Monday, July 27, 2009

Reading Across Rhode Island and Life As We Knew It

These days much of my reading is focused on the long list of possible titles for Reading Across Rhode Island 2010 – the Rhode Island Center for the Book’s state-wide community read program.

So far I have read (or listened to): Life As We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer and The Autobiography of God by Julius Lester. I am in the middle of reading The Lost City of Z by David Grann and The Radioactive Boy Scout by Ken Silverstein. I plan to report on most of these titles as I finish reading.

Life As We Knew It is basically a book for young adults, but an interesting read nonetheless. Miranda and her family (Mom and two brothers, Matt and Johnny), are caught in a futuristic dilemma: an asteroid has crashed into earth’s moon and actually knocked it off its trajectory. This altered course causes multiple tsunamis, earthquakes, volcanoes and all the attendant weather problems. Food lines dry up; water runs out; the climate changes drastically; modern communications are a thing of the past. (Reading this book shortly after a large, mystery object actually crashed into Jupiter was a bit disconcerting. I called the book futuristic, but sometimes the future can be too close to reality for comfort.)

Miranda’s family is forced into survival mode and seeing how they cope (and sometimes fail to cope) was remarkable enough to keep me reading. At first getting ready for the what might happen seems like a gigantic wilderness adventure. Miranda does not see the need for half of the precautions her mother insists upon. But it soon becomes apparent that it is only due to her mom’s foresight that the family is able to survive.

Sacrifice, strict planning and rationing, hard work and most important the love, concern and respect that the family has for each other are also what keeps them alive and almost flourishing. One of the themes of the book is the value of living every day to the fullest, and that is certainly a philosophy everyone, young adult, adult, senior – can take to heart. Meg



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