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North America is no more. In its place is Panem, a brutal dicatorship run from a city called the Capitol. Panem is divided into districts. A thirteenth had revolted and was obliterated by the Capitol. In a cold display of power and repression, the Capital requires that each of the remaining twelve districts give up one girl and one boy tribute to the Hunger Games – a televised fight to the death marketed as sport and entertainment rather than the crippling intimidation and abuse of power that it is.
Each district holds a Hunger Games lottery – also televised. All children ages 12-18 have their names added to the pool once each year. Name are entered additional times in return for rations of food. All entrances are cumulative. The richest children will only have their names in the drawing 5 times when they are 18. The poorest will have their names in the drawing ten times over.
This is the world of 16-year-old Katniss Everdeen, a resident of District 12. She lives in a poor mining community and provides for her family through illegal hunting since the death of her father. That year’s lottery produces her 12-year-old sister’s name. Katniss immediately volunteers to take her place and is soon on her way to the Capitol along with all of the other tributes.
The richer districts have raised their children specifically trained for the Hunger Games and hold the dubious honor of having more winners. The poorer districts don’t have the means for such a luxury. Katniss and Peeta, District 12′s male tribute, find themselves the underdogs in a game that only allows for one to live. Katniss finds ways to rebel against the powers while being forced to play their twisted game.
It’s been a long time since a book held me captive. Collins has created strong, sympathetic characters struggling in a cruel, unfair world. The reader gets to know Katniss well long before she is thrown into the arena. While a YA novel, the battles are not glossed over. Collins doesn’t let the reader shy away from the brutality displayed by children. And this is where the novel excels. The Capitol attempts to paint a bright, exciting picture, but underneath it is the deeply disturbing imagery of children hunting children. Katniss hangs on to her humanity and displays as much of it as she dares to the powers that be without risking her life or the lives of others.
Here is a short film that takes a heartbreaking scene out of The Hunger Games. It was intended as an audition piece, but the quality is impressive. It captures the spirit of the book. SPOILER ALERT for those who haven’t read the novel.
***I’m looking forward to the upcoming film adaptation of The Hunger Games. Jennifer Lawrence is a brilliant choice for Katniss. Anyone undecided should watch Winter’s Bone. Ree and Katniss are more alike than not, and I kept picturing Lawrence in the role. Forget her coloring – that can easily be altered and the book is vague on her ethnicity anyway. (This is a girl whose mother and sister are blonde and blue-eyed.) Collins herself is endorsing the casting choice.
“When, on the afternoon of Wednesday, 11 September, Venetia Aldridge stood up to cross-examine the prosecution’s chief witness in the case of Regina v. Ashe, she had four weeks, four hours and fifty minutes left of life.”
A Certain Justice opens with the reader’s knowledge of English criminal lawyer Aldridge’s imminent future. We’re given enough of her life to suspect several with enough motivation to see her dead: colleagues who resent her ideas of progress and whose future she influences, colleagues who want less competition for a desirable position, and a sociopathic killer she successfully defended. More suspects turn up as Adam Dalgliesh begins his investigation into her murder. Nearly everyone in her life has a reason to want her gone.
My favorite characters were Adam and his associate Kate. I liked following them as they pieced together the events. I only wish there had been a bit more insight into their personal lives as very little was given.
I was disappointed with the ending. The reveal was quick and boring. I did like that it acted nicely as a bookend. Aldridge was a brilliant defense attorney ultimately done in by someone who understood the game of evidence as well as she did.
1. My most prized possession is my mattress. All the mattresses in my earlier life had been too soft to the point that I used to sleep on the floor at least a couple of time a month. It was one of my first purchases after buying my house. I walked into the store and said, ” I need something firm. “ The salseman led me to this model, I lay down and fell in love. I can stay in my bed all day long.
2. If I could be one age for the rest of my life, I would want to be 28 and sure of myself in a way I never have been before. I turn 28 next month. I don’t ever want to go back.
3. The best way to spend a weekend is slowly. Preferably with family and friends.
4. My outlook on life is first things first. Everything else will fall into place if your priorities are in check.
5. If you want to annoy me, just start snapping your gum. Nothing else will bring me to a blind rage faster.
6. I am completely defenseless when it comes to puppies.
7. When dressing for the day, one should maintain comfort and function before considering style. Not to say that style has to be far behind. Just be sure that stylish item meets your real needs first – not the approval of your imaginary audience.
*** the little things we do ***
That title is misleading for I’m not going to show you the various stages my hair has been since I took the plunge last October to go with a short, curly bob. Every salon appointment since has been an experimentation with layer lengths. In February I came across this photo and took it to my stylist at the beginning of this month. This is where I am today (a few inches longer than the beginning cut):
I love it. My favorite part is the back. At this length the bottom layers are wavy rather than a tangled mess of curls. I’ve never had a stylist stack and texturize my curls. I wish you could see how amazing it is.
This cut makes my curls super easy to style and much quicker to dry – perfect for those 5am wake-up calls. No more crazy shedding.
I’ll never have shoulder-length hair again.
I don’t think I’ll ever go much longer than it is now.
- I’m working on a Life List. I realized that a few of the items on my 28 Before 28 were either things I felt I should do or were spur of the moment ideas – not things I had any deep desire to do. For every item that I complete, I’ll add a new goal.
- I’ve been slowing down on my Cannonball Read. My biggest problem is that I read right before bed, and I’m still not going to bed early enough. I end up nodding off about 10-20 pages into the book. This last book is taking me a couple of weeks to read.
- I’ll be cutting off cable. My last bill was $125 (internet included). Not cool, Time Warner. I’ve ordered a wireless router and a streaming device. Mindless TV is at it’s end.
- Spring cleaning is still in progress.
- So is my six-week program to getting my finances in order.
- I’m in the middle of an affair with my front lawn. All my free time the last two weeks has been spent with mulch and a little Lowe’s on the side.
“Date a girl who reads. Date a girl who spends her money on books instead of clothes. She has problems with closet space because she has too many books. Date a girl who has a list of books she wants to read, who has had a library card since she was twelve.
Find a girl who reads. You’ll know that she does because she will always have an unread book in her bag. She’s the one lovingly looking over the shelves in the bookstore, the one who quietly cries out when she finds the book she wants. You see the weird chick sniffing the pages of an old book in a second hand book shop? That’s the reader. They can never resist smelling the pages, especially when they are yellow.
She’s the girl reading while waiting in that coffee shop down the street. If you take a peek at her mug, the non-dairy creamer is floating on top because she’s kind of engrossed already. Lost in a world of the author’s making. Sit down. She might give you a glare, as most girls who read do not like to be interrupted. Ask her if she likes the book.
Buy her another cup of coffee.
Let her know what you really think of Murakami. See if she got through the first chapter of Fellowship. Understand that if she says she understood Joyce’s Ulysses she’s just saying that to sound intelligent. Ask her if she loves Alice or if she would like to be Alice.
It’s easy to date a girl who reads. Give her books for her birthday, for Christmas, and for anniversaries. Give her the gift of words, in poetry, in song. Give her Neruda, Pound, Sexton, Cummings. Let her know that you understand that words are love. Understand that she knows the difference between books and reality but by God, she’s going to try to make her life a little like her favorite book. It will never be your fault if she does.
She has to give it a shot somehow.
Lie to her. If she understands syntax, she will understand your need to lie. Behind words are other things: motivation, value, nuance, dialogue. It will not be the end of the world.
Fail her. Because a girl who reads knows that failure always leads up to the climax. Because girls who read understand that all things will come to end. That you can always write a sequel. That you can begin again and again and still be the hero. That life is meant to have a villain or two.
Why be frightened of everything you are not? Girls who read understand that people, like characters, develop. Except in the Twilight series.
If you find a girl who reads, keep her close. When you find her up at 2 AM clutching a book to her chest and weeping, make her a cup of tea and hold her. You may lose her for a couple of hours but she will always come back to you. She’ll talk as if the characters in the book are real, because for a while, they always are.
You will propose on a hot air balloon. Or during a rock concert. Or very casually next time she’s sick. Over Skype.
You will smile so hard you will wonder why your heart hasn’t burst and bled out all over your chest yet. You will write the story of your lives, have kids with strange names and even stranger tastes. She will introduce your children to Cat in the Hat and Aslan, maybe in the same day. You will walk the winters of your old age together and she will recite Keats under her breath while you shake the snow off your boots.
Date a girl who reads because you deserve it. You deserve a girl who can give you the most colorful life imaginable. If you can only give her monotony, stale hours, and half-baked proposals, then you’re better off alone.
If you want the world and worlds beyond it, date a girl who reads.”