Category Archives: Books

The Hunger Games

I vehemently opposed Twilight. I had NO interest in reading a book written about glittery vampires. From an outside perspective, I found no interest in these books from a literary perspective or a story perspective.

I felt this same way about The Hunger Games when people started talking about the books. I tend to be especially wary of books that are made into movies. I am the kind of person who will either read a book or see the movie, but not both (Unless it’s the Notebook – I’m still sorry about that, Jared). I have no interest in compromising the images I dream up in my mind and I become especially uninterested when it seems the images available to me are no where near as cool as what I imagine in my mind. I felt this way until I read a facebook status by my former campus minister, which he used as an opportunity to discuss the themes and the symbolism of the series with his friends. The deep, mature topics they discussed really peaked my interest beyond the chatter I was hearing from my girl friends. The fact that they were flying through these books at Harry Potter speeds didn’t hurt though.

I ordered the trilogy from Amazon and after completing the book I was reading at the time, I dug right in. I flew through the first book (The Hunger Games) and I loved it right from the very beginning. I just expected Katniss to get picked, I did not expect that Primrose would be involved. The constant references to the tyranny of the government, the entire set up of the games and the lack of a chance Katniss stood, her constant need to rebel, her innocence, and especially the story line with Gale really kept me hanging. I couldn’t wait to get to the end of the book and for Katniss to run back to Gale once she was done playing to the Peeta love story. Aaand then that didn’t happen, which immediately hooked me on the second book. I wanted to keep reading until Katniss realized her love for Gale and ran to him.

When I began Catching Fire, where the story was headed seemed pretty obvious, but I still hoped and wished that Katniss and Gale would somehow manage to end up together. She would realize how amazing and perfect for her he was. She would realize how he knew her better than anyone, how he loved her family, how he allowed her to joke and be herself and enjoy life more. I hoped that Peeta would be killed in the 75th annual Hunger Games and Katniss would go home to Gale & her family. But, alas, where would the story go for the third book from there.

I liked The Mockingjay the least of the three books – the allure and my interest really wore off for this book. I kept reading because I still had a hope that Peeta would die and Katniss would realize she couldn’t live without Gale, but I definitely felt disappointment in the end. It seemed like the book was coming to an end and there were all these loose pieces that needed to be tied up, so the author hurried and tied a nice, pretty bow. I felt like there was no real resolution between Katniss and Gale, I didn’t like that Katniss went back to District 12 and remained somewhat secluded and I really didn’t like that Katniss was always supposed to question whether Gale had killed Primrose.

I really wish that I had enjoyed this trilogy more, I really wanted to. I did enjoy the symbolism and the themes, which were what made me pick up the trilogy in the first place, but overall, those weren’t enough to make the series for me. I really enjoyed the first book, the second was alright and the third was disappointing. It feels like most of my girlfriends disagree with me. What are your thoughts?

The Happiness Project

I’m currently reading the Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin – lets face it, no one who lives in New York is always happy and I could stand some tips on ways to make my life more enjoyable – plus, it’s interesting to read about all the research she did.

I was in a pretty awful mood at one point this weekend though and I did find that when I’m miserable, all I want is to have a pity party, not to read about someone got over throwing their own. I haven’t touched the book in 2 days – maybe because I resent that she was able to overcome emotions that I am not, which is not the reason not to read the book. I need to get over feeling resentful and then get over the embarrassment I feel for being resentful of this woman for being happy. Oh, how childish emotions can sound.

Ender’s Game

I decided this year to start a book club. Partially because I failed miserably at reading as much as I wanted to last year and partially because it sounded fun and I’ve kind of always wanted to be in one.

I’ve meant to blog about the books we’ve read, but that obviously hasn’t happened. In January we read The Help by Katheryn Stockett. In February we read the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. This month we’re reading Ender’s Game. I’m happy for the break from a chick flick in a book. I don’t really read much science fiction. The last sci-fi book I read was 1984, if that counts, and before that it would have been something by Ray Bradbury…and years before.

I really enjoyed this book. It was a quick read for me and I found it very entertaining and funny. There were some lines in the book that literally made me laugh out loud, which I certainly did not expect from this book. It’s not super sci-fi, mostly it just takes place in space. I definitely say check it out.

I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell

This morning I was next to a girl on the subway who was reading something – and it is my habit always to look at what people are reading. I couldn’t see the cover of her book, but I could see the top of a page. I looked for a title and found a chapter title – The Blowjob Follies. I thought how audacious she must be to read a sex book on the train or a “romance novel.” Then she turned a page and I was able to see the cover. The book was Tucker Max’s I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell. Then I smirked and watched her laugh at the ridiculous stories the rest of the ride.

BerinHell

American Wife

I forgot to blog about American Wife. I read it a couple of weeks ago on a recommendation by tbf’s sister. It was SO good. The book is by Curtiss Sittenfeld and it loosely based on the major events of Laura Bush’s life. There are 4 parts to the book detailing the different times of her life. The main character, Alice, is so sweet and really the kind of person you want to root for. The book follows her from high school through the time that her husband is President.

I don’t want to go into deep details of the book because I don’t want to spoil it for anyone, but it was definitely my favorite read so far this year. The book opened up my opinion of both Laura and George Bush. As a follow up I am now reading Laura Bush’s bio by Ronald Kessler. It’s much more of an editorial read, but still interesting to compare her real life, to the fictional story based on her life. I’m not sure who exactly I thought she was, but she’s absolutely not the person I expected.

Your book stepped on me

I am currently reading Laura Bush: An Intimate Portrait of the First Lady because I recently read American Wife and I wanted to compare it to the truth just so I wasn’t basing my opinion of Laura Bush on a work of fiction.

On Sunday I got on the subway and had my book in my hand. I opened it up and shifted my feet a little because it was crowded. The man sitting in front of me sort of squirmed and made a face, so I said, “Oh, I’m sorry, did I step on you?” He said, “No, but that book did.” All I could think to say was, “Well, she’s a Democrat.” and that was that – which isn’t even entirely true. She was raised in a democratic house and is more liberal than her husband, but never had strong political beliefs, views, or associations. She calls herself Republican by marriage.

It really bothered me that he commented on the book I was reading. He was an old black man (with graying hair) who looked very put together. He was sitting with a teenage black girl who had a book about black history in her lap and the entire while I was on the train he lectured her about the black people of America and the difficulties they have faced. That is in no way my issue and I do not intend to have a discussion about that, I just wanted to give an idea of my perception of this man and why he would have said what he did.

While everyone is entitled to their opinion, I am also entitled to the right to read what I please without people making comments or vocal judgments. It is my prerogative to read about Laura Bush, just as it is to read about Jacqueline Kennedy, Michelle Obama, Hillary Clinton, or Adolf Hitler (not that I am comparing these women to him). My point is that these are historic public figures and I read about them to gain some knowledge whether I agree with them and their views and opinions or not. I didn’t comment on the book on the young woman’s lap – by all means, read away, just as long as you are reading.

I felt like there was so much ignorance in his comment. While he might disagree with the politics of her husband, to react so strongly doesn’t really do much. It was not his place to say anything and honestly, while I might be overreacting, I am slightly offended at the judgment I felt. I am reading a book so that I can get my facts straight and form an educated opinion. While I don’t have to agree with her to read the book, I feel it is necessary to educate oneself on topics across the board. Ignorance is the result of people who choose not to learn about something, or to ignore it (although, ignoring something cannot always be blamed on ignorance).

It’s bothering me now that in his judgment of me, I am in return judging him. Call it a defense mechanism, call it humanity, call it what you will. I just prefer people to not comment on the books I read.