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Tag Archives: dystopian

The author lives forever in the pages of his books

Ray Bradbury has inspired generations of readers to dream, think, and create. A prolific author of hundreds of short stories and close to fifty books, as well as numerous poems, essays, operas, plays, teleplays, and screenplays, Bradbury was one of the most celebrated writers of our time. His groundbreaking works include Fahrenheit 451, The Martian Chronicles, The Illustrated Man, Dandelion Wine, and Something Wicked This Way Comes.

Throughout his life, Bradbury liked to recount the story of meeting a carnival magician, Mr. Electrico, in 1932. At the end of his performance Electrico reached out to the twelve-year-old Bradbury, touched the boy with his sword, and commanded, Live forever! Bradbury later said, “I decided that was the greatest idea I had ever heard. I started writing every day. I never stopped.”

Source: Coliserv.net

I guess Mr. Electrico was right. Bradbury will live forever. In the hearts of all of those who read his books.

Thank you, Mr. Bradbury, for the inspiration. Thank you for igniting within your readers the desire to keep books alive. Thank you for the countless adventures. Thank you for sharing with all of us the worlds created in your mind.

RIP Ray Bradbury

 

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Fahrenheit 451: Because we need to be really bothered once in a while.

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.com

So I had decided to read Fahrenheit 451 a good two weeks ago, which seems like a long time to finish such a short book, I know. But you know me, reading more than one book at a time and with work and everything else, I can’t afford to read a book in a couple of days anymore. I actually finished reading the book a few days ago but only now had time to come here and write about it.

First of all let me warn you that I will talk about specific things in the book. If you don’t want me to spoil anything for you, go read the book first. Then you can come here and give me your opinion on it.

Still here? Great. Either you already read the book or you don’t mind spoilers. Anyway, Fahrenheit 451 is a book written by Ray Bradbury about a dystopian society in which books became obsolete. More than that, they are now something to be feared, and must be burned. I love that it was not a government imposition, but a natural consequence of a society that no longer value books; a society where information must be delivered in quick, summarized statements. People don’t want to think. People just want to believe they are happy. But does that bring them happiness? Is oblivion such a good thing? Is it preferred over having to deal with the problems around us?

I really enjoyed this book. How torn Montag, the main character feel. How he goes from going with the flow, just doing what he’s been told, drinking the Kool-Aid, to being a person who thinks about why things are the way they are. He goes through a crisis, trying to understand the reasons behind what they are doing and whether or not something can be done to change the situation. And at the end we have hope. Hope that not all is lost after all, that we will always have people who think and not just do what others tell them to. Hope that maybe one day everyone will be able to analyze things with critical eyes instead of blindly following the herd.

The story, by the way, was originally a short story that Bradbury wrote. Later he worked on it and let it grow. And Bradbury typed the book in a paid typewriter at a library. I don’t know why, I can’t explain it, but somehow the image of a writer with a story in his head, a message, going to a library to type it all out using a paid typewriter, making every word count, makes me like the story even more.

Quotes from the book:

“We need not to be let alone. We need to be really bothered once in a while. How long is it since you were really bothered? About something important, about something real?”

“If you don’t want a house built, hide the nails and wood. If you don’t want a man unhappy politically, don’t give him two sides to a question to worry him; give him one. Better yet, give him none.”

“No, no, it’s not books at all you’re looking for! Take it where you can find it, in old phonograph records, old motion pictures, and in old friends; look for it in nature and look for it in yourself. Books were only one type of receptacle where we stored a lot of things we were afraid we might forget. There is nothing magical in them at all. The magic is only in what books say, how they stitched the patches of the universe together into one garment for us.”

“Those who don’t build must burn. It’s as old as history and juvenile delinquents.”

“Everyone must leave something behind when he dies, my grandfather said. A child or a book or a painting or a house or a wall built or a pair of shoes made. Or a garden planted. Something your hand touched some way so your soul has somewhere to go when you die, and when people look at that tree or that flower you planted, you’re there. It doesn’t matter what you do, he said, so long as you change something from the way it was before you touched it into something that’s like you after you take your hands away. The difference between the man who just cuts lawns and a real gardener is in the touching, he said. The lawn-cutter might just as well not have been there at all; the gardener will be there a lifetime.”

“We know all the damn silly things we’ve done for a thousand years, and as long as we know that and always have it around where we can see it, some day we’ll stop making the goddam funeral pyres and jumping into the middle of them. We pick up a few more people that remember, every generation.”

 

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The Hunger Games – Mich’s review

Ever since I posted my review on this book I’ve been searching around for other reviews. I even talked about a really good one I read and re-blogged a post about the whole dystopian trend. Then I thought people would get tired of reading my posts if I started posting links to other blogger’s reviews, so I stopped. But today Mich posted hers, so I just had to share this with you.

Now I’ll stop. Probably. Unless you want me to talk about the movie. I’m thinking about writing a movie review. We’ll see.

 

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Are you willing?

Dying? Dying is easy. I welcome death. Death is nothing to be fearful of. Torture. Torture is what you should be afraid of.

Being marked. Scarred. Cut. Torn apart. Destroyed in every possible way. Day after day. Hour after hour. Minute after minute. Knowing the end will never come.

Are you willing? Are you willing to be tortured until the only thing left in you is pain?

From an idea stirring in my head. A new seed has been planted. Now we must let it grow and transform itself in what it’s supposed to become.

 

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Because you don’t have to burn books if the world starts to fill up with nonreaders, nonlearners, nonknowers

I decided to read Fahrenheit 451. I got the 40th anniversary edition with a new foreword by the author, Ray Bradbury. I always liked this little glimpse to the author’s mind. Bradbury, however, gave me more than I would’ve expected. Here’s what he wrote:

(…) a prediction that my Fire Chief, Beatty, made in 1953, halfway through my book. It had to do with books being burned without matches or fire. Because you don’t have to burn books, do you, if the world starts to fill up with nonreaders, nonlearners, nonknowers? If the world wide-screen-basketballs and -footballs itself to drown in MTV, no Beattys are needed to ignite the kerosene or hunt the reader. If the primary grades suffer meltdown and vanish through the cracks and ventilators of the schoolroom, who, after a while, will know or care?

All is not lost, of course. There is still time if we judge teachers, students, and parents, hold them accountable on the same scale, if we truly test teachers, students, and parents, if we make everyone responsible for quality, if we insure that by the end of its sixth year every child in every country can live in libraries to learn almost by osmosis, then our drug, street-gang, rape, and murder scores will suffer themselves near zero. But the Fire Chief, in mid-novel, says it all, predicting the one-minute TV commercial with three images per second and no respite from the bombardment. Listen to him, know what he says, then go sit with your child, open a book, and turn the page.

I couldn’t agree more. What good is it to have books and not read them? I never understood people who say they don’t like to read. It makes no sense at all to me. It’s like saying you don’t like to breathe.

I’ve heard kids saying they don’t like to read. I can understand that. But that’s only because they haven’t found the right books yet. We all go through reading books we don’t like, but for little kids, because reading is a skill they have not yet mastered, they struggle more. They don’t know yet what genre they like, and they are not well equipped to understand all that’s in between the lines. They can only see what’s on the surface. They haven’t learned to look at a book with critical eyes and see what’s not so obvious.

Adults, however, have the skill to analyze a book, to get the hidden meaning of it, to use it as a tool to make them ponder about bigger issues. Adults have the ability to discern what they do or do not like about a book, and they understand the true value of it.

So go, grab a book and read it. Go to your local library or bookstore and get a new book. Set a goal for yourself to read a certain amount of books and do it. A book a month? A book a week? A chapter a day? It doesn’t matter. What really matters is to read something. And if you need recommendations, ask the librarian, ask the internet, ask me. There are millions of books out there just waiting to be discovered, to be devoured.

“You don’t have to burn books to destroy a culture. Just get people to stop reading them.” Ray Bradbury (photo courtesy of pcorreia)

 

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The most thorough review on The Hunger Games

I’ve read several reviews on The Hunger Games, and this one is by far the most thorough of all of them. The author of the review talks about writing techniques e choices, and what he would have done differently.

The review does contain spoilers, so I wouldn’t recommend it if you’re not a fan of them. Otherwise, go right now, because it’s a must read for sure.

 

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The Hunger Games and the dystopian trend

A great post about the dystopian trend.

Hunger Games Fandom

We all know that The Hunger Games is a dystopian novel, as are many other YA novels that are popular right now and maybe even life itself?  Is our modern way of life falling into the dystopian catagory?  Not entirely sure about that, however the LA Times have released an article that hits on some interesting points and explores this new dystopian trend deeper.  Check it out below!

Hollywood can thank “The Hunger Games” for raking in the bucks – more than $250 million overall, with $61 million over the weekend – but word lovers can thank the movie for something else: the spread of “dystopia” and “dystopian.”

The words seem to be everywhere, popping up in news articles and opinion pieces on young adult fiction, visual arts, motion pictures (and not just “The Hunger Games”), hate-crime laws, video games, a trip to the gas station and an anti-President Obama…

View original post 403 more words

 

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Mockingjay, by Suzanne Collins

Warning: this review may or may not contain spoilers.

And so we get to the third book of The Hunger Games trilogy, Mockingjay. And if you don’t like when people spoil the surprise, stop reading this right now, because I’m about to say things that may or may not hint you to things in the book. I’ll try not to reveal too much, but there are things I have to talk about. So feel free to only read this after reading the book.

Mockingjay is the book where you see people’s true colors. You finally understand why some characters acted a certain way and why things were the way they were. The whole series was told in first person, so there were things we had no idea, simply because the main character, Katniss Everdeen, had no knowledge of them. We were only allowed to know what she knew or have get clues from things through her thoughts. When she questioned things we got glimpses of what could possibly be, but we, as Katniss, could not be sure of them.

The book’s messages are stronger. It calls us to realize how much power we have inside ourselves. It tells us not only to question things, but to fight for what is right. And it urges us to find out who the real enemy is. That, to me, was one of the most important messages. How many times in our lives don’t we fight not knowing who the real enemy is? And only when Katniss understands that, she can finally separate what’s real from what’s not.

A must read, I’d say.

Some quotes from the book:

“Fire is catching! And if we burn, you burn with us!”

“Closing my eyes doesn’t help. Fire burns brighter in the darkness.”

“They’ll either want to kill you, kiss you, or be you.”

“If he wants me broken, then I will have to be whole.”

“Thirteen was used to hardship, whereas in the Capitol, all they’ve known is Panem et Circenses.”

“Frankly, our ancestors don’t seem much to brag about. I mean, look at the state they left us in, with the wars and broken planet. Clearly, they didn’t care about what would happen to the people who came after them.”

“But that kind of thinking… you could turn it into an argument for killing anyone at any time. You could justify sending kids into the Hunger Games to prevent the districts from getting out of line.”

“Now we’re in that sweet period where everyone agrees that our recent horrors should never be repeated. But collective thinking is usually short-lived. We’re fickle, stupid beings with poor memories and a great gift for self-destruction.”

 

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Catching Fire, by Suzanne Collins

Warning: Although I try not to reveal too many things, there are spoilers in this review. I try to keep things I wouldn’t want revealed to me out of the review. However, it’s really hard to talk about a book and not to mention certain things. If you don’t want to know a thing, I suggest you skip this post and come back to it after reading the book.

Catching Fire is the second book of The Hunger Games trilogy. Against all odds, Katniss has won the Hunger Games on the first book. She should now return home, to her friends and family, and enjoy the rewards of being a victor. Only that’s not what happens. She’s not in good terms with the people in her life. Besides, the Capitol saw her victory as a threat, and now she must deal with the consequences of her actions.

To be honest, I wasn’t expecting much from this book. Usually the second book of a series, with a few exceptions of course, tend to disappoint. The big story was told, about the Hunger Games, and what could happen now? What could be worst than that, right? Would they now be on the other side of it, training other children to compete? Would they talk about the other side of things?

However, you do have a title that makes you wonder. Catching Fire. She was the girl on fire. Now it’s time to burn. And you do see it burn. The book is divided in 3 parts: The Spark, The Quell, and The Enemy. And I have to say the book is really engaging. Katniss grows in this book. She goes from a girl who knows things are wrong but doesn’t understand why her friend Gale insists on thinking about it, to a girl who can defy the Capitol, who can inspire a whole nation. She doesn’t quite see how she can be inspiring, but she’s definitely not the same naïve girl from the beginning of the first book.

This book, although not as action packed as the first one, continues to criticize society, as did the first one in the trilogy. It talks about how people underestimate the power they have and how much they can accomplish. Katniss gets to see more clearly what is going on, and she shows she’s not as immature as she was. She plans, she thinks about things larger than her own existence, than her own survival. She thinks big. When she says “If I can make it clear that I’m still defying the Capitol right up to the end, the Capitol will have killed me… but not my spirit. What better way to give hope to the rebels?” I thought “Now, that’s the spirit!”

I certainly recommend this book. Now, just one thing: If you don’t like cliffhangers, you’ll hate the ending. I have to say, if I had to wait months to read the next, I’d be furious! I finish the book and couldn’t wait to start the next. I had to grab the third one and start reading it right away. It’s a great cliffhanger, but a huge one, so just make sure you have the third one handy before you finish this one.

A few quotes:

“A mockingjay is a creature the Capitol never intended to exist. They hadn’t counted on the highly controlled jabberjay having the brains to adapt to the wild, to thrive in a new form. They hadn’t anticipated its will to live.”

“A spark could be enough to set them ablaze.”

“It must be very fragile, if a handful of berries can bring it down.”

“If I can make it clear that I’m still defying the Capitol right up to the end, the Capitol will have killed me… but not my spirit. What better way to give hope to the rebels?” (p. 243)

“At some point, you have to stop running and turn around and face whoever wants you dead.The hard thing is finding the courage to do it.”

 

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The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins

I’ve heard people talk about how everyone was so taken by not only this book, but the whole trilogy. I have to say, that made me not even want to read it. I don’t like when people tell me I have to read a book because it’s so awesome and everyone loves it. I resist things like that. Maybe it’s the rebel inside me telling me to go against the flow.

But eventually my curiosity got the better of me. Once I heard it was a dystopian novel then I really wanted to read it. Plus, there was the fact that the movie was coming out, and that good friends of mine, whose opinion I respect very much, liked it. So I gave in and decided that I wanted to see the movie and, therefore, was going to read the book. And I knew I had to read the book before watching the movie, that’s pretty much mandatory in my opinion. I like to allow myself to see the story develop in front of me through my own eyes, using my imagination, and then see what others come up with.

Anyway, it’s an easy-to-read book, with an easy-to-follow story line. Very interesting. I couldn’t really picture how things where set sometimes, but that’s a problem I always have. I always have a hard time with directions and such. But I have to admit the book even brought tears to my eyes in more than one occasion. It’s a good story, very emotional in some ways, and with a lot of messages. The book makes you think about society, power, self-preservation, and human rights.

The book is in first person and you only get to see or hear what the narrator can, you do have a limited view sometimes. But as in every story, there are always things the reader must know that the character may not be aware of, which forces the author to find ways in which to deliver the information the readers need. Nothing unusual there. The problem here is the way in which the author decided to deliver said information.

At times I felt like things were too convenient. Things seem to work out too well. But I get it, and it doesn’t even bother me that much. At others I felt the author didn’t think I was smart enough to make my own assumptions. And I do understand this is YA, but still, that really annoyed me. For example, if you put something in italics, I know that’s what the character is thinking. I understand that without you having to add a comma and the words “I think” after it. Authors out there, please, do not do that. You have to believe your readers will be smarter than that.

But all in all, it’s a great story, full of interesting situations, although unpleasant at times, and it does evoke emotions in the reader and it’s thought-provoking. I cried at the end of chapter one. I loved the opening paragraph on chapter two because of how she described that specific moment. And at times I even stopped reading just to reflect on life, on how society is, and on how we, humans, behave. I like it, and I do recommend this book.

A few quotes:

“I’m more than just a piece in their Games.” 

“It’s all a big show. It’s all how you’re perceived.” (p.135)

“Happy Hunger Games! And may the odds be ever in your favor.”

 

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