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    Okay so in this thread I’ll be posting my own book recommendations and book reads in general. I’ll also include various questions on the book (love that idea from Angelo on his Quarterly section). Feel free to comment on any of them.

    Here’s one that I’ll start off with: I currently read “Parkland” by Dave Cullen. Cullen had previously written the book “Columbine” which dealt with the Columbine shooting. I have yet to read it but after reading “Parkland” I’ll definitely need to give it a go.

    1.) How do you feel that Create Change can factor into the story?

    -Create Change is about bettering yourself, bettering your community. What the kids went though is something no kid should ever have to experience. These kids took matters into their own hands and did not sit on the sidelines. They were willing to make an impact not just in their community but in the world. There are some who might disagree but those things did not let them be silent. They were resilient in face of the odds and were/are willing to continue their activism, an activism which shouldn’t have happened in the first place, until things change. It might not happen a year, it might even happen in five or ten but it’s a start.

    2.) It can be easy to forget that these kids are just that, kids. What is it in them, in their drive that inspires you?

    -One of the things I would love is for me to be more optimistic and have an open mind. I have always been a pessimist and close minded. These kids rose up from their darkness, which I would love to do with mine. Sure they struggled both as individuals and as a group but they were willing to fight in a positive way.

    3.) What surprised you most about the book?

    The optimistic tone it took. While it went into details as to what happened to these kids it showed their resilience and how these kids took their pain into activism. I was expecting the book to be more morose. Instead, while it took on the pain, it also showed the tale of rising from the ashes and that darkness belongs in the dark. That you can overcome it, despite the struggle.

    4.) What is one word that describes the book?


    Parkland Book Cover



    These books are fairly simple.

    I’ve always been interested in photography. Got my first camera when I was just a kid. It was a Barbie themed 110 film camera. My second was a Yellow 35 mm. I must have been at least between 3rd and 4th grade. Over time my cameras have increased both in size and in mm length. I currently own a Nikon Coolpix p900 which has a 2000 mm length. Basically if you point it towards the moon you can see the craters in depth and focus.

    My passion for photography only grew with time.

    The more I got into Native American history the more fascinated I became with the historic pictures. I recently picked up “Eyewitness at Wounded Knee” which shows pictures from before the Wounded Knee in 1890 through the aftermath.

    Come college I was introduced to Ansel Adams who did black and white photography. I had never heard of this man before. I was impressed with his style of photography. I’d never considered even practicing with black and white before. I became inspired by his work that I’ve often tried my own hand at it. Most of his work consists of nature photography which is also what drew me into it. He does also have various other subjects such as people and inanimate objects but for me I consider his nature photography my personal favorite.

    Both photography books are easy reads since they’re basically picture books for adults but still great to go through even if photography is not really your thing.

    Ansel Adam’s Singular Images

    Eyewitness at Wounded Knee

    35mm Camera

    110mm (barbie) camera


    Angelo Lagdameo

    Thank you for sharing these books on photography! I’ll also interested in doing my own nature photography and these books are wonderful recommendations—I can’t wait to look into learning more. Thank you for sharing.



    So got another book, series rather, to add to my listing here.

    If you have or have not heard of the show Castle, it’s a series that was on for eight years. It follows a character named Richard Castle who teams up with a cop, Detective Kate Beckett and they solve crimes. In the show Castle is a mystery crime novelist. One of the characters in Castle’s books is a cop by the name of Nikki Heat who is based off Detective Beckett.

    The novels were actually published in real life. There are currently ten books to this Nikki Heat series. The cool thing about them, aside from them being the actual novels that the fictional writer published is that the author is listed as Richard Castle. It really connects the show to the books because it’s as if you’re in an actual episode reading one of Castle’s actual published books.

    I have read them all and am currently reading (and hope to finish by the weekend) book #10-Crashing Heat.

    They certainly are fun reads if you’re into the show or even looking for good cop based mystery novels.

    Nikki Heat Series

    Crashing Heat by Richard Castle



    Next up is: Patriots from the Barrio by David Gutierrez.

    I’ve always been into military history. Mostly it stems from my dad as he was a former military man himself, army and airborne. He loves watching military movies and TV shows. As a result I naturally came to be interested in such as well. My own father aside, I love history. I’ve read my share of military history, mainly focusing on WWII where they were stationed on the Germany front.

    I discovered “Patriots” via when my mom heard it was mentioned on some NPR station she listens to. I was so into the book that it took me only four days to read it. This book tells the story of the only all-Mexican unit, Company E 141st Division, in WWII.

    It goes into the prejudices that many Mexicans/Hispanics faced in the 1940s. Quite eerie in that a lot of it is a current repeat in today’s history where racism and sending Mexicans (even those born in this country) back to Mexico, some of whom have no ties to that country whatsoever.

    The part that really got my attention in reading the book was seeing that a lot of these vets were of my own home town of El Paso, Texas. My city is a border city that straddles the borderline between Texas and Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. I’ve lived here my whole life and it certainly has it’s charm, a mixture of two cultures. It is also a military city with Fort Bliss right near the outskirts of the city.

    To read a story about these men, what they endured, was truly something else. It makes me think differently about the city which I live, makes me respect it that much more.

    Yes there were other Mexicans/Hispanics in Company E but it was the El Paso boys that stood out most.

    In many history books, out in general and school texts, it’s rare to come across the history, let alone military history, about Mexicans/Hispanics. The Mayans and Aztecs are covered but very little else. You’d think living in a border city that it would be taught more than what it actually is. Instead it’s dismissed and little is said. I never actually learned about Mexican history until I took college courses on the subject. I remember feeling so relieved to be learning about it. Finally I was able to learn more than I was originally taught.

    “Patriots” is truly a breath of fresh air. It gives a voice to those who have never had one before, it shines light on a culture that has been sidelined, and it tells the tale that race knows no bounds. Patriots are patriots regardless of the color of a persons skin. This book is one that has been needed for quite some time and Gutierrez does it justice.

    Patriots from Barrio by David Gutierrez



    Haven’t updated this in a while so here goes nothing giving the content.

    I usually read the book section of USA Today or the NY Times to discover what’s new in that world, what new books may be of interest or intriguing. In one of the sections that talked about the 5 books not to miss, USA Today mentioned a book called “Fall and Rise: The Story of 9/11” by Mitchell Zuckoff. The author was one of the reporters from the Boston Globe to write about the attacks. The book was published just recently as of April 30th. I picked up a copy two days later on May 2nd.

    It’s certainly not an easy subject despite the events having happened nearly seventeen, eighteen years ago. Yet still those emotions run raw through our core and always will so why would I even want to read a book on the subject? The answer for me is simple: history. History has been a passion of mine since I was a kid. Aside from English, I loved my history classes, even graduated with a history minor. It’s the one subject that I read most about which include Native American, Mexican, 1800’s, early 1900’s, military and current events. Pretty much any history book I can get my hands on.

    So why even touch a book that has to do with 9/11 of all things? Easy. History. Just like any event of the past this is a story of tragedy, of heartache, of strength. Pearl Harbor was one of the most catastrophic events. I’ve covered the subject in my readings leading into WWII. I’ve often heard people describe 9/11 as my generation’s ‘Pearl Harbor’. They are moments in history with tremendous loss, devastation and pain but in all of that while we remember and while we still mourn we also rise up as to not let the darkness overcome us.

    Like those of the past, those of the times that lived through Pearl Harbor, I remember exactly where I was and the events that changed my life forever despite being thousands of miles away. Many of us have those memories. We remember where we were, what we were doing when the world essentially came to a stand still in the midst of chaos. I was 12 when 9/11 happened just shy of my thirteenth birthday the following month and five days. I had just gotten to school when my friends came running up to me to tell me what had happened. I didn’t believe them. It wasn’t until my first class of the day, math, when my teacher got a letter from the principal and read it to us. The class remained silent. By home room we had the TV to a kid run news station called Channel 1. It was there many of us watched as the towers fell. Upon getting home my dad took my sister and I out to the yard. I remember his exact words: “Look up, you’ll never see anything like this again.” There was not a plane in the sky.

    It’s been difficult to read “Fall and Rise”. There have been times when I’ve just closed the book because of the intensity, the graphicness and simply the pain I feel for all those who suffered that day and for the child in me who had to experience such a moment. Despite the books content, despite how I feel, the book is enthralling. It’s difficult to even find the right word to describe it. How do you describe a book that is such a ‘good’ read and yet hard to stomach at the same time when there’s so much pain? Again for me it all comes down to history. Every person that experienced 9/11 whether from the ground or from afar is all part of history. They all have a story to tell. It’s why I read the history that I do. To get to know them, to learn about their lives and what happened that caused such a great effect as to be remembered even if we may not know all their names. Every single moment, every single person is a part of that history and it’s up to us to keep it alive. It’s up to us to remember for them so that they are not lost in time.

    Fall and Rise: The Story of 9/11 by Mitchell Zuckoff

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