Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Book Report

Once upon a time, in a land not at all far away, I loved to read for fun.  I read classics, I read "chick" books, I read books recommended by Oprah and loathed by the employees of Barnes and Noble.  I judged books by their covers and trusted my friends when they recommended books with cartoon covers.

It was never as easy as just reading, however.  If I liked the story, despite the confusing timeline or awkward writing style of the author, I couldn't put it down.  I read during meals.  I read before bed.  I read in the bathtub and occasionally dropped the book in the water.  I splayed the book out on the heating vents and said "it was like that" when I returned it to the library.

And then I got pregnant.

At first I read as much, if not more, than I did before, although more of it took place on the toilet as I peed for the fourth, fifth, sixth time that hour.  I read about birth defects and prolapsed umbilical cords and preterm labor.  I laid awake at night more terrified than when I read all of the Goosebumps books as a little girl.

Cael at 2 months
But when the baby was born, I read nothing.  Well, almost nothing.  I did some very scholarly research on concussions and traumatic brain injuries when Cael fell off of the bed at three months old.  Physically, he was okay, but as far as his personality and social intelligence being damaged?    

The verdict is still out.

Other than that brief literary adventure, I read nothing.  But let's be honest-- baby kisses trump novels.  As Cael began to sleep through the night, I began to read more.  "The Kite Runner"... "She's Come Undone"... "Confessions of a Shopaholic"... (don't judge)...

And then one day, my nephew Ethan recommended I read "The Hunger Games."  I knew it was a young-adult fiction book and mentally listed it under the heading of "stuff I might read when I don't want to think very hard", the same list where I'd recently crossed off the shopaholic book when I finished in the bathtub one day, sans water damage.

Cael reading at 1 1/2
But Ethan said something very prophetic.  "You'll really like it, but you'll never put it down." 

Truer words have never been spoken.

I have to admit to feeling a little sheepish when I bought the book at Walmart the next day.  But given the fact that I was also purchasing toddler-sized underpants and a large jar of mayonnaise, I figured the book was the least of my concerns.  I took it home that night and began to read it at 10:00pm when I got into bed.  At 2:00am, book one of the Hunger Games was done.

I forced myself to wait before purchasing book two, "Catching Fire".  I didn't want to blow through that one as quickly and have to deal with the aftermath of two night with only a few hours of sleep.  So I waited two days, and started in on chapter one around 9:00am.  By early evening, I closed the cover.  I did manage to feed the children during that time, but I must confess to having no clue what took place during that time.  Did they watch television?  Did they go outside?  Did they both "whip it out" and swordfight over the toilet?  I guess that's between them and God.  Maybe I'll run upstairs and ask Jesus if he took any notes from that day.

After such a reading binge, I made a promise to myself that I would wait until April to buy the last book.  For the first time ever, I was frustrated that I didn't have a Kindle or other device to provide me with an instant Hunger Games fix.  My position has always been that I love the nostalgia and tactile experience of holding the book and smelling its pages as I read.  But I think I could trade it all to snuggle in a cave with Peeta.  And a Kindle.

I swear I'm happily married.  And I swear I'm not 14.

Amazingly, I was able to keep my promise.  I waited until yesterday to bring home "Mockingjay", and although I haven't opened it yet, it is calling to me from within the shiny blue cover, which I plan to ransack this afternoon.

If you've read the books, you understand.  And if you haven't, you really should.  But clear your calendar or you'll forget to go to bed, go to work, or even eat.

May the odds be ever in your favor...


  1. I loved those books too, and also couldn't put them down. However, I did find that book 3 wasn't as gripping as the first two. I think I did take some time while I read that one to actually stop the fighting of my boys rather than hide under the covers and let them figure it out as I did with the first two!! I LOVE that picture of 2 month old Cael!!!

    1. Lori, I've heard the sane about Mockingjay. And I never did get started on it today. I'm going to *try* to take my time with it!!

  2. Oh my gosh aren't those books something else?! Gripping, certainly... horrifying, definitely... haunting, indeed. I wasn't going to read them, utterly refused, but then made myself to just see if I could. I don't like violence & the whole idea of the books repelled me. While they were really intriguing, I'm not sure quite yet how I feel about them... but yes, yet I couldn't put them down either! Have you seen the movie? I thought it was well done considering the content, but have no idea how they'll keep the next two PG-13... *sigh* why can't a book with a more positive, good message take off this fast with teens & young adults (and the young-at-heart)? Now I'm reading The Help, ever read that or seen the movie? AWESOME!!! many amazing messages & lessons there!!

    1. You're right- it's definitely very violent for a book geared toward teens. Let me know how "The Help" is... I want to read that too!

  3. This could not have been better timed! Last week my sister invited me to be her teddy bear and go watch the "Hunger Games" movie with her. I'd never heard of the books beyond all the Facebook statuses about the movie, and I am an insane reader (started and finished a novel while in labor kinda avid) but for my sister I'll try anything. I do have a Kindle so instant gratification meant I had the first book within minutes and read in hours. Bought books 2 & 3 the same night and got about 4 hours of sleep so I could finish almost all of Catching Fire. My 1&2 yr old spent a whole lotta time in the playroom the next day since it is the only self-contained Mommy-can-zone-out area of the house while I lay on a cot blocking the doorway and lost myself. Finished the trilogy by 2AM that night. I've not been sucked in like that since those dratted Twilight books!! I didn't realize until afterwards the author, Suzanne Collins, had written the "Gregor the Overlander" series that my 8 yr old stepson had read and recommended. I'd devoured those pretty quickly too. Not as violent, but I really liked that her heroes weren't heroes, just people with fears and weaknesses that somehow drew on strength when they needed to. And like the "Hunger Games" series I was left wanting more, more, more! Thus ends what truly feels like a book report. Or novella. Whichever.

  4. I just read "The Help." Great book! Have yet to see the movie though. I just may have to borrow your "Hunger Games" books Mary. You've really peaked my curiousity! -Shirley


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