Chapter 2: Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins

“I have a problem, Miss Everdeen,” says President Snow. “A problem that began the moment you pulled out those poisonous berries in the arena.”

That was the moment when I guessed that if the Gamemakers had to choose between watching Peeta and me commit suicide — 1  which would mean having no victor — and letting us both live, they would take the latter.

 “If the Head Gamemaker, Seneca Crane, had had any brains, he’d have blown you to dust right then. 2 But he had an unfortunate sentimental streak. 3 So here you are. Can you guess where he is?” he asks.

I nod because 4 , by the way he says it, it’s clear that Seneca Crane has been executed. The smell of roses and blood has grown stronger now that only a desk separates us. There’s a rose in President Snow’s lapel, which at least suggests a source of the flower perfume, but it must be genetically enhanced, because no real rose reeks like that. As for the blood … 5 I don’t know.

6 “After that, there was nothing to do but let you play out your little scenario. And you were pretty good, too, with the love-crazed schoolgirl bit. The people in the Capitol were quite convinced. Unfortunately, not everyone in the districts fell for your act,” he says.

My face must register at least a flicker of bewilderment, because he addresses it.

“This, of course, you don’t know. You have no access to information about the mood in other districts. In several of them, however, people viewed your little trick with the berries as an act of defiance, not an act of love. 7 And if a girl from District Twelve of all places can defy the Capitol and walk away unharmed, what is to stop them from doing the same?” he says. “What is to prevent, say, an uprising?”

It takes a moment for his last sentence to sink in. Then the full weight of it hits me. “There have been uprisings?” I ask, both chilled and somewhat elated by the possibility.

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All the Light We Cannot See- Anthony Doerr

Zero
7 August 1944
The Boy

Five streets to the north, a white-haired eighteen-year-old8 German private named Werner Pfennig wakes to a faint staccato hum. Little more than a purr. Flies tapping2 at a far-off windowpane.

Where is he? The sweet, slightly chemical scent of gun oil; the raw wood of newly constructed shell crates; the mothballed odor of old bedspreads—he’s in the hotel. Of course. L’hôtel des Abeilles, the Hotel of Bees.

Still night. Still early.3.

From the direction of the sea4 come whistles and booms; flak is going up.

An anti-air corporal hurries down the corridor, heading for the stairwell. “Get to the cellar,” he calls over his shoulder, and Werner switches on his field light, rolls his blanket into his duffel, and starts down the hall.

Not so long ago, the Hotel of Bees was a cheerful address, with bright blue shutters on its facade and oysters on ice in its café and5 Breton waiters in bow ties polishing glasses behind its bar. It offered twenty-one guest rooms, commanding sea views, and a lobby fireplace as big as a truck. Parisians on weekend holidays would drink aperitifs here, and before them the occasional emissary from the republic—ministers and vice ministers and abbots and admirals6—and in the centuries before them, windburned corsairs: killers, plunderers, raiders, seamen7.

Before that, before it was ever a hotel at all, five full centuries ago, it was the home of a wealthy privateer who gave up raiding ships to study bees in the pastures outside Saint-Malo, scribbling8 in notebooks and eating honey straight from combs. The crests above the door lintels still have bumblebees carved into the oak; the ivy-covered fountain in the courtyard is shaped like a hive. Werner’s favorites are five faded frescoes on the ceilings of the grandest upper rooms, where bees as big as children float against blue backdrops, big lazy drones and workers with diaphanous wings—where, above a hexagonal bathtub, a single nine-foot-long queen, with multiple eyes and a golden-furred abdomen, curls across the ceiling.

Over the past four weeks, the hotel has become something else: a fortress. A detachment of Austrian anti-airmen has boarded up every window, overturned every bed. They’ve reinforced the entrance, packed the stairwells with crates of artillery shells. The hotel’s fourth floor, where garden rooms with French balconies open directly onto the ramparts, has become home to an aging high-velocity anti-air gun called an 88 that can fire twenty-one-and-a-half-pound shells nine miles.

Her Majesty, the Austrians call their cannon, and for the past week these men have tended to it the way worker bees might tend to a queen. They’ve fed her oils, repainted her barrels, lubricated her wheels; they’ve arranged sandbags at her9 feet like offerings.

The royal acht acht, a deathly monarch meant to protect them all10this appositive helps the reader understand the significance of the acht acht where they otherwise would have glossed over it. It’s description helps the reader see the vital importance of these two unfamiliar words[/fragment].

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Black Boy by Richard Wright

A quarter of a century was to elapse between the time when I saw my father sitting with the strange woman and the time when I was to see him again, 11 standing alone upon the red clay of a Mississippi plantation, a sharecropper 2, clad in ragged overalls, holding a muddy hoe in his gnarled, veined hands – a quarter of a century during which my mind and consciousness had become so greatly and violently altered that when I tried to talk to him I realized that, 3 though ties of blood made us kin, though I could see a shadow of my face in his face, though there was an echo of my voice in his voice, we were forever strangers, speaking a different language, living on vastly distant planes of reality.

That day a quarter of a century later when I visited him on the plantation—he was standing against the sky4 , smiling toothlessly, his hair whitened, his body bent, his eyes glazed with dim recollection, his fearsome aspect of twenty-five years ago gone forever from him—I was overwhelmed to realize that he could never understand me or the scalding experiences that had swept me beyond his life and into an area of living that he could never know. I stood before him, poised, 5  my mind aching as it embraced the simple nakedness of his life, feeling how completely his soul was imprisoned by the slow flow of the seasons, by wind and rain and sun, 6 how fastened were his memories to a crude and raw past, how chained were his actions and emotions to the direct, animalistic impulses of his withering body…7

From the white landowners above him there had not been handed to him a chance to learn the meaning of loyalty, of sentiment, of tradition. Joy was as unknown to him as was despair. As a creature of the earth, he endured, hearty, whole, seemingly indestructible, with no regrets and no hope. He asked easy, drawling questions about me, his other son, his wife, and he laughed, amused, when I informed him of their destinies. I forgave him and pitied him as my eyes looked past him to the unpainted wooden shack. From far beyond the horizons that bound this bleak plantation there had come to me through my living the knowledge that my father was a black peasant who had gone to the city seeking life, but who had failed in the city; 8 a black peasant whose life had been hopelessly snarled in the city, and who had at last fled the city9—that same city which had lifted me in its burning arms and borne me toward alien and undreamed-of shores of knowing.

 

The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom

Beyond the workroom10  was the customers’ part of the shop with its glass case full of watches.  All the wall clocks were striking 7:00 as Betsie and I carried the flowers in and looked for the most artistic spot to put them. Ever since childhood I had loved to step into this room where a hundred ticking voices welcomed me.2 It was still dark inside because the shutters had not been drawn back from the windows on the street. I unlocked the street door and stepped out into the Barteljorisstraat. The other shops up and down the narrow street were shuttered and silent: the optician’s next door, the dress shop, the baker’s, Weil’s Furriers across the street.3

I folded back our shutters and stood for a minute admiring the window display that Betsie and I had at last agreed upon.4 This window was always a great source of debate between us, I wanting to display as much of our stock as could be squeezed onto the shelf, and Betsie maintaining that two or three beautiful watches, with perhaps a piece of silk or satin swirled beneath, was more elegant and more inviting.5 But this time the window satisfied us both: it held a collection of clocks and pocketwatches all at least a hundred years old, borrowed for the occasion from friends and antique dealers all over the city.6 For today was the shop’s one hundredth birthday.7 It was on this day in January 1837 that Father’s father had placed in this window a sign: ten boom. watches.8

For the last ten minutes, with a heavenly disregard for the precisions of passing time, the church bells of Haarlem had been pealing out 7:00 and now half a block away in the town square, the great bell of St. Bavo’s solemnly donged seven times. I lingered in the street to count them, though it was cold in the January dawn. Of course everyone in Haarlem had radios now, but I could remember when the life of the city had run on St. Bavo time, and only trainmen and others who needed to know the exact hour had come here to read the “astronomical clock.”9 Father would take the train to Amsterdam each week to bring back the time from the Naval Observatory and it was a source of pride to him that the astronomical clock was never more than two seconds off in the seven days.

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The Snowboard, The Subdural Hematoma, and The Secret of Life by Brian Clark

The massive pool of blood in my head pressed precariously against my brain. The doctors marveled that I was alive, much less walking and talking.

They looked and shook their heads in wonder at the MRI results. I politely reminded them I was indeed alive, awake, and actually in the room.

On May 9, 2005, 10 they wheeled me in for emergency surgery, and I said goodbye to my wife, not quite three-year-old daughter, and newborn son. I knew that sometimes people don’t wake up from brain surgery, and 2 this might be the last time I saw them.

Wait, let’s back up a bit. 3

The Snowboard

It’s the beginning of 2005. 4 I’m working way too hard, which is not surprising considering I’m managing three service businesses and a handful of online projects. 5 My real estate businesses are booming because I’d learned how to use the Internet to generate leads around the clock, 6 but 7 to be honest, I’m much better at marketing then I am at managing all the people it took to keep those things going.

A buddy of mine from high school calls and says 8 he has just the ticket — a ski trip to Tahoe. 9 It’d been way too long since I got away, and given that my wife is seven months pregnant, I know things are going to get tougher before they get easier.

I decide to go no matter what. 10

Full article: http://www.copyblogger.com/the-secret-of-life/

Bossypants by Tina Fey

When I was thirteen I spent a weekend at the beach in Wildwood, New Jersey, with my teenage cousins Janet and Lori. 11 In the space of thirty-six hours, they taught me everything I know about womanhood. 2 They knew how to “lay out” 3 in the sun wearing tanning oil instead of sunscreen. They taught me that you could make a reverse tattoo in your tan 4 if you cut a shape out of a Band-Aid and stuck it on your leg. 5 They taught me you could listen to General Hospital on the radio 6 if you turned the FM dial way down to the bottom.
Wildwood is a huge wide beach—the distance from your towel to the water was often equal to the distance from your motel to your towel. 7 And “back in the day” the place was packed exclusively with very, very tan Italian Americans and very, very burned Irish Americans. 8 As a little kid, I almost always got separated from my parents and 9 would panic trying to find them among dozens and dozens of similar umbrellas. 10 One afternoon a girl walked by in a bikini and my cousin Janet scoffed, 11 “Look at the hips on her.” I panicked. What about the hips? Were they too big? Too small? What were my hips? I didn’t know hips could be a problem. I thought there was just fat or skinny.
This was how I found out that there are an infinite number of things that can be “incorrect” on a woman’s body. 12

Fey, Tina (2011-04-05). Bossypants (pp. 19-20). Little, Brown and Company. Kindle Edition.

My Name is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout

To begin with, it was a simple story: 13 I had gone into the hospital to have my appendix out. After two days they gave me food, but I couldn’t keep it down. And then a fever arrived. No one could isolate any bacteria or figure out what had gone wrong. No one ever did. I took fluids through one IV, and antibiotics came through another. They were attached to a metal pole on wobbly wheels that I pushed around with me, but I got tired easily. Toward the beginning of July, 2 whatever problem had taken hold of me went away. But until then, I was in a very strange state—a literally feverish waiting—and I really agonized. 3 I had a husband and two small daughters at home; I missed my girls terribly and I worried about them so much I was afraid it was making me sicker. When my doctor, to whom I felt a deep attachment—he was a jowly-faced Jewish man who wore such a gentle sadness on his shoulders, whose grandparents and three aunts, I heard him tell a nurse, had been killed in the camps, and who had a wife and four grown children here in New York City—this lovely man, I think, felt sorry for me, and saw to it that my girls—they were five and six—could visit me if hey had no illnesses. 4They were brought into my room by a family friend, and I saw how their little faces were dirty, and so was their hair, and I pushed back my IV apparatus into the shower with them,5 but they cried out, “Mommy, you’re so skinny!”6

http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25893709-my-name-is-lucy-barton

Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine

Our hallway was empty. 7 I followed it to the spiral staircase and walked down, remembering the times Mother and I had slid down the banister.

We didn’t do it when people were around. “We have to be dignified,” she would whisper then, stepping down the stairs in an especially stately way.And I would follow, mimicking her and fighting my natural clumsiness, pleased to be part of her game. 2

But when we were alone, we preferred to slide and yell all the way down. 3And run back up for another ride, and a third, and a fourth.4

When I got to the bottom of the stairs, I pulled our heavy front door open and slipped out into bright sunshine.5

It was a long walk to the old castle, but I wanted to make a wish, and I wanted to make it in the place where it would have the best chance of being granted.6

The castle had been abandoned when King Jerrold was a boy, although it was reopened on special occasions, for private balls, weddings, and the like.  Even so, Bertha said it was haunted, and Nathan said it was infested with mice. 7 Its gardens were overgrown, but Bertha swore the candle trees had power.

I went straight to the candle grove. The candles were small trees that had been pruned and tied to wires to make them grow in the shape of candelabra.

For wishes you need trading material. I closed my eyes and thought.8

“If Mother gets well quick, I’ll be good, not just obedient. I’ll try harder not to be clumsy and I won’t tease Mandy so much.”

I didn’t bargain for Mother’s life, because I didn’t believe she was in danger of dying. 910

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