The Hunger Games – Suzanne Collins

For my birthday this year I got a lot of things. Between all those things I got the second volume of “The Hunger Games” trilogy: Catching Fire.

Why the second volume? Well, the first one was sold out.

I don’t regret getting this present because I doubt I would’ve picked these books to read any time soon, after all my reading list is endless. I read a book and add another 10 to my to-read list.

So, I looked up for the first volume and just went with it. The result: I finished the book in one day. Yes, all I did on that day was to read, eat and go to the bathroom when needed.

Truthfully I heard about The Hunger Games from different sites and so on, you know there’s a lot of media going on because of the movie and the people that are in the movie.

I read that a lot of Harry Potter fans have become obsessed with this new trilogy. And you can’t actually blame them. The Harry Potter fans aren’t kids anymore and they need, dare I say crave something new, more mature. And The Hunger Games delivered.

I didn’t want to write about each of the books because I wanted to have a general opinion about the story as a whole.

While I was reading the first book “The Hunger Games” I had the sense I was reading a history book about old civilizations that used to punish the slaves by making them fight between each other, something similar with Romans and the fights between the gladiators while the population just cheers the ongoing slaughter.

The only difference is that the gladiators are children. Kinda makes it more gruesome doesn’t it.

The entire concept of children brutally killing each other really hits a sensible string. And while many might say this is far fetched, just one look at the state of our world and that might not be far from the truth. Humans are programmed to do whatever it takes to survive, children included.

Moving on, “The Hunger Games” is gruesome not just from the slaughter that happens between children but by the fact that the entire thing is a much “awaited” event by the people of the Capitol. The reaping is done in a ceremonial style and the kids are picked using a lottery system.

The author used normal things that happen in the real world and she gave them such a horrible use in her books. The 12 districts are basically concentration camps from where the Capitol take its supplies, the lottery system doesn’t bring any joy to its winners, a ride on the train means certain death, technology is used only for military purpose and creating monsters.

And the whole story is presented through the eyes of a 16 year girl from District 12, Katniss Everdeen. A girl that worked most of her youth to keep her mother and sister alive after the main provider of the family, her father was killed in a mine explosion.

While she does her best to keep herself and her family alive, she finds herself forced to volunteer for the Hunger Games when her little sister is chosen as one of the tributes. With this, the first book revolves on how Katniss struggles to survive in the arena. She learns that Peeta Mellark, her fellow tribute from District 12 is willing to give her life for her, while trying to explain that Katniss has no idea the “impression she leaves on people”. With this and the adoration of the crowds in the Capitol, Katniss and Peeta become the “star crossed” lovers and end up being the first two survivors of the games when normally only one tribute is allowed to live.

This again starts another set of events that takes place in the second book “Catching Fire“. The ruler of the Capitol, president Snow, makes sure that this new fame of the star crossed lovers won’t be a reason for the districts to start an uprising, and so for the 75th edition of the Hunger Games he rules that all the tributes will actually be chosen from the remaining victors.

With this new turn of events, Katniss and Peeta find themselves back in the arena but this time there will be only one victor.

And by the end of the second book the uprising begins in almost all the districts and a war starts. Katniss and Peeta are separated at the end of the games, with Peeta being captured by the Capitol and Katniss being rescued by the people of district 13, a district that was supposed to be long dead.

And then we come to book 3: “Mockingjay“, the last book and probably the hardest to read in my opinion. The scars of the games, the current situation of the war, the knowledge that everything could be destroyed really takes a toll on all the characters and even the strongest ones seem to have lost their will and capacity to function.

Katniss is broken apart by the knowledge that her help to the resistance will only mean Peeta death and the fact that things cannot continue as they are. That and add another love interest really do complicate things.

And no I won’t carry on with the ending.

Books are meant to be read and enjoyed till the end and spoilers really suck. That’s why I refuse to give any specific details about the book and the events that happen in them.

“The Hunger Games” trilogy is really that good. But I doubt the first two books will leave anyone cheery and happy, even the third on will have a more somber ending. After all, even if the story ends on a good note, the scars and the events that happened really left them marked for their entire life.

And with this I am happy to say that I am finally over my Harry Potter melancholia. I am now craving for other books who hopefully will let my imagination run wild as I read them.

Weekend

The weekend is back and so is the heat.

This is one of my last weekends that I will actually have some peace of mind. My training period at work is almost over and I start real work in about a week. I actually did something that I would normally wouldn’t do, I actually picked the night sift. So for the next two months I will be working the “graveyard shift” as most people know it.

Even now I am wondering why I picked that shift, but then I remember that I just don’t have anything to do in the next two months and why not work a little bit harder and get more money before I start university once again.

I believe the experience of not having a job for two months opened my eyes and showed me that it can always get worse and if you don’t prepare yourself for this kind of situations you’re basically screwed.

I am not worried about the night shift, because I’m already used to staying up late to 3 in the morning; the question is can I keep it up for two months?

So I am just making sure I am in the right state of mind before I start working for real.

Knitting, making my new list of books to add to the MP3 player, making sure that I won’t neglect the blog, watching some anime movies/series, anything that can keep my spirits high.

I know this might sound weird but life, my life, seems to be really screwed up. I don’t believe I ever had a period when I was happy and just didn’t worry about things.

Every time there had to be something that went wrong

Ahh, I know there is no such thing as having the perfect life, but could I least have a break from all the shitheads that are out there? Seriously, I am getting sick and tired of putting up with everything and everyone.

At least I got good books available to me and I can always lose myself into someone else’s life of joy, sorrow, troubles and achievements.

The Secret World of Arrietty

I’ve been so busy in the past month its crazy. But I had lots of fun.

In a way I miss my free afternoons when I could stitch, knit, read books or watch a good movie but not that much. I’ve made new friends (they are really awesome) and I’ve been going out more.

And yet, with all the things that are happening right now I managed to have one nice weekend to myself and just chill on the sofa watching Ghibli movies.

And yes, I just saw The Secret World of Arrietty.

To my surprise I found myself longing for those beautiful summer days of my childhood. Those days when I would just not care about the rest of the world, the days when being barefoot was the norm and when time was much slower than it is today. And I came to the conclusion that all the Ghibli movies have this effect on me.

I’m blaming the visuals.

My first reaction when seeing the movie was “That’s Howl as a kid!” and then that soft voice just killed my senses instantly. I get goosebumps just by thinking about it.

Overall it was a good movie to watch during a lazy summer afternoon. It just takes your mind away and makes you wish you had your own private garden with beautiful flowers.

I am now planning on watching From Up On a Poppy Hill. I somehow believe I’m going to enjoy this one a little bit more, because the story is unknown to me.

Just a small surprise at work

Yesterday was Sunday and while most people were out still enjoying their weekend I had to work the afternoon shift.

It wasn’t a big deal because it was actually and easy day and I actually got some interesting calls. But by far the most interesting was a call from a certain Kate Gosselin. Well at first it seems just like a normal lady calling for some info, but after a few more minutes with her on the phone I realized that this was “the” Kate Gosselin from the famous TV show “Jon and Kate plus 8” from TLC.

How cool is that? I even asked her is she was who I thought she was and she said “Maybe” but even her voice was the same. I actually told my co-workers and they said I was being crazy for being so cheery after talking with her. OK, it might not be a big deal, but I thought about why people get excited when they talk with TV personalities. In my case it isn’t that I am a big fan or that I enjoy running after celebrities in my free time.

I was just happy that I got to talk with someone I’ve seen on TV and have a normal conversation with that person. I mean what are the possibilities to talk with foreign celebrities when you live in Romania? Pretty slim actually, I was even lamenting to Johnny how Roxette is coming to Romania to hold another concert at Cluj and how much I would love to go see them. Yet I have no chance of going to Cluj any time soon.

So who knows, maybe I’ll get more interesting calls in the future.

I’m burning

So, I’ve been busy these days with work, learning for work, my fitness routine, and just trying to get some rest in between.

Have you noticed I didn’t mentioned anything about hobbies.¬†Well, I did had a few free hours and I actually watched “Up from a poppy hill” and “The secret world of Arrietty“. I actually cried at both of the movies. Its amazing what Studio Ghibli can do and I really hope they’ll never chance.

Its funny that I have so much energy in me, considering I’ve changed my entire schedule, I’ve started running and I even more fruits. And all of this in just one week. There is just one downside, my legs are killing me. But I’m guessing that’s from the running.

I’m pretty happy with myself. And just as a treat, here’s the view from my new office, I hope you’ll like it.

 

By the way, I saw this beautiful sunset yesterday it was just a pity I couldn’t take a photo.