Archive for July 21st, 2009

June Reading Notes

July 21, 2009 @ 7:53 pm | Filed under:

I’ve held this in drafts for far too long. Posting it now, incomplete (all my June books are included, but my notes are not), before Comic-Con begins and swallows up July as well.

YA fiction:

The Chosen One by Carol Lynch Williams. (Mentioned in this post.)

Sweethearts by Sara Zarr.

The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart.

Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins. The sequel to The Hunger Games. I’ll post about this book in more depth after its pub date in September—perhaps we can have another open thread discussion. I thought this one was even better than the first, and I really think this series is some of the most relevant fiction I’ve read this decade, YA or otherwise. The way the government plays off the media, the blurring of the lines between authenticity and performance, the cultural force of reality television, the paralytic effect of governmental invasion of privacy: Collins is working with some of our thorniest contemporary issues.

Science fiction:

Genesis by Bernard Beckett. Another dystopian future, which seemed to be something of a theme for me this month. After plague and war decimate the human race, a small group of survivors build a protected, isolated island community called The Republic, modeled on Plato’s vision of the perfect society, but rigidly totalitarian. We learn about the history of The Republic via the oral examination given by the somber members of the esteemed Academy to Anax, an earnest young scholar who has prepared long years for this event in hopes of admission. Anax’s subject of specialty is the revolutionary, Adam Forde, whose subversive actions brought down The Republic many years before. A serious and captivating aspect of Adam’s history is his relationship with a robot possessing highly advanced simulated-consciousness technology, and their discussions about the nature of consciousness are incredibly gripping and thought-provoking.

Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card.


The Bite of the Mango by Mariatu Kamara with Susan McClelland. Harrowing. The true story of Mariatu’s escape from murderous rebels who chopped off her hands and burned her village in Sierra Leone. Chopped off her hands!

Chocolate Unwrapped by Rowan Jacobsen. (Posted about here.)

Adult fiction:

The Actor and the Housewife by Shannon Hale. (My post; our discussion.)