Skip to content

A Lonely Trip Through the Southern Reach

My very first impression, from the first page of Annihilation, book one of The Southern Reach Trilogy by Jeff Vandermeer, was not far from my last thoughts on the series. What insanity have I just stumbled into? Every reveal seems to bring along numerous other mind-bending doubts or questions about the world Vandermeer has created. The story opens with a group of nameless female explorers beginning their expedition into “Area X”, a mysterious portion of the ordinary world that has somehow, inexplicably become subject to laws all its own. Its…

La Vie en Rose

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas provides a great opportunity for the cultivation of moral sensibilities in young people. What is more, it is an interesting read, particularly for those who have a personal connection to the history that surrounds the Holocaust.

MacGyver on Mars

The Martian, by Andy Weir, is an entertaining page-turner with an inherently interesting premise and a well-executed plot. Aside from entertainment, the novel’s chief value lies in its celebration of cheerful resourcefulness, and its appreciation of the worth of a single human life. Good in several important ways, the book also lacked some of the depth that its premise might have supported. In a near-future mission to Mars, an accident forces the astronaut crew of the Hermes to leave behind an apparently dead colleague, Mark Watney. As it happens, Mark…

Inside the Outsiders

The Outsiders is a great opportunity for parents and teachers to begin discussions on a myriad of moral questions, from prejudice to friendship.

The Unwanteds

This fictional, conflicted world provides little merit for readers of any age. I recommend passing on The Unwanteds series in favor of others.

The Bad and the Ugly of YA Lit

“The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian” has a little bit of the good of contemporary young adult fiction, but way more of the bad and the flat out ugly.