‘One Piece’ review

By: Mohamed Ahmed

What is ‘One Piece’? ‘One Piece’ is the number one best selling manga in the world. ‘One Piece’ started on June 3rd 1999 and is still going on today. During that time ‘One Piece’ broke every sales record for manga sales in manga history. It is one of the big three anime and is by far the number one most popular and best selling manga on earth. 

There is an anime show that is based on the manga ‘One Piece’. There are lots of reasons people have for not watching ‘One Piece’. The number one reason I have heard that makes sense is that it is too long. The manga, ‘One Piece’, is currently at chapter 999 and the anime has 954 episodes out. 

The reason why ‘One Piece’ failed in the west was because of the infamous 4kids dub. 4 kids was given a dubbing license as part of a package deal with some other series. ‘One Piece’ is not a show that can maintain its charm without the dark elements. The corruption of the world government, the main antagonistic force and the brutality of the pirates cannot be conveyed through censorship. 

‘One Piece’ has heart wrenching backstories and when you censor them to the point where it changes the plot, and closure is not given to the characters who found some way into the story, this takes a lot out of the way people view the series. 

The animation is another problem people have. Many ‘One Piece’ fans had that problem before watching the anime. After watching the anime people tend to miss the objectively bad animation and have a sense of nostalgia. That said, some people cannot watch something if it doesn’t suit their standards. 

Overall, I feel that people should give this series a chance, and not just rely on what the internet says about it. 

Manga rating: 10/10 

Anime rating 8/10

The story behind the Utah Monolith

By: Caden Ligman

On November 18th, the Utah Department of Public Safety was conducting a routine count of bighorn sheep when they came across the tall, metallic structure. They had no idea what, or where, this mysterious structure came from. Pilot Bret Hutchings, who was flying the plane that spotted the monolith structure said, “It felt like a scene right out of the Stanley Kubrick ‘2001: A Space Odyssey.'”

With so many questions floating in people’s heads, the biggest one was, why put a structure like this in a place so remote?

As soon as the monolith was reaching its peak of internet fame, it disappeared. The disappearance of the monolith was just as strange as the discovery. The disappearance occurred only nine days after it was discovered leaving civilians and the government questioning where this thing came from.

Not surprisingly, one of the most popular theories for why this monolith came and went so quickly was: aliens.

As strange as the monolith is, the idea of aliens is quite facilitating. This theory circled the internet, becoming a meme among social media users. Even the San Juan County Sheriff’s department poked fun at the ideas, posing on their Twitter a collage of aliens, captioned, “If you recognize anyone from this lineup provided as being in the area of the strange structure on the night of November 27, please let us know!”

While the idea of aliens is entertaining, a more realistic explanation for this monolith is that it was a piece of art. Many people believe the monolith to be the work of the minimalist sculptor, John McCracken. McCracken’s style of art matched the Utah Monolith perfectly.

The majority of people close to McCracken, however, do not believe that he would leave his work in a desert. His son, on the other hand, recalled a conversation he had with his father in an interview with the New York Times. He told reporters, “We were standing outside looking at the stars and he said something to the effect of that he would like to leave his artwork in remote places to be discovered later.”

There are many theories circling the internet of where this mysterious structure came from and why it vanished so quickly.

What was the purpose of this monolith? And why was it placed in the middle of the Utah desert? These questions are what has kept the internet buzzing. What do you think the real story behind the monolith is?

For more information, please visit:

Six reasons to read ‘Six of Crows’

By: Annika Getz

‘Six of Crows’ is a fantasy fiction novel written by Leigh Bardugo, with a sequel called ‘Crooked Kingdom’. It’s an amazing book, and there are a lot of things I love about it.

One thing I adore about this book is the dialogue and banter between the characters. It’s entertaining and interesting to read through their interactions. It also keeps the book a bit more light-hearted and fun. This is not to say that the story is all sunshine and rainbows. It’s deliciously dark, and filled with malice, which is why the witty banter and joking dialogue is so refreshing.

Another great thing about this book is how lovable the characters are. Each one is relatable and easy to connect with. I found myself immediately attached to them, which made the book all the more enjoyable.

Sticking with the topic of characters, I have to say that another thing I loved was the development each character went through throughout the duology. They ended up being well rounded and flawed characters. This made them feel more real, and engulfed me further into the story.

Something else I loved was simply how amazing the plot was. It was entertaining and captivating. Once the story really took off (since the first bit is just set up obviously), I was never bored while reading. It kept me entranced throughout the whole book.

This brings me to my next point, which is that the book really keeps you on the edge of your seat. The suspense is wonderful, it keeps you captivated and really brings you into the story. It’s almost like you’re really there with the characters, going on their adventures with them.

My final point, and perhaps my favorite thing about the book, is that there is so much representation. There are POC characters, LGBTQIA+ characters, characters with disabilities, characters who struggle with addiction, and so much more. But one thing that I loved about the representation was that most of it wasn’t a big deal. The entire characters weren’t based around their sexualities or their disabilities, it was just a part of them. It was refreshing to see characters who faced no invalidation whatsoever.

So there you have it. Six reasons I’d suggest reading the ‘Six of Crows’ duology.

Mental illnesses expressed through art

By: Grace Blummer-Lamotte

There are many different mental illnesses in the world. This can include depression, anxiety, OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder), Schizophrenia, ADHD, and many others.

Some choose to show their feelings through journaling, painting, drawing, sketching, charcoal, and other mediums. Usually many different artworks have a bigger meaning behind the actual art: it could be a personal connection or a traumatic experience. 

Around the end of June, in summer 2020, I struggled a lot with my mental health. I went through many different programs and I still am. I like showing my feelings of my mental illnesses through art. I do not like talking about it because I feel like I can’t find the words, but I can draw pictures of it. I currently have a sketchbook full of many of my paintings of my feelings throughout the past 4 months. 

To other people, they just see a simple painting. They don’t see the big picture behind it. One of my paintings has a human head profile that appears to be drowning, with their mouth stitched up. Many people just see an amazing painting and don’t ask about the story behind it. My story behind this specific drawing is when I was at the lowest point in my life I felt like I was drowning. I was drowning but I couldn’t say anything because my mouth was stitched up. The water represented my thoughts and feelings. I just had to sit there in my thoughts and feelings and not say anything about it; drowning silently while having no one notice, no one care, no one supporting me. 

According to the Western Journal of Medicine, the famous artist Vincent Van Gogh had evidence of manic depression and alcohol abuse. Much of his artwork could suggest a bigger story behind them. He uses the color yellow a lot in all of his art; that could be because of his alcohol abuse, as he drank absinthe that contains thujone. “Excessive consumption of this liqueur may cause the consumer to see all objects with a yellow hue.” Another explanation of this theory was Van Gogh using overmedication with digitalis. When people receive large doses of this medication they often see the world with a yellow/green-tint. In his most famous painting, “The Starry Night”, he produces a bit of the color yellow around the painting. Sadly in 1890 he committed suicide.

Read Brave

By: Vivian S

Are you looking for a new book to read, despite the fact that you never get around to reading anything, and your pile of recommendations is growing in the corner of your house, and you can’t motivate yourself to read them? So am I!

The Saint Paul Public Libraries are once again doing their yearly Read Brave program. Read Brave is a city-wide program where everyone is encouraged to read the same one or two books to learn about an issue facing our world.

The issue this year is climate justice. The main book is The Marrow Thieves by Cherie Dimaline, with a non-fiction option Climate Justice by Mary Robinson.

The Marrow Thieves is a dystopian young-adult novel, taking place in a future in which climate change has destroyed the whole world, and people no longer have the ability to dream. Indigenous people are the only ones still able to dream, and are hunted for it. The story follows Frenchie, who is on the run.

Climate Justice is about the impact climate change has on ordinary people, and their struggles to survive and find sustainable solutions.

I have not read these books, so most of that information came from their summaries (which aren’t always representative of what the book will be about).

At the end of the program, the Read Brave author, who this year is Cherie Dimaline, will visit Saint Paul and talk about the book. Dimaline will be coming March 11th through the 13th.

The book club will be reading The Marrow Thieves for their February meeting, and already have copies, so if you are interested, visit Ms. Rahman. The environmental club will be reading Climate Justice.

Read Brave is one of the biggest programs sponsored by the Saint Paul libraries, and an amazing opportunity to read a new perspective and meet an author. I, for one, will be taking advantage of this program.

Book review on ‘Red Queen’

 

“I grew up wondering if I’d have enough food for supper; now I’m standing in a palace about to be eaten alive” – Mare Barrow

This quote is from the book: Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard. 

This is the first book of Victoria Aveyard’s four book series. It is a fantasy novel for young adults. The book has a dystopian type of atmosphere and it contains a lot of action through the entire novel. It has a hint of romance throughout the novel as well. 

The novel is based on the separation of different groups of people. There are those born with red blood and those with silver blood. The Reds (those born with red blood) are born as normal human beings, unlike the Silvers (those born with silver blood) who are born with supernatural powers that allow them to control certain things. 

Mare Barrow, a Red, lives her life in poverty alongside her family and other Reds. She steals in order to try and keep her family stable. One day while she is stealing she meets a mysterious man and the next thing she knew she was working for the King. 

At the King’s palace, she realizes that she has a supernatural power like the Silvers. All Silvers in the different powerful houses witness Mare’s supernatural power. The fact that she is a Red with powers could disrupt the hierarchy that the King rules over, so the King decides to give her a fake identity. 

The rest of the book tells of her journey as a Silver with Red blood.

The book jumps straight into the problems with the society and the harsh conditions that Mare and other Reds must face. The book keeps a consistent pace when revealing information and when placing action throughout the plot. 

The book has a slight touch of humor with Mare’s intriguing and stubborn personality. The book keeps the reader interested, hanging off the edge of their seat to find out what will happen next. 

I would give this book a 5/5.

‘The Fourth Turning’

A generation is a group of people that are born and live around the same time. Each generation shapes itself by the people who choose their beliefs, behaviors, and basic attitudes. Being born around the same time, and growing up with similar childhoods, a generation begins to develop similar personas.

According to https://www.fourthturning.com/, generations are identified with specific archetypes that defines similar patterns in individuals. Over the course of centuries, there has been a recurring pattern of the four archetypes. There are four different archetypes: the hero, the artist, the prophet and the nomad. The hero are born after a spiritual awakening, where on the other hand, the nomad is born during a spiritual awakening. The artist archetype is born during a great war or historical crisis, while the prophet is born after a great war or crisis. For further information on each archetype visit www.lifecourse.com.

It was hypothesized by Talcott Parsons that society moves on when an availability and demand for social order rises or falls. This created a theory of having different phases in an era that counts up to four. These phases note the mood of the era and how a generation came of age. Each phase is named after an ordinal number with the word turing as its following.

According to www.lifecourse.com, each turning has its own description and a main generation archetype. The First Turning is time when individualism is weak, institutions are strong, and when the society is confident where they want to go. The most recent example of this turning would be post World War II. The main archetype of this turning was the artist archetype, and the group is also known as the Silent Generation, if born from 1925-1942.

The Second Turning is when institutions begin to be attacked due to the new personal and spiritual autonomy. People become tired from the high of social discipline and begin to seek personal authenticity. The most recent example would be the Consciousness Revolution during 1964-1984. The prophet is the main archetype for this turning because of their passionate idealism.

The Third Turning is the opposite of what the First Turning is: having weak and distrusted institutions and strong individualism. In this turning, society learns that they must change to enjoy life. The most recent event of the Third turning is the Long Boom and Culture Wars. The nomad is the main archetype of this turning, and they were also known as Generation X.

The Fourth Turning has been known for becoming new founding moments by redefining the national identity. The most recent event in America that can be defined as being apart of the Fourth Turning is the Great Recession of the 2000s. The main archetype of this turning is the hero archetype, and is also known in present time as the Millennial Generation.

If you are interested in further knowledge about this topic, you can read the book The Fourth Turning: An American Prophecy – What the Cycles of History Tell Us About America’s Next Rendezvous with Destiny, by William Strauss and Neil Howe.                

Teen Summer Spark

By: Vivian S

Do any of you remember participating in the Summer Spark program at the library before? Reading some books and then going to library and getting a prize? Well, this year there is another Teen Summer Spark with a new list of books to read.

There is With the Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo, which is about a teen mother who is trying to balance completing high school and her dream of being a chef.

Then there is The Weight of Our Sky by Hanna Alkaf. The story takes place during the 1969 race riots in Malaysia, which I have only quickly researched. It seems to be that the Malay and Chinese populations there have always had tensions, but after an election, which afterwards, many Malays marched in Kuala Lumpur (a predominantly Chinese city and where our story takes place), and that march devolved into violence. During this, a sixteen-year old teenager is trying to find her mother, but must first get through prejudice, violence, and her own OCD.

Another is Lovely War by Julie Berry. This story is told by the Greek goddess Aphrodite, and it’s about 4 people who fall in love during the First World War, and the challenges they face.

There is Hey, Kiddo by Jarrett Krosoczka. This book is a graphic novel, and it is all about the author’s life. It is about his mom, who is an addict, his grandparents, who he lives with, and his father, who he does not know.

Also, there is On the Come Up by Angie Thomas. A follow-up to The Hate U Give, this book tells the story of a sixteen-year old rapper, who pours her emotions into her first song, and ends up in the center of a controversy.

There is Genesis Begins Again by Alicia Williams. About a thirteen-year old girl who tries to lighten her skin many times, thinking that her dark skin is the source of all her family’s problems, before she finds reasons to love herself as she is.

Finally, there is We Are Displaced by Malala Yousafzai. This not only tells the story of Malala Yousafzai herself, but also of many other people she met in refugee camps and other places during her journeys.

You can read and rate any of these books, or your own choice books, and by filling out a slip, you can a win a book, a journal, and an opportunity to spin a prize wheel (which you can only do in August).

To find out more, please go to: https://sppl.bibliocommons.com/list/share/1165043747_sppl_teens/1397988357_teen_summer_spark_2019?_ga=2.67466577.1190286460.1556283232-6556837.1536076982.

Frankenstein

Frankenstein, is an old gothic novel written by Mary Shelley (or, as I like to call it, “All the reasons I hate Victor Frankenstein”).

I read this novel last year for school, expecting it to be wonderful, and I was disappointed, and this year, I have to read it again, so if I must suffer thus, you must suffer with me.

Let me begin with the good parts of this novel. I quite enjoy some of the plot and the ideas. Victor Frankenstein creates a being, and refuses to take responsibility for it because it is ugly, and after being rejected from society again and again, the being becomes a monster.

However, beyond the interesting discussions I can have about this book, I still do not enjoy it.

The novel is written in a way in which the same idea will be stated over and over again, multiple times in a chapter, in almost the same words. There are only so many times I can read “Victor was sad” on a page without wanting to chuck the book across a room. Beyond that, I found very little of the narration interesting, and the only way I could even slightly focus was by writing sarcastic comments down.

Which leads to my next problem, Victor Frankenstein, our narrator is the most annoying character I have ever had the misfortune of having to read. Victor is self-centered and refuses to take any responsibility. He will constantly state about how much he is suffering. His suffering is even worse than that girl who has been sentenced to death! Where everyone else is trying to cheer one another up, Victor refuses to do anything.

Overall, even though the themes and ideas of the book were good, the narration and style made it impossible for me to read.

Top five books to read in the library

Looking for something to read in the HPSH library? Here are the top five books (in my opinion) that you should read:

1. Crossover

This book was published on March 18, 2104, and the author is Kwame Alexander. The entire book is a novel in verse, which means each of the pages are short. This book is about two twin boys, Josh and Jordan Bell, who are the sons of a big time star basketball player Chuck Bell. Josh and Jordan love basketball like their father, and the boys experience normal life, relationships, and family time dealing with difficult moments. I would recommend this book to anyone who loves sports, especially basketball.

2. Rebound

This book has the same author as Crossover, but this one is about the father, Chuck Bell, and what he went through when he was his sons’ ages. After the death of his father, he skipped school, and didn’t do his schoolwork. Instead, he read comic books. He spends the summer at his grandparents home, and things start to get better as he begins to heal and explore new things.

3. Booked

This book is also written by Kwame Alexander, and he won the Goodreads Choice Award for best poetry for it. This book is the story of Nick, who loves soccer but hates to read books. He is  forced by his father to read dictionaries daily. Things take an unexpected turn when his parents announce that they are getting a divorce. I recommend this book to anyone who likes soccer and is into children’s fiction.

4. Long Way Down

Long Way Down is written by Jason Reynolds, and is a novel told in verse. This book has great reviews, and has won many awards. This book takes place in an elevator, and it focuses on Will, who is seeking to get revenge for the murder of his brother. As he travels down the elevator, the doors open on different  floors. Will is confronted by different figures from his past, each a victim of gun voilence, and each important to his life. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes fiction and who likes novels in verse books.

5. The Hate U Give

This book is written by Angie Thomas, has won many awards, and has great reviews. This book is about a 16-year-old black girl named Starr, who witnesses her friend getting shot by a white police officer. The story goes on with her finding justice for her friend by protesting, and testifying in court, about what she witnessed, with the help of her friends, family members. I recommend this book to anyone who is into young adult fiction.