Wednesday, May 6, 2009

I'm sort of afraid to read Catching Fire.

A big hooray for The Battle of the Books going to The Hunger Games. It was so close to being a no-brainer that I was afraid it might not happen. I was interested to see that Lois Lowry actually read all sixteen books, and that her favorite was Tender Morsels. But for a really good explanation of what's so great about The Hunger Games, read the response from Octavian Nothing author MT Anderson.

I'm still going to read the second Octavian Nothing. It's right here on my bed. Really. I even took the precaution of putting the SASS book I'm also reading out of reach so I'd read Octavian Nothing before I fell asleep. Sometimes I wonder--would I struggle so much with getting around to Octavian Nothing if I hadn't been told what a struggle it was? Or would I have given up long ago? I'll be honest; I don't like to work very hard for my reading material. The first Octavian Nothing wasn't much of a struggle once I got into it, and I was even looking forward to reading the second... until I picked it up from the library and saw that it's even more massive.

My one suggestion for the Battle of the Books organizers: compress things a little next year. I guess it's necessary to have a certain amount of time available for the authors to read the books and write their decisions, but... the first week was almost too exciting, the second week was great, and after that it sort of petered out; I don't think I'm the only one, judging by blog responses. I do think it was absolutely necessary that the 16 books be books many of us were familiar with already--it wouldn't be nearly as interesting if half of them were good unknowns.

But The Hunger Games won, for the same reasons I've recommended it to pretty much everyone I know, except for a couple who are really, really squeamish. And my friend Kathryn, an astute reader, voiced something I hadn't dared think about. Is Catching Fire really going to measure up? Could it possibly? And what will that do to my enjoyment of The Hunger Games? Many people have commented that The Hunger Games isn't the sort of thing I usually read (I'm not into violence or, in a way, fantasy--although there aren't any dragons, so it's not really a problem for me), and I'm afraid that Catching Fire could go right ahead and be Not My Thing. What I remember loving about The Hunger Games was the reality TV parallel and the general Girl Scoutiness of the whole thing. Will those be relevant to Catching Fire?

One of my very favorite books is sort of a fantasy novel, and although I love everything about it and you couldn't say I love it "in spite of" the fantasy, it comes pretty close. I love it so much that I was sure I would love the author's other books--but they turned out to have all of the fantasy and little of what I loved, and I wish I hadn't tried to read them.

Or it's kind of like how I loved the first season of Friday Night Lights, so I thought I would read the book. Then I discovered the book was actually about football. (I still haven't finished it.)

Catching Fire, just what sort of book ARE you?

1 comment:

Rhiannon Hart said...

Well, that's the big question! I've been racking my brains as to which direction Catching Fire is going to go, but I can't come up with anything. Given the unresolveds at the end I reckon it'll pretty much pick up in the same week/month that HG ended, rather than a "one year later" sort of sequel. Or will it?? Perhaps we will we see the next Hunger Games! But all I know for sure is I haven't been this agog over a sequel in a very very long time. (When I stated HG I didn't even know it was a series til I got to the last page. And then I had a hissy fit!)