The Archaeologist and the Bookshelf

Cassandra Neace

Staff Writer

Cassandra Neace is a high school English teacher in Houston. When she's not in the classroom, she reads books and writes about them. She prides herself on her ability to recommend a book for most any occasion. She can be found on Instagram @read_write_make

I like to think I have  learned a few things from all the various books I have read over the years. I know that I learned a lot from the reading that I have done over the last year. These lessons made me think a great deal about what future generations would think they knew about us based solely on the books that we are currently reading.

We’ll start with my bookshelf, and go with the understanding that something cannot be assumed to be true unless it appears in at least two books. Based on that, here are a few of the assumptions future generations might make about life at the beginning of the 21st century:

1. Children have magical, profound, life-altering experiences at the age of 8. (See The Oracle of Stamboul and Jamrach’s Menagerie)

2. Albinos smell like fish when they get upset. (See Galore and Pym)

3. If a woman is made to wear red (or be red), then it is a safe bet that she is not a virgin. (See The Handmaid’s Tale and When She Woke)

4. Young people with unique talents or special abilities must be segregated from the general population. It is for their own safety. (See Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, the Harry Potter series, and Hex Hall)

5. When boys run away from home, they realize their mistake and find their way back quickly. (See Noah Barleywater Runs Away, The Borrower, and  The Last Brother)

6. When girls run away from home, their intent is to stay gone. (See The Hottest Dishes of the Tartar Cuisine, Lamb, and Bound)

7. People want to live forever. Until they find that they can, in fact, live forever. (See The Taker and The Queen of Kings)

8. The people that no one notices are often capable of the greatest things. (See Ready Player One and Neverwhere)

9. Magic is even better when alcohol and sex are involved. (See The Magicians and The Night Circus)

10. The people of the 21st century would have accomplished so much more if only they had not  been overrun with vampires/werewolves/zombies. (See Zone One, The Last Werewolf, and The Passage)

Take a good, hard look at your own shelves. What observations could you add to the list?


Cassandra Neace teaches college students how to write essays and blogs about books and book-related goodness at Indie Reader Houston. Follow her on Twitter: @CassandraNeace