Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Daily Dystopia

There is so much I want to write, but often don't find the time to do as many blog entries as I would like. I have been reading a tremendous amount of YA literature lately. Most of it is best selling YA lit, and titles popular in my school.

Here are a few titles in the dystopian genre. That seems to be the hottest genre currently, thankfully it means the vampires are going away (I wish).  Some titles leave me shaking my head with the implausibilities, but I don't want to dismiss it all, because there are some good books being written. I am a tad tired of everything published being part of a trilogy. Why can't a book just tell a story and be done? Oh right, they might sell it and make it into a movie. Money.

Last year I read The Hunger Games series. Add me to the list of those that liked the series. I really liked the second book and didn't want to put it down, but got a little confused with parts of the third book. I was less than thrilled though with the movie. Violence on screen is much more graphic and frankly more violent than I picture it while reading it. I'm not going to delve into The Hunger Games, there is already enough out there written on it.

Here is some other books for those that like the dystopian theme:

Matched by Ally Condie
Dystopian world where people trust the government to make their decisions, including being matched with their perfect mate. There are also strict rules on what to read, what to watch, and what to believe. Casia is shown her perfect match at the matching ceremony, and knows  he will be her ideal mate... but then a "glitch" causes her to see another familiar face flash for an instant too. Now what to do...

I liked this book, even though I just finished reading The Giver by Lois Lowry, and thought there were some big similarities in the worlds. The Giver is by far a better book, but the thing about this book is that it is rather bland. But not bad bland, bland in a way that you can pass it on to your nieces and not worry about the parts where the children violently kill each other, or where there are graphic murder or sex scenes. Bland in a good way. It has the popular dystopian world, mild and light romance, and the thing that I really enjoyed was that it had some very strong literature references. In fact the poem, "Do not go gentle into that good night" by Dylan Thomas plays a strong part of this book, and for that I am quite impressed. I have always loved that poem, and was excited to see that it played a part in a book for young adults.

This is the first in a trilogy, I have only read book 1, book 2 is sitting in the ever ready-to-topple stack of books by my bed, book 3 will be published sometime this month.

For good measure here is the entirety of the poem:

Do not go gentle into that good night

by Dylan Thomas
Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on the sad height,
Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.


I also read, and enjoyed
Divergent (Divergent, #1)
Divergent by Veronica Roth

Another dystopian world where society is divided into five factions. Each faction has a specific virtue attributed to it. At the age of sixteen, one selects in which faction they will thus devote their lives. Beatrice Prior must choose between staying with her family or following her own personal path.

This book was better, but it's not one I could pass along to the youngsters in my life. It is quite violent, and has some mild sexual scenes, enough that I wouldn't recommend it for parents with concerns for this in their child's book choice. It's a captivating story, and I liked it so much I bought the 2nd book on my Kindle (because yes, it is also a trilogy!).
Insurgent (Divergent, #2)
I faltered more with book 2, it gets a bit thick at times, and the ending is such a cliffhanger that I was annoyed. I realize series flow into each other, but I'm tired of feeling as though the last chapter wasn't printed in my copy. I also read this book feeling as though there were some questions that the author never thought to answer or to provide an explanation for that seemed integral to the book.

I also have several other Dystopian genre books to read. It is a hot genre in children's literature, and there is much being published to flood the market.

I still like, and recommend The Giver by Lois Lowry.

It is also the Newbery Medal winner for 1994.
Lois Lowry wrote 2 subsequent books as follow ups, and just recently released the fourth in the series,  Son.
Son (The Giver, #4)

Of course if you really want to point your child in the direction of really good dystopian literature, I still stick with my recommendation for Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury.


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