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Saturday, March 31, 2012

Catching Fire - The Hunger Games Book 2

So, building on my last post, today we shall be talking about book two of the Hunger Games trilogy, Catching Fire.  By far, this was my favorite book in the series.  I feel like the first one set the stage and the second one was the climax of everything and then the third.... well, we'll talk about that one later.  I'm going to focus on analyzing the story and talking about what I think about style, character development, etc.  I already spent a decent amount of time digging into the deeper meanings and such in my post on the first book.  If you haven't already, I highly suggest reading it before you jump into this one, as this one will build on the other a little bit.

***SPOILER ALERT*** I will be discussing the book as if I am talking to someone who has already read it, thus I might give away important plot points, so if you haven't read it yet, consider yourself warned.

Picking up right where the Hunger Games left off, with Peeta and Katniss returning home as victors, we watch as new drama and difficulties unfold for Katniss.  She and Peeta are barely speaking since he found out that her lovey-dovey act in the arena was just that - an act.  She and Gale rarely see each other since she still has to keep up the idea that she and Peeta are in love and Gale is now working in the coal mines.  In short, Katniss' life is now pretty miserable.  Before the hunger games, Gale was her

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

The Hunger Games - Book

So, back in '10 I saw The Hunger Games at the library and put it on my list of books to read.  But I had about 20 other books on the list, so it was pretty far down on the bottom.  Then more and more people I know started reading it, and then I found out it was being made into a movie, so I figured I should probably bump it up a couple notches on the list so I would know what all these people are talking about. So I went and checked it out of the library, and spent all day one Wednesday reading it.  I couldn't put it down.

***SPOILER ALERT*** I will be discussing things that happen in the book that may give away certain plot points, so if you don't want to know, stop now.

The Hunger Games is a well written book and to be completely honest I enjoyed it very much, but it was also rather disturbing.  The government takes
a bunch of kids, throws them into an arena and has them fight to the death on television and the whole country is forced to watch.  If you've read the books or watched the movie, detach yourself from the fact that the books are very well written and interesting and that the movie was pretty faithful and well made and think about that premise for a minute.  A group of

Thursday, March 22, 2012

On a Personal Note....

I've sat down to my computer so many times in the last week to write, but every time I end up stopping, deleting whatever sentences I have come up with and going back to stalk my friends on facebook. Why? Well, quite simply because all I can think about right now is my family's crazy situation and what I can do to help, and that's kind of personal. And believe it or not, I'm kind of a private person. I have a hard time sharing my thoughts and feelings with my family, let alone write about them on a blog. Which is interesting, because I'm a writer. I don't think that I'm that good at talking (although others tell me I'm very articulate and communicate very clearly), but give me a piece of paper and a pencil and out flows everything I am thinking. Sometimes it takes the shape of a poem or a story, a form that someone could read and not realize that what I wrote is actually my heart. They would just think that it was a good story or emotional poem. I like that. It makes me feel safe.
I think that's what it boils down to for me. Feeling safe. For some reason I have it in my head that showing emotion is weakness. That admitting your need for help is weakness. And I am a strong person. I am not weak. But I've had to learn over the last two years that letting go and admitting my insufficiency is strength. For I am made perfect in weakness, and when I let go and let God take over, He fills me with His strength.
I constantly need to be reminded of this. I'm the oldest of ten children; I still live at home; my dad has been unemployed for eight months and we are very close to losing our home. And there is nothing that any of us can do. My dad is pounding the pavement every day searching for a job. Any job. My mom takes care of the house and the rest of the kids and I am a full time student who has to study, but also takes advantage of every opportunity to make some money by house cleaning, babysitting, house sitting, cat sitting, or working my home based business.
What is there left to say or do? Nothing. All we can do is wait and pray. I know God has a plan. I know He is leading us down a road and that He knows where it leads. But it feels like He has led us into a tunnel that is a thousand miles long with no lights. And as of yet, I cannot see the light at the end that means we are almost out of the tunnel. I feel like we are still in the middle and the train has broken down.
I know that this tunnel will end. We are going through a hard time right now, but I also know things could be much worse. We aren't kicked out onto the street yet; we have more than enough food; we have clothes, clean water and electricity.
So now that you know what I'm going through, you'll probably want to be kept up to date on how things go, so stick around and I'll keep you along as we go on this crazy ride into the unknown.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

St. Patrick's Day

Today is St. Patrick's day.  The day when the Irish gather together and celebrate their heritage and a day that those who are not Irish use as a socially acceptable day to party it up with lots of dancing and beer.  Well, I supposed the Irish do that too, but at least we are kind of known for our beer.  Anyway, St. Patrick's day is a day when everyone, regardless of their background wears a little bit o' green and takes a moment to give a nod to the wee folk of Irish legend.  But do most people even know who St. Patrick was, or why we celebrate him?
I didn't think so.
St. Patrick was the first Christian missionary to Ireland.  He was first brought to Ireland from England as a slave by pirates.  He spent several years as a slave, during which time he learned the language and customs of Ireland.  After a time he escaped back to England where he studied and became a priest.  One would think that after being forced to spend so many years as a slave in a foreign country, one would never want to go back.  But that was no the case with Patrick.  He felt God tugging on his heart, calling him back to Ireland.  Back then, Ireland was a very dark place.  They had never heard of God, Jesus or His word.  The Druids and their cultish magic ruled the land, and they did not take kindly to people who questioned them.  Patrick felt called to go back, regardless of the dangers.  So he did and to this day, a very large percentage of the Irish population subscribe to either Catholicism or Christianity.
After Patrick's death, the Catholic church declared him a saint and the Irish people dedicated the day of his death as a day they would take time to remember and be thankful for the man that brought them God's message of hope and forgiveness.  Over the years, like so many of the Christian holidays and festivals, St. Patrick's day turned into little more than an excuse to gather together, eat, drink and make merry.  But this year, why don't we take a moment, before we dive into our corned beef and cabbage meal to stop and thank the Lord for brave men and women, like St. Patrick, who were and are willing to give up the comforts of a "normal" life, to give everything they have with reckless abandon to the Lord for the sake of bringing Him glory and furthering His kingdom.
St. Patrick's day is big deal in my family for two reasons.  We are Irish.  If you know anything about the characteristics if the Irish, you could tell just by looking at my family.  We are all very interested in each others lives, you might call it nosy.  Most of us (myself included) can have quite the firecracker temper.  We are also Christians and we use this day also to talk about missionaries and thank God for them.  But see, missionaries aren't the only people who are called to live a life of reckless abandon.  God calls ALL Christians to live that way.  And, sometimes we need to be reminded of that.  All to often we get bogged down by worldly cares and forget that God calls us to cast all of that on Him.  I know I do.  So today, let's take a moment to thank the Lord for His care and rededicate our hearts and minds, giving everything to Him with reckless abandon.  Cause I don't know about you, but I want to be known as someone who was willing to give it all, one who followed no matter the cost.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Gulliver's Travels

So, for my Critical Thinking class, we had to read Gulliver's Travels by Jonathan Swift.  Quite honestly, I'm not even sure where to start when it comes to reviewing it.  It was interesting I guess and I did learn a lot about thinking critically, but the book itself was so crass and gross that I had a hard time reading it.  I mean really, do we need to read about Gulliver's bodily functions and how many times he was "raped"?  Seriously!  Those things are not important to the storyline, nor did they serve much of a purpose when it came to critical thinking.  Man, I am so glad that book is over!
As far as ratings go, I give it 1 for language, 1 for violence and a 3 for sexual content.
Contrary to the connotation that our culture has given to this story, it is not for children.