Tuesday, June 25, 2013

#4 out of 40 — Giving and Receiving

Read the first 100 pages of Lois Lowry's The Giver today, and I have to say I'm impressed. I knew the book had garnered awards and critical praise, as well as an army of ardent readers who've helped keep it in print during the last twenty years, but honestly, none of that stuff is a very good predictor for one's enjoyment of a book. I knew it had three sequels, but again, that's not saying much. Anyway, so far, there's a *lot* to like. The prose is direct, efficient--has an "uncluttered" feel that perfectly conveys Lucas' stripped-down, homogenized world. But it's also warm enough for us to identify with his humanity, and the emotions of his family and friends. The world-building itself is fascinating: a mix of perfectly polished details that show instead of telling us what is happening, and the nuanced addition of color (metaphorically and literally) to our understanding of how things work. There are some standard dystopian tropes, sure, but what's wrong with that? Besides, part of the beauty of the novel is how it takes utopian elements and gradually (I really like how controlled this is) reveal them to be dystopian. Our sense of the world is perfectly channeled through Lucas' perceptions, as it should be. Lowry's handling of tone so far is enviable.

I'm not sure if this novel is technically YA or children's fiction (or is children's fiction a subcategory of YA? I'm confused!), but if so, it's the best YA novel I've read (out of a staggering half dozen--mock and be merry). Quite looking forward to finishing it tomorrow.

Today also involved reworking a story I wrote last week and sending it out into the world. Plus continuing to plug along on the one I started yesterday.

Received some nice comments about the Malzberg review that was published yesterday. Very satisfying, such positive feedback: makes me want to continue to do my best and give back the energy however I can.

And the usual fitness goals, which I'm happy to report have been met for the day. (Sigh of relief--time to decompose at the couch. No, that's not the right attitude. Or is it? All work and no--oh, give it up. You're too restless to be a couch potato, even if you tried! Which is a good thing. Maybe. Sorta. Could be. Maybe I haven't tried hard enough? Brain fried. Time to call it a day.)

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