Wednesday, August 25, 2010

I've been reading, not writing...

More reading has probably been done this summer than any other project. Kinda sad, huh? Especially since this weather has been nearly perfect. Before you start scolding me about how I should be getting outside more (guilty), let me assure you that most of that reading has happened after the kiddos are in bed. And a lot of that has actually been after 10pm, which is officially TOO LATE.

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

By now you (if you are a reader, anyway) have probably read the first two books of this trilogy. And if you haven't, you probably should, especially if you like post-apocalyptic and/or young adult fiction. Most of us in the book club were nearly fanatical about the first book, including our member E who was hesitant to read it for fear it would be "gross". I assured her it wasn't, and after reading, she agreed.

Which is odd, since it's basically about kids killing each other for sport.

The formula would look something like this: Survivor + Lord of the Flies+ The Lottery+ The Truman Show. But despite the sum of it's parts, the story is told in such a way that lets you like the main character Katniss, instead of being repelled by the brutishness. Of course, you are SUPPOSED to be repelled - just enough to hate the government that is behind the whole insanity, but not enough to close the book.

And that is the hardest thing to do. I read this first book, and the second, Catching Fire, in about 1 1/2 sittings each. The third (and last!) book, Mockingjay, came out a few days ago, and I can't wait to dig into it. And can you please tell me WHAT the point of pre-ordering a book on Amazon is if I can't get it immediately?

Of course the movie will be coming out shortly. And I'll probably be in line for that, too. I love me a good series! (As a disclaimer, I should admit that Aaron was not so enthralled, and actually preferred the Twilight series for plot AND writing style. But since he's so good with the kids and doesn't hassle me about mowing the lawn, I'll keep him around.) (Just kidding, honey. I love you!)

Romancing Miss Bronte by Juliet Gael

A couple of things right away:
1) This author has the most romantic-sounding name. I kept thinking it was the name of a character.
2) I felt like a total sucker for picking this book off the library shelf. "Hey, are you a middle-aged woman who likes Jane Austen and a good romance? I wrote this book just for you!" In fact, I almost put it back just to show it who was REALLY in charge. But it turns out they profiled me perfectly.

And it wasn't that bad. It is a the fictionalized story of the three Bronte sisters, based on letters and biographies available. Charlotte becomes the main character, since she outlives the other two ladies and publishes the most popular book of the three, Jane Eyre.

The most interesting thing about the writing was how the author told the story from a 3rd person perspective, but let us see characters thoughts, and then turned to a narrator talking about future events. Odd, but smoothly done.

At Home in Mitford by Jan Karon

Yeah, this is one series that's been around for quite awhile. So long, in fact, that my mother-in-law not only read them all, but has already donated them to a library...or somewhere. Several of the book club ladies are fans, so when I found Book One in a used book store earlier this summer, I grabbed it. Our trip to visit Aaron's family out West provided some lovely unoccupied time to check it out.

And....nothing really happens. There are lots of little escapades and such concerning Father Tim and his flock, but the connecting link is his flowering romance with a neighbor lady. Oh, did I mention Father Tim is 60 years old? So this is definitely NOT falling into the "bodice ripper" offence to you 60 year olds out there. I don't want to know who are.

This book also spends a lot of time talking about food. I honestly never noticed this oddity of novels until I read a review of Twilight that pointed out how often Meyer describes Bella cooking dinner for her dad. WHY do we need to know what fictional characters have for breakfast, lunch, and dinner? Just weird.

I spent an entire day reading this leisurly little book. And I enjoyed it. Also, I find myself daydreaming about the next books that are waiting for me in the church library...

The Help by Kathryn Stockett

This was a recent book club read, and since it's been on the best seller lists and every other book club is reading it, this is also old news, probably.

But the news is: It's great! This was another that I read in about 2 sittings, even with Southern dialect and alternating points of view. It takes place in Jackson, Mississippi in the middle of the civil rights battles of the 1960s. We all enjoyed it.

Unfortunately, we all also had a hard time staying on topic. Instead we discussed:
- making your own vanilla extract with vanilla beans and vodka
- bear attacks in Yellowstone Park (including the fates of the bears, zoo vs. euthanasia, the possibility of the bears having a mental illness...which S. suggested would make them "bi-polar bears")
- homeschool vs tradition schooling
- uniforms, pros & cons
- popularity & how kids dress (CB declared that professors' kids were flat out of luck...)
- danger in unfamiliar locations - which was actually prompted by the book (and S's quote "There's a reason we don't carry our important papers. 'Cause they're important!")
- racial impact of Arizona's immigrant law (Wow, did this one cause dissension in the ranks!)

And another prompted by the book - and used as a distraction from the previous topic -
- beauty treatments. And breast enhancement/reduction surgeries.

Because no book club meeting is complete without some discussion about boobs.


Kim said...

I'd forgotten how many tangents we'd gotten off on! And, you are not quite middle age old are you anyway??

Lyz said...

33. Not middle aged, yet, I agree, but not a "young adult" either...and "adult" just sounds so boring.:)

Noel said...

We pre-ordered Mockingjay over the weekend. It shipped Monday and arrived today with Supersaver shipping via USPS. Preordering gets you in line for inventory and shipping. Of course with the Kindle edition, it just comes when you order.

Noel said...

Yay. Baby Adam got his age updated in the right hand info column.