Friday, October 2, 2009

Yikes, or M.T. Anderson is a Freaking Genius

Hi, gang.  It's Diane.

You haven't heard from me in awhile.  I promise, I'm still reading books.

Apparently Dave has issued me a challenge: submit a blog entry five times per month.  This will not be easy.

Here's my first attempt.  It might be brief and pathetic, but I promise it is passionate.

Here's the book I just finished reading:

I picked it up because my 13 year old, Nick, had read it this summer, and I want to know what he has been reading, even if it's after the fact.  You know, so I can be one of those mothers.

Imagine the future- could be 5 years, could be 50 years from now.  Most Americans have a stream of consciousness, wireless internet connection running through- and in- their brains.  It's called the feed.  You can have your feed placed in your brain at birth, or, you can have it placed "after factory". Think of the feed this way- your IPOD earbuds are always in, and you are constantly fed information, both meaningful and not.  You walk into the GAP, and immediately, your feed sends you advertisements about which khakis will fit you best or what color polo shirt might match your eye color. 

Essentially, you don't have to think on the feed. All your thinking is done for you as you are continually told what you need and like and how you should be.  You go to school to learn how to be a consumer, to use your feed to maximize your comfort and happiness and entertainment.  You are constantly encouraged to buy, buy, buy!  So you can be happy and fulfilled!

Titus, is a teenager who has had the feed his whole life.  Honestly guys, Titus is a few tools short a full tool box.  He has never had to think for himself, nor has his shallow thinking ever been challenged.  He meets Violet, a fellow teen who received her feed when she was six years old. Violet has had time to experience life pre-feed and knows choice and free will and beauty, as well as what it means to truly communicate with another human being.  She challenges Titus to think differently about the feed and in the end...well, I won't spoil it for you. I do promise you will be surprised by this satirical yet sobering glimpse of our potential futures given our sense of entitlement and expectation for 24/7 information.

I've read other novels by M.T. Anderson including:

Whales on Stilts is a completely irreverent and humorous tale of Lily Gefelty and her two friends, Jasper Dash and Katie Mulligan, and their attempt to save the world from angry, laser shooting whales on stilts.

Need I say more?

Today, I was combing our shelves to look for anything new to read, and I found M.T. Anderson's newest, Jasper Dash and the Flame Pits of Delaware: A Pals in Peril Tale. It's a continuation of the above named three amigos in their further attempts to save the world.  Here's the first paragraph:

"When Lily Gefelty got out of bed on the morning of the big game, she looked out the window to see what kind of a day it was going to be.  She discovered that it was the kind of day when a million beetles crawl out of the ground and swarm the streets, forecasting evil."

And here is why, my friends, M.T. Anderson deserves the title "Freaking Genius."  In every one of his books, he grabs you in that first paragraph so that the only thing you can do is read on.  And on.  I mean, c'mon- don't you want to now know about these beetles?  Where did they come from?  What is their M.O.?  And will Lily and Co.stop them before it is too late?

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