After much hype and fanfare, or at the very least, excitement in the comment threads, Book Club weekend is upon us. Do you have your dog-eared, notated copy of Hunger Games already open, with topics you desperately need to raise? Are you eagerly awaiting next weekend’s big movie opening? Are you one of those Katniss backers tearing through Middlemarch Madness? Whoever you are, we want to hear your thoughts on The Hunger Games.
The book club is specifically for the first book in the series, but I know many of us have finished the trilogy already. PLEASE put any discussion of the next two titles behind generous spoiler warnings.
The thread will be open all weekend, so feel free to talk as much as you want. (But maybe keep the book club out of the open thread, for people who aren’t interested.)
Last week, I posted a list of questions from around the interweb and the space between my own ears to serve as conversation starters. Feel free to respond to any or all of the following:
“Incidentally, do you find the contrast between sex and violence in the series as ludicrous as I do? Like Twilight, its in every way inferior cousin, The Hunger Games delights in the chastity of its heroine. Katniss, the most physical of creatures, will kill for Peeta and Gale, will trap squirrels for them, will take Romeo and Juliet suicide pills with them, but, please, no touching below the neck. Why?” (Slate)
“First, the Hunger Games, like Harry Potter, His Dark Materials, and Twilight, is a series written for young readers but heavily colonized by adults. Why do these books in particular grip adults?” (Slate)
“When you were reading the book, which was the most tension-filled part of the whole story?” (Dystopianworld)
“When Peeta declares his love for Katniss in the interview, does he really mean it or did Haymitch create the ‘star-crossed lovers’ story? What does Haymitch mean when he says, “˜It’s all a big show. It’s all how you’re perceived.’ Why do they need to impress sponsors and what are those sponsors looking for when they are watching the Games?” (Readinggroupguides)
“What do you think is the cruelest part of the Hunger Games? What kind of people would devise this spectacle for the entertainment of their populace? Can you see parallels between these Games and the society that condones them, and other related events and cultures in the history of the world?” (Readinggroupguides)
“In 1848, Karl Marx wrote in The Communist Manifesto, “˜The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles.’ Discuss this statement as it applies to the society and government of Panem. Do you believe there is any chance to eradicate class struggles in the future?” (Readinggroupguides)
“Violence as entertainment plays a large part in The Hunger Games, and the novel itself is both violent and entertaining. What shocked you most about the book? What important points do you think the author makes about violence and its effects on society? Violence in the media? Violence and children?” (Cincinnati library)
Feel free to explain why The Hunger Games is not a rip-off of Battle Royale which itself is not a rip of The Running Man which is not a rip-off of Lord of the Flies.
Who would you have cast in the movie version instead?
Peeta or Gale?
Finally, last June, The Wall Street Journal posted an essay called “Darkness Too Visible“ lamenting the dark themes in some young adult fiction. In part it asserted: “How dark is contemporary fiction for teens? Darker than when you were a child, my dear: So dark that kidnapping and pederasty and incest and brutal beatings are now just part of the run of things in novels directed, broadly speaking, at children from the ages of 12 to 18.” Do you think her claim is true? Is YA fiction too dark? Why is a book like The Hunger Games popular now, with teens and adults?
- The first book in the series was published on September 14, 2008 and was author Suzanne Collin’s eighthnovel.
- The Hunger Games has spent more that 180 consecutive weeks on the New York Time’s best seller list.
- Thanks to the trilogy, Collins is one of a handful of authors to have sold more than a million books for the Kindle.
- As of 2011, The Hunger Games is the fifth most challenged book on the ALA’s Banned Books list. It is frequently banned or challenged on grounds that it is “sexually explicit, violence, unsuited to age group”.