How'd I end up on this bandwagon?

Monday, September 20, 2010

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I am not a pack follower. I don't ride the bandwagon.

When people start raving about "the latest hot thing" and that I absolutely must see it and will totally love it, I dig in my heels. Nobody tells me what I will or won't like. The cacophony from squealing fans, even when they aren't trying to convince me, makes me want to bury my head until the explosion is over. (Justin Bieber, anyone?)

This is not the same as my friends, having seen what I enjoyed in the past, telling me that they think I might like something they just enjoyed. Such as when you gave me your suggestions for my reading list. You know I like science fiction and fantasy and wanted to try some new authors and books within that category, therefore, you offered your recommendations based on that preference. Lydia went even more specific with her recommendation of Firelight, basing it on my particular bias in favor of dragons.

The books I'm most passionate about get little widespread attention. They don't end up on best seller lists or reside with the mainstream books. Since my favorites don't hang with those hipsters, I won't find other books I might like in those crowds either.

No, the logic does not compute.

I should have learned from Harry Potter. Book 2 had been out with 3 on the way before I picked up The Sorceror's Stone with extreme reluctance. Even though it was fantasy (lower age group aside, since I do still read MG and YA), the hyper attention it was getting made me not want to even look at it. Only the fact that I discovered my mom reading and enjoying it made me decide to give it a chance. (She had only started reading in order to understand the references she heard while subbing. Like mother, like daughter.) By the time I finished the first book, I was hooked on the series. And yes, I was one of those nuts at the midnight releases for the last 2 books.

I should know better by now, right? There's a few of the "must reads" on my reading list. No matter how much I resist, certain books have reached beyond the SF/F community. Stardust, Twilight, Hunger Games, Inkheart. I still expect to gag on Twilight, but I will read it. I put these books on my reading list despite my tendency to resist. I am still not getting on that wagon, d'ya hear?


I just started reading Hunger Games last night. Or to be more specific. I finished reading Hunger Games last night. Around 3am. I could not put it down.

I was about three pages in before I noticed that it was in present tense. So well done that it was all but invisible. Katniss captured my sympathies from the beginning. She didn't care that leaving the District to hunt and gather in the wilderness was illegal. What should have been illegal was the creation of a system that forced her to do so in order to keep her family alive. A system that included the Hunger Games in order to keep the Districts subdued under the Capital's will.

The Hunger Games: if you don't know anything about the book yet, think Gladiator combined with The Highlander. Giant arena. Twenty-four contestants. There can be only one...winner.

When the annual lottery draws her sister's name from the girls' ball, Katniss plows her way forward to volunteer in Prim's place. Sweet and gentle, Prim wouldn't have lasted the first hour of the Games. Katniss at least has a fighting chance. She'll need every chance she can get. It'll be brutal out there. It doesn't help that she has a half-forgotten obligation of gratitude to the boy who will be her fellow contender. Let the Games begin!

Katniss reminds me of Nya from The Shifter. They are both spunky and operate on the outskirts of the law. Both are forced to weigh ethics against survival for themselves and the people they care about. Tough choices make for gripping stories.

Wait. What am I doing on this wagon and where is it taking me? I didn't ask to join the crowd, but I can't get down now.

Can this thing go any faster? Catching Fire, here I come!


Emily White said...

Hehehe! You are too cute! Yeah, The Hunger Games is pretty amazing. I'm still waiting on Catching Fire at my library, though. Sigh.

Brad said...

I'm with you; when people start getting on the bandwagon, it makes me want to start looking for a taxi to ride instead. Something I might have to share with a couple of others, but not the teeming masses.
However, like you've discovered, sometimes people start following stuff because it turns out it's really good, and I won't deny myself that just because everyone else is gushing about it.
Just a warning: Twilight doesn't fall into that category.

Jaleh D said...

Hahaha, I like the way you put it, Brad. Looking for a taxi, indeed.

My mother-in-law is going to check out Catching Fire for me at her library. I'm just having her wait until October to give me time to attempt to read all the ones I already have checked out.

Jai Joshi said...

Owww... I'm intrigued to hear that you're enjoying Hunger Games. I haven't read it yet but your review makes me think I should check it out.

Like you I'm not a bandwagon kind of person but there are some books that are so good that I don't care how much hype they get, I want to read them!


Nauni said...

If you want a book that should have received all the hype and adoration of crazy fans you should read "The Name of the Wind" I have been waiting and waiting and waiting for book two. I should say I waited for 3 years to get a Release Date for book two, thank god it finally comes out in march :D Maybe you can wait to read it in 15 years when Rothfuss finally gets the 4 of them out, or 3, I hope its only 3. But When I got to the end of book one and realized that it wasn't over and there was nothing for me to plug into I was crushed. I must say I resisted reading it myself because I had a crazy friend who put it in my hands every day and I won't mention it but this once, I promise. But if you are going to ride a few bandwagons here and there, ride mine for a while lol. I have comfy seats. <3

Jaleh D said...

Oh my, that's a long wait. I'll think I'll pass for now, but I might check it out in the future. :D

Hunger Games was fantastic, not something to read if you are feeling moody, but a deep, well-told story.

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