Bookends – Continuing Series and The Secret

December 18, 2011 Uncategorized 0

Current Fiction Readings

I found the most awesome website this week, called lendle.me, which allows kindle users to lend each other books!  Courtesy of some other very nice “lendlers” (as the site calls us), I was able to read both Catching Fire and Mockingjay this week, finishing the Hunger Games trilogy.  I was planning on waiting for my monthly free book which I can borrow as a member of amazon prime, so I was thrilled to be able to read them sooner!  I’ve even been putting off starting other fiction books so I wouldn’t interrupt my involvement in the series.  Yes, I was that drawn into it.

The second book, Catching Fire, was very much in they style of the first book.  I would recommend it to anyone who liked The Hunger Games.  The main character’s indecision about Gabe and Peeta, the two potential romance interests, can be frustrating at times, but it definitely didn’t make me enjoy the story any less.  Although the beginning wasn’t as action-packed as the first book, events picked up at the end enough to satisfy any one, I think.  The third book, Mockingjay, had an even darker tone than the first two books, as the rebellion begins to have disturbing similarities to the current tyrannical regime.  I may have shed a few tears after I finished reading, but in retrospect, I think it was actually a reasonably happy ending.  My only complaint would be that the author focused a lot more on the darker parts while the happy parts of the ending were described very briefly before what felt like a rather abrupt ending.  It’s entirely possible that the authors intent was to leave us thinking about the darker parts of human nature and I wouldn’t say this was detrimental to the quality of the book.  But as someone who prefers the optimistic, I could have enjoyed it more with a focus on the happier parts of the ending.

I have also caved in to the siren call of the kindle and its one click delivery of books, buying the next book in the Septimus Heap series, Flyte.  I’m desperately trying to resist making buying books that way a habit though, as it’s just too easy!  But definitely looking forward to that review in a later Bookends post after the Boy and I finish reading it.

Non-Project Non-Fiction

I’ve been reading a lot of self-helpy type blogs these days and have started branching out into such books as well.   So this week I decided to read the self-help hit, The Secret.  This may have been a mistake.  The disorganized layout of the book, with large quotes breaking up the writing made the book difficult to get into.  A lot of the book was really painful to read, as scientific principles were twisted and used in ways that were never meant to be.  Particularly egregious examples include:

  • the suggestion that you can avoid aging and illness by wishing to because all of our cells are eventually replaced.  Well sure, we create new cells, but we still age because our telomeres get shorter and our DNA begins to be damaged.  Not to mention the effect of UV rays and other factors on our DNA and possibly other still unexplored factors.
  • and the justification of the law of attraction using string theory, explaining that we’re all energy and our thoughts emit a certain frequency, drawing to us that which we think about.  Right.  Plus the omnipresent universe can supposedly give us anything we think about, but can’t understand the difference between us thinking about something we want and thinking about something we don’t want.
The claim that everything bad that happens to you is your fault, especially the explicit claim that people caught up in large disasters were their because they were worried about being in the wrong place at the wrong time, is just offensive.  Call the press, 911 was really the victims fault!  How awful.  The book also explicitly counsels people against taking any action which feels like work, encouraging them to just think about what they want and possibly take “inspired action” if they feel called by the universe to do something.  I think advice to not work for your dreams is awful advice.   The only good advice I found in this book were the suggestions to focus on the positive and think about what you want from life instead of what you don’t want.  Although I completely disagree with the books claim that just thinking these things will actually change the world around you, I do think knowing what you want out of the day will help you go for it and focusing on the positive will help you see the positive in whatever the world does throw at you.

Summary

Catching Fire – 4 stars – Similar enough to the first book that I would recommend this without hesitation to any who liked The Hunger Games.

Mockingjay – 4 stars – Darker than the other books and less enjoyable for me, but emotionally moving doesn’t do it justice.  This book really packs a punch.

The Secret – 2 stars – Mostly bunk, with a lot of really awful pseudo science.  Two stars instead of one because I believe some of the advice is good, if not for the reasons the book gives.

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