The Beginning Of An End

The Beginning Of An End

In Some Stories The Ending Is Just The Beginning


Author Katherine Applegate, who gave us such stories as the Animorph series, Crenshaw, and The One and Only Ivan; just to name a few. Has blessed the world with the first gripping installment in a new fantasy trilogy, Endling: The Last. The narrative presents an assembly of a rather motley crew, trapped in a suspenseful drawn quest. Centering on Byx, the curious and youngest in the litter at 11 years-old of a nearly extinct governing species known as Dairnes – a highly intelligent, doglike, anthropomorphic creature who can talk, walks upright, can glide, and has the dangerous gift of being able to discern any lie. When Byx ventures beyond the safety of the pakc's carefully hidden home, she finds herself the savior to a humorously polite creature, a Wobbyk named Tobble.

They both work to keep hidden from hunters intent on harming them as they make their way back to the packs home. A 14 year-old tracker named Khara, whom is often disguised as a boy, saves them from meeting the same fate as Byx is pack. The slaughter of her community leaves her the last of her kind, an endling. Khara takes the grieving Byx and the silly Tobble to an island city to consult a scholar whom Khara trusts and believes will protect them. The motivations and strong, persuasive, emotional convictions of the presented characters'; give a depth and sense of urgency to the adventure as the motley group team up with new allies – both anthropomorphic and humans – each with their own motivations for joining the quest. As Byx seeks to find a safe haven, and to see if the legends of her people are true; that there is a hidden Darines civilization to the North. Though they begin as strangers tangled in a web of survival, they become their own kind of family. One which will uncover a great secret which may in fact threaten the very existence of every anthropomorphic creature in their world.

Alright, so the book is meant for the 8 – 12 age range. But I myself, a man in his late 20's primarily reads Stephen King, Neil Gaiman, Adam Nevill, and Clive Cussler (to name a few). Found this book and its story to be something I could not put down. Reading it in just a few days, I was absolutely absorbed into the story with rich and emotionally believable characters. When I find myself stopping mid paragraph to write down a quote, I know a book has truly grabbed me, and is something to learn from and share. Rarely does this happen with any genre or style of writing. One of my favorite quotes in the mentioned book, which I must admit I have started to use myself: p. 167: "…I recalled my father's words: to rush is not necessarily to arrive." Take a moment and read something outside your normal genre or style and you can be surprised by what you may find. With Endling: The Last, I know I sure was. Little did I know that the book I would randomly pickup just walking the isles in Barnes and Noble would be such a gripping read.

Amazon readers give this book an average of 5 out of 5 stars; Goodreads gives this a 4.5 out of 5 stars; Common sense media also gives a 5 out of 5 stars; While Barnes and Noble also gives a 5 out of 5 starts rating. I myself am excited to give this book a 4.5 out of 5 stars. There a few spelling and sentence mistakes that required me to re-read the sentence to understand what was being said. I highly recommend this book for anyone wanting to read something new and different as well as to kids and youth as it has a lot of powerful messages.

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9 Reasons Crocs Are The Only Shoes You Need

Crocs have holes so your swag can breathe.

Do you have fond childhood objects that make you nostalgic just thinking about your favorite Barbie or sequenced purse? Well for me, its my navy Crocs. Those shoes put me through elementary school. I eventually wore them out so much that I had to say goodbye. I tried Airwalks and sandals, but nothing compared. Then on my senior trip in New York City, a four story Crocs store gleamed at me from across the street and I bought another pair of Navy Blue Crocs. The rest is history. I wear them every morning to the lake for practice and then throughout the day to help air out my soaking feet. I love my Crocs so much, that I was in shock when it became apparent to me that people don't feel the same. Here are nine reasons why you should just throw out all of your other shoes and settle on Crocs.

1. They are waterproof.

These bad boys can take on the wettest of water. Nobody is sure what they are made of, though. The debate is still out there on foam vs. rubber. You can wear these bad boys any place water may or may not be: to the lake for practice or to the club where all the thirsty boys are. But honestly who cares because they're buoyant and water proof. Raise the roof.

2. Your most reliable support system

There is a reason nurses and swimming instructors alike swear by Crocs. Comfort. Croc's clogs will make you feel like your are walking on a cloud of Laffy Taffy. They are wide enough that your toes are not squished, and the rubbery material forms perfectly around your foot. Added bonus: The holes let in a nice breeze while riding around on your Razor Scooter.

3. Insane durability

Have you ever been so angry you could throw a Croc 'cause same? Have you ever had a Croc bitten while wrestling a great white shark? Me too. Have you ever had your entire foot rolled like a fruit roll up but had your Crocs still intact? Also me. All I know is that Seal Team 6 may or may not have worn these shoes to find and kill Osama Bin Laden. Just sayin'.

4. Bling, bling, bling

Jibbitz, am I right?! These are basically they're own money in the industry of comfortable footwear. From Spongebob to Christmas to your favorite fossil, Jibbitz has it all. There's nothing more swag-tastic than pimped out crocs. Lady. Killer.

5. So many options

From the classic clog to fashionable sneakers, Crocs offer so many options that are just too good to pass up on. They have fur lined boots, wedges, sandals, loafers, Maryjane's, glow in the dark, Minion themed, and best of all, CAMO! Where did your feet go?!

6. Affordable

Crocs: $30

Feeling like a boss: Priceless

7. Two words: Adventure Straps

Because you know that when you move the strap from casual mode chillin' in the front to behind the heal, it's like using a shell on Mario Cart.

8. Crocs cares

Okay, but for real, Crocs is a great company because they have donated over 3 million pairs of crocs to people in need around the world. Move over Toms, the Croc is in the house.

9. Stylish AF

The boys will be coming for you like Steve Irwin.

Who cares what the haters say, right? Wear with pride, and go forth in style.

Cover Image Credit: Chicago Tribune

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From One Nerd To Another

My contemplation of the complexities between different forms of art.


Aside from reading Guy Harrison's guide to eliminating scientific ignorance called, "At Least Know This: Essential Science to Enhance Your Life" and, "The Breakthrough: Immunotherapy and the Race to Cure Cancer" by Charles Graeber, an informative and emotional historical account explaining the potential use of our own immune systems to cure cancer, I read articles and worked on my own writing in order to keep learning while enjoying my winter break back in December. I also took a trip to the Guggenheim Museum.

I wish I was artistic. Generally, I walk through museums in awe of what artists can do. The colors and dainty details simultaneously inspire me and remind me of what little talent I posses holding a paintbrush. Walking through the Guggenheim was no exception. Most of the pieces are done by Hilma af Klint, a 20th-century Swedish artist expressing her beliefs and curiosity about the universe through her abstract painting. I was mostly at the exhibit to appease my mom (a K - 8th-grade art teacher), but as we continued to look at each piece and read their descriptions, I slowly began to appreciate them and their underlying meanings.

I like writing that integrates symbols, double meanings, and metaphors into its message because I think that the best works of art are the ones that have to be sought after. If the writer simply tells you exactly what they were thinking and how their words should be interpreted, there's no room for imagination. An unpopular opinion in high school was that reading "The Scarlet Letter" by Nathaniel Hawthorne was fun. Well, I thought it was. At the beginning of the book, there's a scene where Hawthorne describes a wild rosebush that sits just outside of the community prison. As you read, you are free to decide whether it's an image of morality, the last taste of freedom and natural beauty for criminals walking toward their doom, or a symbol of the relationship between the Puritans with their prison-like expectations and Hester, the main character, who blossoms into herself throughout the novel. Whichever one you think it is doesn't matter, the point is that the rosebush can symbolize whatever you want it to. It's the same with paintings - they can be interpreted however you want them to be.

As we walked through the building, its spiral design leading us further and further upwards, we were able to catch glimpses of af Klint's life through the strokes of her brush. My favorite of her collections was one titled, "Evolution." As a science nerd myself, the idea that the story of our existence was being incorporated into art intrigued me. One piece represented the eras of geological time through her use of spirals and snails colored abstractly. She clued you into the story she was telling by using different colors and tones to represent different periods. It felt like reading "The Scarlet Letter" and my biology textbook at the same time. Maybe that sounds like the worst thing ever, but to me it was heaven. Art isn't just art and science isn't just science. Aspects of different studies coexist and join together to form something amazing that will speak to even the most untalented patron walking through the museum halls.

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