Tuesday, January 31, 2017

The Young World

Weitz, Chris. Read by Jose Julian and Spencer Locke. The Young World.  Hachette Audio, 2014.

image from: AudioFilemagazine.com
Summary (from AudioFile)
Chris Weitz’s postapocalyptic adventure is a gritty, taut, and unexpectedly funny gem, made even more engrossing by expert narration. A mysterious Sickness has changed New York into a haunting alien world, and those remaining have banded into tribes for survival. But when two teenagers find a clue to a cure, they must embark on a journey into the unknown to save humankind. Jose Julian and Spencer Locke perfectly capture the brash, vibrant energy of these two youthful protagonists, timing their quips, confessions, and grousing perfectly, and creating a tense, compelling relationship that propels the plot forward. Through their eyes, the world of the story becomes a thoroughly engrossing one that readers will find hard to leave behind. B.E.K. Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award © AudioFile 2014, Portland, Maine [Published: AUGUST 2014]

My Thoughts
I listened to this book (thanks to SYNC downloads last summer).

I think it is an interesting idea--an illness has killed everyone except the teenagers "something about hormones. Something we have and the adults and kids don't" (Weitz). The book bogged down for me, but I still wanted to know what happened. It didn't resolve by the end of book one (I've since learned this is book 1 of a series). I'm not sure I care enough to find out what happens in book 2.

There are two narrators: Jefferson and Madonna (Donna). I found my mind wandering when Donna was speaking. It was a different, clipped style. She'd say, "Me: [blah, blah]. Washington: [blah, blah]. Jefferson: [blah, blah]." This sounded like the reading of a play. I wondered how her parts looked in the book.

There were LOTS of similes and cliches in the story. Much of it was over described. I enjoyed the allusions to other works of literature and movies (including Star Wars) but even that was included too many times. Donna says, "This is just like Lord of the Flies meets The Hunger Games" (Weitz). I would agree. I also think the pop culture references will date the book.

When the servers go down, "people freaked out" and Donna explains that "Books, books are handy...books had the last laugh" No electricity or service required. This made me smile.

Another part of the book that made me think was when it's discussed that the Chinese were behind the illness. Is this prophetic? Sometimes science fiction can "predict" the future.

There was much action and sexual content which I think appeals to the guy reader, but as mentioned in the previous paragraph, I think it was overdone. There's also a lot of cussing, which seemed appropriate to the teen aged characters, but I was distracted by it.

Brain Box is the "nerd" of the group who actually helps the teens survive because of his vast knowledge. His knowledge sends the group on a quest that I'm sure will continue in book 2. There is also a love story developing that I think will continue as well.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Dreaming in Indian: Contemporary Native American Voices

Charleyboy, Lisa, and Mary Beth Leatherdale, editors. Dreaming in Indian: Contemporary Native American Voices. Annick Press, 2015.

image from: goodreads.com

Image result for dreaming in indian
My Thoughts
I was able to read these essays/articles/biographies in just a day (and while in "down time" at a volleyball tournament").

I liked reading about contemporary Indians. My brain often keeps Indians in the box of the 1880s--roaming the prairies, living in teepees, hunting buffalo (ok, perhaps I just lump all Indians into the Plains). This book gave me insight to the Indians of today, although they were all Canadian. I wished to see some profiles of Indians living in the United States. I'm sure some of the experiences are similar, but it would have been nice to include voices from both countries.

Included in the book are 64 artists, writers, actors, singers, poets, as well as "everyday people" telling their stories. Some live in the city; some live in the country. Some stories are written as poems, others as essays. Some stories are visual. The editors have "asked [the contributors] to share their nations and home reserves. Contributors decided for themselves how to define their heritage" (Charleyboy 11).

One of the things I noted in the book comes from Jeffrey Veregge (S'Klallam, Suquamish, Duwamish). He writes, "The other place I loved going was the library. Here I could get lost for hours looking at all the books...When the library started adding movies that you could check out, it was like getting your meal supersized for free. I know I would not be the same artist had it not been for the library" (Charleyboy 108).