View the entire collection of 12 and Beyond’s summer book reviews (and more) here, and be sure to read my Fantine book review too.
Three hundred pages into the [full-length] novel, Les Misérables’ second volume, Cosette, still maintains its overall grandeur and elegance, and intertwines the same elements and perspectives that truly define the novel.
In this volume, a captivating tale is told of Jean Valjean’s escape from prison after being recaptured, and further proves Valjean’s righteousness as he rescues Cosette from her abusive caretakers, the Thenardiers, all the while under the pursuit of the inspector, Javert.
At the strongest points in the volume, the story is suspenseful and exciting to follow, and takes the reader on an incredibly detailed and elaborate adventure, with no intricacy left out. The viewpoints and relations of all characters provide the reader with an omniscient comprehension of the events, which only serves to strengthen the magnitude of the volume’s impact.
It would appear as if I enjoy music too much.
Each week, I seem to drone on about the same things: “the emotion”, “the power”, “the beauty”… and yet as I discover more and more, music of all types still continues to astound me.
And while I do regret some of my musical choices from the past (*cough*), I still find there’s so much intricacy and passion to be evoked from each piece, something that makes each work extraordinary. Now, if you knew me, you’d know I’m not a very critical person- at all, which certainly has its downsides. But there’s something about music that just gets to me…
We covered a lot in Geometry this year, and overall, I found trigonometry to be one of the easiest units. Once you’re familiar with the mechanics, it all comes down to calculation. However, its implementation can be a bit more complicated, like in finding the surface area of a 2D shape with more than four sides, but the process is actually pretty cool.
At the beginning of July, my family and I took a weeklong vacation to Rhode Island, Newport in particular. I had an amazing time visiting the harbor, taking part in festivals, and swimming in the ocean, among many other adventures. Below, I’ve compiled several galleries of photos surrounding my favorite parts of the trip. For further details, many photos have attached captions for you to read.
This post is the second in a series of Summer book reviews publishing to 12 and Beyond in the coming months. The full collection can be accessed here.
Of all the variety of literature that I’d been exposed to in Freshman English (ranging from Shakespeare’s sonnets to the satire Animal Farm), I’d yet to read a true nonfiction book this year.
But naturally, I’d resent having to read through one structured like a textbook, so I sought out one that was more of, well, an experience. And I found exactly that in Erik Larson’s Dead Wake.
In French class, we’ve practiced countless interpretive techniques, involving interpersonal communications, spoken responses, interpreting audio, and of course, writing.
In my opinion, writing in French is the easiest of all of these, simply because you can create workarounds to words you don’t know and still be successful in expressing what you desire. When you are presented with a written piece and asked to interpret it (like we had to do for our final), though, it’s a whole other story.
You essentially have to work with what you are given, as there’s no getting around the way the text is written, and what the text consists of. Often, it won’t be written in a way that you’d be used to (especially if it’s a native text).
There are still several techniques that can be used though to get the most out of understanding a piece of writing and improving your comprehension as a whole.
For me, in Geometry this year, of all topics, circles were the one that I seemed to grasp most. Something about them just made sense, perhaps that every concept involving circles seems to tie back to a central point (pun intended).
Thinking about a circle on a simple level, a circle is made up of 360 degrees (which made understanding arcs a piece of cake), its circumference is 2πr, the area is πr^2, and every other aspect essentially builds upon these ideas. Given these, you can determine the values of interior angles built into the circle, find areas of inscribed/circumscribed shapes, and solve for almost any related missing aspect. We’ll try and get into a few of these today.
This Summer, in furthering my experience in music, I am beginning private viola lessons with Liam’s (who has been taking lessons for a while now) teacher, previous to which I only held experience playing in my school’s string orchestra.
In fact, my first lesson is today, and leading up to it I’ve been preparing the first part of a piece out of a Suzuki book, the Seitz Concerto No.2 Mvt. 3. It’s not incredibly difficult, and seems to be around my level of playing, although there will be some challenging sections to come. Overall though, I’ve definitely taken a strong liking to the piece.
The piece begins with a bright, fluent introduction that carries the main melody of the piece. The slightly staccato notes intertwined with grace notes and legato strings flow perfectly and sound very pretty. This melody gradually becomes more sophisticated, but maintains its expressiveness and impression.
Listening to the second half of the piece, a stark contrast takes place with what initially appears to be an insane amount of sequential sixteenth notes. However, listening to the piece being played while following the sheet music, their structure makes sense, following a coherent pattern.
In all, it’s going to be a good introductory piece to learn and play, especially as it’s presence takes a step farther from a structured, limited learning piece while still exhibiting the benefit of such, and maintains itself as a true classical piece of merit.
My favorite rendition of the piece on YouTube as performed by a viola player, Brian Clement, can be viewed here. You can also access my entire collection of In Tune features through the In Tune category or through the In Tune playlist on my YouTube channel.
Thank you for reading!
This post is the first in a series of biweekly ‘mini’ book reviews publishing this summer to 12 and Beyond. Further editions concerning Les Misérables will be published soon.
Les Miserables has taken me on an incredible journey over the past several months, involving the play, the music, the movie, and of course, the novel that inspired it all.
I began reading Les Miserables back in November after we began preparing to play in the orchestra pit for my school’s performance. Unfortunately, the copy I purchased was an abridged version- a mistake I quickly regretted. And so, while I had made it quite far through my original copy, I eventually purchased a new copy (at left)- unabridged, of course, and *just* slightly longer. Thus, making it through only the first volume of several found within the novel itself felt like reading through the entirety of the abridged version, and took just as long. Therefore, this book review is dedicated only to the first volume of the novel: Fantine. More will follow.
I would consider it all to be worth it, though- all of the “fluff” that consists of Hugo’s writing, often criticized as unnecessary. But for a novel like this, you don’t want just the facts- you want an intricate, beautifully written narrative, as it was intended. In all, Les Misérables is truly sensational.
Liam, I must speak about you again.
It has been incredibly fascinating and gratifying expanding my knowledge of government theology (which began at just American Theology) alongside you.
This year, I’ve really tried to view the world with an open mind. Theology wasn’t really something I had thought about beyond the US’s democracy, apart from what I’d briefly heard from the media. But there’s a lifetime of history behind the rising and falling of different methodologies and ideals, many of which were particularly compelling.
As I began to discover the different ways that others have aspired to influence the way society runs, there were countless aspects that I really liked (among those that I didn’t) and doing so really allowed me to compare the aspects of our society and further realize that, as great as the United States is, we don’t live in a perfect world.