Tag Archives: Harry Potter

The Hunger Games

The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins.

I’m not even finished with Stephen King’s The Dark Tower and already I’m gearing myself up to tackle a new series, albeit not a seven volume one

I’ve heard good things about this YA (Young Adult) thriller, mainly from my friends Liz Csukas and Jessica Souders. Now, YA is not normally my thing. Okay, I loved Harry Potter and I’ll not hear a bad word about J.K. Rowling’s writing style. It worked for me and the rest of her trillions of fans. But I couldn’t for the life of me take to Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight Saga. Too much angst for my taste.

I like the look of The Hunger Games, though. The premise is simple (as all the best ones are). To quote from its back cover blurb:

“In a dark version of the near future, a terrifying reality TV show is taking place. Twelve boys and twelve girls are forced to appear in a live event called the Hunger Games. There is only one rule: Kill or be killed.

When sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen steps forward to take her sister’s place in the games, she sees it as a death sentence. But Katniss has been close to death before For her, survival is second nature.”

One first glance, two similar concepts come to mind: Stephen King/Richard Bachman’s The Running Man (remember the Arnie movie?) and the Japanese film Battle Royale. But I’m hooked nonetheless. It’s the first book in a trilogy, and if The Hunger Games grabs me in the same way The Gunslinger did, I’m in for the long haul. I’ll keep you posted.

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On This Day…24 August

It’s only four days to the weekend. The countdown begins now. I bet you can hardly wait.

Anyway, today is 24 August 2010. Throughout history, on this day in…

1456 – The printing of the Gutenberg Bible is completed. Booklovers the world over contemplated the mystery that is the semi-colon; see, I used it there. I’m clever, aren’t I?

1682 – William Penn receives the area that is now the state of Delaware, and adds it to his colony of Pennsylvania. 400 years later, his descendant Sean wins an Oscar. (I made that bit up.)

Sean takes after him

1831 – Charles Darwin is asked to travel on HMS Beagle. His request to change the name to HMS Snoopy is denied.

1892 – Goodison Park in Liverpool, England, one of the world’s first purpose-built football grounds, opens. It is still the home ground of Everton FC today

1932 – Amelia Earhart is the first woman to fly across the United States non-stop (from Los Angeles to Newark, New Jersey). Whatever happened to Amelia remains a mystery to this day.

1968 – France explodes its first hydrogen bomb, thus becoming the world’s fifth nuclear power. (Bloody cheese-eating, surrender-monkeys!)

Who are you calling a Dwarf?

2006 – The International Astronomical Union (IAU) redefines the term “planet” such that Pluto is considered a Dwarf Planet. Mickey and Minnie are inconsolable.

Birthday wishes are sent to:

Orson Scott Card, 59 today.

Stephen Fry, the celebrated actor, comedian,  writer and manic depressive, is 53.

And Ron Weasley. aka Rupert Grint, is all of 22-years-old today. Rupert, my friend, I hope you have a successful career, once the Harry Potter movies have finished.

A personal favourite of mine of mine when I was growing up was the actress Yootha Joyce. She was Mildred to Brian Murphy’s George in the classic English sit-com, George & Mildred. Yootha died on this day in 1980. She was 63.

On This Day…16 August

Happy 16 August 2010, everyone. On this day in history:

1777, the American Revolutionary War: The Americans led by General John Stark rout British and Brunswick troops under Friedrich Baum at the Battle of Bennington in Walloomsac, New York.

In 1858 – U.S. President James Buchanan inaugurates the new transatlantic telegraph cable by exchanging greetings with Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom. However, a weak signal forces a shutdown of the service in a few weeks.

In 1920, Ray Chapman of the Cleveland Indians is hit on the head by a fastball thrown by Carl Mays of the New York Yankees, and dies early the next day. To date, Chapman is the second player to die from injuries sustained in a Major League Baseball game, the first being Doc Powers in 1909.

1942 – World War II: The two-person crew of the U.S. naval blimp L-8 disappears without a trace on a routine anti-submarine patrol over the Pacific Ocean. The blimp drifts without her crew and crash-lands in Daly City, California.

In 1966 – Vietnam War: The House Un-American Activities Committee begins investigations of Americans who have aided the Viet Cong. The committee intends to introduce legislation making these activities illegal. Anti-war demonstrators disrupt the meeting and 50 people are arrested.

1987 – A McDonnell Douglas MD-82 carrying Northwest Airlines Flight 255 crashes on take-off from Detroit Metropolitan Airport in Romulus, Michigan (Detroit), killing 155 passengers and crew. The sole survivor is four-year-old Cecelia Cichan.

And by extraordinary coincidence, in 2005 – West Caribbean Airways Flight 708 crashes near Machiques, Venezuela, killing the 160 aboard.

Not a good day to take a flight. But it is a good day for:

Ulrika Jonsson, television presenter, is 43 today.

Angela Basset, the Oscar-nominated actress is 52 and she shares her birthday with Madonna.

James “King 0f the World” Cameron is 56.

And our own lovely Evanna Lynch (Luna Lovegood in the Harry Potter series) is a cool 19.

Evanna Lynch as Luna Lovegood. Don't you just love her?

But today is the day of a mourning for those of us who live in the capital city. On this day, two years ago, Dublin lost an icon. Ronny Drew, the voice of Dublin and The Dubliners, died from cancer at the age of 74.

Last but not least, Manchester United opened their 2010/2011 Premier League Campaign with a 3-0 home win over newly promoted Newcastle United. The goals came from Dimitar Berbatov, Darren Fletcher and Ryan Giggs.