The Pendleton Panther

Archive for the ‘Books’ Category

Letters to Jackie

The 1963 assassination of President JF Kennedy was a ferocious act that devastated all Americans and the world. This event had a great emotional impact on the whole nation as it had on Kennedy’s family. Within seven weeks of the President’s death, the first lady, Jacqueline Kennedy, received more than 800,000 letters, two years later; the quantity exceeded 1.5 million letters. The National archives has destroyed most of these letters since there was no space to store all of them. Hostorian Ellen Fitzpatrick went through the remaining 15000 of these letters and picked about 250 of the most heart-felt letters and published them in Letters to Jackie, a noteworthy book that symbolizes the nation’s grief on the disastrous event. These letters were printed exactly the way they were written; misspelled words or other mistakes were not corrected.  As shown in the book, these poignant letters were written by Americans of all ages, all races, and all statuses. In Letters to Jackie, Fitzpatrick created a record of the public’s most unforgettable, devastating memory.


Guiness World RecordsThe Guinness Book of World Records was created over fifty years ago.  The first edition was published on August 27th, 1995.  A year later, it was sold in America and sold over 70,000 copies.  Chris Chataway was the creator of the idea for the Guinness Book of World Records.  He knew two sports writers that happened to be twins, that inspired him to create the book.  Mr. Chataway knew their love of facts, and thought they would be perfect to help with the attempt to create the book.  The book became an instant success and spread like wildfire.  It was a bestseller in Britain before Christmas that year, and gained respect and popularity quickly across the globe.  Since the book was such a surprisingly good seller, the writers of the book began making revisions every year in October, and publishing a new edition of the book.  The Guinness Book of World Records itself holds a world record as the best-selling copyrighted series of all time.  Another interesting fact, is that it is one of the most stolen books from public libraries in America today.

1025194%7EEast-of-Eden-PostersEast of Eden is a novel written by John Steinbeck. AP English students are reading it right now in class (or supposed to be) and if they are reading it then I am sure they will agree it is a very exciting book. It tells the story of two different families, one evil, or partly evil, and one good. It is “a vastly ambitious novel that is at once a family saga and a modern retelling of the Book of Genesis.” The book is filled with fascinating complex characters who keep the reader enthralled in the story, always wondering what might happen next. It is a very long read, just over 600 pages, but if you are looking for something to occupy a plane ride or if you have some spare time this summer, I would definitely recommend it.  — Sally Watson

b0000ae798_02_lzzzzzzzLess Than Zero is a movie (and novel) that came out in 1987 and still is very well known. It is about a college freshman who goes back to LA to see his broken-up wealthy family. Clay, the main character gets more into drugs and accumulates huge debts. The movie follows the “youth culture of wealthy post adolescents in Beverly Hills” and has a strong anti-drug message. The movie tag line is “it only looks like the good life” which relates to what is currently happening in Hollywood.  Robert Downey jr played a main character in this movie which started his career. The writer, Bret Easton Ellis has written a sequel to his film due out next May. The novel will be called Imperial Bedrooms and will include the original characters in their present-day lives. The second book could mean a sequel to the film. When interviewed about the sequel becoming a film, Ellis said “it would be of interest.”

caro1The Wonderful Wizard of Oz is one of the most beloved stories of all time. For seventy years, the movie has been watched all over the world, and people of all ages know the story of the yellow-brick road and the ruby slippers. However, as Judy Garland’s masterpiece reaches its 70th anniversary, critics are reading deeper into the story’s role as an economic parable.  Lyman Frank Baum, author of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, wrote his story at a time right after a period of deflation and depression in 1900.   According to many of the novel’s critics, happenings in both the book and the movie point to a hidden message of economic ups and downs.  Since the book and movie came out, professors and schoolteachers have used the story to teach students about the economic depression of the late 19th Century.  Although Baum claims he wrote his book to please children, he definitely was aware of his future appeal to economic students.

Stuff White People Like: A Definitive Guide to the Unique Taste of Millions is a blog turned book that has quickly become a best-seller. The book, written by Christian Lander, pokes fun of the interests of “left-leaning, city-dwelling white folk” and satirizes the yuppie culture. Stuff White People Like is presented in numbered entries; things listed in the book include #2 religions their parents don’t belong to; #20 being an expert on your culture; #60 Toyota Prius; #63 expensive sandwiches; #70 difficult breakups; #111 Portland, Oregon; #130 carbon offsets and #147 public transportation that is not a bus, just to list a few. “This is the stereotyping of people who have tried to distance themselves from what they perceive as white stereotypes: the white trash, the Republican,” Lander said of his book. The success of Stuff White People Like has inspired blogs about similar topics including Asians, Germans and Unemployed People.  


a_thousand_splendid_suns‘A Thousand Splendid Suns’ is one of the best books, if not the best, I have ever read. It tells the story of two women, a generation apart in age, who live in Afghanistan. It tells of the struggles these two women have to live to and intertwines their lives through their marriage to the same wicked man. The book is written by the same author as ‘The Kite Runner’, Khaled Hosseini. ‘The Kite Runner’ is a well acclaimed book which most people have either already read or at least heard of but I personally feel that ‘A Thousand Splendid Suns’ is his true gem of a book. For people who have not read either books they are both must reads that I would recommend for everyone and I assure you that you will not be disappointed. These books, although fiction, touch your heart and amaze your mind. They are brutal in their description and yet, at the same time, they are heart warming in their message of the powers of friendship and what one friend will do for another.