Posts Tagged ‘feed’

Book Review: Feed by M. T. Anderson

June 15, 2010 1 comment

Back of a bald man's head.Summary:
Titus is your typical teenager of future America.  He lives in a suburb where his parents program the weather.  He drives an upcar.  He’s got a feed–a microchip in his brain that allows him to chat silently with people, shop, look up anything he wants to know more about, etc…  He’s also got a lesion, but a lot of people have those now.  He is quite ordinary.  But he meets a girl on a trip to the moon who is anything but ordinary.  A girl who got the feed late and dares to question it.

This book has a great concept, essentially exploring what the world would be like if twitter was implanted into our brains.  This is rather extraordinary given that twitter didn’t even exist yet when Anderson wrote it.  It explores losing our individuality to machines and consumerism.  Ceasing to care about important information due to being bombarded by inane information at all hours of the day.  I just wish Anderson had taken this concept a different direction.

I immediately connected with Violet, the girl Titus meets on the moon.  She’s quirky, is homeschooled, and really is a bit of a nerd who just wants a chance to try out hanging out with the popular kids and doing what they do.  Titus is a complete and total asshole to her.  I suppose I could forgive him for that if he showed that he learned anything from coming into contact with a person as powerful as Violet, but he doesn’t.  He ditches her when she needs him most because she’s making him uncomfortable.  He wants to stay in the cocoon of his feed-driven life, and nothing she does or says can change that.  He clearly goes from girl to girl, using them up like paper towels or tissues, and then on to the next one.  Maybe that was Anderson’s point–that the feed has dehumanized the people who have it–but it made for a less powerful book than if Titus had learned something. Anything.

Similarly some questions just aren’t answered simply because Titus doesn’t care, so we aren’t allowed to know.  In particular the lesions are set up as some sinister mystery, but then we never find out why they are occurring.  Nobody even really speculates as to why they’re showing up.  They’re just there.  I seriously doubt there’d be zero speculation over such a phenomenon, even in a future where people are obsessed with consumerism.

Overall, the concept and writing on a sentence level are good, but the story as a whole left me feeling empty and disappointed.  There’s telling a bleak story, and then there’s telling a story that’s sympathetic to a jerkwad.  This is the latter.  If that type of story is something you enjoy, you will enjoy this book.  Everyone else should look elsewhere, perhaps to The Hunger Games if you’re looking for a YA dystopia.

3 out of 5 stars

Source: Swaptree

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Friday Fun! (Featuring My Niece and Swaptree)

January 15, 2010 14 comments

My lovely loyal readers and friends, so sorry there’s been no book reviews this week!  The book I’m currently reading is really long, and I’m not enjoying it that much so the pace of my reading is a bit below average.  I definitely should ring in next week with a review though, as it’s almost done!

This week I played pub trivia for the first time and discovered that I am not good at trivia.  This is funny and ironic cause I know lots of random facts, but apparently I don’t know trivia type facts.  I mean, really, who’s a tall athletic actor who guest starred in 1970s tv shows?  Jeez, I dunno.  I also didn’t enjoy that the music to keep teams from overhearing each other meant that I had to yell all night.  That’s only worth it for a concert.  Ah well.  Lesson learned.  I guess I should stick to arcade games, pool tables, and dart boards when we go out.

Some of you are aware that I welcomed my first niece into the world on December 23rd.  My brother and my sister-in-law made the choice to have her, even though she has Down Syndrome.  I know they have plenty of love in their hearts for a special baby, and they are just wonderful with her.  Unfortunately, one of the elements of Down Syndrome is that the babies almost all have heart problems.  They usually operate on the babies at 6 months (I have no idea why at that particular point, but I’m sure there’s a reason).  Anyway, due to the heart condition, my niece is not very strong.  She struggled to learn how to eat.  I guess that takes a lot of energy she didn’t have at first.  Finally she gained enough weight and was eating well enough to come home.  I was going to go meet her and visit my brother and father this weekend, but unfortunately she had to get readmitted to the hospital.  She wasn’t gaining weight, which babies are supposed to do.  This is of course difficult for my brother and sister-in-law who also have an almost 3 year old little boy to take care of and a small farm to run.  Thankfully, most of my family lives near them so they have lots of help.  I wish there was something I could do from a distance to help my brother, but there’s not much beyond being an ear to listen when he needs to talk.

In much happier news, allow me to tell you guys about Swaptree.  Swaptree allows you to list books you have but don’t want and books you want, and then it sets up 1:1 trades for you (or you can browse and request trades yourself).  This works extra well since they set up 3 way trades, which helps you find a lot more books.  The matches they make are in no particular order on your want list, so it’s a bit of a surprise what you get, particularly if your want list is as long as mine.  Since part of ringing in the new year was weeding my personal library, I excitedly decided to try this out.  It’s so awesome!  So far I’ve gotten rid of 8 books for books on my tbr list.  For those wondering, my weeded books were mainly textbooks I will never ever read again, some romance novels that came to my library for free that my boss gave me, and books from a point in my deconversion when I was wondering if maybe I should be pagan.  For the record, I’m not pagan.  I guess I’m deist.  Anywho, so the books I’ve received in exchange so far are:

  • Mommie Dearest by Christina Crawford
    Do not mock me.  I have a thing for memoirs.
  • Living the Simple Life by Elaine St. James
    I’m a big fan of minimalism, and this was highly recommended on minimalist blogs.
  • The Accidental Demon Slayer by Angie Fox
    Yes, another paranormal romance.  However, it’s supposed to be a comical one which will change things up a bit.
  • Life, The Universe, and Everything by Douglas Adams
    I’ve already read this, but I love love LOVE the Hitchhiker series, and didn’t (still don’t actually) own them all, so I’m fleshing out the “trilogy.”
  • Jesus Land by Julia Scheeres
    This memoir is by a woman whose fundamentalist Christian parents sent her to the same reform school in the Dominican Republic that my cousin’s parents sent her to, so I was intrigued.
  • Wild Swans by Jung Chang
    I realized I haven’t read much non-western lit lately, and I enjoyed the nonwestern lit I read in college.  This memoir is about three generations of Chinese women, and I think it looks really good!
  • Neuromancer by William Gibson
    A classic scifi book that my nerdy friends have been berating me for not having read. 😉
  • Feed by M. T. Anderson
    A dystopian book about our heads being plugged into computers.  Right up my alley.

All those books and my personal library size hasn’t increased at all!  I encourage you guys to check Swaptree out.  The only costs associated are shipping, and you can print labels directly from the website for extra ease.  Each book costs around $2.46 to ship.

Have a nice long weekend, everyone!  Rock on Martin Luther King Jr!