Very useful for practicing Russian reading comprehension, and gaining understanding of the cultural and historical context of the language. It is also...moreVery useful for practicing Russian reading comprehension, and gaining understanding of the cultural and historical context of the language. It is also a good primer on Russian history, albeit told from a Soviet perspective.(less)
This book is perfect for managers, project leads, and others who are looking for creative ways to solve problems in teams. I had to put together an of...moreThis book is perfect for managers, project leads, and others who are looking for creative ways to solve problems in teams. I had to put together an offsite for my team recently, and this book saved the. I am a very visual learner (and teacher) so the concept of gamestorming is perfect for me. Instead of the typical team-building games, tired old icebreakers, and abstract activities designed to get people thinking outside-of-the-box, this approach applies principles of gaming to solve real problems facing your team right now. We covered a lot of ground in a focused, directed way that helped everyone feel energized. (less)
It is now largely out of date, but it was useful in the mid nineties and still includes useful basic information about German research, including tips...moreIt is now largely out of date, but it was useful in the mid nineties and still includes useful basic information about German research, including tips for reading the handwriting and interpreting original documents.(less)
Another great book in the Fiction Writing series that has been extremely helpful for me in my writing. I am now reading it a second time, and working...moreAnother great book in the Fiction Writing series that has been extremely helpful for me in my writing. I am now reading it a second time, and working to apply the principles. Wood explains concepts in clear, common-sense way, with rich and helpful examples.(less)
I have tried to read a few books about how to write, but this one is the only one so far that I have finished. Now I want to get this entire series on...moreI have tried to read a few books about how to write, but this one is the only one so far that I have finished. Now I want to get this entire series on writing. (less)
I saw the movie first, then went home and devoured the book in a couple of days. My daughters had both read the book last year in school and said then...moreI saw the movie first, then went home and devoured the book in a couple of days. My daughters had both read the book last year in school and said then that it was the best book they had ever read. The premise is disturbing, so I was wary, but enough people told me it was really good that I decided to check it out. I took my daughters to see the movie on opening day and found it compelling: visually impressive and well-acted, with an intriguing and satisfying plot. What impressed me were Katniss' actions throughout the ordeal: she volunteered for certain death to save her sister, then survived the impossible situation while maintaining her honor throughout. She won with survival skills, self-defense, and compassion.
I was disappointed somewhat when I read the book, however, because I found out what was going on in Katniss' mind, and realized that her thoughts were not as honorable as her actions. She was far less charitable in her thoughts toward the other competitors than she appeared to be in the film, especially Peeta. She was more ready to kill if she had to, even Peeta, than it appeared. And her love for Peeta, which seemed to develop naturally and fully in the film, was actually much more of an act; and in the end she breaks his heart, which is not evidenced in the film.
That said, I must admit that her response to the situation in the book is realistic. How was she to know that she and Peeta might both ultimately survive? For all she knew, the Gamekeepers would force her or Peeta to kill the other in the end. She could not allow herself to get close to him nor could she trust him, as he could be her killer. Even when the rules changed, she could not suddenly let herself fall in love. She was still getting over the feelings of betrayal from thinking Peeta was in league with the careers. Then Peeta was dying. The entire time they were both locked into a life and death struggle: not exactly the most romantic environment. She was forced to show more affection than she naturally felt for the sake of their survival, although she might naturally develop that affection in her own time were it not for the ticking time bomb of the game. Her emotions were, therefore, extremely complex. It was the awful reality of the situation she was forced into. When it came down to it, she did do the right thing in critical situations.
The story has relevance for us. Although the scenario seems impossibly contrived, humans are capable of such bizarre cruelty. Just look at the Romans and their gladiators. There are also parallels to Soviet, Nazi, and other atrocities. And yet, in these and other impossible situations, where victims are denied all freedom, they nevertheless had choices to make that made all the difference in whether they suffered with dignity or disgrace. In our time, we are entertained by crime dramas and reality shows that thrive on contention. The more the "real" housewives verbally abuse and betray each other, the more the ratings increase. At what point might we cross the line between verbal and physical abuse in these reality shows? Or haven't we already crossed it? Haven't people thrown chairs at each other on Jerry Springer? And were we not entertained? Other shows, while still dramatized, have become increasingly realistic, creating the feeling that we are watching actual events. Shows like 24 and Lost follow this pattern. At what point will we cross the line between watching and enjoying dramatizations of suffering, torture, cruelty, and death to watching reality shows where such things are actually happening live? As some have already pointed out, our enjoyment of watching the Hunger Games is in itself a reflection on us that we are capable of finding a real Hunger Games entertaining. The movie was purposely shot in a way that conveyed a sense of realism. We could have just as soon be watching a real life Hunger Games. We might justify it by rooting for the little guy, the likable one, the honorable one, or the one who "deserves" to win. But it would be evil nonetheless. The book, and the film, should make us look in the mirror and ask ourselves what we are capable of, and ask ourselves, "What if we stopped watching?"
Don't see the movie, but--mature readers--do read the book, when you are ready for the sublime ordeal. I picked this up at the airport on the way home...moreDon't see the movie, but--mature readers--do read the book, when you are ready for the sublime ordeal. I picked this up at the airport on the way home from a recent business trip and it sucked me right in. I finished it just a few days later, which is very rare for me. (I'm a slow reader.) At times I wanted to throw the book against the wall, but the promise of a hopeful ending, and the brilliant writing style, kept me going. What I found most fascinating about it is the author's chosen viewpoint. It is told from beyond the grave by the innocent 14-year-old female victim, who is not only able to tell us her first person experiences, but also see the other characters from within and without, even into their pasts. I'm amazed at Siebold's ability to switch between these viewpoints and deliver the story asynchronously, with flashbacks within flashbacks--and make it all work. Through all that jumble, the narrative flows seamlessly. Granted, the story is disturbing, and I'm not just talking about the murder. It's more about the choices people make in response to such an awful event, including the living and the dead. Some of those choices are bewildering, some made me angry, but ultimately the story is satisfying. (A word about the movie: Although I am a fan of Peter Jackson's work with The Lord of the Rings, I thought he ruined this story. He and his screenwriters made it too much about the killer and not enough about the family, whose story he alters and waters down so much that the characters don't even make sense.)(less)