arts & entertainment
Books and movie
74 ;e Costco Connection AUGUST 2012
By Nancy Mills
HOW DID A film about children fighting to the
death in a post-apocalyptic world become an international phenomenon?
Suzanne Collins’ young adult novel The Hunger
Games started with an initial print run of 50,000 in
2008. Today, close to 37 million copies of the book
and its two sequels—Catching Fire and Mockingjay—
are in print in the U.S. In addition, the book has been
sold in 55 countries in 50 languages. Adults, who
don’t often pay attention to young adult fiction, have
been devouring the trilogy. The first of a three-movie
series was released to wide acclaim.
Set in a ruined North America run by a dictator, The Hunger Games refers to an annual televised
contest. Two teenagers from each of the fictional
nation’s 12 districts are randomly chosen to become
gladiators. When the name of the younger sister of
the story’s protagonist, Katniss Everdeen, is drawn
for District 12, Katniss volunteers to take her place
(see above photo).
The story resonates with classical myths,
ancient history and contemporary power politics.
As in the Greek myth of Theseus and the Minotaur,
The Hunger Games is available
at all Costco warehouses on
DVD and Blu-ray. A special
three-book set is also available.
Visit Costco.com and click on
“Costco Connection magazine”
to read a July 2010 Connection
interview with Suzanne Collins.
the fighters must compete until only one is left alive.
“I was heavily influenced by the historical figure
Spartacus,” Collins told The New York Times
Magazine. “Katniss follows the same arc from slave
to gladiator to rebel to face of a war.”
Book one follows Katniss as she goes to the
Capital, prepares for, then competes in the Games.
The later books focus on her maturation and the
ultimate war against oppression.
Since its release in March, the film version of The
Hunger Games has grossed more than $650 million
worldwide. Its young stars—Jennifer Lawrence, Josh
Hutcherson and Liam Hemsworth—have become
teen icons (see sidebar). The second film in the series
begins shooting this fall.
Violence, good and evil
Some criticize the kids-killing-kids aspect of
the story. But the books and film are about much
more, according to Melissa Messner, a children’s
services librarian for the County of Los Angeles
Public Library and a Costco member.
“They’re popular because they speak to some-