Thursday, September 23, 2010

Eragon

What is it with me and finishing books in the wee hours of the morning? I don't think that is particularly good for my health! So yeah, I finished Eragon at 12:30 am last night/this morning...and I enjoyed it immensely.

I have to admit this was reading slightly out of my normal tastes. I am normally not a huge science fiction kind of gal, even though I loved the Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings stuff, but Eragon was a great read. Dragons, elves, dwarfs, sorcerers and all. It is a really good YA book in the sense that the characters are young and innocent, i.e. not prone to adult content. But like most YA books, Hunger Games especially, the issues and themes are definitely mature: war, racism, politics, love, honor, and courage.

What I learned about this book is the importance of world building. I have read books with better prose, better pacing, better conflict, but one of the things that really keeps the reader attached this book is the feeling of being lost in Eragon's world. A world of magic, adventure, and danger, set in a completely made up land and time. I loved the feeling of being transported away from my crazy life to a place where exciting things happen in greater frequency. Although, I do think more unexpected twists could have been involved in this book.

I learned that it is important to develop characters that we can fall in love with. Characters for whom I feel sympathy, and who I want to succeed. The relationship between Eragon and his dragon is so deep and dynamic. Something so different than I have ever had...maybe I need a pet. But could I ever talk to that pet? No. This dragon is pretty cool.

One thing I thought was interesting about this author is that he was a teenager when he wrote the book and he self-published it with the help of his family. He went on an extensive tour promoting the book and getting it into the hands of some important people. Eventually, after all his hard work, it paid off when a friend of his sent it to an editor at a major publishing house. Millions of dollars later...it's a Best Seller. Cool story, eh?

Now I just I have to get through the rest of the series. Thanks by the way to my new bff/brother's girlfriend/most awesome host of a beachhouse Michelle...for recommending this book to me. And letting me borrow it from you, even though you know its dangerous having anything that tears/rips/falls into bath tubs around my children. And yes, that does apply here, Shelbie ripped the front cover off this paperback yesterday morning! Sorreeee. I owe you.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Mockingjay

So I finished Mockingjay, the last installment of the Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins, at 1:00 am this morning...and I am devastated! Dont worry, I'm not going to spoil it for anyone who hasn't read it yet. I won't do that here, just say what I learned from the books.

I am devastated for many reasons, the foremost reason being that I enjoyed reading the three books so much that I can't believe the experience is over. Suzanne is a masterful writer, and has taught me many things:

I learned that a present tense narrative is effective at keeping the reader involved in the moment.

I learned that the way she approached violence and war was profound. I felt like I was opened up to a reality I had never even considered. There are countries and communitites around the world, this very minute, who are suject to tyranny, starvation, and a literal fight for survival. I am grateful for the land of freedom in which I live, despite its flaws. But am even more acutely aware of how quickly that all could change.

I learned about love and loss, courage and loyalty, and that it is oftentimes the smallest among us who can teach and lead the way. Go Katniss. She surely changed her world. She changed my world. When I sit down to eat an In and Out Burger, a huge bowl of peaches, or a piece of chocolate cake...I am reminded how blessed I am.

Finally, I learned that unexpected twists are a good thing. Suzanne Collins is amazing at throwing huge curve balls that continually made me put the book down and either laught out loud, cheer like a lunatic (husband already thinks I'm crazy, so nothing new there), or hold my head in my hands about to bawl like a baby.

Everyone needs to read these books. They are fantastic (despite the controversy over the ending)...but even that should make you want to read them:)

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

False Start/Operation New Dawn

So several months ago, I started a blog for who-knows-why. I didn't know where I wanted to go with it, only that I felt some pressure to have one. After months of it nagging me, asking, "Jessie, why don't you love me anymore?" I have decided to formulate a plan. Kinda like the one we have in Iraq right now. Pull out the combat troops and leave the peacekeepers, right? So my new strategy is to make this like a book journal. I have been straight up devouring books lately. And I rarely get to talk about them. Like in the past few months I have read the following:
1-Charlie St. Cloud by Ben Sherwood
2-Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
3-Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
4-Spells by Aprilynne Pike
5-Hush Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick
6-Fallen by Kate Lauren
7-Sarah's Key by Tatiana de Rosnay
8-The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan
9-The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner by Stephanie Meyer
10-Taken By Storm by Angela Morrison
11-Just One Wish by Janette Rallison
12-Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

So, yeah, I am not part of a book club, my husband only reads the sports page, and my children prefer The Silly Slimy Smelly Hairy Book by Babette Cole. Though, like I mentioned in my last post, I do have my 13 year old steppy Kenzie-but she isn't here nearly enough. So, from now on, I am going to share some of my favorite things about these books. Despite the fact that I didn't love them all equally, I think there is always something positive to take from each. I am no critic, I am just an avid reader, wanting entertainment, excitement (not otherwise found in my mundane life), and learning experiences. So off we go!