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Mind-Rain: Your Favorite Authors on Scott Westerfeld's Uglies Series

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In Extras, the last book in Scott Westerfeld's Uglies series, Aya tells us that when Tally Youngblood made the mind-rain fall, it cured all the pretties and changed the world forever. But Tally and her friends did more than change their world; they changed ours too. Mind-Rain continues what Tally started, with startling, funny and insightful essays on the world, characters In Extras, the last book in Scott Westerfeld's Uglies series, Aya tells us that when Tally Youngblood made the mind-rain fall, it cured all the pretties and changed the world forever. But Tally and her friends did more than change their world; they changed ours too. Mind-Rain continues what Tally started, with startling, funny and insightful essays on the world, characters and ideas of the Uglies series, plus the short story that inspired Westerfeld to write the books in the first place. Think you know everything about Tally's world? After Mind-Rain, you'll never look at the Uglies series the same way again. Contents: Introduction / Scott Westerfeld -- All that glitters is not hovery / Lili Wilkinson -- Best friends for never / Robin Wasserman -- Team Shay / Diana Peterfreund -- Two princes / Sarah Beth Durst -- Why the Prince bites it / Gail Sidonie Sobat -- A special hero / J. Fitzgerald McCurdy -- Challenging the gods / Rosemary Clement-Moore -- Beauty smackdown / Janette Rallison -- Conformity by design / Linda Gerber -- The beautiful people / Charles Beaumont -- Liking what you see: a documentary / Ted Chiang -- Naturally unnatural / Will Shetterly -- The S-word / Jennifer Lynn Barnes -- Lies and consequence / Delia Sherman.


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In Extras, the last book in Scott Westerfeld's Uglies series, Aya tells us that when Tally Youngblood made the mind-rain fall, it cured all the pretties and changed the world forever. But Tally and her friends did more than change their world; they changed ours too. Mind-Rain continues what Tally started, with startling, funny and insightful essays on the world, characters In Extras, the last book in Scott Westerfeld's Uglies series, Aya tells us that when Tally Youngblood made the mind-rain fall, it cured all the pretties and changed the world forever. But Tally and her friends did more than change their world; they changed ours too. Mind-Rain continues what Tally started, with startling, funny and insightful essays on the world, characters and ideas of the Uglies series, plus the short story that inspired Westerfeld to write the books in the first place. Think you know everything about Tally's world? After Mind-Rain, you'll never look at the Uglies series the same way again. Contents: Introduction / Scott Westerfeld -- All that glitters is not hovery / Lili Wilkinson -- Best friends for never / Robin Wasserman -- Team Shay / Diana Peterfreund -- Two princes / Sarah Beth Durst -- Why the Prince bites it / Gail Sidonie Sobat -- A special hero / J. Fitzgerald McCurdy -- Challenging the gods / Rosemary Clement-Moore -- Beauty smackdown / Janette Rallison -- Conformity by design / Linda Gerber -- The beautiful people / Charles Beaumont -- Liking what you see: a documentary / Ted Chiang -- Naturally unnatural / Will Shetterly -- The S-word / Jennifer Lynn Barnes -- Lies and consequence / Delia Sherman.

30 review for Mind-Rain: Your Favorite Authors on Scott Westerfeld's Uglies Series

  1. 4 out of 5

    Chris

    What a great collection of essays! I was going to read for a bit over coffee then finally go see Downey’s Sherlock Holmes, but I ended up ditching the entertaining movie to spend my day off with a book of literary criticism. Among the mix are essays that go into the psychology of the characters, ones that look at cultural, scientific, and literary predecessors and themes, and two influential short stories, each with a short introduction by Westerfeld. Some of the essays argue that Tally is a mos What a great collection of essays! I was going to read for a bit over coffee then finally go see Downey’s Sherlock Holmes, but I ended up ditching the entertaining movie to spend my day off with a book of literary criticism. Among the mix are essays that go into the psychology of the characters, ones that look at cultural, scientific, and literary predecessors and themes, and two influential short stories, each with a short introduction by Westerfeld. Some of the essays argue that Tally is a mostly passive protagonist and others argue that she is all “chutzpah! Guts! Cunning! Daring!” (Sobat) One makes the case that Shay is a much more intelligent, capable hero than Tally and another that the main motivating force behind the action in the story is Shay’s hidden romantic love for her. A couple draw interesting parallels between Tally and Dr. Cable. And much more. Although each had its own voice and style, I generally found them to be accessible yet thoughtful, what I would consider prime examples of critical analysis. The variety of different reactions among the essayists makes the collection a model for book discussions, and I could easily see it incorporated into classrooms. Those reactions also accentuated the fact that a book’s meaning is determined in the interplay between the writer and reader. Perhaps most importantly, this book deepened my appreciation of Westerfeld’s books and their complexity of theme, character, and story. An added bonus is that it introduced me to a number of new authors. I love that the bio info for each is at the end of the essay instead of the beginning so that I had context and curiosity about the authors by the time I read them. Some bits that I especially liked: From “Two Princes” by Sarah Beth Durst Shay is about as emotionally mature as my cat. (I adore my cat, but her favorite pastime is to roll onto her back as if she’s inviting you to pet her fuzzy belly and then attempt to gnaw your hand off at the wrist.) ----- She’s the one that he pushes to take calorie-purging pills because, he says, hunger sharpens the mind. (For the record, it doesn’t sharpen my mind. When I’m hungry, all I think is “food, food, food” like the dog in that fake-bacon commercial. But hey, if it works for them, great.) From “Challenging the Gods” by Rosemary Clement-Moore Human beings are strange creatures. We don’t just like conformity, we’re engineered for it. As a species and a society, we tend to ostracize those who are too different. From an evolutionary perspective, this makes sense, but sociologically it can lead to the equivalent of inbreeding: cultural stagnation and complacency. Maybe that’s why people around the world have legends of disobedient characters who bring needed change to the world. There are gods like Loki in Scandinavia, the Monkey-King in China, and Coyote in the traditions of the Native American Southwest. Other tales feature animals, like Anansi the spider, in Eastern African stories, and Br’er Rabbit, a combination of Native and African-American folktales. These trickster characters are always wily and clever (even though their vanity or pride can make them rash or foolish), and their actions are often not very heroic in the traditional sense. They hoax and manipulate, they break rules, and they always shake up the status quo. The trickster is a character who makes things happen and challenges the system. . . . The freedom to think for oneself is exactly what Tally Youngblood brought to the pretties. This is the metaphorical fire from the gods that Prometheus gave to humankind. And here is the big difference between Tally and Dr. Cable. Tricksters do in myth and story what these outside-edges-of-the-bell-curve people have done throughout history. They make things happen. They make change happen. From “Beauty Smackdown” by Janette Rallison We can claim we aren’t affected by looks, but the way we spend our money says differently. So have several clinical studies too boring to quote. In summary they basically say that good-looking people get more attention, more dates, better jobs, and even increased leniency in criminal sentences. I would put footnotes here, but really, does anyone out there doubt this information? ----- But here’s one of those book club questions that will carry you through several chocolate chip cookies: Is the beautiful-but-stupid person a valid stereotype or just a bunch of sour grapes from the less-gorgeous masses? And if there is a correlation between beauty and stupidity, is it something people are born with or just a byproduct of the way good-looking people are treated? . . . So how is it possible that we as a society want to be attractive, yet at the same time look down on beautiful people? ----- Love no longer has the power to make ugly things, like Zane’s shaky movements, desirable in Tally’s eyes. She asks, “What did Dr. Cable do to us, Shay? Do we have some kind of special lesions in our brains? Something that makes everyone else look pathetic? Like we’re better than them?” (Specials) Shay’s answer--that they are better, and that everyone else looks confused and pitiful because they are--is good evidence that Shay either has brain lesions or has just been voted homecoming queen, one of the two. From “Conformity by Design” by Linda Gerber In the United States, we have an old adage that says, “The squeaky wheel gets the grease.” Japan has a similar saying with a much different take on things: “The nail that stands up gets beaten down.” . . . Yeah, I know what you’re thinking. We all saw what enforced conformity did to Tally’s society. But that’s the point. Not all societies and cultures are the same. In our Western world, we are taught to value individuality, but many Asian cultures such as Japan value sameness in pursuit of social harmony. Which philosophy is better? With conformity, a society runs more efficiently and maintains its current state, but with individuality, the encouragement of new ideas advances society (or pulls it back, depending on the idea). With conformity comes peaceful living and with individualism comes cultural productivity. Both offer desirable--though different--outcomes. In the words of philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche, “You have your way. I have my way. As for the right way, the correct way, and the only way, it does not exist.” Perhaps the best we can hope for is to appreciate the value of each point of view. ----- In the end, that might be the important distinction, not conformity versus individuality, but choice versus no choice. From “Liking What You See: A Documentary” by Ted Chiang Brain damage is never a good idea, no matter what your friends say. From “Naturally Unnatural” by Will Shetterly We have never been content with our natural selves. Before recorded history, we began changing our looks by cutting our hair; tattooing, piercing, and scarring our skin; filing our teeth, binding our feet; elongating our necks; and reshaping our skulls. Modifying ourselves must be a basic human instinct. We do it for social reasons, to identify with a group. We do it for sexual reasons, to be more attractive to people within a group. We do it for spiritual reasons: shaven heads and unshorn hair are ways to show that we’ve taken a religious path. We change ourselves so naturally that we often fail to notice we are doing it: Conservative Jewish, Christian, and Muslim teachers agree that people should not alter the natural bodies that God gave us—and to show we believe our God-given bodies are perfect, men should be circumcised and women should cover their hair. From “The S-Word” by Jennifer Lynn Barnes Maybe the people in charge didn’t realize that they were only telling half the story. Maybe they weren’t hoarding scientific knowledge as a means of wielding power over the rest of the population. Maybe, deep down, Dr. Cable is made of lollipops and pixie dust. But I doubt it. Hoarding scientific knowledge gives you a certain kind of power--the kind that allows you to endorse whatever “truth” best suits your needs. From the perspective of the people in charge, full scientific disclosure would be a nightmare. Far better for them to just legitimize their own views by giving the world a taste of science than to allow the populace to think scientifically about things themselves. ----- Dr. Cable goes so far as to specifically seek out as her subjects people who oppose her at every turn. It takes a very special kind of genius to think that it is a good idea to make one’s own enemies faster, stronger, crueler, and harder to defeat than they otherwise would be. Personally, no matter how tempting it might be, I make it a policy not to surgically bestow near invincibility upon the people who would most like to see me dead. From “Lies and Consequences” by Delia Sherman History suggests that most people don’t mind being manipulated as much as you might think.

  2. 4 out of 5

    stephanie

    a collection of essays on the uglies series, with the addition of a couple of short stories that inspired westerfeld in the first place. if you like the series, i would really recommend this. i loved the essays, and seeing how different people reacted to the same books. i liked disagreeing with some, and being like, YES! EXACTLY! with others. robin wasserman's essay is my favorite, about how shay is a heroine trapped in the role of the sidekick. an interesting pairing is the essay on why tally m a collection of essays on the uglies series, with the addition of a couple of short stories that inspired westerfeld in the first place. if you like the series, i would really recommend this. i loved the essays, and seeing how different people reacted to the same books. i liked disagreeing with some, and being like, YES! EXACTLY! with others. robin wasserman's essay is my favorite, about how shay is a heroine trapped in the role of the sidekick. an interesting pairing is the essay on why tally matches the classic "hero" trope. diana peterfreund's essay on "team shay" is genius - even if i don't agree entirely. i also loved the essay comparing tally and dr. cable, who really aren't as different as they think - i especially liked it since it reminded me of why Extras just didn't fit into the series for me. really quite lovely. (and i didn't read the kindle edition, btw.)

  3. 4 out of 5

    Jeri

    I didn't find this book a great read. It seemed repetitive in some parts. He did have some interesting views of the characters and how their names related to their personalities/families. I found myself wondering how much longer until the end or at least until something else interesting would be brought up. There were some good points brought up in this book...just not enough to have made it worth the read. I didn't find this book a great read. It seemed repetitive in some parts. He did have some interesting views of the characters and how their names related to their personalities/families. I found myself wondering how much longer until the end or at least until something else interesting would be brought up. There were some good points brought up in this book...just not enough to have made it worth the read.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Brittani

    It was ok. Not bad by any means just ok.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Layla Bing

    Scott Westerfeld starts the introduction to MIND RAIN with a spin on the classic quote "it takes a village to raise a child": "it takes a village to read a book." In other words, the author is not the definitive authority on the interpretation of a piece of literature. Just as every person in the proverbial village teaches the child something new, every reader brings their own unique perspective on the book to the table, and it is the discussion of these personal takes and ideas that prolongs th Scott Westerfeld starts the introduction to MIND RAIN with a spin on the classic quote "it takes a village to raise a child": "it takes a village to read a book." In other words, the author is not the definitive authority on the interpretation of a piece of literature. Just as every person in the proverbial village teaches the child something new, every reader brings their own unique perspective on the book to the table, and it is the discussion of these personal takes and ideas that prolongs the life of a book past the moment when the last page is turned, and moves the embedded themes from the realm of imagination to that of reality. Capitalizing on this idea, MIND RAIN is a collection of essays by contemporary Young Adult authors that continues that discourse on many of the issues that were raised by Westerfeld in his science fiction UGLIES series. In a series of short essays that are interesting, if occasionally single-minded, YA authors weigh in on topics as diverse as identity, power, slang, and the teenage remix culture; why Shay is actually a better hero than Tally; whether David and Zane had competition in Shay; which of the two boys was better boyfriend material; how Tally measures up to heroines of fairytales past; whether Tally and Dr. Cable have more in common than meets the eye; how Tally's trickster character makes her the perfect catalyst for social change; conformity, individuality, and the similarities between Tally's society and modern Japan; the role of science and science propaganda in the UGLIES series; and the role of propaganda in general, both in the Prettytime and today. Even on the topics that are covered by several authors, there is a rather wide range of perspectives covered, and a real diversity of opinion. Take Tally's on-again off-again boyfriend David: one author's essay revealed a seething hatred for him, another thought him a bit of a sucker, and a third gave him the (by comparison) overwhelming positive compliment that he was "a decent guy." Though several of the essay seemed a bit common sense to me, I thought that the two essays that focused on Shay (the series' sidekick figure) were incredibly insightful and well-done. "Best Friends for Never" by Robin Wasserman in particular was eye-opening. If you are anything like me, you probably didn't question too much the assumption that Tally was the hero of Westerfeld's trilogy. After reading Wasserman's essay, however, I wasn't so sure. And that is the main point of this collection: to get you thinking about aspects of the series that hadn't crossed your mind before, or else to take a closer look at those issues that had. In addition, Westerfeld includes two short stories that were the fundamental inspiration for the series: "The Beautiful People" by Charles Beaumont, and "Liking What You See: A Documentary" by Ted Chiang. It was cool to see the translation of certain elements of these stories into the backbone for an entire best-selling series. Chiang's story in particular gave a really comprehensive look at the different sides of the issue of perceiving beauty, which is one of the fundamental themes of the series. A note to Kindle readers: I'm not sure if this was only on the Kindle, but the footnote system that was used for this book resulted in an annoying underlining of all of the phrases that were footnoted. Also, because these footnotes were at the back of the book, it was a pain to try to read them while reading the essays they referred to. This might just be because I haven't figured out the Locations function on the Kindle yet, but I imagine it would still be annoying for people reading the book version to constantly have to flip back and forth to read the footnotes, some of which are rather funny. Thankfully the volume of footnotes drops off quite a bit after the beginning few essays. Recommendation: I would recommend this book for anyone who is interested in continuing the discussion surrounding the much talked about UGLIES series. Though some essays were perhaps overly simplistic, there are some definite gems in here and some very thought-provoking insights.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Gabrielle

    This book is absolutely wonderful. I don't normally enjoy reading essays, but the non-fiction arguments and beauty-oriented short stories in this book were wonderful. This review is going to be a bit different than normal, 'cause I don't have a plot or main character to rant on, but here we go. Here's a description of the book pulled from Scott Westerfeld's blog: In Extras, the last book in Scott Westerfeld’s Uglies series, Aya tells us that when Tally Youngblood made the mind-rain fall, it cured This book is absolutely wonderful. I don't normally enjoy reading essays, but the non-fiction arguments and beauty-oriented short stories in this book were wonderful. This review is going to be a bit different than normal, 'cause I don't have a plot or main character to rant on, but here we go. Here's a description of the book pulled from Scott Westerfeld's blog: In Extras, the last book in Scott Westerfeld’s Uglies series, Aya tells us that when Tally Youngblood made the mind-rain fall, it cured all the pretties and changed the world forever. But Tally and her friends did more than change their world; they changed ours too. Mind-Rain continues what Tally started, with startling, funny and insightful essays on the world, characters and ideas of the Uglies series, plus the short story that inspired Westerfeld to write the books in the first place. Think you know everything about Tally’s world? After Mind-Rain, you’ll never look at the Uglies series the same way again. With essays by Lili Wilkinson, Robin Wasserman, Diana Peterfreund, Sarah Beth Durst, Gail Sidonie Sobat, Rosemary Clement-Moore, J. Fitzgerald McCurdy, Janette Rallison, Linda Gerber, Charles Beaumont, Ted Chiang, Will Shetterly, Jennifer Lynn Barnes, and Delia Sherman. If you like Uglies,you should read this book. It's full of arguments about characters in the Uglies series (Was Tally like Dr. Cable? Was Shay really more-hero like than Tally? Was Zane or David a better boyfriend? Did Shay want to be more than friends?), connections between the bubble-time and today's society, and also has a few short stories that inspired Mr. Westerfeld. I'm not sure how I should review this - it isn't a novel where I can critique the plot and the characters and so forth. It's not fiction or comedy or even creative writing for the most part, but I defiantly found the book entertaining and interesting. The essay-ists create reasonable arguments and back them up with quotes, facts, and their own experience. The short stories were fascinating and terrifying. I did have to skim through some of the essays, but that was mostly because I skipped forward and back in the book so I was rereading bits when I finally read the book all the way through. It wasn't a light, read when you're tired or in a bad mood read, but it wasn't heavy and boring like something you'd have to read in English. I give this book 5 out of 5 stars for entertainment and informative content.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Cassy

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I love pretty much anything that Scott Westerfeld writes, so reading something by what OTHERS thought of his books was really fascinating. Mind-rain gave me entirely new views on a book series that I adore. I really enjoy all of the essays on Shay. She's a character that you don't really like, one that you're NOT really supposed to like until you get to Extras. That's the first place and she and Tally aren't fighting or trying to one up each other. But the essays make you realize that maybe Shay I love pretty much anything that Scott Westerfeld writes, so reading something by what OTHERS thought of his books was really fascinating. Mind-rain gave me entirely new views on a book series that I adore. I really enjoy all of the essays on Shay. She's a character that you don't really like, one that you're NOT really supposed to like until you get to Extras. That's the first place and she and Tally aren't fighting or trying to one up each other. But the essays make you realize that maybe Shay is just misunderstood. A lot of times she's there to support Tally and Tally really dismisses her. I also like the idea that Tally stumbles into her hero role. Most of the good things that happen to her is by accident. It's a lot of guess work and even then, it doesn't always end well. It was Tally's actions that caused David's father to be killed; as guilty as she may feel about that act, as noble as she was trying to be, it doesn't change the fact that it was her fault. There were really a lot of deaths due to Tally but no one ever really holds her accountable for any of it. At the end of the day, everyone thinks Tally is great and wonderful and can do no wrong. I'm not saying that Tally didn't do great things for her city but these essays really give you some new insights on Tally and her personality. It also gives you background on Tally's world. You get to see where she came from, what happened to the "rusty" age and how Tally's world came to be. I also like that they're essays not by Westerfeld, but people that just enjoy his books as much as mine. They're by people with their own opinions that often differ from mine on the books. It was fascinating and eye-opening to read all the different things that people thought about the books and also thought about things that I didn't think of. It really allowed me to think of the series in a new way. If you're a fan of the Uglies series, I recommend this book highly. It will really give you new insight to the books that you adore so much. However, if you've never read the series, the book will make little or no sense to you.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Pica

    Read the original review on Pica Reads. Note: Minor Spoilers for the Uglies series, although you might be a little lost anyway if you haven't read Uglies. I loved reading this book. Like The Girl Who Was On Fire (click for my review), Mind Rain presents a new way to look at a fantastic YA series - in this case, the Uglies series, by Scott Westerfeld. The essays were insightful, eye-opening, and often funny as well. Each essay took the series to a completely new place, addressing such issues as the Read the original review on Pica Reads. Note: Minor Spoilers for the Uglies series, although you might be a little lost anyway if you haven't read Uglies. I loved reading this book. Like The Girl Who Was On Fire (click for my review), Mind Rain presents a new way to look at a fantastic YA series - in this case, the Uglies series, by Scott Westerfeld. The essays were insightful, eye-opening, and often funny as well. Each essay took the series to a completely new place, addressing such issues as the role of beauty in our society (and how that is reflected in Tally's), how propaganda is used to prolong the values set by Dr. Cable and the Specials to attempt to prevent an uprising, why Shay is the true hero of the series, and of course, whether David or Zane is the better choice for Tally. To quote Sarah Beth Durst in the essay Two Princes, "I think one of the most awesome things about Scott Westerfeld's Uglies series is that it's not obvious which guy is best for Tally. Okay, yeah, in the end Tally's best choice is the not-dead guy, but ignoring that tiny detail..." (Westerfeld 56). In addition, two short stories, The Beautiful People and Liking What You See: A Documentary are included. Both inspired Westerfeld when he wrote Uglies, and when they are combined with the Uglies books and the other essays in Mind Rain, they are amazing to read. More than two weeks later, I still can't get them out of my head. Overall, this book is definitely worth the time of anyone who has read Uglies. And if you haven't read Uglies, you should. Scott Westerfeld is a genius.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Emily

    This book is a collection of great essays about the Uglies series written by tons of different authors, but probably wouldn't be interesting for most people who haven't read the series. Still, I loved this book. It covers everything, from the slang to the romance to beauty. It was thought-provoking and made me think of the series in lots of new ways. Honestly, I never thought of Shay as a cunning, cool character and this book completely changed my mind a I'm starting to think that she isn't all This book is a collection of great essays about the Uglies series written by tons of different authors, but probably wouldn't be interesting for most people who haven't read the series. Still, I loved this book. It covers everything, from the slang to the romance to beauty. It was thought-provoking and made me think of the series in lots of new ways. Honestly, I never thought of Shay as a cunning, cool character and this book completely changed my mind a I'm starting to think that she isn't all that bad. My two favorites are Beauty Smackdown and Liking What You See: A Documentary. The first talked about how we view beautiful people. I especially liked one question the essay brought up(I'm not sure I quoted it entirely correctly): Would you trade five years of your life to be beautiful? But it really is a trick question, because between makeup, doing your hair, and all that, you probably spend way more than five years of your life on beauty. Liking What You See is about a surgery in the future that would stop the brain from distinguishing between beautiful people and ugly people. Some students were trying to get the college to make this surgery a requirement. I could understand both sides and it made my heard hurt in a good way. Should the surgery be required so everyone can have a fair chance? Or should people learn to mature and overcome it themselves? If there were a few people who didn't have the surge, would they take advantage of the people who do? And a ton of other questions.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Amanda Maria

    This book discusses different aspects of the Uglies series and how it is similar to other past and current societies. Each section was written by a different author and they all had varying views. I liked how all sides were looked at and there were no true biases. There is a section that discusses how Shay is the true hero and I had never considered this before. Another section talks about how Tally and Dr. Cable are extremely similar. Another section discusses how Tally is the ultimate hero bec This book discusses different aspects of the Uglies series and how it is similar to other past and current societies. Each section was written by a different author and they all had varying views. I liked how all sides were looked at and there were no true biases. There is a section that discusses how Shay is the true hero and I had never considered this before. Another section talks about how Tally and Dr. Cable are extremely similar. Another section discusses how Tally is the ultimate hero because of her rebel characteristics. While reading this book I felt my opinions jump around and change after each chapter. I thought the ideas presented were extremely though-provoking and I really enjoyed reading about opinions I had never even before considered. I would recommend this book to anyone who was a fan of the Uglies series.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Laura

    This was a really interesting book. I liked how each essay took a different stance on a particular part of the series and gave thoughtful insights into the books. I enjoyed the fiction pieces, especially the short story that inspired Uglies. I also liked how Scott would give a short introduction to each piece and give you his thoughts. I got something out of each essay and there were even a couple that brought up points I had never even thought of. This is a good book for someone who is a devote This was a really interesting book. I liked how each essay took a different stance on a particular part of the series and gave thoughtful insights into the books. I enjoyed the fiction pieces, especially the short story that inspired Uglies. I also liked how Scott would give a short introduction to each piece and give you his thoughts. I got something out of each essay and there were even a couple that brought up points I had never even thought of. This is a good book for someone who is a devoted fan of the Uglies series, but if you haven't read the books this would contain some major spoilers. *Taken from my book reviews blog: http://reviewsatmse.blogspot.com/2010...

  12. 4 out of 5

    Kimberly

    One of the reason I love Scott Westerfeld's books so much is due to great world he is able to create in a story. My favorite of these places is the city created in his "Uglies" series. I jumped at this opportunity to revisit that great world! It was very interesting to read what other authors thought of the world Westerfeld created. I loved reading the authors insight into the different characters. My favorite of the essays was "Best Friends for Never" by Robin Wasserman. This essay made me look One of the reason I love Scott Westerfeld's books so much is due to great world he is able to create in a story. My favorite of these places is the city created in his "Uglies" series. I jumped at this opportunity to revisit that great world! It was very interesting to read what other authors thought of the world Westerfeld created. I loved reading the authors insight into the different characters. My favorite of the essays was "Best Friends for Never" by Robin Wasserman. This essay made me look at the characters of Shay and Tally in an eye opening way. These essays allowed me to rediscover a series that i have read many times before. It is not often that this happens, so I was really glad that I picked up this book.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Laura

    I bought this book off Amazon because I'm going to be coaching a book club over Uglies beginning in January. I was fascinated to learn that the fan-base had grown so much that books were being written about the series and Tally's universe. The majority of the essays were provocative and good to read. They provided interesting perspectives which I may modify to use with the students. One of the essays was over my head! I would be uncomfortable teaching another one of the essays. I really don't thin I bought this book off Amazon because I'm going to be coaching a book club over Uglies beginning in January. I was fascinated to learn that the fan-base had grown so much that books were being written about the series and Tally's universe. The majority of the essays were provocative and good to read. They provided interesting perspectives which I may modify to use with the students. One of the essays was over my head! I would be uncomfortable teaching another one of the essays. I really don't think this book was intended for the under-16 crowd. I think anyone interested in a deeper understanding of the Pretty-verse would find Mindrain an interesting read.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Laura Ramie

    This book had some great essays, some better than others. But for any fan of the Uglies series, this makes you look at the books a little differently. It was especially an eye-opener regarding the character of Shay. When you read the books, you get caught up with the rapid-fire ventures of Tally Youngblood, that you don't stop to really ponder the ethics behind what she does. Several of the essays challenge her role as heroine. I especially enjoyed the essay that predicted that she was destined This book had some great essays, some better than others. But for any fan of the Uglies series, this makes you look at the books a little differently. It was especially an eye-opener regarding the character of Shay. When you read the books, you get caught up with the rapid-fire ventures of Tally Youngblood, that you don't stop to really ponder the ethics behind what she does. Several of the essays challenge her role as heroine. I especially enjoyed the essay that predicted that she was destined to become another Doctor Cable. Also, Ted Chiang's Liking What you See: A Documentary also left an impression. The premise of that short story is intriguing, though I can see why Chiang didn't want the Hugo for it. The ending is way glossed over.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Sarah Crawford

    This is a book that is based on the Uglies series by Scott Westerfeld. It's a series of both articles and stories that pre-date the Uglies series. The authors of the items analyze the Uglies series from a wide variety of approaches. The book is interesting only to those people who have already read the Uglies series, and would have almost no interest for other readers. The articles vary from interesting to far too academic sounding. There is one single article, though, and that's the last one, th This is a book that is based on the Uglies series by Scott Westerfeld. It's a series of both articles and stories that pre-date the Uglies series. The authors of the items analyze the Uglies series from a wide variety of approaches. The book is interesting only to those people who have already read the Uglies series, and would have almost no interest for other readers. The articles vary from interesting to far too academic sounding. There is one single article, though, and that's the last one, that is excellent and could easily be used in a school course that deals with propaganda. The article has perhaps the most excellent examination of what propaganda is and what its purposes are that I have read anywhere.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Melody

    I was disappointed by this book at first because I realize that it had been written after the sixth book and before the final Harry Potter book had come out. I already knew the answers to a lot of the questions posed by the author. That being said, this book was a fun read. Nothing too challenging (similar to the HP series) but a few good questions raised about the author's choices in the book and some of the character's motives as well. It was mostly a fun recap of the highlights of the first si I was disappointed by this book at first because I realize that it had been written after the sixth book and before the final Harry Potter book had come out. I already knew the answers to a lot of the questions posed by the author. That being said, this book was a fun read. Nothing too challenging (similar to the HP series) but a few good questions raised about the author's choices in the book and some of the character's motives as well. It was mostly a fun recap of the highlights of the first six books, so worth the time in the end. I also enjoyed the sense of the fun the author had and referenced himself as "Your Friendly Host" which was cute.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Airiz

    I quite enjoyed "The Girl Who Was On Fire", a compilation of essays about the Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins. I discover many things from reading the book, things that I wasn't able to pick up at first look. The essays are so analytical and informative, especially when they're to connect the scenes in the book as metaphors for real-life scenario. "Reading is conversing in pages", they said, and I always like a good convo partner. Found them here. XD Anyway, that's why I'll put this one I quite enjoyed "The Girl Who Was On Fire", a compilation of essays about the Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins. I discover many things from reading the book, things that I wasn't able to pick up at first look. The essays are so analytical and informative, especially when they're to connect the scenes in the book as metaphors for real-life scenario. "Reading is conversing in pages", they said, and I always like a good convo partner. Found them here. XD Anyway, that's why I'll put this one on to-read. There is so much to love about Westy's Uglies, but there's so much to dislike as well. :P I wanted to know how other authors will show that here.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Donna Jo Atwood

    This book was written before Deathly Hallows came out, so some of the questions were non-starters. I did enjoy the way Castro raised questions about pieces of the plot or characterisations without trying to damage the fun of the series. (See Chapter 20) The worst part of the whole book was the slight smarmy tone taken by the author--who often refers to himself as Your Friendly Host, sort of reminiscent of Series of Unfortunate Events. I am not exactly sure what age group Castro envisioned this b This book was written before Deathly Hallows came out, so some of the questions were non-starters. I did enjoy the way Castro raised questions about pieces of the plot or characterisations without trying to damage the fun of the series. (See Chapter 20) The worst part of the whole book was the slight smarmy tone taken by the author--who often refers to himself as Your Friendly Host, sort of reminiscent of Series of Unfortunate Events. I am not exactly sure what age group Castro envisioned this book for.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Alyssa

    This book wouldn't really be enjoyable to anyone who didn't read the Uglies series or anyone who isn't a literary analysis geek. It's full of essays by other YA authors about topics in the Uglies series, and it was pretty interesting, but a lot of the essays have similar topics, and I didn't even read the whole thing because I got bored with it. It did provide some insightful analysis, but I wouldn't recommend it unless you're an English major and into that stuff. This book wouldn't really be enjoyable to anyone who didn't read the Uglies series or anyone who isn't a literary analysis geek. It's full of essays by other YA authors about topics in the Uglies series, and it was pretty interesting, but a lot of the essays have similar topics, and I didn't even read the whole thing because I got bored with it. It did provide some insightful analysis, but I wouldn't recommend it unless you're an English major and into that stuff.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Lani

    Despite some of the essays saying essentially the same things, this wasn't a bad compilation of essays about the 'Uglies' world. The analysis was pretty good, and some had interesting interpretations that I wouldn't have picked up on myself. It's been awhile since I read any of the series, so it's possible that impacted my enjoyment of this book and its essays. If you're an Uglies fan AND enjoy low-key analysis written by authors of mediocre YA fantasy, this is for you! Despite some of the essays saying essentially the same things, this wasn't a bad compilation of essays about the 'Uglies' world. The analysis was pretty good, and some had interesting interpretations that I wouldn't have picked up on myself. It's been awhile since I read any of the series, so it's possible that impacted my enjoyment of this book and its essays. If you're an Uglies fan AND enjoy low-key analysis written by authors of mediocre YA fantasy, this is for you!

  21. 4 out of 5

    Alyssa

    It never ends. I'm getting too much done that I could never do before, and believe me, the bubbleheads are having such fun watching it on the newsfeeds. And all it took was war, Tally. I should have thought of this years ago... Don't you see, we've entered a new era. From now on, every day is a Special Circumstance. (Specials) Emerich Edward Dalberg Acton "Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely" The Beautiful People by Charles Beaumont It never ends. I'm getting too much done that I could never do before, and believe me, the bubbleheads are having such fun watching it on the newsfeeds. And all it took was war, Tally. I should have thought of this years ago... Don't you see, we've entered a new era. From now on, every day is a Special Circumstance. (Specials) Emerich Edward Dalberg Acton "Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely" The Beautiful People by Charles Beaumont

  22. 4 out of 5

    Rachel

    Not my usual cup of tea, but this was a really insightful collection of essays into the nature of Westerfeld's Uglies series. I didn't care too much for the fluffy nature of the "which boyfriend is better" debate, but the Team Shay essay made me think again about a dynamic I'd seen, but hadn't really considered. Any book that can really make me think is—by my definition—a winner. Not my usual cup of tea, but this was a really insightful collection of essays into the nature of Westerfeld's Uglies series. I didn't care too much for the fluffy nature of the "which boyfriend is better" debate, but the Team Shay essay made me think again about a dynamic I'd seen, but hadn't really considered. Any book that can really make me think is—by my definition—a winner.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Will

    Not impressed by the "scholarship" herein... "It was Galileo who refined the compass, which allowed Magellan to sail all the way around the world and proved the Earth is not flat, which led to Christopher Columbus climbing on a boar and heading to the New World." Where is this from, the Dan Brown Chair of History? As a slight compensation,it reprints Ted Chiang's "Liking What You See". Not impressed by the "scholarship" herein... "It was Galileo who refined the compass, which allowed Magellan to sail all the way around the world and proved the Earth is not flat, which led to Christopher Columbus climbing on a boar and heading to the New World." Where is this from, the Dan Brown Chair of History? As a slight compensation,it reprints Ted Chiang's "Liking What You See".

  24. 4 out of 5

    Marcia

    I read this book as part of the research I am doing for my master thesis, which is about the current popularity of the dystopian genre amongst adolescents. I loved the Uglies Series, so i was really interested in reading the essays in Mind-Rain. I enjoyed reading what other people thought about Uglies :D

  25. 4 out of 5

    Jenilyn

    This isn't something I normally would have picked up off of the shelf, but I won it in a contest and really enjoyed reading most of it. Some of these essays were better than others, but overall it was an engrossing read. Assuming, of course, that you've read the series. This isn't something I normally would have picked up off of the shelf, but I won it in a contest and really enjoyed reading most of it. Some of these essays were better than others, but overall it was an engrossing read. Assuming, of course, that you've read the series.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Laura Martinelli

    An intriguing collection of essays and short fiction that inspired/was inspired by the Uglies series. It made me rethink some of the key points of the series in terns of characters and science. A fascinating read for any Scott Westerfeld fans.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Kait

    Another companion book to the Uglies series by Scott Westerfield. This contains essays from other authors and talks about several themes within the books. It contains the story that inspired the series as well.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Abby

    Other author's takes on the Uglies series in essay form. Some are humerous, some insightful, and some trying to reshape the popular take. This also contains the story and emails that inspired the series. Not as good as other books of this sort that I've seen, but still worth reading. Other author's takes on the Uglies series in essay form. Some are humerous, some insightful, and some trying to reshape the popular take. This also contains the story and emails that inspired the series. Not as good as other books of this sort that I've seen, but still worth reading.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Jyllian Martini

    I love Scot Westerfeld and I enjoyed these writers analysis of his writing. Many (if not all) are YA writers themselves. I particularly liked those that explored whether Tally or Shay was the real hero. I long admired Shay over Tally and was happy to see others have as well.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Dan

    I just cannot read this anymore. I thought that this series as a whole was okay, and this rehash/debate compilation of the series is mindnumbingly a waste of paper. I do not want to hear about Team this or that...no.

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