Friday, January 30, 2015

New Books in 2016

(click on the title to see a full description, well written reviews, and recommendations from Goodreads, a community of authors and book lovers!)


My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand
Empire of Storms by Sarah J. Mass
Glitter by Aprilynne Pike
Nerve by Jeanne Ryan
The Glittering Court by Richelle Mead 
The First Time She Drowned by Kerry Kletter
All We Have Left by Wendy Mills


Being Jazz by Jazz Jennings
The Real Girl's Kitchen by Hayllie Duff
Vietnam: A History of the War by Russell Freedman
Lost in The Pacific 1942 by Tod Olson

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

AP English "Great Scenes"- The Best of Existentialist Dramatic Literature

The latest struggles of your local AP English students culminated this week in the final performances of the "Great Scenes" - some of the world's most renowned existentialist plays, edited down to 20 minutes, written, directed and acted by the students themselves. Here are some of these plays which we found to be the most successful, engaging or intriguing.

FIRST: A definition of the word "existentialism" 
Brought to you by

noun, Philosophy
1. A philosophical attitude... that stresses the individual's unique position as a self-determining agent responsible for the authenticity of his or her choices." 

No Exit
By Jean-Paul Sartre
This play focuses on three sinners who have died and gone to the afterlife. There, they discover that what they expected- fire, torture chambers, brimstone, is nowhere to be found. Instead, they are confined together in a room. It soon becomes clear that the real punishment in store for the sinners is merely the presence of the others, prompting the realization that "hell is other people!"
By Tom Stoppard
In a story that takes place in two times at once, mathematicians of the past and present struggle to find the mathematical meaning behind the universe. As they do so, they are confronted with the human traits and emotions, from love to hate, betrayal to attraction, and frustration to curiosity, that make our existence the unpredictable thing that it is.
A Christmas Carol
By Charles Dickens, adapted by Mike Ferrians and Brenda Chapman
Perhaps the most well-known play on this list, this story follows the life of a grumpy, ungrateful and mean-spirited old man named Scrooge. On Christmas morning, Scrooge is confronted by a series of ghosts showing him his past, present, and future, and forcing him to understand the effects that his actions have on the ever-dwindling number of people who are in his life. 
Long Day's Journey Into Night
By Eugene O'Neill
This play follows a day in the life of a dysfunctional family that struggles with addiction. Their negative emotions and treatment of their loved ones, like anger, betrayal, regret and hatred, are sharply contrasted with their love, compassion and hope that they have for one another, and the audience and characters alike wonder whether anyone truly has the power to change their fate. 

This intensive study into the theories and works of great existentialist authors has been incredibly interesting (and exhausting). If you want to learn more about existentialism, these authors, or other literature or movies, stop by the Dorothy Alling Memorial Library!