Kelby Schnepel – Teacher, Middle School Music

Kelby Schnepel – Teacher, Middle School Music

Favorite adult book recommendation — Islands in the Stream by Ernest Hemingway

I am a huge Hemingway fan and this book was the first published posthumously. It follows a painter who, after living an adventurous life, finds peace on an island in the Bahamas. The books is divided into three parts. The first focuses on interactions with his three children, the second deals the consequences of his interactions (or rather his lack of interaction), and the third is incredibly reminiscent of his earlier work For Whom the Bell Tolls (my favorite of Hemingway’s novels).


Favorite young adult book recommendation — The Long Halloween by Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale

Ok, technically its a graphic novel. I am a huge D.C. comic fan as well. This is one of the quintessential Batman stories, it was even the source material for The Dark Knight movie. Graphic novels tell such amazing stories through both art and dialogue. There are countless context clues and there is endless foreshadowing that occur both in art and dialogue. The story follows a young Batman, Jim Gordon, and Harvey Dent as they try to find “Holiday”, a killer who only targets mob bosses on Holidays. The first killing begins on Halloween and throws Gotham into chaos through repeated vigilantism. The greatness of this story, and any Batman story, is that it focuses on Batman as a detective solving a seemingly easy case and but also raises questions about his psyche and mental health. Things get complicated as mob bosses start blaming each other, hire “freaks” such as the Joker, and condemn each other for hiring the “freaks.” This brings attention the interesting observation that criminals believe Joker, Riddler, Scarecrow, and Mad Hatter (a villain who only speaks using lines from Alice in Wonder Land and Through the Looking Glass) to be below them.There is a great sequence involving The Riddler and Batman postulating on who could be “Holiday.” The juxtaposition of art and dialogue make it difficult to know who is the hero and who is the deranged detective. As with all Batman stories family relationships are examined. Bruce Wayne suffers misfortune on Mother’s Day and a mob boss decides to help serve justice after Father’s Day. Of course we see Harvey Dent’s fall from grace as he becomes Two-Face, a villain obsessed with the number two, and how he handles the place he exists on the moral spectrum after crossing “the line.” The ending is incredibly ambiguous and leaves the reader with the realization that there could have been at least three or more different “Holiday” killers. This is a great look into the results of obsession, duality, and raises a lot of social and moral questions.

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