AP Book Review

Effie Starheim, Junior Staff Writer

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This summer, the junior AP Language course required student to read four novels.  All of which were intriguing; however, my favorite was The Last Lecture.  This autobiography was based on Carnegie Mellon Professor Randy Pausch’s struggle after being diagnosed with stage four cancer.  He shares his life story, as well as the story of more recent trips he had taken with his wife and children.  In the end, he realizes that family is irreplaceable and come before anything else.

One book that I found mind-boggling was Thank You for Arguing:  What Aristotle, Lincoln and Homer Simpson Can Teach Us about the Art of Persuasion.  This book explained the three basic concepts of argumentation:  logos, pathos and ethos.  In order to successfully win an argument, the characteristics are to be used precisely.  With the comical examples the author used, these rules are easily memorized.

Next on the list was the Narrative of Sojourner Truth.  The main character, originally named Isabella, was born into slavery and eventually became a “pre civil rights activist”.  Later, she changed her name to Sojourner Truth to show her devotion to truth and equality.

Last on the list was Great Speeches of the 20th Century; it title alone is self-explanatory.  Each chapter presents a speech given by an influential person in history.  My favorite was Eleanor Roosevelt’s “The United Nations as a Ridge” speech.  Her speech gave me hope that in desperate times there will always be people who believe that “You must have as a basis to all understanding, the willingness to learn and the willingness to listen (pg. 100).”

Despite all of the work that came with the reading selections, I enjoyed completing the assignments and felt that I learned much even while in “summer mode.”

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