Popular literature of today worries me, especially that of the “teen” variety. Bad writing, horrible messages, complete and total disregard for any form of established mythos… it makes me die inside. Yes, I love that kids are actually reading. But I hate that what they’re reading is the equivalent of somebody being told to bake a cake and instead just hand you a beat-up old shoe on a plate.
Being one of those “everything is a Twilight-esque mess and therefore bad” thinkers made it very hard for me to accept the latest craze, The Hunger Games. My thoughts for the last few years have been pretty much stuck on “Idiot teenagers today like it. So it has to suck.” Not giving them much credit, but they haven’t done much to show they deserve it either. That train of thought made it hard to believe that I was actually curious about the series. Part of that was because of the movie coming out (though I had NEVER seen a trailer for it), another part was the fact that it didn’t seem to have anything to do with the supernatural, a rarity today. So while staring longingly at a few things on the Harry Potter table at my local Barnes and Noble, I noticed the table set up next to it was one featuring The Hunger Games. Curiosity took over and I found myself reading the back of the book.
I wasn’t expecting what I read—children fighting to the death in a post apocalyptic setting? Interesting. That would be how I made my first “popular book” purchase in who knows how long (I think the last giant seller I bought was the final Harry Potter book back in 2007, or The Tales of Beedle the Bard).
It took me a few days to actually start reading it, but once I started, I could NOT put this book down. I liked it. I really, really liked it. The writing wasn’t awful (unless 1st person bothers you), there was actually a plot, there were interesting characters and development… it was good.
This gave me a sliver of hope. Something that didn’t suck was successful. Something that wasn’t full of bad was being read by thousands of people and hopefully showing them that the world of literature has so much to offer. I almost feel bad for having judged hit books so harshly in recent years. If things keep up like this, then just maybe all hope isn’t lost after all.