Harmless, Harmful: A Review of Othello

They had me cornered–two adults sitting on the ground, and my friend in between them. I gave them all a bewildered look and sat heavily on the ribbed metal bench.

The man asked the dreaded question. “So, where are you from?”

I wanted to run away screaming, certain I would be here for hours. “Well,” I said tentatively, “I’m Italian-German on one side, and–or, well, I suppose more like Italian-German-American, since—” I broke off. They were nodding at each other in satisfaction.

“We knew you were American. You have the accent,” said the man sagely.

I glanced at them helplessly. “But . . .” I had an accent, but it definitely wasn’t American. “But, ah, I’ve never lived in the US,” I said. They just blinked at me. Inside, I sighed. Why did they assume—even invent—so much based on race?

“You still have an American accent,” said my friend, and I nodded weakly. What harm could it do?

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A Courageous Decision: A Review of Uncle Tom’s Cabin

For hundreds of years, slavery was accepted as a way of life. To see people beaten for working too slowly, sold to pay off debt, or killed in fits of anger was the ugly but unquestioned norm. Today, with slavery almost gone, it is something to speak of in somber tones and with grim faces. But if slavery is so hard to speak of now, imagine how hard it would be to discuss back when it was at its peak. Who would take up the task and tell of something so awful, so horrifying, and so real?

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Emails in Elvish: A Review of The Silmarillion


When I finished reading The Return of the King, the third book of J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings trilogy, I gazed at it sadly and turned wistfully to the appendix at the back of the book. I quickly forgot my melancholy mood, however, when the appendix turned out to be a treasure trove of Middle-earth-related information. Before long, I grew obsessed with the languages of Middle-earth, particularly the elvish language Sindarin. When I couldn’t find a free Sindarin course, I resorted to sending emails to myself in said language and muttering elvish phrases under my breath. Soon, I was searching for other Tolkien books in a desperate effort to find out more about the elves. Little did I know that I had begun a journey that would take me across ancient Middle-earth.

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The Inner Cat: A Review of Northern Lights

The house was silent. I was completely alone, nestled on the couch with my book in my hands. In the stillness, the only noise was my deep breathing and the occasional turn of a page. I was fully immersed, my eyes flicking from word to word as fast as lightning. Oh, that beautiful exhilarating silence, so rare and so precious! The marvelous absence of words and—clunk. A pipe made a thumping sound somewhere in the house. I gasped and glanced up. And for one tiny, exhilarating moment, I thought I saw a brown cat walking up my arm.

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Of Podcasts and Electricity: A Review of Electric Universe

As we were driving home from piano lessons one day, my mother (with my siblings’ eager consent) decided to play a podcast about the history of light, from candle wax to light bulb fixtures. The podcast cast a spell on us. As we were listening to the acknowledgments, a name of a certain book caught my mother’s ear. This book was afterwards given to me to read, and truly, the book is as interesting as the podcast itself.

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From Simple to Sinister: A Review of And Then There Were None

I used to think that nursery rhymes were silly, simple, and annoying. They rang in my head, over and over: Little Jack Horner and Little Miss Muffet and Humpty Dumpty and Little Bo Beep. Why would I “waste my time” reading nursery rhymes? But after reading And Then There Were None, my perspective changed. I never knew that something so simple could become so sinister.

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