{Mid December}

Assassination Vacation by Sarah Vowell. This is a nonfiction about presidential assassinations written as a travelogue (which sounds like a weird combination, but I promise it works well). She’s a former This American Life contributer, so she knows how to be entertaining in an intelligent way. You wouldn’t expect it, based on the subject matter, but it’s a really fun read. She’s open about her political leanings, so if your sensibilities don’t react well to a vague dislike of Bush the younger, beware. But this book really is delightful.

Listening to:
Serial season 2. When I heard the rumors of what the new season was about (which turned out to be accurate), I wasn’t really excited because it didn’t seem like my thing. But after listening to the first episode, I’m on board.

Thinking about:
The Hunger Games. I held out on the Hunger Games series until I watched the first movie (2013, I think, so well after the movie came out and an eternity after the books came out). And then I only read the first book. Then I watched the 2nd movie about a year ago. Then I read the 2nd book. This system has been working well for me.

Then I fell in a weird rabbit hole. The first movie was on ABC Family one night a couple weeks ago, so we watched it and I remembered how good it was. Then we noticed Mockingjay part 1 was on Amazon Prime, so we needed to watch it before it went away. But I felt weird jumping from the first movie to the third without a refresher on the second, so I checked out the audiobook of Catching Fire from Overdrive and finished that in a couple of days (and also cleaned my entire kitchen, folded all the laundry, and finished painting the bookshelves in the office–audiobooks make me more productive than normal).

Then we watched Mockingjay part 1, and it was the worst cliffhanger. There’s a soft spot in my heart for Peeta, and I literally couldn’t sleep that night worrying if he would ever be sweet Peeta again. So the next morning I took Mockingjay off my bookshelf (my husband bought and read the whole trilogy back in 2010, so lack of access hasn’t been why I haven’t already finished it), and then I read the whole book in one day. Then a couple days later I decided I’d better watch Catching Fire again since I’ve seen all the other movies recently. I just could not get that story out of my system. Now I just need to watch the last movie.

Anyway, needless to say it’s been on my mind a lot lately. And while I was firmly on team Peeta, I had to remind myself this trilogy wasn’t a romance. It was about fulfilling roles you weren’t expecting. It was about finding mental strength. It was about sacrifice. It was about dealing with loss. It was about how being on the “right side” of the fight doesn’t justify wrong actions. There are really some lovely and meaningful themes throughout. And yet I feel like many reviews on Goodreads treat it like the Twilight series and focus too much on who she ended up with and not how she got there. Yes, Hunger Games has a sweet love story (I thought), but it’s more about survival and healing than romance.


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