September Book Club: Hunger Games Preview

The Hunger Games trilogy is one of the most read series in the last two years.  It’s been on the New York Times bestselling list over 100 straight weeks.  While written primarily for young adults, it quickly grew beyond any specific category and has grown into a true global phenomenon.  The books has become so influential that a growing number of universities, including my own alma mater, are requiring incoming freshman to read it as part of their Common Reading Programs.  In 2010, Suzanne Collins was named by Times as one of the 100 most influential people in the world.

Don’t be fooled by all of the academic accomplishments or lame love scenes.  This book revolved around good old fashioned killing.  Killings that revolve around acid rain, mutant wolves, and killer bees.

The Hunger Games focuses on Katniss Everdeen, a 16-year-old girl living in a Post Apocalyptic world in a country called Panem located where the North American continent used to be.  Panem is separated into districts controlled by the ruthless government called The Capitol.  The Capitol maintains control of the poverty-stricken districts through the yearly Hunger Games.  In these “games,” they take two candidates from each district and force them to fight to the death in an enclosed, environmentally-controlled arena.  They turn this into an intricate reality tv show which they require every citizen to watch in order to keep them submissive and fearful of the government’s power.  Katniss is from the district that never wins (which means those chosen are most likely going to die), and when her little sister is randomly selected, Katniss volunteers to go in her place and uses the games (reluctantly) to inspire the nation.

The reason this series is so popular is that they’re great, fast reading books with heart-pounding action.  The reason that they’ve transcended age, gender and other reader types is their allegorical take on society.  The books have been described as a modern version of “Brave New World”.  While dystopian novels that raise questions about society are nothing new, The Hunger Games trilogy manages to bring the genre back to life.

Why its included:

  • It fits with our desire to maintain our focus on books that are relevant to society.
  • Collins has stated that it was party inspired by the story of Theseus and the Minotaur (minotaurs rule!).
  • It’s the quickest page-turner of this decade.
  • It’s proof that a woman author with a female lead can still kick ass.
  • It’s required reading, influential, manly and just plain good.
  • Did I mention all of the killing?

Have fun with the Trilogy.  Join the conversation in the comment section below, the #iUMBC hash tag on twitter, or on our iUMBC page on Facebook.

About zach

Staring out across the hazy mountain range on his latest summitting of Mt. Kilimanjaro, Zach saw with a clearness he had not yet seen. "People should tremble at the very sound of my name", he thought. And it was so. "I should master the manly arts of the world, such as barehanded hunting and blacksmithing". And it was so. "People should call me Z$". And it was so.

Currently Reading

-The Great Gatsby by F Scott Fitzgerald
-The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
-Twitter for Good by Claire Diaz Ortiz


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