Monthly Archives: April 2014

Old School vs. New School

timthumb.php“What more can I say? I wouldn’t be here today if the old school didn’t pave my way.”

Did you know that I can read without my glasses? I don’t do it often but it’s interesting when I do, because I have to have the book up pretty close to my face, and then I have this squint that is a thing of beauty. Generally I only do it when I’m in bed, when I either can’t reach my glasses or I’m dying to get straight to reading without worrying about locating them. Or even sometimes when I’m just trying to prove to my wife that I can read without them. She is never impressed.

It’s funny how when I use my Nook to read it’s so much easier to do it without using my glasses. That’s one thing I can definitely thank technology for. Because the screen is backlit the words seem to leap off the screen (I almost said page). I don’t even have to squint as long as the Nook is close enough to my face. It makes me look just that much cooler. At least I think so. That’s one point for reading through technology.

I find it interesting that one of the hottest debates these days among readers is the “old school” vs. “new school” argument. There is a legion of readers out there who scream SACRILEGE whenever anyone mentions reading on a device instead of opening an actual book and turning the antiqued pages. These readers use big words like TRADITION, and CONTINUITY, to prove their point while waving their large tomes in the air and waving them like they just don’t care. Bully for them.

Then there’s the complete other end of the spectrum, the people who only use devices to read anymore. You see them in the train station, at the dentist’s office, and sitting in their cars in a parking lot with the screen in front of them, be it an iPad, a Kindle Fire, a Nook HD, or any other tablet or smart phone out there. They are oftentimes so absorbed in the passages that you could wave a fire-soaked rag in front of their faces and they wouldn’t even blink. They love technology and technology loves them.

But where’s the middle ground? I know I’m firmly in that place instead of at the two extremes, and I could argue for both positions. I enjoy the flexibility of the new school, but the nostalgia of the old school. In fact, sometimes I read a book in both mediums just so I can say I did. So, what are the advantages of each? I’m glad you asked.

Pros of keeping it “old school”:

  • The smell. There’s just something about that smell of paper in the morning.
  • The physicality. Being able to flip the pages is totally underrated.
  • The bookmark. Bookmarks have their own history that electronic ones can’t match.
  • Used books. I can pick up a book for 25 cents at a book sale, or utilize something called a library.
  • The book store. Just hanging out touching books is fun.

Pros of going “new school”:

  • The variety. You can fit so many books on one device it’s almost scary.
  • The portability. Imagine you’re going on a long trip and want several books to read. One device.
  • The back-light. Oh yeah, what helps me to read without my glasses. Or in bed while my wife is asleep. Shhh.
  • Internet-ready. I love using the built-in dictionary to define odd words I had never met before.
  • e(nvironment)-friendly. Save some trees, right?

Of course that’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to positions for each format, and there are a host of negatives associated with both as well. It’s one of the huge reasons I utilize both and I don’t feel bad for it. Which one do you feel is the best way to go, or are you like me and take advantage of both choices? That’s not even starting on audio books, which are even more interesting to discuss, depending on who’s doing the talking. Get it, doing the talking? Audio books?

Never mind.


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U2 BY U2 | A Review

PIC8It’s 1989, the final year of a decade in which you took the world by storm, going from absolutely nothing to the biggest rock ‘n roll band in the world by challenging yourselves to always be different. And you’ve achieved that lofty status with one of the best selling albums of all time, an album that doesn’t sound like anything anyone else put out in the 1980s. But you’re not satisfied to rest on those acclaimed laurels. You’re restless, and you want to create something even greater. So you head to Berlin in early 1990 and you record an even more seminal album that is as different from anything you’ve ever done as it is from anything else others are releasing at the time. Or any time, for that matter.

One of the most fascinating aspects of U2 is their adaptability, their absolute willingness to change while others are content to stagnate. It’s what makes them so unique as individuals, as a band, and as a revolution. What makes U2 By U2 so special is that it tells the story from the perspective of the band members (and of their manager, Paul McGuinness), from their earliest individual memories, to the formation of the band, through 2006. It captures the madness of trying desperately to land a record deal, the glory of their first number one record, to the fears that they would fall completely apart while trying to create what would eventually become Achtung Baby.

It’s the story of Adam Clayton, the band’s bassist, who was born in England but who moved to Ireland as a young boy and eventually embraced his new country, an outcast who looked cool enough to be a bassist and so became one. The narrative also includes Larry Mullen, Jr., the quiet drummer who never quite understood why Bono had to leap off the stage on occasion. Then there’s The Edge, an accidental master of odd guitar effects that have characterized U2 from the start. And at the center of it all is the wordsmith, Bono, who only wanted to be a guitar player. Who still wants to be a guitar player.

c735ea39e40d55ec6e4a1c6f5ababfd7The book alternates between the perspectives of the members of U2 through the different creative phases of the band, in chronological order, so after introducing the family backgrounds it moves forward to how they met, the now famous note on the board at Mt. Temple, posted by Larry Mullen, Jr., and doesn’t finish until after the release of How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb. It is incredible to hear about the poor initial concerts, the scramble to put an entire album together, the random nature of The Joshua Tree, and how the band broke America.

What makes it work is that the pictures and the words are so perfect together. There are the horrible haircuts of the October period, the crazy muscle suits of Pop, and the airplane hangar in the Beautiful Day video shoot. Then as a reader you can understand from the perspective of U2 what they were thinking when those photographs were taken, and how they honestly felt that they had the worst possible fashion sense at each stage of the journey. You know, except for Bono’s fly shades during the ZooTV period.

INTERSCOPE RECORDS U2It’s 1999, and after mixed reviews and the less than expected sales of your latest album, it’s time to dream it all up again. So you do, going back into the studio and making your most intimate record in years. It’s a record about loss, about goodbyes, and about looking back on your life, but also about looking forward to something new, to something different. And it resonates, like so much of your music has done over the years, creating a connection with your fans that cannot be denied. Then you write down that feeling, even though it cannot be contained in mere words.

What I love the most about U2 By U2 is its honesty, its soul-stripped-bare brutal honesty, even when that honesty reveals a humanity that most bands like to leave behind, even when it is the band at their most vulnerable. Because that’s when U2 is at its best, in its music, and in its creativity that encompasses so much more than just its music. It’s what makes the book compelling as more than just a companion piece to the phenomenal albums the band has produced.

I give the book FIVE stars.

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a7780e2565cfd33608b9919330180bf9Usually I try to stay away from heart-wrenching tales that will pull on the precarious thread of my emotions, but every once in a while I go into a situation knowing full well its ramifications and still do it. That’s how it was for me with Look Again, by Lisa Scottoline. She has morphed from being all about the legal drama to writing stories that have heartstrings attached to them. Save Me was probably as intense as any book I read from that perspective, and this one follows suit.

The premise is a simple one to grasp, but one that still made me gasp. Ellen Gleeson adopted a boy, and he is the light of her life. But then she sees a missing children’s flyer in her mail with a picture of a boy on it who looks remarkably similar to her son. The emotion in the book lies in the incredibly difficult decision she is then forced to make, because if the boys are indeed one and the same, if she pulls at that thread it could all come unraveled and she could lose her son. But is he really hers anyway? Could she possibly just ignore it and make it go away?

I love how Scottoline forces her heroine to honestly think about what the right thing is to do, that she doesn’t automatically just say the truth needs to be out there. She loves her son so much that she doesn’t want to lose him, and it’s a powerful pull that weighs on her. But it is a weight, and it does prove too heavy for her to measure alone. Ellen is nothing if not intent on finding the truth. It’s how she is hard-wired, so she goes on the search, knowing the dire consequences that could happen if she gets the answers she seeks. And as readers, we go on the search as well.

At times I was convinced of both scenarios, that the boys were the same, and that the boys were different. I thought that I knew which decisions would be made, but I was wrong. I thought I knew the inner workings of the people involved, but again I was mistaken. It’s curious to me that in this day and age something like this could and does realistically happen, and Scottoline does a great job of weaving a tale that gives and takes at the same time.

In the end we are left with this very raw emotional connection to the characters and a very intense understanding of their motivations and decisions, even if we don’t necessarily agree with all of them. And as has become all too familiar in Scottoline’s books of late, the answers only give us more questions. But that’s a good thing here because it forces us, just as it did to Ellen, to dig deep into our own psyches and motivations. Would we follow the same path. Why? Why not? The answers might just scare us, but they make us think like not too many books these days do.

I would recommend this book to anyone willing to challenge themselves and delve into their own fears. It is not for the faint of heart, but it’s well worth the time you will take reading it. And the ending might just surprise you.

I give the novel FIVE stars.

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Who I Read

It’s so interesting to me when I find others reading. I always have to interrupt and ask them what they’re reading, and I know it’s poor form and I’m sure some people get upset, but I can’t seem to help myself. I always want to find new books and new authors to supplement my own favorites. In fact, that’s how I have found some of my all-time favorite books and authors, this investigative approach.


This is really J.K. Rowling, of course, one of my faves.

Other times I do what I call the “Amazon stroll,” where I head to that famous website, go directly to its Books section, randomly choose a book, and read one of its reviews. Then I check out the “Books People Who’ve Looked at This Book Have Also Looked At,” or something like that, and I go from there. I’ve found quite a few diamonds in the rough with that technique too.

I remember when I was a kid my favorite author was Lois Duncan, and then there was Christopher Pike, and whoever wrote the Encyclopedia Brown books, and Judy Blume, and the list goes on. I read every single book of theirs voraciously for years. I’m not quite sure when I “grew up” and I stopped exclusively reading just those authors, but when the floodgates opened they really opened.

Now I have no less than 20 authors I would call varying degrees of favorites. There are some whose book I HAVE TO READ the second they come out, others whose books go straight to the end of my queue, and others who I’ve read maybe one book from but that book captured my imagination. But what takes me from a fan of a book to a fan of that book’s author?

Simply enough, all it takes is reading another book from that author and evaluating it on its own merits. If I like both books, the odds are that author is thrust into the role of one of my new favorites. That’s what happened with Audrey Niffenegger once her second book was released and I enjoyed it. The same is true of Alice Sebold, and so many other writers. Now they sit firm among the group of my favorite authors.

So, who do I read? Here is a small sampling of my favorite authors list:


One of my favorite all-time books.

  • Cassandra Clare
  • Bentley Little
  • Dean Koontz
  • Nicholson Baker
  • Lauren Kate
  • J.K. Rowling
  • Michael Crichton
  • John Grisham
  • Henning Mankell
  • Michael J. Fox
  • Laurie Halse Anderson
  • Harlan Coben
  • Lisa Scottoline
  • Gillian Flynn
  • Scott Westerfeld
  • Jane Green

As I said, the list just continues for pages and pages, but usually the above authors are of the must-read variety for me. Usually when they come out with a new book I get my mitts on it quickly, and usually those books are not disappointing. When one of them does eventually turn out not to be worth the price of admission I know that will be returned to me with their next book, so I don’t sweat it. It’s all part of the reading life.

Who are your go-to authors?


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18079527For me high school was a mix of excitement and fear: excitement because of the unknown, and fear because of the same. It was four years of trying to figure out where I fit in while trying not to fit in, preparing to be something more than I was while doing my best to be less than I was. The best part of high school was when every once in a while someone noticed me for doing something positive instead of judging me for the things I couldn’t help.

What I have always loved about the best of Laurie Halse Anderson’s books is that she captures the zeitgeist of the high school experience like no other author I know. Ever since I first read Speak, and later Twisted, and Prom, I realized that a woman who probably had a pretty normal high school experience understood me, and her main characters were always flawed in some elemental way. It was those flaws that really tied them to me, and to their experience in ways that I had never seen before from young adult fiction.

That’s what also stands out about her most recent novel, The Impossible Knife of Memory. It’s her portrayal of her primary characters as deeply troubled and in need of redemption and/or counseling that draws me in and makes me want to read further. In this novel it’s all about Hayley and her father, two wandering souls who have seen too much and who have been through things neither of them wants to remember. So they repress those memories and live lives that aren’t fulfilling, then they wonder why they aren’t fulfilled.

Hayley doesn’t fit into her school environment, picking fights with other students, antagonizing her teachers, and not doing her homework. She calls the other students “zombies,” and says that they don’t DO anything. Yet, when we see her she too is avoiding every opportunity she’s given, until she meets a boy named Finn, a character who is also deeply flawed, and I like to think they save each other. Or they would if Hayley would just let herself feel. The plot twists and turns with the turns (mostly bad) that her father takes, and the responsibility she feels toward him and his issues that stem from what happened to him in war.

This knife of memory truly is impossible, and Halse Anderson does a great job of showing in the narrative (and through flashbacks) exactly how sharp it can be when it presses against their minds in dreams and forces them to remember. Can anyone truly get through to them, or are they stuck in this perpetual merry-go-round of emotions, and the subsequent dulling of those emotions, in order to exist? Those are the overarching questions Halse Anderson makes her readers ask as the plot unfolds and takes us with it.

If there’s one thing I didn’t like about the novel it’s that the characters apart from Hayley, her dad, and Finn seem under-realized, even if it seems like their part in the story is important. For example, Hayley’s best friend Gracie has some addiction problems that are delved into for about half a chapter, but nothing comes of it, almost like it was a separate story that needs its own book. It’s almost like the author decided she only had enough space to hint at some of these other issues without either resolving them or bringing them to some kind of conclusion, positive or negative.

Nevertheless I enjoyed the book immensely, particularly the parts where Hayley is introspective instead of just letting herself be a zombie and going with her own self-imposed flow that gets her absolutely nowhere, and the ending will floor you. That’s another thing I can count on from Halse Anderson, an ending worthy of the term.

I give this novel FOUR AND A HALF stars.

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city_of_bonesWhat are the Mortal Instruments? Why, they are fantastic implements that become necessary to the existence of the world populated by Shadowhunters, Downworlders, and Mundanes. Wow, and you thought Muggles were interesting enough. Welcome to the sordid world of Clary Fray and Jace Wayland, the two erstwhile lovers who can’t seem to get together while also battling demons and others who wish to take over the world.

Cassandra Clare delves into that and much more in the first book in the Mortal Instruments series, City of Bones. It can be confusing at times because as a reader you have to learn a completely new lexicon and the people who embody each part of the code. There’s the bad guy — Valentine — the damsel in distress — Jocelyn — the boy caught up in the wrong place at the wrong time — Simon — and the warlock who just can’t help getting mixed up in it all, for the sake of love — Magnus. These characters are polarizing, every single one, which makes for a fantastic reading experience.

You know the types of books that make you talk back to the characters as if they’re the children and you’re the parent who knows best for them? This is one of those books, and indeed the entire series can be defined in this way. Each character is given an extensive back story, and then left to his/her own devices, and the interactions between them makes for high drams, particularly when there are misunderstandings (and there are quite a few along the way).

For starters, Shadowhunters have magic that they utilize though steles (instruments that draw runes on their skin). They can be invisible, get more powerful, and heal themselves, along with a host of other amazing possibilities. Clary has lived her whole life ignorant of this whole other world, but things are starting to clarify themselves to her one night at a club when she sees the hidden world for the first time. The rest of the book is basically one revelation after another, not the least of which is who her true parents were, and why she’s been hidden from this world for so long.

Oh yes, and the quest for the Mortal Cup, a dangerous but significant artifact in the Shadowhunter world. The evil Valentine wants it, so the good Shadowhunters must get their hands on it before he does, and save Jocelyn from his clutches as well. But things don’t go as planned and they have to adjust their mission more than once along the way. It all sets up for a showdown at the end of the book that you don’t want to miss.

If there’s any negatives about the book for me it’s the length. Clocking in at a whopping 503 pages, quite a bit of it is going in-depth in many avenues that simply aren’t necessary to understand the plot. I’ve read every single book in the series, and even after reading those I still don’t see the need for most of the filler in this book. That’s not to say that those parts aren’t well-written (they are). They just don’t add anything to the plot, and can generally be skipped by all but the hardiest of fans. That being said, the book shines through its interactions.

And the City of Bones is an enchanting place, even if it is cold and impersonal. It drew me in during the very small amount of time we actually spend there with the characters. If I had something I would change, it would be the time spent in this place. After all, it is the title of the book. I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys alternate realities, and creatures like vampires, werewolves, and other magical sorts. It won’t disappoint.

I give the novel FOUR AND A HALF stars.


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n438809Often I am bombarded with people telling me I have to read this book or that book. “It’s the best thing since Stephen King was writing good stuff!” they say. “It’s the single greatest book you will read this year!” they tell me. They talk to me like they’re the best critics in the world and should be quoted on the books themselves. Which would be pretty cool, but what they tell me is all personal opinion, usually not backed up by specific book references. And whether or not I read the book that is recommended generally depends on the person extolling its virtues.

I’ve learned in my over 30 years of reading books that judging a book based on what one person thinks is folly, but judging a book based on what 60 people have said is just as much folly. You see, the masses can be wrong, and often are when it comes to books. Some of the biggest books in the history of literature are yawn fests, and some of the most ripped apart are treasures. It’s like rooting for the underdog in a sporting event for me. If a lot of critics have panned a book, I just have to read it, and I generally will find something endearing within its pages.

That being said, if my sister says I should read a book I am all over it. It’s simple, too, because she knew me from the start and understands my tastes sometimes better than I myself do. And if my wife tells me I need to read a particular book it goes to the top of my queue most times, simply because she knows my reading tastes now. She has been there when I had to vent about a book or an author who totally pissed me off. So their opinions weight heavily while a celebrated critic might very well not merit even a brief read from me.

It works in reverse, too. I only recommend books to people who I know well, or at least whose reading styles I am familiar enough with to think I could suggest something they would enjoy. Of course just as many people who recommend books to me ask me for my own recommendations. I tell them to read my reviews and make a decision based on whether or not they liked what I had to say there. There are generally only two books that I will recommend regardless of who asks me. They transcend genre and general tastes, in my opinion.

The truth is that most books I do end up reading are not the result of recommendations at all, but are instead based on other random factors that I find can make or break a book for me. It also helps that the books I pick out myself aren’t colored one way or another by another person, so I don’t judge them when the book doesn’t work out. I know, I shouldn’t judge them anyway, but I’m being honest here. Recommendations are well and good, but in the end, what works for me is trusting my gut. It’s done me well for my 30+ years of reading, and I will keep depending on it.

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littlebeeMany books can get quite heavy-handed when it comes to immigration and issues in third-world countries, preferring to preach about injustice and inequality at every turn, when the subtle approach can work much better. I honestly had no idea what to expect from a book that was told from the dual perspectives of a member of one of those third-world countries and of a working mother from England who has an intimate connection with the girl based on horrible events that happened prior to the novel.

What Chris Cleave does right in Little Bee is to let the narrative speak for itself. It flows smoothly between the two protagonists, weaving a tale that is impossible to deny, and yet fantastic in its complexity at the same time. Little Bee has been in a detention center on the outskirts of London for two years after stowing away in a boat that originated in Nigeria. She has a horrible tale to tell, but she tells it in her own time over a series of chapters, a tale that includes the white woman she is trying to locate in the London suburbs, the woman who tells the other half of that tale.

The women are linked, it’s true, by events that reshaped both of their lives, but they have no clue how to deal with the aftermath of those events even two years later. What’s intriguing about the narrative is its dogged determination to tell the story in its entirety, the actions and reactions that grievously wounded both women, physically and emotionally. And the decisions they make as a result of these wounds are serious ones with serious consequences.

What I love most about Little Bee is the subtle nuance that could be missed if you blinked. It happens on both sides, too, maintaining the balance that is struck at the very beginning of the novel all the way through. Little Bee is a sympathetic character to a fault, while Sarah (the white woman inextricably linked to her) is ultimately not. But as a reader I find myself attracted to the spirit of both at times, a dynamic testament to the author and to his portrayal of both as three-dimensional characters living in a two-dimensional black-and-white world.

But it’s not even black-and-white. It’s masquerading as clearcut when the choices and the decisions are anything, and the world the characters inhabit is anything but. That’s what’s so fascinating about the tale itself, and about the way it is told. I give Cleave all kinds of respect for having the ability to tell this story the way it was supposed to be told. Believe me, at the end you too will be invested in both women, in the history that both binds and separates them, and in what must happen next.

I give this novel FIVE stars.

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Adapting Books

book-to-filmAs a general rule, books are better than their movie counterparts. It’s simply a fact of life. Now, I’ve seen a host of movies that have been adapted from books, and I usually go into the movie with an open mind (I’ll admit not every single time). But I’ve found that if the book came first it is incredibly difficult to appreciate the movie more, and for a myriad of reasons.

  • Books capture personal imagination
  • Books are much more interactive
  • Books are more in-depth
  • Books move at your individual pace
  • Books can go with you almost anywhere

What I love most about books is that individual shared journey. I know it sounds like an oxymoron, but even though we read alone, we share that experience with every single other person who has read the same book. While we read by ourselves, just the act of reading joins us with a larger community of readers, which is an awesome thought to consider. It also, though, places on us a responsibility to the integrity of that book.

I know many readers who won’t even agree to watch the films adapted from those books. Keep in mind that I’m using the word “adapted” because too many movies don’t even follow the plot of the book from beginning to end. Anyway, these readers actively boycott the films because they don’t want to be disappointed by the character choices, by the plot changes, and by the director’s vision in order to make the book visual. I think that view is a bit extreme but I completely understand the boycott itself. If a book is perfect, why even put the film in your mind to sully that?

For me, though, it’s about separating the two, putting the movie in its proper place in the pantheon of movies, and not as a companion piece to the book, which it decidedly never is. Even the good adaptations (like the Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings films) leave out key elements, and have some characters that don’t fit their roles as written in the books. In that way I can appreciate or dislike the movie on its own merits, not based on it not living up to the book.

city-of-bones-poster02Recently I saw the film adaptation of Beautiful Creatures and if I were judging it solely on how well it reflected the book, it would have gotten an abysmal rating. All of the main characters didn’t fit their book counterparts, the ideas I had of them in my head while reading the book, several of them served dual roles, and the plot shifted majorly because of these changes. The same can be said for the first movie in the Mortal Instruments series. Neither film was bad, even though both were bad as adaptations.

Now I’m set to watch the movie based on the dynamic book Catching Fire (finally), and I’ve seen all of the positive review for it. Luckily for me I don’t pay too much credence to those reviews because the book was so individually great for me that it will always stand on its own. As I watch the movie I will have it in my mind, but I will judge the film based on its own merits, just as I did with the first film in the series.

And that’s very good for me, because it means a movie can never “ruin” a book for me, but if you are someone who places too much value in the movie, then don’t see it. If I like a book, regardless of its film counterpart, I will still like that book. More likely than not I will read the book multiple times and find hidden depths each time, enhancing the individual experience for me. Isn’t that what reading is all about anyway?

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thImagine a world where the TV game shows are real, and if you don’t win, you die. It’s a world of subterfuge, where every contestant is in it for themselves, and where the best strategy is either brains or brawn, but never both. And the arena of the game is merely a microcosm of the divisive society as a whole, a stunning mirror image of devastation and reluctance. A reluctance to stand up for each other in the face of leaders who have only their self-interests in mind.

“May the odds be ever in your favor.” This is one of the seminal lines from Suzanne Collins’ extraordinary novel, The Hunger Games. When Katniss Everdeen volunteers to be a guinea pig in the 74th Hunger Games, she realizes she has absolutely no chance to be the sole survivor of the contest, but she promises her sister, Prim, that she will try her best. The novel takes its readers from the sad surroundings of the Seam, to the Capitol, then finally to the arena where it’s kill or be killed, and Katniss does indeed try her best, against tributes from all the other districts, and even against the other tribute from her district, District 12.

The epic nature of the novel sets the table for the other two books in the series by introducing us to this dystopian universe that could conceivably happen. That’s the true dark nature of the tale, its roots set firmly in the selfish nature of our present magnified a thousand fold and set in a world not too distant from our own. And Katniss is a heroine we long to root for, coming from such humble surroundings to become reknown in her society. We want her to win, even if at the same time we don’t want the others to die, because we appreciate the stakes, and we inevitably buy into the assumption that only one can win.

But this is in the end a tragic love story along the lines of Romeo and Juliet, isn’t it? Two young men both throw their hats in the ring for Katniss’ favor, but can either one survive long enough to actually win her hand? Underneath the spectacle and horror of the arena and of the Games, the possibility and despair both call out to readers as we cheer on Katniss to not only win the competition but to fall in love with one or the other of her suitors. It’s gut-wrenching as the book continues towards its only possible ending, whether or not we fully comprehend it when it comes.

The Hunger Games is a non-stop journey, hurtling quickly towards a destination that begs many questions of its readers, a perfect beginning to a trilogy that recognizes the battle as well as the war. I enjoyed its fleshed out characters — particularly Katniss — and its plethora of surprises along the way. It amped up the suspense as well as kept me guessing, something I enjoy from all books worth their salt. I recommend it heartily to anyone looking for a reflection of today’s popular culture, and who isn’t afraid to dream and wish impossible things.

I give this novel FIVE stars.

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