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Saturday, March 24, 2012

Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins

Second book in the Hunger Games Trilogy
by Suzanne Collins
I borrowed this book in audiobook format from my local electronic library. Dallas Public Library rocks that way.  It's sitting in my iPod nano for a while now.  I'm so glad it didn't get erased!  I guess it's time to look for the third book in the series. Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark are now living in the Victor's Village.  A special section of District 12 where winner of Annual Hunger Games lives.

Just when she thought she could finally relax and get on with her life safe in the knowledge that she's forever exempted from any games, President Snow throws a curve.  I thought the couldn't be any way the Capitol could torture her, they came up with a whooper! It's enough to make anyone frustrated. The Capitol thought she's the reason there's unrest in the districts.  Now, she has to pay.

The new characters are quite engaging.  I am very surprise to like them...perhaps even better than Katniss sometimes. There's minor things I wish were different. The first third of the book was told in summary form, so I didn't get to 'be there' when Katniss meet Gale for the first time after she came home from the Hunger Games. I didn't get to experience their first kiss. However, I am very much looking forward to the third book in the series. I'll see if the library has this item available now.

The Hunger Games movie premiered a few minutes ago in Dallas. I would have gone, except that I have to work at 1 AM. What's even more frustrating is I cannot watch it tomorrow because I'm taking my 3 younger children camping in the wood with other cub scouts family.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Moonlight and Oranges by Elise Stephens

Moonlight and Oranges
by Elise Stephens
Publisher: Booktrope Editions (November 1, 2011)

This book is a Kindle book which I got it for free. My favorite kind of book. I also like the cover. Yes, I sometimes judge the book by its cover because they are not created equal. Just look at that luscious red over a dark background. Who can possible resist that?

This is a story about Lorona and Kestrin. They meet at a party and really made an big impression on each other. They kissed and the next day got a horrible craving for oranges. I'm not sure I got that part, but it seem to mean that they really want each other. Kestrin, on the other hand, has infamous for breaking girl's hearts.  He's been with many girls. Lots and lots of them. What people didn't know was he's on a quest to find the 'right one'. There's this dream and he was convinced that it's the way to finding the right person for him.

When he met Lorona, he thought he saw her crying, and immediately thought he's the girl of his dreams. He has this journal where he wrote details of his dreams. When he couldn't find his journal to verify Lorona's rightness, he felt strong that they should get married. They got married in a big rush. That's where our story starts.

It's based on a Greek Myth about Cupid and Psche. I'm not so familiar with them. I wasn't even sure I like the story, but I also cannot stop reading it. So I read it til the very end and got this knock-over feeling. It is a book which holds my attention even as I am unsure I like the story. This writer is that good!

Friday, March 16, 2012

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot

by Rebecca Skloot
If my mother hadn't lost her kindle, I wouldn't have heard about this extraordinary book. I've studied biology and cell biology and heard of Henrietta Lacks. I was only slightly interested in the woman who basically jump-started cell genetics. I just have to say thanks to Mama, I end up reading this book.

The science in this book is epic in proportion. Just imagine a small sample of cells cultured to dozens of test tube, then hundreds, to thousands to millions and billions. This cell became the basis of mass production for several successful cell company which in turn made more cells. Not only the amount of production is massive, but these cell line became the basis of studies for cancer, polio, and myriad of diseases. It sprouted the foundation for study of genetics and cell behavior. All this from a woman who didn't even give permission for her cells to be immortal or numerous.

Rebecca Skloot did ten years of research for Henrietta's life. This book is about the science and the person and the family which was affected by it. The saddest part is, the family didn't even benefit in any form from this astounding cell. None of the huge company who profited from this cell ever thought to give donation so Henrietta's children do not have to live in poverty. No foundation was set up so they could go to school and be educated.

This story fascinated me and disgusted me and impressed me all at once. It is very powerful. I think everyone should read it.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

In Fifty Years We'll All Be Chicks: . . . And Other Complaints from an Angry Middle-Aged White Guy by Adam Carolla

"...all things being equal, which is better?"
Free podcast found here

We listened to this book while driving 8 hours to the beach in Port Aransas. Adam Carolla kept my five children and husband occupied. I drove and laughed my head off. I think I might have dislocated my jaw from laughing in some parts of the book. This book is Adam's view of the world in general and how people are in particular. Mainly, that the general public had gotten dumber, more powerful, and therefore more menacing. I sometimes listen to his podcast.

Adam has hilarious view on allergies, even if he's very wrong. I don't always agree with his views. I have a child who's severely allergic to wheat, soy, dairy, eggs and split peas. It does makes a difference if that child is going to be in the same room with the things that trigger his allergies. However, that same child listened to the book with us and found the whole thing hilarious.

Adam read the audiobook version, so there are many digressions. In fact, I think I'll get the book and read it as he mentioned the audiobook bears only a slight resemblance to the printed book. I get the feeling that this guy can really complain and do it well. He complains in an entertaining way that I'm not quite sure if people is going to take him seriously. He does have good points about pies, bathroom, and drinks.

My children goes around quoting him. I did make it clear that the 'bad words' stays in the audio and not to be uttered aloud. So far, no slips. The bottom line is, if you want entertaining books to take you out of your doldrums, then this book is it. We give this book a five star!