New MCHS reading program hopes to gain momentum with best-selling trilogy
February 18, 2012
The Hunger Games
• Scheduled release: March 23
• Running time: Approximately two hours, 15 minutes
• Rating: Not yet rated
• Summary: In a post-apocalyptic future, North America is divided into districts, all ruled by a ruthless authoritarian government. Every year, children are randomly selected from each district to participate in The Hunger Games, a brutal fight to the death. When 16-year-old Katniss Everdeen’s younger sister Prim is chosen, Katniss volunteers to take her place.
Most popular books at Moffat County High School
“Blue Is For Nightmares,” a series by Laurie Stolarz
“A Child Called ‘It’: One Child’s Courage to Survive” by Dave Pelzer
“The Heroin Diaries: A Year in the Life of a Shattered Rock Star” by Nikki Sixx
“Crank” by Ellen Hopkins
“House” by Frank Peretti
“Matched” by Allyson Braithwaite Condie
“Dear John” by Nicholas Sparks
“The Lovely Bones” by Alice Sebold
“Mockingjay” by Suzanne Collins
“Water for Elephants” by Sara Gruen
“The Boy in the Striped Pajamas” by John Boyne
“Catching Fire” by Suzanne Collins
“Dreamcatcher” by Stephen King
“Friday Night Lights: a town, a Team and a Dream” by H.G. Bissenger
“Ghost Soldiers: the Epic Account of World War II’s Greatest Rescue Mission” by Hampton Sides
Source: Moffat County High School library
“It was just an easy book to read because you can’t put it down. It’s action-packed.”
— Robin Weible, Moffat County High School library technician, about “The Hunger Games,” the best-selling novel she recommended to headline the school’s first “One Book, One MCHS” reading program.
Robin Weible knew "The Hunger Games" was popular.
She heard about the first book in Suzanne Collins' best-selling series from students at Craig Middle School and Moffat County High School.
Finally, Weible, MCHS library technician, decided to see for herself what all the excitement was about.
She was sucked into the novel, which follows Katniss Everdeen, a 16-year-old girl living in a post-apocalyptic future, who must compete against other young teens in a government-mandated fight to the death.
She could see why word of the book spread like wildfire among young readers.
"It appeals to the guys because it has some blood and some gore and some violence, but it appeals to the girls because it has some romance," she said. "It was just an easy book to read because you can't put it down. It's action packed."
So when library staff recently considered starting a school-wide reading initiative, she knew just which book to suggest.
"The Hunger Games" was the "right book at the right time," Weible said.
"The Hunger Games" will headline the first "One Book, One MCHS" reading initiative, which invites high school students of all ages to read the book and share their thoughts about it during a book discussion in late March.
The book's high demand makes it an ideal selection for the program's inauguration, said James Neton, MCHS librarian and Moffat County School District library coordinator.
"It's been very popular in circulation in our library with the high school students" as well as MCHS staff, he said.
"The Hunger Games" is No. 23 in the list of the library's most popular books. "Catching Fire," the second book in the series, and "Mockingjay," the final installment of the trilogy, take the 12th and ninth places on the list, respectively.
As of Wednesday morning, about 35 students had signed up for the reading initiative, and Darby Andrews' name is first on the list.
"I'm a strong willed person myself, so I enjoy books with strong-willed characters," the MCHS junior said.
Andrews doesn't plan to end with the first book, though. She intends to read "Catching Fire" and "Mockingjay" later.
"I was really looking into reading the whole series because I'm a series reader, and I just enjoy reading a lot," said Andrews, 17. "It's my escape."
The book club's culmination in late March coincides with the release of "The Hunger Games" in theaters March 23.
The film could be available in Craig when it debuts, or, at least that's Debbie Winder's hope.
"I have begged for it," the West Theatre manager said. "… We're just hoping."
The trilogy's appeal extends far beyond the walls of MCHS.
"We've sold a lot of the Hunger Games series," said Josh Beadle, Downtown Books employee.
The trilogy's popularity peaked during Christmas, but it remains a hot item. Since December 2011, the shop has sold a total of 22 books in the series, "which is actually quite a lot," manager Marlana Howell said.
"If it's not No. 1, it's definitely No. 2" on the store's best-seller list, she said.
"The Hunger Games" series is pegged in the young adult genre, but teens are by no means the only ones rushing to pick up the books.
During the Christmas rush, teenagers and adults came into Downtown Books to buy novels in the series, either as gifts or for themselves, Beadle said.
Unlike other bestsellers, the book isn't constrained to gender boundaries. Men and women—as well as teenage boys and girls—are reading it, Howell and Weible said.
One reason Weible picked up the book was because "of the wide range of people that it appeals to, anywhere from … ages 12 to adult," she said.
Howell hasn't read "The Hunger Games" yet, but she plans to do so soon.
"It's on my must-read book list," she said.
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