The Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins

This young-adult science fiction adventure trilogy is just the sort of book series I would normally shun. I thought it sounded like a post-apocalyptic Twilight without the vampires; teenage EMO stuff. But when 18-year-old granddaughter Andie and her lawyer mother, Adele, both highly recommended The Hunger Games, plus I saw on the Kindle lending library that I could download it free, I decided to scan the first few pages and see what the fuss was about, then move on.

After The Hunger Games, I did move on: to Catching Fire and Mockinjay, second and third in the series, which I finished yesterday. I zoomed through all three. This is no formal review or analysis, only one reader’s experience that these books were the most fun I’ve had reading in quite some time.

I’ve never watched a television so-called reality show, not so much out of intellectual snobbery, but because voyeurism in general gives me the creeps and the idea of people watching TV as a simulacrum of life in particular makes my skin crawl. So when Collins’ stretches the idea of nationally televised “to the death” games using children from the districts of her created world to keep the populace in line, it is particularly horrible and it resonates. I enjoyed following the hero’s journey of Katniss, Peeta, Gayle and the others, and thought the device of having the über bad guy’s breath smell like blood and roses was inspired.

The Hunger Games (Hunger Games, #1)      Catching Fire (Hunger Games, #2)     Mockingjay (Hunger Games, #3)

Nathan Rich’s New Series on 20th Century Novels by American Authors at The Daily Beast

I check out The Daily Beast mostly for political and national news commentary, but until recently I hadn’t paid any attention to the fact that they write about books. There’s a clickable tab at the top of their main page, or you can just click here to take a look. They’ve recently  announced that author Nathan Rich (The Mayor’s Tongue) is writing a monthly series there called American Dreams: The 20th Century in Novels.

This monthly series will chronicle the history of the American century as seen through the eyes of its novelists. The goal is to create a literary anatomy of the last century—or, to be precise, from 1900 to 2012. In each column I’ll write about a single novel and the year it was published. The novel may not be the best-selling book of the year, the most praised, or the most highly awarded—though awards do have a way of fixing an age’s conventional wisdom in aspic. The idea is to choose a novel that, looking back from a safe distance, seems most accurately, and eloquently, to speak for the time in which it was written. Other than that there are few rules. I won’t pick any stinkers. — Nathan Rich

Sounds like fun. I’ll be reading.

By the way, the first book Rich will be writing about is Brewster’s Millions, written in 1903 by George Barr McCutchen. I just added it to my reading queue.