If I closed my eyes, I could picture vividly the last time I read a book by John Green. I was high school sophomore then, and had the luxury to spend entire afternoons reading non-academic books. The book I picked that day was The Fault in Our Stars, and it made me stay in the same armchair for hours. Fast-forward four years, and there are some things that haven’t changed all that much. The heroine of John Green’s new novel Turtles All the Way Down is much like Hazel Grace as she’s a quirky, nerdy sixteen-year-old girl who embarks on an adventure and encounters friendship and love along the way, all the while battling a chronic illness that stands between her and happiness.
Though many authors have tackled the character of Abraham Lincoln, few are able to dive into the complex psyche of one of America’s most beloved presidents like George Saunders. In his novel Lincoln in the Bardo, Saunders brilliantly captures a deeply emotional story between father and son with a balance of poise and comedy. The novel had potential to fall flat due to its unconventional structure, but Saunders’s risk-taking pays off and works to tell a truly unique and engaging narrative that certainly makes the novel one of Saunders’s best executed works to date. George Saunders is a renowned short story writer commended for tackling dystopian satire and straying from literary convention. A recipient of both the inaugural Folio Prize and the Story Prize for his tongue-curling cleverness and comical narratives, Saunders modestly embarked on the next milestone in his career by writing his first novel, Lincoln in the Bardo, released February 14th, 2017.
As a longtime Zadie Smith fan, I began my journey into Swing Time, her latest novel, with a certain degree of expectation. I anticipated to be entertained, that there would be points where I laughed and, as a testament to the complexity of her writing, for there also to be moments in the book when I cried. I did not however, expect to feel intense irritation, almost to the point of hatred. The plot of Swing Time is effectively split into two. The first revolves around the childhood friendship of two girls tied together by their similar skin tones and mutual love of dance.
The day following Donald Trump’s election, protests broke out on college campuses across the country and Cornell was no exception. Students came together across campus to showcase their collective rage, terror and sadness. These sentiments are just; I shared all of them and questioned our country’s future alongside my classmates. Yet another question continued to nag at my mind: how detached from reality are we? Little effort is needed to recognize the political correctness on college campuses.