Sunday, February 25, 2018

In the "Blink" of an eye.

I've finished my book, which is called Blink by Malcolm Gladwell. I have been reading both in class during SSR and some at home and during car rides in my free time. I don't really play video games that much since school has started so I pass the time with reading and such. I finished reading this book quickly with relative ease. The book was not a hard read but it does read at a relative young adult level. This book was interesting to me because it went into how the brain works (kind of) which I find interesting. It kind of ties in to a project that I had to do with a group of my classmates for my English class at school. Our project was over mental illnesses and since my book was about the brain it kind synced up together. The book itself was over how our brains automatically make decisions in the "blink" of an eye. Get it? This book strays a little bit from my preferred reading genres, which are fiction and adventure-ish books such as my favorite book Ender's game, but is a good read that I recommend anyone reading this to try. Like I had previously stated, this book dives into why and how people make snap decisions. Again this is a good book and I recommend it. This book was my issues related nonfiction book.

Through out the whole book there are many anecdotes about different studies that happened on the topic on why our brains make decisions. As Malcolm Gladwell puts it, "the adaptive unconscious does an excellent job of sizing up the world, warning people of danger, setting goals, and initiating action in a sophisticated and efficient manner"(Pg. 12).  In this he talks about what the brain does, even when we do not think of it ourselves. Our brains size up the world around us, warns us of danger, sets our goals, and initiate action in an efficient manner. This is the whole premise of the book. Why do our brains do this? How? The book doesn't fully answer this question but actually gives the reader enough evidence to make their own decision. What he says also in a way gives a good intro into what to expect in his research. In the book it is said that our minds though can be faulty at times and that "insight is not a light bulb that goes off inside out heads. It is a flickering candle that can easily be snuffed out"(pg.122). By this Gladwell means that what we think to be true is, at times, not what really is reality. There are different examples of this in the book like on one of the very first examples, a statue was sent to a museum and a good amount of specialists believed that the statue was real were as one other man new it to be a fake. Both of their insights were used and flickered. This book was an insightful piece of literature that provided good insight to the human brain.

Our brains are amazing. Without even consciously thinking about anything, our brains make snap decisions about the world around us. This article goes into a little deeper on how and why our brains do these snap decisions than I did in this blog. It talks mainly of what our brains are doing when we see a new person and how it judges them. Truly our brains are amazing in what they do. What's even more amazing is how we don't even notice.

Gladwell, Malcolm. Blink: the power of thinking without thinking. Back Bay Books, 2013.

"Trustworthiness: Your Brain Makes a Judgment in Milliseconds." Time. Accessed February 25, 2018.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

The fair that changed America and the murderer who used it to his advantage

The book i'm reading at the moment is a book called The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson. So far I am 165 pages into the book. The book itself has 390 pages so I need to pick up the pace. I only read during the SSR time given in class, which is something I need to work on. The book is a history-related nonfiction which one of the books that I had to read for the first 18 weeks. The book to me is interesting because it follows two different stories, one is of the two men who built the World's Fair, a.k.a The World's Columbian Exposition, and the other is of a man who used the fair to lure his victims to their deaths. I personally find the story line of the murderer to be more interesting.

The book is about the construction of the World's Fair which was held in Chicago. The fair was to be better than the Eiffel Tower that was constructed in Paris, France. The architect behind the construction of the fair was Daniel Burnham. There was a lot of pressure on him and on Chicago to make the fair the best architectural marvel. But "the failure of the fair or anything short of positive and pronounced success would be a discredit to the whole country, and not to Chicago alone." (Larson pg 145) Larson says this to emphasize the pressure that is on Burnham to create a grand fair that will show Americas architectural dominance. The fair would not only effect Burnham, but also Chicago and more importantly, America. While this is going on there is a young man named H.H.Holmes. Holmes "was twenty-six years old. His height was five feet, eight inches; he weighed only 155 pounds. He had dark hair and striking blue eyes...He broke prevailing rules of casual intimacy: He stood too close, stared too hard, touched too much and long. And women adored him for it."(Larson pg 35-36) Larson describes Holmes like this because these characteristics are what Holmes uses to seduce his victims. Holmes even goes on to say that he "was born with the devil in" him and that he "could not help the fact that I was a murderer, no more than the poet can help the inspiration to sing" (Larson pg 109). To me, this means that Holmes enjoys killing, which of course is the case, but that it is like an addiction to him. Like a drug. This is one of the other story lines in the book that I personally love.

One of the issues of that the book talks about is perseverance, being able to push through that metaphorical wall that is stopping you to accomplish your goal. In the book it talks about what Burnham must go through to build the fair. In real life, an example of perseverance would be the American troops at Valley Forge during the American Revolution. The solders had to persevere through the brutal winter cold and shortage on food. Their will power allowed them to get through the harsh conditions. This article talks more about the subject.

Larson, Erik. The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the fair that changed America. Thorndike Press, 2013. Print

"Valley Forge- A Patriotic Symbol of Perseverance"
Accessed 26 Nov 2017

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Nightmare Academy by Dean Lorey. A book of monsters and loneliness and the first of many books to read

My book that I read is called "Monster Hunters" by Dean Lorey. This is going to be one of my fiction books for this 9 weeks. I read this book because I did not find a non fiction book that I liked yet. It has 310 pages in the book and is a sci-fi book. I read the whole book in about a week while reading for about an hour a day. The book itself is an okay read but is a little bit easy to read. For my next book I want to get something a bit harder to read in order to challenge myself more.

The whole premise of the book is that there are monsters that live in a place called the Nether. The way the monsters get over to the human world is by nightmares. If you can do this you have the Gift.The the people who have the Gift fight the monsters and are called Nethermancers and Banishers. The Nethermancers can create portals to and from the Nether, and Banishers fight the monsters face to face. The whole book is about fear and controlling that fear. You use fear in the book to create the portals. The main character is named Charlie Benjamin. He is a double threat which is "a person who can both Banish and Nethermance. They're quite rare, actually-maybe one born every twenty or thirty years."(pg. 127). Dean Lorey explains what a Double Threat is to solidify how lonely Charlie is in the beginning of the story. Because Charlie is a Double threat he feels more and more like a loner because he claims to be a freak amongst freaks. Later on in the book his parents are taken by one of the Named of the Nether who is basically on of the big baddies of the Nether. He tries to get them back with the help of his friends Violet and Theodore. They get them back but the book ends with an impending doom for a war between the Nether creatures and the Humans. But Charlie is "glad he didn't have to do it alone." (pg 310).  Dean Lorey says this because now Charlie's character has changed from a loner to a person who has friends and is happy. He finally has friends now and is great full to have them. Being alone is another theme of the book.

 Loneliness is showed as a force that is dictates how you do anything in life. It sets the tone for the character in the beginning of the book. This progressively changes as the story progresses. Charlie starts off as a loner who has trouble making friends and is just an outsider. Then once he goes to the academy he gets some friends and then the loneliness starts to fade away as he now has some people to go through life with. Loneliness is a common thing with people today. In the age of technology it is harder to socialize with others in real life. It is common amongst children as well. Rather if it is because of the fact that other kids think that they're "weird" or if they are just social awkward. Loneliness is curable though by just going out more and trying new things.

Lorey, Dean. Nightmare Academy. First Scholastic printing, March 2009. Print.


Tuesday, May 16, 2017

My current book and the question it makes me think of.

Hello there reader. How do you do? I have finished reading Of Mice and Men. It was an okay book and the ending was a little sad. I recommend it because it is short and tells a good tale. I am getting closer to my reading goal which is good. I have not really been reading more outside of school and I don't think I will this year just because it is getting closer to the end of the school year. YAY!
Here is a little update on what I am reading at the moment. As of right now I am reading Starship Troopers by Robert A. Heinlein. It's a good book so far. It follows a young man who has joined the Terran Mobile Infantry, which is said to be the toughest boot camp in the universe. At the moment in the book, the main character is still in boot camp and is thinking about leaving it. There is a part in the book that caught my attention. It goes "'The Court sentences you' he went on, while I felt sick, 'to ten lashes and Bad Conduct Discharge.' Hendrick gulped. 'I want to resign'" (page 95). Here is a little background to the situation. Hendrick had hit his commander at boot camp but he thinks he is in the right because he was hit first. That doesn't matter though because you are to never hit your commander unless you are sparring with him or it is part of the training. After he pleads his case the court sentences him to ten lashes and a dishonorable discharge. This stuck with me because of two things. The first was that Hendrick thought he would be alright just because his commander hit him first. The second is that that seemed like a harsh punishment. It made me think if is like our actual military. It probably something like that but I do not think anyone will get whipped. It kind of makes me think that if anyone would to join the military, that you can not stand a millimeter out of line before you are beaten back into place. What would be the punishments to those who go past that millimeter? I do not know. The book is good at the moment and I will hopefully not drop this one. Until next time.

Friday, April 21, 2017

A new book and a new mystery.

What's up? My reading is going a bit slow. It was most likely because i choose a book that was around 700 pages. I'm dropping it and i'm going on to a new book. The book I dropped is called Dead or Alive by Tom Clancy and Grant Blackwood in case you wanted to check it out. It's okay but too long if I want to read meet my reading goal for this year.

My current book is my AP book, Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck. So far all I could gather from the book is that it follows two people, George Milton and Lennie Small, and so far they are trying to get jobs as ranch hands. Lennie is not the sharpest tool in the shed and is constantly looking at George for instruction. The passage in the book that I am interested in is ""An' you ain't gonna do no bad things like you done in Weed, neither." Lennie looked puzzled. "Like I done in Weed?" "Oh, so ya forgot that too, did ya? Well, I ain't gonna remind ya, fear ya do it again"" (pg.14). What did Lennie do to get them both kicked out of a town? I assume at the moment that, because of his innocents and his lack of intelligence, he did something that offended the whole town such as ruining an important building or messing with a man's daughter or his wife. But the thing that caught my attention is what George said at the end, "fear ya do it again." Is implies that whatever Lennie did was very bad not just your runofthemill crimes. Maybe he killed a man? I shall read on to solve this little mystery. Until next time see ya' later.

Friday, April 7, 2017

Intro to me, my reading life and what I hope to do with it.

What's up? I'm Donavan and I'm a sophomore at Hebron High school. My favorite hobby is playing video games. My second favorite hobby is reading. I like reading Sci-Fi and mystery books. I'm not much of a non-fiction reader just because I enjoy thinking about what my life would be like if I were to be in that world. Let's face it, it would be way cooler to be in The Lord of the Rings universe than reliving world war two. My favorite book at the moment is Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card. It's a really good read that can be read over and over again without losing it's luster. I don't read now as much as I did a couple of years ago. I'm trying to work on that but the progress is slow going.

My goal this year is to read 10 books. I read about 30-45 minutes a day. It's not a lot and it's probably due to the fact that I spend most of my free time on my computer watching YouTube or on my Xbox playing Overwatch. I have no idea what AP book I am going to read this 9 weeks but of all the books I have seen I am interested in Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck. I have heard good things about it and I hope it lives up to its reputation. Other than that I will probably just look for something that catches my eye. Until next time see ya' later.

In the "Blink" of an eye.

I've finished my book, which is called Blink by Malcolm Gladwell. I have been reading both in class during SSR and some at home and duri...