Couldn’t Put ‘Em Downers

As busy as I am at the end of a school year, I can’t not be reading!!  So, although the last month has been extremely intense with grades and our school district’s new electronic report card, I’ve also read two books that I simply couldn’t put down!

First one was the young adult book, The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins, which I picked up out of curiosity when I discovered that an 8th grade teacher friend was using it for a teaching unit in her classroom. I knew nothing about it, (didn’t know it was going to be a movie, too!) but once I started reading it, I couldn’t put it down.

From Scholastic:

Twenty-four are forced to enter. Only the winner survives.

In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by twelve outlying districts. Each year, the districts are forced by the Capitol to send one boy and one girl between the ages of twelve and eighteen to participate in the Hunger Games, a brutal and terrifying fight to the death – televised for all of Panem to see.

Survival is second nature for sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen, who struggles to feed her mother and younger sister by secretly hunting and gathering beyond the fences of District 12. When Katniss steps in to take the place of her sister in the Hunger Games, she knows it may be her death sentence. If she is to survive, she must weigh survival against humanity and life against love.

The second one was The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, by Stieg Larsson. I’ve been curious about this book for a long time, and started it last week thinking it would be a good diversion from those overwhelming electronic report cards.  Understatement of the year!  Good diversion = total page turner!

From the Stieg Larsson website:

Disgraced journalist Mikael Blomqvist is hired by Henrik Vanger to investigate the disappearance of Vanger’s great-niece Harriet. Henrik suspects that someone in his family, the powerful Vanger clan, murdered Harriet over forty years ago.

Starting his investigation, Mikael realizes that Harriet’s disappearance is not a single event, but rather linked to series of gruesome murders in the past. He now crosses paths with Lisbeth Salander, a young computer hacker, an asocial punk and most importantly, a young woman driven by her vindictiveness.

My report cards are done; there’s only 1½ weeks of school left.  Summer is coming quickly now, and I can’t wait to start my summer reading, which will most likely be filled with sequels to some great “couldn’t put ’em downers!”

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10 thoughts on “Couldn’t Put ‘Em Downers

  1. Kay

    Robin, I suspect that your summer will indeed include some sequels to these books. Isn’t it nice that sequels are available? I hate waiting for them. 🙂

    I’m probably the last person in the blogosphere that hasn’t read THE HUNGER GAMES, but I mean to. I really do! I’ll get around to it.

    I’ve read all three of the Stieg Larsson books. Really, really enjoyed them. They are each different but the storyline is most compelling. Have a great rest of the year and then enjoy your summer! It is much deserved.

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  2. Study Window

    If there are two things I don’t miss about teaching they are marking and report cards, so I rejoice with you that the latter at least are now over for this year. Like you, I couldn’t possibly have stopped reading when I was working on things like this; indeed the thought that I could treat myself with another chapter was the only thing that got me through. I’m sure the Larsson was an excellent choice. I haven’t read ‘The Hunger Games’ but as an avid reader of teen fiction, I will definitely look out for it.

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  3. Robin Post author

    Thanks, Kay. I’m looking forward to the Stieg Larsson sequels. I don’t think you’re the last person to read The Hunger Games…I hadn’t even heard of it (where have I been??) until a little over a month ago. I did enjoy it and thought it was quite well written.

    Study Window, you definitely understand the report card intensity! It made it less painful to have my reading to look forward to each day! I’ll be interested in what you think of The Hunger Games when you read it.

    Oh, Tabor! A tome on Lyme’s Disease?…it sounds quite interesting, but a real labor to get through! I so agree that that are too many books, and too little time.

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  4. Nan

    I began Dragon Tattoo, read about 50 pages and found it dull and slow going. Tom said it picks up soon after that so maybe I quit too soon. I think I’m also leery of the rape scene – people have said it is very graphic and I’m not sure I want it in my consciousness. I’ve been reading a lot of Nordic crime fiction and there has definitely been some gross stuff but I’m just not sure about TGWTDT. Advice?? Also, the movie is at our little theatre this week, and I don’t know about going. Oh, decisions. :<)

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  5. Robin Post author

    Hi Nan. I’m not one that usually chooses books that contain much violence, but I was curious about this book and ended up really caught by the mystery. It was quite well written. I’m also really curious about the Wallender series after watching the Kenneth Branagh TV version. Have you read any of those? It’s hard to recommend a book that has violence in it, and I actually told my Mom not to read it when she asked me about it. Yes, the rape scene is graphic, but so is her retribution scene! Knowing what you know about the book already, there are plenty of other less graphic mysteries to enjoy.

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  6. Bellezza

    Everyone’s read The Hunger Games but me. (Whine and cheese, please. 😉 I must get to it. Also, I’m glad you liked The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, which I must say left me frustrated. Normally I love mystery and gritty books, but this one went over the top and it went forever. It was rather like watching Dances With Wolves for me, all five and a half hours.

    I’m glad summer is coming upon you. I’ve started my second week of break, and while I miss my children immensely the time to myself is much needed.

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  7. Shelley

    You have my admiration, because I recently worked for a week as an aide in an elementary school to a boy who “wanders”–what an energy level in those teachers!

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  8. Nan

    Thank you Robin! Yes, I have read two Wallander books (and have 5 more on the shelf):

    http://lettersfromahillfarm.blogspot.com/2009/11/faceless-killers-by-henning-mankell.html

    http://lettersfromahillfarm.blogspot.com/2009/11/dogs-of-riga-by-henning-mankell.html

    And I’ve also read two by Helene Tursten and one by Arnaldur Indridason. I have many more on the shelves. I can’t get enough of Nordic crime! And though they have been gritty, I was somehow okay with each of them.

    And Bellezza, thank you! You are the first person I’ve read who has had anything negative to say. I liked your ‘over the top’ and about it going on so long. I haven’t found that in any of the Nordic crime books I’ve read so far.

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  9. Tamara

    I love the title of this post – and I’m glad you’ve had that elusive experience of being so engrossed. I’ve never heard of the huner games, and I’m cautious of the Dragon Tattoo series because of all the mixed messages (and because they’re big books). But now you’ve put it in the ‘couldn’t put it down’ categories, maybe it’s back on the list again…. Wishing you a fabulous summar break (and more happy reading hours) now reports are finished for a while.

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