I like to think that I was the first one to discover "The Hunger Games." I mean, I didn't catch on to "Harry Potter" until after the fourth one was released. I hadn't even heard of "Twilight" until after "Eclipse" was in bookstores.
But "The Hunger Games" ... I ran (literally) to a bookstore and purchased the first one before it had even been in print for two weeks. I read it, loved it and raved about it to all my friends.
Most of them rolled their eyes at me at first, but slowly, one by one, they caught on. Is this how it worked for "Harry Potter" and "Twilight?" By the time the second book was released I had a few close friends whom I could squeal with and text, "What chapter are you on?"
And now, "The Hunger Games" series is slowly surfacing as the countdown to the release of the third and final book continues. But I'm not advertising the next "Harry Potter" or "Twilight." I'm speculating about how books seem to suddenly jump from oblivion to bestseller lists in the blink of an eye. I'm rummaging through a pile of thoughts concerning crazes, obsessions and the things we are passionate about.
It's human nature to be passionate about something or other. This can be a way for us to connect with other people, by sharing interests and by getting excited about a book or a movie or a football team. Things seem to become popular because people enjoy sharing a particular interest.
I've never really considered myself a person who is into anything like that. My family has never followed a particular sports team, I don't care who wins -- BYU or U of U, I don't hang "Twilight" posters in my room, etc. But then I think about some of my passions, and to others I may seem just as obsessed as those who line up for days to get the latest iPhone.
For example: books. I love them. I collect them and read them when I'm supposed to be doing homework. Sometimes I claim to have the imaginary disease "MOLD" -- Mental Obsessive Literary Disorder. So could something good like a passion for reading, turn into an obsession that is addicting and destructive? What if I was to read but ignore my studies, family and friends and my own life? What if I became more interested in the lives of characters than in my own?
Could the little things that we have "obsessions" and "crazes" over be distracting us from the more important elements in life that get shoved onto the back burner? People can get so involved in these little "things" that they focus more on their passions than living their own lives. People spend hours on video/computer games, working up to new levels and such, but in their REAL life they begrudge exercise, practicing the piano, developing relationships, or doing things that will work them up to "new levels" in life.
However, for some, an obsession could become a meaningful part of their lives. I am channeling my love for literature and writing into an educational field and a future career. The boy who spends hours on the computer could develop the future of technology. I wouldn't be typing this article on the computer if it were not for the passions of our predecessors.
Our interests and passions should be bridled and developed so that they exemplify and enrich our lives, instead of distracting from them. We should not shut ourselves away from the things that are important by becoming "obsessed" with things we are passionate about. There should be no interest important enough to be put before family, education and living life itself. We should focus on developing talents, strengthening character, building friendships and serving others.
So why then, am I planning a huge event for the release of the third "Hunger Games" book, "Mockingjay?" An event that will include costume contests, homemade T-shirts, survival training, our own "Hunger Games," and cracking open the final book at midnight?
Go figure. :)
Alexandra Burton will be a senior at Ogden High School. E-mail her at email@example.com.