Literary Mama writing about the many faces of motherhood
Now Reading: November, 2011

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I write this Now Reading post with great reluctance. My daughter is sleeping, the fire is burning in the wood stove, and I had to drag myself away from Suzanne Collins's Mockingjay, the third installment in the Hunger Games trilogy. Yes, it's technically young adult. Yes, technically I'm an old adult with no young adult children, but sometimes it's really, really awesome to pretend to be one, especially when it means reading a fun, fast-paced sci-fi story with a dynamic female main character. For those of you who haven't yet taken the drug that is The Hunger Games, I offer you a gateway. North America is ruled by the ruthless, tyrannical Capitol where citizens partake in a bacchanalian lifestyle fueled by goods and resources produced in the 12 outlying districts. Every year, each district is required to send two "tributes" -- one male and one female teenager -- to the Hunger Games where the 24 contestants fight to the death for the televised entertainment of the rest of the country and as a reminder to anyone who might want to restart the rebellion of a few generations ago that the Capitol rules with a ruthless fist. Of course, the main character Katniss Everdeen, ends up representing her district, the coal-mining 12th, in The Games. Three books and multitudinous fights, kisses, and twists later, I'm hooked. Go on: drink the Hunger Games kool aid. You'll like it.

Fiction Co-Editor, Kristina Riggle, shares, "I'm lucky enough to be reading an advance copy of Christopher Moore's Sacré Bleu, which I'm finding nearly impossible to describe in a way that is true to how delightful and engrossing it is! Moore's wit, both dry and biting, is fully in effect in this story of the mysterious 'Colorman' and his beautiful, treacherous partner, who are bewitching all the brilliant European painters -- including the unfortunate Vincent Van Gogh, and the story's protagonist, Lucien Lessard. Lucien is an aspiring painter (and baker by day). His friend, Henri Toulouse-Lautrec, is determined to save his friend from whatever mysterious fate awaits, but Lucien is so in love and lust with his Juliette that it might be far too late."

Suzanne Kamata, Fiction Co-Editor, writes, "I just finished reading Triangles, an engrossing novel-in-verse by Ellen Hopkins about three women friends in Reno, Nevada, dealing with various crises. Marissa is the mother of a severely disabled daughter and a gay son with an HIV-positive boyfriend. Holly, who has achieved a hot body through running, has started stepping out on her husband, and writing erotica. And single-mom Andrea wonders if she will ever find someone to date again. Hopkins is best known for her frequently banned novels-in-verse for young adults. In this, her first novel for adults, she shows that middle age can be just as angsty as the teen years. "

Rhena Tantisunthorn received her MFA in Creative Writing from Columbia University in 2007. She lives in Minneapolis with her husband and daughter and is currently working on a book about her experiences working with Karenni refugees on the Thai-Burma border. You can find her blog here: Rhena Tan.

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