the younger games (a brief update)

***spoiler alert***

don’t read any further if you want your reading of book 2 to be unscathed by my plot distillation.

who am i kidding. our household is pretty late to this party… probably the only ones still mid-story.

so i finished those last few pages of Catching Fire, part 2 of the Hunger Games trilogy. overall, still liking the general direction the storyline is taking. especially loved how the insurrection and subversion that started in the arena came spilling out into the heroine’s everyday life. what was dissapointing in the second half of Catiching Fire was how that all was put on hold in order to re-enter the arena. good surprise initially, but it began to feel a little stale, this fight to the death in an hazardous environment business. the so called game, fresh and new in the first novel, really seemed to drag in the second. what was most interesting to me at the start of the book was the budding uprising and i thought for sure that would be addressed by the competitors within the games. everyone wants to stick it to the capital, but no one uses the national stage to do anything. no one says or does very much at all. instead half the novel is spent inside Katniss’ confused little head as she tries to keep alive the boy she doesn’t-love-but-sorta-does – without much success. then, all of a sudden our less-than competent heroine gets conked on the mellon and all hell breaks loose. She blacks out (of course) only to wake up to a whole pile of behind the scenes backstory crammed into the last 2 pages that would have made for an awesome novel. geesh.

and why, why, why does she have to be so untrusting and angsty? gee,  i’m confused about something, think i’ll get angry and lash out against my boyfriend and my other boyfriend, and my mother and my mentor, too. then i’ll start thrashing around until someone sedates me. rinse and repeat.

ok, so not quite so glowing as the other day’s report, i know. still like the story. still looking forward to round 3.

 

Hunger Lames

nothing says good read like a flaming kingfisher

So, I started the Hunger Games a few days ago. Not very good.

Just kidding. Geesh, take a joke for Pedro’s sake.

I am quiet enjoying my first foray into the younger persons fiction. Didn’t really get into the ones with those children who go to magical school. Not that I won’t, but 15 volumes at about 1100 pages each is an investment in time no one wants me to make. As for the series with the teenage vampires in love, wouldn’t touch it with a ten foot pole.

Now on the other hand, the trilogy about the kids on that reality show where they try to kill each other, these I am eating up like a dirty shirt. I’m 40 pages away from closing the second book, so for all who’ve read ahead, no spoilers! So far I am very satisfied with the quality of writing; I don’t really notice it, which is probably a good thing. It’s sort of nice to clip along and not have to wrestle with overly complex sentence structure and I’ve only had to look up one word I didn’t recognize. The pacing is very solid. In fact, truth be told, I’ve hated having to put either book down. The moment I do, the queen of my castle deftly picks it up. Yes, we are both reading a really addictive book at the same time. Hence, the reason I am writing about it and not pounding through those last 40 pages. Once I get a hold of it, those few chapters will go pretty quick as we have borrowed my father’s large print edition. He says he bought it unawares, but I think he probably needs the oversized type.

The long and the short of it is that I am quite enjoying the read. The plot is solid and the story unfolds at a great pace; each chapter ends with me wanting to jump into the next one. The main characters are developing well enough and I find myself really rooting for them. The Orwellian aura is palpable – it’s sort of 1984 Lite. I just used Orwellian in a sentence. First time for everthing!

I’ve also enjoyed being around my good wife as she reads. About once every 10 minutes she lets a frustrated pout of some sort and proceeds to complain about some plot twist or other. She thinks there’s too much teenage drama. I beg to differ. She goes back to reading until something else brings her to stop. I, being ahead by over half a book, encourage her to continue. She seems a little reluctant to do so. Maybe I should get her to stop so I can get back into it.

That’s about it really. I think I’ll head upstairs and see my lovely has drifted off…

(I heard it’s a true story and the documentary is now in theaters.)

Finished

Every now and then I think about my own death, and I think about my own funeral. Every now and then I ask myself, ‘What is it that I want said?’ I’d like somebody to mention that day, that Martin Luther King Jr. tried to give his life serving others. I’d like for somebody to say that day, that Martin Luther King Jr. tried to love somebody. I want you to say that day, that I tried to be right on the war question. I want you to be able to say that day, that I did try to feed the hungry. And I want you to be able to say that day, that I did try, in my life, to clothe those who were naked. I want you to say, on that day, that I did try, in my life, to visit those who were in prison. I want you to say that I tried to love and serve humanity.”

Martin Luther King Jr. (from http://commonprayer.net/)

Contemplating your own death is one of those spiritual disciplines that focuses you for living. We are smack in the middle of Holy Week, rumbling towards the Friday they call Good. After reading what Martin Luther King Jr wrote, I couldn’t help wondering if Jesus, knowing his death was near, didn’t reflect on whether or not he accomplished what he set out to do. My inkling says he was satisfied with his living. After all, he died rather decisively, just after “It is finished!” left his lips. Finality and completion. There is nothing left to be done.

Have I finished it? Have I done with my days to date all there is to do? A generous take on my life to date says I’ve only just begun, middling around at best. “It is started!” doesn’t have the same ring. You see,  I want people to say much the same thing at my funeral as King wanted said at his. “He tried!” And not just that sad sort of head shaking that suggests a pitifull sort of wheel-spining or what have you. I want people to see the life I lived and not be able to say anything other than “That man threw his life into life, and not just for his own good, but the good of as many others as he could.” In the end, I’m not going to care what anyone says about me, other than my King. I want him to say “Way to go, solid and stalwart. You have lived well.” After that we’ll have a beer together and talk all about the mysterious of the universe, the oddities of my days, and the nittygritty of my unfinished ways. I am looking forward to that day.

Until then, there is much unfinished stuff be done and I am just the one to do it.

(Perhaps another post is in order to chew through just what it is I intend to finish…)