The Hunger Games (and other books and such)

I just finished the second book of Suzanne Collins’s Hunger Games trilogy – Catching Fire. Both books have been really great reads – fast paced, suspenseful, extremely and surprisingly violent given their intended audience. They are quite political. If Andrew Klavan reads them, no doubt he will find they are – like Toy Story 3 – little more than commentary on the Obama administration, and their popularity reflects the general antipathy of the American public toward the leftist agenda being shoved down our throats by Washington bureaucrats.

(Did you know Klavan wrote True Crime? I did not know that. I say stick to writing thrillers and avoid conservative pop-analysis of Pixar films!)

Speaking of mystery/thrillers, I also just finished reading Dennis LeHane’s Sacred. LeHane is the author of many books-turned-into-films – the excellent Gone Baby Gone is his and was adapted into its movie form by director Ben Affleck – who, I have decided, is a far better director than actor. Clint Eastwood (who also directed True Crime) adapted LeHane’s Mystic River. And I just saw Scorses’s adaptation of LeHane’s Shutter Island which I actually really liked. Of the three, Gone Baby Gone is the best. The book, Sacred, was quite good, though I want to read some of his other works to get a better sense of how it stacks up.

I also just finished Neuromancer – the cyberpunk book that put cyberpunk on the map – by William Gibson. You can certainly see how the book influenced the popular film, The Matrix and one wonders how they will ever really do Neuromancer justice as a film adaptation now that The Matrix has stolen so much of its thunder. Maybe all the drugs and sex will help.

After I read the third of the Hunger Games books, Mockingjay, I will probably pick up Little, Big by John Crowley. Either that or find some more of Collins’s books. Or a good mystery.

Television-wise, we’ve been slowly making our way through the PBS series, God in America. We’ve just started Fringe as well, which is so far very much like a new X-Files, which works for me. I very much still want to believe. This season of The Office has been pretty funny, I think, though it is certainly time for Michael Scott to retire. If I had HBO I’d certainly be watching Boardwalk Empire, though what I’m really looking forward to is Game of Thrones.

P.S. This fake Mick Jagger piece in Slate is well worth your time.

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6 thoughts on “The Hunger Games (and other books and such)

  1. Lehane’s five Kenzie-Genarro books (of which Sacred and Gone, Baby Gone are two) are guilty pleasures for me — noir with the violence turned way up and the plausibility way, way down, and every villain the world’s baddest badass. If you liked those two, you’ll probably like the others just as much.

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  2. Fringe is awesome, I’m glad to find someone else who likes it.

    God in America isn’t very good. It focuses on the controversies (especially evolution) and ignores a lot of other areas where religion was prominent (temperance movement, Sabbatarianism, formation of the early public school system, founding of the first universities, Mormonism) just because they don’t slot as neatly into modern-day political controversies.

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  3. Wow, that Klavan piece was…weird.

    Neuromancer: I don’t think there’d be much point in a “Neuromancer” movie anymore, although I’m sure that someone’s planning to try. Every idea that Neuromancer brought to the table has been done better by something else.

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    • I agree about Neuromancer. There is one scene from the book that I would love to see done in a movie (the scene where he is talking to Wintermute on the payphone, hangs up on it/him, then walks down the way and as he passes each payphone in the row of payphones, it rings once) but the future has changed since Neuromancer and we now have technology (ubiquitous phones) that makes that scene quaint and obsolete.

      All of the other things that I loved in the book have been tackled by God knows how many other movies (most of them PKD movies, ironically enough).

      Now… a video game… *THAT* might be the medium that Neuromancer has been waiting for! Well, again. The one for the Apple II was pretty good but I’d like to see one for the 360.

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      • On the other hand, you could have a fun bit where Case is walking through a crowd, and as he walks past everyone in the crowd *their* phone rings; like, instead of pay phones, now it’s the people themselves!

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