Tuesday, 31 July 2007

The Giver by Lois Lowry

We continue with some young adult fiction as given by ...yes you guessed it...everyone's favorite Chicago librarian....the lovely Lisa...Librarian and cousin extraordinaire. She gave me this book and a book called Feed which I am currently reading, to compare and contrast (she's a teacher through and through).

The Giver is a story about a young boy who is an inhabitant of what should be an ideal world...but inevitably a creepy world. There are family units, who are assigned spouses...who are assigned children. Yes... that was the right word...assigned. Every year in December there is a ceremony that starts with those kids that had been born within the last year, they are then assigned to a familly unit. Each family unit is allowed one boy and one girl. As you move on, you become a "Two" or a "Seven" or...a "Twelve" etc depending on the number of years you are away from that first ceremony.

When you attend the ceremony as a soon to be "Twelve" you will be finding out what your career is going to be. The career path is chosen by the Elders who have been keeping an eye on your volunteer activities and interests. Maybe you'll be an educator, or work with the Newborns, or even become one of the Birthmothers (although this is not a desirable position).

When the main character, Jonas, attends his ceremony he waits patiently to find out what catagory he's going to be placed in. However, he's mysteriously skipped over for the next Twelve.

What happens to Jonas. What does he end up doing? What does it mean to be "Released"?

The answer to those questions show quite the scary side to seemingly ideal utopia Jonas had been living in. Fantastic Read.

Pedro and Me by Judd Winick

The cover of this book would not win Booksluts Judging a book by it's cover....as it's some kind of 1990s schmarmy I don't know what.

However, the content inside is fantastic. This was a another recommendation from the lovely librarian Lisa who actually gave me this plus two other books that you'll be reading about.

For those of you that are fans of the MTV show The Real World, you might remember the season in San Francisco. Judd Winick was roommates with Pedro. Pedro who was an HIV positive AIDS educator. This season took place right around the time of "OH MY GOD CAN I GET AIDS FROM SOMEONE IF I SHARE THEIR GLASS!!!! AND OH MY GOD LOOK AT WHAT THEY LOOK LIKE WHEN THEY DIE" It was a lot of all caps freaking out because there wasn't a lot that we knew about the disease. There was lots of seeing what people looked like at the end...but not of the people that were HIV positive and living as normal of a life as they could.

This story, told in comic book form as Winick is a cartoonist, is the story of friendship, education and loss. It talks about stereotypes and how people can overcome them in an instant. I'm not a Real World watcher so didn't know anything about the season going in, but found the book enjoyable and very interesting. I would guess if you had watched that season in particular you would find the book even more compelling.

Thursday, 5 July 2007

July is Potter Month

I have been debating what to do with this. In anticipation of the seventh and final book in the Harry Potter series due out on July 21st I have been debating what to do with this site as I am rereading the first six books. I didn't want to spend 7 weeks worth of books reviews on the Harry Potter series because I am guessing most people have read them, or if they haven't probably just aren't interested in them.

So I guess I am going to take July as a vacation. I'm still going to count the books as books read on the left hand side of the book bar....but I probably won't include reviews of each book.

We are also watching each movie after I have finished reading that book (Jason is a book ahead of me). Which means we'll probably be a little late going to the see the 5th movie...but as I'm already 1/2 way though the 3rd book...perhaps not.

Peace. Love. and Reading.

Monday, 2 July 2007

Stolen Lives by Malika Oufkir

This story is an autobiographcal account of the life that was lead by Malika Oufkir during the first 40 years of her life. As the oldest daughter of General Oufkier she was very highly regarded in her young years. At the age of 5 she was adopted by the king of Morroco so that the kings daughter who is the same age as Malika would have a friend to play with.

She lived a life most of us can only dream of, with luxuries everywhere and toys and parties and...and yet she missed her own family. At the age of 12 or so she requested to be sent back to her parents which was granted. She still lived a very privileged life traveling around the world for parties and staying out late dancing in clubs in LA, Paris and her own Morroco.

However, soon her life would take a turn that still we can only imagine. When Malika is her her late teens, her father is accused of trying to assassinate the king and is promptly executed. Malika, along with her mother and five siblings are sent into exile. The first prison they are sent to is one eighty degrees from the life they had previously known, they never thought it could get worse. At this point they were still allowed books and clothes and could see each other. After five years there they were sent to a prison where they were put in solitary confinement, the food that was given to them sent gag reflexes up my stomach as I sat on the train reading this book. Their life is unimaginable....and they had to spend ten years living in these hideous conditions. And yet....and yet they survive.

I would like to mail this book to one Paris Hilton and let that spoiled little brat know what prison is like in places other than the special prison for rich folks in Los Angeles. This book pulls at your soul and grips you as you turn the pages thinking it can't get worse than what was written on the previous page. 9/10 from me.....and a suggested must read.