Mini Synopsis: This is a classic dystopian science fiction novel written by a “Grand Master” of the genre. It tells of a future world where books areMini Synopsis: This is a classic dystopian science fiction novel written by a “Grand Master” of the genre. It tells of a future world where books are illegal. They are burned by firemen whose sole purpose in life is to rid society of their supposed evils. Where the members of this society are indoctrinated with an audio/video infused system that produces a collective numbness. The main character Montag is one of these firemen, whom after some internal conflict comes to a transitional point in his life where he questions the loss of books and their importance to humanity. My thoughts: I listened to this book on an audio version on my iPod which was read by the author. It was my first book downloaded this way and I had some problems listening to it in order. In addition, when I first read Fahrenheit 451 when I was in high school the only thing I remember is my own teenage boredom. So naturally my thoughts are still a bit “choppy” around the book. However, I do know that revisiting it again in middle age, I can now relate to its significance as to why it was required reading for high school in the late 70’s. I believe it was to show us, as young adults, a significant precept in the US constitution - the right of our freedom of speech – specifically the press. So it was an indirect lesson in civics. The story reminds me that it is important to remember, and I truly believe, that information - specifically in this example books, should not be censored. Instead, labeled as we do with the movie industry’s rating system so that the individual has a choice, but never banned. It is a slippery slope if even one of our basic rights be dismissed or controlled as exemplified in this society. If I had not been so possessed with teenage apathy in my first so called reading of this book then perhaps I would have gotten half of the author's point. Here I finish with a quote which is significant on the issue of one of the gifts books bring us:
… books are to remind us what asses and fools we are. They're Caesar's praetorian guard, whispering as the parade roars down the avenue, 'Remember, Caesar, thou art mortal.' Most of us can't rush around, talk to everyone, know all the cities of the world, we haven't time, money or that many friends. The things you're looking for, Montag, are in the world, but the only way the average chap will ever see ninety-nine per cent of them is in a book. Don't ask for guarantees. And don't look to be saved in any one thing, person, machine, or library. Do your own bit of saving, and if you drown, at least die knowing you were headed for shore.
My rating for the book is 3 out of 5 stars. Translation - I Iiked it and recommend it for anyone interested in classic Science Fiction. ...more
A multilayered award winning tale of interwoven romances. Set in two different centuries and connected ingOriginal review posted at Layers of Thought.
A multilayered award winning tale of interwoven romances. Set in two different centuries and connected ingeniously through letters and journals. It has elements which include faeries, myth, poetry, science, feminism, lgbt, and Victoriana.
Setting: Primarily set in the late 1980s in London we have a variety of academics whose interests lie in a celebrated poet’s life and work - Randolph Henry Ash. He is a source of intense exploration and historical interest for these scholars, as they research his body of work in their highly competitive environment. From their findings on his life during the mid to late 1800’s it appears Ash led a very quiet and uneventful life. But as one researcher finds out via misplaced letters, they are very wrong.
Thus begins the recovery of the missing pieces that will fill in the blanks for this group of academics, who become ever more obsessed as they struggle to be the first to piece together the juicy details that are alluded to in the new findings. As two of the scholars try and answer their questions they find themselves traipsing to various areas in England and France to find the answers.
Sound simple? Not a chance - there is so much more. This convoluted story will take you back to a very different time, but there is also a wealth of incredible subplots and threads.
Thoughts: I started and abandoned Possession several times. Giving up on try number two, I thought the writing to be inaccessible, overly intellectual and boringly academic. Now I am thinking one develops “reading muscles”, and considering my years of hiatus from reading fiction I was out of shape. Having read bits about the book’s elements since, I realized the book fits inside a favorite circle of my interests. I gave it another try in audio.
This unabridged audio version was read by Virginia Leishman, and she moderates her voice for each of the character’s while changing accents - ranging from English to Scottish to American and with a believable voice for changes in gender. Excellently done, my only “complaint” is that the narrator’s voice is so pleasant she lulled me to sleep on various occasions. So listening while tired or sleepy is not recommended.
The novel has some interesting elements and literary techniques interwoven inside it. These include threads about fairies, what appears to be paranormal events, and scientific research – including the collection of insect, plant and sea life (all popular with the gentry during Victorian times). The author also expertly uses several literary devices; for example, the usage of poetry as a preclusion to the chapters called epigraphs. Through this method the author has written and included some complex poetry. Lastly the story is told via letters and journal entries making it epistolary.
Not a fluffy romance, it is a complex, realistic yet sad romance – where real life choices and their consequences are exemplified and I liked that it does not end with everyone living happily ever after. In summary, Possession is out of the ordinary, intellectual and academic – making it a book that not everyone will enjoy. It is also descriptive, metaphorical, dense and an amazing work of fiction. It deserves a rare 5 stars in my opinion. ...more
I really enjoyed this fast moving, young adult novel. I love strong female characters and fantasy so this was an easy read for me. I would recommend itI really enjoyed this fast moving, young adult novel. I love strong female characters and fantasy so this was an easy read for me. I would recommend it to anyone whom enjoys light fantasy/adventure, especially women over the age of 14 (it contains light sexual content and issues.) Katsa the main character is a Graceling. Gracelings are gifted with special skills beyond the normal human. Katsa's special gift allows her to kill anyone at will. She is consequently used for this skill by her uncle, a King, against her own beliefs and will. Katsa is also in conflict with her strong, and independent personality which challenges the traditional values of what kind of life a woman should want and choose - commitment, marriage, and children versus independence and the freedom to live her life and use her gifts as she chooses. This is the author's first book, she has a Masters degree in children's literature, which shows through in her plot, character development, and slightly unconventional ending. I think there may be room for a sequel? :)
Mini Synopsis: An unnamed man and his boy are faced with trying to survive on a post apocalyptic earth. The cause of this is alluded to but never fullyMini Synopsis: An unnamed man and his boy are faced with trying to survive on a post apocalyptic earth. The cause of this is alluded to but never fully explained. They are traveling on a road toward the coast in the futile hope of finding sustenance – food, clean water, life, and like minded companionship. Their world is ashen, and no other life exists except a few wandering survivors and bands of lawless thugs. Resources are scarce since it is apparently years after the actual event and most have been already used by the remaining survivors. As they struggle and travel theirs becomes a story of horror, familial love, sadness, and an almost impossible hope for survival. My Thoughts: I rated it unusually – it swings bluntly between 2.5 stars and 4.5 – on balance it it 3.5 stars. For the highest rating of this swing I gave The Road, I can say It was incredible. I felt such strong emotions as I read this book. As I read I felt the loss, pain, and horror. It left an empty feeling deep in the pit of my stomach - very real. The writing flows and is broken up into small sections making it easier to digest since it has a heart wrenching effect. Most importantly, I found myself thinking about it as during the day. The problem that I had with this book was that within the simple text and realistic dialog between son and father, there were little sections of which were impossible for me to understand. Small and short as they were - they appeared to be describing very intense emotions. I just did not “get these little bits”. Feeling a little dense - I even read them to my husband and he expressed the same perspective. (Because of this he probably will not read the book.) In Summary I recommend this book, if you can overlook the parts that I am describing, or perhaps you will not notice them at all. I seldom give above a 4 star rating so parts of the book are exceptional. ...more
Set in Ireland around WWII this sad memoir tells of another time and another country. I do know that its is very wet and mostly cold over in the UK. ISet in Ireland around WWII this sad memoir tells of another time and another country. I do know that its is very wet and mostly cold over in the UK. I have never been to Ireland but from my understanding it is even "wetter" than England. Having been to England 8 times in the last 6 years and my experience is that it is almost always wet, even in July. I cannot imagine living in the conditions that this poor boy and his family lived in light of my experiences of the area. McCourt also tells of his experiences with books and how it at times helped him escape and dream of another life, which as readers most of us can relate....more
A young adult dystopian that sounds so realistic in the audio version that it’s frightening. Funny and heaOriginal review posted on Layers of Thought.
A young adult dystopian that sounds so realistic in the audio version that it’s frightening. Funny and heartbreaking, it will help readers think about what our world could become if capitalistic advertising is allowed to run wild in combination with technology.
About: It appears that Titus is a regular teenager, the only difference is that in his world everyone has a “feed” implanted in their brain. It transmits constant personalized ads into their vision and auditory senses, including a way to keep in constant contact with anyone at anytime. It’s responsible for the fact that actual reading has become a thing of the past, since all communications are voice and thought activated via the “feed”. Sadly, also in this world the oceans are toxic, sterile, and no fish exist all in response to their rampant consumerism.
It's all too normal for Titus and his friends. As they party, take trips to the moon, and ingest the occasional mind altering substance, they lead their “normal lives” with a “party on attitude”. However, this world view is about to change when Titus meets a girl named Violet who is very different from anyone he knows. He begins to realize that, along with all the teen fun and games, there is an underlying angst and horror which they are all trying desperately to ignore and marginalize.
Thoughts: I enjoyed listening to this book in audio, with its well done and interesting sound effects. Told in first person by Titus, it’s coupled with their future version of “teen speak”. I dare you not to go around calling friends and family members “Unit” instead of “Dude” or other current young adult colloquialism. There was a romantic element to the story which is told from the guy’s perspective which I enjoyed. With a realistic ending that is not your “drive into the sunset” cliché. There are a good number of interesting science based elements in addition to the implant – including cloning and hover cars, however the best bit is how the actual feed sounds in this audio version that I think is particularly brilliant.
I enjoyed this novel in audio and would recommend it for any teen (adult too) who enjoys a good dystopian. I could even imagine using the written version within the classroom as a modern day trade out for 1984 and Fahrenheit 451, or perhaps in tandem with required high school readings; giving a fresher perspective to the classics. I give this audio version a 4 stars, since in addition to the author’s creative technological ideas which are a key to the book, the reader and audio producer have also contributed to create a darkly funny and all to realistic “listen”....more