My brother gave me 3 books for Christmas. I gave him nothing. Does that make me a jerk?
This is one of the three that he gave me. The other two are Su...moreMy brother gave me 3 books for Christmas. I gave him nothing. Does that make me a jerk?
This is one of the three that he gave me. The other two are Super-human and The Enemy. I wasn't sure which one I should read first, as I'd never heard of any of them. That to me is funny, because I pride myself on knowing the titles (at least) of the current hip books.
So, I'm way behind the times because this is being made into a movie due out in Feb. Seriously. We even started getting Entertainment Weekly. How am I that far behind the times? Stupid papers I have to grade. (By the way, that's the first time I saw the trailer for the movie - when I linked it to this review. It looks pretty tight.)
I decided to go for this one since the movie is basically already upon us. How should I put this?
The book took me a while to get into. It wasn't as formulaic as some of the more recent YA books I've read. You know, cute ultra-obviously normal/powerless boy or girl falls for cute boy or girl with powers - any mix of these... The Twilight/Shiver/Hush,Hush I'm sure there are plenty you can think up. It wasn't THAT formulaic, but it was well on its way.
What's the literary device used when authors pretend that fictional events are real in order to give them some veracity? You know? Nathaniel Hawthorn in A Scarlett Letter, or Kurt Vonnegut's Mother Night...
The author does that in this book as well - to the point of using a pseudonym. (From the back flap: "Pittacus Lore is Lorien's ruling Elder. He has been on Earth for the last twelve years, preparing for the war that will decide Earth's fate. His whereabouts are unknown.") To me, that motiff seems tired, but I'm sure that many YA readers have never encountered it before...
Basically the story is Superman with a twist. Krypton Lorien is being destroyed so they get Kal-El Number 4 and eight others into a ship that sends it to Earth ... ummm... Earth... right before their home planet is destroyed. The twist is that the aliens that destroyed Lorien (to take it's natural resources) are planning on doing so to earth as well, but only after they take care of numbers 1-9 (who will be gaining their super-powers sometime soon.)
It wasn't bad. It wasn't great, but it wasn't bad.
The swearing seemed forced at times. It seemed like we were a third of the way through the book without the swears when all of the sudden someone let loose, as if to prove, "yeah... I'm serious... we'll make this a swearing book after all..." And then they just disappeared again until..."oh yeah, we already swore in the book. It's ok to break them out again." It wasn't bad, or really obscene... it just felt a little forced.
It was good enough for me to want to read the next one. And see the movie. ...if I can get a sitter.
My brother recommended this book to me, and I finally got around to reading it. I have to say, it's caused me more trouble than I anticipated because...moreMy brother recommended this book to me, and I finally got around to reading it. I have to say, it's caused me more trouble than I anticipated because there are others around me who are upset that I haven't recently read any of the books they recommended to me.
*Ahem* You know who you are *Ahem*
I'm fairly certain he recommended the book because it's his legs on the cover of this edition. I'm not 100% on that, but close. I'm going to call him for a picture of his legs to prove it to you. For real. Those jeans. Those shoes. That posture.
The book was good. A little weird at times - given that it was trying to tackle blind patriotism and voyeurism at the same time... Yeah... a little weird. But it was good.
It reminded me a lot of Avi's book, Nothing But the Truth. Both deal with kids who question whether saying the pledge is a good indicator of how much we actually love our country.
Some good news? The US is moving up in the world. ...Although, I bet the rankings came out before the NSA disclosures. Changes? I'm pretty sure the changes will be: People working for the NSA/CIA/FBI/Illuminati/ETC are no longer allowed to disclose what's going on. YEAH! I'M TALKING TO YOU SNOWDEN! AND ASSANGE! AND ELLSBERG! AND MANNING!
Hopefully I won't get in trouble for posting this review online. PRISM - you know I love you.(less)
Ah factions. Ah, young adult literature. Thou art my life, my love, my heart...
Briefly: I love that YA literature introduces kids to these grand ideas...moreAh factions. Ah, young adult literature. Thou art my life, my love, my heart...
Briefly: I love that YA literature introduces kids to these grand ideas covertly. You can't have them go off and read Federalist 10 or 51 when they're in 7th grade. Well, you can... if you want to turn them off to reading and education forever.
Seriously, I loved The Hunger Games. You could see the gladiators in the Colosseum, the money being funneled into Rome, and the moral degradation that led to its downfall.
Was it completely new? No. (But lets just clear this up: it wasn't a rip-off of Battle Royale just like Battle Royale wasn't a rip-off of The Long Walk or Lord of the Flies.) Was it fun and does it get kids interested in both reading and history? Yes.
Here we have Ancient Greece. We've got the different city-states: Athens, Sparta, Argos, etc... Each one of these was their own faction. Each one was prideful about certain aspects of their culture. Athens was artistic, Spartans were fearless. They each made up a part of the whole, but they saw each as individuals first.
With the founding of America, Madis I mean *ahem* Publius *ahem* reminds us that factions will always exist, but we need to overlay factions with more factions - having people belong to multiple ones strengthening the fabric that will hold us together as a nation. This is one of the strengths of the two-party system. Very few of us will have a candidate that agrees with all of our stances, but that offers us some form of protection.
In Divergent, we see five factions and a world where factions come before all else.
Is the book high art? Is it fancy pants? Will it win the avant-garde award for being the most esoteric novel of the day? No.
Did it rock and deserve 5 stars? Yes.
(Short review... 4 people have it on hold at the library...)(less)
SNOW DAY!!! WOO HOO! I woke up and started reading this as I ate my breakfast. I had coffee and coffee cake... again. Then I played with the kids some...moreSNOW DAY!!! WOO HOO! I woke up and started reading this as I ate my breakfast. I had coffee and coffee cake... again. Then I played with the kids some. Then I told them, back off... I was reading. Then we built a snow fort. Then I read. Dinner. Read. Put the kids to bed. Read. My wife said, "Philip... there's no way we're having another snow day tomorrow. You should really turn off the light."
I had 20 pages left. 20 pages... It feels SOOOOooooo good to be so into a book that the only thing you want to do is read. And it's a great feeling to finish a book in a day. But, it's always a better idea to listen to your wife.
So, I went to school on Thursday - without having finished the book. I hyped it up to my kids, and finished it that afternoon when I got home.
Of course, I didn't have to, because today... Friday... is a... SNOW DAY!!! WOO HOO!!!!! 10th one of the year!!! (Nothing like going to school in July. Or driving to the school when you have a delay, only to get there and find out it's cancelled and come home to facebook posts telling you teachers are lazy.*)
*Ahem* Sorry... Back to the book... It's fantastic. Sloan knocked it out of the park.
I put it in the ubiquitous and ambiguous "Young Adult" category, but some may argue it's a little younger than young adult.
But I liked it more than a lot of the YA stuff out there. The books I like most resolve, but necessarily tidily so... And they are definitely not (overly) formulaic.
I was just discussing The Fault in Our Stars with a colleague, who said - that's the point, right? We have this idea of what our destiny should be, but it doesn't ever turn out that way.
Sure, the font size was larger, and my (outstanding) Public Library has it shelved in the Juvenile section... but mark my words: this is as YA as it gets.
I'm not going to blurb about what this books about. You can get that in 5 seconds by scrolling to the top of your screen (assuming you're reading this on goodreads) and looking at the description of the book. ...Also, it's late.
I'm just going to tell you that it's good, and that I'm recommending it to you. And that, if you read it now - in 2014 - you'll be ahead of the game. Because everybody will be talking about this book soon, if they aren't already.
*Ok... this didn't happen to me this year. At least, not the part about going into the school on a delay and having it cancelled. But it has happened to me several times in the past. And it's very frustrating. ...The facebook posts are there. And annoying.(less)
Perhaps this book should have been called, "Women Write About 'The Hunger Games.'" Maybe it sounds sexist and trite, but of th...more3.5 Stars, rounded down.
Perhaps this book should have been called, "Women Write About 'The Hunger Games.'" Maybe it sounds sexist and trite, but of the 13 authors contributing to this book, one is male. ...Check that, it doesn't sound trite - it is trite, because the essays are all well written, and I enjoyed them. Double check that. It isn't trite, because I was just wondering what a male perspective would have brought. TRIPLE check that... it IS trite... I'm a male, so I'm bringing a male perspective. ...But not an OUTSIDE male perspective.
Whatever. You probably don't get my point.
So, if I liked the essays, what's the problem? They were insightful. They clarified my thoughts on the books, and many even brought out/up aspects of the trilogy that I hadn't thought about. But several were redundant. It made me wonder if the editors solicited topics from authors, or just said, "Write about whatever you want. Approach this from any angle," and then had several approach it from the same angle.
That said, I was hooked from page one. It's hard putting up with all the idiots in the world. A few years back I got in a fairly heated discussion about The Hunger Games and Battle Royale. (Die-hard Battle Royale fans/ holier-than-thou readers/ people-who-heard-about-Battle-Royale-after-The-Hunger-Games-but-still-wanted-to-be-righteously-angry-about-something-and-finally-had-their-lame-cause argue that Suzanne Collins stole the idea for Hunger Games from Royale... ...Oh grow up. Battle Royale stole it from Lord of the Flies or Stephen King's The Long Walk...*note sarcasm*) Sarah Rees Brennan addresses this head on in the first essay.
You know, I taught The Hunger Games this year. Just thought I'd throw that in there... The essay "Someone to Watch Over Me" by Lili Wilkinson was especially poignant. Although I think Lili was wrong on some of her points - on page 72, under the section "The Watchers" she claims that nobody in all of Panem turns off their tv because, "The viewers at home are just as bloodthirsty and eager for drama as we are when watching an episode of The Bachelorette or The Amazing Race. What does that say about the people of Panem? The people in Panem were living under a politic of fear. We are not. The quote at the beginning of her essay, "It must be very fragile if a handful of berries can bring it down," speaks to this. If more people realized how fragile the structure of tyranny actually is, more people would stand up for themselves. As Katniss took on the Capitol with a handful of berries, Gandhi took on the British Empire with a, "pinch of salt." As I'm writing this (6-1-12), President "President" Assad of Syria claims that the massacre in Houla last week was carried out by the rebels. The rebels say it was Assad. Sound familiar? I don't think Panem knew they could shut down the Capitol by shutting off their TVs, but Wilkinson is right to point out that they could have.
A lot of the essays dealt with reality - and the ambiguity in the book. The characters are always under surveillance, therefore they can't be real. The characters are put into a position where they can't trust each other, therefore they can't be real. The characters are given drugs or stung by tracker jackers that cause them to question reality... Definitely a theme in the book that was also brought out in the essays.
"Bent, Shattered, and Mended" by Blythe Woolston was an interesting look at the mental toll of the games on those participating as well as their society as a whole. I especially like the section on the development of a baby's brain.
The essay that I was most excited about seemed to be a bit of lefty propaganda. Don't get me wrong, I'm cool with propaganda... I watch the Super-bowl just for the ads. But man, do you have to be so overt? Bush didn't start extraordinary rendition, Clinton was using it before him, and Obama is still using it. Furthermore, Obama has targeted U.S. citizens - something Bush never did. I think the tipping point for me was when Sarah Darer Littman equated Saddam Hussein and George W. Bush. (Full disclosure, I voted for Bush twice and Obama once.) I'm not excusing Bush's use of extreme methods of interrogation. Part of the reason I voted for Obama is that I'm against torture. BUT to equate him with Saddam Hussein is inexcusable as well.
Other essays I liked were "The Inevitable Decline of Decadence" by Adrienne Kress as well as Community in the Face of Tyranny by Bree Despain.
If you are considering teaching The Hunger Games, you may want to check out this book as it illuminates many aspects, metaphors, applications, that could possibly go unnoticed on the first... dozen... readings. (I wish I could remember which author said that the avoxes are the perfect metaphor for the districts...)
Or, even if you're not teaching it... if you've read the trilogy a dozen times, it's probably time to pick up this book.
I always wished I was a gifted child - nearly as much as I wish I were a gifted adult.
Reynie (Reynard) Muldoon sees an ad for gifted children and (bei...moreI always wished I was a gifted child - nearly as much as I wish I were a gifted adult.
Reynie (Reynard) Muldoon sees an ad for gifted children and (being a quite gifted child) applies for the position - which vaguely promises "Special Opportunities."
I won't tell you whether he gets the job or not, (view spoiler)[ just kidding, he gets it (hide spoiler)] but I will tell you it follows Reynie and three others on an adventure where everything is an unknown test, and they can't afford to fail.
In an era of vampires, zombies and wizards I found it refreshing to read something a little more straightforward, albeit fantastical and slightly whimsical.
Be forewarned, though it's not a particularly difficult book, I found it much longer than I had anticipated.
Not wanting to give anything away, and not feeling up to a longer review, I'll leave it at that.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
One of my students gave me this book to read because it deals with Social Studies stuff, the main character's wife is Croatian and I lived in Croatia...moreOne of my students gave me this book to read because it deals with Social Studies stuff, the main character's wife is Croatian and I lived in Croatia for quite a while, and there was no AR quiz for it, so... could I maybe make one?...
No problem. And make one I did. I checked it out on www.arbookfind.com and didn't see a quiz about a month ago... but I just checked again and... a quiz is there.
Oh well. He'll get more points from their quiz (17) I would have given 12 to the book.
We're living in a time of polarizing extremes when it comes to politics. Is it the worst it's been? I don't know. We haven't seen one senator caning another in a while, but who knows what the future holds.
Empire looks at the United States on the unsuspecting cusp of a second Civil (or Revolutionary depending on who you talk to) War. There are lots of reasons people would argue that it can't/won't happen here, but Card makes some valid points that given the right scenario a spark can catch.
It’s easy to think that in a Civil War pitting red states against blue states there’d be no Mason/Dixon, no geographical distinction – and therefore we’d have an unfightable war. Just because we had that distinction last time doesn’t mean we’ll need one this time. Card points us to Rwanda where the Hutu and Tutsi were mixed geographically throughout the country. I may point out India, where right after they gained independence they crashed into a civil war based on religion – the Muslims moving to Pakistan, and the Hindus moving into India. There were general geographic distinctions (like red state/blue state) but they were also deceptive.
The book made me think through a lot of possibilities and whether or not we were really there. It made me go back and read The Federalist #10. It made me watch the highlights of this guy’s rally... books make me do a lot of things... in those regards, it was a good book. But I didn’t think it was Card’s best writing. There was a lot of dialogue, there were a lot of snippety facts thrown in that I loved as a Social Studies teacher, but I’m not sure how much the average middle schooler/ high schooler would be able to pick up. (Hong Kong v. China v. Taiwan; Farsi v. Arabic; Croatians and Serbians;... you know, passing references to a lot of facts...) There were some mistakes in the text as well (minor though they be...) For instance on page 321: “The only U.S. military ************** or ********** in ************ were ************** and ********** ... and then the ************...” But he forgot about the guys flying the planes. (Sorry, I didn’t want to spoil it, but I also don’t want the accuracy of this book review to come into question – as has in the past. A year from now if some punk kid who thinks the book deserves 5 stars and not 3 comes on here and says, “What are you talking about? Mistakes in the book... there are no mistakes... now you know... take that fictional punk kid...) Maybe it’s minor, and maybe that’s the only one... but I felt like there were a couple places that didn’t really mesh up.
What can I say? It made me think. Do I need more than that from a book? (less)
Our LA teacher has some of the 7th graders read this book and he gave it to me, telling me it's a quick read. It was. I read it in about half an hour...moreOur LA teacher has some of the 7th graders read this book and he gave it to me, telling me it's a quick read. It was. I read it in about half an hour to 45 minutes.
The story revolves around 2 boys, Tony and Joel. Joel is the safe, conservative one, while Tony is a little bit rougher around the edges. Joel's father gives him some instructions as to what he's allowed to do, but he feels peer pressured to ignore them and has to deal with the consequences, whatever they may be.
Joel tried to escape by lying about what happened - and that's what our LA teacher focuses on because he can get some great writing out of the kids dealing with lies. I think the bigger themes here are choices, morality, and helplessness.
Pretty good quick read. It's got some kind of weird medal on the front too with a man and two kids... Newberry Honor Book or something. I don't know what that is. It's probably some award they made specifically for this book to make it look good.(less)
this was a great yarn. i think of this trilogy as often as i think of harry potter. in some ways i like it quite a bit more. (of course it's apples to...morethis was a great yarn. i think of this trilogy as often as i think of harry potter. in some ways i like it quite a bit more. (of course it's apples to oranges - and harry potter rocks.) sabriel starts off dark though, and the darker harry potter books are better. (according to me) it could be because they are more developed. sabriel starts off dark. she doesn't take 3 years of hogwarts to get there.(less)