Back in the 90s, I was full of TNG awe. It’s the first “grown up” TV show I latched onto (my parents watched it by themselves for years because it came on after my bedtime — so I heard the Red Alert noise, the theme music, and other sounds before I ever watched the show).
Also in the 90s, I got into reading with more of my own agency. Sure, I was still in school, and to this day I get cringey when I hear the words “required reading”, but I learned that not all books were mind-numbingly boring, and I looked forward to going to the bookstore for more than just the little toy section.
The Nancy Drew Files were an easy pick for me at the time — they were actually written in the 80s and 90s, as opposed to the “original” series, which was favorable to my boring parents. (Tom Swift IV was another rebooted Stratemeyer Syndicate-adjacent series about a young inventor who did time travel and other cool stuff. I picked that one because they looked enough like Nancy Drew files to pique my interest, and the guy on the cover was handsome. Couldn’t read the Hardy Boys Casefiles, though, because they were for boys. Face-palm emoji.) I liked Sunfire romances (even though I argued profusely they weren’t romances, because for some reason there was a mortal stigma attached to that genre) because their cover artwork was beautiful, and they showcased different eras in such an interesting way. Sure, there was a love triangle, but the stories, man.
Around the same time I started watching TNG (not just listening to it from down the hall), my sister and I discovered a young adult book series about the same characters: Star Trek: The Next Generation – Starfleet Academy. Like it says on the tin.
At the time, there were only two or three books in the series, and we burned through them pretty quickly. Lucky for us, the same authors also wrote for the Star Trek books in the adult section, so on our regular trips to the used bookstore, we picked a few of those up. One of them was Metamorphosis by Jean Lorrah.
What sold me first on this book is its design. It’s made to look like an IKEA catalog (in fact, when my husband saw this book come in the mail, he said he almost threw it in the garbage because he thought it was a catalog). I purposefully bought the paperback because of the design. Inside are illustrations of fictional pieces of furniture, company mottos, even an order form. A+
I hadn’t heard great things about this novel, but when I picked it up in the used bookstore, the first page or two read well. Lo (Laura) wakes up to a burglar in her house, and she fights him off (basically) and she goes to the police. The police say that statistically, most burglars will break into your place more than once.
Seth drowns and wakes up alone in an abandoned city, or the weirdest afterlife I’ve ever imagined.
Coming from a religious background myself, the idea of an afterlife is a) ever-present and b) a total mystery (and well-worth imagining). While it seems like Seth might be in Hell, it’s not explicit. For the first 40% of the book, he’s alone (except for the occasional animal, which may or may not be in his imagination), and I’ve never been so engrossed in a book in recent memory.
Flash Forward takes an idea we have for the future (food pills, a world without bees, California becoming its own country, etc) and explores the plausibility of it. I love the idea of imagining futuristic scenarios (who doesn’t want an animal translator?), but some of the episode topics aren’t my cup of tea (a super computer that creates the ultimate religion).
Cecile and Marie-Grace are ten year old girls in New Orleans, 1853 — the year of the big yellow fever outbreak. The girls pull together to help where they can and build a friendship at the same time.
The story itself is fine. I don’t have any beef with the characters (except that they’re almost never together). Switching their perspectives from book to book shows the reader what life was like for a white girl and a free person of color. I didn’t honestly see much of a difference, except for some pretty hard segregation. I’m sure there was more to it than that, and it would have been interesting to learn about. It was interesting to see how primitive their knowledge of medicine and disease were in 1853. If this were just a book for middle-grade kids to read to make history fun, I’d move on and probably never thing about this series again.
Lightness follows one of the survivors of the Charlie Hebdo massacre and how she learns to see beauty again.
I had to read this book in small doses because of the subject matte’s gravity. While the “plot” of the book can be summed up tidily, the author pulls us into her head by showing how faulty her memory had become after the attack and by tying her past to her present. She sees the attack everywhere she goes, from the police escort that follows her in Paris, to the statues in Rome, to paintings in the Louvre. She sees her dead colleagues when she experiences things they would have enjoyed.