Thursday, January 21, 2010

Generation A

This novel is set in a near future world much like our own, where bees have suddenly abandoned their hives and gone extinct and many plants must be hand pollinated to produce fruits and seeds. An apple is a luxury.
Without warning, five unconnected young people are each stung by a bee. What was each doing to attract such a miraculous occurence?
In the United States, Zack was creating perverse crop art in an combine in an Iowa cornfield.
In Canada, Diana, a dental hygienist with Tourette's, was being excommunicated from her conservative church.
In France, Julien was skipping school at the Sorbonne to play World of Warcraft continuously.
In New Zealand, Samantha was thinking about her parents and taking a photo of sandwich bread.
In Sri Lanka, Harj, a tsunami orphan, was talking to a reporter while working at an Abercrombie and Fitch call center.
In this age of cell phone photos and instant communication, the governments, military and scientist react quickly, isolating each of the five to study them, and then bringing them together to find commonalities. These five people are instant celebrities; the hope of the world is pinned on their ability to be stung by an insect believed to be extinct. Can they bring back the bees? Or does the French scientist have another agenda altogether?
Douglas Coupland's 1991 novel Generation X: Tales for an Accelerated Culture helped popularize the term Generation X for the group of people born after the baby boom, who were young adults in the 1980s.
His new novel, Generation A, takes its title from a 1994 Kurt Vonnegut commencement speech, which is used as an epigraph before the story begins. This being Douglas Coupland, what starts as an intriguing concept gets even weirder when the five people are brought together, yet the social commentary and excellent, innovative writing style will keep you turning the pages even when you begin to doubt where the story is headed.
If you like reading and storytelling and computer technology and sexuality and pop culture, or you have ever read and enjoyed Douglas Coupland before, this book could be a good match for you.
I had to renew it twice but I read all 297 pages

Also recently read Love on Cue by Catherine Hapka - one of the better teen romances of late -- 274 pages.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Handmaid's Tale

I read The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood for book group this week. Notoriously, this is the book I read at about 14, and this is where I learned about sex -- from a speculative fiction dystopia about subjugation of women and government control of reproduction and sexual acts for an entire society. It was excellent as a reread, although my life is certainly different now, and I am uncomfortably similar to the narrator as well -- in height, in age, in proven fertility. My heart broke repeatedly while I read about her separation from her child. Interestingly, the book is being referenced in modern news stories this month -- from institutionalized child care in Canada to the current health care reform's handling of abortion rights. I figure so many people turned out for book group today because after reading this book you either need a discussion group or therapy to deal with the fears and emotions it raises.
311 pages.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

getting lucky

Getting Lucky (in cards, in life, and in love) by Micol Ostow 240 pages
Something Borrowed (like your best friends boyfriend as a wedding date) by Catherine Hapka 252 pages