Hello fellow readers,
It’s been a while since my last update. To be completely honest, health problems had taken their toll for a while and only recently have I began to get a better handle on them. In the meantime since my last post, I’ve fulfilled two of my categories and am currently working on the third:
A book that’s been translated from another language – Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky
A biography or autobiography – The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin by Benjamin Franklin
and lastly, the one in progress,
A book about your favorite animal – The Elephant Whisperer by Lawrence Anthony, Graham Spence
So let’s start with the fact that it is extremely tough to narrow down each category to only one book. That’s also the cool thing about a book challenge, though, because you’re forced to explore different categories you may not have before. I had some runner ups in the three previously listed categories that I plan to read later on: Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes, John Adams by David McCullough, and Merle’s Door: Lessons from a Freethinking Dog by Ted Kerasote. There were other books that have also caught my eye, but these were the books that almost were read for this challenge. However, I’m pretty happy with the books I did choose.
CRIME AND PUNISHMENT
Okay, so this book is considered a tough and long read. It was over 500 pages, which really isn’t long compared to some other popular books, but the thing is… It’s a tough read. What do I mean by this?
Well, for one it is Russian literature and in a different time, so there’s a couple aspects that cause it to seem detached.There’s a lot of poverty and poor living conditions, a lot of different social norms, a lot of unhappiness, and oh yeah, a lot of drinking and stumbling around.
Secondly, it was basically a meditation on what crime and punishment mean, with a main character who did not ACTUALLY seem to feel remorse for his actions. Say what?! Yep, it’s true. When I first began the book, the main character (I call him “Ras” because I can’t pronounce his name very well) seemed to be down for the count after his crime. So, I assumed this was due to extreme guilt and remorse. Continue to read, and this is very debatable. A lot of questioning as to his thinking comes into play, especially when you are exposed to an article he wrote. Why did he actually commit this crime and did he feel bad, but just didn’t want to admit it? Or did he honestly just not feel bad? And what is wrong with this dude?
Thirdly, there’s a lot of lulls. During the reading, there will be a time when there is a lot happening at once, and then it is back to a long lull, which is why it came across as more of a meditation meant to evoke your thoughts on this matter. There’s also a lot of cat and mouse in the book. Which kept me wondering what was actually going on and what was going to happen, which helps to get through the lulls.
Honestly, I think this book is meant to be studied in a classroom setting. There is probably a lot of history I was unaware of and there’s so much that could be dissected from this book in a guided classroom discussion. Not to mention the papers one could write in reflection of the material. There are religious aspects, moral aspects, mortality, Russian history, family and friend aspects (not to mention loyalty), psychology, criminal justice… Like I said, there’s a lot you could do with this book in the classroom.
This book isn’t going to be for everyone, that’s for sure. But if it’s something you decide to go ahead and read, be sure you are dedicated to read it until the end. Only then can you get the full effect, as it is with any book. And be prepared to have a lot of thoughts! Mine tended to center around, “what is WRONG with you, Ras?”
THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN
Ah, what a nice change of pace! I ended up listening to the audio book of this one (while still getting through Crime and Punishment) because when it gets extra busy in life, you may not always be able to sit down and read, but you have time to listen!
This book evoked so many thoughts. I absolutely LOVED this one and am so glad to have chosen it for this challenge. Benjamin Franklin has such an eloquent and prestigious way of speaking. The words leak the intelligence and communication skills he encompassed. He truly craved improvement and knowledge, not to mention he seemed extremely ahead of his time. An interesting thing though, as ahead of his time and unique as he was in his time, these types of people still exist. Those who are pushing boundaries, ready to listen and change their ideas if needed, alter their diets as they learn the benefits, etc. Read the book and you’ll understand what I mean. Benjamin Franklin seemed to value female education (not a popular opinion back in the day it seems) and pushed the country forward in many ways.
After this read, I have discovered how important biographies and autobiographies are to learning a new dimension of history. I learned things that I never learned in school, and got to know Benjamin Franklin in a more personal way. And goodness, was this guy interesting. Reading this book made me look MORE up about him!
Back to the book, though. How into improvement was this guy? He tracked his own faults so that he could make progress working with them. He was a perfectionist in pretty much everything he did. And he read. A LOT. And he took what he read and applied it to life. How many of us read to that extreme? To where what we read actually morphs us and causes us to change?
This book is one that I’d definitely like to re-read. Which I don’t necessarily decide after every book. I’d strongly recommend giving this one a try. The way of speaking is different from current times, but once you start in, it’s a whole new world. It’s as close to time travel as you’ll get. Books are like that, though. They’re like this time capsule that brings you back in time, sometimes to a different physical place, and provides an in depth look for the reader.
Well folks, until next time! Thank you for reading my post and I hope that you decide to do a book challenge, maybe even this very same one! The next post will be after The Elephant Whisperer. This book has already got me hooked, so I suspect it won’t take long to read!