Why some books make me want to gnaw my leg off

Kindle and I are in the honeymoon stage. You know…that fuzzy wuzzy time at the start of a relationship when everything the other does is funny and cute. You yearn to learn every last little thing about each other. Nothing can distract you…you are all wrapped up in the newness of finally finding your soul mate. It’s totally bliss.

And then he lets you down. At first you forgive him ’cause, hey, nobody’s perfect. Yes, inside you’re saying to yourself…”I thought he totally got me. I wonder what I’ve done wrong?” The second time it happens, you start to question your sanity…”Is this the right relationship for me? Did I commit too soon?” The third time you start looking for ways to get out with your dignity intact…but still hoping you can do it without him getting all stalker on you.

You see, he introduced me to a little trilogy of B-movie-like mediocrity called “The Hunger Games.” And like a fool, I fell for it. He dangled rave reviews in front of me like ripe fruit ready to be plucked. He wooed me with words like “thoughtful” and “breathtaking.” Little did I know he had an ulterior motive. To get me hooked and get me hooked good…bless his little fiery heart.

(I’m not going to go into the plot or tell you anything about the characters…you probably already know all about it/them. And, if not, you can go to Amazon to find out.)

The best thing I liked about this book was the font used in the title.

Somehow, he got me to download the first in the series, “The Hunger Games,” and at first, I thought he really got me. He seemed to instinctively know what type of book I’m drawn to and I dove in ready to be swept away on an epic adventure of epic-ness. Only…that didn’t happen. The book was okay. I liked the author’s writing style but like a meal at a nouveau cuisine restaurant, I came away hungry for something a little more satisfying. Maybe she just went a little to heavy on the protein (meat) and not enough on the carbs (potato.)

Not to say I hated the book. I save my hate for truly crap books like anything by Lisa Gardner and books that feature the strong, silent guy and the gushing woman who meet, butt heads, eventually have sex, she lies to him about something really asinine but in the end they get together and go off to have lots of sex and babies.

The Hunger Games was a few levels above this kind of high-brow literature (insert sarcasm font here.) The pace was good, the characters interesting and the plot believable but…it had no heart. There was no emotion…no passion. The best books envelope you in the story…you become a character, albeit kind of silent partner-like. This book left me standing on the side of the road as the story rushed past. I got glimpses of something good but it didn’t stop to offer me a lift.

“Catching Fire” and “Mockingjay”, the second and third installments in the series, continued the story of Katniss Everdeen (click here for a list of all the players) and her quest to win the Hunger Games and finally make her mind up about which man (boy) is her one true love.

In the end, I always base how much I like a book on if I would read it two, or more, times over the next ten years or so. The Hunger Games trilogy is a one more read only. So with that, I give it a warm C+.

And if you’re interested, Kindle and I are still going strong. I’ve forgiven him for his initial blunder and I think we’re both clear now on our expectations for each other. He promises to only download quality reading material and I promise to recharge his battery on a regular basis.

I expect I’ll see the movie based on the books only because I can just imagine some pretty cool special effects. When it comes to movies, I’ll watch anything sparkly.

(Author’s Note: if you are wondering why I’m writing about a book(s) that’s been out for ages it’s because I refuse to pay hardcover price for any book and, if you want the truth, I only heard about the books when I was reading about the movie. I’m so retro that way.)

23 thoughts on “Why some books make me want to gnaw my leg off

  1. After 2 years, I still love my Kindle! I also just read the Hunqger games trilogy and really got into the2 first books… But the third bored me a bit and I thought the ending was a bit lame.

    • Wow! You’re an old pro Kindle-wise. I’m jealous.

      I’m glad I read The Hunger Games even though I wasn’t totally into the trilogy…it made me feel I was “hip” for a while reading a book everyone else was reading. I saw copies of the book everywhere…at the beach…by the pool…kids in cars. Next up is Stephen King’s 11-22-63…can’t wait. :-)

  2. I’ve never dated a Kindle, but I did have a brief fling with The Hunger Games. I too, felt compelled to write about it. I’m right there with you about feeling like an outsider instead of a silent character.
    As far as the Kindle relationship goes, I’ve got trust issues when my significant other is constantly trying to coax me to read things which I may not end up adoring as a great work of literature. That one tryst with Amazon proved her to be so pushy – “if you like this, you’ll like that” – Bitch, I’ll pick my own books!
    I guess that’s why I’m alone, with no one to guide me through the shelves of fiction.

  3. I don’t have that much time to read as I am reading blog posts all day! I am trying to get through a self-loathing book by Steve Friedman and then I want to read something fun! Probably not Hunger Games….

    • I know! It’s either blogging or books and Kindle seduced me with his wide selection of reading material. That’s why I was AWOL for the month of April. I thought I could have it all and I was wrong. I’m trying to come to terms with that…being wrong I mean. It’s foreign territory for me. ;-)

      I’m going with Stephen King next and then Flamingo Rising by Larry Baker. I read A Good Man and really enjoyed it…

  4. A sparkly girl – Those glasses in the header should have clued me in. The hunk of semiconductor that goes by Kindle probably has more insight than me.

    • I felt exactly the same way but after seeing the Mister develop his deep and loving relationship with his new Kindle, I just had to see what he found to mesmerizing.

      After I realized I could lay on the bed and eat a salami with cheddar and mayo on an everything bagel and read without getting poppy seeds all over pages of a paper book, I fell in love. :-)

  5. I have this thing (which is VERY unpopular) that I do NOT get what’s so fing special about YA. When I was a YA, I wasn’t reading YA. I’m not sure if the genre existed back in the days of Gutenberg press.

    I started a group for local writers (years ago). Mostwere older than I and we had The Kid (13 or 14 when she started, now she’s half-finished with uni for a BA in English) and they ALL read (greedily) YA. I read a few books (the most infamous being Twilight — those cunts! I will NEVER forgive them for “making” me read that pile of shite; not only poor writing but talk about caring about the characters? erm, no).

    Did I mention that just because you can type a bunch of words that have some sort of meaning (which bests my efforts, right there), doesn’t mean you’ve written a GOOD novel, let alone great one.

    Now, I’m not sure what I wrote here because I rambled but I guess what I’m saying is: I hate it when people tell me something is AWESOME and at best it’s mediocre.

    • It wasn’t until after I finished reading all the Hunger Game books that I realized it was for young adults. That explains so much but doesn’t explain why young adults would find them all that good. The education has much to explain if they are producing kids who loved this series. I can see someone liking it but the over-the-top kudos…beyond me.

      I have not picked up the Twilight series so thanks for the heads-up on that. I, too, hate it when someone/everyone goes gaga over something and I find it’s just meh…we are obviously in the top percentile of good taste and intellect. :-)

  6. I’ve listened to the audiobooks of the first and second books. I liked the first one enough, though I thought she should be sending royalty checks to Stephen King for essentially integrating “The Running Man” and “The Long Walk”. The second one was a step down from the first. I’m sure I’ll get around to the finale at some point, though maybe I’ll just watch the pretty movies.

    Like madtante, I’ve had a hard time “getting” the wild popularity of YA.

    • Good insight into the Stephen King wannabe-ishness of her books. I think the movie is still playing around here somewhere and plan to go see it something this week. I’ll let you know what I think.

      Maybe the fascination with YA fiction is because young people have yet to develop their attention spans and have no sense of their own mortality. They have to have it now and maybe that’s not such a bad thing. At least they are reading…even if it’s not the best writing. I like to see kids with their noses stuck in a book rather than their noses full of something else…if you get my drift.

  7. Like Susie, I find I spend more time reading blogs than books. I’m trying to change that fact – because there are a great many books. (Not to say there are not a great many blogs.) I read Hunger Games, but I will not read the other two. Like you, I didn’t hate it, but it did not take me with it. If I am thinking about the characters when the book is closed – I know that book is a keeper. I didn’t think about Katniss or anyone else unless I was actively reading the story.

    • After all the hype and seeing everyone and their Grandmother reading this book, I feel a bit let down. That will teach me to succumb to the pressure and giving in to the desire to be hip. I like to think that my ability to totally not know what’s going on culture-wise to be…very vintage. :)

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