Before there was the movie, there was the book.
"The Hunger Games," the first title in Suzanne Collins' dystopian trilogy, grabbed onto the New York Times bestseller list the month it was published -- September 2008 -- and has never let go.
There are now 11 million copies of the young-adult book in print in 47 countries, as well as 2.4 million copies of three new movie tie-in editions.
The story is dark and violent, centering on a resourceful teenage girl named Katniss Everdeen who lives in Panem, "a place that was once called North America."
The country's wealthy Capitol is surrounded by a dozen impoverished districts, and every year two children from each district are chosen to fight to the death in a televised ritual called the Hunger Games.
When Katniss' little sister is chosen, Katniss steps forward and fights in her place.
The book blends the dazzle of an Olympics-like opening ceremony, the curiosity of such reality TV shows as "Survivor" and the haunting, disturbing plots of, perhaps, William Golding's "Lord of the Flies" and Richard Connell's 1924 man-hunts-man short story, "The Most Dangerous Game."