Vines and Threads: A Review of Leviathan

We sped past the pine trees, leaving only exhaust in our wake. The wooded area by the highway was lush and green, but I recognized a plant that should not have been there. The kudzu vine is invasive in my area; you see it everywhere. How could we contain it? I frowned, gazing at a tree completely enveloped in the plant. If only the kudzu vine had never been introduced. How would the landscape look like today? The car switched lanes, bringing me away from my object of study. Would we even know the kudzu vine was a problem? Worse, would another invasive plant just have taken its place?

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Top Three Books: March 2019

With the trees budding outside and the flowers in our yard beginning to bloom, this month has been a time of new beginnings—both for nature and for my bookshelf. Here are some of March’s most fascinating books:

Goose Girl, by Shannon Hale

Anidori-Kiladri Talianna Isilee, or, for the ease of anyone wishes to speak her name, Ani, is Crown Princess of Kildrenee. Ani has long been alienated for her ability to speak to animals, but when her mother engages her to the Crown Prince behind Ani’s back, she begins to feel that she is valued only for her title. When an unlucky turn of events forces her to pose as a peasant seeking work, Ani discovers that she is much more than Crown Princess. This retelling of the Grimm fairy tale under the same name is a touching story for younger readers.

Blink, by Malcolm Gladwell

We often are told to follow our gut feelings, but almost never told why. In this book, Malcolm Gladwell, acclaimed author of Outliers, David and Goliath, and The Tipping Point, explores why gut feelings are so often right, the few times they go wrong, and the space in between. This book for older readers is a truly intriguing read for anyone interested in what happens beneath the surface of conscious thought.

The Younger Edda; Also Called Snorre’s Edda, or the Prose Edda, by Snorri Sturluson

I have long been interested in Greek and Roman mythology, and when the Norse mythos began calling for my attention, I decided that the best place to start was the source of it all: the Eddas—a series of texts that are the foundation for most of the stories we know about the Norse gods today. The Prose Edda, which also goes by The Younger Edda, was written in the thirteenth century by the Norse scholar Snorri Sturluson. With its rich lore and occasional flashes of humor, The Prose Edda is a fascinating work for dedicated readers.

Top Three Books: February 2019

For many, February is the perfect opportunity to find love, or at least heart-shaped chocolates. However, I prefer to think of February as a month to find books that I’ll love. Here are some of this month’s best:

Angels and Demons, by Dan Brown

Professor Robert Langdon is a religious symbology teacher at Harvard College. When he receives a horrifying fax early one morning, he becomes embroiled in a chase after one of the oldest satanic cults in history: the Illuminati. But the Illuminati are notorious for infiltration. As time runs out, Langdon faces a problem: who can he trust? This novel for older teens is a thrilling adventure through history.

The Elegant Universe, by Brian Greene

What if, beyond atoms, protons, and even quarks, there was another building block of life? What if there were other dimensions? In this book, Brian Greene presents the string theory, which, at its most basic, claims that the world is made up of tiny particles, “strings,” that distinguish the elements by vibrating at different frequencies. This book is wonderful for advanced readers with a deep knowledge of physics and an equally deep curiosity about the world at the quantum level.

Steelheart, by Brandon Sanderson

When he was eight years old, David Charleston watched his father die at the hand of Steelheart, an Epic, or one of the beings of incredible power that arrived on Earth some years before. Since then, David has spent his whole life searching for Steelheart’s weakness. When David is captured by the Reckoners, a rebel group intent on killing all the Epics, he realizes that ten years’ worth of planning may not have been enough—but the battle has already started. This sci-fi novel is a perfect match for younger teens who love action and realistic characters.

Top Three Books: December 2018

The end of December is already here, and the new year is beckoning—but what to read? These books will end your year with a bang!

Graceling, by Kristin CashoreKatsa’s Grace, or extreme skill, is killing, and she hates it. Thanks to her Grace, the king is using her as a threat to extort his enemies. Then she meets Po. Soon, Katsa and Po are galloping across the Middluns, chasing secrets—and that’s when Katsa discovers that she is much, much more than the king’s thug. In this savagely emotional teen fantasy, Kristin Cashore proves that there are many sides to the self

.Stuff Matters, by Mark Miodownik

What’s this computer made of? How about this shirt? Or this chair? There are so many things in the world, it’s easy to take them for granted. In this book, Mark Miodownik examines a few objects in minutia, but manages to paint a majestic view of the modern world. This is a wonderful book for teens looking to discover the stuff that makes up our lives

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Cryptid Hunters, by Roland Smith

Grace and Marty O’Hara are two twins at the Omega Opportunity Preparatory School . . . until their parents’ airplane crashes. Soon, Marty and Grace find themselves alone in the jungles of the Congo, looking for an animal that shouldn’t exist, where the price of failure is death. This action-packed novel is a must-read for tweens with a love for adventure.