librarianreadseverything:

The Giver is the softest dystopian future I’ve read. In fact, I’d be hard-pressed to even call it dystopian, when compared to books like The Maze Runner, The Hunger Games, and more closely-related, Brave New World. In the third, society was gentle and without the ravaging conflict of the first two, and so the question becomes, “At what price?” Even 1984, while peaceful, required the heavy hand of government. But Brave New World and The Giver both have progressed to the point where civilization accepts their lots in life, and make the most of it. So we’re left to question whether this gentler, softer version is worth the price of loss of contrast. Is it better to ride the roller coaster or the kiddie train? As I mentioned in my discussion of Brave New World, it’s easy to empathize with the hero and say society is missing out. But once again, with The Giver, I think it’s a question that shouldn’t be so easily dismissed. I look forward to talking with the student who recommended this to hear their thoughts on the proposition offered in The Giver.
Book 22 of 189

librarianreadseverything:

The Giver is the softest dystopian future I’ve read. In fact, I’d be hard-pressed to even call it dystopian, when compared to books like The Maze Runner, The Hunger Games, and more closely-related, Brave New World. In the third, society was gentle and without the ravaging conflict of the first two, and so the question becomes, “At what price?” Even 1984, while peaceful, required the heavy hand of government. But Brave New World and The Giver both have progressed to the point where civilization accepts their lots in life, and make the most of it. So we’re left to question whether this gentler, softer version is worth the price of loss of contrast. Is it better to ride the roller coaster or the kiddie train? As I mentioned in my discussion of Brave New World, it’s easy to empathize with the hero and say society is missing out. But once again, with The Giver, I think it’s a question that shouldn’t be so easily dismissed. I look forward to talking with the student who recommended this to hear their thoughts on the proposition offered in The Giver.

Book 22 of 189

Reblogged from librarianreadseverything

librarianreadseverything:

Reading just the first book in a trilogy (or in this case, a tetralogy) is just taunting. I mean, each of the books are usually semi-contained so you do get a climactic moment and some resolution, but the questions that are set out in the first 100 pages are left WIDE OPEN. All this to say that despite the age of the protagonist and the overall feel of the novel, I will probably come back and finish off the last four at some point. Now, on to the novel itself.
I can’t say that it was drastically different than many other fantasy novels. It had that same farm boy who doesn’t know his true past is plucked out of obscurity and destined for bigger things style exemplified by The Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan (and Brandon Sanderson). It also has the competing factions all trying to gain control of the new power character.
What was different, and I certainly enjoyed, was the setup of the cycle’s antagonist, Galbatorix, who controls (prior to Saphira) the only living dragon, as well as two of the remaining three dragon eggs. I’m interested to see how this battle ensues as the power shifts, as well as what happens with the other two dragon eggs. The other thing I enjoyed was the idea that spells could be cast that required more than the person who cast them could give. Other novels have utilized the idea of magic using life energy, but this was the first where someone could cast one that would cost his/her own life without being able to stop it. It introduced these limitations post-spellcast as opposed to pre-spellcast, and also without the caster knowing whether or not it would kill them beforehand. It’s just an interesting plot device that I haven’t seen utilized.
Finally, Paolini wrote and published this first book when was 18. He’s 30 years old and has already had numerous bestsellers, and is the Guinness World Record holder as youngest author of a bestselling book series. When I was 18 I was publishing bad poetry on Geocities. Ridiculous.
Book 21 of 189

librarianreadseverything:

Reading just the first book in a trilogy (or in this case, a tetralogy) is just taunting. I mean, each of the books are usually semi-contained so you do get a climactic moment and some resolution, but the questions that are set out in the first 100 pages are left WIDE OPEN. All this to say that despite the age of the protagonist and the overall feel of the novel, I will probably come back and finish off the last four at some point. Now, on to the novel itself.

I can’t say that it was drastically different than many other fantasy novels. It had that same farm boy who doesn’t know his true past is plucked out of obscurity and destined for bigger things style exemplified by The Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan (and Brandon Sanderson). It also has the competing factions all trying to gain control of the new power character.

What was different, and I certainly enjoyed, was the setup of the cycle’s antagonist, Galbatorix, who controls (prior to Saphira) the only living dragon, as well as two of the remaining three dragon eggs. I’m interested to see how this battle ensues as the power shifts, as well as what happens with the other two dragon eggs. The other thing I enjoyed was the idea that spells could be cast that required more than the person who cast them could give. Other novels have utilized the idea of magic using life energy, but this was the first where someone could cast one that would cost his/her own life without being able to stop it. It introduced these limitations post-spellcast as opposed to pre-spellcast, and also without the caster knowing whether or not it would kill them beforehand. It’s just an interesting plot device that I haven’t seen utilized.

Finally, Paolini wrote and published this first book when was 18. He’s 30 years old and has already had numerous bestsellers, and is the Guinness World Record holder as youngest author of a bestselling book series. When I was 18 I was publishing bad poetry on Geocities. Ridiculous.

Book 21 of 189

Reblogged from librarianreadseverything

librarianreadseverything:

This is one of the hmmmm what’s the best descriptive word…darkest, deepest…INTENSE coming-of-age novels I’ve read. It pairs coming of age with the intense inner anxiety of Dostoyevsky’s Crime and Punishment. You can feel the inner angst of Sinclair as he ages and becomes more self-aware. The duality of his inner and outer self, particularly in relation to his family, recalls Raskolnikov. 
The book is darker than most of Hesse’s novels, but he fabulously uses the age of his narrator to draw forward the theme. The book is not an easy read, but requires your entirety. Should you give it, you won’t regret.
Book 20 of 189

librarianreadseverything:

This is one of the hmmmm what’s the best descriptive word…darkest, deepest…INTENSE coming-of-age novels I’ve read. It pairs coming of age with the intense inner anxiety of Dostoyevsky’s Crime and Punishment. You can feel the inner angst of Sinclair as he ages and becomes more self-aware. The duality of his inner and outer self, particularly in relation to his family, recalls Raskolnikov. 

The book is darker than most of Hesse’s novels, but he fabulously uses the age of his narrator to draw forward the theme. The book is not an easy read, but requires your entirety. Should you give it, you won’t regret.

Book 20 of 189

Reblogged from librarianreadseverything

librarianreadseverything:

In reading Being There, I found myself traveling two different avenues regarding Chance, aka Chauncey Gardiner. On the one avenue, the book contained such an interesting insight into our society. Kosinski pushes to the top a man of simplicity, who arrives there through the use of simple platitudes and repetition of what others are telling him. He literally starts off his rise by parroting back the last few words the person speaking to him has said. They take that as agreement, and propel him forward. It says that what we want is just to hear ourselves speak. We seek only ears.
The other avenue, more tenuously reflected, was Peter Keating in The Fountainhead. Keating is Chance with ambition. Keating spends much of The Fountainhead trying to move to the top, but it’s his method that mirrors Chance. In a critical passage of the book, Keating and Howard Roark are together, and Howard notes that Peter Keating is substantially nothing - he purposefully acts as a mirror, parroting back whatever he’s being told. 
Chance is some combination of both a mirror and something more - a sculptor’s clay. In the beginning, he merely parrots back what he hears, but he becomes more than a reflection through the course of the book. He becomes clay and is shaped into whomever is speaking wants him to be. Each person literally fashions him into whatever purpose suits them best. 
A really interesting satirical work, relatively short, but it leaves you with a lot to ponder about society.
Book 19 of 189

librarianreadseverything:

In reading Being There, I found myself traveling two different avenues regarding Chance, aka Chauncey Gardiner. On the one avenue, the book contained such an interesting insight into our society. Kosinski pushes to the top a man of simplicity, who arrives there through the use of simple platitudes and repetition of what others are telling him. He literally starts off his rise by parroting back the last few words the person speaking to him has said. They take that as agreement, and propel him forward. It says that what we want is just to hear ourselves speak. We seek only ears.

The other avenue, more tenuously reflected, was Peter Keating in The Fountainhead. Keating is Chance with ambition. Keating spends much of The Fountainhead trying to move to the top, but it’s his method that mirrors Chance. In a critical passage of the book, Keating and Howard Roark are together, and Howard notes that Peter Keating is substantially nothing - he purposefully acts as a mirror, parroting back whatever he’s being told. 

Chance is some combination of both a mirror and something more - a sculptor’s clay. In the beginning, he merely parrots back what he hears, but he becomes more than a reflection through the course of the book. He becomes clay and is shaped into whomever is speaking wants him to be. Each person literally fashions him into whatever purpose suits them best. 

A really interesting satirical work, relatively short, but it leaves you with a lot to ponder about society.

Book 19 of 189

Reblogged from librarianreadseverything

librarianreadseverything:

One of the classics of literature, it offers a magnificent glimpse at the workings of guilt on the human consciousness.  The gradual and inescapable grind of each moment as Raskolnikov tries to deal with the internal consequences of his crime are exquisitely written.  It becomes nearly as hard for the reader to deal with the emotions as it is for Raskolnikov.  A few times I had to put the book down and remind myself that I wasn’t accused of any crime, so deeply had I fallen into the novel!  
Book 18 of 189

librarianreadseverything:

One of the classics of literature, it offers a magnificent glimpse at the workings of guilt on the human consciousness.  The gradual and inescapable grind of each moment as Raskolnikov tries to deal with the internal consequences of his crime are exquisitely written.  It becomes nearly as hard for the reader to deal with the emotions as it is for Raskolnikov.  A few times I had to put the book down and remind myself that I wasn’t accused of any crime, so deeply had I fallen into the novel!  

Book 18 of 189

Reblogged from librarianreadseverything