Weekend Read! The Giver by Lois Lowry

While many younger readers are saying “The Giver didn’t we have to read that in school? Why would I want to read it again?” believe it or not, not everyone has read The Giver. The Giver was written in 1993, and only somewhere between 1994 when it won the Newberry Award and 1996 then it won the William Allan White Award, did it land itself on the school required reading lists. For us old farts who were too old for this book to be required, and in our tween and teen years could have cared less about a kiddie book like The Giver, and in our college years passed it over for those books that would enrich our minds like Slaughterhouse Five and War and Peace (because we all read that by choice…) we may have missed this little gem and may have no idea what enrichment it offers to an educated, inquiring, adult mind.

In a dystopian future, the protagonist, Jonas, is awaiting the time of ceremony where each child, depending on their age, is given something that defines that year of their life and will help them in the future. When the book opens, Jonas and his family are going though a period of adaptation. Jonas is awaiting the ceremony of 12 to be assigned his job that he will train for over the next year, his sister is awaiting the ceremony of  8 where she will receive her more adult jacket with smaller buttons and pockets and she will get to start her volunteer hours, his mother is a judge who is helping with the ceremony preparations, and his father is a Nurture who is showing special attention to an infant who is developing slower and gets permission to bring him home for one year to give him special nurturing.

There is so much to this tiny book that it would be impossible to summarize it with out giving away so many of the mysteries that make The Giver unique. It is truly a  strange and enthralling novel. It sucks you into a world that is exactly like our own except it is stripped of reality. There are “nuclear families” and school, and jobs, and homes, and stuffed animals, and food and every other thing one might need. The people in Jonas’ world are happy, life is perfect, but only because they don’t know any better. Everything is the same for everyone. It always has been and always will be.

Without giving away details or the ending, this title is something that you just need to read to get and even then it is hard to grasp. It is indescribable without giving it away, and yet even when everything is said and done one is left with this feeling of emptiness that creates an almost need for more, of which there is none.

 

At only 179 pages, The Giver is easily a weekend read. Pick it up and take a step back to childhood this weekend and see what an adult world it can be.

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Day 17: Weekend Read

When I decided to do weekend reads I had said they would be easy reads…well, this week it would b e a lie to say my pick is easy. It’s small, if that counts for anything, and most of you have probably had to read it before, so it should be familiar, but even as I reread it now, I am realizing what a complex book it is. This week’s weekend read is:

1984

by George Orwell

I know, I know. Heavy. But here is the thing, this is a GREAT book, and now more than ever is it important for us to read and heed this book. “Big Brother” is every where and they are watching you. From government controlled lunches in Chicago to 7th graders being questioned about their Facebook posts, you are all being watched, and it is getting easier and easier for them to do it. Hell, if some sicko can install a program on your computer and watch you and photograph you then what is to stop Big Brother from doing the same?

For those of you not familiar with 1984, it is the dystopian story of “protagonist Winston Smith… a civil servant responsible for perpetuating the Party’s propaganda by revising historical records to render the Party omniscient and always correct, yet his meager existence disillusions him to the point of seeking rebellion against Big Brother.”* And this is what we are waiting for…the sh*t to rain down! And I warn you, it is coming my friends. Viva la revolution!

Ahem…anyway… read or reread this book. The message is hefty, but the writing is profound and eerie, and inspiring, and definitely worth giving a read, particularly now, with your adult eyes. Let them open, my friends, let them open and see.


*http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nineteen_Eighty-Four

Day 10: Weekend Read

In honor of yesterday’s recipe today’s weekend read is…you guessed it…

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s (Philosopher’s) Stone

by J.K. Rowling

Now I know it is hard to imagine that there is anyone left in the world that hasn’t read this book yet, but believe it or not there is. I have friends that haven’t read it!

In the first novel, orphaned and down trodden Harry Potter is doomed to an unhappy life with his Aunt, Uncle, and cousin. But on his 11th birthday a GIANT surprise is thrust into his lap in the form of a very large man, a very messy cake, and an invitation to attend a school for wizards which, you guessed it, he is! But evil is afoot and it is up to Harry and his friends to battle evil and prove that goodness, kindness, and true love will always conquer all.

This book can be picked up in paperback for around $7. If you haven’t read it yet, read it. If you have, pull it off the shelf, dust it off, and read it again, because this book changed history.

For those of you out there that haven’t read it OR feel it may be time to revisit it here is a refresher from some of the media sources as to why you should:

 Publisher’s Weekly
Readers are in for a delightful romp with this award-winning debut from a British author who dances in the footsteps of P.L. Travers and Roald Dahl.

USA Today
You don’t have to be a wizard or a kid to appreciate the spell cast by Harry Potter.

Newsweek
The true hero of this summer’s reading season is likely to be Harry Potter.

Newsweek
The true hero of this summer’s reading season is likely to be Harry Potter.

USA Today
You don’t have to be a wizard or a kid to appreciate the spell cast by Harry Potter.

The New York Times Book Review – Michael Winerip
A wonderful first novel….Harry is destined for greatness. Much like Roald Dahl, J.K. Rowling has a gift for keeping the emotions, fears and triumphs of her characters on a human scale, even while the supernatural is popping out all over.

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by JK Rowling. This first book of the wildly popular Harry Potter series has sparked the imagination of an entire generation of young readers and inspired those with a few more years under their belts too. The cultural impact the Harry Potter series has had on the world is unmistakable.

from 50 Books That Changed the World