Wednesday, April 11, 2012

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins


(In which I reevaluate my reading standards.)

***

If there’s one word I could use to describe reading, it’s antidotal – something you take to go back to normal, to forget how terrible the situation is and to relieve you of anything poisonous like boredom. So I don’t usually read something that might threaten to disturb the comfortable surface of my reading life. The genres/subgenres that usually make it to my shelf or pile are art and historical fiction. Classics, modern, futuristic, action, mystery, sci-fi, thriller, chic lit and fantasy are generally off limits. YA I’m ok with, but only when it’s in art or historical fiction. So you’ll probably imagine how limited my reading experience is, and therefore how boring, I think so too.
I was able to like mystery because of Arturo Perez-Reverte. Then I moved on to Javier Sierra’s religious fiction. So yes I read religious writings now. And reading is still antidotal.
I consider my last read as one big, awesome leap for my development as a reader because it is a mix of the things I used to leer away from – futuristic, si-fi and YA. And I enjoyed it. My reading hiatus even added to the experience. I was so hungry I finished the series in less than a week. And by the way, I wasn’t a fan of series.









What made me pick up
The Hunger Games wasn’t because of its record-breaking movie or the cheap price for the whole series (which was almost my reason because there was a 20% off!) but the fact that it’s high time I go out of my shell. I just have to read it.


And so I did. And what welcomed me is Panem, a dystopian setting where Katniss Everdeen takes over the role of being the breadwinner of her family and where an annual Hunger Games, a gladiatorial combat, is held. Only the fighters, a tandem of male and female citizens of each district of Panem, who were called tributes, were no prisoners of war or slaves vying for freedom, but twelve to eighteen-year-old kids fighting to the death for fortune and fame and for the sheer entertainment of the people in the Capitol, Panem’s main city. Katniss finds herself, along with neighbor Peeta Mellarck in The Games when she volunteers to take her twelve-year-old sister’s place. From here a remarkable story of victory and love unfolds. Then a rebellion, war, death and more deaths.
At some point reading The Hunger Games isn’t much of a novelty. I’ve been reading stories set in the Second World War and other civil wars in which death is an underlying theme. It’s the intensity of the characters’ personality, the timelessness of its theme, the transformation of the people in the story that moved me. It reminds me that leaders and heroes come in all forms, ages and sizes. And that living and dying for a cause are equally heroic.
At times I found myself staring at the page, sometimes laughing and ruminating at the lines. That’s how good it is. And because of that, I cannot agree more with Stephenie Meyer when she said:
“. . . The book keeps me up for several nights in a row, because even after I was finished, I just lay in the bed wide awake thinking about it. . . The Hunger Games is amazing!”

Currently reading

The Reading Group by Elizabeth Noble







Photo source:
The Hunger Games
Catching Fire
Mockingjay
The Reading Group