Rick Yancey’s sci-fi thriller The 5th Wave has been taking readers—teen and adults, alike—by storm since its publication last month. The post-apocalyptic tale follows 16-year-old Cassie as she navigates a bleak and dangerous dystopia following an alien invasion that has wiped out most of the human race. Our reviewer praised the book's mixture of "high-energy action with sharp psychological tension."
We asked Yancey to tell us about three books he's read recently, and here are his recommendations, in his own words:
Why do you recommend it?
You have to know where you’ve been to understand where you’re going.
What prompted you to read it?
Lyndon Johnson is fascinating. Robert Caro’s choices as biographer are fascinating. The writing itself is fascinating. All books in this remarkable series . . . fascinating.
Why do you recommend it?
The best biography of an American president since Sandburg’s Lincoln.
The Hunger Games trilogy
by Suzanne Collins
What prompted you to read it?
I was worried I’d be the last person in America to read it.
Why do you recommend it?
Book One is a must read. Book Two is nearly a twin of Book One, just some fresh faces to kill off. Book Three . . . well, like a lot of people, I have mixed feelings about it. But why quibble? This series is a bona fide cultural phenomenon.
We mentioned last week that E.L. James' Fifty Shades trilogy reached the 20 million mark in the United States. In fact, sometimes it seems as though all chatter in the book business revolves around this hot (sorry, couldn't resist) series.
Let's not forget about a certain bow-wielding super-heroine, however. This morning, Scholastic released the sales figures for The Hunger Games trilogy, to date. From the press release, here's the news:
As of today, Scholastic has more than 50 million copies of the original three books in The Hunger Games trilogy in print and digital formats in the U.S. (more than 23 million copies of The Hunger Games; more than 14 million copies of Catching Fire; and more than 13 million copies of Mockingjay).
Any Book Case readers out there just now diving into The Hunger Games trilogy? What made you decide to read the books?
TIME Magazine has just released their 2012 Time 100 Poll inviting readers to "[c]ast your votes for the leaders, artists, innovators, icons and heroes that you think are the most influential people in the world." The reader's choice will be published in TIME's April 17 issue, along with the full editor-selected Top 100 list.
The list of candidates is varied and long, but by my quick count, 54 of them fall in the "artist" category. Of those 54, only 4 are primarily known as authors—Suzanne Collins, Pamela Druckerman, George R.R. Martin and Ann Patchett—although Collins and Martin are on the list mainly because of film and TV adaptations of their work. There are 5 more contenders with a literary connection—Jaycee Dugard, Stephen Colbert, Bill McKibben, Ree Drummond and Jeff Bezos. If you count all 9, that's just 16% of the list.
Well, you might think, literary culture these days is so fractured that it's difficult to call a writer "influential." Seems like a decent argument, until you look at some of the other artists. Is there really no one in publishing these days who is more influential than LFMAO? Ashton Kutcher? Or even Daniel Craig, no matter how good he looks in swim trunks? If so, perhaps the industry really is doomed.
Is there an author or publisher you think TIME should have added to their list? Or do you feel this level of literary representation is fair?
p.s. If you want to cast a vote for any of the literary contenders, click on their names. The poll is open until April 6.
Just in case any readers missed the big reveal on Good Morning America today, here is the official Hunger Games trailer!
Ever since I read The Hunger Games and heard it was being turned into a movie, I've thought that it's one thing to read about teenagers massacring each other—and another thing to see it unfold on a 50-foot tall screen. (Although now that I think about it, I'm not sure which is worse. It's pretty horrifying to have those images come alive in your imagination.)
If you've wondered about the look in Katniss's eyes when she hears Prim's name called during the Reaping, or when she talks to Gale . . . wonder no more, and watch the trailer now.
The movie hits theaters on March 23. Who's excited? (And who's worried that she will have to watch half the movie with covered eyes?)
Generally at the Book Case we try to stay above tabloid gossip. But when one of the biggest literary names around decides to start joking about Kim Kardashian's divorce, it's impossible to resist sharing.
Salman Rushdie also hosts a twitter thread called #LiterarySmackdowns, which pits two classics against each other every Monday. This week, it was American Pastoral vs. Portnoy's Complaint. (To find out who won, you'll have to visit the thread.)
Here at BookPage, we've pretty much been drooling over any Hunger Games movie-related news for at least a year. So, when we heard that Vanity Fair scored a photo shoot with the cast—and posted the photos online—it was music to our ears. Check out the photos here, and don't forget to hover your mouse over the various actors. The shot is interactive, and you can read info about each actor (and their role in the movie).
What literary links have you enjoyed this week?
The first clip of The Hunger Games movie was released last night during MTV's Video Music Awards. Jennifer Lawrence introduces the clip, which I'll let speak for itself:
What do you think of the clip?
If you're already itching for the March 23, 2012, release date of The Hunger Games movie to arrive, you could always re-read the book. Thanks to Scholastic, come November 1, you can re-read it in style. Behold The Hunger Games gift edition:
It can be yours for only $30. :) I haven't seen the gift edition yet, but I'm most excited about it because it includes "exclusive new mockingjay artwork." As you can probably tell from the photo, it also includes a slipcase, a cloth cover and deckled edges.
Are there any book collectors/Hunger Games fanatics out there who want to get their hands on this special edition?
Hailee Steinfeld, Abigail Breslin and several other young actresses were rumored to be in the running for this role, and I suspect many fans will raise eyebrows at Lawrence's casting. As we learn early on in The Hunger Games, Katniss has "straight black hair," "olive skin" and "gray eyes," and the blonde, fair Lawrence does not fit this physical description. (She's also four years older than the 16-year-old Katniss.) Still: Appearances aren't everything, and Lawrence's tough, haunting performance in Winter's Bone convinced me that she could be at home in the arena of Panem.
The Hunger Games movie comes out March 23, 2012. Only 366 days to mull over who should play Peeta and Gale, and try to imagine Cinna's amazing costumes!
What do you think of the new Katniss?
Also in BookPage: Read reviews of The Hunger Games and Mockingjay; read an interview with Suzanne Collins about Catching Fire. Also: Watch a video of some very enthusiastic Hunger Games fans.
Start your countdown clocks, Hunger Games fans: Lionsgate Studios announced that they'll release the much-anticipated film version of The Hunger Games on March 23, 2012. But though director Gary Ross plans to begin production on the film this spring, no casting announcements have been made yet. Maybe he's waiting to see if Haillee Steinfeld wins the Academy Award before officially hiring her on?
Collins, a former screenwriter, handled the adaptation of her best-selling novel herself, telling us in a 2009 interview that she was "looking forward to telling the story in a different medium. Of course we will be handling the subject matter very carefully and anticipate that the film will have a PG-13 rating."
Ross's other directing credits include Pleasantville and Seabiscuit (based on the book by Laura Hillenbrand)—which just might be my family's favorite movie of all time.
Entertainment Weekly blogger Darren Franich has posted an amusing "open letter" to Ross, in which he begs for the director to not make the movie gritty:
Reading Hunger Games, you’re struck by just how vivid and alive the forest is. It’s Katniss’ escape from drudgery, the one place she can really feel alive. Listen to her describe the valley outside of District 12: “teeming with summer life, greens to gather, roots to dig, fish iridescent in the sunlight.” That’s sounds more like the Technicolor-organic wilderness of Avatar than the dark, shadowy woods of Twilight. Conversely, the Capitol reads like a fascist version of J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek: too bright, too colorful, overpopulated with highly-caffeinated supermodels. But again, no gritty here.