What I'm Reading: Crossed

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Welcome to "What I'm Reading," the first weekly feature on The Book Lovers' Nest! As an English major, I love both reading and discussing good books. Many people can simply read for pleasure, and I'm getting better at that. But no matter what I read, I always want to have some sort of discussion, even if it's just informal. And that's where this feature comes in. It combines pleasure reading with fun, thoughtful discussions - the best of both worlds.

Here's how it works: Every Monday, I'll introduce a book that I'll be reading during the upcoming week. You are welcome to read along with me - you can even pick and choose which books you want to read. I would also love suggestions for books that I should be reading; if I'm going to do this every week, I'll need lots of ideas!

The following Monday, I'll discuss my thoughts on the book: what I liked, didn't like, whether or not I'd recommend it, etc. I'll also pose questions, and I hope that you'll jump into the conversation. I hope to hear lots of different thoughts and ideas about the books, and I welcome your questions. You can also wait to hear what I have to say about the books before deciding if you want to read them (though I don't guarantee the merit of my opinions).

OK, ready to get started? I know I am! This week's book is Crossed by Ally Condie.

And yes, this book is the sequel to Matched, which you definitely need to read before starting Crossed

I highly recommend Matched, especially if you enjoy dystopian and young adult fiction like The Hunger Games. The book follows Cassia, a young woman who lives in a society essentially devoid of free will and choice. Almost every facet of life is dictated by the officials, from what you eat to when you die and who you marry. Cassia accepts the society until an error results in her receiving not one but two marriage matches, which prompts Cassia to explore the possibility of choice, and soon, she can no longer quietly accept the life that has been laid out for her. 

Reviews for the book are very positive. Entertainment Weekly calls it "The hottest YA title to hit bookstores since The Hunger Games," and the Lincoln Journal Star says, "Think The Giver, but sexier."

I devoured Matched in just a few days, and I'm excited to continue Cassia's journey in Crossed. There are still a lot of lingering questions, and I have a hunch Cassia will meet more people who are also disenchanted with the society.

Here's a description of Crossed from the book's official website:

"In search of a future that may not exist and faced with the decision of who to share it with, Cassia journeys to the Outer Provinces in pursuit of Ky - taken by the Society to his certain death - only to find that he has escaped, leaving a series of clues in his wake. Cassia's quest leads her to question much of what she holds dear, even as she finds glimmers of a different life across the border. But as Cassia nears resolve and certainty about her future with Ky, an invitation for rebellion, an unexpected betrayal, and a surprise visit from Xander - who may hold the key to the uprising and, still, to Cassia's heart - change the game once again. Nothing is as expected on the edge of Society, where crosses and double crosses make the path more twisted than ever."

I hope you'll join me in reading Crossed this week and check back in for a lively discussion next Monday! If you're new to the series and want to start with Matched, I'm happy to talk about that with you. I'm sure I'll end up discussing the two books anyway since they're connected.

An Introduction

Monday, January 30, 2012

I've been thinking a lot about opening lines recently. How to begin a book is pretty crucial, and there is an impressive array of first sentences out there.

Some are simple and straightforward: "Mother died today." - Albert Camus, The Stranger

Some are vague and foreboding: "124 was spiteful." - Toni Morrison, Beloved

Some are humorous and easily recognizable: "It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife." - Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice

And some set up the central issue of the novel right from the beginning: "Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way." - Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina

I wish that all of my reflections had led me to some grand way of introducing this blog, but I've never been very good with beginnings (or titles - I'm the queen of bad puns). It's something I'm hoping to work on in the future. For now, here is my best attempt at a meaningful opening.

I'm Allison, a former English major who, after six years and two degrees, has rediscovered her love of literature.

It is by no means impossible to fall in love with literature while in school; in fact, I discovered many of my favorite books while I was a student. But my recent experience in graduate school, while productive and formative in many ways, did a number on my ability to simply enjoy good literature as such, and it is only in the newfound freedom of my non-academic life that I have rediscovered the simple pleasure of a good book.

I have the distinct privilege of being married to Jordan, a fellow book lover and literary nerd.

Together we are quite literally building our home one book at a time. We have each moved six times in the last two years (and two of those moves were across the country), and we never left a book behind; in fact, our collections only grew. We dream of one day living in a home with a bona fide library complete with wingback chairs. 

This blog is where I come to talk about what I'm reading (and perhaps watching), as well as the ups and downs of the writing process. You'll also find stories about our life as newlyweds, ranging from my adventures in amateur cooking to the DIY projects I plan to tackle as we settle into our first apartment and try to make it a home.

We are the book lovers. And welcome to our nest.


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