Thank You Library: Teenage Wasteland

I blipped out the last couple days because we are all sick. Sick, sick, sick, and sick. Even the cat is puking all over the place.

Oddly it is a little gratifying. I was really dragging the last couple days and I kept wondering what my problem was, why I was having such a hard time motivating myself. It’s nice to see my affliction was mostly physical and not purely psychological.

Though we’ve been dragging, we did make it to the library 3 times this week. I found myself a couple books I thoroughly enjoyed. While I like to think of myself as a mature reader, my recent reads sent me back to teenage land.

Black Swan Green by David Mitchell

Mitchell is the author of Cloud Atlas which I read then reread and reread again. While Cloud Atlas hops around through time and place, Black Swan Green focuses on a 13 year old kid, Jason Taylor, confined to a small English town in the 80s. He’s also constrained by a speech impediment. As alliances at school change and relationships at home fray, Taylor finds himself increasingly hemmed in. The tension between humankind’s inclination towards predatory tribalism and an individual’s personal morality and desires makes all the usual middle school antics fall into place as part of our universal human struggle. The writing is beautiful. And while painful stuff happens, Mitchell lets Jason Taylor care and love so much, that it felt impossible not to care and hope for him.

Quote: The world never stops unmaking what the world never stops making.

The Fault In Our Stars by John Green

This is a book that started showing up everywhere. I felt like the universe kept shoving it at me. A friend here, another friend there, a couple good reviews on different sites I read, all sang its high praise. So when I saw the audiobook sitting on the library shelf I grabbed it. Somehow I didn’t realize it was about teens or love or cancer, subjects I usually avoid, well mostly the teens and love. Earlier this year, I read Emperor of Maladies and The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks and was feeling done with cancer reading for a while. Aaron had also requested I take it easy on the terminal illness reading. But once I was half way through the first cd, I was hooked.

I don’t think I can review this book rationally, it just made me care too much. The book does a beautiful job at recognizing that cancer and life in general is not fair, does not make any sense, and causes terrible suffering that nobody is equipped to handle, but illness does not make us anything other than human. The main character’s mix of dark humor and love of life was a treat.

Quote: Some people don’t understand the promises they’re making when they make them,” I said.

“Right, of course. But you keep the promise anyway. That’s what love is. Love is keeping the promise anyway.”


“Grief does not change you…it reveals you.”

For Thanksgiving, the kids have loved these stories.

Thank You Sarah

The story of how Thanksgiving became a National Holiday.

The Bone Man

This book is terrifying which I think is part of the reason the kids love it so.

3 thoughts on “Thank You Library: Teenage Wasteland

  1. Joan

    Just making it through Cloud Atlas. I had to go back and read some of the first part again now that I’m to the second parts of the stories. Enjoying it. Good to know there are more good books to come when I am done.


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