Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Hunger more, read more

Who isn't into The Hunger Games?
I started reading The Hunger Games Trilogy this week. And, yes, I intend to read all three books.

I was drawn in from page one – or, rather, from the first Kindle screen. The writing is much better than I expected, especially comparing it with another popular series I can’t believe I read: Twilight.

I don’t often read Young Adult fiction. I can barely find time to read any fiction. In the case of Twilight, I plead vacation curiosity. 

Knowing nothing about Twilight in 2008, I found myself in the teeny town of Forks, Washington, where all the action begins in the book. The B&B there was decorated with birthday signs for Bella Swan, signed by Edward Cullen. I was clueless; and the owner was incredulous of my ignorance. So once I was home, I went to the library and started to read. I kept this up through four long tomes just to see how things would turn out, even while putting up with the annoying Bella and all her whining.

By comparison, the start of The Hunger Games has been a delight to read. I’m almost hesitant to go any further, fearful that the writing won’t hold up. I’ve already been told that Book One is the best of the three.

I found the same to be true of the Millennium series. The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo was the best of the bunch, especially on the large screen of the Swedish movie version. But no matter which book of the series you’re talking about, this is certainly no tale for young adults.

When I was younger, fiction series were much more fictional, at least the ones I read: The Clan of the Cave Bear (or, as it’s affectionately known at my house, The Cave of the Clam Strips), The Lord of the Rings, and going way back in the time machine, Nancy Drew Mystery Stories.

Sequels, prequels, trilogies, series. The formula seems simple: create compelling characters and stories, write engaging narrative, publish and repeat. Getting kids to read is a wonderful thing. Creating lifelong devotees of fiction? Priceless.

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