Saturday, January 1, 2011

Books!

I love books!

I know it's the New Year, but I stayed up past midnight and my kids woke up early. At the moment I despise the celebration surrounding New Years.

Back to books: The Hunger Games Trilogy. Everyone I've talked to who has read it have said that they simply could not put the books down. My experience was the same. The third book-WARNING SPOILER INFORMATION-was a bit of a shocker, however. The books center around these games in which 24 children are selected to compete in a game in which only one will survive. The first two books reminded me strongly of the games that were played back in Rome. What I mean is, I enjoyed reading them. Even though children were getting killed. I felt at a remove-the books didn't really affect me that much. Is that how the Roman crowds felt as they watched human beings destroy each other? It wasn't happening to them, it was happening to other people. It was fun, it was like a parade. Prime time entertainment.

In the third book, however, the author (Suzanne Collins) seems to swoop down for the kill, so to speak. Collins did a splendid job of mocking our reality t.v.-obsessed culture in the first two books, and then showed us what that need for entertainment and live-action could result in. The casual decisions that result in kids being murdered and being forced to kill become so much more real. I can't say I enjoyed reading the third book. I was forced in the Roman arena (to continue my previous example) and made to really see the people who were destined to die.

What is more sobering is that the stuff she wrote about? Really did happen. Gladiator, anyone? Or how about the early Christians (and I'm sure there were other groups similarly targeted) being tossed to the lions? What do you want to bet they let the children walk away while the crowd watched the parents being eaten? Much more fun to include the whole family. Human sacrifice. Genocide. At various points in history, these things were done for fun, for religion, for politics. In a culture that continually demands the latest in entertainment, is always seeking the latest thrill-what depths could we descend to?

So yeah. The Hunger Games. Recommended reading, although you may not see as much into it as I did. My one problem with it, and I know some people would not see this as a problem, was the lack of any mention of God or some sort of higher moral authority. There was no reason given why the practical application of Darwin's "survival of the fittest" theory shouldn't be applied. Frequently, leaders decided not to kill someone/someones because they would be eradicating their breeding, i.e. population, source. Of course, the worst of those leaders did end up dead, thereby indicating that their thinking was wrong. It just bothers me. Why did everyone fight to eradicate the Capitol (the bad people)? It seems obvious-killing children is wrong-but where did that idea come from? Of course, Collins could've just been trying to avoid religion, since she was already dealing with politics, and everyone knows religion and politics are the subjects you never mention at the dinner table:)

Next I'll try to read something light and fluffy. A book with a pink cover. No mass murderings.