Monday, May 31, 2010

World War Z by Max Brooks

I loved this one! It's a collection of first-person accounts from a future Zombie War. Written by the same author of "The Zombie Survival Guide" (which is a hoot!) this one delves further into social commentary and paints a rich picture of a bleak scenario. Reading this book is like watching a summer blockbuster. It's like my version of "sTori Time" (or whatever Tori Spelling's book is called....sorry Becks!) Dad, you might like this one if you're looking for fun (with a good deal of gore thrown in.) Of course, I also realize none of you might ever pick this one up. So be it. I thought it was great.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Many of you know of my love for YA fiction. After reading this year's Newberry Winner, "The Graveyard Book" by Neil Gaiman (which I should also blog about!), I put one of the runner-ups on my hold list at the library. 76 readers later, I found The Hunger Games waiting for me at my local branch. It was well worth the wait.

This is a science fiction story about a 13-year old girl living in a futuristic version of America. A new government has risen up and the territory is divided into districts. In the past, the districts rose up against the central authority and were put down in a brutal way. District 13 was destroyed. In order to keep the citizenry in line, the government likes to remind people of what will happen if they try to revolt again. Hence, the Hunger Games.

Every year, two teenagers from each district, a boy and a girl, are chosen by lottery to participate in the Games. It is a televised fight to the death with only one victor remaining. Katniss, the main character, volunteers in her little sister's place when her name is drawn. She goes to the games along with a young man from her district. Their struggles in the arena make for a fast-paced read.

In spite of the dark premise, this is ultimately a story about trust, love, and hope. Katniss struggles to survive and you're never sure where her allegiances lie. You also question the motives of the other main characters which makes for a complex story and a very satisfying one. I don't want to give too much away, but will mention that the follow-up, "Mockingjay" is as rewarding as "The Hunger Games." I was wary, wondering where the author could go with the story. I was pleasantly surprised and captivated.

Honestly, Dad is probably the only person who would truly enjoy this story as it is brutal and of the science-fiction slant. But Dad, give it a shot. It's YA, but you may enjoy it. One of the best I've read in quite a while!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Major Pettigrew's Last Stand by Helen Simonson

As you know, if I don't like the main character at all, I'm unlikely to like the book, even if it's well written (see Snow & The Kite Runner). This book is the antithesis of those stories. Major Pettigrew is a retired, widowed British soldier, in love with his village and an England that is more fictional or historic than the current version. The death of his brother sets in motion a series of events that bring this wonderful gentleman's best self to the surface and let's us in on a thoroughly charming story. He handles the petty snobbery of English village life with a dry sense of humor that had me laughing out loud throughout the book. Having him encounter an unexpected love in his senior years was just icing on the cake. I love this guy and this book. A real triumph for a first time writer. All the blog readers should really like this one.