About Me

Musings of a hopeful wanderer.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Weeks in Review, with books

Hello, hello, hello.  That was an echo, it doesn't translate so well online.

Life has been hectic, in the best possible way these past few weeks.  Remember that interview I had?  Well, I didn't get that particular position, but I was offered a very similar position in the same department.  I am now the newest Ask a Librarian intern at the UT main library.  I'm mainly doing chat and email reference work and I'm loving every minute of it.  We have also been away from our apartment for 2 weeks house and dogsitting for some friends.  We tried to make it as much of a "staycation" as possible, with as little internet and work as possible, which we were more or less successful doing.  I did a lot of reading, A LOT.  Here's what I've had on my bedstand table the past few weeks:

Little Brother by Cory Doctorow

Y'all, this one rocked my world and I gobbled it up in about two days.  It's a story of a teenage hacker, Marcus, who for the most part used his hacking abilities for gaming and getting around his school-implemented online surveillance systems.  After an attack on the Bay Bridge, Marcus is in the wrong place at the wrong time, gets picked up as a suspect, and after a few days of interrogation, is released into what has become a complete police state.  His hacking skills then become mighty useful as he forms an underground network of teens who want to reclaim their civil liberties.

Obviously from the title (and Marcus' online handle, "Winston"), this book is Orwellian.  And anyone who knows anything about Cory Doctorow can tell that this one is, very Doctorow-ish.  And it was great!  It was a fast-paced action of a read; not only did I learn more than I ever wanted to know about how to get around CCTVs, ARPHIDs, and internet filters, and I also learned (again) about the consequences of trading civil liberties for "security."  I cannot recommend this one enough.

Life as We Knew It (The Last Survivors #1) by Susan Beth Pfeffer

This one was heavy.  Its written as the diary of 16 year-old Miranda who witnesses an asteroid hitting the moon.  The asteroid was big enough to drastically alter the moon's orbit and distance to the earth, thereby causing massive natural disasters.  Its a harrowing story that reminded me a lot of World War Z.  We see a lot of movies about asteroids and meteors and whatnot, but this was a very realistic portrayal of the aftermath.  What would we do if everyone we knew was dead?  What would it be like if day after day we watched our only food supply diminish?  What would we do when faced with the decision to save ourselves or help another?  It was gripping and heartbreaking and if you know me at all, you know I mean that in the best possible way.

The Dead and the Gone (The Last Survivors #2) by Susan Beth Pfeffer

A companion to Life as We Knew It, this one takes place concurrently, also in diary format, of  17 year-old Alex, a Puerto Rican living in Manhattan.  Initially I didn't like it as much, as it begins much the same way and, honestly, I just didn't know if I could take much more of it.  It eventually grew on me, though, and while the decisions Alex is forced to make are harrowing, he brings a different perspective than Miranda did. This was my least favorite of the series, mostly because I found Alex a little melodramatic.

This World We Live In (Last Survivors #3) by Susan Beth Pfeffer

This one resumes where the first one left off; again, we follow the diary of a now 17 year-old Miranda and well, the moon is still too close to Earth.  I was really excited to read this one, hoping that they've figured out a way to get food, water and heat.  They haven't, but things are looking up--in a way that's only possible once you've hit rock bottom.  Alex and Miranda have crossed-paths, and when I initially found out I rolled my eyes; when you think about it, though, when the population has been decimated, things like that are bound to happen.  It nicely wrapped up the story, leaving me satisfied but without all the answers.  A terrific trilogy for us pessimists.

What's been on your summer reading plate?