Abraham, Rachel, Soren and Liam. Our life together in Smalltown, Idaho.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Book Reviews

The Hunger Games Trilogy
By Suzanne Collins

I know these books are all the rage these days, but I have to admit: they're good. I heard someone describe the series as being something along the line of Ender's Game meets The Giver and I would agree. It's about Panem, a country formed in North America some time in the future. It's about children forced to participate in a very twisted version of Survivor, a reality TV show in which the participants fight each other to the death. It's about the unstable political structure of the country in which the "Games" take place. And it's about how one girl finds herself thrust involuntarily into the thick of both. Loved the story, loved the imagination behind the setting, loved the characters. It's a series that uses powerful images to draw up important questions about human nature and what it means to be human.

Two thumbs up.

The Host
By Stephanie Meyer

Not gonna lie: I liked it. Quite a bit.

The Host is written by Stephanie Meyer, of Twilight fame, so I was a bit leery of the book and found myself feeling mildly nauseated at some of the early romantic bits. However, if you can push past the initial sappiness, you've got yourself a quality novel. Like Hunger Games, The Host is a book that addresses some important questions: questions about human nature, ethics, and free will.

It's about a race of aliens--called "Souls"--who live their lives through the bodies of other species. The Souls choose a planet to occupy and very benignly move into the bodies of the native inhabitants, taking over their minds and lives. When the Souls move to earth, however, they encounter a new thing: resistance. The Host tells the story of how one Soul, named Wanderer, encounters just this resistance in her own Earth Host, a young woman who refuses to fully submit to the Soul's occupation in her body.

Never Too Late

By John Holt

This is the musical autobiography of John Holt (an important voice in educational theory and thinking) who, at age 50, decided to learn to play the cello. It's a lovely, joyful story about a lifetime of musical connection and growth, told in Holt's very gentle, personable narrative style.

Crucial Conversations

By Patterson, Grenny, McMillan, Switzer

I liked this book so much I've decided to make a PowerPoint and do a training about it at work-- partially so that, in teaching, I can internalize the principles a little more for myself, and partially because I think everyone can benefit from understanding and implementing these concepts in every aspect of their interpersonal lives. Basically, Crucial Conversations is about how to truly open up dialogue with other people: how to discuss import things in a way that is honest, respectful, straightforward, and non-manipulative. I was impressed with both the content and the way in which it was presented. Very accessible.

1 comment:

Holly said...

Funny you should mention them, but I read the entirety of the Hunger Games trilogy this week. I thought they were delightful. And I want some of Peeta's cheese buns.

I was thinking, to, that parts of this trilogy reminded me in some ways of The Host, which I read a year or so ago.


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