Part 2 of my book review of Circe:

So in my last blog post I talked about the book Circe, but it was a very surface level review and I wanted to go a little bit more in depth about how the book shows all these Greek heroes from a female perspective. In the many stories about Greek heroes like Odysseus or Agamemnon they are portrayed as the good guy, but in Circe it shows these stories in a perspective that portrays them as more human and less heroic, not necessarily bad, but just different.

But in these stories about mythological characters they don’t really hide parts of the story, but they do tell it in way that manipulate your thinking. In Circe you realize that Odysseus did kill hundreds of men, betrayed some, and led all of his men to die; and to think that I felt bad for Odysseus instead of his men when they were dying. But Circe doesn’t only change your perspective on these stories everyone has heard, but it also changes your view on a bunch of smaller characters in Greek mythology.

For example: a ship wrecked at Circe’s island with many hungry men in it and they found Circe’s house. Circe let them come in and gave them all food and drink, but once they found out that there was no man in the house they stopped being nice and polite and instead took turns raping her. It just goes to show how many male characters who can be seen as the “good guys” are just seen that way by the context, when in reality they would commit these atrocious crimes in an instant.

Book review of my favorite books p3: Circe

Circe

Circe by Madeline Miller | Waterstones

Summary:

Circe is book that tells the tale of a lesser know Greek goddess named Circe. She is the daughter of the sun god Helios and the nymph Perse. Circe grows up in a household were she is not respected. Her siblings all had powers but Circe could never do anything special. They constantly make fun of her for having a hoarse voice and not looking pretty. She finds an ancient source of power called Pharmakai and she learns from her grandmother that it is forbidden. Pharmaka is a type of plant you can make powerful potions and spells out of. She makes use of it in a wrong way and Zeus banishes her to a deserted island in the middle of the ocean.

There she spends hundreds of years and experiences many things. She learns how to make these types of potions gradually but over time she becomes very experienced. Many voyagers and ships came to her island, among the most notable, Odysseus and Hermes. She find a long lost cousin and go’s into the depths of the ocean to find an ancient and powerful weapon to protect her son. She faces off against Athena and turns a crew of men into pigs. She has all these new experiences that she could never have at her father’s palace and, although some weren’t pleasant, they were hers and that is one thing that she couldn’t have living with the other nymphs and titans.

My experience with the book:

This book may sound like something that you need to know a lot of Greek mythology to enjoy, but it is written in a way that you don’t feel like you missing out on anything if you don’t know. Both my parents read this book and they both enjoyed it very much, even though they didn’t know much about Greek mythology. But it is definitely a different experience and for me it was very cool to see how this book portrayed all these gods and mythological figures, as well as giving a very different viewpoint on some people. For example it showed you a perspective of Ulysses odyssey that I totally had not gotten from reading it my self in the past. And it doesn’t even do it by changing his story, instead it just tells it to you in way that makes you pay attention to the details that make Odysseus a lot less heroic and a bit more like an ordinary man who is not all honorable and more devious than I had thought.

It’s also very interesting to see how there are these huge, extensive stories about these small gods that most people haven’t heard of and it also makes you think about how all of these gods probably have an amazing story but we just don’t know about it. I think this book did a very good job of making you really understand how Circe felt throughout the book and I also think it did a great job with portraying very popular gods from a different angle. The writing was also superb and very intelligent. All in all I would recommend this book to anybody who likes fiction and a bit of fantasy. I would also recommend this to anybody who knows a lot about Greek mythology as well as people who don’t because it’s great either way.

Book Reviews Of My Favorite Books p2: Stranger in a strange land

Stranger in a strange land

Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert A. Heinlein

Summary:

Stranger in a strange land begins with a man who was raised on mars, Mike, being found and coming to earth. Here Jill meets him in the hospital she works at. Her friend Ben Caxton finds out he is owed trillions of dollars because he inherited huge amounts of stocks a large space company that sent people to mars. They find out that many people are after him for his money and Jill takes him away from the hospital when suddenly Ben disappears. Jill go’s to a friend of Ben’s, Jubal Harshaw, and stays there for a while, finding out all these weird things that Mike can do. They find out he can make things disappear, levitate and stop his heartbeat.

But Mike is still very uneducated in human nature. He can read an encyclopedia and remember every word in it but most words require him to know other words that he doesn’t know. Eventually, after Ben is found, Mike goes with Jill out in to the real world and he begins learning normal ways to communicate with people and he starts seaming more and more normal. But when he finally has a breakthrough and really understands humans. He goes on to create a weird kind of church that is not really about a religion. It’s about learning the martian language and gaining the kinds of power that Mike has. It’s also about learning the martian ways and getting rid of human idiosyncrasies. Although other churches aren’t too happy about it, Mike’s “church” somehow managed to get out of many sticky situations. Mike gets many of his old friends from Jubal’s household to join him but after that they get in a situation they may not be able to escape out of.

My experience with the book:

This book was a little bit of a difficult one for me and I didn’t get into as fast as other books I have read. But the farther along I got the more I could really see the genius behind this amazing writing and storytelling. At first I thought it was just a regular part of the book, that Mike was slowly learning human customs but later on I realized that it was exposing all these idiosyncrasies that humans have, and the writer did it in such an great way that I didn’t even realize he was doing it. Especially later on in the book it made it seem like so many things that we do regularly are stupid and don’t make any sense. But it’s not all super serious. It also has a nice element of comedy that doesn’t undermine the more serious topics but instead balances it out very nicely. The character development is also superb and you really feel connected to the characters. All in all I would recommend this book to most mature audiences if you like fiction and I think most people would really like it.

Why we really need to start doing something about climate change. Now. (part 3)

In this post I will be talking about what we can do to help stop global warming. In the past I’ve said many things about what the government can do to reduce carbon emissions but we can also do many things to help. I realized that I hadn’t finished this post when I was doing these posts about climate change so I thought I might as well finish it off but with some changes of course.

As I said in my first post on this subject, we need to halve the amount of carbon that is being emitted by the world. When I say this I do not mean that everybody has to halve their carbon footprint. Would it be fair if a certain rich person who owns a factory emitted 1000 times more greenhouse gasses than a middle class man would, that they would both have to halve their carbon emissions? No, it wouldn’t. My family was probably in the top 20 or 30 percent of the world in carbon emissions. Now we haven’t gone anywhere with a plane since Christmas and especially once we move to Canada we will go even less with a plane because all our family is there.

15% of climate change is cause by our diet. Now 15% might not sound like much but that is the same amount as all the fossil fuels released by transport, so that includes planes, cars, trucks etc. To summarize shortly cow and sheep farts are heating up our planet and the more of that kind of meat that we eat, the more methane goes into the air. But it’s not all meat that is bad for the climate. The worst is lamb and steak. Lamb and steak release about six times more methane than the same amount of fish or chicken. So once my family realized this we completely changed our diet. My brother became vegetarian and the rest of us switched to what’s called a Mediterranean diet. This diet consists of only eating red meat once or twice a month, and mostly eating fish, chicken and vegetables. This diet is not only healthy but also has almost the same impact as going full vegetarian. So I really recommend taking a train or car if you’re not going overseas, whether it’s for a vacation or a work trip, and I hope you also decide to lessen your red meat intake if you are not already doing so.

Book reviews of my favorite books P1: The Hate U Give

Just a little message before I begin the book review: I started a little mini series of book reviews on my favorite fantasy books at the start of 2019. Then fantasy was basically all I ever read, and I still love it, but I have broadened my horizons a lot and still read mostly fiction but on much more serious topics and in the real world.

Another disclaimer about this book review series I’m starting again: I won’t be mentioning a few of my favorite books because they are absolute classics or they are just something that you have read already. For example, I read To Kill a Mockingbird about nine months ago and I really loved it. But because I’m pretty sure most of my English readers have either read it in school or just normally because it is an immensely popular book and in my experience most people have read it. If you haven’t though, I wholeheartedly recommend it you and you should definitely read it. Now on to the book review.

The Hate U Give

Amazon.com: The Hate U Give (9780062498533): Thomas, Angie: Books

Summary:

I’m going to try to summarize this amazing book as well as I can without spoiling it. The Hate U Give is a book about a black teenage girl named Starr, who is about 16 years old. She lives with her parents and half brother in a relatively poor neighborhood but she goes to a fancy prep school. These two worlds are completely different and she is one of the only black kids in the school. One night during the summer, right before school starts, she goes to a party and sees her friend Khalil. But when she leaves the party with Khalil driving her home they get stopped by the police and Khalil gets shot even though he was unarmed. This changes her whole life and Khalil’s story gets huge news coverage. She is the only witness and she becomes part of protests on the streets about Khalil’s death. But what Starr chooses to say could be dangerous for her whole community.

My experience with the book:

I absolutely loved this book. It really made me realize that, even though this is just fiction, police brutality and killings still happens all over the world and it really hit me deep. It was also really interesting to see what these neighborhoods are like, written by someone who grew up in one, because many people haven’t seen that side of cities and it really shows a lot of the hardships and struggles that black people, young and old, have to deal with. But it doesn’t only show the negative things; it also shows the connection that these small communities have, and how resilient they are in facing these struggles together. But not only is it engaging by showing you these things, but it also has a great plot and you get completely connected to the character. I recommend this book to just about anyone who reads fiction. And in case you think it’s a book for only teens and not for adults, both my parents read it and I know many other adults who have read it so I think this book is good for all ages above about 12 or 13.

It’s not about the cops, it’s about the system.

Many of you have probably seen a bunch of videos showing police brutality in the past couple of weeks and in wake of George Floyd’s, Ahmed Aubrey’s and Breonna Taylor’s murders. The police and people have to stop saying “a few bad apples”. There are so many instances of police brutality regarding race and, as I said in my last post, these are only the ones we see on camera. Black people have to deal with so much oppression and fear right now and I now it’s been around for a long time but in these recent times it has really come to light for me. Here’s an example of a gut wrenching video showcasing some of the things that black kids have to deal with.

But I don’t think that all police officers are bad. Of course the majority are good people without horrible prejudices but the amount of cops that are racist, whether subconsciously or not, is still way too high. But this isn’t the point I’m trying to make. I don’t think that this is about good cop versus bad cop. I think that it has to do with the system. So instead of talking about all these cops being racist individually we should talk about the systemic racism. And it’s not just cops of course. For example in the case of Ahmed Aubrey he was just jogging and he got shot by some random white dude in his truck. And do you know what his excuse was? “He fit the profile of a shoplifter”. Well, if you ask me that just sound like an long way of saying he was black and so was that shoplifter.

It took the police two months to arrest the guy who did this and it wasn’t as if they didn’t try to make up excuses for him. They literally tried to dig up dirt on him from four years ago. The system that the U.S has right now is racist and encourages the oppression of black people. In 1964 when people were also having riots in wake of Martin Luther King jr. death and after 9 days of rioting and burning places laws changed and Martin Luther King jr. finally got justice. So people can complain all they want about people rioting but so if they really want it to stop it worked in the past so maybe this time instead of shooting more people they should actually change their system. Now I’m not condoning burning small businesses and homeless peoples cots and I think it’s horrible that stuff like that is happening but I do believe that something needs to change fast and these rioters don’t know how else to get that message across.

What Happens Off Camera?

I’m going to assume that everybody reading this has heard about the murder of George Floyd. This post isn’t necessarily about his murder but about police brutality in general. The reason that George Floyd’s murder has become such a huge thing is of course because we have video evidence that a police officer knelt on his neck. But what would have happened if there was no video evidence? The police would have been able to pass it off, like their trying but failing to do now, as if he had some preexisting condition and nothing would come of it.

So in this case the subject of police brutality actually died but no doubt you have seen countless other videos of officers being overly aggressive and arresting black people for no real reason. But the reason we know this is because it was filmed. How many murders like George Floyd’s happened in the shadows when nobody records it, and is quietly covered up by the police force? It turns out that the officer that killed Floyd has actually killed four other people. This guy is basically a serial killer disguised as an officer of the law. Oh and in case you’re wondering, yes those four people were all black or Hispanic. So this policeman, Derek Chauvin, has not been prosecuted for any of his past crimes and those murders were only a small amount of his crimes. He has had over 15 other cases of police brutality against black/Hispanic people. And this is just this cop and it’s disturbing to imagine what happens with other people when no-one is recording

Why we really need to start doing something about climate change. Now. (part 2)

The fact that Most people don’t get clean energy is a huge problem. Massive amounts of fossil fuels are used to give billions of people energy. There are options to get only clean energy but they cost more, so some people can’t afford it, and a lot of people just don’t care even if they can afford it. To get people to buy more green energy we need to build more solar farms, hydroelectric power plants and wind turbines. Once we have enough of those that it gets cheaper to buy green energy, then even the people who don’t care will buy clean energy because why not.

In 2015 the US government raised 3,18 trillion dollars. To build a solar farm with one megawatt you would be able to power about 200 moderately sized and middle class households. That would cost about one million US dollars. Say you wanted to build as many solar farms to give power to the whole US. There are about 127 million households in the US so to power all of that with solar energy you would need 635 billion dollars. Keep in mind that this is all a one time operation so you don’t need to spend 635 billion every year.

If the government decided to fund this then they wouldn’t just have loss. If they funded the power companies to build these solar farms the power companies would get a lot of money from all the new power that is being bought and a chunk of that would go to the government. Solar farms require much less money and time once you’ve managed to build them then coal mines for example or other methods of getting “dirty” energy. These calculations are also excluding all the clean energy that there already is. All in all once it’s done, the government and the power companies will make profit and it would be a Huge step forward in stopping climate change.

The solar farm thing was just an example of something we could do and I realize that 635 billion dollars is a huge amount of money. If every country did something like this with their power then we still have a chance to beat global warming. If governments and company owners thought about it this way then they would also realize that even if they didn’t want to help stop global warming that this would be a much better alternative. It would be a better alternative for two main reasons: the first is that, as I said earlier, it’s much cheaper to maintain solar farms than for example mines. The second is that if the companies are thought of as green companies then people are more likely to buy from them. In my next post I will be discussing what we, not the government, can do about global warming.

Why we really need to start doing something about climate change. Now. (part one)

Hi all, I haven’t posted in a very long time and I’m sorry for that. I’ve been very busy in the last few months with school because I had a lot of catching up to do considering I was in Toronto for the first six months of the year and then went to a new school for the second half of the year in the Netherlands. It’s summer vacation now so I have a lot of time to be blogging again.

Some very important things need to happen very soon to stop climate change. I have some very big wants but considering the state the world is in now they should have already happened. many scientists say that in about 10 years, if we keep burning fossil fuels at the rate we are now, that climate change will be irreversible. Basically we are condemning all life on earth to extinction if we don’t do something fast.

“I want you to act as if the house is on fire, because it is.” You might recognise that. Before I get into what I think needs to change I’m going to talk about Greta Thunberg. This is the speech that she gave at Davos in 2019. She is the leading climate activist for 100,000 fellow teens around the globe. And she’s only 16. Whats so special about her is that she says all the scary things about climate change but in a way that she doesn’t hold back. She is letting all the wealthy people know what incredible price the world is paying for them getting rich. She is motivating people to act right now. She has insulted world leaders by telling them how they refuse to speak the truth and how they let our world be sacrificed so that a small number of people can earn tremendous amounts of money. She has also motivated me to start doing something about climate change. She is the reason I’m writing this. When someone showed me her speech at Davos, that was when I realised how dire our situation is.

As Greta has said the system needs to change so that we can stop global warming. The government has a lot of power and it’s time they should use that power to stop global warming. There should be regulations to how much your carbon footprint should be because to stop global warming we need to reduce the amount of fossil fuels we use by half. For example you could have a law that states how many times you’re allowed to use a plane every year. These regulations should have been in place years ago when it wasn’t as serious as it is now, but they weren’t . Usually if these laws were to be made it would take decades for most country’s to have them and for the government to actually agree to making these laws. but we don’t have decades. We have about one decade to half the amount of fossil fuels we use. The biggest problem is that the people who this will affect most won’t be able to do anything to make these laws. We need adults to start helping us because we can’t do it ourselves. These seem like huge things to happen in a decade and most of you think I’m just dreaming but this needs to happen now because the house is on fire and when your house is on fire you act fast.

The Liefde (continuation 2)

Sorry for not posting for so long but there was an exam week and studying took up all of my time for about two weeks and the week before that I was in vacation in Paris so I was visiting a bunch of places and studying so I didn’t blog.

All of sudden a heavy silence covered the room. Why was he in this room? Casper stepped in front of his brother trying to hide him. Hans was shaking like a leaf in the wind.
“How can we help you , sir ?” intervened Alexey.
The first mate did not have a friendly face. With his dark eyes he scrutinised everybody and everything. And than , like a thunder , his voice struck : “Casper!”
For a moment Cas felt like he was falling into the darkest abyss.
But than Alexey threw himself in front of Cas, puts his strong arms around his shoulders and push him right in front of the first mate.
“I present you, sir, Casper, the most courageous sailor I’ve ever encountered.”
Then there was a powerful force to give him back his strength . Chin up, straight shoulders, Cas saluted proudly: “At your service, sir”.

“The captain wanted to speak with you,” The first mate said gruffly, “He said to meet him in his chambers at sundown”. He gave Alexey a bit of a weird look and raised an eyebrow, as if to say: Geeze, I was just bringing a message. Then the first mate walked out of the door. Cas breathed a sigh of relief and Hans stopped trembling. “Well,” Cas said to Hans, “You certainly could’ve picked a better time to come in.” “At least he didn’t see Hans,” Alexey replied. ” “Well, I guess I’m happy with that, but the reason the captain wants to speak to me can’t be good either because with hundreds of people on this ship a captain isn’t going to call in a simple shipmate like me to his room just because he wants to compliment me or whatever; I must be in trouble for some reason.” “In any case,” Alexey said whilst looking out of the window, “you better hurry up because it looks like you’ve only got about an hour.”