Sunday, November 10, 2013

My obsession

Last year, my best pal asked me if I wanted to see "The Hunger Games."  She couldn't persuade me to see any of the Twilight franchise and thought maybe I'd give this new one a go.  I agreed.  The books were totally off my radar and I'd no clue about what they offered.  When I found out, I was okay with it:  vampires and werewolves scare the bejeezus out of me but a country made smaller by global warming and melted glaciers, run by bloodthirsty despots, was okay.  Yeah, all kinda nuts right here.

In case you've been ignoring it, "The Hunger Games" takes place in what might be a post-apocalyptic America.  There are 12 districts and a capital.  There were 13 districts, but the thirteenth was nuked into Kingdom Come for trying to rebel against the Capital.  To keep the remaining districts in line, every year there is a fight to the death to win the games.  The players, called Tributes, are chosen from a pool of all 12-to-18 year olds in each district.  The books have 16-year-old Katniss Everdeen volunteering to take the place of her 12-year-old sister in the arena.  Yeah, kids killing each other to satisfy the Capital.  The winner gets a house and an escape from a lifetime of poverty.

I enjoyed the movie.  (One of the supporting characters is played by the superultamega tasty Lenny Kravitz, who brought us "Are You Gonna Go My Way."  Yes, Lenny, I will go your way.  Call.)  I even agreed that I might like to see the second one.  (Lenny's in this one, too, and I am betting he's still looking luscious.  Seriously.  Call.)

A year goes by since we'd seen the movie in a suburban theatre and I didn't have a book to read.  I was at work, it was a little slow, I was trolling the internet for news and current events, political and otherwise.  Oh, I thought, the second movie is coming out.  Hmmm, maybe I should read the first book.  Hmmm, maybe they have it at the library.  Hmmm, I will be right by the main branch this evening.  Hmmm, is it on the shelf?  Computer says yes.

I checked out a copy that evening and I started reading it the next morning.  I was instantly hooked like a Facebook addict, a Second Life addict, a chocoholic.  In other words, a benign addiction, a distracting obsession.  The writing is pretty good.  The story is darn interesting.  The characters are well drawn.  (The movie is mostly faithful to the book which I know because I watched it again on Netflix.)

When I was done with the first book, I decided I would read the second book after I saw the second movie.  One morning I woke up and I couldn't wait.  I had to have it.  After work, I raced to the library and got the second book, "Catching Fire."  I could hardly breathe going over there and about danced when I found a copy and checked it out.

"Catching Fire" goes places I didn't think they'd go.  I was totally sucked in and I was sad when it was done.  I had to find the third book, "Mockingjay."

The main library's copies were checked out.  "The second movie is opening soon," they said. "People want to read them."  I went on line to see which branches had it.  I decided to get it at a library on the way home as it was right on their shelf.

A day goes by,  another day begins, and the book is "In transit."  IT IS ON THE SHELF!  GO GET IT!  At the end of the day I could take it no more -- yes, all of a day and a half had gone by -- and I went to the library.  I breathlessly presented myself to the librarian.  She listened and checked in the system.  She said mine was still in transit but one had just been returned and was probably on the cart behind the checkout desk.  We walked over and she found it.  I hope I didn't rip it from her hands.  I am pretty sure I thanked her.  I checked it out and raced out to the bus stop where I stood reading as night fell in my town.

I was enjoying it so much that I went to Costco and purchased a boxed set of the paperback version of the books.  I figured if I like it this much now, I will probably read it again at least once.  Yeah, I am obsessed.  But like my other obsessions -- the movie "The Secret in Their Eyes;" foaming hand soap; Dannon coffee yogurt; handbags and looking at pictures of handbags -- no one is hurt by it, not even me.

If you're so inclined to share in my enthusiasm, dash over and get the books at the library.  They're for young adults but you were a young adult once.  They might make you forget whatever crap it is you were thinking about before you snagged them off the shelf.

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