Hungry Like the Games

Unless you’ve been living on the moon, you’ve heard that there was this little movie, The Hunger Games, that opened over the weekend. Having read the book it was based on at break-neck speed when it was first released, I made sure I went to see Katniss’s struggles writ large on the screen as soon as I could pencil it into my hectic schedule of shushing noisy patrons and badgering small children for overdue book fees.

This may or may not have been a good idea. I spent half the film sitting on the edge of my seat with a pounding heart, and the other half trying not to sniffle too loudly at sad plot points. Given that I already knew what was going to happen, and that it disturbed me anyway, it bodes ill for anyone who sees the movie without reading the books; then again, perhaps other people are made of sterner stuff than I (you can tell I am a fragile soul because I routinely use phrases like “writ large,” “bodes ill,” and “made of sterner stuff” in my blog posts).

But, tenderhearted lass that I am, I still love a good literary catharsis; given that the Hunger Games movie earned $155 million in its opening weekend, I’m guessing a lot of other people do, too. If you enjoyed reading and watching Katniss’s struggle to survive in the arenas of Panem, you might appreciate these other works of fiction, which feature young women battling restrictive governments, each in her own particular fashion.

Matched, Ally Condie. The Society decides which career you should have, how long you should live, and even whom you should marry.  So when Cassia is matched for marriage with her best friend, Xander, she’s relieved not to have to worry about her future…that is, until her neighbor Ky’s face shows up on her match disk, too. Is following The Society’s orders everything it’s cracked up to be? Or will Cassia have some hard decisions to make?  If you like this book, proceed immediately to the sequel, Crossed.

Divergent, Veronica Roth. Beatrice lives in a world where society is organized into five clans, each dedicated to a particular virtue.  If you feel you don’t fit in your clan, you can change when you’re sixteen, and Beatrice eagerly jumps at the chance. However, her new clan is a source of challenge, change, intrigue, danger…and, oh yeah, just a hint of government conspiracy-esque social engineering. The sequel is supposedly under contract, so find out now why it’s dangerous to be Divergent.

Delirium, Lauren Oliver. The government has found the cure for falling in love: one shot when you’re eighteen, and you’re guaranteed a tranquil, drama-free life. Lana is looking forward to getting her shot and avoiding the “disease” called amor deliria nervosa…until 95 days before her eighteenth birthday, when she falls in love. More heavily grounded in romance, but no less nightmarish in its ramifications, Delirium and its sequel, Pandemonium, are ideal for readers who liked the “Team Peeta / Team Gale” aspect of The Hunger Games.

Your turn:  did you read / see The Hunger Games?  What have you read since then that reminded you of the series?

Leigh Anne

who is also indulging in some bibliotherapy with Jennifer Brown’s Hate List


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23 responses to “Hungry Like the Games

  1. Cool Futuristic Gener, i didn’t read any of them hope i’ll soon

  2. I read all three books in the Hunger Games trilogy so naturally I HAD to see the movie as well, I actually really enjoyed it, which surprised me. I’ve read all of those that you’ve suggested, they are all equal parts awesome, another good series is the Maze Runner trilogy by James Dashner.

  3. I would just like to note that the moment I saw the subject line of this post I knew who had written it, and that is a good thing. Hell yes, Duran Duran!

  4. Sheila

    Today’s Daily Beast has an article by James Hall “What Makes a Bestseller”
    in which he compares Katniss with Scarlett O’Hara in Gone with the Wind. Or how about Katniss’s namesake Bathsheba Everdene in Thomas Hardy’s Far From the Madding Crowd.

  5. Yes, I’ve read the Hunger Games trilogy and seen the movie-I thought they did a good job with the adaptation. After I read Matched, patrons kept telling me to read the Hunger Games because there are many similarities between the two. I’m glad I finally got around to it-it’s a great series with a lot of depth.

    I would say that The Giver series by Lois Lowry reminds me of the Hunger Games. In both series the main character is desperately fighting for a better world.

  6. I read Ready Player One last fall, and I think its a good readalike for adults who liked the Hunger Games. It is about a futuristic society that plays virtual reality video game, and when the creator dies without any heirs, he leaves a scavenger hunt of sorts to see who gets to win his fortune. Some of the references to early gaming went over my head, but it was a solid and engaging dystopia, even if you’re not into gaming like me, it was really clever and very easy to read.

    Check out my other readalikes for the Hunger Games on my library’s site:

    • We had ourselves a little Ready Player One crush-fest around here last fall, when Wes and I ran all over the library urging everybody on the planet to read it – there’s going to be a movie, too, I hear, which fills me with happiness.

      Thank you for your link, and your comment! It’s always neat to hear from other libraries and library workers!

      Leigh Anne

  7. lectorconstans

    Nothing like a good ol’ dystopian movie to put things right. I’ve been studiously avoiding Hunger Games (partly because of the dystopia, partly because it seems to appeal so strongly to teenagers (why do yo suppose that is)?

    I even saw a news article that said that it’s causing a resurgence of interest in archery…..

    How about a plain old dystopian category – “Soylent Green” and “The Omega Man” for starts? There’s a “1984” from 1956 (Edmund O’Brien, Michael Redgrave), and one made in 1984 (really) (John Hurt, Richard Burton).

    • I like! I think Hunger Games is an interesting entry in a field of literature that includes “The Handmaid’s Tale” and, as pointed out above “The Giver,” and now I wish more than ever that I were teaching again, so I could design the class…including films, of course. Thanks for the suggestions!


      Leigh Anne

  8. Watching children kill other children is not my cup of tea. How can it be anyone’s? What is the point of that?

  9. I contributed to the $155 million, and I know now that watching children kill other children is not my cup of tea. What is the point?

    Sorry to crash the party.

    • No apologies necessary – I think children killing other children is only the topmost symptom of a far more fascinating cultural disease, one Collins explores astonishingly well in the novels…but no book, or movie, is for everybody, no matter how interesting it is to some.

      Thanks for the comment! Maybe you can get your money back?

      Leigh Anne

  10. lectorconstans

    More HG thoughts: Would the story and movie have had any different effect had it been written with adults (25 – 35) in the main roles?

    Why or why not? Compare and contrast.

    “…a far more fascinating cultural disease …”

    That may be the thing. I haven’t seen or read it yet. The more reviews I read, the more I’m inclined to do one or the other.

    But I’d still like to hear your response to the question.

    • And a very good question it is – I don’t want to come right out and say we’re jaded about adults battling other adults, but…for some reason, we seem to pay attention more closely to issues surrounding children. This is a good thing, as our children are so valuable. But it can lead to a sense of complacency about the need to care as much about our felllow adults. JMHO.

      Thanks for always asking the questions that keep me on my toes!

      Leigh Anne

  11. I haven’t read “The Hunger Games” yet, but I aim to, just as soon as I can get ahold of a copy. There are a lot of folks who have already put dibs on those library books! I’m really looking forward to reading them myself.

    Thanks for the list of recommended reads; I think they will really hold my attention until I can get my hands on “The Hunger Games”! ;)

  12. I thought the movie was pretty good. I’ve never been the kind of person to parrot the mantra “the book was better” when I go to see these kinds of movies. Usually I go because of two reasons, I’m curious to see hollywood’s interpetation of it and yes simply to be entertained by a good movie irregardless of the source of inspiration for it.

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