Lori's Book Nook

Archive for the ‘Utopian/Dystopian’ Category

Yikes! I’m 23 days into the #95books challenge (my first post on that), and only 7 books in…and no real theme to my reading. But that’s not new – and I fully intend on following my nose from book to book.

Continuing the list:

#5 – Julie Powell‘s Julie & Julia: My Year of Cooking Dangerously. I enjoyed the movie – the pseudo-biopic with the delightful Meryl Streep as Julia Child – so thought that reading Powell’s memoir of cooking through Child’s classic cookbook would be fun. It feel off a thrift store shelf into my hand, so that was an easy decision, honestly. In the end, it an amusing bit of trifle, with a lot of honesty and personal anguish: “And as the week progressed the throbbing of my biological clock syncopated with my crepe anxiety until they formed one jazz rhythm.”

#6 – Carol Shields’ Pulitzer Prize-winning Unless. Again, a novel that dropped off a shelf in the thrift store that I’d been meaning to read. Shields’ prose is smooth, deceptively simple, the story carrying the reader along until you realize that you’re deep into it, unable to leave it. The link above is to a Salon review that has a line that struck me as being very descriptive of the experience:

Shields’ fiction has always had this sort of stealth spikiness, like soft fish that, when bitten into, turns up a web of bone, or like that sweet middle-aged lady next door when you were growing up, who turns out to have been watching you more shrewdly and understanding you more completely than you ever suspected.

#7 – Kurt Busiek & Cary Nord’s graphic novel of Richard E. Howard’s stories Conan: The Frost-Giant’s Daughter and Other Stories. Yes! A graphic novel is a book. An early set of stories by Howard, this lovely collection of comics was a hardcover gift to my husband at Christmas. It’s a good yarn, and the story reminds us to beware of what we wish for – always a good lesson.

So…what’s next on the pile to be read? I’ll let you know soon enough!

Every once in awhile someone hands me a book and says “Read this!” Sometimes it’s because (1) they’ve written it,  (2) they’ve tasked me with reviewing, (3) they think we have the same taste, or (4) they know we have the same taste….

The best is (4), of course. So when my friend handed me a book, saying “you must read this!” — I believed her.

Nick Harkaway’s The Gone-Away World (2008)….a book that blew me away as much as the original movie The Matrix. It’s speculative fiction from word ‘go’ — you know from the first that this is not our current reality (maybe it’s the pig-run generator?), and you also know right from the start that this will be an experience. The writing is fast, furious and delightfully…uh…fucked up.

Do not read any more reviews of this book: Reviewers are notoriously awful at keeping the best bits secret. Do not ask anyone else about this book:  They might let out a spoiler or two.

I will allow you a quote or two, because really, the writing it out-of-this-world. Here’s one of my favourites:

“You have to worry about someone even mimes find creepy.”

You get no more from me on this…find it. Read it.

Cheers,

Lori

…what my good friend Raincoaster said when I informed her that the most interesting link today to this blog was the result of a search for “dystopian poems for kids”.

Seriously, folks.  Children don’t want to read dystopian literature any more than they want to read poetry.

But I know I’m wrong. The Giver by Lois Lowry is unrelenting in its popularity, despite being a dystopia (and now they’re making a movie of it?)

What are your favourite dystopian novels?

Today would be a good day to comment on the classic SF genre of dystopian lit. You know the books: 1984, A Brave New World, The Handmaid’s Tale…books about totalitarian governments that use media manipulation and torture, among other techniques, to control their populations.

Why today? If you’ve been sleeping the last couple of days, then you may have missed the scary news that the Shrub, and the USA, are well on their way to bringing the nightmare of the dystopian world view to reality…the Powers That Be can now torture to their cold hearts’ content. Here’s raincoaster on the topic, and Metro.

On a related note, here is Creatrix on the state of art education in the USA — a report that again makes me glad I don’t live there.

Dystopian literature is supposed to be a labratory for what should not be, not a blueprint for the way a government could function…


Book Discussion Pages

Here on the Book Nook you can discuss: The Fifth Business by Robertson Davies, as well as the next two books in the Deptford Trilogy, The Manticore and World of Wonders, and if that's not enough for you, see what's up on the forums at BookTalk.org!