Let ‘The Hunger Games’ begin

March 20, 2012

By Warren Kagarise

 Jennifer Lawrence stars as Katniss Everdeen in the film adaptation of the bestselling novel ‘The Hunger Games.’a By Murray Close/Lionsgate

Library hosts events to celebrate bestselling book series’ film debut

Imagine “The Hunger Games” is a mishmash of “Survivor” and “The X Factor” set in a “Lord of the Flies”-style arena.

The film based on the mega-popular novel debuts on the big screen March 23 and to celebrate, the bustling Issaquah Library is hosting a party and a discussion March 28. Organizers said participants can join activities inspired by the book — although nothing as dangerous as the titular games — and nab prizes inspired by the book and the film.

Other activities planned for the library party include flora and fauna identification stations — key skills for characters in the book and film.

“The Hunger Games” is the most popular book in the King County Library System. Librarians placed more than 1,700 holds for the title by March 12. (“The Hunger Games” also ranked as the top title requested throughout the 46-branch library system last year.)

Set in post-apocalyptic North America, “The Hunger Games” fuses themes from mythology and science fiction. The 12 districts in the nation, called Panem, send teenage “tributes” — a boy and a girl selected by lottery from each district — to compete in a televised blood sport called the Hunger Games.

Then, in a wilderness arena created for the games, the 24 tributes engage in a hyper-violent competition until only a sole competitor is left alive.

The protagonist, 16-year-old Katniss Everdeen, a coalminer’s daughter from a poor district, volunteers for the Hunger Games after her 12-year-old sister is selected in the lottery.

The male tribute from the district, Peeta Mellark, a baker’s son, and Katniss share a long and complicated history.

If you go

‘The Hunger Games’ party

  • 5 p.m. March 28
  • Issaquah Library
  • 10 W. Sunset Way
  • The event is open to adults and children 11 and older.

‘The Hunger Games’ book discussion

  • 6:30 p.m. March 28
  • The discussion is open to adults and teenagers 13 and older.

Regal Issaquah 9 Theatre

  • 1490 N.W. 11th Ave.
  • “The Hunger Games” premieres at the theater at 12:01 a.m. March 23, and show times vary on subsequent days.

Katniss, unlike tributes from more affluent districts, initially believes she is unprepared for the games, until she realizes the hunting skills she learned from her friend Gale Hawthorne and her late father offer a critical edge.

Ann Crewsdon, a librarian at the Issaquah and Sammamish libraries, said “The Hunger Games” — plus sequels “Catching Fire” and “Mockingjay” — appeal to multiple generations, not just the intended teen and tween audiences.

The ambiguous morality and similarities to modern-day life also act as starting points for conversations about the books. The author, Suzanne Collins, juxtaposed elements from contemporary reality TV and geopolitical strife to create the series.

Local librarians used elements from the arena to create activities for the party. The golden Cornucopia, a giant horn full of supplies for the tributes, inspired a piñata. The backpack Katniss used during the games also led librarians to load up a backpack as a prize.

The teenage combatants in “The Hunger Games” garner the same fanfare readers rolled out for teenage vampires and teenage wizards. The local library hosted past events to celebrate milestones in the “Harry Potter” and “Twilight” series.

Crewsdon said “The Hunger Games” often acts as a gateway to introduce young readers to other novels set in a dystopian future, such as “1984” and “Fahrenheit 451” — classics dealing with similar themes of oppression and surveillance.

Warren Kagarise: 392-6434, ext. 234, or wkagarise@isspress.com. Comment at www.issaquahpress.com.

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