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jeffisjeff
01-25-2012, 03:47 AM
Well, I think it does matter whether she got her memory back. But, I am OK with that kind of open ending.

That said, I completely agree that getting everything else in order before she had to sleep - she'd had an exhausting day - was a quite unbelievable and oh too convenient.

Fergus
01-25-2012, 02:47 PM
Started Edmund White's Jack Holmes and His Friend yesterday.

Just about 20 pages in and it's already classic White in the best sense, not the convoluted, uber-cerebral claptrap that has characterized his recent fiction. Love it! :D

Artemis@BC
01-25-2012, 05:47 PM
I just got back from holiday, and while I didn't get as much reading in as I'd planned, I still managed a good sight more than my usual 1/2 hour a day!

Most notably I read the Hunger Games trilogy, so I was happy to see some more recent discussion of the books here. Overall I agree with the consensus -- that the 1st book is better than the 2nd and esp. the 3rd. But I didn't think 3rd book was horrible -- flawed, but not unreadable. Both Catching Fire and Mockingjay read to me like books written under a huge deadline pressure. As well as the page limit that Scholatic puts on their "young adult" books. But then I didn't think The Hunger Games was a great work of literature either. A great story, with a good premise and engaging characters, but still only a pretty good book overall, not great. Which is why I'm holding out hopes for the movie(s). Some of my favourite movies have been made from mediocre books -- books that held a good kernel of a story but just weren't particularly well executed in literary form.

I also read Exit Music, the last Rebus by Ian Rankin. I've been putting off reading it because I didn't want to say goodbye to Rebus. :( But I want to read Rankin's new series, and I don't want to do that before ending the old one.

I finished off I Am Half-Sick of Shadows, the latest Flavia de Luce book by Alan Bradley. Very enjoyable, probably my second-favourite in the series (after the 1st one; the 2nd and 3rd were a bit of a disappointment).

And today after work I'm picking up Believing the Lie, the latest Elizabeth George, from the library.

kwanatic
01-25-2012, 06:32 PM
I read Mockingjay in a day (this past Saturday). I will admit, it's not my favorite of the 3, but I didn't think it was terrible.

Overall, I liked the books. They were interesting and very different from stuff I usually read. But like Artemis said, were they great books? I don't really think so...good, yes, but not great. I get why some felt Katniss was a bit whiny in the last book but given everything she'd been going through and the pressure she was under, I get why she was so unstable. She had a few breaking points, which is to be expected from a 17 year old kid in a situation as horrifying as that.

I felt Collins flew through the last part of the book. I was a bit confused for a couple of pages but eventually I caught on. The ending was a bit...I guess the word abrupt covers it well enough, but I thought it was okay. It wasn't as good as the other two, but I wasn't disappointed. I'm happy with who she ended up with but I was a bit sad over the way the other relationship ended.

On a scale of 1-5, I'd give Hunger Games a 4.2; Catching Fire a 3.7; and Mockingjay a 3.2...fair numbers I think.

RockTheTassel
01-25-2012, 10:07 PM
It wouldn't matter much, now would it? Her husband was back, her son was back, both of them still loved her and were willing to let everything else go and cherish her come what may. Memory or no, Christine was clearly going to live as happily ever after as possible.

To each his own, of course, but for me, it was a very disappointing book.

I agree that was a weak point, but I'll forgive Watson since the rest of the book was very good. I can see why it's disappointing for many readers, though.

I'm reading Waiting for the Barbarians by J.M. Coetzee for a lit course, and it's a tad confusing but intriguing so far. I also picked up Sarah's Key from the library. Anyone have thoughts on that one? It looks good, but I'm wary about WWII-era fiction since the subject is often mishandled.

Spinner
01-25-2012, 10:21 PM
To each his own, of course, but for me, it was a very disappointing book.
From someone who always talks about wanting to read dreck, this kind of surprises me. I don't think the book pretends to be high end literature, to me it's more "quality dreck". ;)

mkats
01-25-2012, 11:16 PM
I also picked up Sarah's Key from the library. Anyone have thoughts on that one? It looks good, but I'm wary about WWII-era fiction since the subject is often mishandled.

I posted about this one a few pages back. I loved Sarah's portions and wished the author would have written a whole book just about her. Julia starts off okay and then by the end I was really fed up with her (and the book in general)... and I don't want to tell you much more, so I'll leave it at that. :P

rfisher
01-25-2012, 11:47 PM
I read Mockingjay in a day (this past Saturday). I will admit, it's not my favorite of the 3, but I didn't think it was terrible.

Overall, I liked the books. They were interesting and very different from stuff I usually read. But like Artemis said, were they great books? I don't really think so...good, yes, but not great. I get why some felt Katniss was a bit whiny in the last book but given everything she'd been going through and the pressure she was under, I get why she was so unstable. She had a few breaking points, which is to be expected from a 17 year old kid in a situation as horrifying as that.
.

On a scale of 1-5, I'd give Hunger Games a 4.2; Catching Fire a 3.7; and Mockingjay a 3.2...fair numbers I think.

PL's and my complaint is not so much that she was whiney (although she was) as that there was a real difference in the character's personality. It was as if someone else wrote the book. You get a feel for the author's voice and IMHO the 3rd book was jarringly different. When I read Preston and Child's books, I can tell when they switch writing tasks. Fortunately, they tend to have one do the main protag and the other do plotting or secondary characters so the change isn't abrupt. I've read stand alones by each of them and now can recognize them in their collaborations.

pair mom
01-26-2012, 01:34 AM
I posted about this one a few pages back. I loved Sarah's portions and wished the author would have written a whole book just about her. Julia starts off okay and then by the end I was really fed up with her (and the book in general)... and I don't want to tell you much more, so I'll leave it at that. :P

I somewhat agree....but don't listen to us! I loved the book! :lol:

Prancer
01-26-2012, 02:30 AM
From someone who always talks about wanting to read dreck, this kind of surprises me. I don't think the book pretends to be high end literature, to me it's more "quality dreck". ;)

The problem there is that I know the difference between levels of dreck and recognize conceit when I see it. If you aim to write higher-level dreck, I shouldn't see you patting yourself on the back for your cleverness. If you have a big twist in your story, don't sprinkle in so many BIG, HONKING clues that a blind man could see it coming because you don't have enough faith in your audience to handle it otherwise, and for god's sake, don't wrap it all up in pretty at the end. Have a little faith in your readers to be able to handle a genuinely ambiguous and possibly tragic ending.

In fairness, I suspect that my issues with the book might be more the fault of an editor than the author, but since I don't know that for sure, it's all on the author's head.

The reviews for the book were, IMO, better than it deserved, which is why I expected more. It's not enough to aim to write quality dreck; you have to actually succeed.

aliceanne
01-26-2012, 04:00 PM
I posted about this one a few pages back. I loved Sarah's portions and wished the author would have written a whole book just about her. Julia starts off okay and then by the end I was really fed up with her (and the book in general)... and I don't want to tell you much more, so I'll leave it at that. :P

Re: "Sarah's Key" My sentiments exactly.

kwanatic
01-26-2012, 04:59 PM
PL's and my complaint is not so much that she was whiney (although she was) as that there was a real difference in the character's personality. It was as if someone else wrote the book. You get a feel for the author's voice and IMHO the 3rd book was jarringly different.

I would say when people go through traumatic experiences, it does change their personality. Essentially, in Mockingjay Katniss isn't the same person. She's broken. As someone said, you'd just have to imagine she was one gust of wind away from having a mental breakdown. The voice does change drastically in book 3, but it's warranted IMO.

Reading the book, I got the sense of a person who is completely worn down and is hanging on by a thread, but is expected (by a nation) to stand up and be strong in her convictions and purpose. Given the circumstances, I thought the personality shift was right on the money. I'd have been disappointed if she was the same throughout the books; where's the growth? The character progression? Where's the evidence of what she's been through? To survive and endure all of the terror, pain and loss she had to go through without it changing her...that wouldn't have been realistic. I appreciate that aspect of the book.

Do I like fragile I'm-gonna-crack-any-minute Katniss? Not particularly...but I understand why she was like that.

Artemis@BC
01-26-2012, 05:30 PM
And today after work I'm picking up Believing the Lie, the latest Elizabeth George, from the library.

Well, I read a bit of the jacket blurb, and I saw "Lynley investigates with his friends Simon and Deborah." Great. :rolleyes: I don't mind Simon too much, but Deborah is my least favourite character in the books, and Simon and Deb together are usually quite painful to read. Plus no mention of Barbara (who is by far my favourit character and the main reason I continue to read these books). But then to book flipped open to a random page, and I did see Barbara there. So thank goodness for that.

Plus it's set in the Lakes District, one of my favourite parts of the country, so that's cool -- and means we might not have to see that new DCI she introduced last book. (Stay away from her Tommy! She's no good for you!)

PrincessLeppard
01-26-2012, 06:04 PM
I would say when people go through traumatic experiences, it does change their personality. Essentially, in Mockingjay Katniss isn't the same person. She's broken. As someone said, you'd just have to imagine she was one gust of wind away from having a mental breakdown. The voice does change drastically in book 3, but it's warranted IMO.

Then it needed to be much better written. To me, the book reads like it was rushed and having Katniss pass out and then go back and explain what happened is a convenient way to move the story.

It doesn't read (to me) like someone suffering from PTSD.

Artemis@BC
01-26-2012, 07:11 PM
Then it needed to be much better written. To me, the book reads like it was rushed and having Katniss pass out and then go back and explain what happened is a convenient way to move the story. It doesn't read (to me) like someone suffering from PTSD.

That's how I felt too. I thought all 3 books suffered from too much exposition, but particularly Mockingjay. And Mockingjay felt the most rushed and "drafty" too. I'm sure the publishers have to shoulder a lot of the blame here.

But again, there's still a great story there ... and I'm holding out hope that the movies will do a more effective job of telling it.