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Mar 11 2011

75 Books: 21-25 Collins, Diamond, Lewis and Abignale

21. Catching Fire – Suzanne Collins

This is the 2nd in the Hunger Games trilogy and it isn't quite as strong as the first, but it expands on the universe that allowed the first one to happen.  Weirdly, I had more suspension of disbelief issues with this one than I did with the other two in the series.  The main character, Katniss, is thrown into the Hunger Games again and has also become the unintentional center of a resistance movement that threatens to break into genuine rebellion.  Her struggle with the ideas and consequences of rebellion are interesting and it is a fairly rewarding tale, especially if you're already attached to Katniss.  A-

22. Mockingjay – Suzanne Collins

This si the final in the trilogy and is the least satisfying of the three, but still an engaging read.  Katniss is now working for the rebellion, though the character tends not to actively make decisions but rather allow others to force her to do as they want.  She is also trying to determine her feelings for two different leading men, in a storyline that reminds me more of Twilight than I'd prefer.  She is more talented and has a personality, so she's not anything like Bella, except that she doesn't take control of her life or her choices very often.  I felt like this book came apart as it went and the motivations were murky or not presented at all.  B

23. Guns, Germs, and Steel – Jared Diamond

This Pulitzer Prize (Pull It Surprise!) winning book is a surprisingly gripping explanation of why society and civilization looks like it does now.  The basic premise is that civilizations destroy/take over others because of technological advances and the rate of advancement is based, not on genes or race, but on natural resources — particularly the availability of domesticable plants and animals.  Fascinating and brilliant, I've already passed it on to others. A

24. The Blind Side – Michael Lewis

Aside from the World Cup, I'm not really a sports person, but I love sports movies, and I loved this one.  That is at least partially due to my love of Ms. Bullock, but it was also a great movie.  The book has a lot more than just the story of Oher's rescue from the Memphis ghetto and delivery into upper class white America, it also has a history of the NFL and how different sorts of tactics and strategies came to dominate the game.  It follows what the changing coaching styles did for different positions, and the players who were good at those positions.  I'd always figured winners were the teams with the best talent on the field, but apparently there's a lot to the art of coaching.  A-

25. Catch Me If You Can – Frank Abignale, Jr.

Another movie I enjoyed and another charming con man.  My unbridled love of "I Love Phillip Morris" made this a bit of a let down.  It's not that Abignale didn't pull of some ballsy tricks but no single one of them had the overwhelming cajones and audacity of Russell's.  The main thing I got from the book is that I never want to go to France because their prisons are disgusting hellholes of prisoner abuse and I may fly to Sweden and commit a crime so I can live in their prisons which sound awesome.  B

25 books in 10 weeks, holy crap, that's a lot.  Maybe it should be 100 books?

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