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Posts Tagged ‘Suzanne Collins’

Catching Fire, Suzanne Collins
I’d been eagerly awaiting this sequel to The Hunger Games – waiting for it to arrive at the library, that is (I had it on hold). I read it in one day – kept interrupting my afternoon work to sneak extra chapters. I was fascinated and repelled in equal measure – Collins doesn’t mince words about the violence of her fictional world. Katniss, the heroine, is still brave and likable, but I wanted to shake her at times – she can be frustratingly stubborn and naive. The ending was a cliffhanger, of course – so now I have Mockingjay on hold, to see how this all ends.

The Secret of Sarah Revere, Ann Rinaldi
I found this at the Quincy library book sale for 50 cents – and the saleswoman threw it in for free when I handed her a twenty to pay my $3.50 bill. (I guess they were low on quarters.) Anyway, I toured Paul Revere’s house recently, and I loved this story told through his daughter Sarah’s eyes, of the months before his famous (though not his only) ride. Sarah ponders the question, What matters? What’s true? Or what people think? throughout the book, and I love her father’s answer: “What’s true, Sarah. Always what’s true.” Great reading for fans of Boston history and young adult lit.

The Eyre Affair, Jasper Fforde
I’d heard about this series of “literary detective” fiction and wanted to see what all the fuss was about. It’s entertaining, particularly for bookish types – the text is rife with references to classic books, and many of the names are clever plays on words. I liked our heroine, Thursday Next, and her sidekicks, but the story didn’t charm me as much as I’d wanted it to. Still, it was well-written and entertaining.

The Girl I Left Behind: A Narrative History of the Sixties, Judith Nies
I heard the author speak a few weeks ago; her stories of life on Capitol Hill in the Mad Men era were fascinating, so I checked her memoir out from the library. Nies spins a compelling tale of sexism, naivete and activism as she grew into herself (and eventually joined the women’s movement) in the 1960s and early ’70s. I thought it ended rather abruptly, but I learned a lot about the 1960s. Highly recommended for students of history, popular culture or women’s issues.

The Tower, The Zoo, and the Tortoise, Julia Stuart
How could I not pick up a book whose cover features a whimsical drawing of Beefeater, a tortoise, some ravens, and a giraffe sticking its head out of a tower? This tale of a menagerie at the Tower of London, and the poor Beefeater (called Balthazar, of all things) in charge of it, charmed me. The writing is a little self-conscious – some of the lines are almost too cute – but I got drawn into the story, and came to love the characters and their misadventures in and around the Tower, and at the London Underground’s Lost Property Office. A fun read for Anglophiles like me.

Just Let Me Lie Down: Necessary Terms for the Half-Insane Working Mom, Kristin van Ogtrop
Kristin is the managing editor of Real Simple, my favorite magazine, and I like reading her blog posts on the RS website. So I picked this book up, and laughed out loud at it, even though I am not yet a mom. (I’m sure it will be infinitely funnier when I am.) This book also got me through my third  (and, thank heaven, final) attempt to register my car at the Boston RMV office. (So. Frustrating. I can’t even tell you.)

Emily of Deep Valley, Maud Hart Lovelace
I love the Betsy-Tacy series – so much – but had never read Emily’s story. So I picked it up (along with a Betsy-Tacy tote bag!) at the Boston Book Fest, and I loved it. Emily is utterly real and likable, and I cheered for her as she came to grips with life after high school (she has to care for her grandfather, so she can’t go to college). I loved watching her “muster her wits,” start a Browning Club, make friends with the Syrians, get over her crush on a real jerk and finally fall in love with a good man. (I appreciated that, like Betsy Ray, she fell in love after she learned how to stand on her own two feet.) A wonderful story – with many appearances by the Deep Valley crowd I know and love.

The Heroine’s Bookshelf, Erin Blakemore
The lovely Erin guest posted for me recently, and I met her in Wellesley on Oct. 27. I’d won a galley of the book just before meeting her, and I thoroughly enjoyed her tour of some favorite heroines (Lizzy Bennet, Jo March, Scout Finch and others) and their authors. Recommended if you count literary heroines among your friends (and we all know I do), and if you love a good author story.

A Peaceful Retirement, Miss Read
I enjoy Miss Read’s gentle stories about life in Fairacre, an archetypal English village, and found this one – a beautiful edition – for $5 at my beloved Brattle Book Shop. I chuckled over her adventures in retirement – which is, of course, not as peaceful as she had planned! Quaint, amusing, comforting bedtime reading.

The Rebellion of Jane Clarke, Sally Gunning
Now that I live in Boston, I’m fascinated by the history of this city, and historical fiction relating to it. This is a story of a young woman who moves from the coast to the city just before the Boston Massacre, and has to decide which side – colonist or royalist – she will join. I enjoyed reading about colonial Boston and some revolutionary figures, like Sam Adams, John Adams, Henry Knox and the Quincy brothers. (And I just visited the massacre site recently – it’s marked by a circle of cobblestones outside the Old State House.)

Once Again to Zelda, Marlene Wagman-Geller
This book caught my eye because it promised “stories behind literature’s most intriguing dedications.” But I knew some of the stories already, found others depressing, and was not impressed by the writing at all (I kept mentally editing as I went). Skip this one and look to other books for more about your favorite authors.

The Lost Hero, Rick Riordan
I finished off the month with a winner – the first in Rick Riordan’s new Heroes of Olympus series. It’s related to Percy Jackson, but focuses on a different group of kids – Jason, who has amnesia; Piper, who’s troubled and lonely but good-hearted; and Leo, who’s survived on humor and his wits for most of his life. I followed their story avidly as they figured out who they were (demigods), what they have to do (go on a dangerous quest, of course) and how to fight off a variety of monsters. Great reading, and I’m looking forward to the next book in the series.

What have you been reading lately, friends? I’d love to hear your recommendations!

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