I read a lot. And because I read a lot, I find a lot of really great books. I want to share my top sixteen (though it’s actually far more because I am counting series as a single book) with you, along with WHY I like them (because I think no book recommendation list is complete without the WHY).
So without further ado (and in no particular order):
Words On Fire, by Jennifer A Nielsen
Wow, this book is incredible. I recently read this for the first time, and this one is definitely worth rereading. It tells the tale of a young Lithuanian girl who's country is occupied by Russia. The Russians want to destroy the very culture of Lithuania, so they ban the Lithuanian language, religion, and books.
Guardians of Ga'Hoole, by Kathryn Lasky
This series of fifteen is absolutely thrilling as you follow the development of the main character, an owl named Soren, and his friends. These books are powerful classics on leadership, friendship, duty, and freedom.
How To Train Your Dragon, by Cressida Cowell
This delightful series of twelve follows our unlikely hero, Hiccup, as he develops his unique gifts, deals with a mischievous dragon, saves his life and the lives of his friends many times, and discovers and claims his destiny in order to save both the dragon and human world.
Rise of a Legend, by Kathryn Lasky
This powerful prequel to the Guardians of Ga'Hoole series follows the life of the greatest Ryb at the Great Tree. This book is INCREDIBLE, it might be my toppity-top favourite. You have to read it.
Wolves of the Beyond, by Kathryn Lasky
A series of six, this takes place in the same world as Guardians of Ga'Hoole and Rise of a Legend, except it focuses on the wolves, not the owls. It's super interesting to see a different culture surviving and thriving in the same world. Except... that world is falling apart, and it is up to Faolan to save it.
The Screwtape Letters, by C S Lewis
This fictional book is a very entertaining series of letters from a devil official, Screwtape, to his Nephew, Wormwood, who he is mentoring in the fine art of leading souls to hell. Profound, funny, and hard to put down, it's a great read that I highly recommend.
Macbeth, by William Shakespeare
Macbeth is my favorite play by Shakespeare. Murder, madness, and magic... this tragedy has it all. Killing the king, Macbeth usurps the throne, assured by three witches that he would rule until the trees of the forest marched up to battle him. A little hard to understand at first, I recommend finding a production of the play on YouTube to watch and following along in your book.
Animal Farm, by George Orwell
When the farm animals overthrow their drunkard master, they think they are bound for prosperity. But then the pigs take control, become above the law, and subject the other animals, leaving them worse off than ever before. This distopian is deep, and a little sad, but I still highly recommend it. It's an incredible freedom classic. If you choose to read it, I recommend doing so with a notebook and pen, and keeping a list of exactly HOW the pigs usurp power. You'll learn a lot!
Voyage of the Dogs, by Greg van Eekhout
What if... humans had found a way to shrink space, making it possible to travel to a planet in a whole other galaxy in less then a single human lifetime? And then... what if a meteor hit the spaceship, forcing the human crew to abandon it? And what if, the crew dogs had to be left behind? That is the premise of Voyage of the Dogs, a fictional account of pack of dog's attempt to finish the mission their people had started.
Property of the Rebel Librarian, by Allison Varnes
When the majority of books are banned at her school, June decides to take action. She starts a secret library, distributing books in the school so that other students can read too. When her resistance is uncovered, it is up to June to make a difference with her words.
The Giver, by Lois Lowery
Extremely dystopian, The Giver transports you to a world of 'sameness,' a world without color, music, love, or choice. When Jonas is chosen by his community elders to be a holder of memories of the past, he discovers these forbidden things -color, music, love, and choice- and decides that life can not go on as before.
Perloo the Bold, by Avi
A shy scholar, Perloo is tasked with leading his species. He does not want this leadership position, but is forced to take it, stop a war, and restore freedom to his people.
The Ascendance Trilogy, by Jennifer A Nielsen
This riveting trilogy tells the tale of Sage: an orphan, a prince, and a king. Filled with death defying action and phenominal story telling, this trilogy is absolutely inspiring.
Camp Half-Blood Chronicles, by Rick Riordan
This series twists modern with ancient, reality with myth. It's beautiful! Full of Greek mythology and lots of adventure, it's a page turner.
Artemis Fowl, by Eoin Cofler
This eight book series is filled with villainous genius! It follows the adventures of Artemis Fowl as he interacts with the fairy folk and outwits everyone.
Beauty, by Robin McKinley
This retelling of the classic story Beauty and the Beast adds a whole new depth of characters. Beautiful plot, beautiful writing; it's a very easy and engaging read. Even if you don't like the original tale of Beauty and the Beast, this is still a great read!
And so there you have it... sixteen of my favourite books! I hope you'll take the time to read some of them, and don't forget to comment below about your reading experiences!
That idea is getting more and more popular all the time. Perhaps one of the greatest proofs of this is how far Bernie Sanders got in the process of become an 'official' candidate for United States president. Or how people think that health care is a 'right.'
So what is socialism exactly? The popular definition is taking from the rich and giving to the poor. But that just the add for socialism.
When one tries to explain the pitfalls of how socialism won't work, it hasn't worked, and it never will work, people usually respond that it'll work "this time," or that it was just flawed execution. But that is not true. The execution is not flawed; it's the theory that is flawed.
Stripped down to it's most basic theology, socialism is the abolition of private ownership. And, as I briefly discussed in my post What Is Freedom?, private ownership is not just about your stuff, but about your body, your mind, your rights.
Allow me to further explain. In socialism, private ownership does not exist. Everything is owned by the government to use as they see fit. Sometimes this means giving to the poor (or rather, letting the poor borrow what ever it is until the government finds a better use for it); often times, this means usage by the government officials.
So say you own a really nice car. It was made just last year, has less than 1000 miles on it, incredibly gas efficient, all around great car. And then say that somehow, this nation that you live in becomes socialist. Well, that car isn't yours anymore. You're just 'borrowing' it until a government official comes along and says otherwise. Well, let's say that a government official comes along and says otherwise. And since he/she represents the government, they can do whatever they want with it. And let's say they decide they should get it, since their job involves driving around lots and their car stinks. Well, then that government official gets your car (of course, since this is socialism, they are only 'borrowing' it). But then say the President of your nation spots your car, and is like, "Wow, that is one great car! I think I need that!" Well, the president gets it, since the president is a higher ranking official than the one who originally took 'your' car. But the president only gets your car until a higher ranking government official comes along...
That is socialism, stripped down to it's barest theology. And it's not pretty. I mean, that was a very nice car!
But let's talk about some more aspects. Your car is a thing; and you own it. But you have private ownership over your body as well. And in socialism, private ownership isn't a thing. So the government can take your body-essentially, you- and do whatever it pleases with it. Medical experiments. Slave labour. Breeding an 'Aryan' (or whatever race your socialist government prefers) race.
What about your home? Or belongings? What about your freedom? Your education? Your lively hood? What about, if and when you are a parent, the ownership of parental rights?
Socialism is not about taking from the rich and giving to the poor. It's about the abolition of private ownership. And once you get down to that root, socialism is not pretty. It's downright disgusting.
A lot of people are somewhat confused as to what freedom means exactly. They are so caught up in the details of application in bureaucratic nations that they forget what it means.
Freedom can be defined as your right to do anything with your private property (this includes mind and body, as well as the things your own) as long as it does not hurt other people.
In fact, the only reason government is ever created by the people, is to protect their right to use their personal property without hurting others, and to make sure that other people/nations won't use their private property to hurt them.
For example, take the freedom of speech. I am free to speak as I please, as long as it does not hurt someone else. I cannot yell "fire" in a crowded theatre (unless there really was a fire) because there might be a stampede and someone could be killed. I can not use words to inspire people to murder, and so forth.
As another example, take the right to keep and bear arms. I may own and use a gun; the only thing is I can't go kill people with it, threaten people with it, or hurt people with it.
Freedom is really very simple, and it comes down to eleven words: freedom is the ability to use personal property without hurting others.
Stress, lack of focus, and depression are all real problems in our society.
One way that I personally combat these is by rollerblading.
Rollerblading is really good for a few reasons.
First, the act of rollerblading forces your muscles to loosen. Did you know that emotions manifest physically? So when you experience stress, anger, frustration, or almost any other negative emotion, your body tenses. Rollerblading forces your body to loosen up, because if you don't loosen your shoulders, let your arms move, and lean forward, you're going to fall over.
Second, when you rollerblade, your arms swing around to help you stay balanced. They tend to cross over the centre of your body. This crossing the centre of your body actually is connecting the two sides of your brain, which helps you to focus and learn effectively.
Third, rollerblading is physical exercise. Physical exercise can help protect you from heart disease, high blood pressure, obesity, and more. But it also does something else. When you exercise and work up a sweat, your adrenaline gets going. The result is a natural "high" where you just feel so good.
So yeah, rollerblading is awesome! I like to rollerblade before my classes start, and sometimes in between them as well, if I have four or so in a row (I go to a blended learning charter school, so I have most of my classes online and at home). It really helps me stay upbeat and efficient doing hard school days.
~this article is not intended to be a cure for mental illnesses but the advice herein can be used as a supplement to other stuff~
Culture begins in the home, and so do many problems in society. School shootings are not an exception.
Whenever there are shootings with fatalities, it sparks a wave of talk about gun control, school security, allowing teachers to keep guns at school, and other methods of prevention. While these things will stop some shootings, they will not help enough.
The factors and problems that can lead to a school shooting can be solved, reduced, or prevented in the home.
Offenders generally do not come from stable homes. Dr. Peter Langman showed that in one sample, 82% of the offenders were from dysfunctional families, while only 18% were from intact families1. Carolyn Moynihan of MercatorNet said that “almost all school shooters come from families where the parents are either divorced or alienated”2. Social scientist Bradford Wilcox also observed nearly all “involved a young man whose parents divorced or never married in the first place.3" Studies show that
within offender's families, there is often a lack of supervision, emotional closeness, and intimacy 4.
President Clinton said, “We're long past the question of whether culture makes an impact. Of course, it does. School shootings...are...symptoms of a culture that too often glorifies violence.5"
Among the topmost motives of offenders were: 76% were bullied/persecuted/threatened, 61% wanted revenge, while 54% reported having numerous reasons. The remaining motives had 34% attempting to solve a problem, 27% suffered from depression and were attempting suicide, and 24% were seeking attention or recognition6. Alienation and persecution also drove many of the offenders to violence7.
Studies have shown that factors behind School Shootings include family dysfunction and a lack of family supervision. These problems can be solved by the parents. “Children are entitled to birth within the bonds of matrimony, and to be reared by a father and a mother who honor marital vows with complete fidelity. . . . . .Fathers and mothers are obligated to help one another as equal partners.8" Parents have a duty to teach their children. When a parent teaches their child well (as outlined in The Family:
A Proclamation To The World), the child will know how to forgive those who have hurt them, thus doing away with the need for revenge. The child will also know that they will always be loved, even if they make mistakes.
When a child gets bullied at school, having a loving family to come home to can help them cope with the emotional hurt in a way that can help them forgive those who have hurt them. Having a loving family, a family that accepts a child, weaknesses and all, can help them feel of worth, which empowers them both as youth and adults to accept the past and find peace.
According to School Shooter: A Quick Reference Guide, one reason offenders did what they did was the wish for recognition and attention. Families can effectively solve this problem by creating an environment of unconditional love, acceptance, and approval, and by helping them develop their talents, giving the children another path to fame other than violence.
President Bill Clinton said of school shootings, “when over and over children see cinematic conflicts resolved not with words but with weapons, we shouldn't be surprised when children, from impulse or design, follow suit.9" A strong family unit will give children and youth opportunities to solve problems when differences of opinions arise. For example: parents and child may not agree on a curfew. Siblings and parents will like different TV shows/restaurants/games/etc. Having different opinions in the home
can teach a child/teen to use words to solve problems, not violence—if the parents use the teaching opportunities wisely.
Culture begins in the home, and so do the solutions to many problems in society, including school shootings.
“Around our kitchen tables, on our public airwaves, in our private thoughts, we [should] all [be] asking ourselves, what are the root causes of such youth violence?10"
School shootings are merely one of the symptoms of a culture that glorifies violence.
And what is the sickness that causes these symptoms? Weak families. Families are the fundamental unit of society11, so if we fix the family, then the culture will be fixed, society will be fixed, and school shooting will happen rarely, if ever.
1 Peter Langman, Ph.D. “School Shooters: The Myth Of The Stable Home”
2 “Way Back Machine”. February 20, 2018
3 “Sons of divorce, school shooters”. Aei.org
4 Gerard, F.J.; Whitefield, K.C.; Porter, L.E.; Brown, K.D. (2015) “Offender and Offense Characteristics of School
Shooting Incidents”. Journal of Investigative Psychology and Offender
5 President Bill Clinton, June 13, 1998, on the radio
6 School Shooter: A Quick Reference Guide. United States. Federal Bureau of Investigation National Center of Crime
7 Fein, R.A.; Vossekuil, B.; Borum, R.; Reddy, M.; Modzeleski, W. (May 2002)”Threat Assessments in Schools:A Guide
To Managing Threatening Situations and Creating Safe School Climates”. U. S. Department of Education and U. S.
8 The Family: A Proclamation to The World
9 President Bill Clinton, June 13, 1998, on the radio
10 President Bill Clinton, June 13, 1998, on the radio
Many people don't care about what is going on in the world today, and if they do care, they don't understand. And if they do understand, they probably aren't sure how to go about influencing what is happening today.
That needs to change if America's freedom is going to be restored.
My name is Liliana. I've been homeschooled up until 9th grade, and now I'm going to Leadership Academy of Utah.
I am passionate about many things, some of which include current events, the United States Constitution, good books, designing and sewing clothes for me and my 18" doll, debate, and having a clean room.
I am very excited to have this blog and be sharing anything and everything I'm interested in with you.