Monday, January 23, 2012

The Rest of the True Story

It’s ten P.M.   My favorite Thursday night drama is over.  I replace the broad illumination of my television with the more personal glow of my iPad.  I settle in for a few stolen, late-night hours of reading.  I open the Kindle app on my iPad and “turn” to the first page of my newly downloaded copy of The Hunger Games. 

I am immediately introduced to the main character, Katniss Everdeen.  Katniss describes her family and their life in District 12.  District 12 is the section of Panem (formerly the U.S.) where the main occupation is coal mining.  General poverty and mass hunger plague nearly all of the districts that make up the nation.  The Capital is the exception to this rule.  This is the governing sector of the country where all of the political heads and famous people live an extravagant life with no concern for the problems of the “lesser” districts.  On this morning that I meet Katniss and her family, the life that she has always known will be obliterated.  This is the morning of The Reaping.  Two young adults from each of the districts (one boy and one girl), including District 12, will be selected at random to participate in the Hunger Games.  

The Hunger Games are an annual event in which the selected “tributes” from each district are forced into an “arena”.   The Games are not over until only one tribute remains alive to be declared the Victor.  The Capitol claims the purpose of the Games to be a celebration of the end of the civil war that essentially changed the U.S. into Panem.  Truly, the Games are a terrible reminder of the unjust power that the Capitol wields over the nation.  The Reaping is, understandably, a dreaded and feared event each year. 

As the first chapter unfolds, I am delighted to meet Prim, Katniss’ younger sister.  Prim is a quiet, gentle, sweet, innocent girl.  At only 12 years old, she has only had to enter her name into the drawing for the Hunger Games once.  Katniss usually enters her own name each year in exchange for oil and grain to feed her family.  This horrible form of sickening control is only one of the ways the Capitol manipulates the people of the nation.  Starve the masses, and then force them to “volunteer” for the annual Games in exchange for food that they could not survive without. 

Neither Katniss or Prim have their names in the drawing enough times to cause true concern.  Some people have been trading their names each year for food for ages.  Even still, the day of the Reaping is frightening.  Everyone knows that someone’s name will be called.  Someone they know.  There will be two people unwillingly taken from their families to fight for their lives as the nation is forced to watch it all on television as if it were American Idol.  Schools are closed, businesses shut down for the “celebration day”.  Katniss and her family join the rest of District 12 in the square for the Reaping.

As I approach the end of Chapter One, I find myself already becoming fond of Katniss and her family.  I am sharing in her fear and anticipation of hearing the tributes names called.  My heartbeat quickens as I know we are approaching that moment.  

The square is crowded.  Everyone is required to be there for the Reaping.  The energy shifts into a tense vibration as Master of Ceremonies draws the slip of paper from the tumbler of girl names.  Katniss calculates how many times her own name has been entered.  She hopes and hopes that it’s not her name that is called.  Numb with fear, unable to hear anything but the static from the microphone that sits waiting to broadcast the verdict, she can barely breathe.  I am holding my breath with her.  The name is read.  It’s not Katniss!  I let out a puff of relieved air from my own lungs as I read those words, “It’s not me.”  But my joy lasts only a second.  The name that is called out is Primrose Everdeen.

If you’re like me, and prefer to read the book before you watch the movie, I highly recommend The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins.  This book kept me glued to iPad from the edge of my seat for days!  I found myself arriving to my appointments early on purpose just so I could whip out my iPad and read more.   The movie made from this book will hit theaters March 23, 2012.  For a preview, click on this link: 

Downloading this book would be a great way to get familiar with your new eReader!   If you are interested, don’t hesitate to drop by Haltom City Public Library to get help with downloading, or to check out a print copy of this book.  I would love to see you!!  Don’t forget that you can always call to get help over the phone with your downloads.

****NOTE:  You guys know how I love books in a series!!  More great news about this book is that it is first in a trilogy.  The second (Catching Fire) and third (Mockingjay) books have already been published, so when the end of The Hunger Games leaves you wanting more, you can immediately quench that desire!  I also recommend that you visit Suzanne Collins’ website for more information on the novels.

Until Next Time,

Your LibraryBlogMaven

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