THE HUNGER GAMES COMPANION

Fans of The Hunger Games trilogy will be happy to see this unauthorized guide to the series, which offers background, analyses of themes and reflections on various issues.

But many of the series’ younger readers will be disappointed, as this is written for an adult and older teen audience. In connecting Collins’ dystopian world with modern American society, Gresh covers such intellectual fare as the disparities of wealth in both societies, global warming, the failure of the media today to report real news, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn and the GULAGS and a three-page outline of Roman atrocities worse than those in The Hunger Games. Readers may find themselves burdened by too much information on topics tangential to the novel: knife throwing, spear throwing, folklore about axes, information on how long it takes to starve, types of bombs, effects of electric shocks on the body, types of plagues and a survey of types of torture and execution. There’s even an odd thread of “Doomsday Predictions” throughout the volume. Readers who persist will find some interesting and useful material here, such as the roots of the series in the Greek tales of Theseus and the Minotaur, an appendix on various apocalyptic scenarios in dystopian literature and a recommended list of further readings.

 

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-312-61793-6

Page Count: 256

Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin

Review Posted Online: Sept. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2011

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Small but mighty necessary reading.

THE NEW QUEER CONSCIENCE

From the Pocket Change Collective series

A miniature manifesto for radical queer acceptance that weaves together the personal and political.

Eli, a cis gay white Jewish man, uses his own identities and experiences to frame and acknowledge his perspective. In the prologue, Eli compares the global Jewish community to the global queer community, noting, “We don’t always get it right, but the importance of showing up for other Jews has been carved into the DNA of what it means to be Jewish. It is my dream that queer people develop the same ideology—what I like to call a Global Queer Conscience.” He details his own isolating experiences as a queer adolescent in an Orthodox Jewish community and reflects on how he and so many others would have benefitted from a robust and supportive queer community. The rest of the book outlines 10 principles based on the belief that an expectation of mutual care and concern across various other dimensions of identity can be integrated into queer community values. Eli’s prose is clear, straightforward, and powerful. While he makes some choices that may be divisive—for example, using the initialism LGBTQIAA+ which includes “ally”—he always makes clear those are his personal choices and that the language is ever evolving.

Small but mighty necessary reading. (resources) (Nonfiction. 14-18)

Pub Date: June 2, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-09368-9

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Penguin Workshop

Review Posted Online: March 29, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2020

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A fierce, penetrating, and empowering call for change.

BEYOND THE GENDER BINARY

From the Pocket Change Collective series

Artist and activist Vaid-Menon demonstrates how the normativity of the gender binary represses creativity and inflicts physical and emotional violence.

The author, whose parents emigrated from India, writes about how enforcement of the gender binary begins before birth and affects people in all stages of life, with people of color being especially vulnerable due to Western conceptions of gender as binary. Gender assignments create a narrative for how a person should behave, what they are allowed to like or wear, and how they express themself. Punishment of nonconformity leads to an inseparable link between gender and shame. Vaid-Menon challenges familiar arguments against gender nonconformity, breaking them down into four categories—dismissal, inconvenience, biology, and the slippery slope (fear of the consequences of acceptance). Headers in bold font create an accessible navigation experience from one analysis to the next. The prose maintains a conversational tone that feels as intimate and vulnerable as talking with a best friend. At the same time, the author's turns of phrase in moments of deep insight ring with precision and poetry. In one reflection, they write, “the most lethal part of the human body is not the fist; it is the eye. What people see and how people see it has everything to do with power.” While this short essay speaks honestly of pain and injustice, it concludes with encouragement and an invitation into a future that celebrates transformation.

A fierce, penetrating, and empowering call for change. (writing prompt) (Nonfiction. 14-adult)

Pub Date: June 2, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-09465-5

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Penguin Workshop

Review Posted Online: March 15, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2020

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