December 2020 and January 2021


*Images are only for books that have been completed by January 17, 2021*




Thank You For Arguing (Jay Heinrichs): 330 → ★★★★★

The True Believer (Eric Hoffer): 170 → ★★★★

Diary of a Young Girl (Anne Frank): 264 → ★★★★

The Silver Star (Jeannette Walls): 267 → ★★★

The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck (Mark Manson): 224 → ★★★


Quran Translation: 73 →★★★★★


The Bronte Sisters Poetry Anthology: 17

To the Lighthouse (Virginia Woolfe): 50 

**Not what I needed right now


The Economist: 4 (my go-to)

Mark Manson’s Blog: 4 (interesting arguements)

The National Post: 2

CBC, NBC, CNN: 13 (Do not like them very much)






The Handmaid’s Tale by Margret Atwood

Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand (At least start it)

What is Stephen Harper Reading by Yann Martel

Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl

Required English Reads for next semester

The books I read this month and a bit was amazing. I think that this is the most variety there has been in a while, with fiction, non-fiction, and a memoir/diary. My reading rate was alright, and I hope to maintain this as I enter a new semester. 

I tried reading To the Lighthouse and was astounded by the complexity of language. It was like reading Frankenstein all over again. I struggled through the first 50 pages, too preoccupied with understanding what the sentences mean to care for the story itself. I realized that I need to look for harder books, ones that challenge my reading speed and retention rate. As I have English next semester, reading comprehension will bite my butt if I do not start practicing. I am setting a goal of at least two reading comprehension tests per week on Common Lit and Exam bank. I will also ask Ms. Hunnisett for at least one challenging book to read per month.


Thank You For Arguing by Jay Heinrichs (★★★★★)

I absolutely adored this book. He wrote so perfectly about the intricacies of rhetoric, pointing out places in society that we miss its presence. I was especially intrigued by his dissection of Obama and Bush’s speeches – how they speak to attract the most votes without ever targeting an audience.

I agree with Heinrichs: rhetoric is a lost art. Imagine how different the world would be if everyone understood the strategies of persuasion. Not only could we then use them for our benefit, but we could also recognize the efforts of others, and avoid fallacies to find the truth. Personally, I am not good at persuading others in an argument as it takes me longer to understand a situation than most people. After reading through this book once, however, I have a stronger grip on my words, understanding which ones to use depending on the circumstance.

My favorite quote was, “CONCESSION: Concede your opponent’s point in order to win what you want.” It showed me that one must pick their battles instead of striving to be correct all the time. When in an argument – whether heated or friendly – one should always have the end goal in mind. What do I want? What does my opponent want? Can our motivations be compromised?

It is a brilliant piece of writing that I will absolutely read again.

The True Believer by Eric Hoffer (★★★★)

While Heinrichs wrote with all elements of Aristotle’s rhetorical triangle, Hoffer’s piece was blunt logos. It was like reading a monotonous research paper that put little effort into engaging the audience. Nonetheless, it was amazing.

Once I got used to the blandness of the writing, I fell in love with the ideas. I have always had a respect for impartial analyzes on polarizing topics, and Hoffer gave me just what I was looking for. He wrote like a scientist, speaking based on observation and fact, analyzing past movements and the associated repercussions as someone from watching above. He believed mass movements were lead by few and dictated by the extremes, getting out of control because the average person is too passive to care. Those who are benefiting from the present will be afraid of change (reactionary) while those who find themselves disadvantaged will fear tradition (radical). Moreover, an individual who feels as if their life has no purpose will willingly give away themselves to join a collective because of the hope and promises that help them cope.

This quote blew me away: “Hatred is the most accessible and comprehensive of all the unifying agents. Mass movements can rise and spread without belief in a god, but never without a belief in a devil.” In the present day, we can see this emotion everywhere, as people point fingers, ready to add fuel to fires that are already burning. I believe that hate-induced activism is just as harmful as a passive society without an opinion. Both groups are acting with selfish motives, which never leads to peace.

Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank (★★★★)

I really want to meet Anne Frank, like seriously. This girl was only fourteen years old and she was spitting out the human condition without even trying. Within her impossible circumstances, Anne Frank found 264 pages worth of ideas that show us the irrefutable power of human strength, how we are willing to go through the most horrendous things if there is hope for the future.  

There was one section in her piece that I absolutely adored. Just wow:

“We’re all alive, but we don’t know why or what for; we’re all searching for
happiness; we’re all leading lives that are different and yet the same. We three
have been raised in good families, we have the opportunity to get an education
and make something of ourselves. We have many reasons to hope for great
happiness, but . . . we have to earn it. And that’s something you can’t achieve
by taking the easy way out. Earning happiness means doing good and
working, not speculating and being lazy. Laziness may look inviting, but only
work gives you true satisfaction.”

I found so many similarities between her world and that of mine 2020-2021. Both her and I – although she had it worse – are living in uncertain times, ones that leave no room for planning. Our circumstances require patience, hope and mental strength, to face the formidible world with our heads high and our minds unwavering from ethics and morals. Both of us have had our past of naivity riped away without pause, and after the war/pandemic, we do not feel like the same person anymore. While we know Anne Frank’s end, only time will tell what mine will be. 

The Silver Star by Jeannette Walls (★★★)

I finished this book in a few hours, as it was a very easy read. I really appreciate how normal this story was. Her characters live simple and slow lives that mimic reality. This makes sense, as her most famous book is a memoir. 

Based on the two books of hers that I have read, I noticed how the parents are always disillusioned and failures by society’s definition. They are stubborn and immobile, following some dream that was never meant to be, while the children are – ironically – the adults that understand the world. Her childhood experiences have indeed reflected in her fiction. 

Much like The Glass Castle, however, Walls does not have much dialogue, preferring plot through prose. Personally, I wanted to hear Bean and Liz speak more, but was disappointed that they didn’t. By not letting her characters speak much, it took away from a deeper characterization. 

However, I did love her use of symbols and motifs. She present these with subtely so that the reader barely notices its placement. Her symbols are not cliche either, such as the emu bird. She writes that they have wings but they can not fly, a driect representation of Liz, the older sister in the story. Without spoiling the book, the emu’s have a direct role in characterization at the end. 

The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck (★★★)

Great arguement overall, but not as great as the other books I read this month. My entire New Year’s Resolution was inspired by this book, and my opinion is already written there.