I came late to The Hunger Games frenzy. I'd heard about it a bit from colleagues, read a few references online in random contexts and wrongly assumed that it was something that I just missed in school, like how I've never read Lord of Flies (I'm sorry! My class skipped that in favor of several selections from Oprah's book club.) When two of my colleagues with whom I shared an office were reading it and anxiously trying to out read each other while also discussing the upcoming film I knew it was time to get on the bandwagon. I then realized the trilogy was written very recently, is not yet taught in schools, and extremely addicting.
I decided to grab the audiobooks from the library and I listened to them constantly. I was hooked instantly. Not only did I take them with me to the gym, but I listened to them on my commute, when I was alone at the office and while making dinner! I think audiobooks provide a very different experience than reading, which I've written about before. I've read a bit about how other readers react to The Hunger Games and what is universally true is that they felt the urge to read it all quickly to find out WHAT. HAPPENS. NEXT. It's a weird premise to explain, not unlike the Harry Potter books. Also not unlike the Harry Potter books, these are consumed quickly. But taking a step back, The Hunger Games trilogy deals with some very fascinating issues such as governmental control, race, a caste system, independence, and power to name a few. There's a love story thrown in, but I didn't think it mattered much. Sure, the film adaptations could focus heavily on the love triangle, but as this fellow points out, that's not what makes the books SO COMPELLING to read. The author, Suzanne Collins, explained that part of her inspiration came from footage of war coverage juxtaposed with reality tv when she flipped through the channels on her television.
Here's what I like about both The Hunger Games and the Harry Potter books, not that I necessarily think about them together, is that they can be enjoyed as a fast-moving story, full of suspense and extraordinary situations, while at the same time exploring interesting topics on a deeper level. I really respect that in a novel. As someone who works long hours, I really appreciate books that grab my interest instantly and that's what The Hunger Games did. Tana French's books do that too.
What about the upcoming film adaptation? I'll probably go see it with the aforementioned colleagues who've also read the books. Why not? I don't revere the books the way I have with other novels, so there is no harm. I think because I listened to them all in quick succession I didn't visualize the stories fully or get caught up in specific characters. I was just focusing on hearing the story while walking home from work. It's almost like when I watch the Twilight movies, except I didn't read those books because they sound horrible. I like being a part of some cultural phenomenons around me. Except for the tomfoolery around the Titanic film over ten years ago, but that's a story for another day.