Wednesday, December 2, 2020

Recent Reads #3 - Songbirds, Snakes & Normal People

Recent Reads #3 - Songbirds, Snakes & Normal People

It's been a while since I've posted any books because to be honest I struggled to get through one of these titles. Anyway, I'm back on track and bringing you some fresh titles to pick up if you haven't read them yet, just in time to snuggle up next to your Christmas tree with a great book and a cup of hot cocoa!

The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins, a Hunger Games Prequel

It took me months to read this, but not for the reasons you might think... Yes, it's a massive book, but that's not really the issue. As with the previous Hunger Games titles, this book really flows and gets you excited from the start, but as you might expect, it's post-apocalyptic and was a bit stressful to read during the Covid Crisis/US Election and I occasionally found myself unable to read it because it was a bit too close to reality for me. That aside, this is just as fun of a story as the original books about Katniss Everdeen, but The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes is a prequel that gives insight into how President Snow came to be the villain we all love to hate. Navigating his family's fall from grace into poverty after the rebellion and the death of both his parents, a young and rather sweet natured Coriolanus Snow is one of several students chosen to serve as mentor in the 10th annual Hunger Games in competition for a scholarship. Similar to the original books, The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes has a female heroine whom Snow mentors in the games from District 12, but this story is not at all predictable. In fact, there's a pretty impressive twist... It's definitely worth reading if you loved The Hunger Games Trilogy. I've read online that a movie is already in the works, so I'll look forward to seeing that too!

Normal People by Sally Rooney

I'd heard so much about this book as well as the BBC series when I picked up a copy of Normal People by Sally Rooney. I was anxious to read it before I started the series and here's the verdict... I really enjoyed reading this book, but I've not yet been won over by the television series after three episodes. One thing about this book that threw me for a loop is that the author doesn't use quotation marks, so it takes a few pages to get used to it and understand when people are speaking versus when they're just narrating or thinking. Once I got the hang of it, I found this super quick to read. It's kind of a love story between two people who struggle in their own different ways who keep finding each other time and again, a little along the lines of When Harry Met Sally, but it also explores themes of mental illness, the socio-economic divide and abuse. Set mostly in Ireland, Normal People is touching, heartbreaking and also slightly hopeful, telling the reader that we all have our own baggage no matter who we are, but that it's possible to carry it, especially if we meet the right people. I wasn't particularly thrilled with the ending of to be honest, but after thinking about it for a few days after finishing it I realised it ended exactly the way it should have. I loved this book and I can't wait to read more from Sally Rooney!

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