Friday Five: Recently Read

Friday Five: The last five (plus one!) books that I’ve read

  1. The Tournament  – Matthew Reilly
  2. The Book Thief – Markus Zusak
  3. The Fiery Heart – Richelle Mead
  4. The Hunger GamesSuzanne Collins
  5. Catching Fire – Suzanne Collins
  6. Mockingjay – Suzanne Collins

Because I have finished university for the semester, I am finding myself with a lot more extra time on my hands which also means I now have more time for non-scholarly reading. These books managed to all be read within the week and a half since my final exam, and while they aren’t exactly The Iliad I have devoured each and every one of them gleefully.

downloadMost recently (last night in fact) I finally got my e-hands on the e-book of The Tournament. While I had read that it would be different to Reilly’s previous novels, and it certainly was, there was still the pace, twists and intrigue that I have come to love in Reilly’s work. Narrated predominantly by a young princess, in pre-Elizabethan Europe and featuring a host of historical places, people and situations, The Tournament is in my opinion the best of Reilly’s standalone novels. One of my favourite things about reading a Reilly book is the immense amount of research that has evidently been put into it, and subsequently I always come away from reading one having learned something new. The Tournament features action of the sexual nature that has barely been touched in his novels before, and in the questions at the end of the novel Reilly says that unlike Hover Car Racer¸ because of the explicit content that it’s definitely not a novel for children. I would definitely agree, and the juxtapositioning of this content with the youth and innocence of the narrator makes for a very intriguing read. I am very glad that I chose this for my e-book purchase of the week over the new Janet Evanovich.

the-book-thiefOn my laptop, in countless notebooks and journals are lists that I make of books that I want to read, and books that I should read, such as 1984, Love in the Time of Cholera and For Whom The Bell Tolls. The Book Thief has been on these lists for a while now, and was purchased months ago before I started my final semester of university with the intent to read it once I was finished. I have read The Messenger by Zusak before, and with what I remember about his narrative style combined with my relative unfamiliarity with war-era fiction I was initially hesitant to delve into this novel. However, and similarly to The Tournament, the young female protagonist helped me to become engaged with the story. From reading The Messenger I remember that Zusak takes a while to get into, but that once he has you in his emotional clutches it is supremely easy to get emotionally invested. Liesel hooked me in very easily once I got to know her further, and once I got my head around the unorthodox narrator. I liked the throwaway glimpses into future action though I did keep thinking to myself, “spoilers!” Again, and maybe because I haven’t read a lot of Holocaust/WWII texts, I found that I learned from this book as well. I am very excited to see how this gets turned into a movie, and I also think that Geoffrey Rush is going to make me fall in love with Papa even more.

9833184After reading The Fiery Heart and considering the rest of the Bloodlines series, I was struck with the thought that these novels and the ones preceding it are infinitely better that the Twilight novels. Both deal with teen female protagonists immersing themselves in the world of vampires, but while the Twilight novels only flesh out two and a half characters (at a stretch), the Vampire Academy and Bloodlines books have explored almost every character in a way that makes you root for them regardless of whether they are the “big bad” or not. One of my favourite narrative styles is that of the switching points of view which is employed very successfully through Sydney and Adrian, the latter of which may be one of my favourite and most deeply fascinating characters that I have met in a long time. I could also make a comparison between Katniss Everdeen and Sydney, though quite frankly Sydney would win out. Hopefully the next book in the series follows this structure, though with how the events of the book ended I will be happy with new points of view.

The Hunger Games Trilogy

The Hunger Games, Catching Fire and Mockingjay I read in one marathon evening a couple days before I went to see the second Hunger Games movies. Admittedly I am a bit of a skim reader, so I find that every time I re-read a book I find new aspects of it that appeal to me, new details that stand out. This trilogy is no exception, and one of my favourite things about these books in particular are the moments that resonate with me and elicit a strong reaction regardless of how many times I see and read them. In the first book for example, and the movie too, one of my moments progresses like this:
“Primrose Everdeen”: Heart slows down, can just hear it pounding, eyes dry out.
Reading/seeing Prim’s untucked blouse forming a ducktail: Breath quickens.
Hearing (reading) Katniss yell out to Prim: Eyes start to fill.
“I volunteer”: A little bit of a whimper escapes, eyes brimming.
Reading/seeing District 12 salute Katniss: Eyes overflow, throat dries out, hand muffling a sob.

I get a similar reaction from the end of Catching Fire, the last strike of the war outside the President’s mansion and Katniss’ last encounter with Coin in Mockingjay (attempting not to spoil anything for anyone here!).

Hopefully in the next few weeks I can get my head around:

  • Tender is the Night – F Scott Fitzgerald
  • The Beautiful and the Damned– F Scott Fitzgerald
  • Frankenstein – Mary Shelley
  • Summer Crossing – Truman Capote
  • Breakfast at Tiffany’s – Truman Capote
  • Takedown Twenty – Janet Evanovich

Hope you are reading something fun heading into summer!

Love,
Andrea

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