Books, Books, Books

Cover of "The Hunger Games"
Cover of The Hunger Games

I’ve been methodically reading through my book list this year, and I want to share some of the highlights today:

The Hunger Games—Suzanne Collins

A young adult novel set in a future North America that has been devastated and reorganized into a brutal society that takes reality TV to a whole new level: teens forced to battle to the death once a year. This book, I am pleased to say, is every bit as good as the hoopla. Wow. It’s a depressing scenario, but the main character fights against the rules, unwilling to accept that brutality is inevitable. And in this, she finds redemption. Amazing book—and it has sequels! Catching Fire and Mockingjay are every bit as good as the original. Each of these books I read in 24 hours. Me, the woman who has no time to spare.

The Time Traveler’s Wife – Audrey Niffeneger

Not nearly as good as the hoopla led me to expect. In fact, I haven’t even watched the movie, because I didn’t really care for the characters. It was an interesting book, and its characters had their moments, but ultimately I can do without them.

Briar Rose—Jane Yolen

A novel about a woman who grew up listening to her grandmother’s somewhat fractured version of the Sleeping Beauty story, and goes on a quest to find out what it means—a journey that leads her to the hellholes of Nazi extermination camps. Amazing book. Absolutely amazing.

Pieces of My Sister’s Life—Elizabeth Joy Arnold

A compelling novel about identical twins, abandoned by their mother, in love with the same man, told from the POV of the one that didn’t get him. I can’t say I enjoyed it, because the non-POV character made me so angry. It was a classic story of people getting blessings they don’t deserve at the expense of those who do. The reviews called it “beautiful.” I call it….gut-wrenching, yes. Effective storytelling, yes. But not life-giving. I don’t need to read depressing books; there’s plenty of fodder for unhappy reflection in the real world.

The Glass Castle: a memoir by Jeannette Walls

The fascinating, gripping but ultimately deeply disturbing story of a woman whose parents’ lack of responsibility drove the family into poverty so profound that the children left home to take care of each other. The parents ended up on the streets.

What terrific book finds have you made recently? I need to refresh my list!