Celebrity Sighting: For the Hunger Games Fans

Monday, March 19, 2012

Having lived both in New York City and Southern California, I've seen my fair share of celebrities: Chris Rock, Kristin Chenoweth, Jim Parsons, Sean Hayes, Bernadette Peters, and Jesse Tyler Ferguson, to name a few. I'm still not used to passing a celebrity on the street, and I always get pretty excited when I do. So when I crossed paths with this guy twice just a block and a half from my office, I wanted to start dancing.

For those of you who don't recognize him, that's Stanley Tucci, one of my favorite actors. I adore him in everything - he's so quirky, fresh, and hilarious, and he always manages to capture my heart. And his chemistry with Meryl Streep is off the charts. Anyone who can steal a scene from the phenomenally talented Ms. Streep is just fine in my book.

This particular celebrity sighting seemed very apropos considering our Hunger Games discussion from last week (which was amazing - I loved all of your insightful comments and finally had time to respond to them all!). I cannot wait to see Mr. Tucci transformed into the delightful Caesar Flickerman this Friday. Do we all have our tickets? 

The actual story of how I saw Mr. Tucci is a little boring. I was doing a late-afternoon FedEx run when I passed by this cute little French bakery right around the corner from my office. I glanced over and saw a man who looked oddly similar to Stanley Tucci. I think my actual thought process went a little something like this: "Wow, that guy looks an awful lot like Stanley Tucci! I mean, he's got the bald head, the peppered beard, the awesome round glasses. They look so similar. Oh wait - that is Stanley Tucci!" When I passed him again on my way back to the office, I snuck another peek just to be sure. And yes, it was definitely Stanley Tucci. Day = made.

Have you ever seen any celebrities? I'm dying to hear your stories!

What I'm Reading: Mockingjay Discussion

Monday, March 12, 2012

First of all, let me apologize for making you all wait for our Mockingjay discussion. I realize that a lot of you are anxious to talk about it, and I've been holding us up. I finished the book about a week and a half ago, but I needed time to process and get some distance before I wrote this post. If I hadn't, you would have gotten something really snarky, like the zero draft I started immediately after finishing Mockingjay. Let's just say that it was not kind.

Having said that, I won't beat around the bush: I did not like Mockingjay. To me, it was the weakest book in the series, and my motivation to actually finish the series kept me reading more than anything else. I'm sad to say that this final installment kind of changed my feelings about the entire trilogy. I was on the fence before, but as much as the previous books frustrated me, I still felt really interested in all of the characters and larger thematic issues and questions that the books bring up. Mockingjay changed that for me, and while reading it, I finally lost my sense of investment in The Hunger Games. In all honesty, I can't say that I enjoyed the series or that I would recommend them.

Let's break it down, shall we? I've divided my discussion into sections to make it easier to navigate my thoughts.

*Spoilers ahead. If haven't read the series and don't want to know about key plot points, you should stop reading now.

What I'm Reading: Room

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

I stumbled upon this next book while browsing the shelves at Barnes & Noble with Jordan on date night. I had heard of it before, but it got stowed away in one of those back corners of my mind, and I more or less forget that I even knew about it. But when I finally picked it up and looked at the back cover, I knew I had to take this book home with me and dig into it once I finished Mockingjay (discussion coming later this week!).

So what book am I talking about? Emma Donoghue's international bestseller Room.

I've already started, and this book is hauntingly beautiful. It is totally captivating in a way that is quite sinister. For those of you who aren't familiar with this book, here's the same description that convinced me to pick it up in the first place:

"To five-year-old-Jack, Room is the world. . . . It's where he was born, it's where he and his Ma eat and sleep and play and learn. At night, his Ma shuts him safely in the wardrobe, where he is meant to be asleep when Old Nick visits. Room is home to Jack, but to Ma it's the prison where she has been held for seven years. Through her fierce love for her son, she has created a life for him in this eleven-by-eleven-foot space. But with Jack's curiosity building alongside her own desperation, she knows that Room cannot contain either much longer. Room is a tale at once shocking, riveting, exhilarating--a story of unconquerable love in harrowing circumstances, and of the diamond-hard bond between a mother and her child."

And Room hasn't just done well with readers. In fact, my copy comes with nine (nine!) pages of reviews in the front. The New Yorker raves that Room is, "An astounding, terrifying novel...It's a testament to Donoghue's imagination and empathy that she is able to fashion radiance from such horror" and the New York Times Book Reviews comments, "In a narrative at once delicate and vigorous - rich in psychological, sociological, and political meaning - Donoghue reveals how joy and terror often dwell side by side."

Of course, I'll be anxious to share my own thoughts about Room with you very soon and hear from any of you who decide to read this book with me (or who have already read it). Be sure to check back here in the next week or so for our discussion.
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