As part of my continuing effort to make the best of the “All North Florida Tour” (AKA my 74 mile round-trip commute on days I pick up and drop off the kids), I started listening last week to The Hunger Games on CD in the car. When got to the soccer field on Friday to pick up T, I had two thoughts: (1) I hope they haven’t noticed that I’m here yet so I’ll have a few more minutes to listen to the book, and (2) I’m going to go crazy waiting until Monday to be able to listen again. And, of course, I just spent ten minutes sitting in my car in the driveway, listening to the dog whimpering to be let out, because I really needed to know Katniss’s plan before I turned the book off for the night.
The really amazing thing is, so far I haven’t (a) gotten into a wreck because I was so into the book that I forgot to pay attention to other cars or (b) found myself randomly crossing the Georgia border because I forgot to take my exit 45 miles earlier. Both of these are really surprising.
I’ve listened to a lot of books on CD in the car in the past two-and-a-half years. Many of them have been great books (e.g., The Watsons Go to Birmingham, 1963 — if you haven’t read this book, you should. It’s hilarious and meaningful. I’ll never think of Yakety Yak in quite the same way again.) But I don’t think I’ve listened to one yet that had me so completely involved in the story. I think about it during the day. I dream about it at night. I nearly drive myself crazy googling “Hunger Games” or “Katniss” or “Peeta Mellark” and then forcing myself not to click on any of the links for fear I’ll see spoilers. And for someone used to reading whole books in a night, it takes so amazingly long to listen to a 350+ page book. I admit, though I keep being tempted to just go buy the book and get it over with, I know that I’m enjoying more by letting the story play out slowly. I get a chance to actually worry about Katniss, and Peeta, and Rue, instead of just turning the page and plowing through to find out what happens next.
I’m about halfway through the book now. Can Suzanne Collins possibly keep up the tension for another 4 CDs? Will I go nuts waiting a whole week to get to the end of the book? And will the end of Book 1 just make me desperately want to read Catching Fire? We’ll see.