I’ve been a while since I’ve posted about books. In fact, it’s been so long that I was actually called out for it. Sorry Tara, hope this post is sufficient for you ☺
It’s not that I haven’t been reading – I have. It’s just that it wasn’t anything new. Highly anticipating The Hunger Games being released in theaters I re-read the books. I already posted my review of the books, but this time I read them slower and with more care. I tend to speed read and miss a lot the details in the process. I discovered that while re-reading the Hunger Games trilogy that these details actually changed my opinion on a few things. So here is my updated review (PS – major spoilers below if you haven’t already read these books).
The Hunger Games
I forgot how horrifying the Games are and they seemed even more so after I read it again. The ruthlessness of the Careers, the death of Rue, the way Clove and Cato were killed — just horrifying. I also think the relationship Katniss has with her mom and Prim were more clear and I focused on them more knowing how things were going to play out. Then there’s Peeta. I confess that I was not a big fan of the Katniss/Peeta relationship. I had a hard time understanding why, in the end, she stays with him. The first book didn’t necessarily change my opinion about that, but I realized there are many subtle things about Peeta that make him so freaking likeable that I apparently skipped the first time around. And the heart break he has at the end? I felt for him this time.
Catching Fire remains my favorite book of the series, but forgot how slow the beginning is; how anxious it is – just waiting for that other shoe to drop. The second read made me realize how incredibly creepy President Snow is. And I have to confess — this is when I FINALLY fell in love with Peeta. When he’s on the beach, and he shows Katniss the locket and reveals that he’s been in cahoots with Haymitch this whole time to protect her?? And he tells her that if he died nobody would care? I cried. Did I skip through this the first time???
I liked Mockingjay a lot more the second time around. It was still bleak. It was still depressing. But the first time I read it I felt like Katniss had given up. This time I didn’t feel like she had given up as much as she was being oppressed and didn’t know what to do with herself. She wasn’t playing games anymore. I do think the 2nd half of the book is rushed. I feel like certain characters (ahem Finnick) don’t get their proper goodbyes and I felt like there were too many characters. I do love how Haymitch becomes a REAL mentor to Katniss, and yes, I DID like that Katniss ended up with Peeta. I realized that the moment Katniss picked Peeta (or rather – did not pick Gale) was NOT when initially thought she did, but when The Capitol takes Gale and Katniss does not shoot him, as she promised she would. Well, that’s my interpretation of the end of their “relationship” at least 🙂
So, after reading this trilogy I really didn’t WANT to read anything else – but I had all of these trips and it became a necessity on the airplane.
First up was Graceling by Kristin Cashore.
Katsa has been able to kill a man with her bare hands since she was eight—she’s a Graceling, one of the rare people in her land born with an extreme skill. As niece of the king, she should be able to live a life of privilege, but Graced as she is with killing, she is forced to work as the king’s thug.
When she first meets Prince Po, Graced with combat skills, Katsa has no hint of how her life is about to change. She never expects to become Po’s friend. She never expects to learn a new truth about her own Grace—or about a terrible secret that lies hidden far away . . . a secret that could destroy all seven kingdoms with words alone.
I wanted to love this book, but I think my big mistake was reading this so soon after THG. Not only was the lead heroin’s name tripping me up (I kept reading Katsa as Katniss), but I just couldn’t get into this fantasy world.
I didn’t dislike the book. I found the whole “Grace” thing very intriguing and an interesting plot twist, but I just wasn’t pulled in to Katsa world, nor did I really love her as a character. That said – if you are looking for an easy YA read, this fits the bill — and there is a 2nd book, Bitterblue, that I will read some day.
The last book of the month is one I read for Book Club (which, happens to be tonight!) – The Paris Wife by Paula McLain.
A deeply evocative story of ambition and betrayal, The Paris Wife captures a remarkable period of time and a love affair between two unforgettable people: Ernest Hemingway and his wife Hadley.
Chicago, 1920: Hadley Richardson is a quiet twenty-eight-year-old who has all but given up on love and happiness—until she meets Ernest Hemingway and her life changes forever. Following a whirlwind courtship and wedding, the pair set sail for Paris, where they become the golden couple in a lively and volatile group—the fabled “Lost Generation”—that includes Gertrude Stein, Ezra Pound, and F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald.
Though deeply in love, the Hemingways are ill prepared for the hard-drinking and fast-living life of Jazz Age Paris, which hardly values traditional notions of family and monogamy. Surrounded by beautiful women and competing egos, Ernest struggles to find the voice that will earn him a place in history, pouring all the richness and intensity of his life with Hadley and their circle of friends into the novel that will become The Sun Also Rises. Hadley, meanwhile, strives to hold on to her sense of self as the demands of life with Ernest grow costly and her roles as wife, friend, and muse become more challenging. Despite their extraordinary bond, they eventually find themselves facing the ultimate crisis of their marriage—a deception that will lead to the unraveling of everything they’ve fought so hard for.
A heartbreaking portrayal of love and torn loyalty, The Paris Wife is all the more poignant because we know that, in the end, Hemingway wrote that he would rather have died than fallen in love with anyone but Hadley.
I went into this knowing NOTHING about Ernest Hemingway – except that he killed himself, he was an alcoholic, he lived in Key West, and had cats with 6 toes. I’m ashamed to say I’ve never read anything by him in full (I think we parts of The Sun Also Rises in high school, but it obviously did not make an impression on me). After this book, I think I might have to (at the very least – I want to read A Moveable Feast).
I feel like this book did a great job of humanizing Hemingway – and telling a simple love story gone wrong. It was QUITE a time period to live in Paris and it was captured very well in this book. The story is nothing you couldn’t read on Wikipedia about Hadley Richardson’s life – but the writing really brings these characters to life. While the events were real, the dialogue is fictional and it doesn’t feel like it.
This isn’t an “OMG you have to read this book” stunner, but it is a lovely story about a woman who inspired and helped define one of America’s greatest authors. I probably wouldn’t have picked this book up on my own, so I’m very glad that Jackie suggested it! (Check out her review too!)
Up next… I honest have no idea! I thinking about reading Abundance.
I read a review it on one of the plane magazines and it sounds intriguing.
Providing abundance is humanity’s grandest challenge—this is a book about how we rise to meet it.
We will soon be able to meet and exceed the basic needs of every man, woman and child on the planet. Abundance for all is within our grasp. This bold, contrarian view, backed up by exhaustive research, introduces our near-term future, where exponentially growing technologies and three other powerful forces are conspiring to better the lives of billions. An antidote to pessimism by tech entrepreneur turned philanthropist, Peter H. Diamandis and award-winning science writer Steven Kotler.
Since the dawn of humanity, a privileged few have lived in stark contrast to the hardscrabble majority. Conventional wisdom says this gap cannot be closed. But it is closing—fast. The authors document how four forces—exponential technologies, the DIY innovator, the Technophilanthropist, and the Rising Billion—are conspiring to solve our biggest problems. Abundance establishes hard targets for change and lays out a strategic roadmap for governments, industry and entrepreneurs, giving us plenty of reason for optimism.
Examining human need by category—water, food, energy, healthcare, education, freedom—Diamandis and Kotler introduce dozens of innovators making great strides in each area: Larry Page, Steven Hawking, Dean Kamen, Daniel Kahneman, Elon Musk, Bill Joy, Stewart Brand, Jeff Skoll, Ray Kurzweil, Ratan Tata, Craig Venter, among many, many others.
What on your reading list? I need some suggestions 🙂