All I need to be entertained are cats within ear-scratching distance and a good book . . .OK, maybe that's not ALL I need, but it's a good start.

I love to read. And I love to get recommendations for books to read.

I started Cats and a Book to share the books I read with others. Some I love, some I don't, but you may love the ones I don't, so you're welcome to post your own comments and suggestions.

To make it easier to purchase books you may read about on the blog, I've linked to Amazon.com through The Cats and a Book Bookstore, which is located on the bottom of this page. Your purchases are fulfilled and handled through Amazon. To assure your privacy, Cats and a Book doesn't handle any of your payment or contact information.

Happy reading!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins

The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins, is a gripping adventure with appealing characters that engrosses readers of all ages. A dark science-fiction story, it targets young teen readers but is entertaining for adults as well. 

The story is set in what is apparently a post-United States empire, fraught with pockets of starvation, deprivation, and depleted natural resources. The rich and evil Capitol is now located in the Rocky Mountain area, and the country is divided into districts. In order to remind the populace of the hardships which gave birth to the new empire, “The Hunger Games” are conducted annually. “The reaping” selects by random draw a male and female child to represent each district in the games. To multiply the injustice, odds are against those whose families are so poor the children take “tesserae”—a grant of oil and grain which costs the recipient more chances in the drawing. The book’s heroine, Katniss Everdeen, has taken the tesserae for several years, which make her odds of being “reaped” even greater. Unfortunately, it is her little sister Prim, only now eligible at age 12, whose name is drawn. Katniss bravely volunteers to serve in her sister’s place.

Along with Peeta Mellark, the baker’s son, Katniss represents District 12 in the brutal games, which are designed to pit contestants against each other in a fight to the death. The winner not only secures untold wealth and security for themselves, they ensure their district receives gifts and support not otherwise known there. Much is at stake, and the games bring out the strengths of each participant, whether it is agility, cleverness, or merely cruelty. The entire country is focused on the games, which are similar to today’s reality television shows with alliances made and cameras catching every movement. Pictures of deceased players are projected into the sky at night, so the remaining players know how many competitors were left.

The book’s conclusion is satisfying only in that the immediate challenge is resolved, but leaves much to bait the readers’ curiosity. The Hunger Games is the first in a trilogy, with Catching Fire and Mockingjay following. These books are quick reads, great for a short vacation or weekend getaway.

The Hunger Games was published in 2008 by Scholastic Press.

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