I read this week’s book on a Kindle a friend of mine lend me. I have to say I was sceptic, with my aversion to e-readers in general. But at least this way I could pretend to ‘try it out’ instead of actually buying one. Well, I have to grudgingly admit that what I found was not completely horrific and alien. As my eyes started counting down the huge list of books at my disposal if I only pressed the right button, I have to admit my knees started to tremble (just a little bit). The easiness of carrying around a library made me drool and have to admit I secretly made a deal with myself to ask my mum for one on my birthday in May. I am a fan of the discretion it provides and the lightness of it in my bag, but there are issues with this device, old ones, that mean Kindle will always remain secondary to actual, physical books.
I like the feel of a book. I like actually turning a page, feeling the thin layer of paper between my fingers. Leaving my mark on books – cracking the spine, marking my progress with a dog-ear – will probably horrify some book lovers, but for me those have always been the signs of a cherished book (insert here the picture of my almost worn-out copy of Pride and Prejudice…). These are things I will not exchange in order to make my life easier or more convenient. Nevertheless, for a person who needs an ample amount of books at her disposal for coursework and this blog, and who has to travle between two countries multiple times a year, the conveniences of Kindle are undeniable.
the third book
I have been avoinding reading this particular book for quite some time. I did not want to know that the hope ignited in the beginning would almost be extinguished. I did not want to read about these ragged remnants of characters unable to perform in the way I would have liked. Humanity got in the way. Peeta captured, hijacked. Gale, calculative and utilitarian. Katniss, broken and suicidal. Prim, the embodiment of innoscence and also strength, caught in the flames of the war to end all wars. The whole of the book filled with new characters, created only to die and demonstrate the fleeting life a person living in a war zone is likely to have. Chess pieces sacrificed for the greater good. How is that supposed to be entertaining? My guess is, it’s not. What is it supposed to be then? Inspirational? Encouraging? Downright depressing? A resolution at least is expected of the third book in a trilogy, and I feel as if there is still something left unexplained in the end of the epilogue. The epilogue, which actually made me really sad. For Katniss for not being able to be happy and for Peeta for having to plead for 15 years to have kids. For both of them for trying to project an idea of safety and security to their children when they both know it to be a construct, and a fleeting one at that. However, the end finally came, the resolution to the outbreak started by Katniss, I guess as early as when she screamed: “I volunteer!”, in the beginning of The Hunger Games. It was not pretty, it did not end well. Then again, what was I expecting?
building a society
In the brief meeting where Coin wants the victors to agree on final Hunger Games competed among the children of Capitol’s leaders, Katniss strikes gold in her assumption: “Nothing has changed. Nothing will ever change.” Because when we are talking about grand concepts such as building a society, deciding on a legislation, debating on warfare etc, we are really referring to a group of people, in a room, bickering among themselves, each convinced they are right. At least that’s what it feels like. In the course of the series, there are multiple different societies. Obviously, the construct of Hunger Games, the control of population through fear is deemed unsuitable because it involves killing innocent children. Also, the Districts themselves become problematic as Peacekeepers borrow Capitol’s power for their own individual gain. In this book, the system of Distict 13 is presented as an alternative solution, with its seemingly brilliant equality and stability. However, even the most seemingly perfect systems have cracks, because they are controlled by humans. I’m not quite sure what it was supposed to mean, when Katniss chose to hold the last Hunger Games. Was it her attempt to gain Coin’s trust in order to kill her? Or was it her real opinion? I find Katniss hard to like in this book in general. Her character becomes disoriented, suicidal and lacks the fire she is famous for. Then again, I don’t blame her, with everything going on around her, the third Quarter Quell unable to properly end until she finally is sent back home to 12 with Haymitch. The system that was created, a democracy of sorts, will hold, but for how long?
– Jatta –