Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The Dystopian Lit Review, Part 1: The Hunger Games

I was recently talking to Kevin about books, and I realized that many of my favorites fall into the dystopian genre.  I found this rather surprising, because I guess dystopian novels can be a bit of a downer, or perhaps a little too similar.  But regardless, the heart wants what it wants.  This is the start to (hopefully) a series about the dystopian books I've read, either in the past or recently.  And let's start with one of my current obsessions:

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins is one of my new favorite books.  (The trilogy as a whole is supremely excellent, but for our purposes today I'll be talking only about the first.)  If you haven't read it, here's a synopsis via Daily Blam:
THE HUNGER GAMES chronicles a dystopic Capitol which requires its twelve subjugated districts to pay tribute in the form of a teenage boy and girl, forced to participate in the annual “Hunger Games,” a fight-to-the-death live televised event. Katniss Everdeen’s little sister is chosen in the lottery to participate and Katniss volunteers to take her place. Although persevering through hardship is commonplace for Katniss, she must start making choices that weigh survival against humanity and life against love in order to win the games and return home.
Don't be mistaken - this is not the same as Battle Royale by Koushun Takami.  You can read about the differences here.

So why do I like The Hunger Games?
  1. I think it's very well-written, and for a piece of young adult fiction, Collins does not pull any punches.  It's a brave book and it really does make you a little uncomfortable.
  2. Katniss is a strong female character and a role model for young girls.  A lot of people compare HG to Twilight, but I think that, aside from a main female character and a love triangle (one which is much more emphasized than the other - guess which), you can't get much different.  The difference between Bella and Katniss would need its own post, however.  I like Katniss because she's young and hot-headed, but she fights for what matters to her.  And just like any other teenage girl, she doesn't always know what she really wants, but she moves forward anyway.
  3. It's a social commentary (as most dystopian stories are), but with a new twist: reality television.  The Hunger Games in the novels are televised for all of Panem to see; citizens of the twelve districts and the Capitol city itself tune in to watch these children kill one another.  How far off are shows like Survivor, Fear Factor, and Real Housewives?  Is this the future of America? 
  4. I'm also intrigued by the Roman influences in the trilogy, with the fight-to-the-death event itself and the country's name, Panem.
  5. I always love a series with a good following.  I think that's what makes Harry Potter so great - the community that surrounds it.  I feel like, with the help of the movies coming out starting this March, the Hunger Games community is really growing.  And who doesn't like having a bunch of people to talk about books with? (Oh, is it just nerdy people like me?  All right then.)
Hunger Games Extras:
  • Visit The Capitol here to be placed in a district.  I'm a member of District 3 (the Technology district):

  • Check out the trailer for the movie (out March 23, 2012) here!
  • Hunger Games Wiki - if you're really hardcore about this whole thing.
  • And I'll leave you with some character posters for the movie, because they look totally badass (see all eight here):

Did you read Hunger Games?  What did you think?

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Cake Walk

Blogging is tough.

This month has been incredibly busy, and blogging has been the last thing on my mind!  I will obviously have to extend my day zero six months of blogging again, but that's okay.  Some photos from around here, edited with Little Photo on my Android phone:

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving!  I'm hoping to get into a better blogging groove for the rest of my "6 months."  I have a couple of ideas, so it's just a matter of sitting down and writing them out.  I already have an idea for my last post in this challenge.

Now it's time for me to go listen to some Christmas music.  First up?  A Charlie Brown Christmas on vinyl.

Do you listen to Christmas music?  What's your favorite?

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Day Zero Fail

Yes, I made this in Paint.

I realized today that while working on #45 on my list - Blog Once a Week for Six Months - I actually missed a week where I did not post at all.

The purpose for my Day Zero Project was to have fun and try new things, and while that is definitely happening, I'm finding that a lot of my tasks are harder than I initially anticipated.  While this is good, and I do want to challenge myself, I realize that I don't really like the goals that have a time limit on them.  I love "Read 10 books I've been meaning to read," but I don't like "Cook dinner twice a week for a month."  The unfortunate thing about goals like that is, if you miss one week, or one night, you lose all your progress and have to start over.

Blogging once a week is really difficult!  Especially when you work 30 hours a week, go to school for another 6, go to the gym 4 days a week, and have an hour-long commute each way.  By the time I get home, I have no more energy left to spare.

I have decided that, instead of losing all of my progress on this task and starting over, I am going to extend it one week to make up for the one I missed.  I started this task on June 19, and the new end date is December 25.

I will not let this task defeat me!  Here's to two more months of blog posts.