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The Giver, Lois Lowry (1993)

Tomorrow I leave for BlogHer, and I’ve got the “I’m going to be in a big place full of people I don’t know” jitters.  I’ve been in this situation a million times, and it’s always the same.  When I was a kid and I went to camp, I spent the first 2 days writing my mom 17 letters about how I HATED it and I WANTED TO GO HOME.  Then (despite my best efforts) I actually made some friends, had some fun, and loved it.  So here’s to hoping I make some friends quickly, and don’t feel like an out of place dork!

ON to the substance of this post: The Giver.

The Giver is Lois Lowry’s Newberry Award winning classic-dystopian future YA novel.  (Was dystopian a “classic” YA subgenre at the time she wrote it? I don’t know. That’s not today’s question.)  It’s thought provoking, and paced well so that the strange, frighteningly calm future society does not overwhelm the reader all at once.  It gradually dips in to questions of autonomy, and risk, and social good.  And then as soon as the pace of the novel really gets going, IT ENDS.

I got to the last page, and was exasperated! HOW could this be the end! About 2/3 of the entire story is still left out there! I’ve got so many questions about the world! The characters! Everything!  Apparently there are 2 more books that come afterward, but the summaries suggest that they don’t entirely wrap up the plotline of the first book.

PLEASE SOMEONE GIVE ME ASSURANCE THAT MY QUESTIONS ARE ANSWERED IN THE NEXT BOOK!  Sigh.

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Happy 200th Birthday Charles Dickens!

Today is Charles Dickens’ 200th birthday! Admittedly, I read A Tale of Two Cities in high school and hated it.  My mom made me listen to Oliver Twist on a 6 hour car trip when I was a kid, and although I didn’t hate that one, it wasn’t a favorite either.  I do have a warm fondness for A Muppet’s Christmas Carol, does that count?

For years I didn’t give Dickens a second thought, until I saw preview pictures of Helena Bonham Carter as Miss Havisham in the upcoming Great Expectations film adaptation. The idea of a batty spinster in a rotting wedding dress intrigued me.  Although Bonham Carter tends to play the same character over and over, at least it’s an interesting character.

I’ve got no shortage of books on my “to read” list, but Great Expectations and Bleak House are getting tacked on there as well.  Age and experience changes the way you read books.  I’ve re-read books I’ve adored when younger, and on second reading hated them.  I’m hoping the opposite is true when I become reacquainted with Mr. Dickens.

Happy Birthday, old man!

(coincidentally, this is also my 200th blog post. Hooray!)