Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Hunger more, read more

Who isn't into The Hunger Games?
I started reading The Hunger Games Trilogy this week. And, yes, I intend to read all three books.

I was drawn in from page one – or, rather, from the first Kindle screen. The writing is much better than I expected, especially comparing it with another popular series I can’t believe I read: Twilight.

I don’t often read Young Adult fiction. I can barely find time to read any fiction. In the case of Twilight, I plead vacation curiosity. 

Knowing nothing about Twilight in 2008, I found myself in the teeny town of Forks, Washington, where all the action begins in the book. The B&B there was decorated with birthday signs for Bella Swan, signed by Edward Cullen. I was clueless; and the owner was incredulous of my ignorance. So once I was home, I went to the library and started to read. I kept this up through four long tomes just to see how things would turn out, even while putting up with the annoying Bella and all her whining.

By comparison, the start of The Hunger Games has been a delight to read. I’m almost hesitant to go any further, fearful that the writing won’t hold up. I’ve already been told that Book One is the best of the three.

I found the same to be true of the Millennium series. The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo was the best of the bunch, especially on the large screen of the Swedish movie version. But no matter which book of the series you’re talking about, this is certainly no tale for young adults.

When I was younger, fiction series were much more fictional, at least the ones I read: The Clan of the Cave Bear (or, as it’s affectionately known at my house, The Cave of the Clam Strips), The Lord of the Rings, and going way back in the time machine, Nancy Drew Mystery Stories.

Sequels, prequels, trilogies, series. The formula seems simple: create compelling characters and stories, write engaging narrative, publish and repeat. Getting kids to read is a wonderful thing. Creating lifelong devotees of fiction? Priceless.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Living in the future

It’s the first day of April. The magnolias are in bloom and my daffodils are already spent. The lawn is in wicked need of a cut. And the ceiling fans have been on several nights over the past few unseasonably warm weeks.

By all indications, it should be mid-May or later.

Yesterday was the culmination of many months of anticipation in my house. It was the 19th Annual Tyler Arboretum 10k Trail Run, and my husband is the race director. While the event is his baby, I play the supporting spouse. I act as a sounding board, help to make sure nothing falls through the cracks, and shoot hundreds of photos on race day. The work is fun and rewarding; it’s the constant thinking ahead to a future date that can create stress.

Living in the future disorients me as much as seeing back-to-school sales in July (which I have) and Christmas decorations in August (ditto).

It’s hard to stay grounded in the here and now when things keep rushing the future.

It makes me all the more eager for yoga class, which reminds me to be present on my mat. To focus on the task at hand. To live fully today. Even as the rest of the world speeds toward tomorrow.