What I’ve Read: I recently finished The Hunger Games Trilogy. I raced through each novel and they are certainly page-turners. I think everyone is familiar with the story as the first movie is currently out in theaters. A summary for those of you living under a rock: strong teen female (Katniss) / Dystopian society / love triangle. Essentially, two kids are randomly picked from the 12 surviving districts to compete in a match to the death. Only one victor survives and he or she is showered with wealth and food for their district. It is sorta like The Handmaid’s Tale meets Battle Royale meets The Giver. My one quibble with the book is even really a quibble: I really wish this wasn’t a young adult novel. I wish there had been a bit more depth of character and more about the society.
I liked the first book, The Hunger Games, but I thought Peeta (the hero and 1/3 of the love triangle) incredibly flat. I also thought it a bit mild for a violent dystopian society. Sure, the kids kill each other off in the Games, but I thought for a society controlled by a malicious dictator there wasn’t very much violence or sexual oppression. These are all things that pop in my head from one too many Gender Study classes.
I really didn’t like the second book Catching Fire. Katniss seemed whiny and incompetent, the “Games” seemed rush, and I had to re-read a few scenes that were unclear. But the third book really redeemed the series for me. While I thought the series on the whole a bit “thin” I truly think it is because it is a YA novel and would have been more successful as an adult series.
Hope is reading The Hunger Games right now and I think that she is having a much more thought-provoking read. We’ve talked about poverty, government, violence, family, survival, money, racism, etc….
What I’m Reading: I’m nearly done with Anne Bronte’s The Tenant of Wildfell Hall. I first read this book at 17 and I truly didn’t appreciate it. My reading at 31 is certainly proving richer albeit more disturbing. The heroine, Helen, is trapped in a terrible marriage to a cruel drunkard who goes so far as to encourage his young son (we’re talking age 6 here) to drink, swear, and curse his mother. She has no money and no way to flee. And her husband’s talk of depriving her of her child is frightening. As a mother and as one who has been in a serious relationship with a violent drunk before I’m finding this book a bit claustrophobic. I’ve less than 60 pages to go and then a big sigh of relief.
I’m also reading a non-fiction book called Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Won’t Quit Talking by Susan Cain. I obtained it through interlibrary loan and it is a very interesting analysis on how current American culture (really, America since the Jazz Age) has been inclined to value extroverts more than introverts and how society loses out on the wonderful things introverts have to offer (like deep thought, solitude, and listening). This book has inspired me to explore introversion closely; so expect a possible weekly blog series in May.
What’s Up Next: I’ll continue my Bronte explorations with The Bronte Myth by Lucasta Miller and This Side of Paradise by F. Scott Fitzgerald.
Alright! I’m off to return some books to the library and then peek into the charity bookshop. I’m not planning on buying anything…but you never know!