Saturday, March 31, 2012

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

I have no idea what took me so long to read this. It was probably terror at reading a YA book that could end up being like Twilight. Since the movie is now out and I have issues with seeing movies based on books without reading the books, I had to break down and read The Hunger Games.

And read it I did. Within 24 hours. What a book!

North America seems to be....pretty messed up. We now have Panem, with a Capital that is surrounded by 12 Districts. The people of the Capital seem to be horrible and keep a tight rule on the outlying districts by forcing each district to "volunteer" one boy and one girl into the Hunger Games. The Games are televised live for the enjoyment of everything (Am I the only one who thinks we are not far off from this with all the reality crap we have on TV now??)

On the Reaping Day, Prim Everdeen is called as a tribute. She's just a kid so her sister, Katniss, volunteers to take her place. Katniss and Peeta are then tributes for District 12.

They head into the Games with the other tributes from the other 11 districts and it's a fight to the death.

For a YA book, this was pretty well written and exciting. I've heard that I need to stop reading after the 2nd book, Catching Fire, as the 3rd book isn't so good. We'll see. I'm sure I'll read them all to form my own opinion but I'm not rushing to the 2nd book. Now, I just need to see the movie.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Jacqueline Kennedy: Historic Conversations on Life with John F. Kennedy

So i finally got an audible account and this was the first book I downloaded. I felt it necessary to hear Jackie in her own voice and own words. For someone who did not live through this era, this was very interesting and somewhat boring.

I'll get the boring out of the way, and it's not much but still.... Arthur Schlesinger, Jr and Jackie talked about JFK and his legacy. There was considerable talk about certain members who were either in government or the press or just around the president. I will admit that my history knowledge is not nearly good enough to know who all of these people were. So therefore, I got a little bored. That was it. No more boring.

Hearing Jackie speaking was awesome until the times you realized what she just said (Did she really say THAT?). You could tell she was doing her best to preserve JFK's legacy, perhaps even build it up, but she was also very candid. While I'm sure JFK had flaws, although no one seems to admit it, you will not know it from these tapes. I understand what they were trying to accomplish with the tapes but I think they seem a bit....I don't know. It's tough to put my finger on.

Jackie had very candid opinions about everyone, including MLK, Jr. (Who knew he liked orgies??) and she has been blasted in the news since this book came about about being so candid. On that note, I need to say: everyone has opinions. At this point, she was removing herself from the public eye and why shouldn't she be allowed to speak her mind? Especially since these tapes were not to be released til after her death. I don't fault her for this at all. In her mind at the time, it seems she did not consider herself valuable to the public and was working on helping JFK's legacy, not her own.

This is well worth the listen, I think, if only to hear a little piece of history. I'm sure folks who lived through this time will appreciate it even more. And for the record, thank goodness Jackie's opinions on "a woman's place" changed as she got older. I cringed at some of the antiquated ideas of how a woman should be/act/live.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

The Visible Man by Chuck Klosterman

I enjoyed Klosterman's other books, like Fargo Rock City, but I wasn't sure how I would like a fiction novel from him. Turns out.... I really liked this.

The Visible Man is written in the form of a manuscript and transcripts of sessions by therapist Victoria Vick for the patient Y___. Interesting way to set up the novel and it works really well, telling the complete story. Y___ calls up Vick and asks for phone therapy, no face to face, and Vick agrees. He seems quite a bit arrogant and quite intellectual. Both in equal doses. But honestly, I wanted to punch him just through the phone calls.

Anyways, Y___ lets Vick know that he's created a suit and cream that make him virtually invisible. And that while he goes about his social experiments in the invisible suit, he feels like he should have guilt and that is why he is talking to a therapist.

Y___'s social experiments are just plain creepy. While invisible he creeps in to people's houses to observe them, to find out how people are really their true selves when alone. But he hardly remains an observer, despite his protests that he does. Things get overly involved between patient and therapist and quickly get out of hand.

This is a really good, original story that kind of gave me the creeps.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

White Witch, Black Curse by Kim Harrison

Have I mentioned that I really like this series?

Rachel Morgan, a witch, is back with Ivy, a living vampire, and Jenks, a pixy. They make up Vampiric Charms. Last we knew Rachel had forgotten everything about Kisten's death (Kisten being her vampire boyfriend) because Jenks doused her with a forget spell to keep her from getting killed.

A few witches and demons from past books come along for some rides in this one. But we do get a new demon that we've not encountered before: a banshee! Those are some nasty little demons. Al returns with his usual flair. The church has a ghost. And in the end, Rachel DOES remember what happened to Kisten.

This one was a really entertaining book. They seem to keep getting better.