Regular readers of my blog know that I really enjoy a good Victorian novel. So I have to say I’ve struggled to pull together my thoughts on Erewhon by Samuel Butler (published 1872) simply because it’s not one of the good ones. As a satirical look at Victorian society in the form of a dystopia,

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As I began reading The Cellist of Sarajevo by Steven Galloway(2008), it seemed so familiar, but I couldn’t place why. I finally figured it out: it reads like a dystopian novel, where people are struggling to survive in an oppressive war environment. The characters in the book struggle just to get the basic necessities of

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I read Lois Lowry’s The Giver (1993, winner of the Newbery Medal 1994) when it was first published (I was a teenager), but the related books to it, Gathering Blue (2000) and Messenger (2004), were both written after my childhood days, so I hadn’t read them before. My book club recently decided to read Messenger,

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As my son sat watching Dora the Explorer, I thought of my recent read of Fahrenheit  451 (1953). “Say, ‘backpack!’” Dora said. “Backpack,” Raisin responded. “Louder!” Dora’s friend prompted. “Backpack!” Raisin yelled. And this is just what Guy Montag’s wife (did she garner a name? It slips my mind now) does all day long in

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In The Girl Who Owned a City (first published 1975, reissued 1995), O.T. Nelson creates an entirely unbelievable post-apocalyptic scenario for middle-grade readers. In the past month, the world population of adults has died of a rapidly spreading plague. All that remains in ten-year-old Lisa’s immediate world are other children, all under the age of

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In 1934, an African-American doctor invented a surgical procedure that allowed black people to become white (specially, Nordic) in all respects. Black No More, Incorporated, became a highly profitable business, and the people of world were forever changed. Such is the premise of George S. Schuyler’s Black No More. It caught my eye because of

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Although Herland by Charlotte Perkins Gilman is a slim book (124 pages), the issues raised are relevant today. I wouldn’t say Gilman’s writing is stunning or beautiful. The plot is not engaging or page-turning. It is predictable and overly “convenient.” The characters are stereotypes on steroids. But rather than expecting any of those other things,

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I did not like being a teenager. Particularly ages 13 through 17. I was awkward. I was easily embarrassed. I was unpopular (or so I thought). I was nerdy. I was shy. I felt powerless. I wanted to be someone, and I was stuck just being me. I suppose that’s why I’ve always avoided reading

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