The Hunger Games

Around the time that Catching Fire came out this year, I began hearing of the buzz around this series. So I requested a copy of The Hunger Games from the library and calmly waited until it came in. Then I devoured it (that pun might be intended). I read it in 3 late night reading sessions last week after Husband had gone to bed forcing myself to put it down each night so that I could get a few hours of sleep. The plot moved quickly, the premise was fascinating, and the characters came to life. Like most young adult books, the writing may not be fantastic, but the story makes up for it.. I’m saving the sequel, Catching Fire for the read-a-thon and the wait is killing me.

The Hunger Games

For those who don’t know, the Hunger Games is a dystopian novel taking place sometime in the future in what is now the United States. The Capitol rules the outlying Districts and to show its control and prevent rebellion, every year 2 teenagers – Tributes – from each district must take part in a competition to the death that is nationally televised. The winner returns to a live a life of luxury in his or her district. This year Katniss takes her younger sister’s place as a Tribute. Peeta, a boy her age, is chosen as the second Tribute. Together they journey to the Capitol where they must participate in the pomp and circumstance leading up to the games and then fight for their lives
once it begins.

This book is sort of a mash-up of The Lottery and The Most Dangerous Game with a little love story thrown in for kicks. I highly recommend it to those of you out there who love a good young adult dystopian novel.

Teaser Tuesday

“The first thing Betsy and Tacy and Tib did after they were ten years old was to fall in love.  They all fell in love at once…with the same person too.”

– Page 27 of Betsy and Tacy Go Over the Big Hill by Maud Hart Lovelace

PS – The 12-year old boy in me (?!) wanted to put the passage a few pages earlier about Betsy being “pounded” for her birthday.  Inappropriate? Maybe.

teasertuesdays31

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along!

Just do the following:

  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share
    doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can
    add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Read-a-Thon

I've decided to participate in this fall's 24-hour Read-a-Thon.  The Read-a-Thon begins on October 24th at 8am (in my time zone).  24 hours of reading books, updating my blog, reading other blogs, and doing mini-challenges.  When I first discovered this event, I was intrigued but not sure I wanted to participate.  Then I kept reading about how much fun everyone says it is.  I don't know how hardcore I'll be (it's been years since I've voluntarily pulled an all-nighter) but I'm definitely going to spend the majority of my day reading.

To make this even more special, and because it is October, for each book I finish, I will be donating $10 extra to my in-laws' 2010 Breast Cancer 3-Day fund (That was the link to my mother-in-law's, but for a laugh check out my father-in-law's page).

Here is my pile of books to choose from.  I will obviously not be getting through all of these.  Let's face it, I'll be lucky if I finish 3.  But I wanted to have some variety.  And I have a few books coming from the library as well.  And of course, I can always grab one of the other 300 books in my house that I haven't read.  I tried to pick shorter and/or easier books that would keep my attention.

Read-a-Thon Books

Anyone else want to participate with me?

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Peony in Love by Lisa See

Peony in Love: A NovelThis book has been on my TBR list for ages. Since before I read Snow Flower and the Secret Fan a year and a half ago. And boy am I glad that I finally got to it.

First, your teasers. My two favorite passages occurred a mere page apart:

“Quite by accident – except that it had to be fate interfering – he found the box with Liniang’s rolled-up self-portrait scroll.” p. 34

“Perhaps he was as afraid as I was that we’d be caught.Or perhaps he was breathing me in just as I was letting him come into my lungs, my eyes, my heart.” p. 35

It’s part historical fiction, part ghost story, part coming of age. It is a story about growing up, accepting changes, and most of all  love – romantic love, sexual love, familial love. The greatest of  which is probably the womanly love formed between mothers and daughters (which can also be the toughest love to recognize).

In the conversation with Lisa See at the end, she mentions that she wrote this to show that women (who may be been silenced) have not been silent throughout history. While there may be little  record of it, women were always thinking, writing, creating. See also mentions that she believes women still struggle to have their voices heard. How many times do we find our husbands and boyfriends not really listening to us? How many times growing up did we ignore our mother’s request to clean our room and immediately obey our father’s. This actually sparked an interesting discussion between Ben and me. We have about as egalitarian a relationship as you can get, yet there may be traces of this in existence (then again, sometimes I don’t listen to Ben, too).

When I read this book, I didn’t realize that the characters were based on real people. I assumed some of the basis for the story was true – I figured The Peony Pavillion was a real book, but that was as far as I thought the history went. After finishing the book and reading the Author’s Note, I learned that the characters of Peony, Ze, Ti, and Wu Ren all
existed and The Three Wive’s Commentary is real. This makes their story so much more compelling to me. Part of the reason I love Lisa See’s novels is because it is a chance to learn about Chinese history and culture. When the story intertwines with real history, it enhances that experience.

I loved Peony in Love even more than Snow Flower and the Secret Fan. I can’t wait to get to Shanghai Girls.

Out of curiosity, has anyone read her earlier novels?

Books: September 2009

September 2009 Reads

  • Betsy-Tacy and Tib by Maude Hart Lovelace [review]
  • The Jane Austen Book Club by Karen Joy Fowler [review]
  • Betsy-Tacy by Maude Hart Lovelace [review]
  • The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery [review]

September 2009 Books

  • Foreign Tongue by Vanina Marsot
  • Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger
  • The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown
  • Continental Drift by Russell Banks

September turned out to be a pretty good reading month for me.  I enjoyed everything I read and 4 books is really the best I can ever hope for (it doesn’t hurt that the Betsy-Tacy books are so short).  And of our new books, only one of those is really mine and I won it from Book Club Girl so I didn’t actually pay for it.  The other 3 Ben bought but I am really looking forward to getting my hands on Her Fearful Symmetry.

I left two books unfinished in September: Under the Banner of Heaven by Jon Krakauer and Pride and Prejudice.  I keep losing interest in those two and reading other books instead.  But I will finish them someday.

The Hazards of Love

This post has nothing to do with books or reading.  But I wanted to share the amazingness that was The Decemberists concert because I know for a fact some of you are fans and I’m sick of people saying “the december-whos?”

Their show was quite possibly the best concert I’ve ever been to.  They were better than their recordings which is my secret hope every time I go to a show.  The first half was a perfectly orchestrated performance with each song flowing right into the next just like their albums.  The second half was more intimate with band members chatting, doing handstands, and crowd surfing.  They played all my favorite songs and showed me how great some of the songs I overlooked are.  Ben and I haven’t been to a show in years (we used to live at concerts when we were dating in college but then we got poor for a long time).  This one was much mellower than the concerts we frequented in the old days but a perfect way to get back into it.

The show was at the Hard Rock Live at Universal Studio’s City Walk in Orlando.  It was a great venue – small but not crowded.  Going to a show 2 hours away on a Wednesday night may have been poor planning (we got home at 2am) but any sleep deprivation we suffered was wortth it. I would drive to Miami or even Atlanta in a heartbeat to see them
again.  If you ever get the chance to see them you should.  And if you aren’t familiar with The Decemberists yet (the december-whats?), you should immediately go out and buy their entire discography.

Because words can’t really capture their fantasticness, here are some seripitiously taken video (sorry for the iphone quality/does anyone know how to rotate video on here?):

Sons and Daughters

Quantity v. Quality

Bookpile

I’ve been reading a lot of blogs lately and I’ve come to one conclusion: book bloggers read a lot of books.  I mean a lot.  Like 200, 300, 400 books per year.  Now I just finished my 29th book of the year.  It hasn’t been my best year ever but I’ve never even come close to three digits.

But these are hardcore book bloggers, can normal people read this much? It turns out they can.  I do read rather slowly so I went to my best friend from law school, Susan.  She’s a very quick reader and I knew she read a fair amount so I thought she would be a good real life person to ask.  She said, and I quote, “I haven’t been reading as much as I used to, but I’d think I still read 200 – 300 books per year. You?”

Susan and I are both attorneys working roughly the same amount of hours each week.  She has an active social calendar, a new house to work on, and she watches at least some television.  Why is she reading 10 times the amount of books I am?  Her answer: “I think you get more depth and detail from them.”

So I started thinking.  Can you read 400 books each year and get as much out of them as you would if you only read 40?  I don’t know the answer and I certainly don’t want to judge those readers.  I can’t imagine ever reading that much, but everyone is different and my reading style is not anyone else’s reading style.

Or maybe I just watch too much television.

I’d love to hear other thoughts.

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