Magic Pills

Have you ever wished that there was a magic pill you could take that would just make everything better? A pill to make you happy? A pill that would nourish you so that you didn't have to eat? Those pills exist in Ally Condie's Matched and they aren't all they are cracked up to be. ...more
The pills are such an insidious way the society controls its citizens because it forces them to ... more

The Perfect Match

As one might expect in a novel named Matched, there's a whole lot of matching going on in Ally Condie's fictional world. Cassia's meals are a perfect match for her. She gets matched to the job that is the best for her abilities. But the main focus of this novel is on a different kind of matching -- Cassia also gets matched with the guy she'll marry....more
Being matched could be interesting if it was only a suggestion but having no choice is would not ... more

A World Without Creativity: The Hundred

When I read Ally Condie's Matched there were a lot of things about the Society that kind of blew my mind. When the old world broke down, the Society that rose from its ashes decided that there had simply been too much of everything -- too much technology, too much freedom, too much culture. One of the things that disturbed me the most was the elimination of all culture and art beyond what was approved by the Society. ...more
It would be really difficult to be so limited. I think it is also important to consider the ... more

What Would You Do if Technology Failed?

One of the things I found most intriguing about Ally Condie's Matched is how technology is approached in this new society. At one point Cassie says that the Society is in part a reaction to the overabundance of technology faced by earlier generations. They had access to technology all the time and rather than controlling it, technology controlled them. And when it failed, they were doomed. ...more
At 31, I just barely remember a time before the internet. It seems like 100 years ago when you ... more

Long-Term Consequences of the Lessons of War

I don’t know what was going through Robert Bales’s mind in March, when he quietly picked up his rifle and went house to house shooting anyone he encountered. I have no idea how he arrived at the decision that this was an appropriate course of action. Perhaps it came suddenly. Perhaps he got some bad news from home, or learned he had lost yet another friend. Maybe it was gradual, the cumulative effect of violence pooling within him over time. Maybe what started as a trickle of anger during his first combat deployment grew into a torrent of rage by his fourth. But his action, which we call abhorrent, is visible to us only in its extremity. It is a manifestation, a symptom of the violence in which we have long been engaged. ...more
I think it is easy to forget the long-term consequences of war. We have so many young people ... more

Do You Trust Your Memory?

Memory plays a big role in Stephen Dau's The Book of Jonas. Can we deny our memories? What happens when all we have left of someone are the memories? And most of all, can we trust our memories? ...more
I have a brother who is a year younger than me and we remember so many childhood events ... more

Each Story is Different

Stephen Dau's The Book of Jonas is about a story that needed to be told. Jonas hid from his story because, I believe, he didn't want to remember it. Rose sought his story because she felt that it was really important to her. Neither of them could move forward until the story was told. ...more
The past few years I have had some health issues which I discuss on my blog. I enjoy talking ... more

Losing Everything and Seeking Truth

In Stephen Dau's novel The Book of Jonas, there is a lot of loss. Jonas loses pretty much everything. Rose feels as though she's lost almost as much. Yet they deal with loss in very different ways. Jonas walks away from it while Rose makes it a central part of her life. ...more
The sense of loss in the book was so well done. It really permeates everything that Jonas does. ... more

Love, Colin and Other Drugs

One of the things that I found the hardest to read in Claire Bidwell Smith's The Rules of Inheritance was not her mother's death. Or her father's death. Don't get me wrong, it was difficult to read about their deaths. It was also difficult to read about her addiction to alcohol. But it was her relationship with Colin that I really found the most difficult -- her beautiful, flawed relationship. I wanted her leave but I understood why she stayed. We don't always love things that are good for us. ...more
I think friendships can be even more difficult to end. I had a friend with a substance abuse ... more

Then and Now

Claire Bidwell Smith's memoir The Rules of Inheritance isn't just about grief. It's also about knowing yourself -- knowing who you were, who you are and who you might become. Sometimes the person we were simply can't fathom the person we have become. ...more
I think I would be shocked but that has a lot to do with age. The difference between 20 and 30 ... more