I recently read “The Happiness Project” and totally loved it. Really, the book was full of simple, good advice you’ve been hearing your whole life. But the author, Gretchen Rubin, made all that advice personal and slowly but surely changed her. If nothing else it was “feel good” and full of practical tips.

In one chapter, Gretchen talks a lot about her love for children’s literature. She mentions how the the stark contrast between good and evil is so simple and clear in those books. The bad guys and the good guys. Good versus evil. There is not room for pontification.

It made me think about how overcomplicated we tend to make things. Sometimes, there is just good and bad — and that’s all there is to it.

I was simultaneously reading “The Hunger Games” and of course directly related to the two. Have you read The Hunger Games yet?

I was told by about a million people that I “had” to read these books! I hesitated. It sounded like another go around of “Twilight” or “Harry Potter.” I tried with both of those. I really did. I read the first three of both series’ and never got hooked. Is there something wrong with me?! I’m a crazy lover of books so I really wanted to fall in love with these!

So…I was skeptical about The Hunger Games. Nonetheless, I began Surprisingly, I really enjoyed them and look forward to seeing the movie. (I think it’s awesome that Lenny Kravitz is playing Cinna!). And, true to young adult literature, the Hunger Games portrays good and evil in very black and white terms. The ruling government oppresses the people and will do  nearly anything to retain their all-consuming power. It’s reminiscent of other futuristic books we’ve seen like Animal Farm and 1984.

Katniss is the “hero” that comes to lead the way in the revolution. Now, I’ve only just started Book 3 so I’m not sure what ultimately happens. However, I really like the unforeseen twists in the storyline and the way the author never allows the reader to be “right” about what’s happening exactly. Additionally, the horror of what the Hunger Games actually is is so grotesque that you can’t help but want to see how the characters handle it.

All in all, I like the books and won’t cast them aside into Twilight/Harry Potter territory (sorry fans!) but I still struggle with getting completely enveloped because some of the simple reasoning and language in the book. It reminded a lot of “The Giver” — a book I truly loved as a child — and I would totally recommend both of these to any middle schooler. We’ll see if the movie lives up to the hype!

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