Monday, April 26, 2010

The Thrill of Discovery and Survival

I love the feeling of discovering a new author, a new series, a new TV show or new band. It's a little like falling in love -- the initial excitement, the all-consuming need to be with them all the time.

I'd say most, if not all, of us here have been excited about reading since we could make out words. There is nothing quite like discovering a new author, book or series that keeps us up reading way past when we should be calling it a night and getting some sleep. I've felt that way about the Harry Potter books, the Twilight books, Diana Gabaldon's Outlander books, Suzanne Collins' The Hunger Games series, J.R. Ward's Black Dagger Brotherhood. Now I can add Susan Beth Pfeffer's The Last Survivors series. I hadn't heard of this young adult series until I recently saw the third book, This World We Live In, at the bookstore on the recent releases shelf. The premise is that a giant asteroid hits the moon and knocks it closer to Earth, causing catastrophic climate change and lots of death. The first story, Life As We Knew It, is set in rural Pennsylvania and follows how a teenage girl's family copes with the aftermath of the collision. The second, The Dead and Gone, takes place during the same period, but it illustrates how a teenage boy and his siblings survive in New York City. I'm almost finished with the second book, so I'll be starting This World We Live In, in which the two families somehow cross paths.

I don't know why, but I've always been fascinated by survival stories -- Robinson Crusoe, Julie of the Wolves, The Swiss Family Robinson, The Hunger Games, Defiance (the WWII movie with Daniel Craig), The Day After Tomorrow. I'm interested in how people will survive if they're stripped down to their very base nature -- the need for food and water. Watching the news after big events like hurricanes and earthquakes gives us a glimpse that it doesn't take long for man to get back to that basic instinct for survival. All the niceties of civilized society go out the window when you're hungry and thirsty. But in spite of that, it's inspiring to see the triumph of the human spirit -- those stories of people surviving in earthquake rubble for more than a week, against all odds. The ones who are mauled by a bear or cougar and manage to drag themselves miles to a road. Man will do a lot to survive.

Do you like survival stories. If so, what are some of your favorites?


Anonymous said...

Thanks for the excerpt. I like reading about these kinds of stories. I have added this author to my TBR list

Estella said...

I enjoy survival stories, but don't have a favorite.

linda s said...

David Suzuki did a documentary TV show of what would likely happen if we ran out of oil and there was no more electricity. I was fascinated. And after watching all the city high school children unable to recognize growing vegetables, I turned one of my flower gardens into a veggie patch for my own children.