Matt Robertson – Batten Library Media Specialist

Matt Robertson, Batten Library Media Specialist

Favorite adult book recommendation — Super Sad True Love Story by C.S. LewiGary Shteyngart

Gary Shteyngart’s novel imagines an alternative world where personal electronic devices consume your attention, a devastating economic crisis looms and love is a complicated affair. Wait, did I say alternative world? Perhaps I should say that Super Sad True Love Story is a half-step ahead of our current techno-loving culture seen through a satirical filter that has fun with the insanities of modern life.

Lenny Abramov works at Post-Human Services, a company that promises longer life to individuals willing to pay, namely HNWI’s–High Net Worth Individuals. He is not so good at his job of recruiting the super-rich but his work does bring him into contact with Eunice Park, a beautiful and troubled woman fifteen years younger. Eunice thinks that Lenny is nerdy and too old. Lenny can’t get Eunice out of his head. Will love ensue?

As I said before, it’s complicated. And entertaining.

Amid the pyrotechnics of Shteyngart’s universe you find compelling characters who are experiencing the fullness of human life–from loneliness and insecurity to happiness, joy and points in between. It is these characters that anchor the story and allow you to marvel at the near possible future that may be closer than you might think.

 

 

Favorite young adult book recommendation — American Born Chinese by Gene Luan Yang (He is also the visiting author this year for Cooper and Batten)

American Born Chinese by Gene Luan Yang weaves together three tales: Jin Wang’s troubles adapting to a new school, a re-telling of the Monkey King’s adventures and Chin-kee’s disruption of his cousin Danny’s life. By the end of this graphic novel you discover how these three storylines relate and the implications of being Chinese in United States culture. Attractive full-color pictures aid in transporting this book from a simple story to a visual feast.
Moving to a new school is never easy and in this story, Jin’s adjustment is made more difficult by the blind bigotry of classmates. Jin finds himself torn between two different stories of his heritage. From Chinese mythology, we have the story of the Monkey King whose ego must be overcome to find out his true nature. From US mythology we have Chin-Kee the representative of the caricatured stereotypical Chinese man. These forceful narratives influence Jin Wang’s life and find new meaning when reinterpreted through a boy’s adjustment to a new culture.

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