Category Archives: Uncategorized

Catching Fire

By Suzanne Collins

Statement: The second instalment in the Hungar Games trilogy. I’ve had this on the shelf for a while because I thought it might be a bit grim, and I often want to keep it a bit lighter … I know, the books I’ve just talked about aren’t lighter.  A great read. I want to break my vow-to-me of finishing all unread books on my bedside shelf before I buy a new book, and just go out and buy the third book.

Plot: Katniss and Peeta have been back from the games for about six months, when they have to tour the districts as the last game winners. Creepy President Snow gives Katniss a challenge, something is up in the districts, and then there are new games.

For me it started, not slowly, but I wondered if it was just going to be Katniss coping with her new life. Then it started getting bleaker in Disteict 12, and then more games, and finally hope. I want to read the next book soon.

Read if: You like kick-ass young adult fiction, and dystopian futures.

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The Last Runaway

By Tracey Chevalier

Statement: Easy to read. Simple prose. Strength in silence. Approachable and everyday history.

Plot: Honor Bright is a young Quaker who moves to Ohio from England in the 1840s. Tragedy strikes early and Honor finds herself amongst strangers and married into a strange-to-her family. Following her own beliefs, Honor begins to help runaway slaves.

Thoughts: Tracey Chevalier writes approachable historical novels, often told from the point of view of young women (e.g. The Girl With the Pearl Earing, The Virgin Blue). I feel this novel is less depressing in a way because Honor finds her strength and changed circumstance rather than being beholden too or having her fate decided for her. 

Writing: Simple, clear prose with good storing telling. Not Hilary Mantel, but I like this author. As well as the novels mentioned here I have also read The Lady and the Unicorn, and Remarkable Creatures.

The Power and the Glory

By Graham Greene (1940)

April’s statement: What on earth have I been doing without Graham Greene in my literary life??

Plot: 1930’s southern Mexico, follows the journey of the last surviving practicing priest in the state as the police hunt him down. 

Thoughts: Brilliant, eye opening, poverty, balance, faith, what is goodness, fear, hope, humanity.

Writing: Evocative. Short, but full of meaning.

New approach for a new year

Well dear readers, I have been reading heaps but recording none of it. Even the short paragraphs I do write feel like too much in the great balance of life. So I have come up with a new approach … really, really short notes. Bullet points maybe. A sentence about how I feel about the book. I thought about this new approach a couple of days ago, so I will start my reading log from there.

And as always, feel free to disagree.

Wake

By Elizabeth Knox

Well. Wrap your eyeballs around this novel. I finished reading Wake last night and it was a really unpredictable read. The novel centres around the 13 survivors (plus a mysterious 14th) of a strange madness/sickness that struck the small coastal settlement of Kahukura near Nelson. At first I thought it was really disjointed, that I didn’t know what was going on as it jumped from character to character, just like the characters in the novel … then had the well, duh moment! The reader doesn’t know what’s going on because the characters don’t know what’s going on.

It’s about death, it’s about survival, about how people cope or don’t cope in horrific situations. A word to the squeamish, it can be a bit grizzly in parts. So it’s like Elizabeth Knox’s novels in that it is set in ordinary, everyday settings where major other worldly things happen.

Would I recommend it. Absolutely. It was a quick read for me, and would have been quicker if I hadn’t been reading two books. I like to read a book on the train and something funny or “non-stressful” before bed … although I have been reading Terry Pratchett at night and he can be funny but deep. I belted through Wake as I have belted through all of Elizabeth Knox’s novels, except Black Oxen. I was at a Book Council event where Elizabeth Knox said that she was most (and I am paraphrasing here) proud of was Black Oxen. Didn’t really grab me … the different parts felt too different. Mind you, I haven’t finished it, and I was reading it when I was a very new mother during those early morning feeds, so I really should finish it before I pass too hard a judgement.

Elizabeth Knox talks about Wake in her blog.

The cover art actually depicts scenes from the novel, and was illustrated by Dylan Horrocks, the creator of Hicksville.

Cover art for WakeCover of Wake by Elizabeth Knox