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The Hunger Games

Since I have new mommy brain, it’s pretty much mush (say that three times fast) and I don’t know if I’ll give this review my best shot.

Basically, all I need to say is READ THIS. You won’t be disappointed. The Hunger Games is the first of the series, Catching Fire is second, and Mockingjay is about to be released. Yes, it’s YA. No, it’s not cheesy.

All ages and genders will appreciate this series. It’s exciting and nail-biting and page-turning. You know how soap operas always leave you on the edge of your seat at the end of every episode? That’s how the chapters of these books are. You won’t be able to put them down. Honestly. Just go read them!

Twenty-four are forced to enter. Only the winner survives.

In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by twelve outlying districts. Each year, the districts are forced by the Capitol to send one boy and one girl between the ages of twelve and eighteen to participate in the Hunger Games, a brutal and terrifying fight to the death – televised for all of Panem to see.

Survival is second nature for sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen, who struggles to feed her mother and younger sister by secretly hunting and gathering beyond the fences of District 12. When Katniss steps in to take the place of her sister in the Hunger Games, she knows it may be her death sentence. If she is to survive, she must weigh survival against humanity and life against love.

*Quote and photos from Scholastic.com

Whoa!

I completely forgot about this blog. Since my last post on The Road, I’ve read quite a few books and had a baby. So…life has changed dramatically. I would love to write some reviews for the great books I’ve had the opportunity to read and hopefully I can get to that soon.

Because Sarah P. asked me to, here goes a book review. I apologize for format and such since I’ve never done a professional book review. Here are my thoughts on the book (warning: spoilers):

In The Road by Cormac McCarthy, two central characters, “The man” and “The boy,” are followed as they attempt to survive in a post-apocalyptic United States. The story does not give background as to when the “event” happened or how long they have been on “The Road” but it seems to have been awhile. The mother has long since committed suicide and the family is just two: the man and his boy.

The father/son dynamic is what was so touching to me in this novel. The man would stop at nothing to protect his son, making sure he had first choice at whatever food and clothing they found along the way, and protecting him from cannibals and other bad people. The story takes place in nuclear winter and the location is undisclosed. The man and boy are constantly discussing that they are traveling South because it is warmer. They meet very few people on their journey but those who cross their paths are mostly dangerous.

The question of whether or not God exists is a common, yet subtle theme. I feel that the man does truly want to believe that God exists, yet the circumstances surrounding their survival conflict him. He sees so much good in the boy and finds it difficult to not believe in God when there is an almost-perfect young man in front of him. However, he also struggles to understand why God would let something like this happen to such a good and innocent child. Don’t we all ask questions such as these, even today? In the end, the story portrays redemption as the child does find people who “carry the fire” (good people) right after his Papa dies. He goes with them and that’s the end of the story.

McCarthy’s writing style takes some getting used to and there are no chapters. But it works. He has the authority to leave out apostrophes and write in sentence fragments. I had no problems understanding what he was trying to say. I thought it was cleverly written and just for convenience-sake, being able to stop every few paragraphs without interrupting the story too much was a huge plus for me.

Overall, I really loved this book. The man had so much character and his love for his son is what got him through each day. The boy was so clever and loving and compassionate. It makes one wonder how they would handle a global disaster such as this. I sure hope nothing like this happens in my lifetime.

*Feel free to ask questions if I didn’t address something in the book.

I’m Still Here

I haven’t gone away…I just haven’t posted in awhile. I’ve only read a few books since my last post. The Road by Cormac McCarthy, which I highly recommend if you’re into that sort of thing (post-apocalyptic struggles and imperfect writing style) and I began The Book Thief, which I’ve yet to find time to finish. I’ve been really busy since the start of the new year and I’m having a difficult time finding solitude to read. My husband no longer works on the weekends, which was when I got a lot of my reading done. I’m not complaining; I love that he is home now and we get to spend more time together. However, my personal time is dwindling and I need to set aside a certain time of the day when I can be by myself and read, as he always has the TV going (even if NOTHING is on). I have a difficult time focusing on what I’m reading if the TV is on, even if it’s something stupid like Judge Judy.

I’m going to try to dedicated more time to this blog, especially since we now have internet at home. Hooray! I’ve also recently become fascinated with Twitter and have found so many cool people out there with which to interact.

Here are some books sites I’ve found through other Twitterers (or “Tweeps” as I like to call them); well, not all of them are from Twitter, but some I found on my own:

My Book List for 2009

Twilight-Headed (a Twilight discussion blog for adults)

Bookins.com (a place where you can trade/exchange/swap your books and DVDs)

LeVarBurton.com (of Reading Rainbow and Star Trek: The Next Generation Fame…you can also follow him on Twitter!)

Writely Applied

Twilight Newborns (A Twilight Series Fansite with podcasts)

YA Booknerd (A Blog about Young Adult fiction)

Book Calendar

TwitterLit.com

Jane Austen Addict

Four Books in August!

I know I haven’t blogged in awhile but I’ve been reading a lot lately. I’ve really found enjoyment in it, especially since right now there is nothing on TV and MK has been doing homework in the evenings (I don’t feel like I’m neglecting him or ignoring him when he’s also busy reading his own stuff).

Get this–I read four books in the month of August. That’s a record for me, if you don’t count reading books in college for my literature classes. And honestly, most of those I had to skim over because the assignments were just two long to read in a two-day period (thank you, Spark Notes!). The books I read were the Twilight series by Stephenie Meyer. It’s young adult fiction, but I had been hearing about it for about a year now and my friend Morgan finally convinced me to read the first book even though I’m not really a fad reader. I read it in less than a week. Then I borrowed the second one, New Moon, which took me four days to read. Then MK bought me the last two–I read Eclipse in less than a week and the final book, Breaking Dawn in THREE days. I couldn’t put the last book down; it was divided into three “books” and I read each in one day. The series is definitely compelling, even though it got annoying at times. The protagonist is very self-deprecating but what do you expect from a 17-year-old girl? There are some negative things I can say as well as positive things, but overall, I was oddly intrigued by this human/vampire love story with quite a bit of werewolf thrown in. I think a lot of the fan girls were upset with the final book but I really enjoyed it and was happy with the outcome. I don’t want to give too much information and spoil it in case anyone wants to read the series.

On November 21st, the movie will come out. My best friend Les and I are going to see it for her (dreaded) 30th birthday…if 50 is the new 30, then we are still “tweens”! So, I told her we should live it up and act like 20-year-olds–or 10-year-olds if you use the 50/30 ratio–on the last night of her 20s (her birthday is the 22nd). I just hope the movie stays true to the book because I enjoyed it so much.

So, if I don’t post for awhile, you’ll know I’m absorbed in another book. I’m on a reading kick again, which could last awhile since I tend to go through phases. Reading takes dedication and I don’t always have that; sometimes I get “Book ADD” and just can’t dedicate that much time to one book. However, I’ve really felt a sense of accomplishment lately even though what I’ve read has been YA lit. Oh, well. A book is a book is a book. And reading approximately 750 pages in three days is a pretty big deal for me.🙂

Until next time…stay classy.

There is a list of books on this site that are suggest for every person to read before they die. I know I will never read them all and frankly, some of them look like crap. But I’d like to hear any thought on these. Which ones have you read? Did you like them? Are there others you suggest? I’d like to hear any commentary or conversation on the matter.

Here’s my commentary on the list:

  1. The Hours–well, actually, I started reading and never got past the first chapter and I own the book. I guess that doesn’t count as having read it.
  2. Seen the movie to Underworld–does that count?
  3. Seen Trainspotting–again, does that count?
  4. The Virgin Suicides–my husband read this so I’m counting it since we are “One”. Haha.
  5. I own the movie Remains of the Day–I suppose that doesn’t count since I haven’t even seen the movie.
  6. Seen The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and loved it.
  7. Seen Interview With the Vampire. Sheesh, I haven’t even read THAT one.
  8. Seen Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. Don’t care to read the book.
  9. FINALLY–I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. Great book that I own.
  10. Seen A Clockwork Orange…wonder if the book is as weird as the movie.
  11. To Kill a Mockingbird–I’ve always wanted to read this and I finally bought the book for cheap at Walmart last week. I love the movie but heard the book was much better.
  12. Rabbit, Run–checked this out from the library last year but didn’t have time to read it at the time.
  13. Breakfast at Tiffany’s–own the book via my husband. He read it and it’s apparently way more risque than the movie.
  14. Things Fall Apart–I was supposed to read this in AP English but somehow I got away without having to. We do own it though and it’s one of my husband’s favorites. Maybe he should be making this list…
  15. Lord of the Rings–again, we own the set via my husband. He loves them. I have not tackled them but, you guessed it, I loved the movies.
  16. Lolita–we own this too. Husband says he never knew what his fascination was with this story due to its content, but he loves it because it is VERY well-written.
  17. YAY! Lord of the Flies!!! I DID read that one. Strange but interesting.
  18. Wise Blood–I posted on this awhile back. Never read the book but the movie was WEIRD.
  19. I, Robot–seen movie. Can you see a pattern here?
  20. Nineteen Eighty-Four–read part of it. We moved before I could finish and now it’s packed away in boxes in our storage. It’s great so far and I often use references to it to describe the modern world.
  21. Of Mice and Men–read it! Loved it!
  22. Brave New World–I started this one too but got bored with all the scientific detail in the beginning. I hope to tackle it someday.
  23. The Sound and the Fury–I own this but have never read it.
  24. Lady Chatterley’s Lover–again, own it but never read it.
  25. The Sun Also Rises (Hemingway)–own it, never read it.
  26. The Castle (Kafka)–own it, never read it.
  27. Billy Budd–HORRIBLE. I hate Mellville.
  28. Heart of Darkness (Joseph Conrad)–good.
  29. The Hound of the Baskervilles (Sir Arthur Conan Doyle)–good, from what I can remember back in 9th grade.
  30. The Awakening (Chopin)–pretty good. Now, we’re getting into my era.
  31. The Invisible Man–good but creepy.
  32. Dracula (Bram Stoker)–don’t think I ever read it, but I own it and have seen the movie.
  33. The Picture of Dorian Gray (Wilde)–own it, never read.
  34. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn–read it a LONG time ago.
  35. Little Women–love it but it’s been SO long. I have the book and need to read again. Love the movie also.
  36. Great Expectations–depressing. And the movie was nothing like the book.
  37. Villette (C. Bronte)–own it, never read.
  38. Moby-Dick–somehow I avoided reading this three times. Being an English major, it was required for several of my classes. I hated the book and never finished–like I said earlier, I despise Mellville. Thank God for Sparknotes!
  39. The Scarlet Letter–depressing but in a good way. Don’t watch the movie with Demi Moore because it’s crap.
  40. Wuthering Heights (E. Bronte)–Love, love, love it! One of my all-time favorites.
  41. Jane Eyre (C. Bronte)–love this one also. The Bronte sisters really know how to write a hopelessly romantic novel.
  42. The Fall of the House of Usher–Love Poe. This one was awesome.
  43. The Last of the Mohicans–Does it count if the movie is a favorite and if I own the book? Read parts of it.
  44. Frankenstein–AWESOME.
  45. Northanger Abbey (Austen)–Own it, plan on reading it in the future.
  46. Persuasion (Austen)–Own it, plan on reading it in the future.
  47. Emma (Austen)–Own it, plan on reading it in the future. LOVED the movie with Gwyneth Paltrow.
  48. Mansfield Park (Austen)–Own it, plan on reading it in the future. Really liked the movie with Jonny Lee Miller.
  49. Pride and Prejudice (Austen)–Own it, read it in high school, plan on reading it again.
  50. Sense and Sensibility (Austen)–Own it, plan on reading it in the future. Loved and own the movie with Emma Thompson, Hugh Grant, Alan Rickman, and Kate Winslet.
  51. A Modest Proposal (Swift)–Weird.
  52. Gulliver’s Travels (Swift)–Also weird.
  53. Oroonoko (Aphra Behn)–Don’t remember much about it but I had to write a report on it in college. I think it was about slaves in South America but I could be way off.
  54. Don Quixote–Another I don’t remember well…required reading.

What I don’t understand is why Fahrenheit 451 (Bradbury) and East of Eden (Steinbeck) didn’t make the cut. As you can see, I watch way too many movies and don’t read enough. I am so unfamiliar with contemporary books (1900s and up). But I did just join the Literary Guild online bookclub, so maybe I’ll get some culture in.🙂

Book Give-Away

Bookfinds is giving away signed copies of a new book titled Sisters of Misery. Read the blog entry…sounds like my kind of book! I also mentioned this on my other blog in case you don’t read that one.

In other book news, 5 Minutes For Books is starting a Classics Bookclub online. August’s book is Pride and Prejudice. I cannot participate this month because my copy is buried in storage and I just began reading Twilight. Yes, I’ve succumbed to the hype and have read the first two chapters–so far, I’m intruiged. I didn’t get into the Harry Potter mania because wizards just don’t interest me (unless I’m watching Lord of the Rings). But vampires…that’s a different story with me. I love me some vampires! And zombies! Haha.

Anyway, if you’re at all interested (it’s mostly women I think so we’ll be reading more feminine literature), click on the graphic below to check out the Classics Bookclub.

Classics Bookclub

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