I’ve been in a bit of a novel-drought of late, preferring short stories, long non-fiction magazine pieces and pretty much everything in the Best American Non-Required Reading collection. In an effort to get back to my favorite of literary forms, I performed what, for me, might as well be a novel rain dance: I turned to YA.
The Young Adult section of my local library was my Mecca for most of my childhood (and much of high school). Devoid of the literary acrobatics of a Miranda July, or the great moral wastelands of a Jonathan Franzen, the world of YA is refreshingly straight-forward. Story is king, and story was what I wanted. I’m late to the game, but this past week I jumped face first onto the Hunger Games bandwagon. The smack was exactly what I needed.
The Hunger Games is the first installment in Suzanne Collins’ post-apocalyptic trilogy starring the indomitable Katniss Everdeen. In the tradition of Zach of Gilmore Girls, here’s the pretty fucking delicious Hunger Games recipe that resurrected my appetite for a good novel:
- The Handmaid’s Tale (Margaret Atwood’s grim exploration of the extremes of sexism where women are named for their male “owners,” Offred, the heroine, is literally “of Fred.”)
- “The Lottery” (Shirley Jackson’s famous short story about the brainwashing power of tradition and mob mentality)
- “The Most Dangerous Game” (Another famous short story read by most middle schoolers, in which humans hunt each other)
- My Side of the Mountain, Hatchet and The Boxcar Kids (children at their most self-sufficient)
- The Alanna Quartet (the Alanna, George, Jonathan love triangle will always stick in my head as the YA love triangle to top them all, but Katniss/Peeta/Gale may take a close second.)
- Super Sad True Love Story (In which Gary Shtyengart projects some of our current obsessions as far as they will go just to see what happens. In The Hunger Games, the horrific gladiatorial combat is decked out and televised reality-TV style.)
- Survivor, if there were walls of moving fire, genetically modified bees and wolf-people.
1. Pour elements into a blender.
2. Puree the crap out of it.
3. Strain out the pretentious language, the distraction of potential sex, the overwrought adult melodrama
4. Consume. Remember why you loved these Scholastic Newsletters so much as a child.
Serves: Many, many millions.
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