Saturday, March 31, 2012

Random Thoughts on The Hunger Games Trilogy

Let me start off by saying if you haven't read this series--and you should--you don't want to read the rest of this post.  I'm usually not one for spoilers but this isn't exactly one of my usual commentaries so; you've been warned.  
I read The Hunger Games last fall and really liked it.  I read Catching Fire and Mockingjay this past week: awesome and 'blah' respectively.  I also saw the movie last weekend and I think I only enjoyed it because of my familiariy with the book.  
Linda, a co-worker of mine, read all three books in the past ten days or so and we've been talking.  She would define herself as a grandmother first, followed by parent and wife.  We're best friends, I see her for forty hours a week and we have the same taste in everything (except that I've never had a girlfriend she's approved of, but that's a different story).  So Linda calls me last week as she's starting Mockingjay and I'm about half way through Catching Fire.  It was 10:30 at night which is an odd time for her to be up as I know she's an early riser.
"She's a damn Whorebeast and I hate her."  This isn't exactly an odd way for either of us to start a conversation but I was still a little bit confused.
"Katpiss!  I can see the multiple layers of Whore-dirt under her nails."
"Mmm, Whore-dirt."
That will be my defining memory of these books. 
The conflicted love interest aspect of the books never worked: Gale's prescence in the first two was so small that it wasn't believable that Katniss would ever consider him.  
Prim came out-of-nowhere in Mockingjay to be an assertive character.  It wasn't bad just odd, she developed a voice and backbone and personality a bit too easily, especially considering the circumstances.  The word "Mockingjay" was annoyingly overused.  Speaking of repetition…
In Catching Fire I couldn't believe there was another Game.  I kept thinking, "Surely we're not doing this again."  But we did.  And then a third time in Mockingjay.  
Oh, and Mockingjay could have been a hundred pages short and no worse for wear.  
Did anyone else feel like Godzilla was unleashed in Mockingjay when EVERYONE starting dying?  And boy oh boy was that ending rushed (perhaps the book wasn't too long, rather the right material didn't have enough time dedicated to it).
Where else can you get amazing commentary like this?  Surely you can tell how much I enjoyed reading these books.  (You have to love it to get this worked up.)  
It's easy to tear these books to shreds if a reader feels inclined to do so, but it's easier to get caught up in the characters lives and start guessing who will die next.  These are must read books and they only take five or six minutes each to read should you happen to be one of the six people who have yet to pick them up.    

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

The Year's first purchase

It took me almost three straight months but I finally got around to buying more books (Not that I need anymore).  My self imposed limit for purchases this year is ten--and I have no expectations of meeting that goal--and today I bought three: The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis and Gardens of the Moon and Memories of Ice by Steven Erikson.  I've felt a pull towards Screwtape for a while that I can't explain and I think I've been collecting Erikson's Malazan books for a few months.  I'm really excited about all three.

I hope this brief post will get me back in the blogging frame of mind.  No more for now.  I have a growler of Allagash Black--which is delicious--and and excellent big book to attack.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

The Right Book at the Right Time

So I'm reading Daniel Martin right now by John Fowles; who is a long standing favorite author of mine.  It's huge, the pacing is well controlled and like all other books by him I've read, it's a book you expect to spend some time with as opposed to blowing through in a weekend.  Fowles was English and not of my generation.  It has taken me a while to figure out why I think I have such stumbling blocks with him concerning his writing.

I have a handful of reading disabilities and Fowles syntax is not always 'American' (which is not a fault) added to which he is really good at structuring his words to evoke certain thoughts and feelings in his readers.  My biggest problem in reading anything is seeing what is actually written as opposed to what I want to be there: Fowles gives me fits.  (You should hear me read aloud sometimes: it funny to hear someone else go back and read what was actually written instead of what I read.)  That said, I think he needs about a tenth of the book's overall length before he hits his stride and things start to flow, or perhaps that's just me.

I've spoken before about reading a great book at a time when your mind isn't in it.  Daniel Martin is exactly what I need to be reading right now.  I've been in a rut and this book has made me fall back in love with the use of words and language to achieve a response from a reader.  It's not the greatest thing ever committed to paper; it's merely the right book that I need to be reading right now.

Oh, and while not the greatest thing ever it does happen to be really good.