I started blogging thinking that this is where I would review whatever media I felt like ranting about. It quickly changed direction. So this is my online diary. Comments are welcome.
There isn't anything better than a good horror story this time of year. So that's exactly what I went in search of at a recent book sale at our local shopping mall. I found a lot of titles that caught my attention, most of which were authored by Stephen King. However, I didn't find anything that had that nagging pull to pick it up and read it.
I've been reading a lot of comics lately. I'm a big fan of "The Walking Dead" by Robert Kirkman and this month's issue left me feeling a little bit hungry for some gnarly zombie action. I've also been reading "The Sixth Gun" by Cullen Bunn & Brian Hurtt. So far this is a great western story about six revolvers with supernatural powers and the terror they raise. I'm only three volumes into it and the main characters have met with ghosts, ghouls and a giant mummy. I suppose this is filling my need for spooky, but I just can't seem to be satisfied.
I've also been reading a superhero story by Kirkman called "Invincible." It's an original story that tends to mirror some of our favorites from DC and Marvel. I finished reading Vol. 11 recently, and I immediately remembered a story I had entirely forgotten about...
Almost two years ago I stumbled upon a Kindle Single while browsing the Amazon book store called, "Ex-Heroes" by Peter Clines. This book was amazing! It combined all the things I love; zombies (here called "Ex-Humans"), superheroes, giant-robot-mech suits and all of it set in a post-apocalyptic world. Genius! There are two sequels to "Ex-Heroes." "Ex-Patriots", and most recently, "Ex-Communication." I have these in digital format and somehow I had forgotten about the most recent sequel that I'd downloaded around August. I intended to read it right away, but I've been busy reading a lot of other fiction and learning my new job. But now I can say that this Fall is off to a great start. The new season of "The Walking Dead" is on AMC, pumpkin spice lattes are back, pumpkin/seasonal ales are here, the Kansas City Chiefs are undefeated, the World Series is starting and now I have something to read this month.
This book was published by Candlewick Press in 2002 and I first read it in 2006. My sister, Sarah, suggested it after reading it as an assignment in her 12th grade English class. I was not disappointed. M.T. Anderson is a great writer whom could make you believe that the world he has created in Feed is a glimpse of our own future. I have since read it at least 2 more times. The initial read will always be my favorite though, because it takes a little while to get used to the language, and that was a huge part of the experience. Anderson has captured what it will be like when school and communication are substituted for instant media and data mining. What do you think the world will be like when we are completely overtaken by our own consumerism?
I did love Feed and I absolutely recommend reading it. With that, I find it harder to read again every time. It isn't the language, but the characters themselves. As an adult I find it hard to relate to angsty teen leads in this unknown world. (And I'll be the first to tell you that I jumped on the band wagon for Young Adult titles and I love them.) I think it's just because there is so much about Anderson's world that is unfamiliar, or conceptual in nature, that the characters fall a little flat.
You read from the perspective of Titus, a young man that seems satisfied with his bland consumerist lifestyle, until he meets Violet. Violet is not like Titus' group of friends. She is from a less fortunate family and didn't receive a feed implant until she was about 7. It is because of this that she views the feed negatively while Titus and his friends are perfectly familiar to it. This is the meat of the story. It isn't so much about the wonderful world that Anderson created, but rather, how can you just accept something so intrusive?
Feed touches on all kinds of taboo and for that I applaud M.T. Anderson. He presents said taboos in a way that they don't seem offensive. Perhaps it's because of the futuristic aspect of the story. Whatever the reason, I say, find out for yourself.
There are a lot of things I didn't cover in this review that are essential to the story, but I absolutely HATE reviews that just give a synopsis without an opinion. I'm more inclined to read something that someone gives their opinion about. And I'll read the summary elsewhere. You could visit the library and look for it under Young Adult Fiction, or check out Amazon, iTunes, or any major online retailer. There is an audiobook available as well. Enjoy!
This is one of the most interesting things that I have read recently. I was browsing some news sites when I came across this article on NPR. Now, I'm not one to believe in things like phantom vibrations, but I have felt them myself. You know, that funny little itch you get around your pocket region? The 'Phantom Buzz', as on reader described it. This will happen even if your phone isn't in your pocket. I had experienced it, but I had never even heard of Phantom Vibration Syndrome.
After I read the article I decided to give it a try. Leave my phone alone for an hour. (Okay, what really happened was I forgot to grab it before Ashley and I left for the grocery store.) What I found out was that I didn't need it. I didn't even miss it. And even knowing that the thing wasn't there I still pocket checked it a couple of times. Surely this is something others of you have experienced. After a little bit of thought I decided that this actually translates to much of the technology that we surround ourselves with. For example; we have over 300 channels with DirecTv, but there's nothing to watch. I have 1,769 songs on my iPod and I'm tired of listening to the same old songs. The list could go on and on to include the likes of Netflix, Spotify and Amazon Kindle. The point is that we are losing our interest in things at a rate that has never been seen before. The drive to discover something great has been replaced with the drive to be one of the millions to "Like" something.
A few weeks ago I wrote that I wanted to find some local bookstores. I want to find a place that still has that old familiar smell of paper in it. My new goal, because my search has been hugely unsuccessful in St. Joseph, is to turn off my devices (yes, even my Kindle and iPhone) and immerse myself in something I have lost connection with. I will probably read a book. A real book, and I'm open to suggestions by the way. I might/will play my guitar more. I'd like to paint again. (That was always fun.) I want to build a desk using black pipe and scrap wood. I'm thinking about taking piano lessons. I could prepare a meal that I have never cooked before. There are so many possibilities that it makes me a little giddy. I know, I know, "you could do those things even without shutting down your devices", but that misses the point. I want to rediscover me. And I want to find out what I really love and enjoy without social media and the internet telling me what's trending.
I discovered reading and writing for fun when I was in the 4th grade and I haven't been able to stop. I discovered my musical talent when I was 12 and started a band with my brother and my best friends. I have been on a journey of discovery that has shaped and molded my tastes for music, reading, writing, art, food and extracurricular activities since I was a high school freshman. And I'm not quite finished, so come along.