One of my New Year's resolutions for 2011 was to keep track of books I read. So far this year, it's 17 books-- three memoirs, a couple picture books, two fictionalized retelling of actual events, and two non-fiction for my Nazi-era research. The rest are historical fiction and fantasy/sci-fi novels, my favorite genres. I'm well aware that this is more than many people read in a year.
How do I read so many books when I work a full-time job and volunteer several hours a week in my church and community? Audiobooks, for one thing. I drive a lot, so time in the car is time spent listening to stories. And while others watch TV to relax in the evening, I read. That gives me a hour or two each night to immerse myself in a good story before bed.
But that can be a problem when the story possesses me, like when I recently read The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins. The post-apocalyptic world she created was tangible, with its own twisted internal logic and fascinating characters. That world and the female protagonist, Katniss, occupied my waking and sleeping thoughts.
How YA books have changed. Strength in female characters used to be shown in loyalty, outspokenness, perseverance, intelligence, etc. Collins shows Katniss to be a young woman with all those traits and more -- an amazing aptitude with a bow and arrow, a willingness to risk injury or humiliation for those she loves, and a keen knack for survival.