Monday, 9 January 2017

Our Town for the Noticing



I have successfully read over 144 books this semester! There’s roughly 4 days left and I’m at 147 books. I’m going to try to read 3 more books to get to 150 books. I just finished reading Crooked Kingdom (#147), the sequel to Six of Crows. Before that, I read Our Town, by Thorton Wilder as my AP novel (that one was #146). https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/205476.Our_Town

I’d read Our Town before as a script, but this was my first time reading the full thing. About three years ago, I was cast in Our Town. I was twelve years old. I was single cast as Rebecca Gibbs, the main character George Gibbs’ younger sister. Even though I was in the show, I’d never read the script all the way through. I actually didn’t like the script when I first read it. I thought it was boring. Everything changed, however when I heard it read out loud. As I was reading it, I couldn’t really get a feel for the words. So I read it out loud to myself. It had been two years, but I still remembered how being in Our Town felt. Rereading the script as a story made me feel good. 

Our Town is a play really about the simple things in life, the things that are really special and always have been, but because they’ve always been special, you sort of forgot how special they were. It tells a story of a town in three acts, talking about everyday life, marriage and the events leading up to it, and death and life after. 

“Does anybody realize what life is
while they're living it- every, every minute?”

Emily says this in Act Three, when she realizes that she never apreciated her family and town when she was alive, and that she can now finally do so in death, when her family doesn’t know, is crushing to her. I like to think that my reading so many books and doing theatre opens my eyes to the world. I try to notice the small things. I try to notice the way the trees look everyday outside of the theater, and how the sunset looks different on the roof than it does on the ground. I try to notice how my friends are kind, in the small ways, that they don’t intend for people to notice. But I do. I try to notice. I believe that Our Town, and this quote in particular, is telling people to appreciate and notice life. Notice life, and the people, and everything. Live life to the fullest, I suppose. 

Friday, 16 December 2016

Eurydice, I love you

Reading update! I'm keeping up with my goal in reading 144 books this semester. I'm almost finished! I've read 128. 

This time, I read the play version of a script. This play was called Eurydice. Eurydice is a modern retelling of the Greek myth Orpheus, a musician who played music so beautiful it could do anything. His wife dies on her wedding day, so he must journey to the Underworld to get her back. This is the story from his wife, Eurydice's point of view. http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/5661021-eurydice 

I thought it was a really simplistic read, but it was really beautiful at the same time. Eurydice is about death, and love, and longing, and suffering. It gives a lot of symbolic meaning to water, music, and letters. It plays with the question, "Is it better to remember, or forget when you die?" For me, the answer is remember. If I remember, then I can always use my memories and what I know, and what I feel, to guide me back home. 

My favorite quote is when Little Stone, the leader of the Stone Chorus, the secondary antagonists, tells the Father that "Love is a big, funny word." It really shows a lot about the Stone Chorus and how they think about humans. It also got me thinking about what love really is, and how humans struggle to define it. Throughout the play, you kind of question who really loves Eurydice, and who she loves more. I think it's up to everyone to determine what love is, and then find it for themselves. 

Thursday, 10 November 2016

Cinder: A New Story

Hi everyone! I’ve been reading a bunch of books for fun, and to meet my goal. I try and read a book a day. It’s gotten to the point where I can read really fast, so I get my books finished quicker. I just finished reading Cinder, by Marissa Meyer. http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/11235712-cinder

Cinder is one of the cities most renowned mechanics. But her stepfamily doesn’t see her that way. Adri is cold and haughty, and thinks she is a burden. Pearl makes fun of Cinder every chance she gets. Only Peony, the youngest, truly cares for her. When Prince Kai comes to the market seeking Cinder’s help, will she fall for him? Or will a disaster and hidden secret ruin Cinder’s life? 

Cinder is strong, brave, and defiant. All she wants to do is be free. She has a close connection with her sister, Peony. She discovers later in the book that she is Lunar, and also the Lost Princess. She doesn’t think she can be a princess because she is cyborg. She isn’t ready for the responsibility of that role either. 

The story begins with Cinder and Iko in the market place. The Rising Action is when Cinder discovers she is Lunar.  The turning point in the story is when Cinder is at the ball, and she tells Prince Kai of the plot to murder him. The Falling Action is when Dr. Erland tells Cinder she is the Lost Princess, Selene. The story ends with Cinder escaping from jail. (Haha, I can recognize plot sequences, yay me!)

The cool thing about Cinder is that it’s a brand new take on the old fairy tale Cinderella. The nice thing about Cinder is that she’s not a victim, like the other Cinderella stories. She can stand up for herself, and she knows what she wants in life. And the awesome thing about Cinder is that it’s a series!!! Four more books!! Yay!!

I kind of relate to Cinder. I’m not a mechanic, but I still think being one would be really cool. I want to be brave like Cinder. I like how Cinder supports her family, even when they’re mean to her. I like how she was heroic and went to warn Kai. I have really high expectations for the next book! Very excited!!

Eagerly getting started reading,


Harper

Tuesday, 11 October 2016

I Am Inspired

Hello my fellow lovers of literature! Progress report! My reading has actually been slow for a little while, just because I’ve been in performance for a show, while at the same time in callbacks for another one. I still read on my rehearsal break with my friends, because all of us that are in the upper grades have summer reading. I just started reading Lord of the Flies, which is the assigned reading novel. I am slightly skeptical about it, because I’ve heard both good and bad things about it. I’m keeping an open mind, or at least trying to. A few friends of mine were actually in a stage version of this book about 4 years ago, and I’ve been asked to audition for another production of The Lord of the Flies this summer. So I’ll just think of it as doing background research. I just finished reading I Am Malala. http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17851885-i-am-malala

I Am Malala was a difficult book for me. For one, I had zero background knowledge about the subject. There was a lot of rereading and looking up terms. I Am Malala is a real-life story about a girl who was educated when girls weren’t supposed to be educated, a girl who was shot for speaking out.

When the Taliban took control of the Swat Valley in Pakistan, one girl spoke out. Malala Yousafzai refused to be silenced and fought for her right to an education. On Tuesday, October 9, 2012, when she was fifteen, she almost paid the ultimate price. She was shot in the head at point-blank range while riding the bus home from school, and few expected her to survive. Instead, Malala's miraculous recovery has taken her on an extraordinary journey from a remote valley in northern Pakistan to the halls of the United Nations in New York. At sixteen, she became a global symbol of peaceful protest and the youngest nominee ever for the Nobel Peace Prize.

I do not consider myself to be a coward. I am able to stand on a stage in bright lights and in front of a crowded auditorium and I am able to give the audience every part of me, with no shame. I am able to do anything that is asked of me by my directors. This is what it means to be an actor.
I have come to realize, however, that this is recklessness, bravado, insecurity, and bravery with the beginnings of courage. It is recklessness because I have no thought for my actions. I do everything before I can worry about how it will make me look. It is bravado, because I am often just pretending that I’m not afraid. It’s insecurity, because I hide behind other characters. I act to hide. It is bravery, because it’s hard. What actors do is hard. It has parts of courage in it, because I act for myself, but mostly for my friends and directors. It is courage that makes me put away my fear and do the show, to support and do the show with them.
All of this pales when compared with Malala’s bravery. Forget that statement. It doesn’t pale, it disappears altogether. There is not an instrument to measure her courage. She’s become the champion of all girls who are denied an education. She’s the voice for the silent girls. It’s amazing. It’s hard to describe. One of my favorite quotes from the book says this: “We were scared, but our fear was not as strong as our courage.” That inspires me not to be afraid, and also inspires me to try and make a difference. I never realized that I was blessed to have an education until reading this book. It kind of opened my eyes a lot. I can’t recommend this book enough.

Signing off in my jelly bean socks (no really, I wore them to school today and I got a 95 on my English test. Yay lucky jelly bean socks!), Harper



Sunday, 18 September 2016

Part of the Crowd

Hi everyone! My reading is going actually going pretty good! I’ve started reading on my rehearsal break with my friends, because all of us that are in the upper grades have summer reading. There’s not that much light outside that late in the day, but we angle ourselves and we make sure everyone can see. I just started reading I am Malala, which is to be my nonfiction novel. I’m literally on the first page, so I can’t tell if it is good or not, but I have a good feeling about it. I just finished reading Six of Crows. https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23437156-six-of-crows

While Six of Crows is about a fantasy world of politics, power, and crime, it’s interesting to see how it parallels a high school/teenage life. In Six of Crows, you need a gang or you’re toast. If someone doesn’t have your back, chances are you’re going to end up with a bullet in it. It’s hard to be nice, it’s hard not to want to be tough. 

In my life, there are many worlds. I have my high school world, where I see the people I go to school with, the people I’ve grown up with and will probably still be Facebook friends with when I’m 42. Some of them are nice, and are true friends I cherish. Most of them are not. I never considered high school a place to make friends. High school is the place you go so you can go somewhere better. But it’s difficult to go through high school friendless. I should know. I’ve tried. So you find a couple of people who aren’t jerks or nutjobs, and you mutually agree that you’ve got each other’s backs. Overtime, this develops into actual friends who you spend time with outside of school, and when that happens, its good. Really good. Then there’s the crowd of people who make fun of you but not in a way that they would if they truly didn’t like you, those people who are your crowd simply because you need a crowd. I understand the importantness of having these groups in high school. Sometimes I wonder what it would be like if we didn’t make fun of each other like that, if our crowds became something more. But maybe tough love is the love high schoolers best understand. Most people can take it, and if not, you learn to. I’ll be walking down the hallway during lunch, and people will cuss at me one moment, and tell me to sit next to them next. When I was a freshman, I used to let it bother me, but I don’t anymore. I either ignore it, or throw it right back at them. Both solutions work. It all depends on what I’m feeling that day.
However, I’m going to stop. I’m going to stop throwing it back or ignoring it. I’m going to respond nicely. It’s not even a killing with kindness thing, it’s nice simply to be nice. I’m not the crowd I run with. I’m me. 
Reading is deep, and I need sleep. Goodnight guys, and happy reading. 

Wednesday, 7 September 2016

Salutations! My name is Harper Caroline Lee, but you can call me Harper. I am a full time reader  unpublished writer, and musical-nerd. I started reading when I was three. I still remember the first book I read (Peanut Butter Rhino. Pure literary genius). Books are a very important part of my life. I love to read, and I think reading is one of the most amazing things that happens. You get to experience another person's life, go on exciting adventures, and be someone else for a while. In a way, it's a little bit like theatre (my other love). I encourage everyone to read anything they can and anytime they can.

I've kinda always been the overachiever type. People saying I can't do something just makes me want to do it even more. That, plus my love for reading, led me to create my reading goal. My goal for this semester is to read 144 books, which is my favorite number (12) squared. I have already committed to reading at least 75 pages a day. I also plan to expand my horizons beyond fiction, and experiment with other different types of books. For my nonfiction novel, I am planning to read I Am Malala. I have not decided on my AP book yet. I am still browsing. If you have any recommendations, feel free to tell me!

Snaps,
Harper