Reading Challenge 2012: Update

This year I decided to challenge myself to read more and decided that 24 books would indeed be a challenge for me. Here is the list I came up with In January of books I wanted to read.

1. The Referral Engine: Teaching Your Business to Market Itself
2. Satisfy my Thirsty Soul: For I am Desperate for Your Presence
3. The Money Saving Mom Budget: Slash Your Spending, Pay Down Your Debt, Streamline Your Life, And Save Thousands A Year
4. The Hunger Games
5. Catching Fire
6. Mocking Jay
7. Pour Your Heart into It: How Starbucks Built a Company One Cup at a Time
8. 168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think
9. Americas Cheapest Family Gets your Right on The Money
10. Organized Simplicity: The Clutter-Free Approach to Intentional Living
11. Bootcamp for Lousy House Keepers
12.  Hired at Home

I also have been adding to the list as the year progressed. The next book I will start reading will be Onward: How Starbucks Fought for Its Life without Losing Its Soul. I have The Money Saving Mom Budget on hold at the Library in audio book and I could not find Pour Your Heart into It, So I decided to give this one a try.

13. The Host
14. Onward: How Starbucks Fought for Its Life without Losing Its Soul
15. Water for Elephants
16. Eat that Frog: 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time
17. Pride and Prejudice

As I said before I will keep adding as the year goes on. And stay tuned as I review some of the books.


The Hunger Games Trilogy

This past week and a half I have been reading The Hunger Games Trilogy written by Suzanne Collins and Published by Scholastic.  I must admit it only took me that long because I was waiting to get the second two books from a friend.

I was obsessed with the books much like I was with the Twilight series. The series is an easy read with lots of action, blood, love, and confusion. Which to me the love and confusion seem perfectly relatable for many people especially the teens who this series was originally geared toward. The main Character is Katniss Everdeen, a 16 year old girl who Takes care of her Mother and younger sister. She provides food for the family by hunting animals with one of her bows her Father made before he died in a mining accident.  She is joined in the unlawful hunting experience by her best friend Gale, who also has to provide for his family after his father died in the same mining accident. The book is set in the future where after the destruction of North America there is a nation formed called Panem which includes 13 districts and the capitol.

The first book called The Hunger Games lets us experience the 74th annual Hunger Games in which Katniss (who volunteered to go for her younger sister Primrose) and Peeta Mellark (a baker’s son) are selected to represent District 12 where they live.  The Hunger Games are set up by the Capitol to remind the remaining 12 Districts (since the 13th started a rebellion and was eradicated) who is in charge.  The Capitol is the only place where 2 children are not chosen to play in the Hunger Games which of 24 participants will only have one surviving victor.

The Hunger Games are based on survival and killing the other players before they kill you. This includes hunting for food and learning to use unfamiliar weapons.  The 74th annual games bring a twist when Peeta confesses of his love for Katniss only days before they begin.  The government is forced to make some changes in order to appease the viewers from the Capitol, whom have fallen in love with the “love birds” story.

As the rest of the books play out each character is tested and tried physically, mentally, and emotionally almost beyond what they can handle and in some cases way beyond. Katniss is torn between Peeta and Gale and Both are in love with her.

As a 30 year old woman I find myself thinking ‘I totally see where some of these characters are coming from’. The hardships forced on them like hunger, harsh government regulations,  and The Hunger Games are unlike anything we see in America.  The emotional trials they are put through like losing a parent, having to choose between 2 they really love, and taking care of family at great cost, are things a lot of Americans do go through. As I was growing up there were a lot of things we did without. At times we had no running water, gas, electricity or food. Not often, but were enough to help me relate to the characters in this book.  I am by nature a person who takes it upon myself to take care of those around me even when it is not my responsibility, which is a common characteristic of Katniss, and Gale and many others in the books.

Catching Fire and Mocking Jay, the other two books in the trilogy, do not disappoint in keeping with the theme of complex moral decisions, hardships, starvation, emotional turmoil, and the effects of war and and control hungry government.

Overall it was a great series, and based on how fast I read it, you can tell how much I enjoyed it. My only complaint is about the last book. I wish the end and epilogue explained more of how things happened.  That is probably the romantic in me, and since the book was not centered around romance, but war and tragedy, the lack of details makes sense. I am looking forward to the movie The Hunger Games which comes out March 23, 2012, and I encourage you to read the book before the movie comes out!