Spoiler Warning

Book reviews and discussions may contain spoilers. Read at your own risk!

Monday, September 27, 2010

October's book

I am so excited to have the privilege of picking this months book. I really never used to read at all and ever since this book club came about it has ignited an addiction to reading that can't be stopped. So far this year I have read 37 books which made picking this months book super hard, but I was able to narrow it down and pick one.

The book for this month is......................................



The Maze Runner by James Dashner


Amazon Description:

When Thomas wakes up in the lift, the only thing he can remember is his first name. His memory is blank. But he’s not alone. When the lift’s doors open, Thomas finds himself surrounded by kids who welcome him to the Glade—a large, open expanse surrounded by stone walls.

Just like Thomas, the Gladers don’t know why or how they got to the Glade. All they know is that every morning the stone doors to the maze that surrounds them have opened. Every night they’ve closed tight. And every 30 days a new boy has been delivered in the lift.

Thomas was expected. But the next day, a girl is sent up—the first girl to ever arrive in the Glade. And more surprising yet is the message she delivers.

Thomas might be more important than he could ever guess. If only he could unlock the dark secrets buried within his mind.

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I loved this book so much and am really excited for you guys to read it! It is a trilogy and the sequel comes out on October 17th so if you're up for a challenge you can try to read the second book too when it comes out. Here is a cheesy book trailer for the Maze Runner, see you guys at the end of the month for the discussion. Enjoy!!!!


Mockingjay Discussion (All Hail Google Wave!)


Check out our SRBC discussion of Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins via Google Wave! You should be able to add your own comments to the discussion. Give it a try! (If you're reading this on Google Reader, you have to come to the SRBC site to see what we're seeing.)

Mockingjay Discussion coming up: Get Ready to Ride the Wave

This is just a reminder that the discussion for Mockingjay will be happening over at Google Wave. Hopefully everyone who plans to participate tonight has an account, or can whip one up quick.* I have started the wave, but please don't start typing until 8pm (pst) / 9pm (mst) so no one has to play catch-up. I am missing McLaughlin for sure. What's your email or user name? If I am missing anyone else, tell me in the comments. See ya there.

Now, here are some super thought-provoking questions to get things going:

**spoilers**

  1. Do you think the title Mockingjay is a fitting conclusion for this series? Why or why not?
  2. Was District 13 what you expected?
  3. Compare/contrast Panem with the rebels.
  4. What surprised you most about the book?
  5. Would you change anything about the book? What and why?
  6. How did you feel at the conclusion? Dead inside? Why?
  7. What was the most gut-wrenching part of the book?
  8. Rate the book 1-5.
  9. How lame are these questions?

This Book Sucked. Real or Not Real.

REAL!

Reasons why:

1. Katniss hiding in the corner, rocking while in the fetal position through 90% of the book.

2. All the relationships dissolved including the new ones that were being formed. Example, Katniss and Johanna were totally becoming BCF's (Best Crazies Forever) and then Johanna got a little scared of some fake water and we never hear from her again. WTH???

3. No closure on anything except of Peeta on the last last page of the book. What happened about Gale, her mom, Haymitch. I needed more. I needed to feel like her mom kinda liked her and cared about her.

4. Why save Prim's life in the beginning of Hunger Games if your just going to kill her off in this book??? Katniss pulling out those berries indirectly killed Prim just like Gale's bomb indirectly killed Prim. What was the point????

5. Katniss didn't kill Pres. Snow. The whole mission was a suicide mission that she lied to do, which would have been fine, and I feel lees bad about Finnick's death had she succeeded. Even when she finally got the opportunity to kill him, she only had one arrow and had to use it on Pres. Coin. They should have giving her a few arrows so she could have done both.

6. Why did everyone have to go crazy???

7. I don't feel too comfortable with Annie raising that baby by herself.

8. Although it was funny that Peeta tried to kill Katniss when they first reunited, I didn't like that he hated her through most of it. It was fun at first but I wanted him to get back to normal quicker.

9. I hated that Katniss was only a commercial thing. I wanted her to be more involved. Fight for what was right. Save lives. Do something other than wonder around, shooting Propos and being drugged.

10. I hated hated HATED after she killed Pres. Coin and she just went completely crazy. Laying in a bed trying to starve to death, or being at home rocking in front of the fireplace. She was no longer a strong level headed girl that she was in the other books.

On the bright side though, I loved getting to know some other characters better such as Finnick. I loved hearing about all the creepy stuff about Snow, especially why he smelled like blood and roses. I also liked that Coin was just as bad. I loved it when Katniss visited District 8 and made all the hospital patients feel good right before they were bombed. It was great that she fought back in 8 and would have been good had she done that through the whole book. And most importantly, I loved the last paragraph of the book and the closing line between Peeta and Katniss. So sweet and romantic! Still, I will NEVER read this depressing, let down of a book again. Real or not real....

Sam's Mockingjay Review

I am so happy that I am not the only one that loved this book. I totally agree with Memzy. I love the books that I can't put down or stop thinking about when their over.

Mockingjay wasn't full of joy and happiness but I didn't expect it to be. It was inevitable that a lot of people were going to die because their mission to destroy the capital was near impossible. Of course I was sad when Finnick and Prim died horrible deaths but it kept me on the edge of my seat wanting to find out who made it through.

Though Katniss went through so much she almost fell off her rocker I think she accomplished what she set out to do. I think it was Peeta she was meant and in the end I felt she was happy with what she had. They were still both a little broken from the events that had taken place but at least they had eachother to get through it.

It doesn't surprise me that Haymitch continued down his path as an alcoholic. It didn't really seem like there was much left to keep him going.

The only thing that bothered me a lot was Gale. I think he turned out to be the biggest jerk. Designing the bomb that blew up Katniss' sister then selfishly leaving Katniss in the end to work for the government. I don't think he really ever supported her throughout the book either, he just kind of had his own agenda. Which is another reason why I'm glad she ended up with Peeta.

Despite this, I loved Mockingjay. I read it in less than 2 days and couldn't stop thinking about it afterwards. The characters I loved the most lived and ended up together which is more than I really expected. It's so exciting that their making a movie out of it (I love books into movies, no matter how cheesy they may turn out to be).

Tears. For real.

I didn't know what was going to happen either. I was hoping for a couple of things. Like, that Katniss wouldn't die and stuff. I have to agree wholeheartedly with Markie AND with Memzy. It was gutwrenching and sad and depressing but I loved it anyway. I finished the book and I found myself weeping. Just a couple of tears. 'What is this?', I thought. And I'd wipe them away and continue on with my busy-ness and there they'd come again. And so I'd try to own them, let them happen and then find myself laughing - thinking, 'This is ridiculous. It's a book, fhs.' Wipe them away and it would start yet again. I'd start visualizing Katniss and Peeta and their two little kids and how the world just continued regardless of the dead, the torture, the nightmare, the trauma, the games. It killed me. It was SO sad. So very sad. I just wanted to break down and hurt for them. I can't think of more than three books that have had this sort of effect on me. Bravo, S. Collins. Bravo.

I also read solely for entertainment. I love to get lost in the story, pretend I'm part of it, visualize it all in my mind. I hated District 13. I didn't like District 12 either, but at least their time was their own. Coin was a dictator from the get-go and I love that Katniss knew it already. Coin needed to die and Katniss needed to be the one to do it. But Snow needed an arrow too. Kind of a anticlimactic whatever that he died coughing. Booorrrrring.

One of my neighbors thought this was an anti-war book. I stick my tongue out and spit at that. Give me a break. Anti war...... Bull crap. It was about a war. It wasn't a happy ending. But I refuse to believe that S. Collins wrote it just to make a point about war. It was a brilliant fictional creation and I will always love how much I got lost in it.

Real or Not Real? -------------Very Real

I was lucky enough to have no expectations going into this book.  This is a rare thing and I treasured it.  I had absolutely NO IDEA how S. Collins was going to wrap this thing up.  How could she possible make the love triangle between Katniss and G and P all better?  She couldn’t damnit and I don’t blame her. I loved deeply all the characters in this book and cared about what happened to them. But life is not wrapped up in perfect little bows and ending like Full House with the sweet sentiments and the music as the message of that episode really comes full circle (RIP Uncle Jesse R.I.P.) 

Sure I like a feel good book just like anybody else does.  Our Potato Peel Pie and The Help phases will live on forever in my heart.  And I loved them.  I also like the sci-fi/fantasy phases we’ve gone through.  Who doesn’t love a society where you can plastically surgify your face any way you want and are called a “Pretty”?  Or what’s not enjoyable about having the hots for vampires and werewolves?.  (I’m totally looking at you Edward….er…Jacob….er…..)

I love reading for the love of reading, getting lost in a book, wanting to find out what happens next, pretending I AM Katniss Everdeen and must choose between the two men I love…  And the point I’m trying to make is this:

The books that speak to my heart and my soul, that I can’t stop thinking about for days or weeks or even years later, that I talk about to my husband or my friends, that I dream about at night are the books that don’t always wrap up into tidy little packages.  

If you took a look at my top ten books of all time well over half of them are books that speak of tragedy, sorrow, lost loves, uncontrollable circumstances and the characters that come out of them and triumph.  Sure, maybe they’re damaged because of it.  Maybe they are changed forever.  Maybe they will never be the same,.  But they are here and they are waking up every day and surviving.  And THAT is what resonates with me.  Guess what?  Life SUCKS sometimes.  In fact, a lot of the time life is hard.

And no matter if you are a young woman living in a  post-apocalyptic society and continually get beaten down by those unfair and evil forces in the world .........or if you’re a mid 30’s housewife living in 21st century America struggling with the  crappiest year of your life to date.........

You get up every day and survive.

That’s why I loved Mockingjay with a passion.  And no one can convince me of anything different. 

The Hunger Games. Damaged. Forever.

I pick up my copy of Mockingjay. Anticipation. Excitement. I read it with my wife. I sit down with my laptop and write a review. In the style of Suzanne Collins. Periods. Where there should be no periods. Short, first person sentences. It doesn’t really bother me. I’m used to her writing style.

I love the first two books so much. I know this one will be great. Mistaken. Frustration. Sadness. Disbelief. Anger. Why Suzanne? Why?

Poor Katniss and Peeta. By the end of book one the characters that I have come to love, have been through a horrible ordeal. But they survived it. Their trials have changed them in ways that only made them stronger, wiser, more endearing to me.

By the end of book two, they have been through more horrible ordeals. Peeta - captured. Katniss - really ticked off. But I feel that once again, they have survived it, and come out stronger. I can’t wait until they get their revenge on the Capitol and President Snow.

By the end of book three, they have survived the toughest trials yet. Gale has died in a very heroic act saving Katniss and/or Peeta from sure destruction. Katniss has killed President Snow, and Peeta is the new President of Panem. Katniss and Peeta move their families to the Capitol, are married, have kids, and visit Gale’s grave semi-annually. Joy. Renewal. Triumph. Justice. Reflection.

That is how this story should have gone.

Instead, there is no joy for me at the end of Mockingjay. Instead there is only sadness. Loss. Longing. For what might have been. This time the trials have been too much for the heroes. The violence. The loss. The torture. The grief. The pain. Have left Katniss and Peeta broken beyond repair. They are no longer the people I love. Now they are the people I feel sorry for. The people I pity.

It’s "The Book Thief" all over again. No matter that the main character survived. All she loved is gone. Nightmares of her brother dead on the train. Nightmares of her mother’s abandonment. Nightmares of picking through the blown up body parts of her friends and family. Scarred. Forever. No matter that the Jewish guy survived. His life of captivity, torture, seeing the worst in humankind, has left him damaged. Forever.

Peeta: Drugged. Torutured. Brainwashed. Images of body parts being hacked off. Nightmares. Real or not Real? Deal or no Deal? NO DEAL. Burned. Scarred. Damaged. Forever.

Katniss: Burned. The girl on fire – Literally. Gale gone. Mother gone. Prim Dead. Cinna Dead. Finnick Dead. Married to Peeta. Not because she finally realized he was the man of her dreams. Not living happily ever after. No. They keep each other from committing suicide. They make awaiting the sweet release of death somewhat bearable.
Nightmares. Scarred. Damaged. Forever.

Prim: DEAD! The sister that Katniss sacrificed all for. The sister who’s happy future would have made all the suffering worthwhile. Innocence lost. Burned. Dead.

Gale: Created the bomb that killed Prim. NOT dead. But living apart from the girl he loves. The girl who is now with Peeta; but not happy. Instead, damaged. Gale: Living forever with the guilt that he is partially responsible for Prim’s death. Scarred inside. Damaged. Forever.

Haymich: Still drunk. Still scarred. Damaged. Forever.

President Snow: Coughed to death. Evil eradicated? No. Evil is everywhere.

Mockingjay Cake: Flour and water. No sugar. Frosting the color of black Texas crude.

Markie: Sad. But not damaged forever.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Mockingjay... CHANGE

Imma keep this brief. In keeping with SRBC tradition, I'm going to make our Mockingjay discussion date/time super confusing by suggesting we move it from Sunday the 26th, to Monday the 27th. Same time (8pst, 9mst). Will Monday night work for everyone who plans to join this here discussion? Let me know asap so I can write the date in stone.

Furthermore, to further confuse everyone, for the first time ever, we are going to use Google Wave for our discussion, as per Markie's nagging, relentless gentle request. Google Wave is super fun, and I think Markie is right, that it will make for a better discussion experience.

If you don't know what Google Wave is or how to use it, don't panic, I will hold your hand and walk you through this process as if you were a new born babe. But first, I'll need to know who's going to be there (so I can include you in the discussion), and I'll need to know if you have a Google Wave account.

Trust me. This'll be the most fun. Google Wave.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Mockingjay

I'm gonna keep this brief. Mockingjay discussion. Sunday, September 26th. 8pm (PCT) 9pm (MST). Do not miss this discussion. It's gonna be huger than Donald Trump.