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 Secret Keeper

The Secret Keeper, a new novel by Australian author Kate Morton opens in 1961 with young Laurel Nicolson witnessing her mother stab a strange, sinister man.  Moving back and forth through time and space the events leading up to that moment are slowly uncovered. Fifty years after the stabbing Laurel’s mother is dying. Recognizing that she doesn’t have much time to learn the secrets of her mother’s past, Laurel and her brother Gerry embark on an investigation. Did the strange man have any association with their mother? What was their mother’s connection to…continue reading →

Read the Book Then See the Movie

Are you planning on some movie watching over the Winter break? According to Chasing the Frog.com an average of thirty books are made into movies each year. The John Tyler Community College libraries have many titles that have found their way onto the big screen.  Check out some of these items and let us know: Which is better the movie or the book? Coriolanus(William Shakespeare) Betrayal and revenge set in ancient Rome. Perks of being a wallflower(Stephen Chbosky) A coming of age story told in letters to a friend. Great Gatsby(F. Scott Fitzgerald)…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 →

Honoring our Veterans

Promoted as “the war to end all wars,” World War I began the tradition of honoring our nation’s veterans on November 11. According to the US Department of Veterans Affairs the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month saw the end of hostilities between the Allies and Germany. The annual Veterans Day Celebration at John Tyler Community College is scheduled for next Monday, November 12. To understand and appreciate the sacrifices veterans have made why not read a book about military service? The recent conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq have…continue reading →