CROSS POSTED AT ADVANCING LIBERTY
In March of 2012, the world watched the first round of The Hunger Games unfold. The film adaptation of the novel by Suzanne Collins destroyed box office records, and ensured the remaining two books of the series will also be turned into movies. The book series dominated book shelves, and was to be found on the USA Today Best Seller list for more than 134 consecutive weeks. Scholastic Publishing reports sales in excess of 26 million for the series , a staggering amount of books for a society that allegedly no longer reads. If you calculate the number of US residents between the ages of 5 and 18 at around 52 million, then we are to understand that nearly half of the target age group has at least a passing familiarity with the Hunger Games. The series has exceeded the bounds of children’s fiction. As an anecdote I am familiar with at least 4 grown men and women having enjoyed the written series, it is not for children alone. Much as Harry Potter before it, these Hunger Games have become cultural icons in the landscape of popular literature.
It is a curious effect of written stories; stories engaged by active reading have far greater resonance with the consumer then do mere movies or television productions. The intuition available to us is obvious. Reading requires more time intentionally spent engaging with a story, reading a story requires a far greater time commitment then do movies. Reading series of books frequently surpasses even full length television series in time required for consumption. Books read intentionally for pleasure have a long lasting memory in the minds of the readers. While the ‘classics’ which required reading and dictated various assignments in educational settings are swiftly forgotten, books which present delight in turning the page are long remembered. Lord of the Rings, Dune, Atlas Shrugged, and more recent examples including Harry Potter embed themselves in both private and public consciousness in a manner different from films. Where intelligent discussion can take place following a movie, an intelligent discussion is nearly always the norm in a conversation where common ground can be found upon a good book. Novels may not reach as far, but they are accompanied by great depth of understanding and memory. This brings the Hunger Games back into view. Beware, in the lines to follow, there will be spoilers.