Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The Hunger Games Trilogy

The Hunger Games Trilogy took me about three weeks to read and now that I'm finished I'm already missing the characters - a sure sign of a great book series.

In this fast paced and hip new trilogy author Suzanne Collins takes readers on a roller-coaster journey of love, pain, murder, betrayal, insanity, and revolution.
The story takes place in the future, in the former North America now called Panem, which is run by The Capitol and is constructed of 12 districts. There used to be 13, but the last district was brutally destroyed in the revolution as a warning to all citizens. (or was it?) And to further discourage future rebellion, The Capitol annually hosts its grizzly Hunger Games. Every year, each district is forced to produce two tributes – a boy and girl aged 12 to 18 – who will be forced to fight to the death in the arena. After The Reapings, (the tribute selection ceremonies) each tribute joins his/her 23 comrades for brief preparations before all but one of them are sent to their deaths. Watching these games is mandatory for all citizens, but is truly a pleasurable and highly anticipated event for citizens residing in The Capitol itself. The winner, besides getting to stay alive, earns food and luxury (relatively speaking) for life, and a year of better provisions for their entire district – hence the name Hunger Games.

Readers see Panem through the eyes of 16-year-old Katniss Everdeen, a fiery and angsty youth from district 12. Katniss, a hardheaded and tough specimen, spends her time bow hunting in the woods outside her district with her friend Gale in order to provide for her mother and 12-year-old sister, Prim. Katniss is seen as a calculating and commanding social outsider who has no idea how much she affects those around her. Her seclusion from social interaction is a choice – her passion is for her family – her anger is trained on injustice. Yet beneath her rough exterior dwells a scared 16-year-old girl who is only trying to do what is right, whatever that may be.

The first book in the series, The Hunger Games, kept me on the edge of my seat. Suzanne Collins truly has a gift for invention – the arena where the televised death match takes place is filled with twists and turns and fresh horrors for the young characters. She also has a great affinity for cliffhangers. I almost dreaded the end of each chapter because in this series, a chapter break is not meant as a natural pause in the story but as a signal that the tension is only going to build.

The second book, Catching Fire, continued in this pace, a little slower to gear up than the first but soon just as suspenseful.

The third book, Mockingjay, I found to be almost disappointing in its dissimilarities to the first two. It still follows the same characters, but many of them are altered significantly by the emotional traumas of the events in the previous books. Especially the character Peeta, who is Katniss's love interest and a fellow tribute from District 12. As their lives deteriorate around them, the characters become a bit less relateable and more vicious, and at times it becomes hard to distinguish whether their paths of revenge are justified by the horrors they have endured or are simply continuing the cycle. The plot also takes on a different pattern; in the first two books the events build to a climax at the conclusion but in the third the events happen sporadically, and there are several climaxes which some readers may find a bit anticlimactic. However, in my estimation, Collins made up for these minor complaints with a somewhat shocking yet satisfying ending that I'm still thinking about days after finishing the book.

On a personal note; I'm not sure what to think of Collins writing style. These books are definitely easy to read-no big words, no long sentences. Her simplistic writing style is kind of a nice contrast to the complex ideas, so I wonder if she did that on purpose.

The bottom line, I whole-heartedly recommend this series and I'm already counting down the days until The Hunger Games movie comes out in March 2012 so I can revisit these complex and fully realized characters once again.

-Walt Gogolya

Saturday, August 27, 2011

East Hampton library to host book discussion

East Hampton Library will feature a book discussion on “The Old Patagonia Express” from 6:30 to 8 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 31.
Experience the character of the region as described by author Paul Theroux as he travels by train from Mexico to Chile. Library staff member Phil Carr moderates. No registration required.

The library is located at 105 Main St., East Hampton. For more information, call (860) 267-6621.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Book discussion at Killingworth Library

“Ten Things I Hate About Me” by Randa Abdel-Fattah will be discussed at the Killingworth Library from 10 to 11 a.m. on Monday, Aug. 22.

The book is a children's novel about an Islamic girl growing up in Sydney, Australia. It's a story about lies, family difficulties and teenage tensions.

The book is appropriate for young adults, ages 12 and up.

The library is located at 301 Route 81 in Killingworth. For more information, call (860) 663-2000.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Poetry Potluck at Buttonwood

Poetry Potluck will be held at The Buttonwood Tree, 605 Main St., Middletown, on Aug. 21.

Poetry Potluck is an opportunity for people who enjoy poetry to get together to share and discuss their favorite works. It isn’t an open mike. Almost like a salon, it’s a gathering for discussion and literary conversation using poetry as the focal point.

The event is held the third Sunday of each month from 4:30 to 6 p.m. Suggested donation is $5.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

'Connecticut by Bicycle: Fifty Great Scenic Routes'

If you’ve been looking for a guide to biking with a focus on sightseeing, this is the book for you! Frederick John Lamp gives readers 50 detailed moderate-level bike routes throughout Connecticut complete with maps and cue sheets. Plus, before hopping on your bike, you can preview each ride with practical bullet point descriptions and color photography.

This is the first full-color guide to the state of Connecticut by road bike for the moderate-level rider. It will also be useful to anyone looking for scenic routes throughout the state, although bicycle riding affords the luxury of a slower pace in the open air.

With an introduction to riding and to the resources available, the book covers six diverse geographical regions of Connecticut in fifty rides. Each ride is represented by a four-page spread with color photographs of the sights, a narrative description, a map, and a concise cue sheet with directions and mileage. The rides focus on the rich historical sites; the enterprise of Connecticut’s people; and the great natural resources of the Long Island Sound, Connecticut’s rivers, lakes, creeks, and the hills of the Berkshires. Routes also take you through farms, picturesque small villages, city streets, forests, and bogs to view the flora and fauna of the state.

Frederick John Lamp is The Frances & Benjamin Benenson Foundation Curator of African Art at the Yale University Art Gallery and member of the Sound Cyclists Bicycle Club, the Southern Connecticut Cycle Club, and Yankee Peddlers.

Frederick’s book sells for $39.99 and can be purchased through the publisher at www.schifferbooks.com or your local bookseller, as well as numerous online retailers.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Wesleyan University Press publishes 'Connecticut Fire & Drum Tradition'

Connecticut's Fife & Drum Tradition is the first full account of this beloved American music tradition in Connecticut, home to an extensive and active community of fife and drum groups.

Originating in small military bands maintained by standing armies in Britain and Europe in the 17th and 18th centuries, the drum was especially important in training soldiers to march and as a means of communication on the battlefield.

The fife and drum provided essential music accompaniment to American history, beginning in the colonial era, for both official military use and for community entertainment. Military use of the instruments declined after the Civil War, but community fife and drum corps, along with the increasing virtuosity of some players, gave the instruments a second life.

Today, the fife and drum tradition is most popular in the New England states, and in Switzerland. Contemporary fifers and drummers gather at conventions called "musters," which often include a public parade or concert.

In his book, musician James Clark details the colorful history of this unique music. He talks about individual instruments, folk song traditions, biographies of past musicians, and note-worthy events, such as Deep River's 1976 muster, which, according to the Guinness Book of World Records, was the largest muster ever held.

Connecticut's Fife & Drum Tradition has dozens of photographs and historic illustrations depicting the tradition from medieval Europe to contemporary Connecticut. The book is a resource for students of percussion instruments and military music. It is also a fascinating read for anyone interested in local history or arts and crafts in New England.

This is one of five books in The Driftless Connecticut Series, a publication award program established in 2010 and funded by the Beatrice Fox Auerbach Foundation Fund at the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving.

Jim Clark is a founding member of the Connecticut Valley Field Music, a fife and drum band based in Middletown. A true advocate of this music, Clark gives lectures and demonstrations to a wide array of audiences around the state, across the nation and in Europe.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Author signing books in Essex

Local and vacationing families and children flocked to Essex Coffee and Tea Saturday afternoon to meet children’s book author and Mystic resident, Tish Rabe, who took the time to sign books and inspire kids to read and write.

Rabe has written over 100 children’s books since first writing “Bert and The Broken Teapot,” for Sesame Street twenty years ago and now currently writes for The Cat and the Hat’s Learning Library for Random House. She has written stories and songs for a variety of licensed characters including Clifford the Big Red Dog, Blues Clues, and Richard Scarry over the years as well.


Thursday, August 4, 2011

The Connecticut Authors Trail returns to Mohegan Sun

UNCASVILLE - Mohegan Sun is excited to announce that The Connecticut Authors Trail, which consists of a consortium of libraries in eastern Connecticut in addition to featuring some of the most prominent and talented authors who either live in or are associated with the Nutmeg State, will return for its third straight year to Mohegan Sun.

The event is set to take place in The Cabaret Theatre on Thursday, Sept. 22, showcasing Jane Green. Other library signing dates will feature authors like Todd Gipstein, Jan Kardys, Janice Law, Tommy Coletti, Christine Whitehead, Rosemary Harris and David Howard.

British import Jane Green is the author of twelve best-selling novels, dealing with real women, real life, and all the things life throws at them, with her trademark wisdom, wit and warmth. Her first novel was a huge success in England and it would pave the way for a remarkable career in writing.

From The Other Woman to Second Chance to the incredibly popular The Beach House, Jane has become synonymous with complex, character driven story telling that explores the concerns of real women's lives. As well as writing a regular on JaneGreen.com, she contributes to various publications, both online and print, including Huffington Post, The Sunday Times and Self.

Her latest novel, Promises to Keep, was released earlier this year to critical and public acclaim. The book follows the happily married and much adored friend and relative Callie Perry through quite the journey as her life takes a huge turn when she receives a difficult diagnoses.

The Connecticut Authors Trail takes pride in bringing together a diverse collection of writers whose styles cover everything from suspense thrillers to romantic novels and self-help to local libraries across eastern Connecticut. All programs are free and open to the public. Passports will be available at the participating libraries throughout the summer as a guide to the author events. Have your passport stamped at each author event for a chance to qualify for an exclusive pre-program Meet & Greet with Jane Green.

For more information and a schedule on the Connecticut Authors Trail, please visit http://sites.google.com/site/connecticutauthorstrail2011/

The full list of author appearances is as follows:

Tommy Coletti: Thursday, August 4, 2011 at 6:30pm
?Author of: Special Delivery
?Sprague Public Library, 76 Main Street, Baltic, CT 06330

Marc-Yves Regis: Monday, August 8, 2011 at 6:30pm
Author of: After The Shock
?Otis Library, 261 Main Street, Norwich, CT 06360

Christine Whitehead: Thursday, August 11, 2011 at 6:30pm
?Author of: Tell Me When It Hurts
?Guilford Smith Memorial Library, 17 Main Street, South Windham, CT 06266

Sarah Jo Burke: Tuesday, August 16, 2011 at 6:45pm
?Author of: Don't Think It Hasn't Been Fun
?Saxton B. Little Free Library, 319 Route 87, Columbia, CT 06237

Sandra Marton: Tuesday, August 23, 2011 at 6:30pm
?Author of: Not For Sale
?Aldrich Free Library, 299 Main Street, Moosup, CT 06374

Rosemary Harris: Thursday, August 25, 2011 at 6:30pm
?Author of: Slugfest: A Dirty Business Mystery
?Janet Carlson Calvert Library, 5A Tyler Drive, Franklin, CT 06254

Robert M. Thorson: Tuesday, August 30th, 2011 at 6:30pm
Author of: Beyond Walden
Willimantic Public Library, 905 Main Street, Willimantic, CT 06226

Glenn Alan Cheney: Thursday, September 1, 2011 at 6:30pm
?Author of: Thanksgiving: The Pilgrims' First Year in America
?Sprague Public Library, 76 Main Street, Baltic, CT 06330

Joan H. Dash: Tuesday, September 6, 2011 at 6:30pm
?Author of: Shot in the Buff
?Canterbury Public Library, 1 Municipal Drive, Canterbury, CT 06331

Natasha Friend: Wednesday, September 7, 2011 at 6:30pm
?Author of: Bounce
?Otis Library, 261 Main Street, Norwich, CT 06360

Matthew Warshauer: Thursday, September 8, 2011 at 7:00pm
?Author of: Connecticut in the American Civil War: Slavery, Sacrifice & Survival

David Howard: Friday, September 9, 2011 at 7:00pm
?Author of: Lost Rights
?Andover Public Library, 355 Route 6, Andover, CT 06232

Robert M. Thorson: Tuesday, September 13, 2011 at 6:30pm
?Author of: Stone By Stone
?Guilford Smith Memorial Library, 17 Main Street, South Windham, CT 06266

Mark Seth Lender: Thursday, September 15, 2011 at 6:30pm
?Author of: Salt Marsh Diary
?Scotland Public Library, 21 Brook Road, Scotland, CT 06264

Jane Green: Thursday, September 22, 2011 at 7:00pm
?Author of: Promises To Keep
?Mohegan Sun's Cabaret Theatre, Uncasville, CT

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Super Summer Celebration at Broad Street Books

Broad Street Books will celebrate local artists and musicians and will have a sidewalk sale on Friday, Aug. 5, and Saturday, Aug. 6 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Popcorn, sno-cones, face painting, arts and crafts and music will be available.

Guitarist Gail Gardiner will be performing Friday and Saturday. Her styles include Celtic, roots, bluegrass, gospel blues, contemporary folk and folk rock. View her full discography at www.cdbaby.com/cd/galebgardiner2.

Author Doretta Wildes will be signing copies of her new novel, "Rinse Cycle," on Saturday from 2 to 4 p.m.

Broad Street Books is located at 45 Broad St., Middletown.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

'Cutting for Stone' book discussion in Portland

The Portland Library will host a book discussion on “Cutting for Stone” by Abraham Verghese on Thursday, Aug. 4, from 6:30 to 8 p.m. in the Van Beynum Room. Copies of the book will be available beginning July 7. No reservations necessary.