Book Review: First-Year Precep

The Tempest

by William Shakespeare

The Tempest tells the story of a wronged nobleman’s attempts to revenge himself upon those who orchestrated his downfall, marooning him, with his daughter, on an island. He raises a storm with his magic, causing the ship carrying his enemies to shipwreck on his island. I first read the play in my junior year of high school, so I was excited to see it on the list of required reading at Knox. I adore Shakespeare, and his last work contains some of the more beautiful passages of blank verse the Bard wrote.

The Complete Persepolis

by Marjane Satrapi

An autobiographical graphic novel, The Complete Persepolis tells the story of growing up during the Islamic Revolution in Iran, and the difficulties in finding a place in a world strictly constrained by religious practices. I read this on a three hour car trip, ending the journey with twenty or so pages left, which I promptly finished upon reaching home. I adored this book. The illustrative lay out, so different from most ‘literature,’ made the book a quick read, though it is by no means ‘light.’ The Complete Persepolis was an enjoyable read, and I look forward to rereading it.

A Human Being Died that Night

by Pumla Gobodo-Madikizela

Gobodo-Madikizela served on the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission in 1990, and conducted several meetings with Eugene de Kock, the commanding officer of government-sanctioned ‘death squads.’ De Kock is now serving a 212-year prison sentence for crimes against humanity. A Human Being Died that Night is Gobodo-Madikizela’s account of her journey to forgiveness.

The Dignity of Difference

by Jonathan Sacks

Though the premise of The Dignity of Difference is valid, and I agree with the theories proposed by Sacks (the global need for conversation, for instance, in order to avoid bloodshed and further hatred), I do not always agree with his reasons and logic behind them. Sacks is very good about acknowledging his bias for Judaism, but further ignores the validity of secular philosophies and non-monotheistic religions. The Dignity of Difference, while needed and valid in a global world, is probably my least favorite book of the four chosen.

Savannah Whitten


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