Unraveling The Mysteries Of Dystopian Fiction

If you haven’t been living under a rock for the past few years, you have probably noticed the growing trend in dystopian novels. It’s pretty hard to ignore. Most of these names will probably be familiar. Some are oldies. Most are recent. Hunger Games. The Giver. Divergent. Matched. Legend. Crewel. The Circle. The Time Machine. The Maze Runner. The list goes on and on. Dystopian fiction really well written, and I myself sometimes pick one up. But a question I often find myself asking is “Why do we choose to portray humankind in such a manner?”

In dystopian novels, humankind as we know it has been totally and utterly disfigured. In most novels there was either a great environmental disaster, a nuclear apocalypse, or a great war between man. The underlying message in many dystopian novels is often “Humankind is flawed, but through great trial, effort, and a few hundred years, we can always fix things. Er, change things for the better. Well, what we and a bunch of other people think is better.”

So, why do we even like it? Dystopian fiction, for the most part, views us, humans as we are now, are fundamentally flawed. Our emotions bring us down. Our government and its leaders suck. We should all only be able to see the color grey. (Which, surprisingly, comes up a lot). It basically insults us, our thoughts, ideas, and dreams. Yet, it is one of the most popular genres. How does this even make sense?

I mean, if you’re going to take the time to imagine a whole future world, could it maybe look more like this?

C’mon, people! Let’s see some rainbow roads!

But nooooooooo, dystopian worlds have to be colorless and everyone can only see grey. No red, green, purple, that kind of stuff. GREY.

At least someone’s getting it straight.

Also, what is up with the use of computer chips? How about a stylish bracelet or ring? Maybe a belt? STOP WHIPING PEOPLE’S MEMORIES. THAT IS SOOOOO OVERDONE. IT NEEDS TO STOP. NOW.

So next time you go out and write a dystopian novel, please take the time to think about what I said. Dystopia, you are in for a major change.

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The Growing Trend In Graphic Novels

Unless you live in a hole in the ground, you probably have head at least something about the growing trend that is Graphic Novels. It’s hard to understand why they are so popular. is it because there are fewer words and more pictures, therefore making it easier to read? Are the pictures more pleasing to the eye? Personally, I think it’s due to the fact that they simply are easier to connect to. Graphic novels are able to talk about awkward things like nothing else.

Take Raina Telgemeier’s books Smile and Drama. In Smile, a girl suffers a tragic orthodontic accident and loses her two front teeth, dooming her to a tragic adolescence of teeth problems. Almost every teen has to get braces, and none of them are happy about it. (If you were happy about getting braces, please let me know, and I can send you a medal, of stupidity or something.) Unfortunatly, no one ever explains what getting braces is like. You remain pitifully uneducated until you are strapped into the operating chair. The book also deals with stuff like crushes, and friends who don’t really like you. It is a pure embodiment of middle school life.

One of my personal pet peeves is having people lie to you about how much something will hurt.

The second book is based on a completely different character, in a completely different location. In this book, a girl becomes friends with these two boys, who are both really cute. It turns out that one of them is gay, and the other one may or may not be. We don’t know yet. But the problem is, Callie (the main character) can’t decide if she likes her old crush, or the maybe-maybe-not gay one. And what if he is gay?

Callie also has to manage the set for her school’s play. And there’s even more trouble in that direction. I love how this book is so down to earth. I felt like I was back at school again. The books also connected with teens today. I don’t think anyone wants to explain what it is like to have a crush, or not know if someone likes you, or have a crush on a gay guy. That’s why we need books like these.

Another author that I think does a really great job is Faith Erin Hicks. I love her books, especially Superhero Girl. I find they really get a point across, and they are really funny as well.

Recently, I just read Zombies Crossing, a book about a girl named Joss with a freakish love of Zombies and England. Her zombie knowledge comes in handy when there is a sudden zombie apocalypse. Two of my other favorite boos by her are Brain Camp and Nothing Could Possibly Go Wrong. Although, now that I think about it, these books are probaly not appropriate for children under, let’s say 10-12. Your choice.

I’ve met a lot of people who don’t really like grpahic novels, but they never really gave them a chance. These aren’t your mama’s comics. Head on down to the library.

Growing Up In Our New World

I love this book. For the record, the book is called The Adventures Of Superhero Girl. It is hilarious, and I can’t stop reading it. You should read it. It is a great book. Seriously. But it also makes me think. What will I be like when I am older? Throughout the book, I see Superhero Girl’s triumphs and failures. And it makes me wonder… wonder who I will become.

So where am I?

No, not here.

No, not here.

About... HERE!

About… HERE!

That’s me. And as I read this book (not COMIC, BOOK. Get it through your head), I’m questioning my future more and more. Where will I end up?

 

Will I be someone who drags everyone down? Will i be a failure?

Will I be someone who drags everyone down? Will I be a failure?

Will I be out on a date, or left behind, without even a fuzzy, cuddly, cat?

Will I be out on a date, or left behind, without even a fuzzy, cuddly, cat?

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Will I be alone, the butt of everyone’s jokes, with everyone laughing at me?

Will i be forced to NARRATE someone's life?!

Will I be forced to NARRATE someone’s life?!

Will I become evil?

Will I become evil?

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Will I become a cynical 53 year old with a passionate hatred for hipsters?

Whatever happens, I'll try to remain strong.

Whatever happens, I’ll try to remain strong.

To call home.

To call home.

To do what is right.

To do what is right.

To do what is right for me.

To do what is right for me.

To cheer up my friends when they are down.

To cheer up my friends when they are down.

And to find my own place in the world.

And to find my own place in the world, wherever it may be.

The Secret Tree: Why Is It So Hard To Share A Secret?

It’s true. We all have secrets. Secrets are things that we don’t want to tell other people because we would either be really embarrassed, or we might hurt someone. But the truth is, once someone knows your secret, you feel a heck of a lot better. But we can’t tell anyone, because someone might get hurt or we would be really embarrassed. I call this the Secret Paradox.

The book The Secret Tree is full of the the Secret Paradox. In fact, you could maybe even say it was based on the Secret Paradox.

It all starts when Minty sees a flash in the woods and follows it. She ends up at the secret tree, a tree that is full of slips of paper with people’s secrets on them. They say things like: I put a curse on my enemy. And now it’s working. I’m betraying my best friend in a terrible way. I feel like nobody loves me except my goldfish.

Then Minty meets Raymond, a strange boy who lives in a model home on the outskirts of town. He keeps a big book of people, and he tries to match them to the secrets in the secret tree. And Minty is going to help him.

What will happen when secrets are revealed? Can we trust anyone? Most importantly, who is snooping through peoples’ houses? What a great book.

Palestinians, Israelis, and A Jar Full Of Dirt

You may remember that I blogged about another book boy this author before. And you may be wondering why I am mentioning one of the books again. Because I liked it. I like her books. Also, I want to talk about the Israel problem. I’ll recap that real quick.

So the Israelis lived in Israel for about a thousand years. Then they were forced out by the Romans. (At least, I think it was the Romans). So there was this nice little piece of unused land, so the Palestinians move on in. Then comes the Holocaust (If you don’t know what that is then I cannot help you) and all the Jews need a safe place to live. So the Jew are all sent to Israel and they have to share with the Palestinians. Neither side is happy. So they have a way that lasts six days, and the Israelis win big. So the Palestinians have much less land. Both side are angry. There is continuous fighting. No one knows what to do.

And that is where the book takes place. Israel.

Hayaat, the main character has a grandmother who is dying. And Hayatt wants to get her grandmother some dirt from Jerusalem so she can feel her village’s dirt once more. (As in, some jerks rudely stole her her house wound kicked her off her own property.) One problem. She lives on the wrong side of the big bad wall that separates Israelis and Palestinians.

Why do we treat other people like this? How would we feel if this happened to us? Do we somehow feel that since we have suffered, we have the right to make others suffer? So next time you go to do something a little bit mean to someone, ask yourself, why the heck am I doing this? Do I want to make up for something that happened to me earlier today? Is this person a jerk? Remember, kindness kills.

This guy obviously has the right idea.

Today Is National Read Across America Day: Let’s Celebrate!

Today is National Read Across America day, and I think we all know what that means. It is time to read and to celebrate. NRAAD (National Read Across America Day, as I will now refer to it. Much nicer, don’t you think?). Well anyway, NRAAD is usually on Dr. Seuss’s Birthday, March 2nd, but this year it is on the 3rd! So get out there, read a book, and be thankful we don’t have to deal with boring old Dick and Jane.

Finishing Books According To Grover

Everyone who has read a really good book knows this problem. You find a really good book. You love it! You read until about you are 3/4 of the way through, and then you realize something very terrible. The book is going to end. And now you have a problem. You want to see what happens at the end. But you don’t want it to end. So you want to finish it, but you can’t! Then it will end. Grover understands.

This is at the beginning of the book, when you are young and innocent and do not realize the book will ever possibly end.

Then you realize the book will end. The problem begins here.

Then you have a great idea. The book never has to end! All you have to do is stop reading it.

But, of course, you want to finish the book. You can’t help but read some more and come closer to the end.

You want to stop, but you can’t. You have to finish reading. But you have to stop reading.

Now you are fighting with yourself. Half of you wants to finish the book, but the other half doesn’t. This is the stage where people start worring about you.

You go nuts trying to figure out how to solve this terrible conundrum.

Now you start to get really crazy. YOU CAN’T FINISH THE BOOK! So you start coming up with crazy plans, like a reward system.

And you just get crazier and crazier.

Then you finally figure out a gigantic, enourmous plan that is sure to fail, but you don’t care at all.

Then it does fail, you finish the book, and your world comes crashing down around you.

Finally your brain just utterly fails, and you end up crying in a corner because there is no more book to read.

But it is ok. You finished the book, nothing really bad happened, and there are other books to be read. Go find them! This is a good book. You should read it.

Finding A Good Book Is Hard: Once You Find It, It’s Gone

Sadly, sometimes people write books that are so bad this never happened because of their book.

It is hard to find a good book. I think we all know that. Books that your friends like may not be the same kind you like. Tht book your coworker raved about might be really bad. Worst of all, you might really want to get a book, but there are no copies left in your local bookstore or library. I admit. Some books I read, I hate. Usually I pretend I like it until about halfway through, when I stop and say: “Wow. This is a really crappy book.” But of course, whenever you start reading a book, the Novel Laws* state that you must finish it. You can’t help it.

I just read a book called GONE. That was the original reason for the post. But then I started thinking. And this is the result. So go read GONE. Then come back and finish reading this. I’ll wait. It’s cool. Well, you obviously didn’t read it. It took me a while to read it. And here you are still. I’ll look past it, but just this once. Consider yourself warned.

All book should be like this one. I want a book to hug me now.

Think back to the last time you read a really good book. Was it really, really good. What was it about? What genre? I want to read all the books I can get. But anyway, while you are thinking about that really good book, try and remember when you read it. Unless there is a surplus of really good books where you live, it was probably a while ago. See where I am going? It is hard to find a good book. So if you find one, let me know.

*The Novel Laws are an ancient set of rules created by the first authors about reading and writing books. These laws control a lot of stuff that happens in the world. Kind of like the law of gravity.

A Tangle Of Knots

The title of this book has nothing to do with the book. Really. I gave it my best shot, and I couldn’t figure out why the book was titled like it is. My only thought was that it had something to do with the man who sells knots. Who knows?

Anyway, this book is set in a land quite like Earth, except mostly everyone has a certain Talent. It might be for spitting, it might be for playing jacks. Almost everyone has one. In fact, our protagonist’s character has a talent for baking cakes. (Which I would very much like to have.)

Unfortunately, Cady (the main character) is an orphan, lives in an orphanage which is run by a woman who can find the perfect match for any orphan except for Cady. Until Cady meets Toby, a taciturn man who once was married, but then something happened, and his newborn child disappeared, and his wife died. He’s not sure he’s ready for a child, but he takes Cady anyway.

Now Cady lives in a Lost Luggage Emporium, where there are 35 matching suitcases, and a whole lot of other stuff. But there are still some mysteries in Cady’s life. Who is her mother and father? Will she win the cake-baking contest? Why is that man stealing everyone’s talents? Live your life forever plagued by mystery, or read this book and sate your curiosity!

The Defense Of Thaddeus A. Ledbetter

 

Thaddeus A. Ledbetter has been unfairly placed in Internal School Suspension. Nothing was his fault. He is always looking out for people’s welfare, always trying to come up with ways to improve stuff for the better of the community. It’s not his fault that, well, things happen. No one bothered to tell him this stuff. Honestly, it’s not his fault.

The fat man who got run over by a bus (only slightly) because of technical difficulties during a slug bug (known to others as punch buggy) competition, as well as the small attention span of the bus driver? NOT HIS FAULT!

The mass choking of the elderly people of a certain nursing home because Thaddeus and his Boy Scout troupe (minus leader) decided to brighten their day by feeding them oranges? No one bothered to tell Thaddeus that old people only wear their dentures during specific eating times? NOT HIS FAULT!

The lighting his pastor on fire, in an attempt to introduce better looking candle lighters, as well as putting his pastor out, by smothering him in the church’s sacred vestments, which are, by the way, very special, very expensive, no-no touch kind of thing. NOT HIS FAULT!

The making several people doubt their life choices, as well as causing one to realize his life was meaningless. All he did was ask a couple questions. NOT HIS FAULT!

And the True Emergency Drill? Well, let’s just say fire+tornado+killer bees+ old people= a whole lot of freaking out. Just goes to show how unprepared the school is for a true emergency. AGAIN, NOT HIS FAULT.

Free Thaddeus. Read his defense. Take sides. Learn the truth.

The Fancy Part Where I Attempt To Explain The Title Of The Book

Notice Thaddeus’s last name? Ledbetter. Led Better. As in, Thaddeus thinks the school should be led by someone better. Cool, isn’t it?

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