Posts Tagged ‘Around The Table’

Around The Table: The Twilight Saga Part 2

We love to get together as a team and discuss all manner of book related subjects. As with the movie adaptation of Breaking Dawn, to do justice to this discussion we have had to divide this feature in to two parts! Warning: Caroline and Helen go off on one!

We welcome your contributions and comments related to the featured discussion.

Caroline: What do people think of the character portrayal in the films?! I know that you can’t portray everything in a two hour film but I felt like they left out all of Bella’s other friendships. In the books she at least makes an effort to create and maintain friendships outside of Edward and Jacob.

Helen: I liked the third film, as the one I saw first, but agree that Bella is more limited by the film. I liked Edward better in the films though hmmmm Wonder why! 😉 He seems a bit less perfect somehow, or maybe it’s just that you see him as he is and not just him through Bella’s eyes which is what the books are.

Caroline: *fans self* Yes I think you are right, his flaws are more obvious in the films.

Helen: Shame she never finished that book written from his perspective.

Caroline: It was great that both the wolves and the vampires had big extended supportive families, something that is becoming rarer in our society. I loved all of the secondary Characters. Seth was a sweetheart (and what a fantastic name!) and Emmett brought light relief.

Helen: The other minor character I really liked was the girlfriend of chief wolf. The one, who got hurt, can’t remember her name, but she was interesting too. Was it this book where Jacob has to face down the pack? I found all that really interesting too, especially reading in fairly close proximity to the Shiver series

Caroline: I thought that Leah was a really interesting character and I would really like to read more about her in the future.

Helen: I liked Leah too; her whole story would be a good film I think (if a little short maybe!). I liked all the stuff with the wolves and the legends, it gave it all more depth.

Caroline: I was thinking a book about what happens to Leah post Twilight? How does she cope being the only female? Does she ever mend her broken heart? It felt like she was the only “good guy” who didn’t get a happy ending and she was made out to be such a b!&$h I want Stephenie to write her story so that she gets to her to have a happy ending!

Helen: Good idea, and more Twilight then too.

Caroline: On the Leah issue, why do you suppose we are allowed to wallow with Bella when Edward left but made to feel unsympathetic for Leah when Sam left her for her cousin?

Helen: Partly because Bella is the main character!!Also Leah does take it out on everyone else, Bella mostly seems to go into herself and not be so negative to others – they just get ignored!!And when we first meet Leah she isn’t really seen in a positive light, this carries on as the boys/wolves don’t know how to cope with her. She needs another girl wolf to empathize with about everything

Caroline: Do you think it’s because Bella and Edward were “true love 4eva” but the fact Sam left Leah meant that it couldn’t been as strong a love? Despite the fact that “imprinting” seems to merely be some kind of weird natural selection gig!

Helen: Hadn’t thought about the true love side, seems a bit hard on Leah though. All the stuff with Jacob and Renesme made imprinting seem like a bit of a plot device to get him over Bella and bring about that oh so convenient happy ending! Leah was a handy way to show imprinting over riding love before Jacob did it with Bella.

Caroline: Poor Leah all that heartache and angst just to be used and abused as a plot device.

Helen: Leah definitely needs a book; we should write to SM and tell her 🙂
Caroline: Absolutely! TEAM LEAH
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Around The Table: The Twilight Saga

We love to get together as a team and discuss all manner of book related subjects. On the 3rd Sunday of the month we take a transcript of one of these discussions or copy and paste a Facebook thread (which has been corrected for spelling and typos) and post it on our site. We welcome your contributions and comments related to the featured discussion.
Warning this post contains spoilers.

Jane: Most of us have all read and enjoyed The Twilight Saga by Stephanie Meyers and with Breaking Dawn: Part One, about to hit the Big Screen, a discussion about these cult books seemed extremely timely and justified! I think it goes without saying that this series provided extremely enjoyable reading and the love triangle between Bella, Jacob and the mysterious Edward kept us all enthralled till the very end. As far as vampire stories go, this one was certainly different and fairly action packed, with some interesting characters and plot lines along the way.

Karen: Twilight will always have a special place in my heart and the series took me completely by surprise.
Caroline: The Twilight Saga was important for me because it opened up my reading habit. Without it I probably would have gone on discovered Maggie Stiefvater’s or Cassandra Clare’s work, read The Hunger Games and generally got the YA bug.

Helen: Aah Twilight, yes I really enjoyed them, vampires without the gore, it was great!

Jane: What characters did everyone like (or not!) and were there any that you changed your mind about as the story progressed? Did everyone enjoy all of the books, or was there a particular one you favored more than another? And of course, no discussion would be complete without finding out what we really thought of Bella and the choices she made – Jacob or Edward and whether she should have become a vampire or not? …

Karen: When Jacob started to ‘evolve’ for want of a better word, I really went off him. It was to the point that in Breaking Dawn I would curse in disappointment when I came across ‘his’ chapters.

Helen: I was on the team Jacob, finding Edward irritatingly perfect (apart from being a vamp of course!) and I was annoyed at Jacob’s story development too Karen, but mostly because I found the way Stephanie tied all those ends together just a little too convenient and I felt she changed Jacob a bit to do this.

Caroline: I have to say that I found Jacob so irritating the first time I read Breaking Dawn. On the second reading (yes I admit it I’ve read them all twice…and listened to the audio books), once I knew how everything turned out I was able to tolerate him more. I have to say though, despite the explanations and examples of imprinting in the earlier books I still find the whole imprinting to the baby CREEPY!

Helen: Totally agree it was creepy; he should have stuck to liking Bella and had a bit of heartache when she got married! Maybe that was a little too realistic! In my opinion it’s all a bit convenient that they can all be immortal together forever and perfectly happy too!

Karen: I was not expecting Bella to become vampire. It kind of goes against the grain doesn’t it! I thought that Edward would somehow become human.

Helen: I began to think Bella would have to be ‘changed ‘from quite early on, I just couldn’t figure out how this might happen without making perfect Edward into a bad guy! When Bella does change I felt she dealt with it all too well and was far too in control. However these gripes don’t mean I didn’t enjoy all the books. The twist on the usual vampires (being ‘vegetarian’) was interesting, and all the stories and connections with the Native Americans and the Wolves, were intriguing. I do like a good bit of teenage angst as well, and although I never really felt that Bella was interested in Jacob (that was the film angle not the book) I did like their relationship.

Karen: It’s been awhile but one thing that still bugs me is that you have a girl who is willing to give up her human life, never see her family etc to become a vampire yet would be so hesitant with agreeing to marry Edward?!

Caroline: I agree, Karen. I would have married him like that *clicks fingers* sod how it looked to everyone else! Going back to what you were saying about the ending…It was all just a little perfect. At the time as a fan I was really please with how it turned out. I’m a sucker for a happy ending and it tied everything up, oh so neatly with no possibility for more installments and their futures mapped out. But having read a lot more YA and looking at it from the perspective as an adult reader the ending is starting to bug me

Helen: Going back to the films, they made it out to be much more of a love triangle between Bella, Edward and Jacob. I always felt that it was obvious in the books who would end up with Bella. Jacob didn’t stand a chance.

Caroline: Just a little bias then!

Helen: He just seemed so much nicer and friendlier and all that, maybe I’m not into brooding vampires!

Caroline: I think the idea of immortality is an interesting one, who would really want to live forever? What would you do with yourself? Would you really value life? Sorry feeling philosophical over my cornflakes!

Helen: I agree with you about the whole immortality thing, forever is a long time, and there must be a limit to how long you want to keep going to high school too.

Caroline: OMG being surrounded by all than angst and drama for eternity!

Helen: Yep, there is only so much teen drama you can take when you are 3009 years old!!!

To Be Continued…

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Around The Table: Teen Reads

AROUND THE TABLE: We love to get together as a team and discuss all manner of book related subjects.  On the 2nd Sunday of the month we take a transcript of one of these discussions or copy and paste a Facebook thread (which has been corrected for spelling and typos) and post it on our site.  We welcome your contributions and comments related to the featured discussion.

Caroline: As you know I absolutely love YA books. Like many people it was the Harry Potter series and The Twilight Saga which turned me on to reading middle grade and young adult books as a not so young adult. What I’d like to know is, what books did you read as a teen? Do you think your reading preferences have changed as an adult? Are there any books that you read as a teen that you would recommend to today’s teen audience?

Karen: I’m desperately trying to think of what I used to read as a teen and am genuinely coming up stumped! I remember choosing to read Animal Farm by George Orwell as enjoyed studying 1984 and Lord of the Flies but, at that age I was far too obsessed with going out, my part time job and of course studying to really pursue books that I would enjoy. I was quite content to read my mum’s discarded Mills and Boon and my brothers Alien vs. Predator books when I had nothing better to do….both genres memorable in their own right but hardly challenging!
I guess it is a shame as I did enjoy books at a young age. I guess my hormones just took over and I think it’s fair to say that young adult 15-20yrs ago isn’t a patch on today’s very lust worthy leading characters!

Caroline: Teen hormones aren’t all bad, I first read Austin’s Pride and Prejudice after Colin Firth’s legendary damp shirt scene! and it is still my favourite book today. As a result I went on to read other books in the Penguin Classics Collection:Emma, Sense and Sensibility, Little Women, Jane Eyre, Frankenstein, Dracula….

Lesley: I was an avid reader as a teen. I used to go to the library regularly and spend hours there. While some of the names of the books I read escape me all these years later, I know that I used to borrow the Mary Poppins series by P.L Travers – 4 stripy hard backed books, as I remember, regularly. I tended to have favourite books that I read over and over again. A series I enjoyed was the American Sweet Dreams series. Stories of young teen romances often set in either high school or summer camps or on holidays abroad. They were largely innocent, fun reads and were very popular back in the early 80’s during my own young teen years!

Karen: In my Tweens, I do remember with affection the Point Horror books. RL Stine being a favoured author. In our class these books were very much our obsession and you would be so smug if you managed to read a title before anyone else got their hands on it!

Caroline: The Point Horror series were a prominent feature in my early teens. I particularly remember The Forbidden Games Trilogy by L.J Smith; In fact I became a little obsessed with the main male character, a hot bad boy. I don’t recall discussing the characters the way teens might today, there was certainly no team Julian! Surely everyone read Forever by Judy Blume- that book was an eye opener for my teen self! It’s certainly the first book I read containing sex scenes and did lead to further education in the form of Mills and Boon *secret shame*

Lesley: Oh yes -Forever! *chuckles*. Covertly read by many of us during our teen years – and one of those first ‘eye opening’ books that was discussed in hushed tones over school lunch! It was a natural step to progress to Lace after that… ahem…

Jane: Lol Lesley! Yes, I too remember Forever being discussed with hushed giggles! In my early teens I was particularly into the Sweet Dreams series which were all predictably trashy teen romance – girl desperately wants first boyfriend and to be kissed etc etc! I also remember reading the Anne of Green Gables series which I adored and started my transition into more adult reading. By my later teens I had moved swiftly on to one of the ‘big’ books doing the rounds at my school- If Tomorrow Comes by Sidney Sheldon and hence my literature quickly advanced! One series I absolutely loved though was the The Flowers in the Attic series by Virginia Andrews, which had me enthralled for some time and which I re-read many years later.

Helen: I was an avid reader too! I also remember Forever and Lace they must have been doing the rounds for a while! I read other Judy Blume books too, the Little Women series, all the ‘Anne’ books, and lots of Chalet school. These were followed by Sweet Dreams romance books, Sweet Valley (these series started whilst I was a teenager!) and then other classics. I also read things like The Flowers in the Attic series, Catherine Cookson (no Mills and Boon for me, sorry girls!). They were my progression into more adult literature. But I reread my favourite classic books more than these (Anne of Green Gables for instance).

Lesley: I’ve heard so much about the Flowers in the Attic series… but I’ve never read them! Did I miss out? Wondering if I should check them out now 🙂

Jane: Definitely Les – and yes you did miss out! An absolutely brilliant series which for its time, was probably quite taboo.

Helen: Flowers in the Attic was a great read Lesley. Don’t expect great literature, but a good, well paced and sometimes shocking read! In answer to some of your questions Caz, it definitely shaped my reading today! I still love classics and hate badly written books (I won’t name and shame them here!). I read chick lit and light hearted stuff too, a bit like the romances were for me as a teenager. I still like a bit of crime drama, but generally not too much blood and guts! I did allot of re-reading and still do, I can’t get rid of a good book and still have loads of my old books that I couldn’t bare to part with and still read.

Jane: I’m not so sure my reading preferences have changed all that much as I’ve got older – I still prefer a good romance, although I have probably moved onto more contemporary styles, but I’m still a sucker for a good old Danielle Steele, of which I read many as a late teen and is still my ‘guilty pleasure’ today!

Lesley: I’m not sure my reading preferences have changed hugely either. I also still enjoy a good romance, and I like contemporary stories with a dash of humour too.I do remember chuckling over The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole aged 13 ¾, and the sequel, The Growing pains of Adrian Mole. They were books I read over and over and I think that today’s teens would enjoy them too. Although perhaps they would be a little innocent today… or, having a 13 year old myself perhaps it would give him an insight into the ‘teen life’ his own parent might have known! Ha!

Jane: Brilliant! I had forgotten all about Adrian and Pandora!!! They were fantastic books of the time and definitely ones that I think every teenager could associate with in one way or another!

Helen:To today’s teens I would say give some of the older books a chance, if you put the effort in to read them and take your imagination back to another time and place they will reward you! And allow you to discover that a lot of the characters in those books aren’t really so different to us today.

Jane: Writing styles may have changed and technology moved on, but deep down all the same old issues and angst’s are still there for today’s teens and I reckon some of our old favourites would appeal today.

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Around the Table: Book Formats

AROUND THE TABLE: We love to get together as a team and discuss all manner of book related subjects.  On the 3rd Sunday of the month we take a transcript of one of these discussions or copy and paste a Facebook thread (which has been corrected for spelling and typos) and post it on our site. This month we are looking at different book formats.
Caroline: I’ve been thinking about my The Very Hungry Caterpillar review (here) about preferring the board book where preschoolers are concerned. Given the choice would always choose the board books for their sturdiness alone, although I also love how the thickness of the pages promotes independence in little ones.
Very Hungry CaterpillarLesley: I love board books. We have The Very Hungry Caterpillar in ‘board book’ format and the boys love poking their fingers through the holes and I love that they can really get to grips (literally!) with the book without fear of ripping it. We’ve had to say goodbye to a couple of books recently, because they’ve been damaged purely by enthusiasm!
Jane: We also have the Very Hungry Caterpillar board book which is a great format for a book that encourages lots of touching and handling! Some of our paperback pop up books are starting to look a little worse for wear whereas the board books seem to go on and on!
Karen: Board books are synonymous with ‘baby’ though. I do remember that first glow of pleasure when you see a child pick up a PB or HB and has the patience and dexterity to turn each page at a time. Because of the fragility of PB and HB books you’re more likely to try and instill greater care and respect with them than you do with board books.
Kindle, Wi-Fi, 6Helen: I go with you on the board books, they travel well too. We take them in the car and everything! Thinking of travelling, that’s one of the things I love most about the Kindle. Taking dozens of books on holiday and only having to pack one small device is fantastic! It fits into a small bag really well too, just in case I ever get a spare five minutes…..!
Lesley:  I agree with you Helen – it’s great to take as many books as I like on holiday without having to lug a bagful around with me. Mind you…having just returned from our hol’s I have to say I seemed to have less time than ever to get into a good read! But that aside… I really love the Kindle format. There will always be something very lovely about opening a new book for the first time – I love the smell and feel of a new book but there are just so many pluses to the Kindle that it’s my preferred format for reading for sure.
Jane: I have to say though that for me nothing beats a good old paperback… that feeling of opening the first page of a brand new book, the smell of the fresh type on new pages, not to mention trying to hold out on having a sneaky peek at the last page! Not having a Kindle I can’t make a comparison, although I can see obvious advantages to not lugging 3 or 4 books on holiday!
Caroline: Only 3 or 4 Jane?! I just LOVE books. The kindle is by far my favorite gadget. So much better than trying to read eBooks on your phone or computer, the electronic ink is amazing; when I first got it I was so absorbed that I kept trying to turn the page at the corner! I agree that for me there will always be a place for paper books. The major disadvantage of the kindle is that (in the UK) there isn’t a facility for book sharing.
Helen: Yeah, I agree, I could never give up books! Kindle is just sooo practical sometimes.
Twilight (The Twilight Saga, Book 1)Caroline: I love owning books, part of that is the look of them on the shelf, although I confess that if I really love a book I will buy it in Hardback to keep. At one point I owned Twilight in paperback, hardback and audio book!
Presently I will look for a book I’m interested in and then buy it in its cheapest form whether that is paper, audio or kindle.
Karen: I am slowly bending towards the joys of a kindle but not quite there yet! Although I have not researched thoroughly, I just can’t see how they can ask the same RRP as paper books. I’m the same with movies and music and like you Caroline, will only purchase an electronic copy if cheaper than other formats and not something I’m likely to want to ‘treasure’ in a more tangible form. Audio books are not my thing at all sorry.
Caroline: When my children were small audio books were a godsend. Ava was an unsettled baby and so I spent many hours pounding the pavements, in an attempt to induce sleep, listening to audio books. Then when I was breastfeeding Seth they were a godsend to keep occupied at three in the morning! Now the kids are older and keeping me on my toes it’s not very practical for me to listen to audio books but I find them immensely helpful occupying the kids.
How to Be a Pirate (Heroic Misadventures of Hiccup Horrendous Haddock III (How to Train Your Dragon))Karen: Up until recently, I never bought audio books and only used one gifted to us on a couple of occasions when feeling too lazy to read a bedtime book! I have bought How to be a Pirate by Cressida Cowell and narrated by the lovely David Tennant as thought it would be useful for car journeys?! It’s a little mature currently to keep my preschoolers interest but hope that in the future it will be a story the whole family will enjoy listening to when we do our numerous long journeys.
Caroline: We have a copy of Hairy Mcclary narrated by a very gorgeous, very Scottish David Tennant.  One for the mums?!

Helen: I love audio books too, listened to loads myself, but also great in the car for the kids! Makes a great change from nursery rhymes!

MatildaLesley: I’m not really into audio books, but I have got a set of Roald Dahl stories on CD and my son Jack has really enjoyed listening to them on his CD walkman. A few years back they were also enjoyed as a family on long car trips. I will save them for Josh and Sam and maybe look at getting others… but as I said, it’s not been my thing so much.
Jane: I must admit I’ve never tried audio books myself or with Morgan but after reading your comments about them I think it might be something I should try out – especially for those long car journeys! Something a bit different to listen to other than the usual ‘Are we there yet?’!!
Caroline: As far as this conversation is concerned I think that we are most definitely there!
What is your favourite book format? What is your opinion of eBooks V’s Paper books? Do you listen to audio books?
We would love to read your thoughts.
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Around The Table: Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

AROUND THE TABLE: We love to get together as a team and discuss all manner of book related subjects.The following facebook thread took place over six days.
As Karen hasn’t read The Hunger Games Trilogy (yet!) and Lesley is enjoying a family holiday we are delighted to be joined, by Alison aka augustwilliow, blog follower and school librarian.

Please be aware that this post contains spoilers and we advise not reading any further unless you have already read Mockingjay.

Caroline: I don’t need to tell you ladies that I really LOVE this trilogy. I think that my insistence that everyone read it speaks for itself!  What elements did you enjoy?

Jane: I really enjoyed this trilogy, more than I thought I would, especially as I found the whole idea of ‘The Games’ a particularly gruesome thing to get my head around! I found it interesting that Katniss, after much persuasion, should become the Mockingjay symbol (something created by the Capitol), creating the uprising that becomes its downfall. Hence the Capitol is ultimately brought down by its own creation.

Caroline: I, too, loved the notion that Katniss, like the Mockingjay, is a product of the Capitols rule, and how both of their creations backfire on them.

Helen: I was also intrigued by the amount President Snow knew about Katniss. Where did he get some of that information?

Caroline: I really enjoyed the end of the Mockingjay. The choice Katniss makes, initially appearing to agree to further games, allowing her up on to the stage, to then assassinate President Coin rather than President Snow.Mockingjay (The Hunger Games, Book 3)

After so much time being used as a pawn, initially by the capitol, in the games, and then by District 13, as a part of the resistance, she exerts her free will and chooses the future. Preventing anymore horrific games, rather than extracting revenge for the past.

Helen: I was horrified, initially, when she agreed to another hunger games, I agree she used it to look like she was playing along, but I wasn’t completely convinced that she wouldn’t have had chance to do the assassination anyway. We don’t know whether that act did actually prevent another hunger games anyway.

Caroline: I disagree; I think that if she had openly disagreed with the new regime she would have been whisked away. We already know (from the brain washing of Peeta) that the technology exists to manipulate people’s images for propaganda. I think she needed to play along to allow herself access to the public stage, making an undeniable public statement, with no possibility of cover up or opportunity for actions to be taken in her name.

Helen: But all the others had a say too, she wasn’t the only one, if Haymitch had voted the other way then there would not have been a vote for more games anyway.  I’m sure that what you say is what Collins wants us to think, but I just didn’t feel that Katniss saying no to a games would have been the end of everything for her.

Alison: I think that it was fitting that it ended the way it did. Not only was Kat making a point on how wrong the hunger games were and how they were possibly moving from one dictatorship to another, she was regaining a measure of control over her own life. Whilst the ending was not what I wished for, it felt right.

Helen: I was really frustrated by the complete lack of information at the end. I would have liked to know about what happened at Katniss trial and whether there really was any change in society as a result of what happened

Jane: Although tying up loose ends (to a degree), we were left with a lot of questions about the characters and the state of Panem after the uprising. I would have liked more definitive answers as to how the future of Panem changed after the uprising. However, through information such as Gale working in television to help create entertainment programs for the city, I guess we are led to believe that life must have been somewhat better if television was being used in this way for its people rather than just the previous years of compulsory ‘Games’ viewing!

Caroline: In relation to the trial think that it is quite fitting that it took place without her, that the powers that be didn’t allow her to represent herself and that they decided to “retire” her. After all Katniss was a pawn for them from the start.
It was important for Suzanne to focus on Katniss’ breakdown and eventual recovery; you can’t put a character through all of that without some consequences! As the trilogy is written in first person she would have had to either swapped protagonists or included it after Kat’s recovery.  I think that as a reader I would have resented that, she’d already been through so much, and following her recovery I was ready for a “happy” ending.

Helen: Yes, Caz, I agree, would have been odd, but I still want to know what happened!

Helen: Great idea to have an out-take. On that front I would like one about Cinna! He was a great character and we could piece together a lot about him but I would love to know his back story, which we never really found out.

Caroline: Suzanne if you’re reading we want more Cinna!

Helen: On the whole I preferred the first two books. I did like the third, but I felt that the first two were particularly well plotted and paceier. Collins was really clever in her writing of The Games and all the little twists and turns that came together at the end of both books. As the third was more about the war, propaganda etc it wasn’t quite the same in these respects. Which books did everyone else prefer?

Jane: The first two books were real pages turners that I couldn’t put down, and although I read the third with the same urgency I felt it lacked the same punch! I was gearing myself up for this big war that just never really seemed to happen for me as Katniss was constantly pushed ‘on the back burner’ by those around her!

Alison: I think I preferred the first two more than Mockingjay as the focus changed so much. In the arena Kat is strong and has more control over her own destiny, whereas in Mockingjay the fact she is used as a pawn is much more apparent.

Jane: On the whole, a superb set of books with a unique and extremely imaginative plot, full of twists and turns – some of which I certainly didn’t expect! It will certainly be very interesting to see how they put this on the Big Screen!

We welcome your comments and would love to read your thoughts on the topics discussed.

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