Reading for Me

The Books I Have Read…..Just for Me

#10: The Hunger Games (Suzanne Collins)

Things were too relaxing to update my blog last week while I was on vacation. This week has been insanely busy dealing with demands that I ignored while away, so I’ve got a few novels to catch you up on.

Just before heading to Biloxi, Mississippi for a few days, I decided to give in to peer pressure (primarily coming from my niece) and read the first volume of Suzanne Collin’s Hunger Games trilogy. The timing was also rather intentional as the movie was also scheduled to premiere at the end of the week.

I went into my reading expecting to have a negative impression of the book. After all, the central plot is based upon a fight-to-the-death competition pitting teen against teen. Imagine my surprise when I dove into the story and discovered that the competition serves as a backdrop for a remarkable story of love, courage, strength, and moral fortitude. Rather than spoiling the work for anyone that has not read the work yet, I’ll simply say that it comes with a high recommendation from me.

Additionally, I would encourage parents to read the novel themselves. While there is a sizeable amount of violence in the novel (which is thankfully not depicted graphically in the movie, garnering it an appropriate rating of PG), the deaths are treated with dignity and respect for human life from the heroine, Katniss. There are numerous opportunities for parents to dialogue with their teen regarding important issues such as peer pressure and how to respond when your moral code conflicts with a government’s demands. While I do not consider any of the characters to be a Christ figure in the novel, there are several incidents that do display characteristics beneficial to a Christian teen.

All in all, I thoroughly enjoyed The Hunger Games. I look forward to reading the remaining novels in the trilogy and hope that the dignity and virtues found in book one continue throughout the series.

4.5 of 5 stars!

 

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#9: Body of Lies (Iris Johansen)

The latest installment in my audio book adventure was Body of Lies. The best thing I can say about this book: it passed the time while I was driving.  The plot was trite and felt as though I have read it in a million other works.  Admittedly, I am not terribly upset since this is the first unsatisfying audio book of the year. With a week of travel ahead of me, I’ll pick up a couple of books for the road and move right ahead.

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#8: Lone Wolf (Jodi Picoult)

Once again, Jodi Picoult comes through with another amazing read!  Lone Wolf is the story of a family facing a difficult decision after a car accident leaves the father in a coma. The daughter holds out hope for a full recovery; the estranged son returns from Thailand after a six year absence and fights for the right to terminate life support. Through all the twists and turns, these siblings ultimately discover that they have a lot in common with the wolf packs that their father spent his life researching — most notably that nothing is more important than family.

My only regret after finishing this novel is that I have to wait another year to read Picoult’s next finely crafted novel.  While the anticipation is killing me, I look forward to it, knowing that it will be another piece to add to my “must read” list.

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#7: Zero Day (David Baldacci)

Lots of driving is letting me get through some fun books at the moment!  Yesterday, I finished Zero Day and had a ton of fun listening.

The novel features John Puller as its hero, a special agent in the army who is also the son of a retired general and brother to a soldier convicted of treason.  Puller finds himself ordered to investigate the murder of a military officer in rural West Virginia, but the situation quickly begins to spiral out of control.  Filled with unexplained deaths, a couple of swarmy residents in this dying burg, a somewhat incompetent police force, and charming characters, Zero Day is a fun read that will keep you entertained for several days.

The book jacket suggests that this is the first novel in a series featuring John Puller.  I can only hope!  I’m ready for another adventure already!

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#6: The Descendants (Kaui Hart Hemmings)

With my busy schedule continuing, my fascination with audio books led me to The Descendants.  Recommended by a great friend from college who knows that I enjoy riveting family dramas and thought I would enjoy the Hawaiian setting, the novel had great possibilities.  After seeing the trailers for the George Clooney movie based on the book, however, I wasn’t sure that I would enjoy the read.

The Descendants follows a father and his two daughters as they come to terms with what life will be like without their loving mother in their life.  The plot is fairly simple, but kept interesting and engaging through the constant revelations made by the colorful characters as they prepare to say goodbye.

Despite learning that Mom was less than perfect in the months leading up to her boating accident, the reader is filled with sympathy as the end of life draws near.  Honestly, I had to pull off the road briefly to listen to some of the novel’s touching closing passages because my vision was distorted as my eyes welled up with tears.

Despite its depiction of marital infidelity, teen drug and alcohol abuse, and inappropriate sexuality, I found The Descendants to be a wonderful depiction of a modern family in crisis.  I look forward to reading additional works by Hemmings in the future as well.

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