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November Read of the Month: The Hunger Games

I believe I have set a new record for my read of the month.  I am finished with this book and today is November 3rd.  My Book of the Month was/is The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins.  I started the book last weekend, and finished it while on a bus trip to Central Michigan University with some students for a leadership conference.  Once on the bus, I could not put the book down.  It is one of the best novels I have read in years.  Should I be embarrassed about this considering it is considered a young adult/teen novel?  I sure hope not.  I know many adults that enjoy the Twilight and Harry Potter series so there is nothing to be embarrassed about.  Most people that know me realize very little embarrasses me anyway!



What surprises me most about my enjoyment of the novel is that it can be considered a science fiction novel.  I am usually not much of a science fiction fan, unless I am being a dork enjoying my Star Wars DVDs.  Set in the future former United States, the novel follows main character/narrator Katniss in her struggle to survive in The Hunger Games, a yearly tournament where twenty four teenagers from around Panem (the country that replaced The United States of America) fight to the death in a nationally televised tournament.  A male and female is selected from each of the twelve regions throughout Panem.  When there is one survivor remaining, The Hunger Games are over and the champion is crowned!  

The novel starts a little slowly with background information and character introductions, but that can be expected with most novels.  However, once the background is set, Collins moves us to "Reaping Day," the day in which a drawing is held in each district to select the two participants for The Hunger Games. Once I was at this point I could not put the novel down.  I was locked in and had to find out what happened next.  I did not stop reading until I finished the book (somewhere on I96 near Novi on the way home from CMU)!  The main character, Katniss, is one of the strongest female characters I have ever come across in literature.  What a great book, and even better news, there are already two more books in the series.  I can not wait to pick them up and keep reading!

This book is our first selection for "Carlson Reads" our monthly book club at Carlson High School.  We will be discussing the book after school next week.  I really look forward to hearing what other staff members and students have to say about this fine piece of literature.  The best part about finishing the book so quickly is that it opens the rest of the month for me to read something new.  So I took Meg's advice and ordered A Supposedly Funny Thing I'll Never Do Again by David Foster Wallace.  It will be here Friday and I look forward to starting this weekend!  Happy November everyone!  If you are looking for a great book, I highly recommend picking up The Hunger Games, you will not be disappointed!

Comments

  1. I read these books because my cousin recommended them: I finished the first two on a flight from Boston to Detroit to Key West, and read the third the day it came out. They're addictive.

    What did you think of the book's parallels in terms of The Capitol : The Districts :: The United States : The Third World? In the sense that everyone in the districts lived under abusive puppet dictators and had to live in abject poverty while producing all of the materials the Capitol consumed, while the Capitol residents - even though they had jobs too, like the stylists, chefs, and TV hosts - partied their lives away? Comparatively speaking, of course. The government appeased their Capitol populace with panem et circenses in the most literal sense (not that this was subtle; she named the country Panem after all), and the Capitol residents largely seemed to fall for it. Does America do the same with respect to our relationship between consumption of other countries' labor and resources and how the governments of those countries treat their citizens? I'd be interested to hear your and your students' thoughts.

    I thought the first book was an absolute miracle of pacing. I don't read YA very often (besides Harry Potter, but everyone's read Harry Potter). The book's architecture was genius, truly, and if I ever taught another writing class I'd have my university students read it, even though it's YA, so they could learn by example. As for the second two books, I don't want to spoil them for you, so I'll wait until you're done to opine. I give you a week: I bet you won't be able to hold out longer than that. I was so excited to find out what happened next that I swallowed them whole.

    I'm sorry if it's weird that I comment so much! I grew up in Riverview and went to Gabriel Richard, so I like to read the News Herald blogs to stay in touch with what's going on with people at home. I went to Michigan in Ann Arbor, moved to Boston for grad school, and am at Harvard now. I love to read, so I've gravitated toward your blog more than the others; though I've commented on several, I write most to you. I felt weird commenting so much without introducing myself, though, and didn't want to seem creepy, so...hi!

    Best,
    Meg

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  2. I was also very impressed with the novel considering that it is a YA novel. Very well written. Not only do I see America do this to other countries, but to some of our own regions of the country today. Think of Katniss and her region 12. I assume her region to be that of Appalachia. Think of how poor much of this area of the country is, yet we need that coal to power all of our gadgets and toys and air conditioners. Mine collapse, we all watch CNN for a day or two, then move right on forgetting how hard these people work. It is even worse when you think about how we have the rest of the world working for everything we want (and it has to be as cheep as possible)! We discuss the book as a group next Wednesday, so I look forward to hearing what others have to say!

    I do plan to start reading book #2 right away. I believe I have a copy sitting in the library at work. Plus my Amazon order comes in tomorrow. I should be set with plenty to read this month.

    Thanks for introducing yourself. Not creepy at all. I enjoy your thoughtful comments. I think it is really neat that you keep in touch with what is going on back "home" downriver. I guess I never went far from here (which is odd because I love to travel), graduating from Carlson, heading to Eastern for a few years, and ending up right back here at Carlson. I love my job though, so I can't complain. Nice to hear from you!
    Mike

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  3. We were able to finish a hero unit early at Monroe High School so now I can do some extra "fun" reads as well. I was thrilled because I love to teach Katnis as a hero. She is perfectly flawed and reluctant. I only hope my students enjoy it as much as I do!

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  4. What a great book to read in school....sure beats The Scarlet Letter (see my new post) :)! I did pick up the sequel today at Borders. Can not wait to start!

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