10. Battle Royale, Koushun Takami (March 22)
I actually didn’t choose to buy this book, it was given to me. I picked it up to read after the Capote because it’s long, and I wanted to see if I could finish it before my flight to Australia on the 25th. Done!
My friend Ivanny came to visit in May of last year, and he gave each of us a book: this was the one he gave me. I absolutely loved the movie and also was interested in the (very obvious) connections made between this story and the Hunger Games series, which I’d already read at the time of viewing. I’m not sure if he knew how much I enjoyed the movie, but if he follows the blog, he might have known. He’s got great taste in movies and books, so he is always trusted in his choices:)
So, this book. I was honestly a bit intimidated by the size (608 pages), especially considering the fact I’d be carrying it around with me and only reading it on the train or at work. I wasn’t sure I could finish it in time.
However, it turned out to be pretty easy: a few stints of missing students or breaks at work helped, as did the fact that the story is absolutely easy to read, even though it’s a translation. The translator (Yuji Oniki) did a stellar job, and this story flowed perfectly.
Although I was a fan of the movie, the book (as always) was much better. I understand changes have to be made when adapting a book to film, but in this case, the film left out something that was also mostly missing from the Hunger Games movies: a lack of inner monologue from the main character (whose mind we read most of the time as the omniscient third eye), and also in this story, the thoughts of every other student on the island.
The movie clearly had to simplify into good vs bad people, but the book gives a much more nuanced look at how each of the students felt and thought. As expected, just about everyone was terrified, and the major bad student was a downright psychopath. Bad guy #2 (actually a girl) was just a sociopath effected by childhood events.
Minor changes to the movie aside, it followed the story in the book really closely (although now I want to watch it again, as it’s been a few years).
The book was so easy to read. I didn’t want to put it down. I almost got annoyed if we spent 3 chapters with our protagonists, because it meant we wouldn’t read about other students dying. How terrible of me, right? It was almost more interesting to read about the lesser characters, regardless of whether they fit into stereotypes or tropes (which they clearly did, but ok).
Highly recommend. I am reading some excellent books this year.