In Suzanne Collins's trilogy, and the recent movie
adaptation of the first book, the Hunger Games are a nationally-televised
spectacle in which 24 randomly chosen teenagers are forced to fight to the
death in a man-made arena. The annual Hunger Games are an instrument of
oppression by the Capitol--the center of totalitarian power that survived a
rebellion--to remind the 12 districts under its power just how powerless they
The citizens of the Capitol love the Hunger Games. To
them it is pure entertainment. To the citizens of the 12 subservient districts,
it is a form of torture. Their children and neighbors become murderers or
victims, and they are forced to watch (literally--viewing is mandatory).
There is a paradox at the heart of The Hunger Games' appeal.
Many, many things happen in Miriam Toews's slim new novel—drug dealing, a shotgun wedding, filmmaking, filicide, teenagers running away, political protests—and all of them happen in a year of the life of Irma Voth, a 19-year-old Mennonite living in Mexico.
Music historian Craig Monson had the rare privilege of doing research in the Vatican Archive reading room. That collection isn't indexed, and the archivists apparently are not eager to help with anything besides fetching books from the library, so researchers usually have to pore over lots of material before finding what they're after.
In the opening pages of The Illumination, a woman cuts her finger with a knife and the wound emits a silvery light. At the hospital, she learns that this is happening all over the world—every site of injury, pain or sickness shines.
Alister McGrath, one of modern Christianity's foremost theological voices, is writing children's books. The Aedyn Chronicles are a series in which two British siblings, Peter and Julia, are magically transported to the land of Aedyn, once a paradise, where it is their destiny to set things right.
In Laurence Cossé's A
Corner of the Veil, a French novel translated into English in 1999, a
society of priests known as the Casuists come upon the proof of the existence
of God. (The proof is a document mailed to the editor of the society's
magazine, a point of fact that endeared the book to me right away, since I open
the Century's mail.)
On the Shelf
A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption
A few weeks ago, on my way home on a crowded rush-hour train, I was
slouched down in my seat trying to hide my uncontrollable crying. I was sobbing
not for the lost souls of the world but because I had reached the end of Unbroken,
a new book by Laura Hillenbrand. As embarrassing as my public display of
emotion was, I could not stop reading.
By Emma Donoghue
The Lonely Polygamist
By Brady Udall
The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet
By David Mitchell
By Nicole Krauss
I Curse the River of Time
By Per Petterson, trans. Charlotte Barslund with Per Petterson