May the Words Be Ever in Your Favor

Another reason to pay attention in school–you could get ideas for your own bestselling dystopian YA series. The Oxford Dictionaries looks at the language of The Hunger GamesThey point out how Panem is a take “panem et circenses,” a reference by Roman poet Juvenal to Ancient Roman society. Another part I liked in particular:

“Like many fantasy writers, Collins has invented some new vocabulary of her own. Anavox is akin to a slave – someone who has been punished for a ‘crime’ and thereby made a mute servant. Her reason for choosing this word is simple: the Greek prefix ‘a’ means ‘without’ and the Latin ‘vox’ means ‘voice’ so avox literally means ‘without voice’.”

When I was in sixth grade, I was so mad at my parents for signing me up for Latin class. But apparently they–and Suzanne Collins–were onto something. From real history to bits of inspired Latin, a little knowledge can really inspire your book.

(image: NYPL Digital Gallery)

Moving on From Panem

My mom read The Hunger Games recently and afterward she told me, “I don’t even know what to do. What else can I read that’s like that?” I suggested The Handmaid’s Tale, which might have been a little too intense for her. (Sorry, Mom.) I should have directed her to the Lawrence Public Library’s flowchart for what to read after The Hunger Games. A sample:

Make sure to click through for the rest of their fantastic suggestions. I might take some of these recommendations to share with my YA Dystopian Society Book Club.

New Games, New Director

I thought Gary Ross did a good job directing The Hunger Games, but since he’s backed out of Catching Fire there’s a lot of speculation as to who will take over. This list rounds up some good choices, like Alfonso Cuarón (who directed the awesome dystopian film Children of Men as well as Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban) and Neill Blomkamp (whose District 9 is amazing).

I’d also recommend David Yates, who helmed the last four Harry Potter films. He can obviously handle children’s/YA adaptations well and work with young actors. Danny Boyle, who directed zombie film 28 Days Later and the heartfelt Millions, would also be a good choice. He handles genre extremely well and always manages to focus on his characters.

Any other directorial suggestions?

Howl Meets the Hunger Games

The Horn Book’s review of The Hunger Games movie alerted me to the fact that Josh Hutcherson (aka Peeta) was Markl in the English version of Howl’s Moving Castle. Check him out in this behind-the-scenes video from the DVD. (Embedding has been disabled, but he comes in around 2:14.) What a cutie!

Even though it’s really different from the book, I love Miyazaki’s adaption. So cool that Josh is in two great adaptions of children’s/YA novels. (Apparently he was also in Bridge to Terabithia and Zathura, but I haven’t seen those.)

This also got me thinking about how intense a Miyazaki Hunger Games adaptation would be. But then again, I want Studio Ghibli to adapt pretty much everything.

A Big Year for Epic Book Adaptations

Like pretty much everyone else in the YA world, I saw The Hunger Games this weekend, and I was very satisfied by the adaptation. Overall I think they edited well in terms of what they could/couldn’t add into the movie (even if it got a little exposition-heavy at times; tracker jackers, anyone?). The performances were all fantastic. I’d been hesitant about Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss just because she looked older than I’d imagined Katniss to be, but she was fantastic. Lots of the more minor characters were excellent, too. (Rue destroyed me!) I’m very excited to see upcoming versions of Catching Fire and Mockingjay.

Another big movie adaptation coming up this year is The Hobbit, which is set to be released in December. The trailer for this one looks great, so hopefully it’s going to be an excellent year for book adaptations.

If you’re so excited about these movies you just want to squish them together into one giant epic, check out this fun quiz, which examines your knowledge of quotes from The Hunger Games and Lord of the Rings. Probably not too hard for fans, but I like getting validated for my knowledge of movie/book trivia.

Your thoughts on The Hunger Games or The Hobbit adaptations?

The Music of District 12

If you’re like me, you’re unreasonably excited about the upcoming Hunger Games movie. The soundtrack was recently revealed, and I’m happy to see some favorite artists on the list, including:

  • Neko Case “Nothing To Remember”
  • The Decemberists “One Engine”
  • Glen Hansard “Take The Heartland”

It looks like the overall vibe is folk with an edge, which I think is perfect. (Frankly, I wish Neko Case could write the whole album; her sound matches the books perfectly.) Even though I don’t listen to much Taylor Swift, I actually like her song for the movie. You can see the video here:

Not as bouncy as a lot of her hits, and it has a nice mountain feel. So I’m very hopeful going into the movie. Any artists you like/dislike on the soundtrack, or anyone you wish were on the list?