she looked a little worried

I read The Hunger Games recently.  I know, I know.  What took me so long?  In a word, life.

And a huge to-be-read pile: HUGE, taking-over-the-living-room, spilling-out-of-my-office-into-the-hallway huge.

But I read it, okay?

And I LOVED it; evangelical loved it, hold-it-close-and-reread-passages loved it, press-it-into-the-hands-of-someone-I-love-saying-READ-THIS loved it.

The person I knew would also feel this way (the most) is Kristina.  Between swine flu, being out of school for two weeks, catching up from being out of school for two weeks, the school year ramping up, working as a lifeguard, college visits, her lovely boyfriend, organising an Invisible Children screening, and SLEEPING, this girl – who at one time was rarely without a book in her hand – hasn’t read a novel for pleasure in some time.

She’ll tell you that her favourite part of homeschooling was that she could read all the time.*  Okay, maybe not all the time, but she read books in one sitting more often than not.  She misses that.

Enter: The Hunger Games, Suzanne Collins’ ALA Teens’ Top Ten title.

Last night, I left it on the kitchen counter.  Kristina is very much like me – she’ll read anything while she eats breakfast. She’s just not ready for conversation first thing (plus that missing books thing).  Recently it’s been The Economist or the the Bellevue Reporter because they are what is sitting on the counter.

This morning she opened the book.  And dove in.

Kristina is a speed-reader with near total-retention, but she’s out of practice.  I could see her trying to read at her usual pace, wanting to race through the words.  She glanced at the clock once or twice and turned the page.  And the next… and the next.

She was IN the book, a frown creasing her forehead, her fingers twitching at the corner of the page, poised to turn it the instant her eyes reached the bottom.  I noticed her reaching the edge of a chapter and figured she’d stop there (she dislikes sitting behind the middle-school buses when she drives to school, so she tends to leave early) but she continued.

It was time – I tried to pull her away gently.  “You look a little worried, there.”

She jumped.  “It’s weird!” she said, then paused, thinking about how to describe it.  “It’s like the story of the Minotaur: Aegeus sending the finest youth to appease the monster so he won’t come to our village.”

(She has always loved Greek myths.  I admire that this is her reference point, my lovely nerdy-girl.)

Then she left to brush her teeth, carrying the book in front of her, reading all the while.

I didn’t have the heart to tell her – while I have requested Catching Fire (the sequel) from the library – the third book isn’t out yet.  Which means we’ll have to leave off after the middle book and wait for the resolution of the story until Suzanne Collins writes and publishes the third one.

We don’t tend to like the middle book in a trilogy – it’s dark, and leaves us wondering if anything will ever be right in the world again.  Or it would, if we took our books seriously.

Oh yeah.  We do.

Well done, Suzanne Collins.


* Now she might tell you that her favourite part of homeschooling was not having an alarm clock in the morning.  But she used to say it was the reading.


listening to: Norah Jones, Chasing Pirates (new single)

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