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Pick-a-Shelf: Monthly -Archive > 2010-03 - Dystopia - Post March Reviews Here

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message 1: by Sara (new)

Sara (hoot31) | 196 comments Finished The Maze Runner and was not impressed. I give it 3 stars. I feel that it was poorly written and I didn't like the slang in the book, I found it distracting. Don't recommend it.


message 2: by Karen (new)

Karen (karenofthebookworm) Finished Shades of Grey: The Road to High Saffron,really enjoyed this. I did struggle to get into it in the beginning but I think this is partly because it is so different to the Thursday Next series which I love. As the first in the series it does a good job of introducing the characters and I can't wait for the next one.


message 3: by Tina (new)

Tina | 232 comments I finished The Hunger Gamesby Suzanne Collins and absolutely loved it. I went into it thinking that it'll be a quick read and it was--only because I couldn't put it down!

The writing was engaging, the concept intriguing, the only thing I didn't like was the love triangle that is being set up. . .but that's only because I hate the thought of one of the characters being hurt-I like all three! I'm definitely going to check out her other books.


message 4: by Karen (new)

Karen (karenofthebookworm) Just finished The Hunger Games and I loved it. I agree with everything Tina said about it.


message 5: by Natalie (new)

Natalie (nchhynes) | 55 comments Animal Farm by George Orwell, an intriguing dystopian novella, reveals the effects of corrupt leadership and gullible citizens. As the plot unfolds, Manor Farm in the English countryside is taken over by its animal inhabitants. The new porcine management renames it Animal Farm and establishes the philosophy of Animalism based on seven commandments:
1. Whatever goes up on two legs is an enemy
2. Whatever goes up on four legs, or has wings, is a friend
3. No animal shall where clothes
4. No animal shall sleep in a bed
5. No animal shall drink alcohol
6. No animal shall kill any other animal
7. All animals are equal
What seems at first to be a utopia quickly becomes a catastrophe led by swindling pigs. Orwell’s dysfunctional barnyard society is a thinly veiled caricature of Soviet communism. Animal Farm is a concise and engaging read. I highly recommend it.


message 6: by Tina (new)

Tina | 232 comments I remember loving Animal Farm when I read it years ago in high school. It'd be interesting to read it again from an adult perspective. I'm sure I'd catch much more now than I did then!


message 7: by Tina (last edited Mar 05, 2010 04:30AM) (new)

Tina | 232 comments The Handmaid's Tale A generous 3 stars.

I just finished The Handmaid's Tale and really wanted to like it much more than I did. I found myself thinking too much instead of getting swept up into it--know what I mean? Maybe my mood was in more wanting to get lost in a book than have a deep thought about it. . . do reading moods affect anyone else too? It just didn't have the magic for me. Maybe The Hunger Games set too high of a bar for me.


message 8: by Tara (new)

Tara | 742 comments Tina wrote: "The Handmaid's Tale A generous 3 stars.

I just finished The Handmaid's Tale and really wanted to like it much more than I did. I found myself thinking too much instead of getting sw..."


I have that problem too! After I finish a book I love I often go into a book slump. I had it after The Hunger Games and Catching Fire.
I really liked The Handmaid's Tale, but I read it at the right time for a heavier book like that.


message 9: by Maisha (last edited Mar 05, 2010 07:06PM) (new)

Maisha | 5 comments The Hunger Games
Catching Fire

Just finished reading the Hunger Games and Catching Fire. This series is extremely well written, and I love the character development. I really got into the characters, and caught myself laughing and crying in the same day.

Now I will just have to impatiently wait for the final book.

I gave them both 5 stars


message 10: by Karen (new)

Karen (karenofthebookworm) Just finished Child 44. I loved it. I couldn't put it down. I think one of the things that makes this book work so well is that this dystopia really did exist and that for millions it was a reality and not fiction.


message 11: by BJ Rose (new)

BJ Rose (bjrose) | 234 comments Just finished Someone Named Eva, which is not on the Dystopia shelf, but the real-life parallels to The Hunger Games & Catching Fire are so chilling that I had to post about it.

In HG & CF, after a failed rebellion, the government annihilates District 13, and forces the other districts to have teenagers participate in an annual only-one-can-live elimination. In Eva, Czechs rebelling against Hitler's takeover of their country attempted to assassinate his #1 man in Czechoslovakia. In retaliation, Hitler orders the elimination of a Czech village - men and teen boys are executed, women and girls are placed in concentration camps, and the town is burned, bulldozed, and wiped out of existence. All of this is factual - the book itself is fiction based on these facts, and follows the young Milada who is dragged into Hitler's 'Perfect Aryan Race' idea because she is blond and fits all the facial measurements dreamed up by the purists (this program also existed - I always thought they only focused on Germans who fit this concept of perfection - the goal here was to 'Germanize' them and wipe out any memories of who they had been, so Milada became 'Someone Named Eva'

All 3 of these books were 5* reads for me, and like others, I'm impatiently waiting for Bk 3 of the Hunger Game series


Lyn (Readinghearts) (lsmeadows) | 2830 comments Mod
I just finished Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro and I am giving it 5 stars. It is a beautiful story, and one of the best books I've read recently. The only thing is, it is not really a dystopia book, in my mind. Maybe I am missing something, but there is a slightly sci-fi background to the book, and I guess if you really think about it, the main characters in the book have a sad lot in life, but I wouldn't consider their world dystopian. Dystopian to me indicates a world that is supposed to be utopian, but goes wrong. The world that the characters live in was never supposed to be utopian.

That said, this book is wonderful, and a definite recommendation. The author's writing is beautiful, the characters are great, and the story is one of the most beautiful stories I have read in a long time.


message 13: by Tara (new)

Tara | 742 comments I just finished The Maze Runner***
It was a crazy little ride.
Most of the beginning is a bit confusing, although Thomas, the main character, was rather confused himself. Throughout the beginning, as a reader, you don't know who is right or wrong. Is it better to give up or hold on to hope? Is the world outside better or worse than where they are? The story itself becomes an ultimate puzzle.

It is pretty demented, makes you wonder what kind of man could have the imagination to create this world.
It borders on horror, in my opinion.

Overall, I did not mind the story and got rather sucked in to the story towards the end. I can't say I am dying for the next one though.


message 14: by Karen (new)

Karen (karenofthebookworm) Catching Fire brilliantly written and with characters that you care about. Does anybody know where I can get a time machine so that I can go forward to August and get the third part?


message 15: by Natalie (new)

Natalie (nchhynes) | 55 comments I just finished Daughters of the North and was not impressed. The author, Sarah Hall, has a wonderful writing style, but the plot and characters did not hold my attention. The ending was abrupt and overall the book was not to my taste. Unfortunately, I do not recommend this dystopia.


message 16: by Tina (new)

Tina | 232 comments Like Lynn, I also finished Never Let Me Go and liked it (gave it 4 stars). I enjoyed how well the author really knows human relationships/interactions. The characters were very real--even with more insight into themselves and their reactions that I think most humans have. I kept thinking that with as much awareness of human actions/reactions Kathy (the main character has), she would make an excellent counselor! Definitely a good read.


message 17: by Pollyanna (last edited Mar 11, 2010 01:56AM) (new)

Pollyanna (polly8) | 94 comments The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins 5*

I am already excited about the sequel to this book, it was such a thrilling ride all the way through. Katniss and Peeta are such lovable characters, the way they were with each other was very sweet but it was hard to see as it wasn't necessarily real. The ending was perfect as it has made me want to read more. A great storyline that I am hoping will just get better and better.

Herland by Charlotte Perkins Gilman 1*

I got half way through this book and I decided to leave it there. I felt as it was such a short book that I should continue to read it but it was so dull I just found it hard to even concentrate on reading it. I felt that nothing really happened in the book apart from 3 men making it to a country full of just women.


message 18: by Karen (new)

Karen (karenofthebookworm) Lost in a Good Book 5*. I love this series,it's well written and I really care about what happens to Thursday.


message 19: by Sunflower (new)

Sunflower | 174 comments Have just finished World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War Very interesting read-not for true zombie fans because the zombies in this book are a metaphor for any unknown plague that could take over the world-I gave it 4 stars.


message 20: by Katey (new)

Katey (kateyyy) | 50 comments I just finished Feed by M.T. Anderson. I really enjoyed it as the story began and I thought the world they lived in seemed pretty cool but as the story unravelled I found myself thinking.."Is this book going anywhere?" and then all of a sudden it did but not in the way i wanted it to. I hated how it ended.
I think i'll give it 3 stars because it was written well and i like the slang the character had.


message 21: by Chris (new)

Chris Peel Karen wrote: "Just finished Child 44. I loved it. I couldn't put it down. I think one of the things that makes this book work so well is that this dystopia really did exist and that for millions i..."

I, too, have just finished reading Child 44 and loved it, although I still only gave it 3 stars becuase I thought the second half of the book wasn't as good as the first. However I think I will be reading The Secret Speech.


message 22: by Karen (new)

Karen (karenofthebookworm) We liked this, although i was totally confused. I liked the fact that D-503's beliefs changed gradually and not overnight.


message 23: by Luann (new)

Luann (azbookgal) | 1006 comments How funny, Katey! I just read Feed, too! I gave it four stars. I thought it was scary! And it made me think. You can read my full review here, if you like. I will also be posting a quote from it in our page 46 thread.


message 24: by Katey (new)

Katey (kateyyy) | 50 comments Luann wrote: "How funny, Katey! I just read Feed, too! I gave it four stars. I thought it was scary! And it made me think. You can read my full review here, if you like. I will also be posting a qu..."

Do you know what Luann? I actually thought that it'd be pretty cool to have a feed but then when i read on it was all about big corporations telling you what you should do and buy and everything sounded really expensive haha and i didn't like the sound of these lesion things.
I got a bit teary at the end..what did you think of the ending?


message 25: by Luann (last edited Mar 14, 2010 10:05PM) (new)

Luann (azbookgal) | 1006 comments I can't even stand to listen to ads on the radio, so having them pop up inside my head would drive me crazy. And the instant access to information made them all lazy. The part that shocked me the most was the adults - who sounded just like the teenagers. I literally felt a jolt when the doctor said, "Okay. Could we like get a thingie, a reading on his limbic activity?" As I said, this book really made me think. The ending was very sad.


message 26: by Katey (new)

Katey (kateyyy) | 50 comments Luann wrote: "I can't even stand to listen to ads on the radio, so having them pop up inside my head would drive me crazy. And the instant access to information made them all lazy. The part that shocked me the m..."

yeah when you put it that way
i thought it was cool how they chatted to each other in their heads but i'm generation Y so of course i'd like that lol


message 27: by Em (new)

Em (emily27) | 45 comments Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell

This was a tough read but I'm glad I got through it. Orwell's concept of "doublethink" is haunting as is the pieces of our own society reflected in Oceania. It comments pretty strongly on what makes humans human as well. I don't think I could sit down and read this book with out spending an equal amount of time just reflecting on it.


message 28: by Luann (new)

Luann (azbookgal) | 1006 comments Katey wrote: "yeah when you put it that way
i thought it was cool how they chatted to each other in their heads but i'm generation Y so of course i'd like that lol"


I read a short story some time ago that deals with this same type of thing - chatting with others just in your head. It took a bit of research, but I finally figured out which book I had read with that story! It's called Firebirds Rising: An Original Anthology of Science Fiction and Fantasy. The specific story is called "Hives" by Kara Dalkey. It's a "chilling, high-tech piece that takes teen girls beyond cell phones to constant, voice-in-head-close contact." I'm going to have to find that book at the library again and reread that particular story.


message 29: by Sarah (new)

Sarah | 286 comments Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

This has been on my TBR for a long time so I'm glad I finally had an excuse to read it. It was a disturbing little book set in a future where books have been banned. Firemen are now in charge of lighting fires to destroy illegal books but one fireman starts to question the status quo. The story is about his personal development.
Another good book to make you think - 4 stars.


message 30: by Pollyanna (new)

Pollyanna (polly8) | 94 comments The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood 4*

This book really makes you realise how lucky you are, I really felt for Offred as she had a normal life before she was made into a handmaid. It is a very creepy story that you can imagine could come true. After this book I definitely want to read more by Atwood.


message 31: by Tara (new)

Tara | 742 comments The City of Ember****
I really enjoyed this story. It was a wonderful tale with a really good chemistry between the 2 main characters, Lina and Doon.
Although I could predict a bit of the ending early in the story, it did not lesson my enjoyment of the story.


message 32: by Karen (new)

Karen (karenofthebookworm) The Handmaid's Tale ***

It's a friday and I'm feeling generous so I'll give this 3 stars. But was disappointed with this book, I really wanted to like it and I think she had some really good ideas but I don't think they came across very well and I never connected with any of the characters.


message 33: by Sue (new)

Sue (sueb67) I'm halfway through the book. It's the weirdest book, actually a little like Never Let Me Go, where it starts oddly, you get no context of what's happening or anything and then it just continues on in that vein for the rest of the book. That said, I still enjoyed Never Let Me Go (3 stars) and I'm enjoying The Handmaid's Tale although I can't imagine what life as a handmaid would actually be like. Just creepy.


message 34: by Tina (new)

Tina | 232 comments Karen wrote: "The Handmaid's Tale ***

It's a friday and I'm feeling generous so I'll give this 3 stars. But was disappointed with this book, I really wanted to like it and I think she had some re..."


Me too!!! I thought I was the only one out there who didn't really like it!


message 35: by BJ Rose (new)

BJ Rose (bjrose) | 234 comments Finished The Road**** last night and had to think about it for a while before posting. I did not enjoy reading this, but once I started, I felt compelled to finish it. I think I knew that this would be my reaction, and that's why I kept moving it to another month!

This is really what I envision as a post-Armegeddon world; not just (just?!) the devastation and almost-total annihilation, but the reversion of the human being into the human animal. I have some pictures in my mind now that I really don't want there, but I was really glad for the one ray of hope that McCarthy included, and the ending leaves the possibility of a new beginning.


message 36: by Tara (last edited Mar 21, 2010 05:21PM) (new)

Tara | 742 comments I just finished How I Live Now*** and it took me a bit to get over the incestuous relationship and the fact that the protaganist was a bit spiteful and seemed to like being anorexic, but I enjoyed it overall in the end. I did do the audio form since I have heard that the punctuation gave some people a hard time. It was very conversational when I listened to it so I can imagine it may be hard to read, but I liked the reader and the book in the form I did.
It definitely fit the genre, and it was a scary world at that. Even scarier, because it was a world that could happen.


message 37: by Leonie (new)

Leonie (leo23) Have just finished Brave New World and these books are definitely not in the "light and fun" category. This book was quite horrific at the start with the descriptions of how the babies and young children were conditioned. As BJ said about The Road, I didn't enjoy reading this book but perserved to see how it would all end. Certainly very thought-provoking stuff!


message 38: by Cathy (new)

Cathy | 90 comments BJ Rose wrote: "Finished The Road**** last night and had to think about it for a while before posting. I did not enjoy reading this, but once I started, I felt compelled to finish it. I think I knew th..."

I agree with you exactly - you've summed up just how I felt when I finished it - and it does stay with you.


message 39: by Lyn (Readinghearts) (last edited Mar 22, 2010 07:44PM) (new)

Lyn (Readinghearts) (lsmeadows) | 2830 comments Mod
My husband and I are reading Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell and are only 2/3 the way through. I will post a review when we finish, but just wanted to say, there are some scary similarities to things in this book and the real world. Man. Another of those difficult books to read, buy where you feel compelled to finish it.


message 40: by Em (new)

Em (emily27) | 45 comments Stick with it Lyn! I got in a rut around the 2/3 mark as well. Once I got passed that part though, I finished it in a couple days.


message 41: by Karen (new)

Karen (karenofthebookworm) Sabriel**** really enjoyed this. Liked the fact that Sabriel didn't know everything about charter magic and that she was learning about the old kingdom along with the reader. I also liked the fact that apart from a couple of sentences late on in the book there is no focus on her looks,the focus is on her abilities and her knowledge or her lack of.


message 42: by Pollyanna (new)

Pollyanna (polly8) | 94 comments Animal Farm by George Orwell 5*

This is a very quick read but a book that will stay with me for a long time. It is the first time I have read a book where I have detested pigs lol. This was an easier book to read than 1984 and was more enjoyable but it actually made me feel even more angry than 1984. Brilliant read.


message 43: by Colleen (new)

Colleen (ossycolly) Karen wrote: "Just finished The Hunger Games and I loved it. I agree with everything Tina said about it."

i just finishedThe Hunger Gamesalso. I loved it, I second what Tina and karen said.


message 44: by Karen (new)

Karen (karenofthebookworm) Just finished World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War*** interesting read.not so much about zombies as a global plague and how mankind reacts to it


message 45: by Josie (new)

Josie | 6 comments I too read and enjoyed The Hunger Games. ****

I love YA fiction, I found this one very easy to read and quite realistic in its portrayel of teens. I'm going to track down the next ones now! But now that I've had a few days I feel a tiny, wheeny bit unsatisfied -- I don't think it was scary enough for me!

I've had Sabriel, Uriel and Anhorson (the trilogy) in my library for some time. ***** I keep coming back to these ones. The characters are flawed but lovable and it has some genuinly scary moments.


message 46: by Luann (new)

Luann (azbookgal) | 1006 comments Josie wrote: "I too read and enjoyed The Hunger Games. **** . . . ! But now that I've had a few days I feel a tiny, wheeny bit unsatisfied -- I don't think it was scary enough for me!..."

Have you read Battle Royale?


message 47: by Josie (new)

Josie | 6 comments Not yet, but I'm looking forward to it!


message 48: by Sunflower (new)

Sunflower | 174 comments I've just finished Shades of Grey: The Road to High Saffron by Jasper Fforde. It took me a while to get into, but is a really funny read, and very clever. I'll be looking for the next in the series.


message 49: by Katey (new)

Katey (kateyyy) | 50 comments I just finished The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan and I didn't really like it much at all. It took me forever to read and I felt that the book left me with so many unanswered questions and that really annoyed me.
I'm thinking dystopian books just aren't my thing. Has anyone else read this book? I'm really interested to hear other peoples' views.


message 50: by Susan (new)

Susan | 3459 comments Mod
I only just joined the group. Probably not time to finish something new in March, but I've recently read several on this month's list. And I see no-one has posted anything about any from the Uglies series, so I thought I should copy my review in here, even though it's a few months old.

I give it a 5, and highly recommend it to all those of you who said above that you enjoyed The Hunger Games and Catching Fire.

Strangely compelling. In the future world of "pretties," they've done away with all the problems we have of people not accepting others because of their differences -- by doing away with all those differences. So why would anyone not want to be part of their "perfect" society?

Terrific adolescent female protagonist: lonely, bright, confused, and with an inner strength and a sense of morality that even she probably wasn't aware of.

And once you read it, you'll definitely want to continue on to Pretties and Specials


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