Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The Hunger Games Trilogy, Suzanne Collins

I would have to rate these books as some of my top all time favorites. Not that the story is as pleasant one, but that it is the story of an oppressive government and the life of the people under it. Their reality. It gives a message of warning for us. Do NOT under ANY circumstance give away our freedom. Do NOT let the government lead us carefully down the path of oppressiveness under the guise of philanthropy. Because once freedom is lost, not only is it incredibly hard to take back-for it has to be taken-a human, once in control, does not like to give it back-but taking that freedom back only comes at an incredibly high cost. A high unpleasant cost. You will laugh, you will cry, you will live in suspense, you will be sickened by what corrupt authority can do without seeming to have remorse. These are extremely well written, around 300+ pages each. I read each book in a weeks' time. You can blast through them in a day if you have no other obligations; but I read a review in which the author related reading a book very quickly to being in a hot dog eating contest and posing the question something to the effect of "Do I really want to be the literary equivalent of a food eating contest?" So I deliberately took as much time as I could muster (a week) on Mockingjay to digest it.

The characters are loveable, relate-able and I became emotionally involved from page one. The personal, political, and other subplots give a LOT to think about. I am not one to re-read books; I have a hard time because my brain says "I've read this before" and starts skimming instead of reading, so I usually don't re-read anything for a very long time. However, I read these last fall right after the last one came out (there is a DEFINITE plus not learning about a series or trilogy/collection until the last one is about to be published! No waiting!), and by Christmas time I was ready to read them again. I haven't had that chance yet, but my head is STILL reeling with all the things there are to think about. I STILL get teary-eyed about some parts when I think about it. Many people did not like the ending to Mockingjay, but I did. Whether or not I personally liked every detail is debatable even to me, but I understood why things ended the way they did. And to me, that created a sense of finality that would let me sleep again at night. My husband listened to the audio version from the library and he didn't like the ending as well as I did until I explained how I saw things. So I guess I just view things in a very different light. "Happily Ever After" isn't the only ending, and it doesn't necessarily always paint the same picture. Compared to Orwell's 1984, I was SO depressed at the ending of that book!! I was NOT depressed like that at the end of Mockingjay.

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass, Lewis Carroll

An oldie that the Book Club is reading for their meeting in January (skipping December). I read Alice's Adventures in Wonderland before. I can't remember how old I was, maybe middle school? Upper elementary? But I don't think I read Through the Looking Glass, though. I remember thinking that it was such a strange piece of literature, so I was wondering how, as an adult, I'd view it. So far I still think it's a strange piece of literature, and it's definitely not the most "suck you in" narrative. The copy I checked out of the library, and this is funny, is a discarded copy from a DIFFERENT library and has old tiny cursive notes scrawled into the margins. Almost like notes, as if this book had been read for a psychology assignment. In some ways I'm interested to figure out what the notes mean, and in other ways it drives me insane trying to make out the words that sometimes only repeat what was already printed on the page.

But,with it being so strange, almost absurd and silly, brings the question, does literature NEED to have a point?