Dystopia Week Saturday

The Dog Stars by Peter Heller Unlike the rest of this week’s posts today’s book, The Dog Stars, has a grown-up appeal; it features an adult male protagonist. Plus, unlike the books previously presented this week there is no oppressive government presence. In fact there is no government at all, no societal divisions, no lurking rebellious factions just a few lost souls after a world-wide influenza epidemic. Two things captured me about The Dog Stars: First it is sort of a survival manual for a post-apocalyptic world. Second the main character, Hig, is…continue reading →

Dystopia Week Friday

Escape from Furnace by Alexander Gordon Smith One of the first rules about book talking is: Do not try to booktalk a book you haven’t read! And here I go violating that very rule. But in my defense one of the reasons I haven’t read Escape From Furnace is from the time the library received the book in October it has been checked out to one of its many fans. That tells you how popular this book and this series is. The library acquired Lockdown and its sequels based on a student suggestion.…continue reading →

Dystopia Week Thursday

Delirium by Lauren Oliver As in yesterday’s book, Matched, the government has determined that love is something to be avoided. In fact, this dystopia considers love a disease—a delirium. Accordingly, when you reach a certain age you must have The Procedure which will make you immune to love. Lena is looking forward to having The Procedure but 95 days before it is scheduled she meets Alex. Lena’s family struggles. She lives with her aunt and cousins and there is a cloud over the household. Lena’s mother, despite having The Procedure multiple times was…continue reading →

Dystopia Week Wednesday

Matched by Ally Condie In the Society all your life choices are made for you: what job you do, the place you live, what belongings you may have and who you marry. If the authorities can control these aspects of your life then the rest of the country can be controlled as well. The story opens with the night of Cassia’s matching ceremony. She, with all other 17-year-old girls, is patiently waiting her turn to see her match displayed on the giant screen in the banquet room. But when her name is called…continue reading →

Dystopia Week Tuesday

Divergent by Veronica Roth Here’s the setting: Chicago sometime in the future. As in The Hunger Games, society has evolved  into a new arrangement of the population. At 16 years old you choose the faction of society you feel best suits your character—the brave, the peaceful, the honest, etc. Each part has a different role to play. Although her family belongs to Abnegation (the selfless) Tris chooses to join Dauntless (the brave), those responsible for protecting their fellow citizens but who Tris’s father calls “hellions.” Tris, like Katniss in The Hunger Games, shows…continue reading →

Dystopia Week

With finals starting this week you may feel like you are living in your own personal dystopia. Keeping that in mind, this week and throughout exam week I will be posting a book blurb on some of the dystopian fiction owned by the John Tyler libraries. I like the definition the Purdue English department gives for dystopia (of course I like it—they are the same people who brings us the incomparable Purdue OWL!): “An imagined universe (usually the future of our own world) in which a worst-case scenario is explored; the opposite of…continue reading →

Fiction Friday: The Yellow Birds

Tuesday’s post about Veterans Day, the annual John Tyler Community College Veterans Day Celebration, and military/veteran themed books brings us to today’s Fiction Friday. The Yellow Birds by Kevin Powers, a graduate of VCU and a Richmond native, has received much attention including a feature in Parade Magazine and a National Book Award nomination. Although the story has been told many times—two friends meet in basic training, are sent to war, one of the friends dies—The Yellow Birdsgives the familiar tale a new voice. From the much praised opening sentence (“The war tried…continue reading →

The Dog Stars

How you would fare in a post-apocalyptic world? Would you be able to find food, shelter and security? If you were one of a few survivors would you be able to endure the loneliness, boredom and solitude? The Dog Stars, a debut novel by Peter Heller, explores the response of one man to catastrophe. Following a flu epidemic which claimed the life of his wife and most of the world, Hig survives with the help of his neighbor, Bangley. But where Hig is compassionate Bangley is callous. And despite Hig’s compassion, he must…continue reading →

Fiction Friday: A City of Broken Glass

Journalist Hannah Vogel is in Poland covering the 1938 St. Martin festival when it comes to her attention that thousands of Polish Jews are being deported from Germany. Her reporter instincts kick in and while investigating the death of a deportee she finds herself abducted by SS agents and taken across the border to Berlin. Before they reach Berlin, however, she is rescued by her son, Anton, and her former lover, Lars. Now unable to return to their home in Switzerland without proper identity papers, Hannah begins investigating the deportation of Polish Jews…continue reading →

Featured Fiction: Keeping the Castle

Ready for some fun, light reading? Fans of Jane Austen or Dodie Smith’s I Capture the Castle may have a new favorite in Patrice Kindl’s Keeping the Castle. Like Elizabeth Bennett and Cassandra Mortmain before her, Althea Crowley is a young, attractive gentlewoman in reduced circumstances looking to marry well in order to secure her financial future. It won’t surprise anyone that, like Elizabeth, Althea  gets happily squared away in the end. Living at the decrepit Crooked Castle in Lesser Hoo, Yorkshire with her widowed mother, brother, and step-sisters, Althea manages the running…continue reading →