How do you react to dystopian fiction?

How do you react to dystopian fiction?I was catching up with a friend recently over dinner and our conversation turned to books (as it inevitably does with a book lover). When my friend asked what I’d been reading lately, I shared a bit about a book I was reading at the time that had me thoroughly intrigued and itching to discuss with someone.

That book was Vox, which posits a world in which women come to be allotted only 100 words per day. After sketching out the premise, I was ready to dive into conversation mode, but my friend blurted out, “That sounds horrifying! Who wrote this garbage, a man?!” And in that moment, I was stunned. Nothing I could say after that would persuade her to even think twice about the book.

This line of conversation started me thinking about the different reactions I’ve seen to dystopian fiction, so I wanted to take some time today to talk about them. To be clear, I’m specifically talking about reactions to the book’s concept and not necessarily its execution or whether the book was actually good or entertaining or even enjoyable. I’m sure there are plenty of other ways that readers respond to these types of stories, but these are the reactions I’ve come across most.

Who wrote this garbage? It must have been a *insert your descriptive here*

I’ve seen this particular reaction most when the book in question has a premise in which a particular people group is belittled, minimized, or shamed in some way. More often than not, the person I’ve seen react like this belongs to that people group, so I have to wonder if it just hit too close to home?

This isn’t realistic

I’ve come across this reaction most with readers that are new to the genre and didn’t quite know what to expect. Since dystopia is the opposite of a utopia and therefore inherently flawed and problematic, it’s understandable why someone might think this if they didn’t know to expect it going in.

It’s a cautionary tale

This is probably the reaction I see most. I expect because reading about a worst case scenario that feels nearly plausible in our current society can make someone sit up and take notice of the parallels.

So, I’m curious. What are your thoughts on dystopian fiction and how do you react to it as a genre? And does your response change depending on the premise of a particular book?

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Book Review: Strange the Dreamer, by Laini Taylor

Strange the Dreamer, by Laini Taylor

Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor

Published by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers on March 28, 2017

Series: Strange the Dreamer, #1

Genre(s): fiction, fantasy, young adult

Format & Length: e-book, 528

Source: library

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The dream chooses the dreamer, not the other way around—and Lazlo Strange, war orphan and junior librarian, has always feared that his dream chose poorly. Since he was five years old he’s been obsessed with the mythic lost city of Weep, but it would take someone bolder than he to cross half the world in search of it. Then a stunning opportunity presents itself, in the person of a hero called the Godslayer and a band of legendary warriors, and he has to seize his chance or lose his dream forever.

What happened in Weep two hundred years ago to cut it off from the rest of the world? What exactly did the Godslayer slay that went by the name of god? And what is the mysterious problem he now seeks help in solving?

The answers await in Weep, but so do more mysteries—including the blue-skinned goddess who appears in Lazlo’s dreams. How did he dream her before he knew she existed? And if all the gods are dead, why does she seem so real?

Welcome to Weep.

 

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Book Review: Past Due for Murder, by Victoria Gilbert

Past Due for Murder, by Victoria Gilbert

Past Due for Murder by Victoria Gilbert

Published by Crooked Lane Books on February 12, 2019 (expected)

Series: Blue Ridge Library Mysteries, #3

Genre(s): fiction, mystery, romance

Format & Length: e-book, 304

Source: Netgalley

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Has a curse fallen on the small town of Taylorsford, Virginia? After a young woman goes missing during a spring bonfire, library director Amy Webber must wade through the web of lies only to find a truth that she may not want to untangle. 

Spring has sprung in quaint Taylorsford, Virginia, and the mayor has revived the town’s long-defunct May Day celebration to boost tourism. As part of the festivities, library director Amy Webber is helping to organize a research project and presentation by a local folklore expert. All seems well at first―but spring takes on a sudden chill when a university student inexplicably vanishes during a bonfire.

The local police cast a wide net to find the missing woman, but in a shocking turn of events, Amy’s swoon-worthy neighbor Richard Muir becomes a person of interest in the case. Not only is Richard the woman’s dance instructor, he also doesn’t have an alibi for the night the student vanished―or at least not one he’ll divulge, even to Amy.

When the missing student is finally discovered lost in the mountains, with no memory of recent events―and a dead body lying nearby―an already disturbing mystery takes on a sinister new hue. Blessed with her innate curiosity and a librarian’s gift for research, Amy may be the only one who can learn the truth.

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5 Different Types of Romance Books to Read Around Valentine’s Day

5 Different Types of Romance Books to Read Around Valentine's Day

As a seasonal reader, I tend to gravitate towards particular types of books as each season or holiday comes around. This year I was trying to decide on a romance to read leading up to Valentine’s Day but was having a difficult time narrowing down my list.

It took me some time to figure out why, but then it occurred to me that maybe it was because there are so many types of romance books out there. And since I enjoy reading books from a wide variety of genres, what I was really having a hard time picking was the type of romance I was in the mood to pick up. So I thought today would be a great opportunity to discuss some of the different types of romance novels that are out there. This is by no means a comprehensive list, but focuses on some of these types that tend to intrigue me the most.

Ready to see them?

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January Reading Wrap Up

January Reading Wrap UpI don’t know what it’s like where you live, but January by me got way too cold! So naturally, I spent plenty of time snuggled up with a blanket and a book. (Along with plenty of Netflix time as well, who am I kidding??) The majority of the books I read were middle of the road for me, with a few notable standouts. Overall it wasn’t a bad reading month but I’m hoping February is even better!

Ready to see the books I read and reviewed this month?

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Mini Reviews: The Mentalist Series, by Kenechi Udogu

Mini Reviews: The Mentalist Series, by Kenechi Udogu

For this set of mini reviews, I’m going to talk about The Mentalist series, which consists of a trilogy and prequel. This isn’t a direct comparison by any means, but this paranormal YA romance series had vibes that reminded me of Twilight. If that and the blurb below sounds like your thing, read on for my thoughts on each of these books!

*Thanks to the author for providing copies of this editions in exchange for an honest review.

For Gemma Green’s first time, things should have been straightforward. Find your subject, hold their gaze and push a thought into their head to save them from future disaster – Aversion complete. A pretty simple process given that the subject was to have no recollection of the experience. But Russ Tanner doesn’t seem to want to forget. In fact the more she tries to avoid him, the more he pushes to get to know her. Gemma knows she has a problem but is she facing the side effects of a failed Aversion or has the school’s tennis champ really fallen for her?

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Book Review: Wuthering Heights, by Emily Brontë

Wuthering Heights, by Emily Bronte

Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë

Published by Penguin Classics on November 6, 2008 (first published December 1847)

Series: n/a

Genre(s): fiction, classics

Format & Length: hardcover, 353

Source: purchased

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In a house haunted by memories, the past is everywhere … As darkness falls, a man caught in a snowstorm is forced to shelter at the strange, grim house Wuthering Heights. It is a place he will never forget. There he will come to learn the story of Cathy: how she was forced to choose between her well-meaning husband and the dangerous man she had loved since she was young. How her choice led to betrayal and terrible revenge – and continues to torment those in the present. How love can transgress authority, convention, even death.

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Audiobook Review: All We Ever Wanted, by Emily Giffin

All We Ever Wanted, by Emily Giffin

All We Ever Wanted by Emily Giffin

Published by Random House Audio on June 26, 2018

Series: n/a

Genre(s): fiction, contemporary, women’s fiction

Format & Length: audiobook, 10:29:57

Source: library

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Nina Browning is living the good life after marrying into Nashville’s elite. More recently, her husband made a fortune selling his tech business, and their adored son has been accepted to Princeton.

Yet sometimes the middle-class small-town girl in Nina wonders if she’s strayed from the person she once was.

Tom Volpe is a single dad working multiple jobs while struggling to raise his headstrong daughter, Lyla. His road has been lonely, long, and hard, but he finally starts to relax after Lyla earns a scholarship to Windsor Academy, Nashville’s most prestigious private school.

Amid so much wealth and privilege, Lyla doesn’t always fit in–and her overprotective father doesn’t help–but in most ways, she’s a typical teenaged girl, happy and thriving.

Then, one photograph, snapped in a drunken moment at a party, changes everything. As the image spreads like wildfire, the Windsor community is instantly polarized, buzzing with controversy and assigning blame.

At the heart of the lies and scandal, Tom, Nina, and Lyla are forced together–all questioning their closest relationships, asking themselves who they really are, and searching for the courage to live a life of true meaning.

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How much do you read?

How much do you read?Over the past few weeks, I’ve been thinking about the reading goals I’d set for myself in 2018, what worked, what didn’t, and what I’d like to do differently in 2019. Last year, I read 117 books and my average rating was a 3.7. As I consider 3 average (not bad, not great, I liked it enough but wouldn’t pick up again), an average rating above that is great. Especially considering I read more books than I’ve read in the past few years prior. Continue reading “How much do you read?”

Book Review: Happiness is a Collage, by Gita V. Reddy

Happiness is a Collage, by Gita V. Reddy

Happiness is a Collage by Gita V. Reddy

Published by author on August 4, 2018

Series: n/a

Genre(s): fiction, short stories

Format & Length: e-book, 204

Source: author

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This collection of fifteen stories leads the reader into a world that is at once Indian and universal. The stories explore love, life, loss, and relationships.

A painter derives inspiration from a long lost love. Every night after going to bed, a woman scours a vast desert for her missing husband. A young woman strides through two worlds. A son experiences the miracle of his father’s immense love. An actor’s wife struggles to keep her husband from slipping into his reel life. And a busy professional tries to factor in pregnancy and motherhood into her hectic life.

Among those traversing this space are a henpecked billionaire, a homeless boy, a middle-aged wife dealing with infidelity, and a seeker finding solace with a lion and a deer.

Happiness is a Collage follows the author’s well-received collection, A Tapestry of Tears.

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