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August 10, 2016


Every month, TAB editor Kristin will be sharing her thoughts on five titles from our… Read More

June 1, 2016

Read Along: The Hunger Games, Part 1: The Tributes

Before I started to read The Hunger Games, I decided to list what I thought I knew about the book. I knew it was set in a not-so-distant future North America and that the continent had been divided into districts, each with a special export or skill set. I felt pretty confident that the Hunger Games were an annual televised event where young people were selected by lottery to represent their district and fight for survival. I knew that Katniss Everdeen was from District 12, was skilled with a bow and arrow, and that she volunteered for the Hunger Games in place of her sister. Based on all the posters I’ve seen around our offices, I also knew there were love interests for Katniss: Peeta and Gale. And that one of the guys had something to do with bread.

I also knew for certain that the line “May the odds be ever in your favor” was uttered—though I wasn’t sure if it was a genuine benediction or one laced with malice.

Last weekend I armed myself with a notebook, a pen, and some sticky notes and opened the cover of the book. (And hey, what’s with the bird-circle-pin thing, anyway?) Within the first few pages, I was fully on board with this vision of our future. I wasn’t happy about it and sincerely hope we don’t end up somewhere like this, but I could see it happening. Of course the affluent would be able to provide training for their young people. It made sense that the poor would need to put their own lives at greater risk in a bid for day-to-day survival. I could see that we might need to become more dependent on our local natural resources. As a nation, we already love reality television—and it often seems that the more harsh and unforgiving the premise the better the show does—so taking the leap to a more brutal contest doesn’t feel too far-fetched.

When I started Part 1, I was a little worried I wouldn’t like Katniss. I find it hard to stick with a book where I don’t connect with the protagonist. But by the time I learned about the sacrifices she’d made and the risks she’d taken after her father’s death, I was in. I’ve always been a fan of man (or woman) vs. nature survival stories (Island of the Blue Dolphins is one of my favorite books) and I’m hopeful there will be plenty of that kind of adventure to come.

Some questions I’m thinking about as I continue reading: Since Katniss has always taken care of others, will she share any of her survival skills with the other tributes? Can the ranking of tributes change as they play the game? What kind of gifts can be bestowed by sponsors—only material objects or information as well? And just what will happen as a result of Peeta’s confession of love?
If you have any questions or reactions you’d like to share, please post them here, on our Facebook page, or on Twitter with the hash tag #HungerGamesReadAlong. I’ll be sharing my thoughts about Part 2: The Games (pages 133–244 in the paperback edition) next week!

Note: Because of sophisticated content, The Hunger Games is recommended for readers aged 12 and up.

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July 17, 2013