To the Hungry Soul

August 9, 2011

“The satisfied soul loathes the honeycomb, but to the hungry soul, every bitter thing is sweet.”

Proverbs 27:7

I issued a challenged on my Facebook page recently.  I asked for a book to read that would blow my mind.

Well, consider my mind blown.

I spent Friday night and Sunday morning reading The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins.  My sister-in-law lent me her copy with a warning.  You will read it all at once, so make sure you have the time.  The warning proved to be valuable as I waited until my fiance departed on Part I of his bachelor party, before I planted my butt in the massage chair of a spa and let a wonderful artist score off the calluses accumulated on the bottom of my feet from miles and miles run in my crushed and mutilated Sauconys.

I started with page 1 and soon found myself on page 23 gasping for air.

And the nail polish wasn’t even on my toes yet.

I’m not one to usually gasp at books.  Being a writer is a bit like being cursed.  When you read, you sometimes pay attention more to the writing than the story, and then all you see are words on a page instead of the world the author is trying to create for you.

But Ms. Collins had me sucked in.  And she had me aching.

What was going to happen to these characters?  What was going to happen to their families?

I immediately put Ellen Page in the part of Katniss Everdeen.  That’s the young actress who played Juno.  It was a real test to my mind as the character in the book is starving, and the only way I can imagine Ellen Page is as the young girl toting that giant pregnant belly.  This image often merged with that of Ellen Page as the mutant in X-Men and then as the architect in Inception.  Before long, Katniss became her own amalgamation of her own, which is what Ms. Collins intended all along, I’m sure.

But my point is this.  A question I often ask of creative types.

What does Suzanne Collins think about on a daily basis?

For those of you Hunger Games virgins, I’ll try to explain without giving too much away.  The book is about children brought together to hunt each other until the death.  It is bloody, it is morbid, it is gruesome, it is disturbing and it is utterly enthralling.  But again, I must ask.  What does this woman have on her mind?

I wrote my first novel in law school, mostly during civil procedure.  The professor did not like me from the beginning, so I decided to ignore him and write romance novels instead.  I would sometimes let out an aborted laugh when I wrote something particularly funny, and I would stifle it with a cough.  And when I was in the middle of a sultry and lustful sex scene, I would stop and look around the room at all of the blank faces focused on Professor Freidman’s explanation of the commerce clause and wonder if they had any idea what I was up to in my seat in the back row.  Surely, they did not.

So I will issue a new challenge on Facebook this week.

What book have you read that has made you ask, ‘What is wrong with this author?????’

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