Book Review: All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque


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.

     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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Book Review: The Vile Village by Lemony Snicket


Ages: 8 and Up
Genre: Fiction

     I feel as though with every book I read in this Series of Unfortunate Events, the story of the Baudelaire orphans just gets better and better. Lemony Snicket's The Vile Village delves further into the mystery of VFD, while offering humorous character interactions. Even though the experiences of the Baudelaire orphans can be quite sad, I simply cannot wait to read the next book in this series, The Hostile Hospital.

     The Baudelaire orphans have moved to an interesting town with a strong devotion to crows. The townspeople have nothing to offer the Baudelaire's except a long list of chores, but nevertheless the three orphans are happy to be away from Count Olaf...for now.

     Have you read 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. Enjoy summer, and keep on reading!

- The Soup Chef

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Book Review: The Ersatz Elevator by Lemony Snicket


Ages: 8 and Up
Genre: Fiction

Hi there readers!
     I'm sorry it's been so long since I last posted. I've been quite busy lately with schoolwork and extra curricular activities. I'm so glad to finally be back on Reading Soup, and to continue my reviews of A Series of Unfortunate Events. Book the sixth, The Ersatz Elevator, was definitely my favorite book in the series thus far. A new layer of mystery was added to the Baudelaire story, and I am super excited to find out what happens next!

The Baudelaire orphans have gone through a total of five guardians, and now find themselves under the care of Esme and Jerome Squalor. While their new guardians provide the three children with all they could ever want and more, the young Baudelaire's still feel as though something is not right. With time they uncover yet another nefarious plot, with a terrible twist at the end.

Have you read A Series of Unfortunate Events before, or other books similar to them? If so, please tell us what you thought about them right here at Reading Soup or on my Google Plus profile page! 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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A Poem by Mark Strand


Hi Readers,

Here's another poem I thought was worth sharing! Please feel free to tell me what you think of it. Have a great day!

- The Soup Chef

Eating Poetry
By Mark Strand

Ink runs from the corners of my mouth.
There is no happiness like mine.
I have been eating poetry.

The librarian does not believe what she sees.
Her eyes are sad
and she walks with her hands in her dress.

The poems are gone.
The light is dim.
The dogs are on the basement stairs and coming up.

Their eyeballs roll,
their blond legs burn like brush.
The poor librarian begins to stamp her feet and weep.

She does not understand.
When I get on my knees and lick her hand,
she screams.

I am a new man. 
I snarl at her and bark.
I romp with joy in the bookish dark. 
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"If--" by Rudyard Kipling


Hi Readers!

I found this poem about a year ago, and meant to share it on Reading Soup, but didn't get around it until now. Despite this, I do hope you enjoy this poem, and please feel free to share your thoughts and opinions on it. Additionally, if you have any poems you would like to share, do not hesitate to do so!

Have a great day,
The Soup Chef

By Rudyard Kipling

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or beings hated, don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream--and not make dreams your
If you can think--and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build 'em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: 'Hold on!'

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings--nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And--which is more--you'll be a Man, my son!
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