Friday, February 12, 2010

Impromptu Bookclub

O.K., so I didn't do very well with the whole Bad Girl's Book Club thing. Sorry.

But today I want to talk about a couple of books I know a lot of you have read: The Hunger Games and Catching Fire, both by Suzanne Collins (They're books 1 & 2 of a trilogy. The final book, Mockingjay, will be out August 24th. That would make a lovely birthday present for me. Hint hint.)

I loved these books. I read them both obsessively, pretty much ignoring everything and everyone until they were done. I know a lot of you loved them as well and I want to hear what you thought about them.

Here are a few questions that I stole from the Scholastic website, but there's so much more to these books to discuss, so please post your own thoughts and questions in the comments!

-What do you think is the cruelest part of the Hunger Games? What kind of people would devise this spectacle for the entertainment of their populace? Can you see parallels between these Games and the society that condones them, and other related events and cultures in the history of the world?

-In 1848, Karl Marx wrote in The Communist Manifesto, "The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles." Discuss this statement as it applies to the society and government of Panem. Do you believe there is any chance to eradicate class struggles in the future?

-Reality TV has been a part of the entertainment world since the early days of television (with shows such as Candid Camera and the Miss America Pageant), but in the 21st century there has been a tremendous growth of competitive shows and survival shows. Discuss this phenomenon with respect to The Hunger Games. What other aspects of our popular culture do you see reflected in this story?

-What does Haymitch mean when he tells Katniss before the Game begin, “You just remember who the enemy is --- that’s all.” Who is the enemy? Have the other tributes been trying to keep Peeta or Katniss alive? Which of them is most important to the rebellion?

-Compare the society in Panem (the government, its tight control on the population, and the growing rebellion) to others that you have studied or encountered in books or films. Consider historical and contemporary nations as well as fictional worlds. What does Panem have in common with these cultures, and how does it differ? What can we learn about our own world from studying and reading about historical and fictional societies?

-What are your predictions for the final volume in the series?

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