The Hunger Games
Posted by: Gary Niebuhr
As part of our staff monthly book discussion and readers advisory training, we have a category called series (any book with a number on the spine, actual or metaphorical). This month it was my turn to be the leader so I selected The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins.
Sometimes getting copies in a timely fashion is an issue but this month I was told by many of the regular participants one of two things; either, I have the book in my personal collection or I have already read the book.
My first book discussion question evidently is. “Am I the only person who has not read this book?”
One of the goals of our RA training is to read what our customers are reading in order to better understand their needs. I am obviously behind the curve. Once I picked up the book, I could begin to understand why.
I read a lot and I enjoy reading but it is rare that I have that sensation of “not being able to put a book down.” Not so with The Hunger Games. I was not but a few pages into the book and I was wondering how Collins was going to pull this off–the premise is that 24 children are selected to slaughter each other on national television????
I am not the only one who had these doubts. In doing my research to prepare for the discussion, I came across these comments from British reviewer James Delingpole who said, “ ’Nah. It’s never going to happen. No way in a children’s book is the author going to allow 23 kids between 12 and 17 die in myriad horrid ways….’ But then, one by one, they do”.
Of course, these very concerns wrote some of the discussion questions for me. It did turn out that no matter whether the staff member had read this book for the first time, had only read this book, or had read all three books in the series, they wanted to talk about this book.
Part of this book’s appeal may also be that it reads like whatever a reader wants it to be. Some of our staff saw it as science fiction, others as fantasy. Is it a romance at all? Is this a young adult novel or just a novel for whatever aged reader wants to read it?
I am going to read book two and three in this series. What does that say about the power of book one?
Lastly, there is one more advantage to this title. It fits into the recent post Kaite Stover did about reading books and viewing the film for a discussion.
Now, everyone stop talking to me. I am about to pick up book two and if the magic works again, I will not be able to put it down.