I like books. Okay, just kidding. Scratch that. I LOVE books. But not just books-books either. I like actual novels. Any brain-missing nerdigan can write a book. It takes a true artist to write a novel.
Louisa May wrote a novel (several, actually). J.K. Rowling writes novels. Harper Lee wrote a novel. L.M. Montgomery wrote a novel. Shakespeare wrote plays, which are also art. Mark Twain wrote some dang good novels. William Golding wrote "Lord of the Flies," which is an amazing novel.
I won't name the people who write such trash that it should be considered a federal offense to publish it and so pollute the minds of the young, impressionable teenagers and children. They know who they are.
But do you know who has written some truly great works of art? Scott Westerfeld. (I know; he's probably thrilled that some extra "kicked" him.) I got "Uglies" and "Pretties" for Christmas last year and said, "Oh. Thanks. These look.... great." And for a minute I thought they were just another stupid series that was filled with the lamentings of a stupid teenage girl who didn't feel pretty or accepted or didn't get asked to the prom or whose boyfriend broke up with her and was now dating the head cheerleader. Buh-arf. Heaven spare us from such books.
I was dead wrong. After having nothing else to do, I buckled and started reading "Uglies": "The early summer sky was the color of cat vomit." I grinned. It couldn't be too bad if that was how it started. So I kept reading. And reading. And reading. And reading.
I don't know where my family was during all this, but I didn't surface for hours. The plot was intense with lifelike characters who could be sweet one moment and sour the next. Romance, but not so much you wanted the characters in love to die because they were so sappy. And hoverboards. I loved watching "Johnny Quest" when I was a littlie and always wanted a hoverboard. The other technology (almost AI rooms, instant food, hovercars) is also very cool and makes me wish it was the future already.
And the IDEA! The idea was so very innovative. The story is a little dash of "Fahrenheit 451" (Ray Bradbury; also a good read) and "The Giver" (Lois Lowry; again, good novel). Let me break it down for you: Tally Youngblood is the main character. She lives in a city where you're ugly until you get an operation when you're sixteen that makes you pretty. (Big eyes, gorgeous features, etc.) Her only ambition is to be a pretty (and go live in Pretty Town across the river), but then Shay comes along and plants some seeds in her head that the whole operation may not be so fantastic after all.
I'm not going to tell you any more because it'll spoil the ending. Just know that it's ingenious.
So, I bought the fourth book to the trilogy (hahahaha) a couple days ago called "Extras." Like Scott Westerfeld's other novels, it is just plain smart. It deals with your face-rank, which is basically how much people talk about you (fame, basically). There's also people called kickers who have live feeds all the time and are always posting (stories) things on the city interface. (Sound familiar at all?) Some people will do anything to up their face rank, including Aya Fuse, who is willing to sell basically anyone out.
After I read those novels, I always come away with a feeling of "Holy crap, am I letting society dictate my thoughts, actions, or opinions?" And the answer is usually yes. Which is why I don't generally like blogging. It's too.... not bubbly. I'd rather be doing something icy, like changing the world. Blogging is so brain-missing and random.
Did I mention that it also adds hilarious terms to my vocabulary?
Other novels by Scott Westerfeld include the trilogy "The Midnighters" (with likable characters that make you both cringe and laugh), "So Yesterday" (also full of innovative ideas about innovaters), and "Peeps" (it's an amazing take on vampires *thumbs nose at stupid "Twilight" fans* but the main character is horny like nobody's business. ick.)