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Streams of Gold, Rivers of Blood: The Rise and Fall of Byzantium, 955 A.D. to the First Crusade
Anthony Kaldellis
Progress: 38/440 pages
Pershing's Crusaders: The American Soldier in World War I
Richard S Faulkner
The Framers' Coup: The Making of the United States Constitution
Michael J. Klarman
Progress: 405/880 pages
Martin Luther: His Road to Reformation 1483-1521
Martin Brecht
Progress: 236/543 pages

Knowing now what we will know then

The Future of Us - Jay Asher, Carolyn Mackler

This is one of those books that begins with a great premise: Emma, a teenager in 1996 Pennsylvania, accesses the Internet on her new PC for the first time and somehow is able to access her Facebook account fifteen years in the future. As she explores her future life, she discovers that her changing attitudes can affect her future as well, while her inclusion of her next-door neighbor and onetime best friend Josh into her confidence opens up new understandings about himself as well. Now some people might complain that this idea isn't explored as fully as it could have been -- that Emma didn't do what any sensible teenager living in 1990s America would have done, which was to discover which stocks she should invest in, or which international leaders she should assassinate, or something like that. Such complaints, though, miss both the constraints of the premise (she can only access her Facebook account and not the entirety of the Internet in 2011) and what this novel really is, which is a study of two teenagers on the verge of adulthood who gain a unique understanding for what those relationships will be like. It;s touching and mature in many ways, and while the ending is hardly a surprise it's a journey that is definitely worth reading.