Friday Morning Bookclub

February 17, 2013

Good Enough To Listen to TWICE! Fahrenheit 451 By Ray Bradbury


I first read Fahrenheit 451 years ago. Was it in junior high school? High school? I really can’t remember when I read it, but when I saw the audio book sitting on the shelf of the library, I was intrigued. This dystopian novel was definitely worth a second read and it turns out it was also worth a third! Yes, as soon as I finished listening to it, I went back to the beginning and listened to it again.

For those of you who have never read Fahrenheit 451, or like me forgot more about the book than you remembered, Fahrenheit 451, written in 1953 is about a futuristic society where books are outlawed and people spend their days watching stories which make little sense on large wall to wall screens.  Between watching these “parlor walls”, listening to the radio via seashell ear radios, and driving 100 plus miles an hour looking at the 200 foot long bill boards little time was left to actually think about anything meaningful. It was all about “being happy” and knowledge was actually a bad thing, after all it made people feel superior.

Guy Montag was a fireman, as was his father and his grandfather. His job was not to put out fires as houses were now fire proofed, but to burn down houses found with books as well as to destroy the books themselves.  Montag never gave this any thought until he meets Clarisse McClellan, a strange 17-year-old girl who enjoys walking in the rain, picking dandelions and asking questions, something no one ever did. A series of events occur including a fire call gone wrong and Montag begins to question everything he once believed to be true. He realizes that he can’t even remember how he met his wife Mildred, a shell of a woman who watches the parlor walls all day and actually considers the characters in the shows her family. Suddenly his life begins to spin out of control.

Fahrenheit 451 may have been written 60 some years ago, but it is still a powerful, thought-provoking book. The televisions in my house are not quite as large as the wall to wall parlor walls described in Bradbury’s book, but they certainly have gotten much larger in recent years. And come to think of it, I can often be seen around town with little buds in my ears listening to my stories (via audio books). Yes, Fahrenheit 451 certainly has me thinking!

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury – Reviews, Discussion Goodreads

Next on my “to reread” list… Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte


January 18, 2013

Pandemonium By Lauren Oliver

Filed under: Book Recomendations,Delirium,Pandemonium — susanbright @ 10:16 am
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pan“No one can tell us no. No one can make us stop. We have picked each other, and the rest of the world can go to hell.”

So how do you talk about a book like Pandemonium if you do not want to give anything away? It is almost impossible! Pandemonium is the second book in the Delirium Trilogy. The first book, Delirium had a shocking ending and ANYTHING I say about the plot of this book could spoil the surprise, something I will not do.

All I will tell you is many of the questions I addressed in my earlier review of Delirium were answered in Pandemonium.  Lauren Oliver has really stepped up the action in book two and once again has left us with a major cliff hanger.  Unfortunately this time we have to wait until spring  when the third and final book Requiem comes out to see what happens.

If you enjoyed The Hunger Games and Divergent, the Delirium Trilogy is for you. It is fun, action packed and very entertaining.

For some insight into this YA trilogy, check out my review of Delirium:

A Fun Way To Start Off The New Year: Delirium By Lauren Oliver

January 1, 2013

A Fun Way To Start Off The New Year: Delirium By Lauren Oliver

Filed under: Delirium — susanbright @ 4:25 pm
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DileriumCall me crazy! I loved this book. It was pure entertainment. It was a page turner. Most of all it was fun!

Symptoms of Amor Deliria Nervosa


     preoccupation; difficulty focusing

    dry mouth

    perspiration, sweaty palms

    fits of dizziness and disorientation

    reduced mental awareness; racing

    thoughts; impaired reasoning skills

Sound familiar? Yes, in Lena Haloway’s world love was a terrible disease. A disease that made people do crazy things. In the old days people actually died from love, but that was before the cure. Lena’s own mother was a victim of Amor Deliria Nervosa and Lena was counting the days until her 18th birthday when she would go in for the procedure that would prevent her from ever contracting this horrific disease.  Sure life would change after the procedure and there were side effects of the cure. She may no longer enjoy running, as “People often change their habits afterwards, lose interest in their former hobbies and things that had given them pleasure”, but she would be safe. Yes, Lena was more than ready for the procedure that would guarantee her to be happy for the rest of her life. She was even looking forward to being paired with a boy chosen for her, and to be married. Unfortunately there were still cases of the Deliria in the United States and Lena did not want to end up like the “countless uncureds dragged to the procedure, so racked and ravaged by love that they would rather tear their eyes out, or try to impale themselves on the barbed-wire fences outside of the laboratories, than be without it.”

And then comes Alex. Lena had never really spoken to a boy before and Alex was like no one she had ever met before. Suddenly life is not as black and white as Lena had always believed. Delirium is a fun read. It is exciting. It has romance, action, and although it is somewhat predictable, it does have its share of surprises, especially the end, which came as a complete shock!

As much as I enjoyed the book, there are a few things that could have made it even better. I would have liked to have known more details as to the events that led up to the development of the cure and how the government was able to convince people to undergo such a procedure “for their own good”. Also,we know that Delirium takes place in Portland Maine, but know virtually nothing about what is going on in the rest of the world?  Perhaps some of these questions will be addressed in the next book in the Delirium Trilogy. Yes, it is a trilogy and I cannot wait to read Pandemonium! If you enjoyed The Hunger Games and Divergent you will enjoy Delirium. It is a fun ride and only 2.99 to download from Amazon! I can see why Delirium has been optioned by Fox 2000 to be made into a movie!

Delirium by Lauren Oliver

July 16, 2012

Divergent: A Review By Nancy

Filed under: Divergent — susanbright @ 3:51 pm
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I thought that everyone might enjoy hearing from someone else for a change, so here is Nancy’s review of this month’s book. Just for the record, I choose Amity. Yes, I am the peacemaker! When it comes to family conflict, my husband calls me Henry….Henry Kissinger that is! What faction would you choose?

Divergent is book one of a trilogy (the third book has not yet been published).  It is of the dystopian genre, written when the author was a first year college student. Divergent is classified as young adult, fiction.

Divergent has been compared to The Hunger Games. In Divergent, when children turn 16 they have to choose their “factions”.  If they choose other than their family of origin, they must leave their family forever.  “Factions before blood” is a repetitive theme.  Our main character, Beatrice/Tris is born into Abnegation.  The Abnegation are a selfless group, always putting themselves last in order to take care of others.   The four other factions are Amity, Candor, Dauntless and Erudite.  The factions were created in response to a great war.   The Amity faction blamed aggression for the war, and thus embraced kindness and work as the caretakers.  The Erudite faction blamed ignorance and embraced knowledge and are the teachers and researchers.  The Candor faction blamed duplicity and thus embraced honesty and truthfulness at all cost to become the lawyers. The Abnegation faction blamed selfishness and became the government, and the Dauntless blamed cowardice and became risk takers whose jobs are to protect the entire community. There is another group, the Factionless, and they are the homeless of the society, existing without community.  The goal is to chose the faction that best represents your personality and that faction becomes your community where you live and work, rarely interacting with the other factions.

The children are given an aptitude test in private to determine which faction best suits their personality. Initially, the book focuses on Beatrice and her difficulty living in Abnegation, as she feels she cannot instinctively be selfless, as opposed to her brother Caleb who is forever telling her how to behave. The Choosing ceremony, with the cutting and choosing of factions by dripping blood on the one of your choice, commences with both Beatrice and Caleb choosing factions other than Abnegation.  The book goes on from there, delving into their factions of choice, the initiation proceedings,  internal intrigue and some budding romances.  There is also another group that cannot be chosen, but rather the results of the aptitude test places you in this group.  To be Divergent you must have characteristics of any two or more factions. Beatrice’s characteristics include the factions Abnegation, Erudite, and Dauntless.  Very few are in this group, and it must be kept a secret at all costs.

There is much time devoted to violence.  It is at times a tedious read with many adult readers wondering how people could really think they could only be one personality, rather than a mix of many traits.  In the end, things come apart,  just in time for book number two!

The Friday Morning Bookclub gave Divergent mixed reviews.  Those that liked The Hunger Games, not surprisingly, liked Divergent.  Those of us not really into the dystopian genre did not particularly like the book.  However, one of  the joys of book club is reading books you wouldn’t normally read, and added to that is the fact that my 16 year old son enjoyed the book and it gave us many dinner-time discussions.  He has already started book two, Insurgent.

July 11, 2012

Rate The Dook: Divergent By Veronica Roth

Filed under: Divergent,Polls,Rate The Book — susanbright @ 11:03 am
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Help us rate our books! All votes and comments are welcomed!

July 3, 2012

Meet Veronica Roth, The Author Of This Month’s Book:Divergent

Filed under: Divergent — susanbright @ 9:55 am
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And she is only 22 years old! Veronica grew up in the suburbs of Chicago. She studied creative writing at Northwestern University, and wrote Divergent while she was supposed to be doing her school work. In her case…. it paid off!

June 11, 2012

This Month’s Book: Divergent By Veronica Roth

Filed under: Divergent — susanbright @ 9:32 pm
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Divergent is unlike anything we have ever read before. Yes, it is a young adult book, but don’t let that turn you off. This book is just plain fun and it is the first book in the Divergent Trilogy, followed by Insurgent and a third, yet to be titled book.

Divergent takes place in the future, in Chicago  The city is divided into five factions: Dauntless (brave), Candor (honesty), Amnity (peaceful), Erudite (intelligent), and Abnegation (selfless). Each faction serves a different purpose in society. Beatrice Prior is 16  years old and like all 16 year olds she is required to take an assessment test to see which faction she is best suited for. It is ultimately up to her to decide which faction she will choose and therefore devote her life to. Will she choose to stay with her family or will she choose another path?

Divergent is an exciting ride. “It has just the right amount of suspense to keep you wanting more, and plenty of twists that you will not expect”—The Guardian

Please join us in reading Divergent!

Divergent (Divergent, #1) by Veronica Roth – Reviews Goodreads

February 8, 2012

When She Woke By Hillary Jordan

Filed under: Book Recomendations,When She Woke — susanbright @ 12:41 pm
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Yes, when Hannah Payne woke, she was red. Fire truck red. She was a Chrome. A criminal whose skin color had been genetically altered to match the class of her crime. For 30 days Hannah would remain in a detention center where her life would be an open book. It would be broadcasted live on television beginning with the moment she woke up in her new skin.

Hannah was a Red for the crime of murder. In a world where Roe v. Wade had been repealed and the line between church and state no longer existed abortion was considered murder and Hannah had not only aborted her child, but she had also refused to divulge the identity of the father of her unborn child, a well-respected public figure, whom she loved enough to want to protect him from scandal. Nor would she  identity the name of the kind man who performed the illegal procedure. For this she would get the most severe of sentences.  The prison system as we know it is gone. Hannah would be released back into society and would live the next 16 years of her life as a Chrome.

How else, after the Second Great Depression, to relieve the financially crippled federal and state government of the prohibitive cost of housing millions of prisoners? And why should precious tax dollars be wasted on criminals when honest citizens were going hungry, schools were failing, roads and bridges were crumbling and Los Angeles was still a heap of radioactive rubble? Besides, the old criminal justice system had been a patent and abject failure. The prisons were disintegrating and filled to bursting, the vast majority of their inmates living in conditions so horrific as to be unconstitutional.

When She Woke is being described as a modern-day Scarlett Letter. Like Hester, Hannah is forced to go out into the world and survive the best she can. Where will she go? How will she stay safe? Even her own mother has all but disowned her. When she woke is a thought-provoking, suspenseful and frightening book. You will not be able to put it down.

January 31, 2012

Divergent By Veronica Roth, The Next Hunger Games?

So you just finished the third book in The Hunger Games and you just don’t know what you could possibly read next that would be half as entertaining! Don’t despair! Divergent is here and it too is an exciting page turner with lots of twists and turns.

Like The Hunger Games, Divergent takes place in a dystopian world and therefore falls under the category of dystopian novels, a genre I know little about. The Time Machine written by H.G. Wells in 1895 is considered to be dystopian science fiction at its best. Some other classic dystopian books are 1984 by George Orwell,  Lord of The Flies by William Golding, A Brave New World by Aldous Huxley and one of my daughter’s favorite books of all times, The Giver by Lois Lowry.

Meet Beatrice Prior, the feisty teenage star of Divergent. The world Beatrice was born into is divided into five factions, each representing a different virtue. Beatrice belongs to the Abnegation faction (the selfless). At the age of 16 each child is required to take a simulated aptitude test to determine which faction suites them best. There is no way to prepare for this test as no one actually talks about what happens in the testing room and once the test is finished, no one dares to discuss the results until Choosing day, the day each child announces to the world which faction they choose to commit their life to.

Would Beatrice choose to remain with her family in the Abnegation faction, or would she choose to leave everything behind and  join the Candor Faction (the truthful) or The Amity (the peaceful) or the Erudite (the Intelligent) or even The Dauntless (the Brave)? What could it possibly mean to be a Divergent and why was everyone afraid to actually say the word out loud?

Divergent is a quick and most importantly fun read. There is only one major problem with reading this book. When I finished, I immediately tried to download the second book in the trilogy…yes like The Hunger Games it is a trilogy… only to find out that it has not been released yet. I can hardly wait to find out what happens to Tris (formerly Beatrice) and her friend Four. Divergent’s Tris and The Hunger Games’ Katniss have a lot in common and would probably be the best of friends!

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