brothercyst: READING TONIGHT + HUNGER GAMES + WTF

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

READING TONIGHT + HUNGER GAMES + WTF

I forgot! I'm doing a reading tonight at KGB for elimae. I'll be reading for like one minute. It's a marathon reading featuring "Shya Scanlon, Lincoln Michel, Rozalia Jovanovic, Kimberly King Parsons, Justin Taylor, Nicolle Elizabeth, Tao Lin, Nick Antosca, Todd Zuniga, Dennis DiClaudio, John Madera, Timmy Waldron, Forrest Roth, Terese Svoboda, Barry Graham, Dawn Raffel, Sasha Grayboch, Eric Nusbaum, James Yeh, and more."

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I finished reading The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, a YA novel about kids forced to hunt and kill each other in an arena. I was a bit lukewarm, I think, when I mentioned it before, but now that I've finished it, I have to say I'm super-impressed. A part of me wants to temper that praise by saying something like, "The writing on a sentence level was aimed at teenagers," but I realize that's not only a little condescending but not entirely true; what's more true is to say that the voice is that of a teenager, specifically one who hasn't had much in the way of an education. And given the plot, that's how it should be. So my instinct to criticize is inappropriate in that area. I do still take slight issue with how derivative the premise is of Battle Royale, but this is a fully imagined world and only the macro element is stolen from Royale, and if we all acknowledge that the one-line summary of a story isn't what makes that story good, then why should this be a problem?

The NY Times reviewer summed up my feelings:

The concept of the book isn’t particu­larly original — a nearly identical premise is explored in “Battle Royale,” a won­drously gruesome Japanese novel that has been spun off into a popular manga series.

Nor is there anything spectacular about the writing — the words describe the action and little else. But the considerable strength of the novel comes in Collins’s convincingly detailed world-building and her memorably complex and fascinating heroine.


The book has apparently been a bestseller and a huge success. I thought it was pretty gripping and badass and I wanted to read the sequel. Unfortunately I see that an ARC of it is on sale on eBay for ~$100.

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There are five to seven different social groups in my day-to-day, week-to-week life (some of them overlap a little) and it has become clear to me that members of one particular social group have a baffling habit of offering various assistances/assurances unprompted, then not following through. ("Oh, you're in need of X? Actually, it just so happens I have, or know someone who has, the resources to help you out with that. Be sure to email me, and I'll give you all the info/help you out." Email then is met with silence, incompetence, or a reversal.) This is limited to a single social group with common characteristics. After consideration, I feel like background must be a contributing factor. A life of parentally-subsidized leisure leads to sloth, unreliability, and pasty bellyfat.

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I want to go to California. Badly. I'm sitting at my desk drinking some sor tof cheap sparkling wine, contemplating my likely fate. I haven't driven a car in years. I need money.

3 comments:

tinmaninc said...

You are hoping to move to California, or just visit?

I know what you mean about a certain group I belong to, not being able to back up what they say. At first, I simply wrote it off as outside responsibilities. But, finally I became to see that it is simply that I am low on the priorities list, no matter how inconsequential their other priorities are. Back of the line, it seems.

The Man Who Couldn't Blog said...

My girlfriend, a bookseller who spends a lot of time helping out in the YA section these days, thought The Hunger Games was a damn fine book. She's been talking it up nonstop since she read it.

N A said...

Tinman, I want to move to California! One must remove from one's life those influences which inspire unnecessary exasperation or represent obstacles to productivity.

Matthew Simmons, I just saw Paula read as you. Good stuff.