I enjoy a good book. But I don't read a lot. Doesn't make sense, does it? Well, I have to clear out my head completely to get into a book. No distractions of any kind. And if the book grabs me immediately, then that problem is taken care of. Great example: Stephen King's "The Stand." It's the best book ever. Good example: Suzanne Collins' "The Hunger Games." I'm halfway through it.

Now, I started hearing about "The Hunger Games" a year ago and how it was going to be an enormous box office event. Those prognostications were on target--to the tune of $155 million for its opening weekend. I had never heard of "The Hunger Games" but soon learned what a hot trilogy the book series was among young adults.

And, then, I learned that it wasn't just young adults reading the books. And, from what I eventually discovered about the story, it didn't seem like typical teen lit. And, it absolutely is not! The themes I've encountered while reading "The Hunger Games" are decidedly mature, although nothing I wouldn't let a teenager read. Plus, the book's political overtones have been the subject of recent debate. So, I figured I'd better get on board.

"The Hunger Games" is positioning itself as the next big cultural phenomenon, even more so, perhaps than the Harry Potter movies. Sure, the Potter films were enormous successes and a blast to watch--of the eight installments, only one was a clunker, in my opinion. But they didn't feel like this one feels. And I haven't even seen it, yet.

It's funny. I never read any of the Potter books, although I heard they were awesome. And I don't doubt that. But there was something about this trilogy that compelled me to read them before I saw the movies. The other two titles in the series are "Catching Fire" and "Mockingjay." So far, with "The Hunger Games"--the first book--I've not been disappointed. "The Hunger Games" is now playing at the Malco Cinema 16.