Book of the Moment – The Hunger Games

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Years everyone. Glad you made it through the year and are still alive. 2011 was a bit of a weird year. I had an amazing time from start to finish but it felt like I was standing still. We had a great summer, albeit a late one that didn’t really start until August and ended in mid-October. Mr. Sunshine pressed snooze 3 times too many and slept in. He needs one of those natural-light-sunrise alarms. Have you seen those?? There’s a light on it that gradually increases in brightness to replicate the natural circadian sleep awakening instead of the BREEEP BREEEP BREEEP BREEEP that jolts my heart awake every fucking morning and makes me feel like my bed and I have been air dropped into a war zone. Anyway, (rambling, sorry, short attention span; the gift to our generation by marketing executives) they said this winter was supposed to be a really cold one in Vancouver, but so far it’s just rained a lot. Tamara Taggerts job must be pretty easy 9 months of the year. This past weekend, I went home to my parents place in Coquitlam. Every Christmas, I trek home for dinner and to spend a night in my old room. It’s a lot smaller than I always remembered it to be. At home (my place in Vancouver), I have a plethora of toys to keep me entertained til..forever, but in Coquitlam there wasn’t much to do past 11pm. Luckily, my sister lent me her books, and one of them was The Hunger Games, the first book of a trilogy. I read this book in less than 24 hours and I seriously couldn’t put it down. My PVR’d episodes of Big Bang, Family Guy, and 2 Broke Girls could wait. Xbox and Skyrim was on hold. Breaking Bad was a tough one to keep at bay, but I could always stream Netflix tomorrow. The Hunger Games wouldn’t let me out of its grasp like a vengeful stalking ex-girlfriend.

A Synopsis I didn’t write:

In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by twelve outlying districts. The Capitol is harsh and cruel and keeps the other districts in line by forcing them to participate in the annual Hunger Games, a fight-to-the-death on live TV.

One boy and one girl between the ages of twelve and sixteen are selected by lottery to play. The winner brings riches and favor to his or her district. But that is nothing compared to what the Capitol wins: one more year of fearful compliance with its rule. Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen, who lives alone with her mother and younger sister, regards it as a death sentence when she is forced to represent her impoverished district in the Games.

But Katniss has been close to dead before — and survival, for her, is second nature. Without really meaning to, she becomes a contender. But if she is to win, she will have to start making choices that weigh survival against humanity and life.

Acclaimed writer Suzanne Collins, author of the New York Times bestselling Underland Chronicles, delivers equal parts suspense and philosophy, adventure and romance, in this stunning novel set in a future with unsettling parallels to our present.

My 2 cents:

The best part is that the movie is coming out in March. The story is current and entertaining and mixes reality tv and a fight for literal survival. Literally. You think the contestants on Survivor has it bad? These kids have to kill each other in a huge arena for the entertainment of the viewers, constantly battling thirst, hunger, fire, wild animals, and 23 other teens for survival. They make friends and lose friends and had one of the most enthralling plots of any book I’d ever read. It drives the story in a simple forward moving arc but the environment and futuristic post-apocalyptical world created by Suzanne Collins is impressive. I particularily liked how she switched from the glamourous world of Panem to the brutality and violence in the Games. It makes you realize that if humainty continues to move forward with so much war, fighting, entertainment, games and the constant need for more more more, our rambling attention defecit disordered society might one day come full circle back to the Gladiator era with death as entertainment and be numb to the morality of it all.

My 10 thumb rating: 8.5/10

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Book of the Moment – The Hangman’s Daughter

It’s been a while since I’ve written anything. I’ve had a lot to express, but just got derailed into getting it out there. All of 2011 I’ve written one post, in the middle of the year. I’m going to make it a habit now, writing again. Even though I know there’s like 2 of you reading this (hi mom)…ok 3.

Another thing I’m going to make a habit again is reading. I’ve taken a year long hiatus from words, and I tell ya, it feels good to pick up a book again. I had to start light; couldn’t jump right into Tolstoy, so I picked a fiction. I knew if I started with something inspirational-ly or improvement like, I’d read up to chapter 3 and it’d sit there, collecting dust while I mashed away at Skyrim. I needed something that I couldn’t put down and was excited to read whenever I had spare 5-10 minutes, so I picked up The Hangman’s Daughter.

I was at Chapters last week looking for a Christmas present for my sister, Allie. She’s an english lit masters and a teacher and has always recommended great fictions to me. I’ve yet to find her a good book she hasn’t read yet, but I keep trying. I was walking by an aisle and the cover of the book drew me to it. Just a simple dark cover, with red shoes hanging. I think it was the font of the title that snared me, so I bought it for her. Covers DO sell books. (I hope she isn’t one of the 2 other people who read my blog. If so… Merry Christmas Bowl! You’re getting a book! Woo!)

…and yes, I read it before I wrapped it. I leafed through it super-extra-careful…and never brought it into the bathroom with me. Maybe twice.

A Synopsis I did not write

The Hangman’s Daughter by Oliver Putzch “A historical thriller set in Germany, 1660: When a dying boy is pulled from the river with a mark crudely tattooed on his shoulder, hangman Jakob Kuisl is called upon to investigate whether witchcraft is at play in his small Bavarian town. Whispers and dark memories of witch trials and the women burned at the stake just seventy years earlier still haunt the streets of Schongau. When more children disappear and an orphan boy is found dead—marked by the same tattoo—the mounting hysteria threatens to erupt into chaos.
Before the unrest forces him to torture and execute the very woman who aided in the birth of his children, Jakob must unravel the truth. With the help of his clever daughter, Magdelena, and Simon, the university-educated son of the town’s physician, Jakob discovers that a devil is indeed loose in [his town]. But it may be too late to prevent bloodshed.”

My 2 cents

I liked it. A who-dun-it murder mystery set in old true history. It showed me a whole new world. A new fantastic point of view… Usually everybody watches movies about medieval kings and gods (300, Immortals, LOTR) yes, ok well, usually I watch movies about medieval kings and gods, but this story was told from the POV of dirt, suffering and dying from things we new world folk take for granted. In an era where people died from the flu, mothers regularily died from childbirth and most children don’t survive past 3 years old becuase of the plague, malnourishment… a simple infected cut. It’s crazy, to think people lived like that. (That some still do.) Easy read and great story. I couldn’t put it down and I was glad the cover font was so cool. Worth the easy read and great after a 1 year absence.

My 10 thumb rating: 6.72/10