Top Ten Tuesday: Gateway Books + Authors

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Top Ten Tuesday is a meme started by the lovely (and creative!) Jamie of The Broke and the Bookish. After following along since TTT’s inception (and because list-making is a die-hard hobby of mine) it only makes sense that I chime in with my own top tens. This week’s topic spotlights “gateway” books/authors that somehow led me to discovering a certain genre, book or author.

Check out my past Top Ten Tuesdays or head to The Broke and the Bookish for more Top Ten topics.

TTT-Gateway Books

1. Nefertiti by Michel Moran… gateway to historical fiction.

2. Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri… gateway to literary fiction & short stories.

3. Mythology by Edith Hamilton… gateway to Greek/Roman mythology.

4. Majoring in Murder by Jessica Fletcher & Donald Bain… gateway to Murder She Wrote series (HUGE fan of the show!).

5. Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss… gateway to READING! This was the first book I learned to read all on my own.

6. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell… gateway to Rainbow Rowell. Also, this book got me out of a major reading slump!

7. Truly, Madly Yours by Rachel Gibson… gateway to the romance genre (aka The One That Started It All).

8. Twilight by Stephenie Meyer… gateway to paranormal fiction.

9. One for the Money by Janet Evanovich… gateway to cozy mysteries.

10. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins… gateway to the dystopian genre.



Review: The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

The Hunger Games (The Hunger Games #1)The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

The Hunger Games #1 // 374 pp. // YA Dystopian // Scholastic Press // Oct. 2008

SUMMARY: Written in first-person POV, the book tells the story of 16-year-old Katniss Everdeen, who volunteers to take her little sister’s spot in the “Hunger Games,” an annual competition which teens from each of the 12 districts compete to the death against each other. Also headed to the Games is Peeta Mellark, Katniss’ male tribute counterpart. Going in, Katniss’ only goal is to survive, but her simple plan becomes complicated when Peeta declares his love for her on national television and her mentor suggests Katniss and Peeta pretend they’re in love as a strategy to win. Katniss isn’t sure she can trust Peeta, but has no choice if she wants to survive — guilt-free, at least. The only thing is, only one person can win the Hunger Games, which means that in the end, if it comes down to just her and Peeta, one of them will have to die…

After no longer being able to ignore all the hoopla surrounding this book, I decided it was high time I read it to see for myself what all the hype was about. Plus, with the movie coming out, I wanted to be able to read the book without any film influence after it was released. To be honest, I was skeptical about even reading the series because from what I’d heard, it seemed like a rip from the Japanese book/film Battle Royale. But, hey, peer pressure got the best of me and I decided to give The Hunger Games a shot anyway, despite my reservations. Upon reading The Hunger Games, I realized that the main difference between it and Battle Royale is that while Battle Royale focuses on the physical violence of vetting teens against each other, Hunger Games gives prominence to character development — mostly that of main character Katniss Everdeen.

Technically there was nothing wrong with the book; it was interesting, hooked me right away, and had its fair share of tear-jerking scenes interspersed with creative descriptions of the strange apocalyptic world of the future (i.e. the “fashion” of the Capitol and the unique evolved wildlife). However, it just didn’t quite make me squeal with fangirl glee like I thought it would. I’m not sure if it’s because it was too hyped-up, or what, but after I finished the story I just felt… meh. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t DISLIKE the story — in fact, I can see why other people are so smitten with the book and I would definitely recommend it to others — but it didn’t leave me hanging on the edge of my seat, anxious to find out what happens RIGHT THIS INSTANT. Despite my blasé attitude, I told myself I’d read the rest of the series to finish it out as well as give myself time to get more into it.

Update: 2012 Reading Goals

It’s me again! Remember when I discussed my reading goals for this year? Since we’re about a quarter of the way through the year, I figured it was time for an update on how I’m holding up so far with the challenges I set for myself.

Goal 1: Read books outside my comfort zone — While the majority of the books I’ve read thus far have been romances, I did give in to peer pressure and read the Hunger Games trilogy, a YA series about a girl who is sent to fight to the death against other teenagers in the annual Hunger Games competition. With the movie coming out and all the hype surrounding the books, I just had to see what all the hoopla was about. While the first book was just okay (reminded me too much of Battle Royale), I was completely entranced with books two and three, consuming them both in less than a week. I dabble in YA every now and then, but these books were a bit outside my normal realm of reading because of the dystopian theme and violent nature.

Goal 2: Read more — Well, as of now I’ve read 13 books since the beginning of the year. According to my (okay, Goodreads’) calculations, I’m four books ahead of schedule, which I’m taking as a sign that I’ve been reading plenty. Plus, there’ve been many a night when I’ve curled up on the couch with my Kindle and read while the beau watched T.V. After about ten minutes, I’m in the zone and so caught up in my book that don’t even hear what’s playing in the background.

Goal 3: Visit my local public library — I’m very proud of this one, as I just happened to have taken a trip to the library this past weekend! I admit, I was a bit jaded when I walked in (bad past experiences), but all my doubts were quickly squelched when I came across book after book that I just had to read. In the end, I only checked out five books, but believe me, I had my eye on many more than that.

Goal 4: Blog more — Sigh. Okay, so I haven’t been doing so well with this one. I really need to start carving out time to blog and sit down and force myself to write. It’s not that I don’t have anything to write about — in fact, I have a whole list of post ideas — but I just need to develop a blogging routine so that I can be somewhat regular with posting. I’ll try harder, I promise!

And finally, I’ve decided on a reading challenge number for this year. Drum roll, please… My goal is to read *50* books this year! It’s the perfect number between reasonable and slightly pushing myself. So far I’m ahead of schedule, which I hope to maintain, but if not, it’ll be good to have a buffer if something ever comes up and causes me to take a reading break for a bit. Oh, and If you’re ever interested in keeping tabs on how far along I am with my reading challenge, my progress meter is conveniently located on the sidebar. For more detail about which books I’ve read or the reading challenge in general, just clickety-click on the appropriate links.

I know it’s only March, but I’m doing pretty darn good on keeping my goals so far! *Pats self on back* Hopefully I’ll stick to it as the months tick by, but only time will tell. I plan on doing another update in another couple of months, so be sure to keep a look out for part II.

Roaming Question: Did you make any goals for the new year? Have you kept up with them?