i finally started reading the hunger games. all the words that have been used to describe it to me by friends who were enthusiastic in their praise — gripping, read it in one sitting, fantastic, great YA fiction, must read — ring true as do, however, these words: depressing, saddening, tear-jerking, heartbreaking, resilient, rollercoaster-of-emotions, anger, disbelief.
but read it i am and finish it i will and my yoda-esque notwithstanding, this book seems somehow like an appropriate text to read at the start of what i’m hoping will be twelve months of literary adventure of both the read and written variety. in some ways, this adventure began when i immersed myself in the writings of w.g. sebald earlier this summer while sitting in on my colleague’s seminar. i’ll devote whole posts to this wordsmith at a future date — largely because i have been affected by this writer in a way that i haven’t been in a long time by someone’s words on pages — but i mention him and his writings here as a strange but not entirely unrelated partner to suzanne collins’ adolescent protagonists. i am struck by how both authors use the specific to amplify the horror which in many ways, in their respective realms of reality, has become normalized. what are human beings willing to live with? and when are they moved to change?
i have been carrying these questions with me for several weeks now, and as i prepare my mental calendar to begin “work on the book,” i know that these questions and others — about humanity, our basic obligation toward one another, and the human capacity for compassion amidst the urgent calls for innovation — will continue to linger in my consciousness and find their way onto the pages containing stories about young men and a few young women and their teachers and mentors who commit themselves daily to the work of teaching and learning across boundaries, in between borders, and in the face of structural changes and budget cuts that seem to be stripped of any humane proclivity.
for now, however, katniss awaits…