Friday, January 31, 2014

Friday's Forgotten Books, Friday, January 31, 2014

After this posting, I will be gone all day and not be available to post any links until Saturday.

Next week, SHIRLEY JACKSON. Hope I have some takers.



 THE GIVER, Lois Lowry (patti)

This is a YA book written in the nineties. I understand that a movie starring Jeff Bridges is coming out and I thought I would read it ahead of the film.
Jonas lives in the utopian/dystopian future. In his world, sameness is the guiding force. Each family has two children, a boy and a girl, and their future is sealed at age 12. There is no war, no suffering, no colors. Literally, no colors. Anything that might lead to disharmony is forbidden and people that meddle with this organization are sent off. Jonas is chosen to be a receiver. This turns out to be a rather onerous chore. There is only one giver and he is very old and will hand down the necessary information for Jonas to do this job--a job neither of them can much stand by the time the year of training runs out.

It is hard for me to imagine teenagers wrestling with this book. There are no romances, no talk of clothes or sports. Jonas has no real relationships other than the one with his mentor and another with an infant. I can think of very few adult novels that have dealt so unflinchingly with such a theme. Is harmony and equality worth the price of freedom and choice.

I thought it was a marvelous book and very deserving of the awards it has won. But this is a harsh story from beginning to end. Read it if you dare.Thinking about it, it reminded me of Ursula LeGuin's. story "The Ones Who Walk Away From the Omelas" and Jackson's "The Lottery."

Sergio Angelini, THE CAVES OF STEEL, Isaac Asimov
Joe Barone, WOLF, NO WOLF, Peter Bowen
Brian Busby, A LOT TO MAKE UP FOR, John Buell
Bill Crider, SON OF FLETCH, Gregory Mcdonald
Martin Edwards, INFORMATION RECEIVED, E.R. Punshion
Curt Evans, THE EAMES-ERSKINE CASE, H. Fielding
Elizabeth Grace Foley, NO HIGHWAY, Neville Shute
Elizabeth Foxwel, TI'S ABOUT CRIME, MacKinlay Kantor
Jeff Flugel, Tarzan, The Centennial Art, Scott Tracy Griffin
Jerry House, THE POKER CLUB, Ed Gorman
Nick Jones, INTRIGUE, Eric Ambler
George Kelley, THE ART OF MYSTERY AND DETECTION, Peter Haining
Margot Kinberg, THE GUARDS, Ken Bruen
B.V. Lawson, ANNE PERRY PRESENTS MALICE DOMESTIC
Evan Lewis, BENEFIT PERFORMANCE, Richard Sale
Steve Lewis, KILLER SOLO, Dave Hiltbrand
Todd Mason, Lee Hays: short stories for EQMM and BESTSELLER MYSTERY MAGAZINE; Doris Willens: LONESOME TRAVELER: THE LIFE OF LEE HAYS
J.F. Norris, THRILLING STORIES OF THE RAILROAD, Victor L. Whitechurch
James Reasoner, APRIL KANE AND THE DRAGON LADY
Richard Robinson, RETURN OF THE DINOSAURS, Resnick and Greenberg
Gerard Saylor, March Violets, Philip Kerr
Michael Slind, CHASING THE DEVIL'S TAIL, David Fulmer
Kevin Tipple/Barry Ergang, THE REMAKE: AS TIME GOES BY, Stephen Humphrey Bogart
TomCat HOW GOOD OF A DETECTIVE ARE YOU, H.A. Ripley
James Winter, SADIE WHEN SHE DIED and HAIL TO THE CHIEF, Ed McBain
Yvette, THE RELUCTANT WIDOW, Gerogette Heyer

16 comments:

Deb said...

The Giver is on many junior high required reading lists, which may explain why--despite the bleakness of its subject matter--it has stayed in print for two decades.

pattinase (abbott) said...

It is so driven by ideology it is hard to imagine any kid liking it.

Yvette said...

I've got one posted too this week, Patti. I know, it's hit or miss with me. :)

John said...

I think you'd be surprised how kids can pick up on ideology -- especially in books specifically aimed at young readers.

I've known about THE GIFT for a long time but have never read it. Sounds like it was the original dystopian young adult novel. Now we're inundated with them as if all YA books must be about hopeless futures in order to get published. I wonder how many YA writers would acknowledge Lowry as an inspiration for The Hunger Games rip-offs (itself a blatant ripoff of three writers' stories I can think of)?

I'll be looking for a little known Jackson short story to review for next week. So count me in.

John said...

Well, of course I meant THE GIVER and not THE GIFT. Ugh, these fingers of mine sometimes have a mind of their own.

Elisabeth Grace Foley said...

After a while away, I've got one this week: No Highway by Nevil Shute.

pattinase (abbott) said...

I thought mine were the only ones, John. Welcome back the two Elizabeths.

Gerard Saylor said...

I think adults enjoy THE GIVER more than kids. I have not read the book but I recall my wife saying she liked it a lot.

Anonymous said...

At one point Jackie was in charge of young adult books in her district so she (and I) read a lot of them, including this one.

Jeff M.

Charles Gramlich said...

I wonder if it has been selected for high school English reading lists. probably.

Todd Mason said...

Yes, THE GIVER goes on reading lists, in part because it won the 1994 Newbery Award. As John suggests, kids (particularly bookish kids) take well to ideologically-driven books, because kids are trying to figure out the world, and such books as C.S. Lewis's or ANIMAL FARM or THE LORD OF THE FLIES are only too happy to tell them how the world works in despairing detail. (As you can see, John, I do take issue with the notion that this was the first or even in the first wave of dystopian YA...leaving aside how the Golding wasn't actually written with children as target audience, nor the Orwell, nonetheless the kids make up a fair amount of the audience the novels still have...and the 1960s YA novels of John Christopher, Robert Heinlein (!) and any number of others were often dystopian, sometimes whether they were meant to be or not...by the 1970s, in English but not in English alone, YAs did tend to strive for the downbeat, if not exclusively across the range of YA fiction, then rather mechanically in the overrated contributions of the likes of ex-CF writer Kin Platt, among others. Marijane Meaker, in her M.E. Kerr guise, at least would deal with sobering matters with wit, and she not alone in this, though she was among the best. Jean Craighead George was another, doing much better and therefore even more depressing work than Platt...George picked up Newberys Platt and Meaker were denied (though the Platt and Meaker novels were widely available, thanks to being published/reprinted as Dell Laurel Leaf paperbacks...the only publishing program to really give Scholastic Book Services a run for their money in suburban schools penetration in the 1970s (at least those I attended, in New England states--I was out in Hawaii for Fall, 1979, but reading adult materials exclusively by then as an entering sophomore), though Harper Trophy books, which resembled Dell Yearlings, were also heavily in evidence, along with smatterings of Signet, Fawcett (particularly their cartoon collections) and Grosset and Dunlap books...

I know I wasn't the only teen in the 1970s who didn't care about clothes nor sports, and suspect there have been no lack of similar teens (or those who wouldn't hold it against a novel if it didn't feature discussion of them)...

Jeff Flugel said...

I know you're busy, Patti, but if you have time later this weekend, would you mind adding mine?

http://thestalkingmoon.weebly.com/2/post/2014/01/tarzan-the-centennial-celebration-the-stories-the-movies-the-art-2012-by-scott-tracy-griffin.html

Thank you (and have a great weekend!)

Margot Kinberg said...

Thanks as ever, Patti, for including mine.

George said...

I'll have a Shirley Jackson book for next week's FFB.

pattinase (abbott) said...

He is the only 12 year old I can imagine whose major concern is the future of his community and is willing to sacrifice everything for that. I am not criticizing just in awe.

Todd Mason said...

Think of the kids, at least some of them, that far along in adolescence who are part of communities where they feel, to one degree or another, under constant threat. Those kids around the world throwing rocks at police and soldiers aren't doing it just for kicks...there are easier ways to not get shot or at least gassed.