of America today. Is your government making the same choices that led to the fall of Ancient Rome? Will history repeat?

Can be used for courses in Ancient Rome, U.S. History, Government, and Economics.

 I read this book for school and since I have read another "Uncle Eric" book, I knew that it would be interesting.

 Very few non-fiction books are interesting or easy to pay attention to, but this book was. The book is structured as a letter. At the end of each chapter, it would say the main point of what the chapter was about. The book is short but to the point, and it is very informative. There were parts where it referenced another "Uncle Eric" book that I haven't read yet, but I didn't have any trouble understanding the book. The book was written in a conversational form, which is my favorite way for non-fiction books to be structured. To read this, it is good to know some history of Ancient Rome.

 The book is mostly on how history repeats, using the Roman empire as an example. It tells about how politicians have acted and still act and how it leads to many problems. It talks about the Soviet Empire and how it went down the same road that Rome did.

 The book tells about different symbols and architecture from ancient Rome that you will find in government buildings. He explains why one symbol disappeared from coins after World War II and what it means. It was interesting to see the parallels of what has been happening today and what happened hundreds of years ago.

 This book is interesting and a good way to see how history repeats. While I don't agree with everything that he says, I do think that it is beneficial to read.