#questus libris Luyang

[New command released]

iLoveENGL137: Okay! Let me have a look!

(Robot moves to the screen)


[New commend: Search the texts for ENGL137 in 15 minutes]

iLoveENGL137: You guys know I am always the best. This job is so easy for me!

Come on, guys! Give me more challenging work!

[Time left: 14:59]

[Time left: 14:58]

[Time left: 14:57]

iLoveENGL137: Well, let’s start. Connect to Sakai. Go to resources and filter all the texts with online links.

Emmm… Books and Scrolls Check!

The Nature of Book Check!

The Printing Press as an Agent of Change Check!


iLoveENGL137: All are saved to my online drive for further use. See? I told you this job is easy for me. (Sigh) The direct links on Sakai make the searching job convenient but I also lack the opportunities to choose my favorite version from other possible alternatives. Also, it makes my job seem to be boring and tedious. I want to enjoy the fun of searching! (Sigh) Let me see what is next.

(Robot moves several steps)

Wait! Shall I print them? Printed materials are easy for notetaking. Also, reading printed texts fits perfectly with the subject of these materials. Good idea! Let me print them!


[Printing job completed]

iLoveENGL137: I am a so considerate robot! The next are those without links. Emmm… Let me try The man of the Crowd. Connect to Google and click search.

[Search failed…]

[Access denied…]

iLoveENGL137: What? Google, my sincere friend, please!

Okay. Let me try another way.

Connect to UNC Library. Type The man of the Crowd and click search.


iLoveENGL137: UNC Library, please!

(Robot enters his username and password)

[Access allowed…]

iLoveENGL137: Awesome! UNC Library is always my final resort. Love it! Whenever I could not get access to some academic resources searched on Google, UNC Library will never disappoint me! Also, the library gives me more options. I could compare them and find out my favorite version. This process brings me lots of fun as well as a sense of accomplishment.

[Time left: 9:03]

[Time left: 9:02]

iLoveENGL137: Okay! No more compliments! What is next?

Emmm…. Pierre: or the Ambiguities

[Online resources accessed from UNC Library]

iLoveENGL137: Great! The task is completed. So easy!

Wait. What is on the screen?

[Double points for the hard copy]

iLoveENGL137: Hard copy for Pierre? Challenge accepted!

Search UNC Library for location.

[Davis Library 8th floor PS2384.P5]

iLoveENGL137: Okay! A short tour!

(Robots moves to the library and goes to the 8th floor)

Well. What does PS2384.P5 mean?

[Time left: 2:47]

[Time left: 2:46]

iLoveENGL137: Time is running out!

Look for the letter “P”!

[Book shelf detected]

iLoveENGL137: P…



(Robots turns around his head and search the shelf from left to right)

[Time left: 0:24]

[Time left: 0:23]

iLoveENGL137: I get it! Pierre: or the Ambiguities! Hard Copy!


[Task Completed]

[Double Points]

iLoveENGL137: The hard copy searching is the hardest, which is like a treasure hunting. I need to find out the location online, interpret the location correctly and come to the place as soon as possible in case that other robots come in front of me. You need some luck! But, I told you! I am always the best! Harder task next time!

(Robot moves away slowly)

#questusreviewus S-Town Review – Luyang

John wrote the suicide note a long time ago. But, why did he choose to kill himself at that particular time, especially after closer contact with the podcast reporter? Was it a deliberate plan of John or a spur of the moment? I kept asking myself those questions when I listened to the rest of the podcast. Suddenly, I realized the death of John might be a unique way of him to let the world hear his voice: his complaints about the Shittown, his insights about the world and his understanding of life: tedious and brief. John was incompatible with the world. He had so many complaints about the world: climate change, the society collapse, and the Shittown. He wanted to express such feelings to the outside and gain some comforts or belongings. But his negative emotions were so contagious that his friends could not stand. Olin was one of them, and from the reaction of the podcast reporter, I thought Brain did not take John’s words seriously neither until he heard the news of a covered “death”. Brain’s visit to the town was definitely not for John but for the mystery of “death”. I always considered whether Brain would still do a podcast relevant to John or the town if there was no follow-up after proving the “death” to be a rumor. I voted “No!” So did John? John might realize his channel to the world was cut. He could not tell more people about how shitty the town was and how disappointing the world was. The podcast was a media for John. It was a bridge accessible to John to reach the rest of the world. But the podcast reporter was not interested in John’s endless talking or complaints. Brain was definitely more obsessed with death, mysterious death! Certainly, I did not know why John committed suicide at that time. But I could not help myself chaining all the factors together and speculate the existence of podcast played a role in John’s decision. John’s suicide might be deliberate. He chose this timing to shock Brain, let him dig his stories and catalyze the whole podcast. Life is tedious and brief. John considered suicide for a long time. He could not ignore the question: Die in silence or die with full attention. John had his own choice. Finally, he utilized the podcast as a media speaking a loud voice to the world at the end of his life. Life was tedious and brief but his voice was durably recorded and heard by others.


Wait. What did John want to say? Was his queer relationship with men? Was the postmortem battle on the property? No! Definitely not! He wanted to use his death to accuse the town and the world. He wanted to reveal the problems of the town and his insights about the world. But Brain, the podcast reporter, totally deviated from his intention. Brain focused on John’s private life, possible treasures, and the battle on his property. Especially, I was unpleasant about the content relevant to John’s private life. There was no ethics! Yeah, John was dead. But it did not mean he gave Brain the consent to freely discuss his privacy in public. It is worth mentioning that Brain even summarized the words of John to the audiences after John clearly asked him to stop recording. But, at least these words were exactly from John himself. How could we deal with the words from his friends about John’s private life? No matter they were true or not, these comments or stories about John’s private life were also durably recorded in the podcast. These words built our understanding of John as a person and poor John had no opportunity to alter or modify the information. John’s character, especially in the portion of his personal life, was fixed or constrained by the words of his friends. We would never have a chance to verify those stories. After the podcast, we did know a person named John B. McLemore. Is he real John B. McLemore in the world? No, just a character John B. McLemore in Brain’s podcast.

The Night Circus #questusreviewus – Luyang Jia

As audiobooks came on stage in the 1970s, the comparison between audiobooks and traditional books never ends. I was a firm supporter of traditional books but the experience of listening to The Night Circus swayed my mind.

The Night Circus is a book with numerous magical elements adding to the real world. After I tried both the audiobook and traditional reading, I was surprised to notice that the story I heard from the audiobook seemed to be more convincing and fascinating than the one I read online.

When I read the book, I felt the circus is isolated from the rest of the society and magical elements are split from the real world. Although the story has a clear time setting from 1873 to 1903 and location changes among London, New York, and Paris, these backgrounds are little developed. When the circus is traveling around the world, the author fails to include local customs or cultural features to differentiate these places and increase the sense of reality. Also, the author fails to connect the major events happened in the late 19th century to the story, which isolates the circus from the rest world. Science development and the Second Industrial Revolution are good covers to explain some magical elements and increase the sense of reality, but the author did not do that.

When I listened to the audiobook, these problems also happened. But the voice of an old man increases the story’s credibility and better integrates the magical elements with the real world. Use a 0.75 speed and listen to this book. It is like an elderly man is recalling his own story happened in his youth, or, he is telling some mysteries of his ancestors. I felt a sense of reality in the time setting. The aged voice made the story sound like an ancient and mysterious legend in the real world. If the audiobook could add some sound effects to differentiate the cities that the circus has traveled, the audience will have better experiences and the story will be more realistic.

Besides the background setting, the plot also seemed to be less realistic when I read it than I listened to it. During the reading process, I wish I am from the perspective of God, an omniscient God. So, I would feel unpleasant if many questions are unanswered at the end. The Night Circus does not tell me why Celia and Macro fall in love so quickly, why Hector and Mr. A.H. start this game and where they come from. These questions make the story become incomplete pieces and lack of credibility.

when I listened to the audiobook, I felt I was from the perspective of the aged man, who is telling a story of his own or the story of his ancestor. I would accept all the questions to remain unanswered since It makes sense if he cannot know all things from his perspective. Instead of losing credibility in traditional reading, these unanswered questions increase the sense of reality in the audiobook. It is less realistic if the aged man knows everything and tells the story from the perspective of God, isn’t it?

After the above comparison and analysis, I notice audiobook is more like a person-to-person conversation and may contribute unexpected benefits. For The Night Circus, the audiobook greatly compensates the sense of unreality in the traditional book, enhances the integration of magical elements realistic world, and makes the story more fascinating.

#questusreviewus Pierre review – Luyang Jia

Luyang rated it   

I should admit the unexpected plot did attract me and draw me to do a continuous reading from the start to the end. However, there is a big gap in legibility between the plot and philosophy. The obscure and elusive philosophy between chapters always interrupted the narrative. It echoed with the book name. Trick readers by adding unnecessary ambiguities. This reminded me of the words in Poe’s the man of the crowd. “ ‘er lasst sich nicht lesen’- it does not permit itself to be read.” The ambiguous philosophy cannot be read since it is hard to be interpreted. Readers do not know what the author really wanted to tell us from the “Greenwich time” in the pamphlet or the stone appeared frequently. I felt isolation between plot and philosophy, especially when the whole book is unreasonably split into two parts, emphasizing morality in the first one and changing its theme to publication at last.


All three stars are for the plot. After reading this story, I fell into deep consideration of Pierre’s maturity. Living in a rural meadow, inheriting wealth and pride form family, and filling with the love from mom and Lucy, Pierre is an innocent boy in the center of the Utopian World. This unique background cultivates his qualities and paves the way for every decision he makes. He is simple and innocent, so he believes all the words Isabel says without further investigation. He is kind and full of love. So, he decides to protect Isabel and gives her a legal identity. Finally, he is obsessed with family pride and afraid of his mom, so, he hesitates to disclose Isabel’s existence to the world. A fake marriage is a decision likely to be made by someone like Pierre and it is actually a clever solution I would agree. (Though there is still a debate about whether the marriage is real or not, I would prefer it to be a fake marriage at least in the beginning of the story.) But, the sudden departure and the action to conceal the truth from Lucy and his mom are unacceptable. This behavior, rather than the fake marriage, shows how immature Pierre is and leads to the final tragedy. Pierre is immature since he unwisely gives up all the things in the Utopia world and leaves the Meadow without considering the consequences or other alternative solutions. Also, he unnecessarily hurts his mom and Lucy. He is guided not by the rationality but his own mind. After realizing this, I started to consider whether Pierre is also immature in the decision of publication. Certainly, he seems to be irrational. Pierre wants to publicize a book which might ruin all the reputation he earned before. Pierre is once again guided by his heart, not by the rationality. So, is this decision immature? I am not sure. I thought Pierre knows the possible consequences this time, and he has an intense struggle before this decision. He dislikes novels in the contemporary market and the book he writes is a rebellion to the publication world. Pierre is a projection of Melville himself. Didn’t Melville know the book Pierre might not be acceptable by the public? He knew! The outcome of character Pierre’s book is the predicting result of Melville’s publication of Pierre. Melville created a situation similar to his for Pierre. The author used the character Pierre’s psychological struggle to express his concerns about the book Pierre. The decision is clear. Both Melville and Pierre chose to publicize the book even at a cost of their reputation and wealth. They want to yell out their own voice through the book. They want to rebel the contemporary publication market. They want freedom in writing. Pierre becomes mature at the end. His book is a deliberate rebellion and he is fighting for what he values most.