With finals starting this week you may feel like you are living in your own personal dystopia. Keeping that in mind, this week and throughout exam week I will be posting a book blurb on some of the dystopian fiction owned by the John Tyler libraries.

I like the definition the Purdue English department gives for dystopia (of course I like it—they are the same people who brings us the incomparable Purdue OWL!): “An imagined universe (usually the future of our own world) in which a worst-case scenario is explored; the opposite of utopia.” While such classics as 1984 and Brave New World come to mind the recent popularity of Suzanne Collins’s Hunger Games trilogy has led to an explosion of books, particularly young adult novels depicting dark, oppressive governments trying to control their citizens through original and often deadly methods.

If you are interested in reading dystopian fiction The Hunger Games makes a great starting point. Katniss Everdeen lives with her mother and sister in an impoverished district similar to the mining areas of Appalachia. Every year tribute is demanded of each district in the country—a girl and boy between 12 and 18 are chosen by lottery. Those selected are pitted against each other in a finish-to-the-death, televised-to-the-country competition—the Hunger Games. When Katniss’s younger sister’s name is drawn Katniss volunteers in her place. Her empathy for her sister and her determined resourcefulness will have you cheering for her success. Katniss’s adventures continue in Catching Fire and Mockingjay.

The Hunger Games 374 pages

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