What books have changed your life?

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What books have changed your life?

Ben Phi holding the communist manifesto which he considers an interesting and mind expanding read.

Ben Phi holding the communist manifesto which he considers an interesting and mind expanding read.

Ben Phi holding the communist manifesto which he considers an interesting and mind expanding read.

Ben Phi holding the communist manifesto which he considers an interesting and mind expanding read.

Tannen Holt, Staff Writer

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If you’re a student, chances are you’ve read a book. Whether you read in your free time, only do it when a teacher makes you, or you just read the spark-notes and try to pretend like you did, you’ve at least picked up a book. And if you’re on of those kids who’s like “Uh I’m so cool I have never read a single book in all my years at high school,” you’re not cool, and you’re lying to yourself.

“Books are an important part of our mainstream culture, and sometimes they can make a huge impact on people,” said 11th grader Oliver Piotrowski. Books often inspire and motivate people changing them for better or for worse.

Darin Doty

English teacher Darin Doty says doesn’t have any one book that’s been impactful, but as a young man read a lot of poetry, which he said has affected the way he thought of literature and life.

“I think a lot of the books that I read when I was in college and shortly before college steered me towards loving words, were poetry collections and particular poems. And some novels, but I think the first things were poems, that drove me in this direction.”

Poetry has changed many people’s lives. It’s often regarded as one of the most important genres of literature due to it’s expression of emotion and usage and symbolism. Another reason is because it’s incredibly unrestricted. It doesn’t have to mean anything and doesn’t have to follow any rules or structure.

One of Doty’s memorable experiences with poetry was taking a class taught by poet Steve Healey. “His poems are a little bit abstract, they’re kinda bizarre. [During the class] he brought in some of his books and I was enthralled the whole day. I hadn’t heard of him before, but the stuff he was teaching us was free-verse, and fun, and still felt very expressive.”

Ben Phi

11th Grader Ben Phi’s most impactful book that he’s read was The Communist Manifesto. Phi assures that he’s not a communist, however the book has been impactful in his view of economics and the capitalist system we live in.

“I think it’s just changed my understanding of capitalism in a world where capitalism has grown to rule the entire world. I’m not a communist, I’m an anti-capitalist. I don’t think communism is the right way, I just am a huge critic of the capitalist practices today, and I think the book does a good job of making aware those contradictions and calamities of capitalism.”

Phi says that the he read the book last summer and it was an easy read and fairly easy to understand. Phi says that despite the changes of time and technology, the book still applies to today’s world and the society we live in now.

“I think that Karl Marx was way ahead of his time. A lot of the things we see in the 21st century regarding these downfalls of capitalism were very much predicted by Marx. The 2008 financial crisis, that was entirely predicted by him and all the thought that went into all of his work.”

Oliver Piotrowski

Junior Oliver Piotrowski says that the most important book they’ve read was Frankenstein, by Mary Shelley. However, not because of the plot or the message of the book, but because of the experience they had reading the book with their dad.

“I do a podcast with my dad called It’s Del Toro time. We did a three part mini-series on the three books that are in the Frankenstein series. Frankenstein was originally printed in three different volumes, so we did an episode on each volume. It was a really awesome moment for me because me and my dad hadn’t really read books together and it connected us.”

Piotrowski says that their favorite part of the book itself was how grim the plot was, but how beautifully it was written.

“Mary Shelley was at the peak of her depression [when she wrote the book] because her kid had just died, then continued to write this book. It’s intense, and it’s amazing and I really like it. The details that were used to describe things were very fantasy.”

They even say the book reminds them of a certain flower. The corpse flower.

“There’s this flower, that is really pretty. It’s called the corpse flower or something, but it smells like rotting corpses. That’s how I would describe the book. It’s just this beautiful, yet disturbing imagery.”

Krishnan Kutty

11th grader Krishnan Kutty says his favorite book was a novel that he read called One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. Set in the 1960’s, the book has themes pertaining to power and hope.

“It’s about a dude who pleads insanity to a crime so he can go to a mental asylum instead of prison, because he thinks it’ll be ‘cushier,’ but he gets into conflict with an evil nurse.”

Kutty says the book impacted him because of the emotions it made him feel while reading it.

“It was set in the 60’s, and the mental asylums used a bunch of questionable treatments, so you get kind of an inside look at what people were going through. It was sad, so it affected me. People still aren’t getting the mental health treatment they need, so that really hasn’t changed that, much.”

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