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Austen to Zafón

Reading widely since 1972.

Currently reading

A London Family, 1870-1900: A Trilogy
Molly Hughes
The Cellist of Sarajevo
Steven Galloway
Lives of a Cell: Notes of a Biology Watcher
Lewis Thomas
All the Names
José Saramago, Margaret Jull Costa
A History of the World in 100 Objects
Neil MacGregor
Down the Garden Path
Beverley Nichols
Virtue Betray'd, Or, Anna Bullen
John Banks
Year of Wonders
Geraldine Brooks
Swallows and Amazons
Arthur Ransome
Illusion in java
Gene Fowler
The Giver - Lois Lowry The more I think about it, the more I dislike this book. I really want to demote it to one star, but I *did* read all the way to the end and it was a page-turner in the sense that I wanted to know what happened. But I felt manipulated throughout the book and am feeling more and more hoodwinked as time passes and I think back. I've liked a number of dystopian books, like 1984 and Animal Farm. But those seemed like they could actually happen. The characters were complex and thinking. The main flaw in The Giver is that most the characters are like robots. Generations have passed and not a single person has rebelled. In addition to whatever they did to them to make them unable to see color, they seem to have taken their brains out too. And any feelings. And so the only way the author can get out of that jam is to give the questioning character a magic skill, which is such a lame out. I'm still trying to figure out what the author is against. I mean, everybody is against infanticide, not to mention killing toddlers. Everyone is a fan of love and family. Is this an anti-Communist story? Is she in the Ayn Rand camp of complete individualism and worship of Art & Beauty? She seems to emulate Rand's lack of nuance. Everything is extreme and black-and-white. No subtlety. And there were so many little things that didn't make sense to me. If the goal is "sameness," what's wrong with twins? If the goal is "sameness," why let light-eyed babies survive? I know this is a very popular book, but it felt heavy-handed and propagandistic to me. If only I knew what she was selling so hard. The topper for me was that one of the only things I liked was the ambiguity of the ending. Is he really saved? Or is it like The Little Match Girl, where he's having a dream at the end, as he freezes to death? But in the author interview at the back of the book, when the interviewer asked Lowry about that ambiguity, she whines that she couldn't imagine how *anyone* could see any ambiguity and that *of course* he's saved. In fact, she seemed a little whiney in general, and seemed to view her readers with some irritation. Maybe I just don't "get" this book.