Variety is the spice of this week’s Buy, Borrow, Bypass. Find out what to read and what to skip.
You’ve seen He Texted, where women submit texts they received from men for the public to help them decode. Now we’re doing it with ambiguous book reviews!
What defines a book review and separates it from other bookish conversations? What do you want from a review?
Children today get an unprecedented dose of adult reality in their books, sometimes without the redemptive beauty, cathartic humor and healing magic of an earlier time. In “The Hunger Games,” the series that best exemplifies this shift, Neverland and Wonderland have been replaced by Panem, a country built on the ruins of what was North America. In an interview, Ms. Collins traced the origins of the books to her anxieties as a child about the possibility that her father might die while fighting in Vietnam. Then, reading the story of Theseus and the Minotaur, she imagined the horrors of parental powerlessness in the face of child sacrifice. The personal mingled with the mythical, then the banal fused with the tragic. While channel surfing years later, Ms. Collins found herself switching between a “Survivor”-style reality show and footage of young people fighting in a real war zone. The lines blurred, and “The Hunger Games” emerged.