Tuesday, January 31, 2012

30 Days of Book Discussion: Day 25

A character who you can relate to the most

The first character that comes to mind is Katniss from The Hunger Games, although we have pretty much nothing in common.  But I think Suzanne Collins just wrote an amazing character.  Katniss's thoughts and way of thinking feel very natural to me, and she is a character who is easy to sympathize with.  I am also strongly impacted by the dystopian nature of the novel.  I am instantly attracted to characters who are set in a world that is supposed to be utopian but where they have enough presence of mind to see that there could be cracks in the veneer of perfection that is supposed to be there.  I find that compelling and it's what attracts me to dystopian novels in general.

I have to admit that I can't stand main characters who are very flawed.  The stories that I connect to most have a protagonist who has good qualities and is essentially what I consider to be a "good person," people who have a sense of right and wrong and who try to do the right thing.  Usually if I really like a movie it's because the main character was valiant in some way that I admired.  I know that most people probably feel the same way... I just think that maybe the degree to which I like a movie is very heavily influenced by the admirability of the main character.

I was telling my sister the other day about an awful movie that I watched on Netflix.  The main character in this movie was immature, manipulative, conceited, dishonest, and arrogant.  I hated her and I hated the movie.  But... I watched the whole thing because it had pretty dresses.  I have a weakness, okay!  I like pretty dresses, shut up.  I can like those.  If you're going to write a movie about abhorrent characters, you better have some good costuming.

So what about you?  What characters do you relate to?

Monday, January 30, 2012

30 Days of Book Discussion: Day 24

A book that you wish more people would’ve read

This is an easy one.  There is a good mystery that I read a few years ago, and I have kept up with each new novel in the series so far.  It's called The War Against Miss Winter by Kathryn Miller Haines.  It's set during WWII, and Rosie is living in New York trying to make it as an actress.  She works on the side as a secretary for a detective, and when he turns up dead one of his clients enlists Rosie to finish what he started.  It's a decent mystery, moving along well, and Haines has done a remarkable amount of research into WWII-era New York City.  She brings the sights and sounds of it alive.  Haines was a screen writer before she started working on this series, and I think she has a good sense of timing and keeping things moving.

But by far the best part of this series is Miss Winter herself.  I love this character.  She is sassy and witty and loyal and adventurous, and is absolute fun to read.  She says quippy things like, "Her sincerity was so thin you’d be arrested for wearing it out in public."  I just hear Katharine Hepburn's voice saying that, don't you?

What's sad to me is that this series isn't more popular or well known.  I think the first book suffers from unfortunately bad cover art, and that can really affect readership sometimes (something that they've rectified with further books).  But I think most of the check-outs of this book in my library have come from my own recommendations.  I've even had people come up to me later and say, "You know that WWII mystery you recommended for me?  It was really good!"  Well, yeah!

This is a good pick for people who enjoy historical fiction and whodunnit mysteries, especially for those with interest in the WWII era.  Book #2 in the series wasn't great, but the rest after that have been pretty good, like the first.  Rosie even goes on a USO tour in the South Pacific!  It's fun but still sobering at times with the war taking place all around her.  Very enjoyable.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

What day am I on again?

Oh, right.

30 days of Book Discussion: Day 23

A book you wanted to read for a long time but still haven’t

This would be The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas.

More correctly, this is a book I have read half of when I was 14, and then never finished. I was reading it thinking "This is the most awesome book I have ever read," and then I saw the Wishbone* episode where they reenact the Count of Monte Cristo. After seeing it I was like, "So the first half of the book is awesome, and then the second half is just about stupid revenge? Lame." So I never finished it.

But in the back of my mind I'm hoping that perhaps if I finish reading the book, it will be more meaningful than I'm expecting and live up to the first half, so it's sort of an unfulfilled ambition thus far. There are just too many YA fantasy books out there in the meantime.

Remember Wishbone?  I loved that show.  Except the one where he played Cyrano de Bergerac was a little far-fetched.  Get it?  Fetched?  Just kidding.  But seriously, I felt really bad for the actress who had to unknowingly be in love with a Jack Russel Terrier.  I assume that was probably a low point in her career.