3 Books To Read Over Winter Break

3 Books To Read Over Winter Break

The best time of the year!

The year is winding down, and soon I'll be out of school for a month. This is primarily when I'll get the most reading done. There will be more free time for me to spend on myself than when I'm in school, so it's a great time to pick up a few books to read. These are the books I recommend for you if you're like me at all.

1. This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab

I recently picked up reading this book, and it's pretty intriguing so far. It's set in a type of post-dystopian universe, where society has picked itself up after the rise of evil. (This is actually a theme in a later book I'll recommend as well). The world is divided into humans and monsters, but sometimes humans are the real monsters. Kate is the daughter of one of these human-monsters and wants to prove that she's just as brutal as her father. August is an actual monster but wants more than anything to not be. The two end up having to run for their lives together, despite being enemies at heart.

2. Renegades by Marissa Meyer

A brand new book by the author of "The Lunar Chronicles," "Renegades" is set up in a similar way the previous book. It's set in a post-dystopian world after superheroes ended anarchy. Nova was raised by her uncle, who also happens to be the leader of anarchy, and has a personal vendetta against superheroes, or otherwise known as renegades. Adrian is a renegade in training but has a sense of justice that leads him to become a vigilante. This is the beginning of a series and a fantastic one at that. I recommend it, especially if you're interested in superheroes!

3. The Raven Boys by Maggie Stievater

I know I'm late on this series, but I recently picked it up and couldn't put it down. It's about a girl from a family of psychics aiding a group of boys as they solve a magical mystery. Every character is super well written and interesting. Most importantly, this is the first book out a series; even better yet, the raven cycle series is finished! if you get sucked into it as quickly as I did, you'll have three more books to follow it.

Cover Image Credit: Dave Collie on Flickr

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The Logan Paul Fiasco Is Just A Symptom Of A Much Larger Problem

In the wake of Logan Paul's suicide forest debacle, I decided to explore how this could even happen in the first place.

Wow, 2018 sure has started off with a bang, hasn't it? First, Donald Trump seemingly threatens North Korea with nuclear annihilation. Then, all these stupid memes about tide pods and Knuckles the echidna circulate across the web, and finally, Logan Paul decided that he would not be outdone.

Yes, the YouTube star decided to vlog in Japan, and every foreigner who has ever hated American tourists for their arrogance and ignorance has been validated. When he arrived in the country, Paul stated that Japanese culture was all about respect. He then proceeded to run around streets in traditional Japanese attire, buy a Game Boy Color from a store only to immediately spike it on the road like a football, and oh yeah, went to the suicide forest, and decided to film the body of a man they found who had recently hung himself in the forest.

Yep, Logan Paul found a dead body and decided to post it on YouTube. I imagine this is what the end of "Stand By Me" would've looked like if it were written today, and by a trash person. Paul has since apologized after lots of backlashes.

Logan Paul is one of, if not the fastest growing star on YouTube, and this controversy has barely affected his ascent in subscribers, some of which defended his actions, and even sent threats to those who didn't. Also, I feel I am justified in saying that both Logan and his brother Jake Paul (a former Disney channel actor turned YouTuber) are both arrogant pricks who make their livings messing with people and being an overall nuisance to anyone they encounter and have no concept of consequences for their actions, but this article isn't about them.

I believe that their popularity is only a result of several fundamental problems with YouTube.

First, I want to get into YouTube's algorithms. It's how the site decides what videos are recommended for you, and more importantly to this story, what videos are on the trending page. Logan Paul's suicide forest video, the one with the dead body in the thumbnail, and the one with the words "dead body" in the title was NUMBER 1 on trending.

YouTube's algorithm exposed millions of people to this deplorable video.

YouTube wasn't even able to take the video down; this was a video that had to have been flagged thousands of times, and it was only removed because Logan Paul himself took it down after all of the backlashes. YouTube was simply unable to do anything about this, and there have to be changed to ensure that they don't let things like this slip through the cracks again.

The real question, at least to me, is why even make a video this ridiculous and ignorant and disrespectful in the first place?

The answer, of course, is for the content. Unfortunately, this is not new. YouTubers have been doing shocking things to get views for years now, and this has led to the bar being raised. Many things that were shocking before simply aren't anymore. We've seen it so many times we get numb, so creators come up with even crazier things to do. Eventually, it becomes normalized, and the cycle continues on and on until we have people filming dead bodies in haunted forests.

YouTubers are trying to get a rise out of us so that we click on their videos, and they're seeing how much they can get away with. It seems that on the internet, no matter which site you go to, the loudest, most obnoxious, most divisive voices always rise to the top, but they don't have to. We can resist that knee-jerk angry share that they want from us.

We don't have to give these idiots the light of day, and we can tell them that we have had enough of their crap, not with our voices, but with our views, because once those go away, they'll have no choice but to listen up.

Cover Image Credit: Esther Vargas

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