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Thursday, March 22, 2012
3:08 pm edt
I have a really bad case of Spring Fever! The development
landscapers are mulching the flower and bush beds in our gardens, and the sweet, woody fragrance is wafting through my open
windows on just a hint of a breeze. The sun is a warm, milky yellow peeking through wispy gray-white silk clouds, and the
magnolia trees are in full raging-pink bloom. It’s a perfect spring day, a omen of the much warmer summer days yet to
While I’d rather be on the balcony reading a book this afternoon, I am not
one to loll around for long periods of time, even though I am retired. I like to keep busy—and productive. So, here
I am—after a long walk with the Frankster—perched
at my small desk by an open window, doing a bit of marketing for Cats of Nine Tales —now available on amazon.com—and writing this blog posting.
I do not have a particular book in mind today, as I am still reading—now with
great interest, albeit sloooow-ly—Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabiel Garcia-Márquez. While I am enjoying the story and the character development, it is not a book to be read
lightly or quickly. It is taking me some effort to enjoy the subtle nuances—again, like a fine wine or a smooth single
malt; one of which is on the end table beside me as I read in the after-dinner silent solitude. And now that the weather is
warm and sunny, I’ve been spending the better part of most of my afternoons on the courts and taking much longer walks
with my blessed Basset Hound, FrankieB. Ah, the glories of watching him enjoy himself as he sniffs and rolls in the grass.
Today’s posting is a few snippets about things in the past few days that have, as the
theme of this blog suggests, affected me and, perhaps, are shaping my current life.
Let’s start with the much touted movie, The Hunger Games. This is
the eve of its release and the papers and Internet are rampant with review and commentary hype. I was recently introduced
to the book trilogy written by Suzanne Collins just a few weeks ago by a former co-worker who read the first book and “challenged”
me in response to any earlier posting I did about being challenged by the writings of García Márquez. I took
her up on it. I downloaded the first two books of the trilogy, The Hunger Games and Catching Fire, onto my e-reader and in the timeframe of two days finished the first and got a quarter of the way through the second.
Here is my humble take on the books: although they are vividly violent outside of my comfort zone, they are also “sweet”.
Sweet in the sense that the crisp writing style—in the first person of the main protagonist, Katniss—is straight-forward
and simply, well, honest.
over evil in these political commentaries/allegories about our politics and TV reality shows. They hint at senseless wars
on foreign soils and the needless sacrifice of members of younger generations. They are psychological analyses of how
oppressive clueless and mindless authorities promulgate violence, and how senseless killing affects younger minds—to
wit, those of our mid to older teenagers. While I would recommend these books for young adults, their primary audience, I
would NOT suggest that anyone under the impressionable age of sixteen read them. Yet, sadly, the ads and promos are hawking
both the books and the movie to a much, much younger audience; and schools are allowing sixth, fifth, even younger, very mpressionable
fourth graders to read them, in the hopes of promoting literacy. As if the timeless classics more appropriately suitable for
younger children are not “good enough”.
Hey, adult folks, haven’t
you noticed? This is NOT Harry Potter nor the fantasy Hobbit adventures, however mildly violent at times they both are. The Hunger Games books and movie
are a strong amalgamation of both on very powerful steroids. I highly recommend parental discretion and caution for one's
children reading and viewing them. That being said—yes, I am enjoying the books; but I am a mature adult who can process
the violence and suggestive psychological undertones. As for the movie, I am not so sure. The critics I’ve read so far
rate it, at best, less than three stars out of six, calling it “Hollywood hype” stitched onto Collin’s authorship
coattails to make money. Maybe some books are best left to the reader’s imagination.
And while we’re on the topic of too much violent input for young children…I
recently began playing The Dog Island Wii game, produced by a company called “Unisoft”. The only things
“soft” about it are the cute and wanting-to-cuddle animated avatar puppies in this part story/part badly written
interactive and slow-moving game that is rated “fun for everyone”—meaning younger children. The player is
sucked in by learning how to sniff, earn “woofs”, and to find spiral shells, amongst other “goodies”.
As the story continues, it turns sadistically cruel. The father is missing, suggesting a nasty end; a younger sibling has
an almost incurable illness and must be treated by Dr. Potan. The avatar sails to The Dog Island to find the doctor, only
to be subjected to horrific “challenges” and violent actions and task that even I found so scary, I had nightmares
that night. And to think I bought the game to share with the younger kids during one of our weekly Wii nights. Um I don't
think so. This is definitely NOT a game for children of any age. It goes back, unfinished, to the store tomorrow.
On a brighter note, I am continuing to immensely enjoy the How to Train Your Dragon Series
by Cressida Cowell and am now reading number 4, How to Cheat a Dragon's Curse. These books are GREAT! If you haven't already, I highly recommned them to everyone! I still dabble now and then into
a fable or two from The Queen's Museum and Other Fanciful Tales by Frank R. Stockton, and occasionally read out loud from The Complete Illustrated Works of Lewis Carroll or from one of the Oz books by Frank L. Baum—not to mention my constant re-reads of the prequel Wicked series by Gregory Macguire. All worthwhile reads, indeed. And, I have two tall stacks of “summer reads”—some
of which will eventually find their way into this blog.
And lastly, in order to augment my meager retirement income, I’ve decided to start an editorial/proofreading
service, under the auspices of B’Seti Pup Publishing. So, if you have any technical and/or creative text that needs
a “second pair of eyes”, I’d be happy to work with you. I am able to process both hardcopy and electronic
formats, and am charging reasonable rates—either
by the hour, the page, or the project. If you are interested in editing, proofreading, formatting, and rewriting services,
please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I look foward to working with you.
all for now, folks. Happy spring! Enjoy the weather and the book(s) you’re currently reading!
J. McInerney, the host of this Literary Blog, is
an author, poet, and librettist. Her currenty published works include a novel, a book of spiritual inspirations,
volumes of poetry, stories
for children (of all ages) and
a variety of children's musicals. Her titles include:
Hotel: A Novel of Phoenixville during the Early 1900s
the Schuylkill Monster: A Novel of
Phoenixville in 1978
The Prisoner's Portrait: A Novel of Phoenxville during World
Rainbow in the Sky
of Oreigh Ogglefont
The Basset Chronicles.
Cats of Nine Tales
Water: A Collection of Poems
Exodus Ending: A
Collection of More Spiritual Poems
We Three Kings
Beauty and the Beast
Peter, Wolf, and Red Riding
Originally from the New York metropolitan area, June currently lives near Valley Forge Park in Pennsylvania with her constant and loving companions, FrankieBernard and Sebastian Cat. She
is currently working on her fifth novel.