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Archive for February, 2012

The Hunger Games

Good morning! I finished listening to The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins this week. It wasn’t my usual mystery read, but it was worth the venture into a different genre. I’d heard a ton of hype about this book and finally saw the preview to the upcoming movie, and I was intrigued. 

Here’s my disclaimer:  the premise of this book honestly might make you think “That’s awful! I can’t read that.” And I felt the same until some kind-hearted people I know told me that it’s a really good story. I trusted their judgment and am now reading the second book within the trilogy, so I’m glad I took the leap of faith.

The setting of this book is a world that we don’t live in, thankfully. In what is left of North America is a country called Panem, which is ruled by cruel people in The Capitol, where there is money, privilege, and modern-day amenities. The Capitol is surrounded by twelve districts, with economies ranging from okay-at-best to extremely poor—people hunting to survive, and some actually starving to death.

Each year, The Capitol sponsors the Hunger Games, whereby each district has to send one girl and one boy between the ages of 12 and 18 to fight to the death on live television. For the Game to end there can only be one victor, which means that twenty-three children will have to die. When 16-year-old Katniss Everdeen’s younger sister is selected for the Game, Katniss volunteers to take her place and initially views it as a death sentence. But then…given her instinct for survival, could she actually be a contender?

This book is brilliantly written, and there’s not a lot of time spent on the gore or the deaths. (There is some of that, but it’s not overpowering). Rather, it focuses on Katniss—her determination, her smarts, and her innate kindness. Collins even manages to weave in a little bit of a love story and some friendships throughout the book, and it adds the perfect touch of tenderness to a book that really could seem savage.

As I mentioned, I’m currently listening to the second book in the trilogy, but I’m also reading Zero Day by David Baldacci, so next time I’ll be writing about one of those. Til’ then, happy reading, and have a great week!  🙂

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Miracle Cure

Good morning! I finished listening to a long book last week, titled Miracle Cure, by Harlan Coben. Please be aware: he wrote this book about twenty years ago, so it’s not the Harlan-Coben-style that we are used to today. While I missed his typical main character, Myron Bolitar, I would say that this book is worth the read. There are quite a few musical and cultural references that make it clear that this isn’t a current-day book, but Coben makes it easy to place yourself back in the early 90s to follow the story line.

The two main characters in this book are a major power-couple:  television journalist Sara Lowell and NBA star Michael Silverman. Their family and social connections have them tied to all kinds of prominent people within politics, sports, and medicine, and there are a lot of glimpses into that rich-and-famous world. Given the timeframe of the book, the AIDS epidemic is a fairly new—and deadly—disease, but Sara and Michael are among the few people aware of a clinic that has seemingly changed HIV positive patients into HIV negative patients. If true, the ramifications would obviously be astounding, but unfortunately, the patients have become the target of a serial killer. And then Sara and Michael’s world becomes rocked when Michael is told that he’s HIV positive. But is he?

Figuring out the good guys/girls from the bad is sometimes very obvious in this book, but there are a couple of surprises as well. It’s amazing what motivates people when money and notoriety are involved.

Like last week’s book, this is a somewhat dark read. There are no laugh-out-loud or carefree moments, but it does make you think, and sometimes that’s a good thing.  🙂 I will work on getting a back to my light-hearted mysteries for the next blog.  Till then, happy reading!

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Innocent

Greetings! I just finished a long book, titled Innocent, by Scott Turow. This is the sequel to his book Presumed Innocent, which was made into a great movie back in 1990, with Harrison Ford.

In an odd way, this book almost felt like a Rocky sequel, with the two main characters back in the ring, so to speak. You once again have Rusty Sabich, who is now a chief judge of an appellate court, accused of murder by his long-time nemesis, Tommy Molto. Over twenty years have passed since Molto unsuccessfully accused Rusty of murdering his mistress, and the victim in this case is none other than Sabich’s wife. (If you haven’t read Presumed Innocent or at least watched the movie, give it a go. It’s not critical that you do that before reading this book, but it would probably help. There are some insights into the wife, and she’s a doozy).  

The twists and turns in this story were great, and I loved learning about some intricacies within our judicial system in terms that I could understand, but it was also a long read. There were no laugh-out-loud moments in this book; rather it was compelling and reflective. The story gives you insight into all of the primary players’ points of view—their regrets, their weak moments, their mistakes. It’s GOOD stuff.

I also just finished listening to Miracle Cure by Harlan Coben, so I’ll be typing about that one very soon. In the meantime, enjoy your weekend and the Super Bowl ~ go Patriots! 🙂

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