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Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Some Books, Some TV

My usual reading time the past three days has been taken up by my other pass-the-time activity, Netflix. Husband and I watched I Am Legend, which we both enjoyed very much. If enjoy is the right word for a scary zombie movie. Maybe appreciate is a better word. Also thanks to Netflix, we can watch movies on the computer instantly. The collection of movies isn't huge, but 30 Rock was on the list, so we watched the first season over a couple of days. Although the last few episodes got a little less hilarious, for the most part I thought it was a very funny, clever, watchable show. Starring Tina Fey, it's about her attempts (mostly futile) to control her wayward writing staff and the temperamental actors on a sketch comedy show.

Well, despite watching all that TV, I managed to fit in a little reading. I finished Rash, by Pete Hautman, and I'm in the middle of Seeing Redd, the second Looking Glass War novel. I'll review Rash here.


Author: Pete Hautman
Reason for reading: YA Reading Challenge

This YA book by Pete Hautman is a look to a future where safety has been taken to such an extreme that contact sports are outlawed, track and field races require a full set of protective gear, and insulting someone is a jailable crime. 20% of the population of the USSA (United Safer States of America) are in prison as a result, doing the manual labor that runs the country. When Bo gets into a conflict with another boy in his class that results in half of his school coming down with a mysterious rash, he finds himself in prison, making pizzas in a factory in Canada. In prison, he winds up on a football team, where all of the safety rules he's known all of his life are irrelevant.

Perhaps I've read too many YA and/or scifi books lately, but this one didn't stick out to me. It reminded me too much of a mashup of House of the Scorpion (still a superior book) and that Adam Sandler flick where they play football in prison (The Longest Yard, I think?)

As the story unfolds in this book, the reader begins to see where the idea for the backdrop came from. Hautman is not the first, nor the last to observe America's obsession these days with safety. People used to be able to smoke cigarettes anywhere, you could buy mercury in the hardware store, and lead paint was used everywhere. Nowadays, everyone freaks out when there might be lead in a toy. What if in the future anything deemed unsafe was completely outlawed? French fries, alcohol, or even calling someone a name.

Hautman is a good writer, but the plot really wasn't that original. It wasn't a terrible book by any means, but just not a memorable one.


Chris said...

Isn't Netflix just great? I'm currently catching up on Lost and The Tudors through them. Both are excellent. Actually, I'm all caught up with the Tudors now, but we don't have Showtime, so I have to wait for season 2 on DVD :( Rash doesn't sound like my cup of tea's good to finally not add one on to the wishlist!

Kim L said...

chris-I haven't gotten into Lost, but I've heard good things about it. And yes, netflix is AWESOME. How did I live without it? :-)

Alice Teh said...

BTW, I have an award waiting for you... :D