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December 2, 2012

Hollywood’s 25 Most Powerful Authors

Power_Authors_Reese_Witherspoon_Flynn_a_h_300“I don’t expect anything to be like ‘Twilight’ again,” says Stephenie Meyer, who joins J.K Rowling, E.L. James and Suzanne Collins on the list of writers who have the industry hanging on their every word.

When THR contacted James Patterson about being on its inaugural list of the 25 most powerful authors in Hollywood, he scoffed. “Power list? More like powerless list”

But while conventional wisdom puts writers far down the totem pole, the truth is that from The Hunger Games to the upcoming The Hobbit, books remain the most durable source of content for films and TV.

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August 27, 2012

Better than “Hunger Games”?

Jennifer Lawrence in “The Hunger Games”

Go ahead, watch the Jennifer Lawrence flick again now that it is on DVD. But pair it with the classic “Naked Prey”

By Erik Nelson

Ever since the release of the 1932 pre-Code classic “The Most Dangerous Game,” hunting humans for sport has been one of the world’s oldest movie pastimes. It allows the audiences to have it both ways: to feel superior to the craven fictional thrill-seekers who implement these hunts, and viscerally partake in the same process.

The genesis of the dangerous game that drives “The Hunger Games” is somewhat more complicated. It is the end product of a true cultural Cuisinart. Some point to the Japanese novel and film “Battle Royale”; others to the over-the-top Italian movie “The Tenth Victim,” based on Robert Sheckley’s 1953 short story. Then, there is Shirley Jackson’s “The Lottery” and Richard Dawson’s greatest hit “The Running Man,” or Stephen King’s other futuristic nightmare, “The Long Walk.”

“Hunger Games” author Suzanne Collins freely credits another inspiration, the classical myth of “Theseus and Minotaur.” But if the chronology were more supportive, I’d go with the stated platform of the Romney/Ryan/Rand campaign. Both Collins’ book and the film adaptation represent everything the Tea Party hates about Hollywood: skillful left-wing propaganda that shamelessly pushes forward the concept of class warfare while at the same time reducing the ruling elite to stereotypical, cartoon villains.

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August 17, 2012

A prestige-free zone

J.K. Rowling, Stephenie Meyer and Suzanne Collins

The reason why women writers dominate young-adult literature is the reason why many guys avoid it

By Laura Miller

The prototypical YA (Young Adult, i.e., early teen) novel “The Catcher in the Rye” may have been written by the late, reclusive and definitely male J.D. Salinger, but nowadays, YA — like Elvis on “Happy Days” — is a chick thing. So says Meghan Lewit in a recent post to the Atlantic’s website, and she has the numbers to prove it, sort of: A little over half of the titles in a reader poll of the 100 “best-ever teen novels” are by women. This counts as “dominance” because in almost every other poll of best-ever books (whatever the category), works by men greatly outnumber those by women.

Ask anyone in the book business if Lewit is right, and they’ll probably agree; with a few exceptions, the most successful and prominent contemporary YA writers are women. Furthermore, the cultural infrastructure supporting their books — from agents and editors to librarians, teachers and that formidable new force in the YA world, bloggers — is predominantly female. Some observers blame this state of affairs for the drop-off in boys’ reading habits as they reach their teens; it’s a system ill-suited to producing books that will interest boys, they argue. But if YA has indeed become a gynocracy, few ask why.

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August 14, 2012

The Best of the Young Adult ‘B-Sides’: Suzanne Collins, Markus Zusak, and More

AP Photo/Victoria Will

By Jen Doll

The term “B-side” is an old-fashioned record-speak way of distinguishing the big hit or hits of an artist or band from their more obscure work. In the old, old, old days, you might get a two-sided vinyl single or a cassette tape: The “A-side” featured the mainstream, popular song; the “B” had tunes you might not have even heard on the radio, but when you gave them a listen, often you found you quite liked them, maybe even better than the billboard hits on side A. Sometimes such songs were compiled into entire B-side albums, which superfans of a band could add to their comprehensive collections. Inspired by that turn of phrase, we have sought out the best “B-sides” of some of your favorite Y.A. and children’s authors.

Often these are also successful, award-winning books in their own right, but for whatever reason they simply haven’t achieved quite the same level of fame as some of their authors’ other works. That doesn’t mean they’re not worth reading, or even, in some ways, better than the more popular books.

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Women On The Rise Among The World’s Top-Earning Authors

Janet Evanovich

By Jeff Bercovici

Watch your back, James Patterson. Sleep with one eye open, Stephen King.

Men still top the list of the world’s highest-earning authors, but this year it’s the women on the list who’ve been making the boldest moves, led by a trio of genre phenoms: Suzanne Collins, E.L. James and J.K. Rowling.

With $20 million in earnings, almost all of it from sales of her “Hunger Games” books, Collins didn’t quite make the most recent edition of the FORBES Celebrity 100. But that was only because she had yet to see her full portion of the proceeds from the first “Hunger Games” film.

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July 12, 2012

Final “Hunger Games” film to be split in two parts

Filed under: film adaptations — Tags: , , , , , , — Bookblurb @ 6:15 pm

“Mockingjay,” the final film installment of the blockbuster book series, “The Hunger Games,” will be split into two parts, with the movies to be released in 2014 and 2015, the Lionsgate studio said on Tuesday.

Lionsgate, a unit of Lions Gate Entertainment, said “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 1” will hit theaters on November 21, 2014, and “Part 2” on November 20, 2015.

“The Hunger Games” film franchise is based on a best-selling science-fiction trilogy by author Suzanne Collins and follows the story of rebel heroine Katniss Everdeen, who tries to fight the oppressive regime ruling the nation of Panem.

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July 2, 2012

Your E-Book Is Reading You

Digital-book publishers and retailers now know more about their readers than ever before. How that’s changing the experience of reading.


It takes the average reader just seven hours to read the final book in Suzanne Collins’s “Hunger Games” trilogy on the Kobo e-reader—about 57 pages an hour. Nearly 18,000 Kindle readers have highlighted the same line from the second book in the series: “Because sometimes things happen to people and they’re not equipped to deal with them.” And on Barnes & Noble’s Nook, the first thing that most readers do upon finishing the first “Hunger Games” book is to download the next one.

In the past, publishers and authors had no way of knowing what happens when a reader sits down with a book. Does the reader quit after three pages, or finish it in a single sitting? Do most readers skip over the introduction, or read it closely, underlining passages and scrawling notes in the margins? Now, e-books are providing a glimpse into the story behind the sales figures, revealing not only how many people buy particular books, but how intensely they read them.

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April 9, 2012

A Radical Female Hero From Dystopia


KATNISS EVERDEEN, the 16-year-old “Hunger Games” warrior who has torn through the box office, is one of the most radical female characters to appear in American movies. The film’s stunning success can partly be explained by the print sales of Suzanne Collins’s trilogy of young-adult novels, which jumped to more than 36.5 million in March from 16 million in November, suggesting that the anticipation for the film was feeding demand for the books. At the same time there’s more to Katniss fever than page-screen synergy. Manohla Dargis and A. O. Scott, the chief film critics of The New York Times, examine this complex, at times contradictory character.

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March 22, 2012

When a book gets popular, parodies aren’t far behind

By Carol Memmott

Parody may be the sincerest form of flattery, especially when it comes to blockbuster books.

The Hunger Games and A Game of Thrones are just the latest to be spoofed.

The Hunger Pains from The Harvard Lampoon (Touchstone, $13.99, in stores) is a send-up of Suzanne Collins’ young-adult novel about a dystopian society in which teenagers fight to the death on live TV. The parody arrives as the highly anticipated movie version is set to open Friday. Collins’ heroine is Katniss Everdeen; Hunger Pains renames her Kantkiss Neverclean.

•On sale Tuesday is A Game of Groans: A Sonnet of Slush and Soot (Thomas Dunne, $9.99) by George R.R. Washington (Chicago-based writer Alan Goldsher). It’s a parody of George R.R. Martin’s A Game of Thrones, the first book in the epic A Song of Ice and Fire fantasy series. It’s perfectly timed, too: The second season of HBO’s Game of Thrones miniseries premieres April 1.

•Published last year, The Girl With the Sturgeon Tattoo (St. Martin’s Griffin, $9.99), by the pseudonymous Lars Arffssen, was inspired by The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.Stieg Larsson’s computer hacker heroine, Lisbeth Salander, is called Lizzy Salamander in the parody.

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The Cross-Generational Pull of ‘The Hunger Games’


Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss Everdeen in 'The Hunger Games'/Photo: Murray Close

By Kate Bussmann

When Jennifer Lawrence appeared from nowhere in “Winter’s Bone,” the makers of “The Hunger Games” must have done a double take. Although one is contemporary realism and the other is dystopian fantasy, the roles themselves are strikingly similar. In each, a stoical teenager steps up to save her family from destitution, with her mother incapable and father absent. There are even parallel scenes where she kills and skins a squirrel.

Although she was Oscar-nominated for the role, from the moment Lawrence’s name was connected to Katniss Everdeen, the flawed but fierce heroine at the heart of Suzanne Collins’ trilogy, fans began to revolt. They complained that the now twenty-one-year-old was too old to play sixteen, that she wasn’t dark or gaunt enough, even that her hair was too short. They wanted Hailee Steinfeld from “True Grit,” Saoirse Ronan from “Hanna,” or Chloe Grace Moretz from “Kick-Ass” – all roles that put young girls in extreme situations. There were even some who wanted Harry Potter’s Emma Watson.

Collins, however, was delighted. “We have found Katniss,” she told Entertainment Weekly. “I never thought we’d find somebody this amazing for the role. And I can’t wait for everyone to see her play it.”

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