33/101 The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

I knew I was going to hate myself for reading this, did that stop me?  No!  If you have ever read Shirly Jackson’s short story “The Lottery” then you have an idea of what this series is about.  In this heart wrenching dystopian novel two children from each of 12 districts are chosen to fight to the death for the entertainment of those in the capital as a way to keep the masses down, and under the government’s thumb.  These gladiatorial competitions result in one winner that is set for life in their district.  Their entire district is also given extra rations every month for an entire year until the next round of games.  This is a heart-breaking novel that had me crying and rooting for Katniss the entire time.  She is a young woman so focused on surviving and ensuring that her mother and sister survive that she has missed out on living life.

I am finding myself listening to the rest of the story in spite of myself.  I hate this kind of tale, but I also find that I really want to know what happens with the characters.

If you like fast-paced dystopian novels then this is the series for you.  If you like adventure stories with endings that cannot really be called happy then this is the series for you.  Even if you just want to be able to figure out the cultural references people are discussing, then this is probably the series for you.

 

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32/101 Gilgamesh: A New English Version by Stephen Mitchell (audio)

I listened to this in audio format, the analysis of the text took up as much of the audio book as the original text. This tale is, apparently, the precursor to many of our epic tales. However, as an early version it seems to lack the great morals that later epics attempt to imbue their listeners with. Instead of great tales of overcoming all odds and being rewarded in the end, we are left with distinctly unsatisfying endings to these tales. The interpreter, not translator he freely admits, explains why the endings are they way they are in the second half of this tale.
At 4 hours this is one of the shortest audio books I have listened to. I do not regret the time that I spent getting to know this classic mythology/epic, but I do not actively recommend this. I do suppose that if you are doing research into mythology and the precursors, if you are actively interested in the origins of some of the tales of Homer’s epics, or for other academic reasons this is worth a listen. Even if you are looking for the ‘origin’ of the great flood story this would be worth a listen.

If you are a casual fan of mythology, history, etc. then this may be decent. If you are looking for a fun read or something to hold your interest, I would give this a pass.

Happy Reading!

31/101 Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

I found this book both asinine and thought provoking in turns.  On one hand you have the theory that we are simply a sum of our preconditioned responses and by controlling various aspects of our development, brain washing, as well as inducing chemical stupors all the while normalizing these behaviors we can completely control individuals.  On the other hand we have the concept that religion is an outdated construct that is only going to be held by savages in the future, actually upon reflection that is more along the lines of the first perspective.

I think that this is a gross oversimplification of a wide variety of complex topics.  I am also concerned that this is a trend that our society is aiming toward.   I think that a segment of our society is interested in ensuring that religion is considered an outdated concept only held by savages.  I would not read this book again, but I am pleased that I gave it a shot.

Happy Reading.

30/101 Hell’s Angels by Hunter S. Thompson

This was a fascinating description of one of the most notorious motorcycle gangs in history told from the perspective of a reporter that chose to spend a lot of time with the under the guise of getting a story. If this book is taken in the context of the era during which it was written, then the entire story is only offensive. If you are culturally sensitive and phrases that were considered common in the fifties and sixties but are considered slurs today then this is a book to avoid like the plague.

I found it intellectually interesting not only how the Hell’s Angels acted but how this reporter acted as well. He seemed to think himself somehow better than the Hell’s Angels but had no problem drinking, doing drugs, and more with them. About the only acts that he would not admit to in the book are ‘stomping someone’ (beating them up, usually mercilessly), and partaking in any of the loose women (or coerced women). The author vacillates between seeing the Hell’s Angels as trapped by circumstances and unrepentant to deliberately wanton and wild with no hope of a future.

If you want to be appalled at society in general, the fifties and sixties in particular, and see stark parallels drawn to today’s society then this is the book for you. If you are easily offended, don’t want to know where today’s lawless attitudes originated from, and would rather pretend that this era in our society didn’t occur, then give this book a skip.

29/101 No Stone Unturned: The True Story of the World’s Premier Forensic Investigators by Steve Jackson

If you are interested in non-fiction books about forensic science and the solving of murder mysteries then this is the book for you.  I will tell you that this author pulls no punches, I wept several times while I was reading this book.  The stories are heart-breaking, and the dedication of the individuals trying to solve these crimes is simply inspiring.

If you are squeamish and do not like to hear about the nitty-gritty details of science then this is not a good book for you.  These dedicated individuals saw a gap in knowledge and decided to work very hard, often at their own expense, to fill that gap.  They are an amazing real-life example of how scientists and the police can work together to create solutions to a vast amount of problems surrounding finding hidden burial sites.

This is an amazing non-fiction account of how an organization filled with scientists, police, dog handlers, and more have come together to assist the police and other organizations in finding hidden graves.  The science, while over my head, is very thoroughly explained and discussed throughout the books without using too much technical jargon.  I loved listening to this book and learning a lot more about the dedicated professionals out there working hard to put souls to rest.

Happy Reading!

28/101 The Secret, Book, and Scone Society by Ellery Adams

This was a book full of mystery and adventure. The characters themselves were quite mysterious, in a very deliberate way without becoming annoying. The main character obviously had a very traumatic past, as is evidenced by her scars and constantly talking about her very traumatic past. Usually this would make me very sympathetic or annoyed, surprisingly this book elicited neither emotion. While I never did figure out what her major trauma is, I did enjoy the mystery along the way. I do not remember any particular places where this book dragged, nor do I recall any really high drama, except for a bit toward the end.

If you are looking for a fun read, with some wonderfully flawed characters, and a very quirky town, then this is the book for you. This is also a great reminder that everyone has problems, and that some of the things they have dealt with can make your problems seem fairly small in comparison.

Happy Reading!

27/101 51 Yarns to Spin Before You Cast Off by Jacey Boggs Faulkner; Illustrated by Kirsten Slade

Before getting into a review, I have to state that this book ROCKS!  So does the contest Jacey Boggs Faulkner is running on Ravelry, Instagram, etc. to give away subscriptions to her magazine Ply.  #PlyMagazine

51 yarns book

Yarn is not nearly as simple as non-crafts-people would have you believe.  “There’s like, bulky, and really tiny, right?” ; “What do you mean linen is from a plant, it’s a cloth right?” ; “Doesn’t that hurt the sheep?” ; etc.  There are plenty of non crafts people that have a clue, so I’m not putting all non crafts people down, just the ignorant ones, lol.  Because of this, for you non crafts people, if you have a SO or loved one that is into any fiber craft, pick up this book so you can start to throw around terms like low-twist singles, coil yarn, or z twist with ease. Or at least have a clue of what they are talking about when they throw those terms around.

For people interested in crafts already, or active crafters this is a great book.  Originally I was going to say, if you like/love/live & breathe spinning then this is a good book for you, but scratch that.  If you have any interest in fiber arts/crafts then this is a great book for you.  I imagine that there are plenty of K&Cs (knitters & crocheters) that see the Koigu yarns (very pretty yarns that seem to come as singles a lot of the time) and have not known that this is only one kind of yarn.  Why should you use 2, 3, or 5 ply yarns?  Why aren’t there many 20 ply yarns?  This is a worsted weight yarn, what do you mean worsted spun?  Etc.  I think that this should be titled 51 Yarns to spin & Knit/Crochet/Weave before you cast off, because I think that any fiber artists would benefit from a deeper understanding of the yarns available for their crafts, how they are constructed, and why they do what they do.

In Short, BUY THIS BOOK!  READ THIS BOOK!