I recently finished listening to the audio of Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games, and I’m halfway through the sequel, Catching Fire. It’s this little-known series about a girl, a dystopian society, and a twisted battle-to-the-death-as-entertainment scenario. Maybe you’ve heard of it?

In college for papers I’d often use compendiums, especially for Shakespeare. So, for example, I once wrote a paper on the use of the word “strange” in The Tempest, so I went to the compendium and found a listing of every single time the word was used. If ever a compendium is made for The Hunger Games, I’d love to see how many times food is mentioned. It makes sense that Katniss, who has had to struggle for every bit of food that passes her lips, would wax ecstatic over the bountiful food of the capital.

I was most interested in the bread.

I had a professor in college who was fixated on the use of bread in literature, specifically whole grain versus white. White is of course refined, while whole grain is more natural. He argued that you could tell the whole outlook of society by how they described the bread. If white bread was a luxury, then refinement, manners, and social class were highly valued. If instead it was disdained, and whole grain got the nod, then this was a time in society that valued the working class, was back to nature, and avoided pretense. So I loved that each district had its own style of bread.

Yes, it’s a New York Times bestselling sensation, and I’m focused on the bread.

I’ve heard that there’s some Team Peeta vs. Team Gale style rumblings (incidentally, listening to the audio, I thought the reader was just mis-pronouncing Peter for most of the first book). I’m Team Gale for what it’s worth, though that probably has more to do with his having less screen time. He’s capable, moody, and doesn’t have a chance to utter the cheesey lines that Peeta often does. But really, I’m Team Katniss. Witty, resourceful, stubborn, kind, and skilled, she’s a perfect heroine.

Hunger in the Hunger Games
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