I know, I know, what a ridiculous hot take. But hear me out!
So I was scrolling through Instagram, like you do, when I saw an ad (does anyone else get SO MANY ADS these days???) for Nike. It was a super cool video of girls playing football in the dark and rain, exciting music, and so on. The final message was that Nike is spending some large sum of money to promote having women’s flag football in every school in America by 2023. Cool! I would totally have played! I opened the comments, curious if anyone else was annoyed they weren’t all pushing for the boys to play flag football too. Well. I should have known better.
“You make football better?! I dont understand why they dont just give ’em pads and put them on the field with the boys then.”
“If they’re so tough and they sacrifice just as much, make them play real football, where men sacrifice their memory and their body sometimes.”
“How does flag football makes football better?”
“Why flag and not tackle ???”
These are the tame version of the comments, after the platform has taken down some of the most offensive offerings. But the attitude is the same. It ain’t football unless they’re hitting each other.
Continue reading “American Sports: Basically The Hunger Games”
Welcome to Favorites February! This month I am re-reading The Hunger Games trilogy for the first time in a long time, and then taking some time to discuss and celebrate each book when I’m done. This is the final week, and I’m of course going to discuss Mockingjay.
I feel like I should start by saying I actively disliked the final book the first time I read it. I think the plot is objectively less strong than the firsts two books, and I still hate how the last third played out. It all seemed so pointless and unnecessary. However, every time I read this book I enjoy it a little bit more. This is also probably the most thought-provoking book in the series, so there should be plenty to discuss!
As always, spoilers ahead.
Katniss Everdeen, girl on fire, has survived, even though her home has been destroyed. Gale has escaped. Katniss’s family is safe. Peeta has been captured by the Capitol. District 13 really does exist. There are rebels. There are new leaders. A revolution is unfolding.
It is by design that Katniss was rescued from the arena in the cruel and haunting Quarter Quell, and it is by design that she has long been part of the revolution without knowing it. District 13 has come out of the shadows and is plotting to overthrow the Capitol. Everyone, it seems, has had a hand in the carefully laid plans—except Katniss.
The success of the rebellion hinges on Katniss’s willingness to be a pawn, to accept responsibility for countless lives, and to change the course of the future of Panem. To do this, she must put aside her feelings of anger and distrust. She must become the rebels’ Mockingjay—no matter what the personal cost.
Why I Love This Book
Continue reading “Favorites February: Mockingjay”
- Katniss’s PTSD is extremely intense and compelling, and I think important for young people to read in this bloody series.
- Man, Snow is EVIL.
- When they play “crazy cat” with Buttercup ❤
- The ethical and moral questions brought up by the war.
- What happens to Peeta is so terrible, but for some reason so unputdownable?
This week Krysta and Briana at Pages Unbound are hosting the discussion: Do you think genre books receive the respect they deserve, even if they are considered classics?
I think this is such an interesting question, and I’m really looking forward to hearing some of the discussion around it. The short version of my answer is: sometimes.
Classic science fiction tends to get a lot more respect than classic fantasy, but only if it’s not *too* science fiction-y. Romantic mysteries and adventures get taken much more seriously than the gothic adventure novels of the Regency era. Classic romance novels get taken seriously until about the19th century.
Examples. Fahrenheit 451 is generally taken seriously as “literature,” and is even studied in school by most American students. It was written around the same time as The Lord of the Rings, which is generally dismissed by the literary folks as perfectly fine to read for fun, but not on par with, say, Catch-22. Frankenstein, widely regarded as the first science fiction novel, is likewise beloved and respected. Dracula (which, to be fair, was never meant to be “serious”) and the stories that inspired it are not. Isaac Asimov’s work is generally well-regarded, whereas HG Wells is an oddity. Brave New World has successfully made the literary canon, Dune has not.
Continue reading “Classic Remarks: Are Genre Classics Respected?”
The Hunger Games is a pretty explicit commentary on reality TV and sensationalized news stories in America. It’s disturbing how much Americans enjoy seeing people’s suffering play out in real time, whether it’s their failing love stories (Married At First Sight, *cringe*), physical challenges (Survivor), or even death (George Floyd’s murder being broadcast repeatedly on the nightly news). Even when it’s horrible, we just can’t look away.
But what really stood out to me as I re-read The Hunger Games this past month was the subtle way in which Suzanne Collins would relate me, the reader, with the viewers at the Capitol. Especially poignant to me was this quote close to the end of the book:
Well, Foxface died almost a day ago, so there’s been plenty of time for the audience to place bets and get bored.
The audience, i.e. the reader, has had a pretty “boring” couple of chapters. Nobody has tried to kill anyone, it’s just been Peeta and Katniss snuggling in a cave trying to not die. Presumably Cato and Thresh are fighting it out off-screen, but YA readers who like a fast plot are probably starting to wonder when something is going to happen to our protagonists.
And that’s the moment that got me thinking. Why is it so appalling to us that the Capitol would enjoy the spectacle of children killing each other, but it’s totally fine for us as readers to enjoy the same thing?
Continue reading “Thoughts from The Hunger Games: Not so Different from the Capitol”
This week Krysta and Briana at Pages Unbound are hosting the discussion: What is your opinion of prequels or sequels written for classic works that are out of copyright (i.e. not written by the original author)? Should authors be able to use other writers’ characters and plots for their “own” stories? Are there any classic prequels or sequels you recommend?
I am going to answer this question with a question. Why is it than when people do this with Sherlock it gets taken seriously, but when someone does it with Harry Potter it’s borderline plagiarism?
Because y’all, these books are really just fanfiction.
Now, it’s worth being said that there is a big difference in legal terms between Jane Austen fanfiction and Percy Jackson fanfiction. Because the classics are out of copyright and in the “public domain”, authors and publishers are free to publish any works written about those characters. Since Percy Jackson is still under copyright, to do so would require consent from Rick Riordan and probably include payment. So in that way, fanfiction is questionable in terms of legality. (We won’t go into fair use today, but let me tell you, I could and have written a whole essay about it!)
My beef with this subject is the scorn for which a lot of readers treat fanfiction, but then those same readers will gush about books like The Eyre Affair.
Continue reading “Classic Remarks: Classic Fanfics”
I realize that for book bloggers this question comes with a little baggage. We love re-reading our favorite books, but we also feel a lot of pressure to keep up with new releases or read ARCs or finish our never-ending tbr. I know that a lot of us don’t prioritize re-reading. But I’m still curious.
My first year blogging I didn’t re-read a single book. My second year I started doing “Favorites February” and re-read the Percy Jackson series, but then didn’t re-read anything else for the entire year. By my third year blogging I knew that if I wanted to re-read books (which I did), I was going to have to be methodical. That was around the time I started doing my genre rotation, so I worked a re-read into that. These days I force myself to re-read something after I’ve read four new books. So about 20% of the books I’ll read this year will be re-reads. Maybe a little more, because of series. That being said, I abandoned by genre rotation last summer, so we’ll see if I can keep it up this year!
Do you re-read books? How often to you re–read? Let me know in the comments!
Okay so, I realize it isn’t February today, but when I was planning my book list I genuinely thought that it would be February today, and I’ve already started my reading for this. So, here we are. WHATEVER! It’s February tomorrow!
Every year here on Never Not Reading I read a favorite series (or suuuuper long novel) in the month of February. As I am reading I write a series of posts in which I write about the books in detail and host a small discussion. In the past I’ve read Percy Jackson, Emma, and His Dark Materials.
In 2021 I am SO EXCITED to announce that I will be reading The Hunger Games trilogy!
I’m really looking forward to this re-read for a number of reasons. Perhaps the biggest of those is that with the release of A Ballad of Songbird and Snakes last year, The Hunger Games was everywhere and made me feel super nostalgic. I even considered tagging ABOS&S to the end of this re-read since I haven’t read it yet, but decided against it. After giving it months of thought (seriously, I’ve known this was going to be my Favorites Februrary since like, April) I decided that I don’t really care about the prequel.
The other reason I’m super excited about this re-read is that it’s been a hot minute since I read The Hunger Games. I can’t remember for sure when I last read it, but it’s been at least five years, probably more.
Continue reading “Favorites February 2021”
This week Krysta and Briana at Pages Unbound are hosting the discussion: Why do you think people tend to ignore Shakespeare’s collaborators and speak as if Shakespeare always wrote alone?
I should start by saying that, once again, this is a topic that I know almost nothing about. But therein lies my hypothesis to this question. People don’t talk about Shakespeare’s collaborators because, like me, they don’t know enough about the topic.
Like most English speakers, I studied Shakespeare in school. Freshman year we studied Romeo and Juliet, Julius Caesar, and the sonnets. Senior year we studied Macbeth and Hamlet. These literature studies came with some perfunctory background study on Shakespeare’s life and the time, but nothing more in-depth than learning the words “Stratford upon Avon” and “Globe Theater.” We talked very briefly about the notion that Shakespeare may not have written his works, but our teacher didn’t seem to know enough about it to help us draw any definitive conclusions. Shakespeare’s collaborators? I would only know about that from reading historical fiction!
And y’all, I went to a good school. I took advanced classes. If this was my educational experience, I have to assume that the average American didn’t fare much better. Maybe Brits get a more details learning experience about Shakespeare.
Continue reading “Classic Remarks: Shakespeare’s Collaborators”
This week Krysta and Briana at Pages Unbound are hosting the discussion: What is a classic novel you are afraid to pick up? Why?
I should preface by saying that in 2020 I finally read the Classic on my tbr that I was most intimidated by, which was Lonesome Dove. I was intimidated partly because of its size (it was 800 pages long!) and the fact that it was a Western, which is easily my least familiar genre. I had no idea what I was going to get, and 800 pages of I don’t know what I’m going to get was pretty scary! I ended up liking it well enough, I think I gave it 4-stars, but it’s not one I would purchase or re-read. You can read my sort-of-review here if you want.
Right now there actually aren’t very many classics on my tbr, and most of them are books that I would call “modern classics”. Meaning, written after 1950. They are books that have made it into the literary canon, but maybe aren’t old enough yet to really refer to as classics. And there is one in particular that I’m nervous about.
I am, of course, referring to Kindred by Octavia Butler.
Continue reading “Classic Remarks: Classic Book You’re Afraid to Pick Up”
When I was a kid I constantly had my nose buried in a book. Sometimes I would read even when I was walking down the hall at school. So, of course, any time my dad hauled me off to one of his baseball games or on a road trip, the car was a valuable place for me to get some good reading done. I would stuff my backpack full of however many books would fit. And something I remember hearing all the time was “I’m so jealous, I wish I could read in the car.”
This isn’t something I still hear as an adult, and not because I stopped reading in the car. I wonder if I don’t hear it because I have fewer interactions with people who are just acquaintances, or if this is just not as much a thing anymore? But I certainly understand this sentiment much better now. I do get carsick, and these days I only read in the car if we’re going to be on the highway for an extended period of time.
Which, of course, got me wondering if YOU ALL read in the car. So, can you read in the car? Why or why not? Let me know in the comments!