I’m late to the Games, but consumed with Hunger. Holy mama, those Hunger Games books are smokin’ page turners!
But first the backstory on why I’m so late to the Games.
My sister is a literary-type reader. She’s been a tough beta-reader for my Lei Crime Series but she’s hung in there with Lei through car chases, house fires, bar fights, human bites, cult rituals and kidnappings—always being clear this isn’t her genre. Her critique is so good I make her suffer through my drafts. It’s been a bit of work for both of us, but it’s been worth it.
Last week she called me, super excited about a book (which doesn’t happen often.) “Toby, you HAVE to read the Hunger Games! It reminds me so much of your writing—fast paced, suspenseful and without any extra words!” (Gee—this is sounding like a compliment. I perk up visibly. I’ll do anything for one of her compliments.) “You could write this kind of book without even breaking a sweat!”
And now to why I haven’t read Suzanne Collins’ epic trilogy, or even seen the movie. If it’s trendy, I’m not interested.
Shades of Grey? Nope, not reading (especially for 9.99! The nerve!)
The Help? Nope.
Game of Thrones? Nope.
In fact, if people are buzzing about it, I’m not interested. I have the same attitude toward celebrities. I’m rebellious that way. I want to be hard to get, an original. It must be left over from growing up hippie.
So I hedged. “Isn’t it YA?”
“Yeah, but I’m telling you, pare a few details off the violence level in your books and they could be cousins. Seriously.”
I’m intrigued by her enthusiasm. She dropped off her dog-eared copy of Hunger Games and reported she was buying the next one. The book sat on my dining room table like an accusation—I was about to cave and read what was POPULAR, and YA too. Ewgh. Almost as bad as picking up a Harry Potter or a Twilight book, which I won’t/haven’t read either.
(Oh, and once again I was reminded why I like a hard copy of a book. It’s awesome to pass on a book, with its docked corners and underlines, with the sand between the pages that shows where it’s been.)
TV was bad enough last night that I went to bed at 9:00 p.m. with the Hunger Games and a lingering attitude that lasted two whole pages.
At 1:00 a.m, with a racing heart and tear tracks on my face (I wish I were kidding, but that scene where she replaces her sister— OMG!) finally had to stop reading because I didn’t want it to be over with too quickly. I lay in bed thinking about what my sister said, wondering what it would be like to write a suspenseful fantasy instead of the police procedurals I’d thus far been churning out.
I eventually fell asleep, and I dreamed up Games. (This is why I have to stay away from Stephen King’s writing. It scares me all the way to my dreams. Also, he’s unforgiveably popular)
There an elaborate plot in my dream, with multiple contestants. I eventually woke myself up, disturbed by decapitating a fellow contestant, a scantily-clad woman in a bikini, with a shovel.
Which had made perfect sense at the time.
I do some dream analysis in my practice, and in Jungian dreamwork, all the characters in a dream are aspects of self. I’ve always also believed that the most powerful stories pre-exist in the collective unconscious of humanity, and they are unearthed and revealed rather than invented, by a writer who taps into that theme.
Decapitation with a shovel? What’s the message there, from Terminator me to (scantily clad) me?
Don’t dig too deep, don’t think too hard. Just do what needs doing. (I like the touch of literalness there, it tickles my funnybone. My brain, she works like that pretty often)
The Hunger Games stories are tapping into something universal for our current culture with its apocalyptic zombie fears, bloodthirsty appetites, and dog-eat-dog interpretation of right and wrong. A televised survival game to the death isn’t that far removed in our collective imagination from all those Tribal Councils on remote atolls with Jeff Probst “tallying the votes” and snuffing torches.
So while watering my garden, going surfing with my husband, eating breakfast out…all I can think about is getting back to that book. When I’m this energized, a new direction is stirring—and it could well involve bikinis and shovels.
Haha…I’m so like you, resisting the trendy as much as possible. I didn’t read Harry Potter until after the first movie came out (and I have always had a thing for the witch/wizard or Wiccan thing). I read Twilight (and under duress) after the fourth had been published and the movies were about to come out. I won’t read 50 Shades (more because I want to distance as much as I can from Twilight), and I haven’t read the Hunger Games yet, either. I have the sample for Game of Thrones because I wanted to read it before watching the show (something I can do with hubby), but I haven’t gotten around to it.
There’s something about jumping on the bandwagon that I don’t really like. I can’t explain it any other way, because I don’t have any tangible reason to avoid these books. Sigh.
(Oh, and I dream about books/movies/etc. too, so Stephen King or any horror writer/movie is off my list. Stupid Christine. I was freaked out about cars for weeks!)
Yeah, I had the misfortune to read The Stand, which I actually think is his best work according to critics–but I’m afraid to try any more. It’s haunted me for years.
LOL! I’m the same way – and the only way I could justify Harry Potter is that I was in love with the first book WAY before anyone had HEARD of it. By the time it was insanely popular, I was too hooked to stop reading the series – and I even did the unforgiveably fangirl thing of pre-ordering books from Amazon to be delivered on release day. And I’d read through them in about 8 hours flat – usually without stopping to eat or even go to the bathroom (yay for the random ADD side ability of being able to hyperfocus when really hooked…). I may have to break down and read the Hunger Games despite the current popularity, I’ve heard way too many amazing things from the people whose taste I trust…
I often think I should get past this…whateveritis about popular stuff so I at least know what everyone is talking about! But I remain, for the most part, too stubborn. Thanks for sharing, Shalora!
Your excitement shows! Are we going to see a new shade of Toby Neal?
I think so. I’m thinking, sort of a psychological Lord of the Flies meets Survivor thing. . . We’ll see!
Toby, I’m a lot like you too. I just like to find books my own way. But if a friend like you tells me it’s good and can’t wait to get back to it, I believe it and I’m interested. Not into wizards, sci-fi, horror, but I do love suspense!
I think you’ll enjoy this one, Marilyn! 🙂
Oh crud. I guess I’m going to have to read it.
Get a used copy! There are enough around!
I’m grinning ear-to-ear here as I read your “nope, nope, nope” list. That’s me to a Tee. I hate “trendy” too. I’ve not read these books or seen the movies. We don’t even watch those so called “reality” shows. Life has quite enough reality for us, thank-you. — and we don’t have cable TV (or ANY TV for that matter) at our house.
I have read discussions of Throne and Games. Throne does not interest me at all, especially not the over sexualized TV version. But the Hunger Games book… that has been more tempting. I think you just pushed me off the fence, Thanks Toby.
The first one, at least, is a riveting read. I’ve heard mixed stuff about the sequels.
Bought it for my Kindle, but need a decent sized chunk of time available before I “crack the cover”. Maybe this weekend.
Ooh, so excited to see if you liked it as much as I did! Only complaint: it was over too soon, and the ending left me hanging… A clever device!
Oh, dear. I’m the same as you about what turns me on (not). I might succumb to Hunger Games. But you might be interested in this opinion of the sequels from Brian Talgo http://beauregardeaffair.wordpress.com/2012/06/07/the-hunger-painspublisher-games/
So appreciate this link, Greta, thanks!
I have always been a reader, and I totally immerse myself in the books that I read. If it’s raining outside in a book that I’m reading, it doesn’t matter what is happening in reality, it’s raining outside. I’m also very eclectic in my reading, but like you, I usually tend to avoid the in vogue or trendy.
My sisters daughter-in-law recommended the Hunger Games to her, and she in turn recommended them to me – several times, in fact. One day while we were on the phone and she was again urging me to read them, I pulled up the listing on Amazon and purchased the 3 book set and downloaded it to my Kindle.
I finished the book that I was currently reading, and read a couple more besides before finally starting in on the games. I completed all three in less than three days. They are definitely page turners – fast paced, action packed adventures. You just can’t help being drawn in.
Yes, and they’ve inspired my new survival novel! I can’t stop writing it!! So exciting~!
Can’t wait to read it!
I’m already hooked on the Lei Crime series and can’t wait to dig into the next edition of the trials and tribulations of Lei Texeira.
Awesome! I hope to have Black Jasmine out in October.
Fantastic! I’ll mark it on my calendar to keep an eye out for it.