Archive | February, 2012

Book + Movie = Reader Gold

I have to say, it’s been fun watching our Hunger Games display at work. Like pretty much every other bookseller, my store has been doing what it can to cash in on the movie coming up in a few weeks. The books were a big enough deal in their own right, but a blockbuster movie based on those same bestselling books with an incredible marketing campaign? That’s gold.

At the very front of our store is a huge display. There’s an eye-catching sign of the movie’s logo (based on Katniss’s mockingjay pin), floor stacks of the first book in several different versions (original paperback, original hardcover, movie version paperback), table stacks of the other two books, racks with additional tie-in books (books about the stars of the movie, books about the tributes, the “official movie guide”, even a Hunger Games-inspired cookbook!), t-shirts, wristbands, pins, etc. I don’t know the numbers on how well the merchandise is selling, but I do know we receive new items in our shipment every week. Of course, as a fan, I also try to keep an eye out for anything that might tempt me to part with a few of my precious dollars (those t-shirts have come awfully close).

But really, the best part has been seeing whom the books have attracted. Granted, the majority have been teen girls. They’re readers who happened upon the books, Twilight or Harry Potter fans looking for their next fix, or just stereotypical teens following the advice of friends. I have fun talking to those fans because they’re so ebullient and intense. They have fun discussing every detail as I ring up their purchases and then squeal with anxiety when I mention anything that even remotely sounds like it could lead to a spoiler (unless, of course, they’ve already read through Mockingjay, in which case they’re in one of the stages of grief).

Everyone after Mockingjay

In among the teen girls, however, are the other readers. The older, college-age women (usually also trying to fill a Twilight- or Harry Potter-sized hole) who admit to sneaking in “just one more chapter” between final exams. The mom who comes in to buy the last two books for her ten-year-old son because he read through the first one in only a day and couldn’t wait for the rest. The macho, ripped twenty-something men nearly vibrating with anticipation. The older guy who comes in to buy the book for his daughter and ends up reading it himself.

Hunger Games is awesome, y’all. Nine times out of ten, I see only girls in the YA section, but this book brings in just about everybody. Sure, they’re coming in because of the movie, but they’re staying for the books. And why not? It has action, tension, blood and guts, romance that’s tender but not over-the-top, suspense, emotion, high stakes, everything! The main character is a strong female who avoids being obnoxious or overbearing, and guys play roles just as important (Peeta is the bomb-diggity). The violence might worry some parents, but gore seems to bother people a lot less than profanity or sex, so the book remains open to a wider swath of people.

All it takes is one book. Once we find out someone likes Hunger Games, then we can say, “Hey, have you tried Divergent? What about Under the Never Sky? Graceling is pretty awesome, why don’t you give it a go?” We give them books close to what they just read to keep them comfortable, but they won’t stay there. Because maybe they came for the romance or for the dystopian setting or for the gore or even for the hunting. They’ll start to find other books that aren’t quite so close but still have just enough of that particular theme to catch their attention. And then they’ll explore some more. They’ll branch out. Maybe some of them will never branch out as far as Jane Eyre or Dune or The Marriage Plot, but that’s okay. In the long run, I don’t care if our customers are diverse readers.

I just care that they’re readers.

So what are you all thinking about this Hunger Games craze? Is it a good thing? Just another example of oversaturated marketing? Who are some of the most unlikely Hunger Games fans that you’ve met? And what book would you recommend for a Games fan?

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Mr. Lessmore at the Oscars

Yes, that’s right. The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore just won an Oscar. It was for Animated Short, I believe, but I wasn’t paying attention until the name popped up on my TV screen. It even beat out Pixar’s La Luna. Hooray for the book love!

See my original post regarding Mr. Lessmore and his flying books.
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Review: THE STATISTICAL PROBABILITY OF LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT

Let me get this out of the way: Divorce sucks. It’s sucks, and it’s crap, and I hate it. Believe what you want, but anything that normalizes divorce really grinds my gears. This is a book that portrays love as something that comes and goes, like a that really cute dress that was great for you in high school but really doesn’t work any more now that you’re a college graduate, rather than something that takes work. I knew I was going to get a lot of that crap going into the book, and even though I knew it, reading about how a grown man can ditch his family over “love at first sight” with some leggy British chick still made me furious. (Do you think it was “love at first sight” with his FIRST wife, too? Hmmmmm?)

Okay, that’s the end of my rant. I promise, that’s the last of it. Maybe it wasn’t my place as a reviewer, but I’m new to this gig, and I felt that if I said nothing that I was being dishonest somehow. But the rant is out of the way, and you can do with it what you wish. Now for the rest of my review.

TSPoLaFS, Jennifer Smith, Poppy
Who would have guessed that four minutes could change everything?

Today should be one of the worst days of seventeen-year-old Hadley Sullivan’s life. She’s stuck at JFK, late to her father’s second wedding, which is taking place in London and involves a soon to be step-mother that Hadley’s never even met. Then she meets the perfect boy in the airport’s cramped waiting area. His name is Oliver, he’s British, and he’s in seat 18C. Hadley’s in 18A. 

Twists of fate and quirks of timing play out in this thoughtful novel about family connections, second chances and first loves. Set over a 24-hour-period, Hadley and Oliver’s story will make you believe that true love finds you when you’re least expecting it.

The story itself was surprisingly charming in its own simplistic way. Hadley is seventeen and late for her father’s wedding. She missed her flight by four whole minutes, so now she’s stuck by herself in an airport and might not make it to London in time. Not that she cares. She didn’t want to go to her father’s wedding anyways, and her dress is probably a wrinkled mess. In the midst of Hadley’s impressive internal snit comes Oliver, a charming British boy who steps in to help her with her luggage. They hit it off… and keep hitting it off, all the way across the Atlantic.

Smith starts each chapter with the time (EST and Greenwich Mean) to chart how long Hadley and Oliver have known each other and how much time they have left. A cute idea, but I can’t say I ever really paid attention to the headers. I was more interested in how she utilized time within the chapters themselves. Smith chose to make the narrative present tense, a choice that works very well when the work is rife with immediacy and action (see: Hunger Games). However, unless the plane is crashing or there’s a terrorist on board, a flight over the Atlantic doesn’t exactly brim with immediacy and action. Only during carefully interspersed flashbacks to Hadley’s interactions with her parents does the tense change from present to past. Of course, this is precisely when I felt the most comfortable with the story.
Through the flashbacks, we learn how Hadley learned of her parents’ separation, divorce, and respective new relationships. It’s a rough road. Not in a HBO kind of way with screaming and shattered plates (Hadley’s parents are remarkably civil), but just in the common, realistic, emotionally draining path that most kids slog through when their worlds fall apart.
Love, marriage, and all that stuff is what drives the novel. Hadley tries to figure out what happened to her parents even as she tries to reconcile their two new relationships (Dad with fiancee Charlotte, and Mom with her dentist) and her own interest in Oliver. Oliver is working out some questions of his own, but I can’t really get into that without spoilers. (Basically, at the end, he gets to play Author’s Advocate, which is a little like being Devil’s Advocate except it’s way preachier.)
The book isn’t terribly surprising in any way. The “evil” stepmother-to-be is, of course, a delightful human being. Father is dreadfully awkward and sad, but hey, he was just following his heart! Cute British boy is cute and British and gets to be the author’s sensible mouthpiece through most of the book. There’s even a slightly wacky, proto-cool bridesmaid that plays the “My dad did the same thing when I was your age” bit and an overly possessive ex-girlfriend. If that was all, I would say skip the book. It’s just another fluff piece, save your money and your time.
Except Hadley felt real. She felt like a living, breathing person, and she managed to radiate with pain in scenes without devolving into a hideous, emo stereotype. She’s a real girl dealing with an incredibly real situation. Her family split in two. Her dad left her mom for another woman and it totally sucks because he’s turned her world upside-down and she can’t figure out what went wrong. My parents have never put me through anything like Hadley’s situation, but I have a very close friend who went through the nearly exact same situation, and reading this story was like listening to her story all over again. To be honest, I straight up cried in a few places.
Like it or not, divorce is a very real, very prevalent feature in many teens’ lives. While I don’t agree with Smith’s “divorce is for the best” spin, I do think this book is good for those struggling with a divorce in the family, struggling with forgiveness, struggling with how to move on. So, for me, this book earns my respect.
Points Added For: Airport Nazi ladies (they exist!), throat-clenching emotion, resilient mothers, cute British boys, bookish fathers, adorable cover.
Points Subtracted For: Unnecessary present tense, stereotypes, predictability, really unnecessary prologue. 
Good For Fans Of: … Books that I don’t normally read, so I’m not much help (Amazon suggests The Fault In Our Stars.)
Notes For Parents: Mild profanity, underage drinking.

Buy The Book Now at The Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide

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Review: CINDER by Marissa Meyer

Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, a ruthless lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth’s fate hinges on one girl. . . .

Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. She’s a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s illness. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle, and a forbidden attraction. Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect her world’s future.

Confession: I am a huuuuuge fan of fairy tale retellings. The idea of taking such a well-known, beloved tale and keeping its heart and frame while reframing the story in a way that makes the readers rethink what they previously knew… Mmmm, shivers of delight. I particularly like retellings told from another (preferably minor) character’s perspective, but I was eager to give Cinder a try anyways. I mean, look at that cover. Just LOOK at it!
Continue Reading →

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A Love Letter

Dear Ms. Megan Whalen Turner,

I love you. Please don’t be creeped out, but I love you. You are the Mount Olympus to my Death Valley, the VY Canis Major to my Sol (and I’m sure you know exactly what I’m talking about, you clever lady). Your genius and verve soar to the greatest magnitude, and I am in awe.

I first became acquainted with you in the children’s section of my local library. A simple spine caught my eye, emblazoned with yellow type that read The Thief. Thieves were interesting, so I picked it up and took it home with me. I read the entire book in one day, certain even from the beginning that this was no mere children’s book and that I would become good friends with your Gen. Then I reached the end and yelped out loud.

You tricked me, dear lady! You tricked me completely! Only the great Dame Agatha Christie has ever fooled me so thoroughly, and you managed to achieve her greatness in only one book.

For months, I returned to my favorite scenes. For months, I argued with Gen over this or that, just because I could. Then I went back to the library to borrow the book again, and my heart nearly burst with joy.

Not one, but TWO new books awaited me! TWO new adventures with Gen. TWO fresh opportunities to be tricked and deceived. It was like winning the lottery twice over.

I went home and devoured Queen of Attolia, falling in love all over again with tricky Gen, savvy Magus, staunch Eddis. Where The Thief kept my riding high on adrenaline, Queen dragged me down into the depths of pathos only to ride high once more in the thrill of the con. I thought I had you figured out, O Gen.

Then I reached the end and nearly threw the book against the wall, so excited was I.

On to the third book! On to The King of Attolia! But what was this? A new narrator? Who was this impostor, this Costis? Silly boy, to despise Gen so. Interloper, begone! But he was fixed, granted his position by your pen. Slowly, he told his tale; haltingly, like a fool who believed himself wise. He knew nothing!

But, as I read, I realized I knew nothing either. You teased me cruelly, making me despair for Gen and his sudden impotency. He was trapped, our tricky thief, like a dog in a kennel cage. How could you treat him so unkindly? He was our hero, our victor. But instead of respected and praised, he was treated with scorn by those who should fear him most.

And then… and then… How could I doubt you? I reached the denouement and crowed aloud. YES! Yes!  This is our Gen, conqueror of all! So crafty! So wise! Basileus?, I scoffed. Annux! Yes, Annux, indeed! You and Gen both, rulers of all. You tricked me thrice, long after I should have been able to catch on.

Now your fourth book sits on my shelf. From a foreign country, I ordered it, underwhelmed by exotic locales and breathtaking vistas when I knew that the wiles of Gen awaited me at home. I read it once. I rejoiced. Sophos, dear Sophos, friend and companion. A tale of love, of woe, of betrayal and triumph.

I read it once and was pleased. A satisfying trick, a satisfying tale, satisfying most in the promise of more. But I know that my pleasure has only begun. For I have read it once and no more. When I return to your words as a dying traveler returns to the oasis that gave him shelter, I shall lap up your words again. I shall discover new jewels in your tale, new tricks hidden in shadows that I hadn’t noticed before. My appreciation will blossom anew.

I love you, Meghan Whalen Turner. You have given me a series brimming with joys and sorrows, love and loss, trickery and deceit. You have given me Irene. Magus. Sophos. Helen. Pol. Costis. Moira. Gen. Dear, dear Gen. Annux is he, and Annux are you. You conquer without mercy all who read your words, and gladly am I conquered.

Love,

Shelver 506

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Review: UNDER THE NEVER SKY by Veronica Rossi

UNDER THE NEVER SKY, Veronica Rossi, HarperTeen

Since she’d been on the outside, she’d survived an Aether storm, she’d had a knife held to her throat, and she’d seen men murdered. This was worse.

Exiled from her home, the enclosed city of Reverie, Aria knows her chances of surviving in the outer wasteland—known as The Death Shop—are slim. If the cannibals don’t get her, the violent, electrified energy storms will. She’s been taught that the very air she breathes can kill her. Then Aria meets an Outsider named Perry. He’s wild—a savage—and her only hope of staying alive.
A hunter for his tribe in a merciless landscape, Perry views Aria as sheltered and fragile—everything he would expect from a Dweller. But he needs Aria’s help too; she alone holds the key to his redemption. Opposites in nearly every way, Aria and Perry must accept each other to survive. Their unlikely alliance forges a bond that will determine the fate of all who live under the never sky. 

UNDER THE NEVER SKY is a dystopian third-person dual narrative. To be honest, when I read the description, I wasn’t very interested. I hate switching to different perspectives, the whole girl-from-a-supposed-utopia-goes-to-the-wild trope is getting a little old, and I figured I knew exactly how the relationship between the two characters was going to play out. He’s a jerk, she gets feisty, aw he’s a wounded soul, smoochie smoochie smoochie, the end. I was right… and I was very, very wrong.

The official description quoted above does the book a great injustice. The best taste of the book comes from my favorite quote, found on page 125: 
“Do the clouds ever completely clear?” she asked.
“Completely? No. Never.”
“What about the Aether? Does that ever go away?”
“Never, Mole. The Aether never leaves.”
She looked up. “A world of nevers under a never sky.”
She fit in well then, he thought. A girl who never shut up.

That’s Aria, inquisitive to the point of irritation, intellectually curious, artsy, and poetic. And that’s Perry, rough, blunt, and dry.


The book opens with Aria. Unfortunately, it also opens with a heaping handful of other named characters that I wasn’t inclined to care about. Because of the description, I knew she was going to be exiled at some point, and seeing as the first scene is about a group of teenagers about to do something mind-boggling risky and stupid, I figured this “something” was going to be the impetus for the exile. I’m not going to put spoiler tags around that, because it’s a bit of a no-brainer. And since I knew she was going to be exiled and therefore unlikely to see any of these other teenagers again, I REALLY didn’t care who they were.

Luckily, Rossi finds her stride fairly quickly. The unimportant teenagers are a teensy bit important, because the lead teenager, Soren, is Aria’s link to finding her mother, with whom she lost contact several days prior. What’s supposed to be a fact-finding mission disguised as a rollicking good adventure in a forbidden area soon devolves into something primal and savage. Tragedy and mayhem ensues, leading to Aria’s rescue by a mysterious Outsider who then disappears, and ends with Aria’s banishment.

That synopsis might seem a bit dismissive, but only because it is. Aria is fine in her own right, but my heart beats for Peregrine (aka, Perry), the hunky Outsider who saves her not only in the teenage mayhem but also when he finds her exiled and trapped in the middle of an Aether storm. Despite their mutual distrust of and disgust for each other, the two reluctantly join forces to help Aria return home – Aria to clear her name and find her mother, and Peregrine to save his nephew, who was kidnapped by Dweller soldiers.

And snap diddley, does it take off from there! By switching back and forth between perspectives, each character serves as our eyes into a world we don’t understand. Through Aria, the girl who finds the Aether fascinating and the fact that fingernails can grow bewildering, we learn about the world inside the pods and the Matrix-meets-Genetics-101 reality she thinks of as normal. Through Perry, younger brother of the tribe’s Blood Lord, we learn about the harsh, unbending reality of the outside, where madmen and cannibals roam and a chosen few wield almost supernaturally enhanced senses. Each knows of the other world only what they’ve learned through legend, which can carry a shocking degree of truth amid the lies.

There were details that irritated me. The very fantasy-like Aether and its effect on Outsiders is never really explained, though the world of NEVER SKY is supposed to be a future version of our own world. Also, Rossi serves up some common stereotypes (of COURSE the heroine of the story can sing like an angel; of COURSE the hero has a rare and valuable skill set) that make me grit my teeth every time I see them in a book. However, the negatives are more than counterbalanced by the positives. Charming and charismatic cannibals that have an established reason for being cannibals? Check! A Jacob-and-baby-in-Twlight type of bond that is NOT solely romantic? Check! A character named PEREGRINE?! Check! (Although I did mumble “Fool of a Took” in certain sections.) Best of all, like other clever authors before her, Rossi shows she is unafraid to kill off a character just because it is expected that she won’t.

While the story was in part predictable (the relationship model I expected between Aria and Peregrine? Yeah, it was pretty much like that), Rossi managed to avoid a purely stereotypical ending and left enough valid, compelling loose ends (both plot-wise and character-wise) that a sequel is inevitable and welcome. I look forward to meeting an ever-maturing Aria and an ever-hunky Peregrine in their next episode of their continuing adventure, as well as their array of supporting characters (I won’t mention names, as I’ve already mentioned that she does kill off someone(s).)

Points Added For: Charismatic cannibals (I squee with joy just typing it), hunky boys who genuinely love kids, main characters older than the obligatory 16, pyromania, sensible Jacob-and-babying (here called “rendering”), characters with cool names, “fables” that actually have some truth to them.

Points Subtracted For: Unimportant minor characters (Brooke, grrrr), super-Aether in an otherwise realistic world, missing/dead/abusive parents, girls whose main claim to fame is singing.

Good For Fans Of: Graceling by Kristin Cashore, Hunger Games by Susanne Collins, The Time Machine by H.G. Wells (I view the Dwellers as ancestors of both the Eloi and the Morlocks).

Points For Parents: Mild-to-moderate language (semi-frequent use of the word b*stard), non-explicit sex, non-explicit supposed attempted rape (nothing graphic and no actual rape), violence.

Buy The Book Now at The Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide

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Book Cover Awesomeness

Here I am, your benevolent dictator, to give out something FUN and something FREE. That’s right, fun AND free! Granted, this fun and free thing is not of my own making; I am not that fantabulous (and yes, that’s a word because I say so, so stop picking on me!). However, these three ladies ARE fantabulous.

Sarah Enni, Tracey Neithercott, and Erin Bowman are three superbly clever book nerds with an eye for a niche market. Sparked by a “Go Away, I’m Reading” pin from etsy, they began to discuss the irritation felt when rudely yanked out of a good read by a well-meaning friend/relative/stranger on a bus.

This irritation is something I have discussed with my mother and sister just recently. What is it about having one’s nose in a book that seems to invite any Joe Blow to start up a conversation? Yes, sir, the weather is a bit warmer than normal; no, ma’am, I don’t want to see a picture of your dog. Can’t you see that I am in the middle of battling zombie griffins and am only six pages away from freeing the prince?! Oh… no, I don’t suppose you can. All you can see is the cover of a book.

Well, these three genius women have come up with a solution. TADA!

Set #1, by Erin Bowman

Set #2, by Tracey Neithercott
Set #3, by Sarah Enni

Just take one of these handy-dandy covers, pop it onto your book, and voila! Naggers be gone! Should one still approach you, all you must do is give your politest smile and gesture at the cover. Not only were the ladies clever enough to make such wonders, but they’re generous enough to put the printing instructions on their respective sites for the humbled masses (that’s you and me, folks) to print and use, free of charge.

Sarah Enni’s set is my personal favorite, so I’n linking to her directly here, but her site has links to the other sets as well. Print away and leave me be. Can’t you see the prince is about to be oh-so-grateful for my heroics?
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Review: SHATTER ME by Tahereh Mafi

Shatter Me, Tahereh Mafi, HarperTeen

“You can’t touch me,” I whisper.

I’m lying, is what I don’t tell him.
He can touch me, is what I’ll never tell him.
But things happen when people touch me.
Strange things.
Bad things.
No one knows why Juliette’s touch is fatal, but The Reestablishment has plans for her. Plans to use her as a weapon.
But Juliette has plans of her own.
After a lifetime without freedom, she’s finally discovering a strength to fight back for the very first time—and to find a future with the one boy she thought she’d lost forever.

SHATTER ME is a first-person narrative from Juliette, a seventeen-year-old girl from an Orwellian future, who is locked in solitary confinement to protect others from her lethal touch. Now really, if that fact alone doesn’t grab you, I doubt anything in this review will convince you otherwise, but I’ll try.
According to Juliette, her lethal touch (she causes excruciating pain and eventual death in whomever she touches) has been with her since she was an infant, causing a lifetime of alienation and isolation. She is treated either as a freak or a nonentity, both at home and at school, culminating in her solitary confinement after she accidentally touches and kills a stranger.

264 days later, she is given a roommate, a smokin’ hot boy named Adam. Eventually, we learn that Adam is a face from her past, and it’s no accident that he was placed in Juliette’s cell. As the story unfolds, Mafi, through Juliette, tosses us other tantalizing details, such as descriptions of the Big Brother-esque ruling class called The Reestablishment, whose local leader, Warner, is responsible for arresting and confining Juliette.

Warner is also the one who releases Juliette (into his own custody, of course) and tries to persuade her to use her power for the good of The Reestablishment. In his own way, Warner is smokin’ as well (isn’t that always the way?), but he dreams of power and control, even as he seems to crave Juliette’s company for her own sake and yearn for a way to show his new captive how thrilling power over others can be.

So now Juliette has to choose – Adam or Warner? Established power or rebellion? Her choice would be easier if she knew whom she could trust, including herself.

Juliette is a nutcase, and I love her for it, and I love Mafi for letting Juliette find her voice. The prose is distinctive with its stream-of-consciousness, rambling careful wording, babbling fears, and obsession with numbers. The book is her journal, her thoughts as things happen, and as quickly as the thoughts come tumbling out she goes back and carefully edits herself, allowing us a look at things her character would truly never say but would still think. These edits, as well as Juliette’s fixation on numbers and counting, are her attempt to control herself and her world, or at least what little she can, as she never can control the power of her touch except through isolation. When a voice is true and consistent, I find myself thinking with that voice long after I’ve walked away from the book, and Juliette was in my head from start to finish.

Warner is probably the second-most fascinating character. He’s the villain, the Hyde to Juliette’s well-meaning Jekyll, but Mafi allows him moments of humanity that lend him a depth that Adam lacks. Optimist that I am, I would be thrilled if he found his own (at least partial) redemption by the end of the trilogy, but I will nevertheless be happy to follow him down his crooked path wherever it may lead.

Overall, Mafi receives solid marks for this story. The premise is interesting and the story is addicting, even if the ending falters into somewhat familiar territory. For those who enjoy the angsty, pathos-ridden, somewhat unrealistic romance found in Twilight, this book is for you. I am not one of them, but I will wait for the sequel with interest for the sake of Juliette, the fascinating little freak superhero.

Points Added For: Unique voice, addicting storyline, flawed baddie, twitchy protagonist, wisecracking sidekick, a touching twist!

Points Subtracted For: Unrealistic romance timeline, too-true lover, stereotypical malevolent parents, love triangle, poor cover art (That’s supposed to be Juliette? Are you joking?).

Good For Fans Of: Twilight, Firelight by Sophie Jordan, Divergent by Veronica Roth, lovers of angsty teen romance.

Notes For Parents: The following book contains moderate amounts of violence, poor teen choices, and at least one makeout scene.

Buy The Book Now at The Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide

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Tribute News

I know Hunger Games madness has descended at an alarming rate as the release date nears, and I know the unaffected minority is seeking a safe place to weather out the storm.

This is not that place.

I read the first Hunger Games book a few years ago on the advice of a classmate. To be honest, I didn’t expect it to be very good, because I wasn’t impressed by the synopsis she gave. I expected the book to be tortured and gloomy and probably just a bit cheesy, a la Twilight (she liked that series, too). Instead, I found myself completely lost in this amazingly kick-tuckus world with fantastic characters and believable relationships.

I could gush about the series for hours, but that’s not the point of this post. Lionsgate, the company producing the movie, has just released the second theatrical trailer. Bibliophiles around the world shouted for joy, and I could hardly consider myself a proper blogger or a proper shelver if I didn’t share for the ignorant few who have somehow escaped the frenetic social media blitz of thousands of teenagers typing “OMG!!!!1! HUNGER GAMES TRAILERRRRR@!!!!11!!1”

Wasn’t that absolutely beautiful? Several sites, including Entertainment Weekly (who always do an excellent job), have scoured each frame for clues, so I won’t rehash, but I do want to make just a few observations.

First, as EW mentions, poor Madge! Madge, the mayor’s daughter, is the one who gives Katniss her mockingjay pin in the book. However, in the movie, it seems Madge has been erased completely, as the pin is passed from Katniss to Prim instead of Madge to Katniss. I think this is a good choice. Madge is a minor character who isn’t utilized in the later books. Adding her to the movie would just be a nuisance.

Second, Donald Sutherland as President Snow still… sounds like Donald Sutherland. I had expected him to sound a bit slimier, but that will probably come in time.

Third, does Elizabeth Banks as Effie Trinket remind anyone else of Johnny Depp as Willy Wonka, especially during that breathy “I just love that”?

Fourth, in some of the District Twelve shots, does Jennifer Lawrence (the actress who plays Katniss, for the uninitiated) seem unnaturally tall? Or maybe it’s just that she’s blockier in those clothes than the average Hollywood starlet, something that I think is fantastic. Yes, Katniss is chronically underfed and superbly agile, but the woman works hard, dagnabit! Keep some muscle on those bones!

Fifth, Arena shots! Woot!

And lastly, I. love. Cinna. He was always such a gem in the books, and I’m really starting to feel Lenny Kravitz in the role, based on the few shots we’ve seen in the trailers.

Any thoughts out there on the trailer? On Hunger Games in general? This is an unabashed gushing zone, so feel free to share.


[And for those who missed the first trailer, it’s embedded below.]

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Missive to a Customer

Dear Sir,

Thank you for your patronage in our store. I appreciate that you are willing to come out on this fine evening to buy books at our establishment, even if it means leaving your wife and children to wait in the car. You spent a sum of money here that, while not extravagant, is not trifling either. But sir, I must tell you one thing that I could not while wearing my employee name tag.

Ew.

You may look in the mirror and see the same virile, young stud that you were in college, and assume that I see the same thing. Or perhaps you see more of a suave silver fox, a la George Clooney. Perhaps you note my polite smiles and assume I’m charmed by your leering looks and cheesy pickup lines.

Ew.

You see, sir, you are the customer; therefore, I am required by my boss to be unfailing helpful and courteous no matter what kind of shenanigans you pull. However, the customer is not always right. Given the scale of your delusions, I would say that you personally are very rarely right. My helpfulness is not subtle flirting; it’s my calculated attempt to keep my minimum-wage job. You may think of yourself as prime material, but I see a man who in all likelihood is a few years older than my own father.

Ew.

To recap, you see this:
George Clooney, people.com

I see this:
Old man, blogs.seattleweekly.com
You see a Don Juan; I see a skeevy guy with a mid-life crisis. You see a nice counter, perfect for leaning intimately; I see a space of cheap wood that should be much, much wider.
So please, feel free to shop with us again, but next time bring your wife inside with you.
Sincerely,
Shelver 506
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