I blame my friend Heather. She got me hooked by just handing me books to borrow and telling me she loved them. That’s really all it takes for me to give a book a strong go – the recommendation of a friend I respect.
This is how I have come to develop an addiction to the Buffy, The Vampire Slayer: Tales of the Slayer, graphic novels based on Joss Whedon’s hit show.
Once I got myself past the trouble I always have when reading graphic novels – I don’t know what my eyes are supposed to do – I began to really enjoy them. Just like the show, they are kitschy but consciously so, and they weave lots of story lines together without artificial contrivances to connect all the narrative trails. Instead, they just break up the stories and trust that a thinking reader will pull it together.
Now, I suspect that if you didn’t watch the TV show, it would be hard to follow these books. I missed the last few seasons (like, for example, I had no idea that Buffy dumped Angel for Spike – this is important, apparently), and I have a little trouble keeping up. But if you were a fan of the show, these books continue the plots lines drawn out there with all the weird Buffy-speak and humor all of Joss Whedon’s shows weave in.
The other thing that’s adding to my young adult fascination is the sad dirth of good audio books at my local library. They try, but really, I just can’t listen to Dean Koontz on audio much –too disturbing.
So I turn to the young adult audio selection often, and this week I came across Cory Doctorow’s Little Brother. I know Doctorow from Twitter (@doctorow), and there, I have enjoyed his commentary on all things privacy and digital. So when his name was on the spine of an audio book, I picked it up.
And I loved it. Little Brother tells the story of Marcus, a teenager who is mistakenly picked up for questioning after a terrorist attack on San Francisco. Because Marcus believes in privacy and has the technological wherewithal to maintain his own, he is tortured and held secretly by the Department of Homeland Security. The story spirals from there with Marcus starting an underground network of teenagers who purposely thwart the intentions of the DHS.
Doctorow’s writing is lucid, gripping, and altogether fascinating as he ties together real-life technologies and a sadly not-far-fetched story about what might happen in the U.S. if we don’t learn the differentiate between privacy and secrecy.
My favorite part of the book was the bibliography (shocker there, huh?) where Doctor details the books that others could read to inform themselves about cryptography, hacking, privacy law, etc.
Note – I’m using links to Better World Books in my posts. Better World Books is a for-profit company that sells new and used books and then donates part of their profits to literacy projects around the world. You can read more about their mission here.