FIVE POST-APOCALYPTIC TALES
Armageddon. The Apocalypse. Revelations. And in one especially intelligent year for humans, Y2K. You know, the end of the world as we know it. There’s usually at least one man traveling somewhere, with very little hope left in his dark, ashen world. Anyways, here’s five of those.
1. THE ROAD by Cormac McCarthy. You don’t need a name when there are few other living people around. Follow “the boy” and his father as they trek through a grey new world in one of the most poetic End of Times stories out there.
2. GOD IS DEAD by Ron Currie Jr. I think the title is pretty self-explanatory. But just so you know, God dies, unnecessary wars break out, people go crazy and start worshiping their children. It’s great
3. EARTH ABIDES by George R. Stewart. No gimmicks here, just a classic tale of the journey of one postapocalyptic man trying to start over. (Really, that’s all it is.)
4. ON THE BEACH by Nevil Shute. Warning: this novel is frustrating. The end of human life is near and everyone is, literally, on the fucking beach. You know that feeling you get when you wish characters were real just so you could physically slap them in the face? Well, if you like that feeling, this novel is for you! *Cheesy wink face*
5. World War Z. Post-apocalyptic war? Check. Survivors losing their minds? Check. Zombies? CHECK. Imagine a futuristic zombie war. Now imagine that humans won this war, and that one of them decided to interview survivors and turn the interviews into a book. It’s brilliant.
KIND OF AN ASSHOLE, KIND OF AN OKAY DUDE: A REVIEW BY JEAN
Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs isn’t one of those misleading titles that promise sex, drugs, and cocoa puffs without delivering sex, drugs, and cocoa puffs. We see all three of those things pop up at some point. Over the 18 short essays, Klosterman explores what it means to be a consumer of contemporary popular culture with popular cultural items that have only become slightly dated since this thing was first published.
The essays read like the late-night ramblings of a stoned dude who needs your ear like a bag a Cheetos. While his revelations about popular culture are not always surprising or new, it’s fun to just sit back and enjoy the show. It’s easy to read and full of real words (not all of which your mother taught you). And sometimes, the dude actually says something that makes you go, “Oh, that’s right, that’s what that feeling is—deep shit.”
My favorite essays include the opening essay, “This is Emo,“ in which Klosterman denounces Lloyd Dobler for fucking up all of our expectations of love (which is true, I mean seriously, I’m still waiting for him, aren’t you?), “Ten Seconds to Love“ where he explores our fascination with sexual icons (paralleling the viewing of Pam and Tommy’s sex tape to annual screenings of A Christmas Story), and “This Is Zodiac Speaking“ where he navigates through what it means to have known a serial killer before he was a serial killer, asking us to consider The Big Questions.
The great thing about the book is that this dude has experienced a whole bunch of random shit, and he’s a great storyteller. So if you like to listen to well-told stories about even the most insignificant-seeming details, then this is the book for you. (Whether or not it will change your view on popular culture at all is up for debate, but some good points are brought up, at least, which is arguably how we have to approach most popular culture anyway.)
FIVE BOOKS THAT MADE US
BAWL LIKE A BABY TEAR UP
You know you shouldn’t do it. Someone warned you. “Grab the tissues!” they said, and you scoffed, saying, “Whatever. I am a rock. Rocks do not need tissues. Plebes.” This, of course, followed by sobbing silently into your pillow while simultaneously trying not to let anyone see—non-book nerds just don’t understand. Yeah, it’s just what those sad-ass books will do to you. And still, we go back again and again. WE LOVE THE PAIN.
1. NEVER LET ME GO by Kazuo Ishiguro. This one’s that slow kind of sad, that builds up over awhile. You don’t even notice how sad you are about how little agency these characters have over their own lives until the very end, when your tear-stricken ass is throwing the book against the wall.
2. THE BOOK THIEF by Markus Zusak. You’d think that we’d be prepared for this one, given that from the get-go we know that the novel is narrated by Death. Still, after awhile you forget that Death’s the head honcho here, and Death, like usual, is pretty damn depressing. You are warned: there will be tears.
3. THE TIME TRAVELER’S WIFE by Audrey Niffenegger. We’re still not quite sure how so much sadness and depression can fit into one novel. (Just for the record, tears were not actually shed until about the 5th miscarriage or so.) But somehow, this one managed to tug our heartstrings across space and time.
4. THE SECRET LIFE OF BEES by Sue Monk Kidd. As if the pain of the main character isn’t enough, we have to deal with a whole house of characters who have been through much too much. And one of them feels the pain of everyone she’s ever met. Good luck with this one, because you’re going to feel it too.
5. THE BRIEF WONDROUS LIFE OF OSCAR WAO by Junot Diaz. A one-of-a-kind character’s life narrated with searing honesty. You spend so much time rooting for Oscar you can’t help but feel about ten levels of simultaneous complete emptiness and fullness at the end of this one. Seriously, read it and you’ll see.
Unfortunately this isn’t about the fourth book in the Millennium Series, which may or may not exist.
But this could be juicy. For those of you who are curious about the man behind Millennium, you may want to look into a new memoir written by his ~lady friend~ Eva Gabrielsson.
If you’ve been aching like I have over the end of the whole Harry Potter shebang this July, then hopefully this mystery website will have something awesome in store. All that’s available is this website, Rowling’s signature, and the promise of its coming soon:
Bookmark it! It might end up having some cool surprises for the HP fan.
A SUPER SAD REVIEW: A REVIEW BY ASHLEY
A Super Sad True Love Story is, truly, a super sad story. But it’s more than the love of the two main characters, Lenny Abramov and Eunice Park, that remains truly tragic. There’s also this love that society has for technology, social networks, looking/being young, and obtaining anything you want by pressing little buttons on a portable device. Sound familiar?
Gary Shteyngart created a dystopian novel set in a frighteningly near future, in an America with all of our current fears realized. One of those fears is, of course, the power of technology. Can iPhones, blogs, and social networks go too far? As the writer of a book blog, I do feel the need to defend these sorts of things, but Shteyngart had me thinking. Will we ever get to the point where books are considered unnecessary?
In the novel, Eunice and Lenny take turns narrating. While Lenny’s narrative is in a diary form, Eunice is young and follows all of the latest trends—reading books and writing in a standard English format are not considered socially acceptable. Eunice’s sections consist of blog posts and IM chats and are therefore harder to get through, but, through them, the author made his point.
Lenny and Eunice are not particularly lovable characters. In fact, their whining annoyed the shit out of me. But when you consider what they represent, of course they are going to annoy the shit out of you. Still, somehow, I was rooting for their ill-fated love in the end. This book may not be for everyone, but it is both a heartbreaking and thought-provoking story, and if you are curious at all, then I recommend reading it.
OVERALL RATING: 4/5
HELLO AGAIN, ALL! Welcome back. How you been? You look good.
The book nerds are officially back for the summer, having read more, lived more, just generally more more. We’re not going to give a huge list of excuses for not posting in months (like new jobs, new living situations, school still exists). We’re just going to hope that you don’t hate us and start posting again! New reviews, new Friday Fives, and we promise to make it last through the summer! To celebrate the re-opening of A Tale of Two Book Nerds as well as the end of the year, the return of the sun, and the extra time you have to spend in the library, we’re doing our first official RANDOM BOOK RANDOM GIVEAWAY.
Here’s how to enter:
Winner will be announced July 2011. While we’re only giving away one free random book there will be some alternative ~prizes~ for runners-up. We guarantee that these ~prizes~, like this giveaway, will be random.
So, welcome back! Happy reading.
Asked by meetmeathome
We have some news for those of you who have stuck around/forgotten to unfollow us… we’re coming back!!
We don’t have an official “we’re back” date, but we promise it will be soon. Thanks to all of you who have stuck around! (there might just be a small ~giveaway~ in the near future to show our appreciation)
WHAT: LIKE A BAR CRAWL… with literature! You can do everything! Check out Lit Chicks vs Book Boys, a night of girls vs boys trivia, awesome prizes, excellent readings, and alcoholic beverages. Try re-enacting classic interviews from BOMB’s 30 years in a karaoke-style format. Join the new editors of The Paris Review—and surprise guests—as they unveil their fall issue. Full event schedule can be found here.
WHERE: NYC, and you can check their events map for detailed locations.
WHEN: SEPTEMBER 11, 2010