Saturday, May 29, 2010

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

The Hunger Games is the story of Katniss Everdeen, who lives in District 12 in a post- apocalyptic world where a central area called the Capital supplies all the districts with food. Once a year, as a reminder of the Capital’s power and influence, a teen boy and girl are chosen from each district to fight to the death with other districts in an Arena, in a huge televised event. One blogger referred to it as “Battle Royale meets Project Runway.”

I am normally not big on the post-apocalyptic setting or fantasy, for that matter (although it might be a hard argument to call The Hunger Games fantasy), however Katniss and Peeta are so interesting and engaging, that it is hard not to get involved in the plot. Katniss is a wonderful character. She is strong and smart and the reader does get a strong sense of the difficult decisions she has to make. She is a breath of fresh air compared to recent teen heroines of late; though she has difficult choices to make, she stands by her decisions and is not controlled by anyone else. Even though she is a likable character, you never get the sense that the author would not kill her off if the story called for it, which makes the story more suspenseful than if you know there is a happy ending in store.

The criticisms against reality television and the vacuity of fashion are hard to miss. It is interesting that this book is aimed at a generation who has never been without such programming.

I was really impressed by this book. It made me a little jealous because the writing of teen novels has come a long way since I was a teen. It makes me want to return to the genre. In fact, I read the next book in the series right away and I am already looking forward to the third book. I have recommended this book to many friends and it has led to many interesting conversations. Please make room on your “to read” list for this one.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

The Great Expectation: The Hunger Games

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

My first response when I was recommended this book was “This book is about what??! Oh my god. And it's for teens? Dear god.”

I tend to be a bit of a snob about youth literature, as though the Kathy Griffin and Sarah Silverman books I just read show a lot of sophistication. Adult Harry Potter fans seem like the biggest literary snobs in the world and Twilight fans seem… “special.” Both of the groups seem as though they are a part of a cult. So when someone recommended this book and I saw the uproar over Suzanne Collins at the Texas Library Association Conference, I was intrigued. Could this be the book to break me out of my snobbery?

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Great Expectations: Some Ether by Nick Flynn

This book came as a recommendation by e-mail. If you have a recommendation, e-mail us at As you can see, we will actually read your requests.

Some Ether by Nick Flynn was recommended to us by a customer at our library who also happens to be getting married to one of our employees. She claims she has read this book of poems at least 30 times. I was sceptical about this claim and then I realized that I have also read books many times over. I still read my very worn copy of The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle by Avi. I've been reading that one every year since I was in the 4th grade. It's still a great book.

I'm not really into poetry, except for the romantics, funny haikus and children's poetry. I love Shel Silverstein and William Blake. It's an interesting combination, I know. I've also been exposed to some really bad poetry, mostly from boyfriends who can't write poetry, but try really hard.

I have little to no expectations for this book of poetry. I don't know if there is an overall theme. I don't know if he's any good. What I do know is that the cover is blue and white. I like blue. Maybe I'll like this book. Is that too far of a stretch?

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Doulas Adams Part II

I read it. I read it on the plane going to Las Vegas. Let me tell you, the person sitting next to me did not appreciate the peals of laughter coming from my seat. I'm not quiet when I laugh either. I'm sure the whole plane hated me by the time the book was through.

This book was the funniest thing I've ever read in my entire life, and I've read a lot of books. Douglas Adams took a boring idea and made it into something wonderful. The book starts off with Arthur Dent trying to save his house from a demolition crew. I don't want to say anything I shouldn't, but Arthur pretty much loses his house due to bureaucracy. Which is why it's so funny that our planet is destroyed by the same type of thing.

The characters in this book are rich and funny. They are stupid and smart, naive and worldly all at the same time. They include a president that is really only a figure head that steals a one-of-a-kind spacecraft, a robot that is clinically depressed, and Arthur's best friend, who happens to be an alien. They really emulate all the things humans experience when they have no idea what is going on and are just trying to make it through.

The one thing I loved about this book is the way the author makes you feel like you are a part of the action even through you are really just an observer in this insane world.

I highly recommend this book for those that love science fiction, humor, or laughing out loud.