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Archive for the ‘Book Reviews’ Category

I don’t know what kind of person voluntarily writes a book review…or what that says about me now that I’m going to give it a go. But I love reading.  Good books, that is.  And I think I’m finally at the age or the okay-ed-ness where I can begin a book and not finish it if it doesn’t sit well or the content’s all wrong.  Or the genre.  Or whatever the reason at the time.  But that’s rare. 

Most books, even the ones for mere entertainment, change me in some way.  For hours or weeks, pieces of a great story or some new insight or idea or word phrase will spin around in my head.  And I sense this newness about me.  Like I’m changed on the inside, only nobody knows.  I’m still wearing a pair of wilted sweats and a pony tail, but my mind is alive; it’s dancing with a great story. 

Which is how I feel now about Suzanne Collins’ book, The Hunger Games.

There are a few blips on the back cover.  Stephen King says he couldn’t stop reading.  And Stephanie Meyers, the Twilight Saga gal, says she was obsessed with this book.  Which is great, I guess.  But reading, “I loved this book,” typed by a friend on facebook was the only push I needed. 

The Hunger Games begins with short curt sentences.  Nothing flowy.  Cold almost.  Cold like the words the narrator is using.  Cold because the narrator is cold and hungry and because today, here on the first page, is the day of the reaping.  Only I don’t have any idea what the reaping is, though it has the same feel or the same sense as the short story, “The Lottery.”  And since I’m curious about the reaping and the strange references to District 12, I keep reading.  Only I’m completely baited in a matter of pages.  And give or take a chapter or two, I’m at that threshold where a book is just another book I’m reading and where finding the time to read this book becomes a priority.  And I sway to the latter–I simply must read.  

I must know more about District 12, and why no one, even the narrator is allowed beyond the electric wire separating them from the woods.  Or what the strangenes is about the Capitol.  Or why no one can speak his mind for fear of being heard.  And what of the Hunger Games?  I need to know about these.

The ideas of the story itself are compelling.  Sci-fi-ish, but not freaky sci-fi.  What matters is that the book delves more into human character.  And it’s that human strand that’s disarming.  I cannot help but care about Katniss.  Or wonder about Gale.  Or need to know if Peeta is lying.  Or be disgusted with Effie.  Or cry for Rue.  What Collins has done is carefully created her characters, giving us the right information, as it’s needed, and yet not spoon-feeding what we should think or feel or expect next.  I laud her as an author.

It’s not often that I’ll read a book a second time.  But I opened The Hunger Games again last night and relived the final chapters.  It was better this second time.  More complete, even.  But then I’ve found I can always read more peacefully without my heart thumping outside its cage.

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