The next meeting of the All Good Books group will be held on Thursday, March 8, 2012 at the Leawood Pioneer Library (in the meeting room) starting at 7:00 PM. The group will discuss “The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins.

“The Hunger Games” movie based on the book will be released on March 23, 2012 (see http://www.thehungergamesmovie.com). You might find the following quote from Booklist (Starred Reviews) provocative:

“…readers will instinctively understand what Katniss (the main character in the Hunger Games Trilogy) knows in her soul, that war mixes all the slogans and justifications, the deceptions and plans, the causes and ideals into an unsavory stew whose taste brings madness. That there is still a human spirit that yearns for good is the book’s primrose of hope.”

A few questions came to mind as I read the book. We can discuss these at the meeting in March, if the group is interested in doing so. I’ve read all three books in the series, but think any of these questions could be discussed even if you’ve only read book one in the trilogy.

  1. Why do you think the book and the games are called “The Hunger Games?”
  2. Bread and circuses” (summarized from Wikipedia) is a noun that refers to “Things intended to keep people happy and to divert their attention from problems.” The origin of the term is a translation of the Latin term “Panem or Panis (bread) et (and) circenses (circuses).” The term originated in the satires of the Roman poet Juvenal (c. 60-140). Circus refers to the circus games, such as the chariot races held in Roman times. The term is frequently translated into other languages; for instance, in Spanish, it is pan y toros (bread and bullfights). By the way, the “land” in which the games transpire is called Panem, so the author had the concept clearly in mind. Why do you think the Hunger Games are referred to as bread and circuses? Do we have examples of this concept in today’s society?
  3. Many members of our book club are associated with the Community of Christ, a peace church. If the Hunger Games were a reality in our world, how would you (as a member of a church dedicated to promoting peace) participate (or not) as a combatant or spectator in the games?
  4. Are the Hunger Games much different than modern warfare? Have we (in the U.S.) ever had a similar “arrangement” where a select group was “designated” to fight our wars?
  5. What do you consider the most thought provoking concept or event in the book? Did the book cause you to rethink a personal belief or position?
  6. This is a very popular series among young readers. It’s a young adult novel translated into 26 different languages with 2.9 million copies in print. It is a New York Times best seller having been on that list for over 100 weeks. The Hunger Games  is also only the sixth ebook to sell over a million copies in the Amazon Kindle Store. Do you think it is a good book for teen readers or pre-teen readers, based on its theme and violence?

You can listen to the author reading the first chapter of the final book in the series by playing the video at http://www.scholastic.com/thehungergames/.

If interested, there’s also a conversation with the author available at http://www.scholastic.com/thehungergames/media/suzanne_collins_q_and_a.pdf in PDF format. The conversation explores the historic origins of the Hunger Games and talks about the changes necessary to transform the book into an upcoming movie.

More information on the All Good Books discussion group’s activities, just check back here (https://allbooksclub.wordpress.com).

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