Tuesday, December 06, 2011


Instead of visiting Pinterest for the tenth time today, I figured it’s time to write about The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins, since I just finished it and since the movie trailer recently premiered online. Suzanne Collins remains a mystery to me. Her picture does not grace the covers of her books, and I’ve not looked it up online because, really, I’m afraid if I see her face I’ll like the books less. (This happened with the Twilight series.)

Collins’ post-apocalyptic America is fairly imaginative. Torn into districts of people who are basically slaves to the Capitol and whose children run the risk of being drawn into the Hunger Games each year, Panem is a place I don’t want to visit but am curious enough about. The first book in the series is compelling, setting up this world, this crazy idea that captures the reader’s interest right away because, let’s face it, we all like some gruesome (read: Stephen King’s Danse Macabre). So, we’re in. Collins knows the story-writing tricks, her obsession with food description is right in line with the culture’s foodie, gastro-pub obsession, our heroes have a fair amount of depth, her Capitol characters are a good amount of colorful. It’s a good read: for the most part.

The things that get me where it hurts are the love interest, which, now that I’m rethinking this, I might not even be able to criticize because, who is our target audience? Teens. And what do teens love? Love. But there’s that, and then there’s the heroine Katniss Everdeen’s cluelessness. I don’t know whether Collins assumes the reader will know what’s going to happen before Katniss does all the time, but we do. And that’s not good writing technique. If there is to be mystery, and there is because there is suspense, it must remain mystery. We must find out with the hero.

The second and third books start at a snail’s pace. The second because of a load of exposition that the reader could definitely do without. The third because we simply don’t care and we want to get to the action. But this happens in many a good book, so I’ll let that one slide as well. What I won’t forgive is the absolutely unnecessary epilogue. People have debated epilogues since the epilogue existed. I take comfort in knowing that I’m of the humble yet accurate opinion that epilogues are almost always the wrong choice.

So, go ahead and buy The Hunger Games on your Kindle, but don’t go out and buy the hardbacks. Expect some suspense coupled with some unfortunately obvious “twists,” a couple of characters you might like enough to follow through to the end, a love story that might remind you of your teen years, and a world that might soon be to come.

Saturday, December 03, 2011

Life in Delaware:

Looks like this...

I drag myself out of bed when Paige wakes up between 7 and 8. (She's still eating at 5 a.m., so that's fun.) Collin gets up early and takes care of Drue until I arise (sometimes because Drue has bursted into my room and shouted, "Mommy! Good morning, Mommy!" - I love those mornings the most). I enjoy making a French press of super black coffee and drinking the entire thing over the next two hours. The girls play or watch a video while I spend a few minutes on the computer, because DON'T JUDGE ME. Drue usually eats something else during this time, because Daddy doesn't quite know how to feed her yet. Just kidding. But she's always still hungry.

Next is get-dressed time. I often have trouble making it back up the stairs at this point. (Sometimes I think if I just went out for a jog after feeding Paige at 5 a.m. I wouldn't be so tired all the time, but I love bed.) We make it upstairs, and we get dressed (on the mornings that I actually do shower, that happens before Paige wakes up). Drue tells me she doesn't want to put on her pants, then that she doesn't want to put on her socks, but we do it anyway. She is starting to put her clothes on herself some too. Paige HATES getting dressed. Hates. It is pure, unadulterated torture. But if I didn't dress her she would be frozen, because our house temperature sits right around 67. Is that cold? That seems cold to me.

If it's Monday, we go to the grocery store and get back in time to watch most of Sesame Street. Drue eats lunch while she watches. I put groceries away and then feed Paige some sort of solid food then nurse her. All the while, I'm doing laundry, which I've been doing since I got up and brought myself to collect all the dirty clothes in the house. After SS we go upstairs and have play time, reading time, etc., and the girls go down for a nap around 1. Other not-Monday mornings include either a morning nap for Paige and Drue and I doing some kind of craft or playing or putting away the dishes. We go to a friend's house most Wednesdays for a play date type thing. We usually go the mall once a week, maybe twice if I'm dying to get out. On days that we're out, Paige snoozes in the car at some point or skips her morning nap. She's a pretty easy-going gal, except for the getting dressed.

During naptime I do any number of things, the majority of which involve me on the couch, on the computer - or reading a book or sleeping or all of the above. And if it's Monday, I probably spend at least half of naptime sweeping and mopping the downstairs and folding laundry. (The housework that takes place the other days of the week I usually do while the girls are awake, or I don't do it at all. Though I've found that I can get A LOT done in 15-minute chunks. Brilliant!)

After naptime, it depends on the weather, but I like to get Drue outside. Even if we've gone somewhere that morning, she needs OUTSIDE time. Walking to the park, around the block, to the store, even just playing on the porch for a little bit. She needs it, and so do I. It's getting cold though, so I'm afraid these times aren't going to last much longer.

I've been asking Drue to help me with dinner lately too, which is fun - and frustrating - but mostly fun. We eat early, pretty much right when Collin gets home at 5:30. Then it depends on the day again. We have a lot of people over to our house for dinner; we sometimes have "date night" after the girls go to bed, which means we make dinner together then; and Tuesdays we have community group at our neighbors' house. We sometimes take the girls to someone's house, but that involves lugging the pack-n-play, which is a hassle. We nearly never go out to dinner, so if we do that's always a really fun treat - that almost always ends in my thinking we've been robbed.

I kind of live for Saturdays and Sundays these days. And here we are on a Saturday, and I need to get off the computer and go do things with my family. More later.