"Let me tell you something, Dream. And I'm only going to say this once, so you'd better pay attention. You are utterly the stupidest, most self-centered appallingest excuse for an anthropomorphic personification on this or any other plane!"--Death to her little brother, Dream.
"What power would Hell have if those here imprisoned were not able to dream of heaven?"
1. The Sandman Volume 1: Preludes and Nocturnes by Neil Gaiman The first graphic novel/comic book I've ever read, naturally drawn by Neil Gaiman (who's novels I've nearly exhausted). Morpheus (Dream) is captured and his three mantels stolen. He must retrieve them from mortals, demons, Hell, and the Dreamworld itself. Clever and imaginative, definitely left me wanting more. Grade: A-
2. Catching Fire by Susan Collins (391 pages) Really, the Hunger Games, again? This book is the very definition of a disappointing sequel: the same thing, again. All that was refreshing and exciting of the first book (the brutal, violent dystopic games, a protagonist jaded, confused, and simply struggling for survival), becomes, frankly, boring, as it is all just done again. There is little to no character growth or plot development (except a bit of predictable revolution, a bit of a movement in a wider scale). Besides the three main characters, the characters remain flat red shirts. Peeta, Katniss, and Haymitch, though, keep the book readable and interesting. The climax/cliffhanger almost redeems the book. Still a great, exciting, fresh young adult novel. Just not truly engaging for adult readers. Grade: C
"Who wins? Not us. Not the districts. Always the Capitol. But I'm tired of being a piece in their Games."
"Katniss will pick whoever she thinks she can't survive without."
"It's like a game. Repetitive. Even a little tedious after more than twenty years. But there are much worse games to play."
3. Mockingjay by Susan Collins (392 pages) The final book of The Hunger Games series finds Katniss playing an even more dangerous game: war. A war between the rebels and the tyrants of the Capitol. Again, she is dressed up and used as a pawn, again she is forced to endure the most horrific violence, but perhaps finally she will be able to find her freedom and independence, find love, find peace from her perpetual struggle to survive. The ending of the series is definitely on par with the strong beginning, filled with action, emotion, character (particularly in the refreshing, original, flawed and complex heroine), even poignancy on the tragedy of war and the futility and childishness of violent games. I wish there had been more character (besides Katniss, the characters are flat and difficult to feel much for, Haymitch most of all could have been so much more), more plot, more theme, and less fashion and gratuitous (by which I mean, boring) violence (really, does our heroine have to get knocked out and wake up in hospital every other chapter?). The Hunger Games though is a strong, engaging read for young adults, a dystopian fantasy on par with Uglies and The Giver, with a truly wonderful, original, and human heroine at its center. Grade: A-
4. The Double Life of Pocahontas by Jean Fritz (96 pages) Well-researched and well-told young reader biography of a complex woman who suffers the clash of two worlds. May be difficult for some young readers, but an engaging and important historical biography. Grade: B
5. Jane Austen: The Girl With the Magic Pen by Gill Hornby (90 pages) Young reader biography of the brilliant author, Jane Austen, simplifies her life, yet paints an engaging portrait of both her character and times. Lively, well-written, humorous prose at a low reading level makes this an interesting read, though I'm not sure if such young readers could truly "get" Austen. Grade: B
2011 Page Total: 969