November 21, 2018

'The Hunger Games' tragedy


After months waiting for an available copy of “The Hunger Games” to become available from the library, last week I finally got the notice that it was waiting to be picked up.

This might not seem like a significant event to some people. But after waiting since before the book’s March movie premiere to get my hands on this story, I was excited.

The whole drawn-out process started because I avoided reading the book back when it was new, before it was optioned to become a movie sensation (i.e., when it would have been easy to get ahold of at the library). And when I finally did get interested enough in the story to want to read it, I still wasn’t willing to buy my own copy.

Enter the library’s hold request service, where because of the upcoming movie premiere, I started at number 260-something on the list.

During the three months I spent tapping my foot as I checked my hold status, I thought more than once that it would be much, much easier to buy the stupid thing on my Nook, download it, and read it right then. But I’m cheap when it comes to young adult books, especially if I’m not sure a story is going to appeal to me.

In my world, books are a big deal. But I’ve had some bad experiences with teen fiction (cough, “Twilight,” cough).

Here’s my dilemma: I love books, but I have pretty high standards and a limited amount of money. I’m probably more willing than most people to plunk down my dime to read an interesting book, but I don’t want to pay for something that’s more likely to contain emotional angst than plot.

More than a year ago, “The Hunger Games” was brought to my attention for the first time. My mother, a high school science teacher, mentioned that quite a few of the students in her classes were huge fans, and asked me if I’d read it. I hadn’t even heard of it.

Unlike “Twilight,” which made a big enough splash that I was at least aware it was swimming around in the library circulation pond, “The Hunger Games” slipped right under my radar. But although general story sounded promising, I shrugged off any temptation I might have felt to read it.

The “Twilight” wound was still raw.

So I rolled my eyes at the thought of another gushy teen romance disguised as something interesting, and I promptly dismissed the book, decidedly uninterested.

But “The Hunger Games” refused to go away.

I managed to avoid it until the movie previews came out, and my brother said they looked pretty good. Even then I was able to maintain my indifference until ***he started reading it.

That caught my interest, because he doesn’t read many books. And when he said he enjoyed it, I gritted my teeth, logged in to the library website, and placed the hold.

And three months later, last Wednesday night, I got home from work, ate dinner, walked around the yard with the dogs for a bit, then settled in for some reading.

And although I’m not going to say it was great, the writing wasn’t terrible and I enjoyed the story — but after I closed the back cover and set it aside, I had to go bang my head against the wall.

Because somehow, although I knew “The Hunger Games” was just the first book in a series, putting a hold on the second one ahead of time totally slipped my mind. And now I have to go to the library website, look up the second book in the series, grit my teeth, and wait another three months.

It’s a trilogy, apparently. And after the success of the first movie, I’m sure Hollywood is chomping at the bit to roll the next two films into theaters across the world.

Maybe by this time next year, I’ll be finishing the last book.



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