Sunday, April 10, 2011
"The Hunger Games" may be sold in the Teen Favorites section of Barnes & Noble, but it is definitely adult fare. It is set in a post-apocalyptic, reborn future where two children from each district (think, state) are selected annually to fight to the death in a vicious arena while being televised for national entertainment. The fights to the death are brutal, graphic, and oftentimes, nauseating. Author Suzanne Collins spares no detail as knives slash foreheads, rocks crush skulls, and spears impale 12 year old girls. There is blood, there is ooze, there are poison-induced hallucinations, and there are vicious animals that shred a boys face agonizingly slowly as he moans and cries out for death. And, of course, the entire premise of the book is that the people are so oppressed by their government and live in such fear that they must willingly let their children die in this bloodbath each year.
I heard about "The Hunger Games" when a book editor told Kurt to read it, mentioning that it was to become a movie starring Jennifer Lawrence (Winter's Bone) next year. Just the fact that Lawrence will be playing the books's heroine, Katniss Everdeen, is clue enough as the book's general mood. Bleak. Hopeless. Gritty. So far, only two other parts have been cast: Josh Hutcherson and Liam Hemsworth as Katniss's fellow District 12 competitor and as her faithful hunting partner from her normal life, respectively. Kurt fears that the movie will not carry its seemingly necessary R rating because that would restrict its audience to greatly, so we are expecting a watered down, PG-13 version. Just as bad, Kurt predicts voiceover narration as the majority of the writing takes place in Katniss's head. If either of these two potential pitfalls materialize, there will be no denying that, in this case, the book is definitely better than the movie.
"The Hunger Games" takes place far in the future, giving it that comfort of "this could never really happen," but the truth is that we are not far from it now, and that adds tremendously to the draw of its premise. The outrageous nature of entertainment today and the ways in which we exploit children do not seem so very contradictory to a world where kids slaughter each other for fun; we already have it in virtual versions.
Katniss is just a kid, but she lives in a world where she illegally hunts for food each day to provide for her mentally absent mother and needy, younger sister. She knows an adult life and she is ripped away from a family that needs her and forced to kill others lest her own family be annihilated as a repercussion. These are not the typical rites of passage of teenagers, and these are not the themes common to teen literature. I assure you, any adult will relate to Katniss's internal conflicts and turn the pages rapidly to see how she confronts them.
You only have a year until the movie comes out, so read the book now. This way, you will have enough time to read the other two books in the trilogy, too: "Catching Fire" and "Mockingjay." I have not read them yet, but I am going to buy them today.
Monday, March 21, 2011
Monday, March 14, 2011
Every Monday night, after "RuPaul's Drag Race" (one of three shows I watch, not counting "Jeopardy" or "Wheel of Fortune"), "Be Good Johnny Weir" came on and reminded me how much I loved that little diva. 11:30 was past my bedtime so I rarely got to see it but, once or twice, I snuck an extra half hour of wakefulness to indulge in some figure skating fun. These late night reruns are no longer aired on Monday, so the temptation to stay up too late is an issue no more. Tonight, though, Johnny was brought back to my week through an appearance on Drag Race - hoorah!
Sunday, March 13, 2011
Monday, August 31, 2009
Have the California wildfires spread to North Wales? Were ninety kittens stuck in the trees in my front yard? Was it the National Firetruck Festival?
I walked up to the end of the firetruck assembly to find another assembly...one of people rallied around the firehouse:
Yes, that is a circle of bagpipe blowers and drum bangers, who were performing song after song of Scottish wonder, surrounded by police, council members, and, seemingly, everyone in the borough. As I joined the crowd, wearing no shoes and eating my dinner out of a square bowl in public (much to Kurt's dismay), I learned (from Kurt) that this entire hullaballo was...get ready...to dedicate a new firetruck! Wooohooooo!
Are you serious? There was more pomp for this new truck than there was for the July 4th parade this summer. Apparently, this new truck wanted to have a play date with all the other trucks in the county, because every fire copmany for miles was represented. Wow. Who knew our new little firetruck had so much sway in the community? I think the message is clear: my fire truck is more popular than yours.
Oh, and one last question: why was this event Scottish themed? Is my town secretly Scottish? I know we were founded a couple of hundred years ago, and our name is North Wales, and Wales is in the UK with Scotland, but are bagpipes also Welsh?! I dunno. I guess my firetruck requested bagpipes for its coming out party and, by now, we all know - my firetruck gets what it wants.
Happy Birthday, North Wales Firetruck! Now I know why the guys were powerwashing the firehouse sidewalks this morning.
Sunday, August 16, 2009
Thursday, August 6, 2009
I think owls are awesome. They are fierce creatures with sharp features and mad hunting skills. For these same reasons, I also think owls are a little bit scary! Tonight, after our screening of Julie & Julia, I was driving home from Kurt's parents' house when I spotted something tiny on the road. I stopped suddenly and saw what had appeared, at first, to be a bird or small rodent, but never moved no matter how close my car got to it. As I waited just a few feet from the object, I finally decided it must be a toy. Since, at this point, I was too close to see it any longer, I backed up my car so I coudl decide exactly where it was before I drove over it, planning to cause the least possible damage to my car. When I backed up, it moved! Its head turned toward my car, and I entered my staring match with an eastern screech owl!
I am sure, by looking at this image, you can understand why I thought I may have been looking at a toy. Not only is it so cartoonish in nature (hello eyes!), but it was staring off into the distance, never flinching as my car came within feet of its tiny little existence! When it finally did look at me, I was overcome with a mixed sensation of excitement and woe. Part gremlin, part bird, the owl was not even slightly afraid of my car, and when its giant eyes were staring me down, I was a bit taken back by this ten inch creature.
All in all, it was a pretty sweet experience. I never saw an owl in the wild before, and I do not imagine one will ever stop my car again. And Kurt was driving in the car behind me, while I was on the phone with him, so I sort of shared the experience with him and he got to see it when it finally succumbed to me in our staring match and flew away.