Saturday, June 29, 2013

What's in a Name? The Namesake

As Gogol Ganguli comes of age in America, the adopted land of his parents, he struggles to come to terms with the Indian family he is born into while becoming a thoroughly American young man.  The weight of an odd, non-Indian, non-American first name adds yet another burden to his journey.  Why did his dad have to make such a rash and odd choice for his name?

As his life flows forward, he rejects then comes to terms with much of his legacy. How he reconciles the naming choice is something I think many young people can identify with.  In this case, the choice of name is not an ethnic, familial, or cultural choice. It was strictly a personal one and Gogol needs to find a way to connect with his father to understand, accept and rejoice in it.

Why do you think the main themes are in The Namesake?  Would you recommend it as a summer reading?

Monday, June 17, 2013

Ender's Game: not just for Sci Fi fans

When I read Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card for the first time fifteen years ago, I had assumed that I would never enjoy a science fiction novel as much as a realistic book of fiction. I just wasn't that engaged in the whole enterprise of world-building and end-of-the-world-as-we-know-it fantasizing.

Then I read Ender's Game.

Wow. It grabbed me and I rode the ride from first ascent through the twists and turns of a believable premise and then a dramatic and poignant plot following an innocent individual whose destiny was pre-determined with the fate of Earth hanging in the balance.

It opened my mind and left me questioning my assumptions about how we build the future and what priorities we should value. Is it a game? Is it the real thing? How do we know who to trust?