It's my great-niece Sydney's fault.
She's the one who suggested I read a certain book series. And when I took up that suggestion, it was like returning to the days of my youth, when an obsession with a book would block out anything else.
Sydney's 13 and lives in New Mexico with her parents, my nephew Maxx Palmer and his wife, Amanda. She has told me several times that the three-book anthology that is "The Hunger Games" series was good.
Finally, with the holidays over and the long days of winter looming, for the first time in many years, I started a book series and quickly found Sydney was correct. Author Suzanne Collins has created fascinating characters and an interesting dystopian universe in her series.
Of course, the first book in the series had been made into a film starring Jennifer Lawrence that was a huge hit. That was "The Hunger Games" and I watched it on DVD, enjoying the action-packed film.
Book two, "Catching Fire," is going to be released as a film as well and after reading it, that's something to which I look forward.
Once I got started on it, "Catching Fire" became a priority, which is something a book hasn't been since I picked up "Into the Wild" many years back. That one, by Jon Krakauer, was finished in two sittings, with about two hours of sleep in between those two sessions.
In my teen years, books would consume me, making me think about them even when I wasn't reading. In particular, my favorite book of all time, "The Outsiders" by S.E. Hinton, had me thinking constantly about Ponyboy, Sodapop and Darrel Curtis and their lives as "greasers" in Oklahoma the first time I read it in seventh grade.
"Catching Fire" was a page-turner for me and so is the final novel in the trio, "Mockingjay," which I have almost finished.
The thing is, once I do finish books that are obsessions, I'm left a bit sad that the adventure is over.
In my adult years, magazines are more what I read obsessively. By nature, they are quicker reads after a long work day. But Sydney's suggestion has spurred me to think about which series to take on next, once "Mockingjay" is finished.
The best part of all? These books have lead me back to my neighborhood library as that's where I secured them. It had been many years since I'd checked out a book from the Negaunee Public Library. In fact, I had to reapply for a library card.
What a treasure that place is. Visiting takes me back, again, to my younger years, when I'd go there after my extracurricular activities at Negaunee High to wait for my mom or dad to pick me up.
If you haven't visited your local library lately, you should. Ebooks, paperbacks and DVDs are all there, but so are hardcover books. There's nothing quite a satisfying as closing the cover on a book when you've finished a great read.
And I thank Sydney for reminding me of that.
Renee Prusi can be contacted at 906-228-2500, ext. 253. Her email address is firstname.lastname@example.org