IRJE #7 – Counting by 7s by Holly Goldberg Sloan

It was a while when I started reading a book called “Counting by 7s” by Holly Goldberg Sloan. The story is about a girl who has a unique way of thinking, and everything she does somehow ends up being connected to her favorite number 7.

I remember Mrs. King asking the class: 

“How does this book make you feel?”

The appropriate answer, as far as she was concerned, was “tired”… Half of the class was asleep…I recall looking around my fellow inmates, thinking: Would someone, anyone, just shout out the word tired?

…After days of hearing more lies from an adult than I’d been exposed to in my whole life… I had to tell the truth (p.16. Holly Goldberg Sloan. Counting by 7s).

I chose this quote because I find it funny and relatable. In my previous schools, we had to read assigned books from those teachers that everyone hated and discuss them in class. Unfortunately, all of them looked for a specific answer and did not accept anything that was slightly different from their opinion. I always sat there and silently bagged someone to say something. Then, in one of the essays about another book, I wrote what I truly thought of it.

PR – Romeo and Juliet

Overall, I did not enjoy the play Romeo and Juliet. Starting with the fact that I do not like romance movies in general and this particular movie being at the top of this genre already decreased the chances of me liking it. Some scenes were touching, and sometimes I was curious about what was about to happen. Romeo’s and Julia’s first eye contact was interesting to observe. I think the actors did a great job demonstrating what love at first sight looks like. I liked the main conflict of the movie and how it was resolved. Not that I like sad endings, but this one showed the gloomy reality that not all struggles end happily.

I did not like some of the camera movements. There were a lot of close-ups of the character’s eyes or him looking directly at the camera. These types of things make me uncomfortable. The language people were using is another reason why I did not like the play. There are too many fancy words that have a completely different meaning when you ask about them. I understand why the characters use this type of language, and it is beautiful in some way, but it is not to my liking.

I am glad that I watched this movie after a long time of refusal. I think of this as a chance to finally have a clear idea of what it is and if I like it or not.

PW #7 – Socks

I am sure we all have a favorite pair of socks that we want to wear all the time and everywhere. Some people also call them their lucky pair. I, too, have one of those and will tell you about it.

Recently, my sister visited us during winter break and brought presents for my mom, dad, and me. When I opened the box, there were candies, a book, a bunch of small things, and three pairs of socks. Of course, the first thing I picked up was a book and candy. I did not pay much attention to the socks. The next day, all of us went to show my sister around the city, and I decided to pick one pair to wear. They were red and white and had Ukrainian letters all over them. My God, those socks were so comfortable! After that day, I could not go somewhere without them (unless they were in the wash), but…something horrible happened…I LOST THEM! I looked everywhere. Closet, the deepest corners under my bed, the washing machine, and even the kitchen. They were gone…There was no sight of them.

Days passed, and I forgot about them. I bought a new pair of socks not so long ago, and then, guess what? Today is the day! I found them! One sock was lying behind a huge plant in my room, and another one was in the closet under all the boxes and clothes. I was so happy to finally find them. Now I will put them only in visible places where they won’t get lost again.


IRJE #5 – Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead

Not so long ago, I started reading the book “Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead” by Olga Tokarczuk. As a detective lover, this book got my full attention, even though I only finished the second chapter. I am not sure yet how the event will go, but the mysterious death of a man that everyone calls Big Foot is really interesting. There was also a short story about his dog. He locks her up in a shed, where she howls because of the cold. The woman rescues her and brings the dog home, where she gives her food and a warm place to sleep, but after a while, at night, the dog runs outside and goes back.

“And so she went back to her Prison” (p. 32).

I included this part because I liked how loyal the dog is. Despite how badly the owner treated her, the dog returned to him. When I told my sister about this book, she said that this situation reminded her of some people she knew.

PR – Brave New World & Amusing Ourselves to Death

Brave New World by Aldous Huxley has become one of the best English books that I have read so far. Despite the difficult use of language in the book, the plot, and events that got me thinking, not always, provided me with a need to continue reading the book. What I liked the most was that the characters I disliked and found annoying turned out to be interesting to read about. The book has a good amount of complexity in the language and narrative that has quite a few things in common with the world we live in now, which makes me a bit sad, and the image of naive characters made a huge impression on my liking of literature.

On the other hand, Amusing Our Selves to Death by Neil Postman did not make an impression on me. Most likely because of its style. As a book-length essay, the text’s format, rather than the content, made it somewhat boring, making it tiring to read.  Postman covered an interesting topic of the effect of TV on the human race, but for me, the stylistic choices reduced the overall enjoyment of the book.

PW #5 – View from my window

Through the window, three objects are visible. The first building is a music store with everything you could possibly desire. Typically, you could hear them doing a little concert for customers on the weekends. Before this store had been built, the entire street and the large mountain in the distance were visible. The neighbor’s house is the second item you would see when looking out my window. It’s interesting to watch them because they always watch films and BBQ around the fire. And lastly, there is a Chinese restaurant directly across the road, and the food they serve is the best Chinese food I have tried so far.

PW#4. What would I do if I had a whole weekend free of any other responsibilities?

If I had a full weekend, I would travel somewhere, either nearby or farther away, to explore the area I live in. I’ve been wanting to visit this abandoned structure by the river that I discovered not too long ago. Before getting there, I would load my bag with food as well as other supplies for the exploration of the building, choose a nice spot, and spend the day there until night. The following day, I would try to go to the movies by myself in the morning, and then I would spend the rest of the day redecorating my room with various items I found at Restore or go to the beach where I haven’t been before.

IRJE #3. Holding up the universe

Currently, I am reading “Holding Up the Universe”. This book is about two teenagers, Libby Strout and Jack Masselin, and their complicated lives. This book is for everyone who doubts their place in the world.

Libby once said:

“I think what an amazing world this would be if we all danced everywhere we went.”

“Holding Up the Universe” is more about how there will always be a person who will judge you, but it does not have to stop you from doing things that you like.

PR #2 All Quiet on the Western Front

Two major factors made the book “All Quiet on the Western Front” appeal to me more than the movie “They Shall Grow Old”.

First, I was able to emotionally relate to the book’s main character. I empathized with Paul and his companions as they were going through all the atrocities of the war throughout the novel. The more I read, the more I enjoyed this emotional connection with the characters.

Second, unlike the movie, the book allowed my imagination to go wild and create my own picture of what awful really is. Everyone has a different idea of good and evil, and I enjoyed the creative freedom to paint my own picture of hell. Imagining something that was deeply and personally sad affected me much more than watching the images created by someone else.

PW #3. Fake fall

When I was little, my parents sent me to a camp in the Carpathians for several weeks. We had to get there by train. In the compartment, I met a girl with whom I became friends. Her mother and little sister were also traveling with us. When we arrived at the camp, I had to share the same room with them. On the last day of the camp, when we were supposed to go back, I woke up very early and couldn’t sleep, so I got bored and thought it would be cool to fake a fall from my bed. So I took a blanket and laid down on the floor, pretending to be asleep, waiting for my friend and her mother to wake up. When they did, they started laughing at me. Everything was fine; we laughed and started packing. In the end, when we left the camp, almost all my friends knew that I had fallen out of bed, and in the train compartment, my seat was secured with straps and all so that I would not SUDDENLY fall on the floor.

It was my worst trip on a train that I ever had. And everything because I decided it would be cool to fake that I fell from the bed.

IRJE #2: The Catcher in the Rye

I left off my previous book “Mort” and now finishing another one called “The Catcher in the Rye” about a 16-year-old boy Holden and two days of his life after he got expelled. The first thing that I found funny at the start of the book was that he talked about his school, not in a very good light.

“And underneath the guy on the horse’s picture, it always says “Since 1888 we have been molding boys into splendid clear-thinking young men.” They don’t do any damn more molding at Pencey than they do at any other school.” (p. 4. J. D. Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye)

“There were never many girls at all at the football games. Only seniors were allowed to bring girls with them. It was a terrible school no matter how you look at it.” (p.5. J. D. Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye)

The thought of that people from his school would read this book and find a small part about them here made me smile.

IRJE #1 – Mort

I am currently reading Mort by Terry Pratchett. Death’s student and Death himself have a conversation in the quotation I chose when they first meet.

“But you are Death, you walk around the world and kill people.”

“Me? Killing?” Death was clearly offended. “Of course not. People die, but that’s their trouble. And after that, I get down to business. A world in which people would pass away but not die would look idiotic, wouldn’t it?” (pg.21)

I find this quote interesting since it sort of presents Death from a different perspective. While reading a book I am used to seeing Death being described as someone who waits for the right time and then kills but in this situation, he is doing a great job by transporting people’s souls somewhere else where they will be in peace.

PR – They Shall Not Grow Old

I have mixed feelings about “They Shall Not Grow Old” after watching it. The movie is excellent and shows many historical details I couldn’t have imagined. For example, there was a time when soldiers would steal footwear from dead persons if their shoes were in good condition.  I was also unaware that troops had time to smoke all the time. I had various ideas and opinions about how the battle would have looked in the past before watching this film. I had assumed that everyone understood what war was, but when I saw how excitedly men and boys went to battle as though it were an exciting adventure, I became confused. The fact that I don’t get overly moved by films and have no idea what it’s like to be at war and constantly hear gunfire is another reason I had mixed feelings after watching ‘They Shall Not Grow Old’. Though I sometimes get terrified when I think of the war in my country, it is nothing compared to what those people have gone through.

PW#1 – Music

One girl recently became very addicted to music. She cannot imagine her life without it. Music is a great way for a girl to distract herself from the world around her and escape from it. She adores the feeling that engulfs her whenever she puts on the headphones. She feels as if all her problems and the world fade into the background. All those small shards of glass that tormented her from the inside disappear, and new feelings arise in their place. Peace and comfort.

Nice to meet you, my name is Marichka

Hello, my name is Marichka and I am from Ukraine. I moved to Canada two years ago and Brooks was the only school I attended since I got here. I like digital drawing, reading, music, and online games.

I love reading, especially horror novels. It’s amazing when books have the ability to drag me into their world and it doesn’t matter whether it’s light or dark. I still like it more when it’s dark and mysterious because, in my opinion, there are more opportunities and more exciting events.

Writing is also one of those things that I like, but it depends on what to write about. I want to sit down sometimes and come up with my own events.