Editor's note: This week's Page Turner reader interview is with Kipton Hall, a junior at DeKalb High School.
“Recently I read 'An American Tragedy,' by Theodore Dreiser. It was required reading for my AP (Advanced Placement) language arts class. Dreiser uses a lot of detail and changed the plot, but he did a good job of defining the line between guilty or innocent.
“A little kid, Clyde Griffith, grows up and starts to see the real world. In the novel, many words seem outdated, like the word 'gay,' which the author uses often and which has changed meaning since then. Evidently, he doesn't like the word 'secret,' because he keeps using 'clandestine.' His characters 'have a tryst' instead of a date. Dreiser uses a lot of compound/complex sentences, which become hard to follow after awhile. And he uses conjunction after conjunction — but the sentences aren't run-ons.
“The story is a pretty timeless theme — and the author keeps it from being all black or white. I felt sorry for Clyde, but I also found it ironic he was so angry when his sister's suitor left her with their child and yet Clyde acts the way he does. I liked the foreshadowing in the Epilogue. Reading this book takes a higher level of thinking. Dreiser also interrupts himself a lot.
“We also read (Nathaniel) Hawthorne's 'The Scarlet Letter,' I really didn't like how everyone ended up dead by the end of the novel, but the husband did leave his fortune to Pearl. I thought Hawthorne's writing was a bit stuffy, but then he was writing about the 1600s in the 1800s, and times had changed. This is not one of my favorite books.
“I read one of the Harry Potter books — 'The Half-Blood Prince' — but thought they got cheesier as the series continued, like 'Star Wars.' I thought the production in the movies was better than the actual stories.
“I really like Pearl Buck's books, 'The Good Earth' and 'Imperial Woman.' I have been interested in China and its history for a long time — how it was kept out of the modern world for so long, and its dynasties — the different points of view. I've enjoyed reading and learning about it.
“'The Good Earth' showed the ups and downs of that period and how money can corrupt. 'Imperial Woman' is the history of a lost princess. Both are on my list of favorites.
“About 'To Kill a Mockingbird”: We had to read it in middle school, but then I forced myself to re-read it when I was in ninth grade and found it easy to relate to. 'Wuthering Heights' was one of the English novels I had to read, and I tolerated it.
“I read both fiction and nonfiction. And occasionally I read Mad (magazine), but I always read the 'Onion' (news satire publication). I love its sense of humor.”