What I’m Reading: Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi

I attended a writer’s group around here and someone recommended this book to all of us. It was a winner of a contest called Pitch Wars, which she also told us about. If you don’t know what pitch wars is, I suggest you Google it. Got a manuscript? Want some advice from experienced writers? This contest is for you. You get a chance to partner up with with a mentor, who will offer you advice and ways to edit your novel so you can pitch it to agents. In the end it’s like a bidding war for the best novel and sounds so exciting. I’m going to give it a try myself.

Anyway, this book is about four young adults who are brought together by tensions exacerbated by the politics surrounding the world of the novel. On one side there are those who have magic, or used to have it. On the other: the evil king who is determined to keep magic away for good.

Friendships form, romance kindles, and adventure makes this book as absorbing as the world the author has created.

Happy Reading and Writing!

Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson: My Thoughts and Impressions

I just finished listening to Jenny Lawson’s Furiously Happy on audio today and I absolutely loved it.Furiously Happy is a memoir about Lawson’s life; specifically her struggles with mental illness which she explores with amusing essays featuring her blog, her family, and her life.

It is exactly as she described it: a funny book about horrible things, and for anyone who suffers from mental illness,  like depression or social anxiety, it is an easily relatable book and comforting when you learn how the author counters her illness.51Z3ZotTWfL__SX329_BO1,204,203,200_

Some of my impressions:

You can’t take yourself too seriously.

That much is obvious. You have a bad day, you embarrass yourself, you cry about it, but you move on. There are many things that happen in her life that I would be mortified about but she seems to have master the knack for laughing about it sometime down the road.

She relies on family and the comfort of friends.

Relying on the comfort of loved ones on those really down days is a good option. You feel so alone inside, but you don’t have to be physically alone. Loved ones are there to provide support when you need it.

She has mastered the art of pretending.

She is good friends with Neil Gaiman who gave her some great advice when she was having doubts about being able to read her own book on audio. She told him she wasn’t any good at it, and he told her (something along the lines of), “pretend that you are good at it.”

Take a deep breath and step forward.

It’s not always easy to move forward when your mind is telling you that you can’t possibly leave the house right now, because then you’ll have to talk to people and sometimes there are days when that is just exhausting. In that case…

Learn how to push yourself.

Even when it is very difficult;  because the rewards are worth it in the end.

And that’s it really.  I’ll probably end up listening to it again in a few days. I found it a great comfort and relief to know that I shouldn’t have to make excuses for myself on my bad days. Because those that also experience the same things that I do, completely understand.

What do you guys think? Have you read or listened to Furiosuly Happy? What were your thoughts on it?

 

A Year’s Worth of Books

Happy Memorial Day everyone!

Today is a quiet and lazy day. I am worn out from the last few days, and so I am relaxing in front of the fan in my office and thinking about what to write. I was able to have lunch today with a friend, and she gave me this little book where you can record the books you’ve read and what you think of them.

img_20160530_151420369.jpgIt reminded me of what I did last year around this time. In the post I listed all the books I was able to read in five months and what I thought of them. This time its been longer, though. This is really for my benefit, mostly, as I have a terrible memory.

What could I have possibly read in a year??

Here we go, and in no particular order…

Audio Books I’ve listened to:

American Sniper, by Chris Kyle

Call the Midwife, by Jennifer Worth

I Was Here, Gayle Forman

Matched, by Ally Condie

Beautiful Creatures, by Kami Garcia, Margaret Stohl

The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel: The Alchemyst, The Magician, The Sorceress, The Necromancer, by Michael Scott

The Maze Runner, The Scorch Trials, by James Dashner

The Color Magic, by Terry Pratchett

The Long Earth, The Long War, The Long Mars, by Terry Pratchett & Stephen Baxter

The House of Hades, by Rick Riordan

The Ocean at the End of the Lane, by Neil Gaiman

The Wind in the Willows, by Kenneth Grahame

Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear, by Elizabeth Gilbert

A Curious Mind: The Secret to a Bigger Life, by Brian Grazer

Whatever You Do, Don’t Run: True Tales of a Botswana Safari Guide, by Peter Allison

img_20160426_163707562_hdr.jpgAnd other books, not on audio:

The Raven King, by Maggie Stiefvater

The Iron Warrior, by Julie Kagawa

Winter, Fairest, by Marissa Meyer

Hmm…not a bad list, although its clear I need to read more books that aren’t on audio. I think its time to focus on reading some more adult fiction, non-fiction and science fiction and fantasy. And this doesn’t include the Harry Potter series that a listened to again this year on audio. (I think I have an obsession!)

What do you guys like to read? Read anything new recently?

Happy writing (and reading)!

How I devoured 20 Books in less than Five Months

Right now, I work in data entry, I’ve been there about five months and as far as boring jobs go…well, this one takes the cake. I don’t really mind it though. It’s not stressful, the people I work with are alright, and I don’t have to deal with customers, or customer service, or retail, (which I hate.)

And I can listen to music, AND audio books while I work, and this arrangement works well for a book-nerd like me.

spy8I’ve come to realize I have this obsession; I told myself that if I wasn’t in Grad school, I would absorb all the books that I could, and perhaps learn something new.

I guess I didn’t realize until now, (late twenties now and I’m just starting to realize) that I really do have a terrible attention span. I’ll watch a video for 20 secs, and I swear if it doesn’t insight some kind of meaningful reaction in that very short life span, I’ll exit and find something else to look at.

I think this is also the reason I love young adult and children literature. For that genre, you really have to start out in the middle of the action to catch its readers, it is immediate, it takes you along for the ride.

I love a great story, but sometimes I don’t have the attention span, or time to sit down and try to absorb a thousand pages of high fantasy with a trillion characters, and numerous worlds, but I CAN listen to an audio book and I’ve absorbed my fair share in the past couple of months:

The books I’ve now read (listened to):

Harry Potter, by J.K. Rowling (all seven of them)

Game of Thrones, by George R.R. Martin (all five)

The Book Thief, by Markus Zusak

American Gods, by Niel Gaiman

Still Foolin’ Em…Where I’ve Been, Where I’m going and Where the Hell are My Keys? By Billy Crystal

Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls, by David Sedaris

Virals, by Kathy Reichs

The Casual Vacancy, by J.K. Rowling

If I stay, by Gayle Foreman

Where She Went, by Gayle Foreman

The books are pretty much in order from how I listened to them. I started with Harry Potter first, because, let’s face it – it’s the best! I’ve already read the books about a thousand times, but I do love listening to the audio occasionally.

And because it’s a list, I thought I’d do a little bit of ranking…

My favorite:   Harry Potter, of course.

Least favorite:  Virals, by Kathy Reichs. It wasn’t as original as I thought it’d be.

Funniest: Billy Crystal’s Still Foolin’ Em

Saddest: If I Stay, Gayle Foreman

Most thought-provoking: The Book Thief and American Gods

Most Surprising: The Casual Vacancy. The book was just different from what I was expecting. I think I expected more of a mystery-type novel from the way it is described, but the book is really more of a look into the heartbreaking world of human emotions.

And Most Inspiring: Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls. It inspired me to journal more, and write more non-fiction of my own.

And I guess that’s it. There really isn’t much else to this post except that I’m going to sit back and admire my own list and think about how awesome I am. 😉

I am contemplating listening to the Wheel of Time series next. What do think? Any suggestions?

What is your favorite book?

Have you read any of the books on this list?

Interview with K. Starling: An insight into self-publishing

bookIf you missed my review of K. Starling’s novel In Beauty’s Veins you can read it here.

In Beauty’s Veins is a novel about the journey of four women all united by a Healer named Daphne, who comes to the town of Halfawaise with the intentions of finding a lost neighbor and to become a healer there. But the town is immediately suspicious: is she really a Healer that the Legends talk about?

It doesn’t help that another legend follows her there, when Berri, one of the women who befriends Daphne, discovers someone who was attacked by a Vampyre. As Daphne tells her story to her new friends, suddenly the things that used to be legend aren’t legend anymore.


Miss Starling was able to take time out of her busy day to sit down with me and have a chat about her new novel, self-publishing and the writing process behind it:

Me: What was your inspiration for In Beauty’s Veins? When did you come up with the idea?

K.S: It’s kind of embarrassing actually. There was a melange of reasons. It started as a romantic fantasy in my head inspired by a how-to-draw Gothic Manga picture that I found really sexy. Then Twilight came out and I thought, “Oh, I could probably make money on this fantasy.” But then I cared too much about my characters, so I actually developed them. And I actually get annoyed by romance being the end-all of any story, so it pretty much died.

Me: I did notice there was some romantic element, but it was refreshing to see all the different themes, like woman’s rights, sexuality, forgiveness, self-worth….was there a particular reason you chose to write about such things?

K.S: It was in the forefront of my mind just then. Our culture is at an interesting point in which we’re really self-reflecting on how we view people based on differences and I felt like exploring some of my own experiences through this story. These are topics that make people uncomfortable, but I don’t want to be uncomfortable about them.

Me: Nice. How long did it take to write the novel?

K.S: From start to finish, about seven years, but bear in mind that the first three drafts were an almost utterly different story. Berri didn’t exist until maybe three years ago and then I was working full-time and took a hiatus. Once I actually outlined it properly and dealt with the addition of Halfawaise into the plot (cultural and language development) it took me about a year and a half.

Me: It’s funny how first time writers always think that writing a book is a quick thing. It definitely does take time to develop. Why the title that you chose? Was there some thought into it?

K.S: It’s meant to allude to the allegorical reference to Beauty and the Beast, but also the depth and grit of the story (so veins and not blood, which has almost become sexualized as a word). I didn’t want someone picking this up thinking it would be fluff.

The world inside of K. Starling’s novel, In Beauty’s Veins.

Me: Going back to Halfawaise and the world that you’ve created…how did that come about?

K.S: I’m interested in cultural development. A lot of my studies have been deeply rooted in cultural identities, primarily Chinese and Celtic cultures. However, my interest definitely veered based on information I learned. I was curious what a Scandinavian Empire might have looked like had our continents drifted differently. I thought it would be interesting, too, to explore a pseudo-French Revolutionary culture that tends towards Communism and Atheism and how the cultures converse across borders.

Me: And the language that you created in the book? How did that come about? Was there some specific inspiration you used for that?

K.S: They’re purely derivative. I don’t really intend to do much expansion in the story, so I wasn’t going to spend a lot of time developing languages. (Laughs.) You’ve got Atwainsk, which is basically Scottish Gaelic plus some Germanic influence, and then Nordsk is just a combination of Germanic and Scandinavian languages. I did a little work on dealing with Middle versus Old versions of the languages (like Keltoig), but not a lot. The one Chinese expression, however, was made up. It’s Mandarin in meaning, but it’s not a real cheng-yu.

“Cao you bu hua” 草友不花  “Grass friends don’t flower” – it’s from the scroll Anwar shows Daphne. Chinese has a neat history of four character idioms (cheng-yu). I love them.

Me: On a different note, the story is told from different points of view…why did you choose to go that route?

K.S: It was originally a first-person sequential narrative, but I decided Daphne wouldn’t narrate first-person. That’s not the way she thinks. So I played with third-person before deciding that I wanted a different perspective on her story, so I introduced Berri, her polar opposite, to look at things with new eyes. But then Berri turned into such an interesting character that I wanted other characters to share their thoughts on her, so I expanded on Nade and Gerri, both of whom have their own slants. I just wanted to look at the different aspects of the landscape, to see what that felt like. Berri is just so ego-based that telling a story purely from her perspective would be exhausting, and Daphne is so conflicted and gentle that she wouldn’t be able to capture the facts.

Me: I think it was a good choice, the story felt more complete because of it. Is there any character that you identify with?

K.S: All of them to some extent. Although, I call Daphne my drunk self. She’s so determined to like everyone. But I have my Berri days for sure.

Me: Would you say Daphne is your favorite?

K.S: Daphne is the character I most admire, but I don’t think she is my favorite. I feel very protective of Rose, actually. I feel like I failed her as a writer sometimes. I wish I could have given her more screen time, in a manner of speaking. Her life was just so painful.

Me: I know you mentioned that you didn’t intend to continue the story, but can we look forward to a sequel, or another novel in this world?

K.S: I’m debating it. If I do, it would definitely be a different cast of characters, although I would take some time in Halfawaise. I haven’t decided. I have some ideas, but not enough to do much about it.

Me: One more thing on the novel: When I was reading it, I was toying with the idea that the four women really are parts of a whole, as each of the women have such different personalities…Berri having a darker side, Daphne optimistic, Gerri the nerdy type, Yolain who is concerned about her looks…combined into one, the four really do represent many of the issues that women struggle with in today’s world. Any thoughts on that?

K.S: With Daphne and Berri, I was definitely playing with polarity. Yolain and Gerri, who my writing group referred to as the Two Stooges, just sprung up for me. Gerri interests me for a lot of reasons, of course. She struggles with her sexuality, her desire to learn things, and to stay somewhat hidden to maintain that independence. Yolain projects confidence, but is very much living in constant fear of failure. Keep in mind she’s been carrying her experience of near-capture around with her for years. I think she understands better than anyone what it means to be a woman in the Skalda Domain.

***AND then we touched on the benefits of self-publishing…

Me: Why did you choose to self-publish? What are the benefits you think?

K.S: Frankly going the traditional route with this book never crossed my mind. It doesn’t fall neatly into any genre and is really hard to market. If a publisher picked it up, I can almost guarantee they’d want me to clean it up – remove the swearing, sexuality, and pump up the romance. They’d want the vampyres to be sexy, and that was against my philosophy.

Me: You mentioned that you had other projects you were working on…do you think you will self publish those as well?

K.S: That’s the plan. The next one takes place in Horseheads, NY, actually. It might have a place in traditional marketing, more than In Beauty, but it’s pretty brutal. I like maintaining creative control. I have no illusions that I can do this for money, and I don’t really want to. I like my day job and I enjoy my projects.

Me: Are there books that you might consider getting an agent, or publisher for, or no?

K.S. Probably not. I feel that I would remove part of the fun. I’m a project manager by day; I’m good at this stuff. I don’t need someone else putting a deadline on me. A lawyer, however, probably wouldn’t hurt. (Laughs).

Me: It is definitely a great ambition. And it says a lot that you are doing this for the fun of it, for yourself. How do you personally market your novel?

K.S: I’ve been really busy. Mostly I bought 50 copies and have persuaded some local businesses to carry them for me. I’m going to head over to B&N here in Madison and back in Elmira to let them know I’m local. I have a few book clubs I know of that have interest in it. Otherwise, I’m going to Johnny Appleseed it. I have some post-card style advertisements and I travel a LOT, so a few copies will find their way into international hostels and libraries.

Me: Did you hire an editor to proof read your novel at the end?

K.S: I did. It’s a bad idea for me to proof my own stuff.

Me: Is that the best way to go, you think? Also, getting someone to do the cover art?

K.S: I do. I would feel so horrible if my baby got out there and had a sloppy typo going on. My cousin has a friend in NYC who’s an illustrator who was looking for work and I know a local graphic designer. I wanted a nice-looking product, so I went big. Also, it’s a lot of fun to collaborate with other artists. I have a buddy in Brooklyn who did some costume sketches for me (on my website) and I’m so glad I hired her to do it. It really brought some of the scenes to life for me.

Me: I’ve always wanted to do that for some of my projects…it seems like such fun. What words of encouragement do you have for other writers out there who are trying to self publish?

K.S: It’s a serious investment of time. Pay attention to what you’re doing. Be ready to invest a little cash if you want a nice product, or else be ready to do a lot of legwork yourself. Know what your goal is with the project and balance that against what you can actually commit. I count myself lucky that I don’t need to do this for a living, because it’s a very competitive market and it’s almost entirely luck-based. If you’re not doing it because you love it, take a step back and find out why.

Me: I think all the outside views definitely make it hard to write what you want and for yourself, especially when you have others judging you. Did you struggle with writer’s fear at all? Writer’s Block?

K.S: I have moments to be sure. I try to just write piles of garbage until I get through whatever is in the way. I’ve actually started doing erotica on the side (under a pen name) just to keep writing so I can go crazy without fear of judgement. Fearlessness is critical when you’re expressing yourself, you know?

Me: Great words….How often do you write? Is there a specific time a day that works best for you? And did you have a regimen that you stuck to for writing In Beauty’s Veins?

K.S: I feel like every writer has their own mode of habit. With my job and hobbies, I can’t commit a lot of time to writing on a regular basis, so I try to mentally write (live in my head) when I’m waiting in lines or traffic to keep it going. When I travel, I write probably between 1 and 5 hours a day. With In Beauty, I hammered out 50,000 words when I was in Taiwan for 6.5 weeks. I have to make space away from obligations, so that means getting out of my house and away from people I know. I actually made a Ulysses Compact with myself for In Beauty… I wanted to finish it by a certain date, and I was having trouble motivating at the time, so I threatened to shave my head if I failed. I did not fail.

Me: (Laughs) Would you have really shaved your head?

K.S: Yes. You have to keep your word to yourself, you know?

Me: Oh, I know. What are some of your next projects, if you don’t mind me asking?

K.S: Sure! I’m working on a semi-apocalyptic piece in which magic is released again into the world (Unleashed), but it follows the paths of two sisters who hate each other, and who find very different ways to survive. I’m also writing a novel based on a film I made in college called Styx & Stones, which is about two college students who can interact with ghosts and how they cope. I’ve also got three others on the back burner that somewhat tie into the first two, but I haven’t decided to what extent yet.

Me: Do you have your own website/ blog where we can find updates?

K.S: Yes. It’s www.kxstarling.com. You can find my facebook account under K. Starling.

Me: Do you have any writing quirks or habits that you want to share?

K.S: I always make soundtracks for my books before I write them. And then I listen all the time until the novel is done.

Me: That’s awesome. Is the soundtrack on your website?

K.S: It’s not, but you know, I’m thinking about it. I’m planning to update some content next week when I’m off work. That could be fun!

Me: For fun, last question: What is your favorite book? Your favorite author?

K.S: Favorite book is probably The Sparrow, by Mary Doria Russell. It was magnificent. But I go through phases. Favorite author is probably Lu Xun, because I admire him so much. He wrote short stories during the Chinese May 4th Era – mostly cultural criticisms. Absolutely stunning.

*****And that’s that! She was able to offer us some great insight into self-publishing… and how important it is to make sure that the product you have out there is the best that it can possibly be!

I like what she says about Writer’s Fear:

“Fearlessness is critical when you are expressing yourself.”

Happy Writing everyone!


K. StarlingK. Starling has a Bachelors degree in Comparitive Literature and a minor in Chinese from Binghamton University. She has studied at National Taiwan University and University of Nottingham. In her spare time, she likes traveling, guzzling tea, and is training to be a Yoga teacher. In Beauty’s Veins is her first novel.

In Beauty’s Veins can be found on amazon.com, here. Look for updates on her website at www.kxstarling.com and on facebook at K. Starling.

Review: In Beauty’s Veins, by K. Starling; a book about friendship, women, and self worth

Later on today, I will be posting an interview with K. Starling herself, about her new novel, self-publishing and her writing process, but first a review:

Novel: In Beauty’s Veins, by K. Starling

Genre: Fantasy / science fiction

Audience: Any woman who cares about the rights of her fellow women, although guys might be drawn to its interesting world and unique take on vampires.

Review: 

When I first picked up K. Starling’s book, In Beauty’s Veins, I joked that it had some heft to it, but little did I know that later I would also be using this phrase to refer to its content. Here we have a novel that touches on many themes: A woman’s rights and sexuality, self-worth, friendship, forgiveness, revenge, monsters, death, and healing…just to name a few.

To find this all in one novel is like finding a gem amongst the stones. There’s just so much in this novel to think about.

In Beauty’s Veins is a novel about the journey of four women all united by a Healer named Daphne, who comes to the not exactly desirable town of Halfawaise with the intentions of finding a lost neighbor and to become a healer there. She is of course met with some road blocks: the town medic, who doesn’t want another Healer in his town and the suspicion that follows her title: Is she really a Healer that the Legends talk about?

It doesn’t help that another legend follows her there, when Berri, one of the women who befriends Daphne, discovers someone who was attacked by a Vampyre. As Daphne tells her story to her new friends, suddenly the things that used to be legend aren’t legend anymore.

Told in a mixture of third and first person perspective, Daphne, the Healer, manages to heal more than just flesh and blood; she touches each woman’s heart and soul. Especially Berri, who was accused many years ago of murder and has no friends.

Through Daphne’s story, we learn how the world should be, (and the way it often isn’t); how important sometimes one friend is to a person truly alone in the world. How a woman should be defined by how she sees herself, not her sex.

It challenges the concept of who is a monster: a vampire, who by definition is a monster, or a human, who rapes and kills? It touches on right and wrong. Could an action so innocent, really cause so much harm? And how important it is to love yourself in order to love others.

This is a novel worthy of a good book club, as there are a lot of things to talk about afterwards. Here you will find a world that is truly different than anything I have read out there. Starling has weaved a tale that’s so refreshing in its complexity, in the character’s friendships and the compassion they show towards one another.

Here’s a peak at the map to this world in the inside cover:

K. Starling’s In Beauty’s Veins can be found on amazon, here. And look for updates on her website: www.kxstarling.com.

Stay tuned for more K. Starling this evening!

NEW READS: Featuring Author, K. Starling’s book, In Beauty’s Veins

I have been offered a great opportunity. One of my former classmates and friend, K. Starling, has self-published her own novel, In Beauty’s Veins, and has agreed to do an interview with me!

The opportunity will give us some insight into self-publishing, her writing process and of course her work of fiction, which is drawing me in with its incredible world and great characters.

10668432_10202063361700310_926469207_nTaken directly from the back of the novel itself, In Beauty’s Veins is a story about friendship, forgiveness and finding hope in dark places against all odds.

Five years after she is torn away from everything and everyone she knows, Daphne is tired of her fruitless search for a lost friend. Leaving her homeland in the Atwin Counties, she arrives in the merchant town of Halfawaise ready to open a medical practice. However, her medical training is unusual since she is a Healer, a being out of Atwin superstition that the local medic denies ever existed. The town is immediately suspicious of the newcomer when she forms an unlikely bond with the town pariah, a girl long suspected of murder, and their suspicions only grow when a local man is savagely attacked by another Atwin legend – a vampyre.

Struggling with a language and culture not her own, Daphne slowly reveals the secrets of her dark past to three young women with their own conflicted agendas, all the while trying to prove her worth to the skeptical town of Halfawaise.

Look for a review and my interview with K. Starling two weeks from now, Saturday, Oct 4th!

You can also find K. Starling’s book on amazon.com, HERE.

I am very excited about this! 🙂 Hope everyone is having a great Saturday!

The House On Mango Street

Every writer has a moment where it all began. That point in their lives, where they were 10, or 14, or 42, where they realized that words can be something more than dots and slashes and letters on a page…that words can take you places.

For me it was a book called, The House on Mango Street, By Sandra Cisneros, which I read in eighth grade. The middle school that I attended had a new eighth grade teacher that year; a man from New York City named Mr. Van Dright. He was a bit unorthodox for an upstate New York school strict on curriculum and following the rules. He had long dark hair and grizzle on his face, who wore a leather jacket and drove a motorcycle when he wasn’t in school, who reminded us often how thankful we were to attend a school that was safe and clean with no metal detectors.

And although this unique teacher from the city was forced to resign before the following year, what I remember most about him was that he was an artist. He had that look in his eye of a person who had stories to tell. He showed me, although he probably doesn’t know it, (a very insecure and shy fourteen year old at the time,) that books and words could be something more, you just had to dream them.

“In English my name means hope. In Spanish it means too many letters. It means sadness, it means waiting. It is like the number nine. A muddy color. It is Mexican records my father plays on Sunday mornings when he is shaving, songs like sobbing.” (Cisneros,10)

This is from a passage in the book entitled, “My Name.” I remember him reading it to the class that day. What does that mean, he asked us. A name like the number nine?

Perhaps it was because I was obsessed with names. Wondering what it would be like if I had a different name – to separate myself from the ten other girls named Amanda in my school. (I really did graduate with about 5 of them.) Perhaps it’s because later on in the passage, the narrator goes on to describe her name, “as if the syllables were made out of tin and hurt the roof of your mouth.” (Cisneros, 11)

Up until that point in my life, I’d never given much thought into the meaning of words, how with a simple sentence you can describe your name as muddy and we know how you felt about whatever it is you were talking about.

My own writing as of lately, has become its own kind of muddy and I thought I’d take this time to go back and remember where it all began. How words can have inspiration just by how they sound in your mouth mixed around with a word or phrase that can have nuances of meaning. How something simple can change the way you think and view the world. Muddy. Muddy. Muddy.

Nothing was as clear to me as those words on those pages. I wanted to write muddy too.

The Boy with the Bread

Been reading The Hunger Games today because I recently watched the movie last night and am struck with a particular scene in the novel: Where Peeta, the bread boy, throws a starving Katniss burned bread from his kitchen.

For those of you who haven’t read the book, I suggest you go read it now. Not only is it great reading, but great writing too! From the first page you are drawn into Katniss’s world, you feel her emotion, and the unrest in the dystopian society that she lives in. (I can’t tell you how much I don’t like that word, for some reason it just irks me.) It is a fast read, but not a read for the faint of heart, certainly.

Anyway, I guess the English Major in me is stuck on the Boy with the Bread Scene and the juicy little bits that scene may or may not represent. Oh, it certainly doesn’t have to represent anything, but I love that it can and that Suzanne Collins isn’t dumb. That deliberately or not, she has created a scene that sums up the heart of the novel, or at the very least a great portion of it and that is:

Sacrifice.

What does Peeta sacrifice when he throws Katniss the bread? Well, he certainly didn’t get hurt for nothing. He was willing to risk injury to himself, in order to be “kind” to help out Katniss, who was someone in need.
His motives? Well, love. He later claims that he’s been in love with Katniss ever since a young age. (Although it certainly takes her awhile to believe it).

And isn’t that at the very heart of the novel? Peeta’s initial sacrifice only goes to emphasize Katniss’s sacrifice; the offer of her own life in exchange for her sister’s at the reaping. It is because of her love for her sister that she sacrifices herself. And other characters experience their own sacrifices as well. It is the love and the sacrifices accompanying them that says a lot about family, about life and death throughout the novel.

Any thoughts? What do you love about the novel? About the characters? About Katniss?