Meg: a Novel of the Deep
by Steve Alten
Think Jurassic Shark! Meg is a science fiction thriller about the largest predator to ever exist. The title refers to the Carcharocles Megalodon, a shark that lived during the age of the dinosaurs. Imagine sharks weighing over 70 tons! That’s a shark about the size of a bowling alley who fed on everything from the T-Rex to blue whales.
Steve Alten imagines a world in which the Megalodon isn’t extinct, but is living in the Mariana Trench (the deepest part of the ocean.) Since more people have actually walked on our moon than have been able to explore this part of our ocean, we really don’t know what lives down there.
The book’s hero, Jonas Taylor, is the sole survivor of a deep sea submarine disaster. Jonas is not the same man who entered the trench. He’s been labeled a crackpot, lost his credit, and his marriage. Now he’s been asked to return to a place that still haunts his nightmares. Alten describes a believable scenario that allows a Megalodon to escape the deep, cold water of the trench and into our modern world. The feeding frenzy that ensues is epic!
The Mariana Trench and the Megaladon are both mysteries that lead to deeper discussions. With the book’s success, Alten learned that the book really seemed to appeal to teen boys. Most school reading programs focus on building up beginning readers in the elementary grades while neglecting the needs of high school students. Alten found that teachers were using his book to encourage these older students.
This caused him to create the Adopt- An-Author Program that provides free study materials, author talks, and interactive websites to classroom educators. Meg includes a lot of STEM (scientific, technology, engineering, and math) elements that can be applied in the classroom.
Oneonta Public Library’s book club meets the third Thursday of each month. The people who come to our monthly book discussions agree to only one concession, that they will read the book. Many were stuck in a reading rut, choosing the same authors or the same types of books. The book club is an opportunity to try something new, to meet some great people, to hear different perspectives, and to learn about different topics.
I chose Meg for October because of its variety. First, Meg offers a lot to talk about – mystery, a little romance, and a lot of thrills. Secondly, the movie The Meg starring Jason Statham was recently released. We had a movie night and enjoyed the movie together.
We have read around 50 books over the years. Some we liked, some we hated, some were okay. My first question is always, “Did you like the book?” Meg was one that everyone answered, “Yes!” I hope you will give Meg a try to see what all the talk is about.
Amy Woods is head of circulation at Oneonta Public Library. Visit the library Monday and Thursday from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., to check out this or another great book.