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On Books I'm The Last Person To Read And Books I'm Very Likely The Only One Reading...And Some Poems

Doing NaPoWriMo for the first time. So far, all my poems are about/based on female television characters. I figure I should go with this theme, so if you have any of said characters to recommend...I do need twenty-eight more. There is a lot of room in my head for these things, obviously.

I have a poem called TUNDRA BAR in Thunderclap! Magazine's eighth issue. You can purchase a print copy or download a free PDF here.

I have another two poems, CRACKS IN PAVEMENT and FAITH COUNTER, in the second issue of Emerge Literary Journal, which you can go here to read for free.

I haven't yet read both issues in full, but the stuff I've read so far is great, so check them out even if you don't want to read my little poetic morsels.

Finally hit the finish line on The Hunger Games trilogy, largely wondering why I decided to read it in the first place. As a bookseller, I guess you can easily be compelled to dive into something when you spend a single night selling dozens of copies of it; I don't recommend this decision process when it comes to reading material, for life is short and reading takes, you know, time and stuff. To spare you a thesis-length diatribe on the disappointing state of teen fiction (and fiction in general) and lack of desire from writers and publishers to challenge readers (again, life being short and all), I cut to the list form:

GOOD THINGS

- Well-paced for action novels.
- Katniss/Buffy thing.
- Great mix of old and new world culture with the gladiator-meets-reality-TV backdrop.

NOT-AS-GOOD THINGS

- Too many plot turns for the sake of convenience.
- Rehashed love triangle of barf.
- Katniss/Buffy thing.
- Hard to ignore author's misuse of certain words.
- Allegorical/Social concepts not played up enough.
- Historical background is virtually nonexistent. Nonsensical evolution of language/culture.

It'd be interesting to see an early draft of the books; I almost wonder if Collins initially had more back story and social commentary to balance out all the action writing and was told to cut it. Haven't seen the movie yet, but I predict it'll be a rare occasion in which I enjoy it more than the book.

It took me a long time to read Ben Marcus's The Flame Alphabet. As I type this, I'm still not finished with it, and I've read of others' experiences in taking a while to finish it. The story doesn't arc perfectly, but I think that, among other things, is what I like about it. It's very wrenching and despairing in an un-sugarcoated way, which is what you want out of a novel about an epidemic of children's speech being lethal to adults. It's also refreshing that Marcus doesn't write an unusual concept for the sake of being experimental; the story is so thought-provoking you find yourself pondering the morality of characters' actions long after they've taken them...perhaps what action you would take in their situation, as well. It's been a long time since I've read Ben Marcus, and his novel renews my appreciation for his work. It seems this isn't an easy book to like, but it's worth the effort, as the writing is beautiful.

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