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Reading Bingo Update – books 1-3

I really wanted to write today, and my brain wrestled over what the topic should be for a while.  I regret to inform you (actually, the title probably already informed you.  Dang.) that this is simply a Reading Bingo Update post.  Don’t be too excited.

ImageI am not moving nearly as quickly as I need to be in order to accomplish my reading goals for this year.  I need to step it up a notch.  Even though I posted this picture before, I didn’t take any time to talk about the books I’d read, so I’m going to write about them briefly in the order I completed them.

Dash and Lily’s Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn and Dan Levithan (a book without a love triangle)

I think I expected something edgier when I decided to read this.  It was very, very light reading, and not overly compelling.  It was a strange transition from Catching Fire to Dash and Lily.  The action was minimal and the plot wasn’t overly interesting.  Cute is the best word to describe this book and its characters.  While it definitely doesn’t come close to my top ten, it was an enjoyable and pleasant read.  (Sidenote: It annoyed me that Dash was supposed to be from New York but used stereotypically British phrases.  Something like that should’ve been caught in editing but skated by and there was no explanation for it.)

Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins (the last book in a trilogy)

As you already know, I am in love with The Hunger Games series.  After I read Mockingjay, I could only describe myself as wrecked.  Catching Fire was my favorite book of the series, which I realized stems from my desire to see Peeta happy, which he was at very specific points in that book.  I had very high expectations for Mockingjay after reading CF and I am SO GLAD I read it before seeing the films.  I was disappointed with the gratuitous violence that plagued the final chapters of Mockingjay.  I understood the purpose, and it wasn’t because I was emotional about it (which I obviously was), but because of the absurdity and crudeness with which the events were described.  That being said, I can’t say I liked this book.  I definitely enjoyed reading it, and I am still in love with the series as a whole, but Mockingjay was easily my least favorite of the three.

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz (a book set in the past)

Immediately, I fell in love with the main character, Ari.  I love his attitude, outlook, the way he keeps everything inside, all of it.  I just adored him and I loved the way he was written.  Dante irritated me, which is just a sort of personality clash.  I enjoyed this book, especially after the story picked up toward the middle.  I had a slight problem with the ending; I felt that Ari changed in a way that didn’t feel natural to his character.  But overall, definitely a quality read with quality characters and some of the things Saenz writes are flawless and brilliant.

I hope your Bingo adventures are going as smoothly as mine, and hopefully faster.  Enjoy your 2014 reads!

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55 Movies to Get You to Christmas – #44

Catching Fire
“Remember who the real enemy is.”

    There are so many fantastic messages and themes throughout this movie.  It’s funny the way the viewer automatically relates to Katniss and her goal of keeping the people she cares about alive.  As you read or watch and continue on with these characters, you see that Katniss is one of the last to understand that it isn’t about surviving, it’s about changing the world.  In an exchange between Katniss and Prim, Katniss emphasizes that she saved Prim’s life so that Prim could remain alive, and Prim replies, “No, to do something.”  Throughout the games, Katniss is in survival mode – even before the games, she has that mentality.  Her life has been about flying under the radar and providing for her family.  She never asked to be a spectacle, and she never asked to mean something.  I think that’s one of the most relate-able struggles of her character.  She never asked for the attention.  She never asked for any of it, she just wanted everyone to be okay.
Eventually I’m sure you’ll get sick of me yammering on and on about how much I love the characters in this series.  I’m sure someday I’ll write far too many words about Rue, Gale, Johanna, Peeta and Katniss and their individual meanings and all of that unimportant nonsense.  I waited far too long to read these books, but this post isn’t supposed to be about the books.
If you haven’t seen these movies, you’ve done yourself a disservice.  They’re absolutely beautiful.  As I’ve mentioned a thousand times, Jennifer Lawrence is a flawless human being, and I adore her and her work.  When I first saw her as Katniss, I doubted her and thought anyone could play that part.  I was wrong and stupid.  She is an amazing actress, and she does the part beautifully.  I can’t decide which I prefer (The Hunger Games or Catching Fire), they were both fantastic, and I am so enthralled by this series.


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55 Movies to Get You to Christmas – #35

The Hunger Games
“Thank you for your consideration.”

    Out of pure coincidence, I dreamt I was Katniss in the Hunger Games last night, woke up with Safe and Sound stuck in my head, and started reading The Hunger Games today.  I didn’t plan any of those things, but I did plan today’s movie to be The Hunger Games, to conclude “drama” week.  I’m very emotionally connected to this movie, maybe because of my passion for the character of Katniss, or maybe because it’s just a really well done movie that makes excellent commentary about war, trauma, and the power of individuals.  
    It really irritates me when people associate The Hunger Games with a love triangle.  They assume that it’s at the same level of Twilight, which was essentially about a love triangle, but it’s not at all.  I think it’s really important that people understand that this movie is about one girl putting her family above everything else, and sacrificing herself for them, as well as for her people.  It’s about horror in everyday society, and the power of hope; the power of strategy and believing in something.  I know a lot of you are probably saying, “Joy, calm down, it’s just a movie,” but the thoughts and message behind it are more than that.  It’s more than Jennifer Lawrence being a flawless actress, and it’s more than a dystopian society with poor priorities and a love of murdering teenagers.  I admire Suzanne Collins for writing something with so much fuel behind it.  I hope someday I can write something with that much power.

    Go see The Hunger Games.  Go now.