Books I Read in Florida

Since we had such a LOOOONG drive to Florida and plenty of down time this last week, I was able to get TWO BOOKS read in one week!  Maybe I need to take more vacations so I can get caught up on all my reading!!!


By Suzanne Collins

Published October 1, 2008


In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by twelve outlying districts. The Capitol is harsh and cruel and keeps the districts in line by forcing them all to send one boy and one girl between the ages of twelve and eighteen to participate in the annual Hunger Games, a fight to the death on live TV. 

Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen, who lives alone with her mother and younger sister Primrose, regards it as a death sentence when she steps forward to take her sister’s place in the Games. But Katniss has been close to dead before — and survival, for her, is second nature. Without really meaning to, she becomes a contender. But if she is to win, she will have to start making choices that will weigh survival against humanity and life against love.

So, I know, I know, I am probably the last one on Earth to read this book.  Everyone I know has told me I need to read it.  But, I was putting it off and not really sure I WANTED to read it until our 6th grade son came home and was reading it.  Then I went straight to my Kindle and bought it.  I knew roughly what it was about and wanted to be available to discuss it with him and answer any questions he might have about it.  So, we read it together and both of us finished it on the trip.

I have to say, it definitely was page-turner.  It grabbed my attention and even though I had a hard time grappling with the idea of The Hunger Games, I was sucked in, rooting for my favorites and coming to tears when they were defeated.  So, if you are like me and saying “This really isn’t my genre”, “I don’t like science fiction books.”, “I didn’t like TWILIGHT, so why will I like this?” you may just want to give it a try.  It is a quick read.

I’m not ready to jump right in to the second in the series CATCHING FIRE, but it is on my Kindle when I or our son is ready.  I am looking forward to taking him to the movie when it comes out this month!


By Elizabeth Strout

Published March 25, 2008


In a voice more powerful and compassionate than ever before, New York Times bestselling author Elizabeth Strout binds together thirteen rich, luminous narratives into a book with the heft of a novel, through the presence of one larger-than-life, unforgettable character: Olive Kitteridge.

At the edge of the continent, Crosby, Maine, may seem like nowhere, but seen through this brilliant writer’s eyes, it’s in essence the whole world, and the lives that are lived there are filled with all of the grand human drama–desire, despair, jealousy, hope, and love. 

At times stern, at other times patient, at times perceptive, at other times in sad denial, Olive Kitteridge, a retired schoolteacher, deplores the changes in her little town and in the world at large, but she doesn’t always recognize the changes in those around her: a lounge musician haunted by a past romance: a former student who has lost the will to live: Olive’s own adult child, who feels tyrannized by her irrational sensitivities; and Henry, who finds his loyalty to his marriage both a blessing and a curse. 

As the townspeople grapple with their problems, mild and dire, Olive is brought to a deeper understanding of herself and her life–sometimes painfully, but always with ruthless honesty. Olive Kitteridge offers profound insights into the human condition–its conflicts, its tragedies and joys, and the endurance it requires.

I have been wanting to read this book for quite awhile.  It is on all the “Book Club Lists” and “Must Read Lists” and has won a Pulitzer Prize.  I figured it had to be good and so it was chosen as our book club pick this month.  I am looking forward to hearing what everyone thought next week.

Each chapter is like a short story revolving around a character or characters in the town of Crosby, Maine.  At some point, Olive Kitteridge weaves her way into their story as well sometimes in a big way and others a small way.  This book is like taking your community and being a fly on the wall in each other’s homes…..getting to see what is really going on inside.  

I really became wrapped up in the stories in each chapter and was sad when some of the chapters were done.  I was left wanting to know more, which I am sure was intended by the author.  Lessons were learned and thoughts were provoked many times throughout the book.  I ended the book with tears rolling down my cheeks and lots of feelings on the surface.   It gave me a lot to think about as a parent and friend to others.  

I think this would make a great book club pick as there are lots of dynamics and characters to discuss.  I also think it would appeal to both men and women.  It was a quick read and one you could read over the course of a couple days or many days due to the way the chapters are laid out.

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