The Book Report: November 2023

Book picks from Cornelia Hatfield, Ada Gauthier, Audrey Spiegel, Ms. Super, and Mr. Jones.

The Book Report: November 2023
Illustration by Kaiden Chandler. Images via Amazon.

Welcome to The Book Report, a monthly round-up of book reviews and recommendations from the students and staff of MSMHS. In this edition, book picks from Cornelia Hatfield, Ada Gauthier, Audrey Spiegel, Ms. Super, and Mr. Jones.

In other news: Interested in improving your writing skills? Shark Blocks will be switching soon, and The Current is a great place to sharpen your writing abilities in real-world situations!

Cornelia Hatfield's Pick: On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous

Illustration by Kaiden Chandler. Image via Amazon.

Synopsis: On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous is a novel written by Ocean Vuong. It's a coming-of-age story about a young Vietnamese-American man named Little Dog that explores themes of family, identity, and the challenges of growing up in America.

Cornelia says: “I chose this book because it mixed personal experience with existential philosophy of life and the uncertainty that adolescents face as they are growing up and becoming someone. I would absolutely recommend this book to anyone who is looking for something to read.

“I chose this book as a recommendation because it is honestly my favorite book. It was one of those books that I really needed to read in the moment that I picked it up. It is so beautifully written and portrays incredible themes such as family, love, and culture.

Ada Gauthier's Pick: How to Stop Time

Illustration by Kaiden Chandler. Image via Amazon.

Synopsis: Matt Haig's How to Stop Time tells the story of Tom Hazard, a man with a rare condition that causes him to age extremely slowly. The book follows Tom as he navigates through different time periods, from Elizabethan England to modern-day London, while grappling with love, loss, and the search for meaning in an ever-changing world.

Ada says: “I read another one of the authors' works during the pandemic and I fell in love with the writing style. How to Stop Time was the first book I picked up that talked about the human condition, which is now one of my favorite subjects. I would recommend this book to anyone who is looking for a new perspective on life. And to anyone that likes thinking deeper than surface level thoughts about our lives as humans, this book is perfect for you.

“This book made me think a lot about myself and the things I choose to spend my time doing. It discussed the romanticized way of living and gave me a new perspective on who I want to be outwardly to the world and what being a human truly means. The book touches on how you would live your life if you were going to live forever; this made me a more conscious person in everyday life.”

Audrey Spiegel's Pick: Room

Illustration by Kaiden Chandler. Image via Kobo.

Synopsis: Emma Donoghue’s Room tells the story of a young boy named Jack and his mother, who are held captive in a small, windowless shed. Despite them being locked away, the boy and his mother create a world within the room filled with love, imagination, and resilience. As the story develops, they face challenges, make sacrifices, and someday hope for freedom, exploring the strength of the human spirit and the bond between a mother and child.

Audrey says: “I picked up this book because I was in need of a book to read and Mrs. Mann and my friend suggested it to me. I enjoy a story with suspense and this book has that element. It is filled with subjects that really make you think differently. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone looking for a thrilling read. The book starts somewhat dark, capturing your attention, but it then continues to develop into this lighter story filled with power and self-discovery.

Ms. Super's Pick: The Simple Wild

Illustration by Kaiden Chandler. Image via Amazon.

Synopsis: The Simple Wild, by K.A. Tucker, is a novel set in the Alaskan wilderness that follows the story of Calla Fletcher, a city girl who travels to Alaska to reconnect with her distant father. Along the way, she encounters rugged landscapes, powerful friendships, and an unexpected romance. It's a story about self-discovery, family bonds, and the life-changing experience of love.

Ms. Super says: “I chose this novel because it is about fall in Alaska and it matched the vibe of how I am feeling right now, so I thought it was a good seasonal read. I would absolutely recommend this book. I think people should read it because the main character goes through a lot of developmental changes as a young woman that I think are relatable but are also good learning experiences for young girls.”

Mr. Jones' Pick: Good Poems

Illustration by Kaiden Chandler. Image via Penguin Random House.

Synopsis: Good Poems is a poetry anthology curated by author and humorist Garrison Keillor. The collection is organized around broad themes like failure, lovers, death, and transcendence, and features a mix of work from classic and contemporary poets.

Mr. Jones says: “I first picked up this anthology when I was in high school and wanted to start reading poetry. I see a lot of poetry books that claim to be a great place to start, but this book is unlike the others. It captures the essence of every style of poetry and subject you can imagine and it pulls you into a world of experience you couldn't otherwise understand.

“This book is something that I think will matter to the people who read it; no matter who picks it up, they can gain something from it. There are twenty different poems about love from all of these different people, and they each have something different to say about it. This is a book that you don’t have to read cover to cover; you can flip through the pages, pick a few poems, and sit with them for a while. It gives you a diversity of poems that you can experience over and over again. You can read it over a period of time and the best part is that you change as a person but the book stays the same.”

Thanks for reading The Book Report, a publication of The Current. Join us next Thursday for an interview with Mr. Olsen in Survival Kit!

-Gracie Peil, Editor of The Book Report