Good Hair by Sherman Alexie

11.02.2017

Hi Readers!

It's been awhile since I shared a poem, for which I apologize. Recently, I was browsing through poets.org, which contains poetry selections from a wide variety of different time periods and authors. One poem that stood out to me was by Sherman Alexie, a preeminent Native American writer whose works often carry very powerful messages. I hope you all appreciate this poem of his as much as I did.

- The Soup Chef
(P.S. If you have any poems that you would like to share, please do so in the comments section!)

Good Hair
By Sherman Alexie

Hey, Indian boy, why (why!) did you slice off your braids?
Do you grieve their loss? Have you thought twice about your braids?

With that long, black hair, you looked overtly Indian.
If vanity equals vice, then does vice equal braids?

Are you warrior-pretend? Are you horseback-never?
Was your drum-less, drum-less life disguised by your braids?

Hey, Indian boy, why (why!) did you slice off your braids?
You have school-age kids, so did head lice invade your braids?

Were the scissors impulsive or inevitable?
Did you arrive home and say, “Surprise, I cut my braids”?

Do you miss the strange women who loved to touch your hair?
Do you miss being eroticized because of your braids?

Hey, Indian boy, why (why!) did you slice off your braids?
Did you weep or laugh when you said goodbye to your braids?

Did you donate your hair for somebody’s chemo wig?
Is there a cancer kid who thrives because of your braids?

Did you, peace chief, give your hair to an orphaned sparrow?
Is there a bald eagle that flies because of your braids?

Hey, Indian boy, why (why!) did you slice off your braids?
Was it worth it? Did you profit? What’s the price of braids?

Did you cut your hair after your sister’s funeral?
Was it self-flagellation? Did you chastise your braids?

Has your tribe and clan cut-hair-mourned since their creation?
Did you, ceremony-dumb, improvise with your braids?

Hey, Indian boy, why (why!) did you slice off your braids?
Was it a violent act? Did you despise your braids?
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Book Review: The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain

10.31.2017

Genre: Historical Fiction
Ages: 12 and Up

     Back when I was in eighth grade, I read Mark Twain's The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. Perhaps it was because of my age, but I didn't enjoy that book very much. Because of this, when I picked up a copy of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (the follow-up book), I had pretty low expectations. To my pleasant surprise, this book was actually very pleasant. Twain's usage of satire, irony, and humor throughout kept me entertained, while the events of the plot drew me in to the story and made me feel as though I connected with some of the characters on a deeper level. Needless to say, this book was well worth my time, and I agree with it being labeled as "An American Classic".

About:
     Young Huckleberry Finn has always felt out of place. Whether he was living with his alcoholic father, or the pious old widow in town, Huck could never seem to find a place where he truly belonged. One night, he makes the decision to flee from his problems by running away from home. As he makes his way down the Mississippi River, Huck is joined by a runaway slave named Jim. The two form a strong friendship, and as they continue on their journey they encounter several interesting characters along the way.

Memorable Quote:
"Jim said bees wouldn't sting idiots; but I didn't believe that, because I had tried them lots of times myself, and they wouldn't sting me."

Have you read The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn before, or any other books by Mark Twain? If so, tell us what you thought about them right here at Reading Soup! It's always a pleasure to hear your literary thoughts and opinions.
Happy Halloween!

-The Soup Chef
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Book Review: The Hostile Hospital by Lemony Snicket

10.04.2017


Ages: 8+
Genre: Fiction
Rating: 7/10

Dear Readers,

I am terribly sorry it's been so long since I last posted. With the academic year in full swing, it has been hard to devote time to reading for leisure. After a long period of waiting, I finally had enough free time to finish the eighth book in Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events. I feel as though this series gets better and better with each book. Although I have read these books before, I still enjoy the mysteries that are entwined in the tragic lives of the Baudelaire children. If you still have yet to read this series, I highly recommend doing so right away. You most surely won't be disappointed.

- The Soup Chef

About:
The Baudelaire orphans are yet again on the run, this time not only from Count Olaf and his gang but also from the law. With their pursuers close at hand the three children decide to take refuge at a local hospital, where they hope no one will find them. Little do they know though that this hostile environment will actually bring into question the validity of their own parent's deaths. 

Memorable Quote: 
"There is no earthly reason why you should read even one more word about the misfortune, treachery, and woe that are in store for the three Baudelaire children, any more than you should run into the street and throw yourself under the wheels of a bus STOP."

Have you read any of the books in A Series of Unfortunate Events before? If so, tell us what you thought about them right here at Reading Soup! It's always a pleasure to hear your literary thoughts and opinions 🙂


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Book Review: Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston

8.26.2017

Genre: Fiction
Ages: 15 and up
Rating: 5/10

     I've always heard about this book, and how it was supposedly a "classic" piece of literature. I picked up a copy with high expectations, and found myself tragically disappointed. The setting was a bit odd, and there was a plethora of dialogue that I---quite frankly---struggled to read, because it was written in a heavy form of slang. Most frustrating of all though were the characters, specifically the main character, Janie. Every decision she made was terrible, and as a reader I felt an urge to yell at her to stop and reconsider. To make matters worse, the ending to this book was honestly one of the worst I've ever read. I hate to say it, but I would not recommend this book to anyone, solely because of its disastrous plot.

About: 
     Since she was a child, Janie has only been looking for one thing: love. After two failed marriages, she finally meets a man who makes her feel free to be herself. Together, they embark on a journey to the Everglades, and live in happiness. Soon enough though, tragedy strikes, and Janie realizes how cruel life can really be.

Memorable Quote:
     "'Love is lak de sea. It's uh movin' thing, but still and all, it takes it shape from de shore it meets, and it's different with every shore.'"

Have you read Their Eyes Were Watching God before, or another book similar to it? If so, please tell us what you thought about it right here at Reading Soup! It's always a pleasure to hear your literary thoughts and opinions. Have a great day, and keep on reading!

-The Soup Chef
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Book Review: All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque

8.09.2017

Genre: Historical Fiction
Ages: 14 and Up

     Words cannot describe how touched I was by this novel. Author Erich Maria Remarque is nothing short of a poetic genius. Despite the fact that this was a tragic story about war, the imagery and symbolism used were so profound that it was hard to find a flaw in this book. Themes dealing with comradery, fear, maturity, and isolation seeped through the margins of every page, and I often found myself reflecting on the decisions that characters made both on and off the frontlines.
     It is hard to summarize such a complexly heartfelt story. But the long story short is that, All Quiet on the Western Front is a beautifully written novel that honestly displays the horrors of war, while also teaching us lessons of humanity, redemption, and most importantly---love.

About:
     Paul Baumer is just a young man who was called upon to fight for his country. He and his comrades have gone through hell and back together, but deep down inside they all long for an end to the terrible thing that is war.

Memorable Quote From the Book:
     "'We didn't want the war, the others say the same thing---and yet half the world is in it all the same.'"

Have you read All Quiet on the Western Front before, or another book similar to it? If so, tell us what you thought about it right here at Reading Soup! It's always awesome to hear your literary thoughts and opinions. Have a great rest of summer, and keep on reading!

- The Soup Chef
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