Olympics

Book Review: Gold

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Gold 

Written by  Chris Cleave
Published by Simon & Schuster on January 1, 2012
Genre/Topics: Adult Fiction, Sports, Relationships 
324 pages 
 

The 2012 London Olympics are over, but Gold may uplift your sport spirit. Gold is the story of two star cyclists, Kate and Zoe, who are both most likely to participate and win at the London Olympics. Kate and Zoe have known each other since they were nineteen and are also good friends, yet the competition sometimes gets in the way of their friendship. They even have the same coach, Tom, who has difficulties deciding who he wishes to win gold. However, events occurred and Kate wasn’t present at either the Athens or Beijing Olympics as she watched her friend compete on television. Kate is married to another star cyclist, Jack. Zoe is featured on billboards and is well-known, yet she doesn’t always show ‘gold’ behavior in real life. She’s often reckless and sometimes doesn’t think about the consequences. Meanwhile, Kate and Jack have a child, Sophie, who has leukemia. Sophie is the reason for Kate’s absent at the Olympics. At age thirty-two and probably her last Olympics chance, Kate strongly desires to  compete and win gold. Kate continues training even while her daughter fights through her illness. Gold highlights perspectives from Kate, Zoe, Jack, Tom, and even Sophie. The book also moves from the past to present to understand Kate and Zoe’s relationship. Sophie never wants to tell her ‘golden’ parents when she feels sick, because she doesn’t want to hurt their Olympics chances. Gold was an enjoyable read to gain some insight into sport hardships and difficult decisions individuals must make.

I have mixed feelings about Gold. I really enjoyed Chris Cleave’s book, Little Beehowever I don’t think Gold compares at all to that book. At times I thought the book was a little predictable and lacked emotion. I thought the conclusion was slightly rushed. On the positive side, it felt as though I got a peek at what it takes to be the best and win gold. Did I enjoy Gold? Yes, but I wouldn’t reread the book and I would recommend other books before this one.

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Book Review: The Hunger Games

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The Hunger Games

Written by Suzanne Collins 
Published: 2008 by Scholastic 
Young Adult,  Science Fiction, 374 pages
 

I always love book recommendations and The Hunger Games was mentioned more than once. I now understand why individuals love the series. Imagine a world that is no longer North America that is instead Panem, which is divided into twelve districts. The Capitol controls the districts by forcing one boy and one girl aged twelve to eighteen into the annual Hunger Games where they conquer until death. The entire match is televised until only one child is left. Yes, this book is not for those with a weak heart. It’s almost as though the nation is watching the Olympics, except the stakes are more extreme. Throughout The Hunger Games, individuals battle against each other with various difficulties, such as the climate and limited resources. Some districts are more favored to win as they have better resources and coached their youth at a young age. The winning district earns rewards. Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen finds herself in the Hunger Games after she takes her sister’s place. Katniss has personal experience in survival, but is it enough to last until the end? The Hunger Games is more than just fighting until death as the youth face humanity and life challenges.