Here's today's installment of Diesel Sweeties. Can you guess which one could be Val?
I've posted my favorite home-made chili recipe, after years of experimentation. You can make it as mild or spicy as you like.
I've posted Chapter 22 from Dangerous for your reading enjoyment. You can find it here.
I just got back from seeing The Hunger Games, and I'm quite blown away. It's an instant classic. The DVD will take its place alongside my other favorites of this genre: The Matrix, V for Vendetta, Network.
I give it 6 out of 5 stars.
I picked this up this lighted ghost-thingie from IKEA a couple weeks ago. It makes my Blursdays so much more pleasant as it sits on my monitor, glowing happily to itself.
I'd guess the name is related to the word "spook". Why are all product names from IKEA in uppercase?
If you'd like to see your name turned into a piece of furniture, check out the Swedish Furniture Name Generator page.
According to that site, my name is SÄNTRKE.
My friend Amy insisted I read The Hunger Games, and she was right to twist my arm. I devoured it over the course of a weekend's road trip. The book will haunt me forever.
I'm going through it a second time, more carefully, with the audiobook so wonderfully read by Carolyn McCormick. And as I do so, I'm again awed by Suzanne Collins' sure-footed, euphonic prose and deft plotting. Joseph Campbell said we live amid the rubble pile of our old, outdated Myths, and Collins has contributed to what I view as the genesis of a new Mythology, adapted for the very different world in which we find ourselves. Ironically, Collins claims to have drawn inspiration from the tale of Theseus, and it seems proper our new myths should be grown from the topsoil of the old.
The Hunger Games is perhaps the best speculative fiction I've read in years. It is science fiction, but not the "hard", technophile stuff I've grown entirely weary of. No, the technology of The Hunger Games is so advanced it becomes magic again: mass media projected in the sky, unseen spy cameras guided by implanted trackers, precious boons delivered on precision-guided silver parachutes, and fierce chimerae. Yet all these wonders spring from things we already know, and so the Möbius strip of Mythology closes back on itself.
This is a deliciously subversive book, in subtle ways that sneak up on you. The system which perpetuates this dreadful bloodsport is clearly amoral, and enjoys unassailable military might. Katniss has no choice but to fight in the Games, no way to avoid killing others for her own survival, or any means to strike back at the decadent Capitol. The Hunger Games are both sport and propaganda, the ultimate form of Bread and Circuses, a constant reminder of the Capitol's power. Yet in her small acts of defiance, she unwittingly uses the Capitol's own propaganda tools to strike a blow where the power structure is most vulnerable: in the hearts of its subjects.
Collins masterfully braids a deep understanding of modern media and government corruption in a well-realized, believeable dystopia, seasoned with a dash of Vonnegut-style satire. It saddens me to see Young Adult fiction become the new home of dystopian literature, as it implies a growing sense of pessimism and despair. Yet I'm also encouraged, because it means these young people will come into our complex world with eyes that much wider, more aware, than we did. While I had Mad Magazine to show me the fallacies and manipulations of media and politics, these kids are being innoculated with much stronger stuff. They'll need it.
I also want to say that Katniss is one of the most engaging characters I've read in a long, long time. I'm eager to read the next two books, and learn what fruit her seeds of defiance will bear.
I can't recommend this book highly enough.
There's an update available for the Kindle edition of Dangerous. If the title page of your copy shows an edition date earlier than March 05, 2012 (or no date at all), I encourage you to update it. You can do this from the Manage Your Kindle page of your Amazon account. Then simply delete the local copy on your Kindle and re-download it.
I've corrected a number of typos and added an Afterword written by V. herself. Those of you who purchased the book in 2011 will not have that new content.
The only downside to updating the book will be the loss of any highlights, notes, or bookmarks you might have added.
I added a list of tracks which constitute a wholly unauthorized soundtrack for Dangerous, complete with links to samples on Amazon.com and the option to purchase those you like.
My friend Amy expressed shock when I confessed to not having read The Hunger Games. After a little arm twisting I ordered a copy, and it just arrived yesterday. I can't wait to start reading it, just as soon as I finish Jacqueline Carey's Santa Olivia.
Young Adult fiction has become a hotbed of near-future dystopian fiction, a fact which strikes me as culturally significant. Young adults smell the stink of decay in the air, and are apprehensive about the future (as well they should be). But it saddens me to think of these lovely people nearing adulthood with such a cloud of pessimism hanging over their heads. I feel I've failed them, somehow.
I'd love to hear your own thoughts on the matter.
For the next two days I'm giving away Dangerous for free, so get your copy today!
I hope you enjoy it.