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January 8, 2012 / windlessly

The Hunger Games (Suppressing Reality)

We’ve all suppressed reality before, one way or another- a gripping movie, a book you can’t put down, a musical that moves you to tears, a TV show that pulls you in. You lose sight of reality for a moment, even if just for an instant, that makes you doubt the world you’re in. It’s a strange feeling, emerging from that sort of experience: shaken, unnerved, restless. You see the real world slightly differently as you come back into it, hesitantly easing back into your daily routine. Missing the world you were enveloped in but having conflicting views about the one you’re in. It really makes you think. And wonder. And live.

The reason I’m writing this is I just finished reading The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, the first book in a trilogy that is a real mixture of genres. It came on very high recommendation from my friends and I am glad to pass that on. It’s a superb book takes place in a post-apocalyptic world, so there’s a degree of sci-fi in it, but the main character is situated in a poor, starving distract that retains village atmosphere with miners, hunters, butchers, bakers, and the sort. As the title may hint at, there is an incredible amount of action, adventure, and suspense, as well as a lot of other elements, but I refuse to give anything away because it would take away slightly from the experience. I have to admit that I haven’t been able to pick up many books for pleasure-reading since high school and all the required readings for English, but The Hunger Games was completely and utterly worth it. It reads in a very young-adult style, but that’s what I love most so I’m ranking it way up there with Ender’s Game (more sci-fi) and Eragon (more fantasy) and the Pendragon Series (more questy).

Even the posters for The Hunger Games are awesome…

Go read! Enjoying Suzanne Collins’ genius and brilliant craft has made me miss the days I read fantasy and young adult books like crazy. And it’s such a different experience from a good movie, though I’ll never pass  up the likes of Inception and Sherlock Holmes. People who read epic series like Harry Potter or The Lord of the Rings in novel form first in addition to watching movies can attest to the differences in feel and emotion that books and film adaptations bring. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 blew me away in a completely different way than it did when the book released in the summer of 2007. One experience was spent sitting on my bed, eyes riveted to the pages, ignoring my mom’s call to go to sleep, constantly checking the pages to see how many were left, totally captivated by the story and wishing I could go to school in Hogwarts, while amazed by J.K. Rowling but still mad at her for killing off my favorite characters. The other was spent at the theater, with friends (some crying), trying hard not to tear up myself, trying hard not not to tear up because it was the last film, wondering if the end really meant the end of my childhood, laughing at the ridiculousness of Voldemort hugging Malfoy, still mad at J.K. Rowling for having Dumbledore and Snape and Fred die but having forgiven her slightly as I’ve gotten older and understood the need for loss.

So yeah, I literally finished reading The Hunger Games about an hour ago and I’ve only slightly gotten over the stupor of its incredibleness (though it’s more than a pleasant read, there are still some feelings deep down that I can’t exactly place). It’s unsettling how fast reality sucks you back in though. I still have homework to do, parents to deal with, responsibilities to accomplish. It was such a nice read and break from all that. I don’t think anyone can live without entertainment and the thrill of stopping to invest time and energy and emotion into a good book or a good movie. It sticks with you. And the best part for me right now, is that I still have the second and third books to look forward to, to live with the characters and pretend I’m in their world. That’s one advantage books still have over films- the duration and pace of the plot is entirely up to you. But I still love the moment when you finish a book and it’s concluded, even if it is the first book in a trilogy. A sense completion, a sigh of relief, the feeling you get after just finishing a delicious meal AND an ice cream sundae. My emotions were being played by Suzanne Collins, as I knew they were, especially in the end. My heart was still thumping and my mind was in a whirl. There were elements of the book that I hung on to, other elements that I marveled at, some that made me inexplicably sad, some that made me enamored, others that made me question the world. In short, it was a good novel. I really, really hope the movie (to be released March 23rd) lives up to the book. The trailer below also has phenomenal music, which is a promising start.

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