'The Hunger Games': a quick guide for the uninitiated

The books continue to top the best-seller lists. The first movie adaptation arrives on March 23. There's no doubt about it: Suzanne Collins' 'Hunger Games' trilogy is everywhere. Are you one of the uninitiated (ie, the only one of your friends not to have raced through the books?) Not to worry – we'll help you catch up. Here are 'The Hunger Games' – 8 plot points from the first book to help you distinguish your Capitol from your Cinna. (And we promise not to give away major spoilers or tell you the ending.)

Murray Close/HONS/Lionsgate/AP

1. Panem

The Capitol Lionsgate/YouTube screenshot

The name of the country where "The Hunger Games" is set, Panem, may be unfamiliar, but the area is closer to home than you may think. In Collins' world, some mysterious disaster – it's never stated what – caused what was essentially the end of civilization. America is gone, but on the continent of North America, a new country called Panem formed. (The word "Panem" is part of the Latin phrase "panem et circenses," which means "bread and circuses.") The country was divided into 13 districts, and the city called the Capitol ruled over the area. At the beginning of what is known as the Dark Days in Collins' novels, the districts started a revolution against the Capitol, and during the warfare, the area known as District 13 was destroyed entirely. The other districts were defeated by the government. 

1 of 8

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.