Generational Books

Over the past year, a slightly funny phenomena has emerged in the world of books. It either begins with an emphatic “Have you read this??!!” or it slips into quiet conversation with obvious embarrassment (“Uh, I know it’s a kids book, but….”).  Yes, I’m talking about the best-seller THE HUNGER GAMES and its effect on people of all ages.

Several years ago, we saw this trend with the Harry Potter series, but there was a slightly different thing going on there. Parents didn’t feel embarrassed about reading it because they were often telling the story to their children before bed. It was okay to read it that way. The Hunger Games is different. Since the YA book is aimed at ages 10+, parents are often no longer involved in the bedtime reading of their kids at that point. So, how are they supposed to know what the big deal is about this book?  Why are kids everywhere talking about this book like it has changed their world? How can they get their hands on a copy without everyone knowing they’re reading a kid’s book?

Simple.  They come to the library and ask for it.

The beauty of this story is that it has become a multi-generational book (as have the others in the same series by author Suzanne Collins). We have really young ones reading it, teens, their parents, grandparents and so on. One of our favourite young patrons told me today that she has her aunt reading it and both of her grandparents as well. What she’s looking forward to most is the day each of them finishes it so that they can all get together to discuss it. I thought that was fantastic!

Everyone wants to see what it’s about….non-readers, people who never read in the genre and everyone in between. And that’s perfectly fine.  There’s no need to explain why you’re reading a book that wasn’t intentionally written for adults.  There’s no need to hurry out of the YA section with a few other great looking books tucked under your arm.  And there’s no need to send your neighbour’s kid in to get it for you. 

Mockingjay, by Suzanne Collins, the 3rd book in The Hunger Games trilogy (it’s the only one we had in the library when I took this picture)

There’s a reason so many people are turning to young adult books–the writing is strong and the stories are fabulous. No, they’re not all about high school dating and prom dresses. A lot of them may include this sort of thing, but they’re usually written around a fantastic, fast moving plot that pulls you right in and gets to the heart of the story.  Don’t forget, these kids have grown up in the NOW generation.  If it isn’t something they like within a few moments, they’ll put it down. And that probably means you’ll like it, too.

Why not pick up a YA book today?  Don’t be embarrassed….they’re great books for ALL ages!

Readers rarely change

This past weekend, I went to see The Hunger Games. After recommending these books for the past few years, I was so excited to finally see the big screen adaptation. While I really enjoyed it, the book was better, as is typical many times. But what really made this interesting, was the theatre full of teenagers and their enthusiastic discussions prior to and post-movie.

There are readers and there are non-readers. With the development of “trend” fiction (first Harry Potter, then Twilight, now The Hunger Games), more and more non-readers are joining the pack to see what all the excitement is about. This happens especially before and during a movie release of a “big” book. While regular readers have often already done the whole series by the time the movie version comes out in theatres, non-readers often jump on the bandwagon, curious to see what all the hype is about. I’m not complaining…anything that gets kids to read is important. (The fun thing is that a big book also brings in the parents who want to know what their kids are reading. This has been true for all three of the last trending books.) But aside from these books, non-readers probably will remain non-readers in the long run. Too bad, because there are a LOT of great books out there.

While we were waiting outside the theatre to buy tickets, a gaggle of teenage girls discussed the book vs. movie at great volume. They were excited and enthusiastic and well versed on the book. It’s wonderful when kids know all the little details, and can discuss the pros and cons of having them changed in the movie version. You’d think that a movie theatre full of kids in the 10-18 demographic would be noisy, but it wasn’t. After all, the movie-goers were readers!

Trends will come and go, and thankfully, they seem to evolve within juvenile or young adult books….right when we need to capture someone and get them into longtime reading. (Not that it’s too late when a person gets older, just that it’s relatively rare to start reading voraciously after becoming an adult.) Right now, we’re still well into the dystopian themed books (end of the world, post-apocalyptic etc.,) and it doesn’t look like we’ll see that change any time soon. It’d be nice to see a stand-alone contemporary YA book garner a little attention from non-readers, like Jay Asher’s Thirteen Reasons Why.  But for now, I’m happy to see young people debating the merits of a book over a movie. Speaks to my heart.

Happy reading!

Published in: on April 4, 2012 at 9:24 am  Comments (2)  
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Unofficial Hunger Games Cookbook, or what not to buy Grandma for Christmas

With the excitement surrounding Suzanne Collins’  The Hunger Games coming to theaters in March, all sorts of book related items are turning up. One of the most interesting so far has to the the Unofficial Hunger Games Cookbook, by Emily Ansara Baines.  It includes such mouth-watering items as Grilled Tree Rat with Peanut Butter Dipping Sauce, President Snow’s Sauteed Dove Breasts in Bacon Drippings and more. While it might not be something you’d want to purchase and cook your way through, it might be something that crazed Hunger Games fan would enjoy leafing through. You can find it on Amazon here.

Published in: on December 15, 2011 at 10:11 am  Comments (4)  
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Hungry for the Hunger Games movie?

The official trailer was released today as a tease for next year’s release of Suzanne Collins’ smash, The Hunger Games. Are you looking forward to it?  I can’t wait!

Published in: on November 14, 2011 at 4:42 pm  Leave a Comment  
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