Friday, November 20, 2009

Riveting Reads: Catching Fire

It’s out! The sequel to Hunger Games is out!

Okay, so Catching Fire has been out for a couple of months, but in this economy one copy of a novel has a way of circulating through many of my friends and family and students before I have the chance to devour it. You might remember from an earlier review that I referred to Suzanne Collins’ first book in this series as “word chocolate”, and the description still applies to the second. Catching Fire had me biting my nails down to the cuticle. (Poor things look like I dug myself out of a casket.) Who would have thought Collins could outdo herself in the sequel. (Isn’t that the great thing about book sequels verses movie sequels? Book sequels are usually worth the purchase.)

To recap the ending of Hunger Games, the brave and resourceful Katniss Everdeen just won the national Hunger Games, although not alone. She and her doting fellow District Twelve tribute, a baker’s son named Peeta, accidentally survive the death match together under the ruse of a couple deep in love.

This is where Catching Fire begins.

Katniss and Peeta return home, go their separate ways, and only pretend to be in love whenever the Capitol is watching. Katniss wonders if she’ll ever even have a friendship with Gale again—the boy in District Twelve that she really likes. Since the rules of the games clearly state that there can only be one winning tribute every year, the president of Panem fumes as this tiny act of rebellion starts catching on in the other Districts. He fears that the Districts will all revolt as a result of Katniss and Peeta’s stunt, so the president leans on her to convince the public of the victors’ love, to legitimize it with sappy sideways glances and passionate on-camera kisses. Will they be convincing enough for the president? Read it and find out.

My one criticism, which you may have already heard from other book lovers, is that the ending of Catching Fire could not be more truncated! I was all geared up for an ending that tapered into a resolution. Instead I found a spray of unresolved problems that snaked around my sense of closure like a live wire. Am I so angry that I won’t read the third book when it comes out? No. The author hooked me with Hunger Games, and reeled me in with Catching Fire. I can only hope the third will grill me with lemon. (Yeah, time to retire that analogy to Florida.)

In any case, Collins is an exceptional, award-winning author. If you can’t wait for the last book in the Hunger Games series to come out, Collins is also the author of the Underland Chronicles Series. Her novels are praised by Stephen King, Stephenie Meyer, The New York Times, USA Today, and…me. Pick up your New York Times Bestseller today. Or at least borrow one from a friend.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009


Yesterday was a momentous one.

Weezer's latest album: Raditude hit the stores.

I personally purchased my copy for $14.99 at ShopKo in Spanish Fork. (Plus, I got a hot new pair of leather boots while I was there. Couldn't resist.) ShopKo didn't make the kind of fuss they should have about the album, as i had to dig in the regular section around some country CDs to find it. But behold, there it was. A large dog on the cover jumping in a iconic eighties living room (you know the kind with the striped brown and mustard couch, simplistic coffee table, and a carpet the same color and texture of a teenage boy's drab, overly-long and barely washed hair.) On the coffee table was a book--it's title unclear to the naked eye, and I found myself wondering what the book might be titled? What would Weezer have on the coffee table at home. Inasmuch as I don't follow any Weezer fan sites where this kind of thing is already known, I just guessed.


Snuggies for dummies?
Track suits etcetera?
The memoir of a 1/2 Japanese girl?

Any other suggestions?

Anyhoo, the actual music, while slightly pop-ier than usual, has the signature "odd-girls are hot" and "regular jobs suck" thematic quality. At first, I didn't love the "partying" song or whatever it's called. But soon, I warmed much like I was wearing a Weezer Snuggie. Overall, the CD will be immortalized in my collection. like all the other albums. I am still firm in my declaration that Pinkerton is the best CD, but I still celebrate all things Weezer.

(PS-Rivers-if you're reading this, name one of your next songs Rena (pronounced re-nuh) I'm a 1/4 Mexican Mormon girl from Utah with feminist core and a birth mark shaped like Australia. I once had a cat named Nicodemus, a Pomeranian/poodle named Chanel. And my kick-a husband believes in the Sasquatch. Tell me you can't come up with lyrics for that!).


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