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The Cardinal Times Spring 2021 Issue

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CULTURE The Cardinal Times, SPRING, 2021 • PAGE 9

Cardinal Times staff reviews Sputnik Sweethart and Two Can

Keep a Secret

By MEI XU

Title: Sputnik Sweetheart by Haruki

Murakami

Pages: 210

Genre: Romance, Fiction, Cultural (work

in translation)

Release Date: 1999

Favorite Quote: “So that’s how we live

our lives. No matter how deep and fatal the

loss, no matter how important the thing

that’s stolen from us… even if we are left

completely changed, with only the outer

layer of skin from before, we continue to

play out our lives this way, in silence.”

Synopsis: Sumire, a recent college dropout,

finds herself in love for the first time

with Miu, a woman 17 years older than her.

The narrator, K, is good friends with Sumire

from college, and together, they bond

over phone calls in the early mornings in

which Sumire pines K for advice on love,

writing and making sense of the world.

explores the intense, yet unrequited, love

triangle between Sumire, Miu and K, and

delves into themes such as the complexity

of relationships, longing, isolation and the

forever incompleteness attached with human

desire.

Why I like it: Haruki Murakami is one of

my favorite authors, and this is one of my

favorite books by Murakami. The way that

he writes is deeply personal, as if each sentence

is like a warm hug. I love , as it yields

Sputnik Sweetheart is a book written in 1999 by

Haruki Murakami.

Courtesy of BARNES AND NOBLE

inevitable self-reflection. The book itself

is centered around a “shell of our former

selves” perspective and provokes an innate

awareness of the internal loneliness of life,

while questioning the futile attempts that

humans make to conceal this devouring

feeling. Oh, and it’s also filled with literary

techniques, such as symbolism and metaphors,

which only add to the excitement.

By DEVYN MCMILLEN

Title: Two Can Keep a Secret by Karen M.

McManus

Pages: 327

Genre: Murder Mystery

Release date: Jan. 11, 2019

Favorite Quote: “Welcome to life in a

small town. You’re only as good as the best

thing your family’s done. Or the worst.”

Synopsis: Twin high school students,

Ellery and Ezra, are forced to move to their

mother’s hometown, Echo Ridge, to live

with their grandmother while their mother

is in rehab. When they arrive, they come

to find out why their mother refused to tell

them about her childhood growing up in

Echo Ridge: her sister, the homecoming

queen, went missing and was never found

when they were only teenagers. Though

their aunt was the first homecoming queen

to go missing in Echo Ridge, she certainly

wasn’t the last….

Why I like it: I like it because the outcome

is not predictable, but it’s not out of the blue

or random either. In my opinion, McManus

does a very good job of making sure you

don’t know until the very end what is going

to happen, which can be hard to find in a

murder mystery. The writing is disturbing

and scary without being unnecessarily violent

or graphic. And, best of all, it’s the kind

Two Can Keep a Secret is a book written in

2019 by Karen M. McManus.

Courtesy of AMAZON

of book you can re-read over and over, and

still be able to experience the thrill of the

mystery each time.

Readers Respond: Arguments for and against school

reopening, vaccination availability, mental health

In response to Cardinal Times article

“It’s too early to return students en

masse to Portland high schools”

As a freshman in high school I have

been taking classes at Lincoln for about six

months, but I have never set foot inside a

Lincoln classroom. I have been able to keep

up with my classes. However, many other

students in Oregon and across the country

have not been as fortunate.

According to an article from The Washington

Post and an article from Greenville

News, class failure rates have skyrocketed

since online school started in school

systems from Fairfax County, Virginia, to

Greenville, South Carolina.

Many less privileged students rely on

school for meals, physical activity and

healthcare. Also, online school is especially

challenging for students who cannot get

help with mental health problems. Additionally,

being social and making friends is

a big part of school for freshman and new

students like myself. This is taken away by

online school.

I acknowledge the people pushing for

school to stay online, and that they believe

it is unsafe for students and staff to return

because of COVID-19. But as vaccines are

distributed, daily cases in Oregon continue

to drop. According to an article from NPR,

research found that there is no evidence

that reopening schools causes cases to rise.

When schools in Oregon do re-open it will

be with many precautions. But it is important

that they do sooner rather than later as

students’ struggles with online school could

affect their future.

Declan McCurdy is a student at Lincoln

High School

In response to increased vaccine

availability and inevitable reopenings

Due to the rollout of vaccines, through

the next few months and hopefully by

the end of the year, we are hoping to get

COVID-19 under control so our society can

return to the normal state it once was in.

What is this going to look like? How quickly

will our society return to “normal” again?

Vaccines are slowly becoming more

available to the public— first to elders,

healthcare workers and other first responders

and soon to all adults. When my mom

went to get her vaccine recently, she went

to the Moda Center where the US Army Reserves

were helping organize the event and

all of the details. This can go on to show

how much people care about others and

how they are willing to devote a lot of effort

to helping everyone get one step closer to

getting rid of this disease. We are all in this

together and it’s going to take some time.

How is society going to change? I feel

like some things are going to feel different

forever. What is happening right now is

history that people are going to be reading

about for a long time. I think people will

be wearing masks even after the pandemic

ends because it’s now a routine in our daily

lives to wear a mask. A lot of businesses and

people will be more cautious about safety

and distancing, and I think for a while it’s

just going to feel weird being out in society

again, with other people, interacting with

the world.

As we are around the corner for summer,

please do your part by wearing a mask

and socially distancing appropriately when

you’re around other people. You can start

making a change that will be a part of the

difference for when we as a society can end

this pandemic.

Jonas Brodsky is a student at Lincoln High

School

In response to increasing mental

health issues during online school

Online school has taken a toll on my

mental health, and I’m sure I’m not the

only one. Constant assignments and to-do

lists make the days feel like a constant loop;

it’s hard to break that pattern and take time

for myself. Students need to focus on their

mental health and work on taking care of

themselves during this rough time.

According to the National Association of

School Psychologists, “Left unmet, mental

health problems are linked to costly negative

outcomes such as academic and behavior

problems.”

I have found that exercise allows me to

release energy and be more productive

when I return to doing school work. Experts

have found that exercise relieves tension

and stress and boosts overall wellbeing

through the release of endorphins. Exercise

is easy to do at home, and I suggest that

students who need a break should try and

find twenty minutes to fit in a workout.

With online school, people aren’t very

motivated to reach out, but by giving friends

or family members a call, you are strengthening

your own mental health. The Mental

Health Foundation says, “Strong family ties

and supportive friends can help you deal

with the stresses of life.” Having good mental

health helps keep you focused in school

and having someone to talk to gives you a

person to share your feelings with. Being

productive can be hard, but after taking a

break and talking to someone, it is much

easier to focus on the task at hand.

Overall, I know online school has been

rough and we are all anxious to get life back

to “normal,” but normalizing taking a little

time for ourselves and focusing on our

mental health will help make the last few

months of online school a little more bearable.

Isabella Hartman is a student at Lincoln

High School

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