Archive for the ‘Books’ Category

Hungry For More

December 11, 2011 18 comments

My book club is reading The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. This young adult science fiction novel grips you immediately from the get-go. It did me anyway. It is the first of a trilogy, set in the futuristic world of Panem, a post-apocalyptic country that was once the United States. At the heart of the plot is the heroine, Katniss Everdeen, a sixteen-year old citizen of District 12 in Panem. Panem is governed by the “Capitol”. Each year, the Capitol chooses by lottery, one boy and one girl between the ages of 12 and 18 from each of the 12 districts to take part in a massive televised battle they call the Hunger Games. The games are broadcast live from the Capitol’s arena to all of Panem. The winner and only living survivor receives exemption from future games, better housing for them and their family, money and food for a year for their entire district.

The book is not for the feint of heart. The subject matter is not light and even though it’s officially classified as a young adult read, I loved it!

When my book club decided to invite the young adults in our lives to read The Hunger Games with us and participate in our monthly discussion, I was excited. When my son actually expressed an interest in doing so, I was thrilled. Let’s face it, the areas of common interest between a mom and her 13-year old boy can be pretty limited. In fact, it seems with each passing year now, it gets harder and harder to find a meeting place, something in the middle, a common bond to share with my boy. It’s nature’s natural separation process and it’s meant to be that way.

I get it but it doesn’t mean I have to like it.

I just got back from enjoying nearly two weeks of sun and adventure, beautiful sights, amazing art and fantastic food in Mexico, bringing home many memorable days with me. The one day that stands out the most in my mind however, the one day I’m truly grateful for and will cherish more so than all the others, is the day I spent reading The Hunger Games, poolside in Puerto Vallarta, for nearly eight hours with my boy; just the two us, exchanging commentary and opinions, speculating on what was to come next and discussing with intensity, the plight of the characters.

We ended up devouring all three books while we were away. It became the common thread that kept our conversation going and going. So if you have a young adult in your life that your eager to connect with and you haven’t already done so, I highly recommend reading at least the first book of The Hunger Games with them.

No doubt it will absolutely leave you hungry for more! If you don’t have a young adult to share it with, read it anyway!

And may the odds be ever in your favor.

~ Suzanne Collins

Have you read the books and if so, what did you think?

Photo Credit #1: Trilogy

Photo Credit #2 & 3: Karen Szczuka Teich &

Categories: Books, Family Tags:

The Boy Who Lives…On

July 17, 2011 8 comments

If you haven’t heard of Harry Potter, you must live under a rock. If you have but haven’t read the books, what are you waiting for? If you’ve read the books and didn’t like love them, I may have to re-think our acquaintance. 

I’ve read all seven Harry Potter books, to myself, to my kids and then re-read some of them to myself, again. I immediately fell in love with the wide-eyed, innocent boy who spoke to snakes and had no idea he was special. I was equally drawn to the large and hairy, Hagrid who charmed me with his sincerity and devout loyalty to the Headmaster and to Harry. Then of course, there is the Headmaster; wise, beautiful and fiercely powerful, Albus Dumbledore. I don’t know how anyone could not love him. From the Weasley family to Dobby the house elf, the secondary characters are just as endearing and as important to the whole story.

My favorite character however is the Half-Blood Prince himself, Severus Snape. I was overcome with emotion when I realized I’d misjudged him. I hadn’t trusted my instincts and instead, I judged him. Lily was kind to Snape. She befriended him and forever, he loved her.

Kindness, is incredibly powerful.

Now, when I think of Snape, the image of a silver doe comes to mind and I could easily cry.

In her books, J.K. Rowling explores the power of love on multiple levels; how to love, who you love, what you do for love, what happens when you love.

For the past seven years, I’ve been getting lost in the friendships and the adventure, first in the words, then on the screen, submerging myself in the details surrounding this boy’s life. Watching him grow and learn through lessons of life and love. While the books don’t lack in humor, as a mom, I totally appreciate J.K. Rowling’s lack of fluff. Things don’t always go right and right doesn’t always win out. Things don’t come easy to Harry. They don’t come easy to most people. That, is life. And even though we overcome our struggles, our successes are often short lived, lasting only long enough for us to realize we are strong enough to overcome them.

J.K. Rowling also repeats the real-life-fact (over and over again) that things are not always what they seem, not with friends, family or strangers, reminding me again, to try not to judge people, their lives or actions but instead, to continue to strive to be true to myself.

Regardless of your age and despite the fact that the story takes place in a world of fantasy, everyone can relate on some level to some of the emotions these characters experience. Life is unpredictable and even painful. Sometimes things just don’t make sense but there is another side, a better side and when you fight for what you believe in, eventually, you get there. Perseverance.

You may love and you may lose people you love in the meantime but no matter what, you go on because life and love are worth it.

It’s so healthy to get excited about something and this weekend, boy was I excited! Not only did I LOVE the movie but I LOVE spending time with my kids too, so it was truly a win – win for me. Thanks to this gender-generation, transcending phenomenon, I had a date with my 10-year old daughter as well as my twelve-year old son who frankly, would otherwise, rather spend time with just about anyone else but me – but because we all share this common bond, this love for all things Harry Potter, any obstacles that would normally keep us at odds or apart, magically vanished for nearly three, whole hours and together we shared the experience of watching Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, at midnight!

Harry Potter, the movie epic has come to an end on the screen anyway but is it over? Hardly. In my lifetime, I can’t recall a phenomenon such as the Harry Potter series and how its appeal really has transcended genders and generations. Harry has already proven to have the same kind of staying power as the likes of Dorothy, Alice and even, Scrooge. J.K. Rowling’s story of “the boy who lived“, has earned its rightful place among the Classics. Harry Potter will live on and be read, over and over and over again, for generations to come.

Thank you, J.K. Rowling.

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