Saturday, September 27, 2008

Booking Through Thursday/Saturday #4: Well, That Was Different!

On Saturday
What was the most unusual (for you) book you ever read? Either because the book itself was completely from out in left field somewhere, or was a genre you never read, or was the only book available on a long flight… whatever? What (not counting school textbooks, though literature read for classes counts) was furthest outside your usual comfort zone/familiar territory?
And, did you like it? Did it stretch your boundaries? Did you shut it with a shudder the instant you were done? Did it make you think? Have nightmares? Kick off a new obsession?

Before this school year I had never really read any unusual books. I read mostly mainstream YA fiction books which have normal plots, normal characters, and normal themes. But then during the first month of school, we were required to read Lord of the Flies by William Golding. I've read a few classics before but none as chilling and weird as this one. It's chalk full of symbolism and meaning that I was only able to decipher with the help of my teacher. It was definitely not a book I'd choose for myself to read. It is not a book that you read for enjoyment. At all. 
And after having gone through heated class discussions on loaded questions, I think that this is probably one of the most boundary-stretching books I've read. It makes you consider the nature of humans at their very core. Are we innately good or evil? Is a person born to one side or another? What would happen if we were left to our own devices without any structure or civilization. 
William Golding's viewpoint on those things is that we as humans are beings who are savage at heart. If we were left to ourselves we would regress to a point where there would be no order or structure. There might be a sensible person here and there, but the evil in us would win out in the long run. 
I'm not sure myself if that's what I think and it's too big and controversial of a subject to get into here, but reading about a situation like the one in Lord of the Flies really makes you consider yourself as a human being. And there are little snippets of symbolism thrown into the book to emphasize Golding's point. Piggy's glasses, the conch, the signal fire, and the beast are all crucial elements that help to get the story across. I would love to hear what you guys think of this book, if you've read it, or if you haven't, what your take is on the questions that a proposed. 
I think I enjoyed the book. Maybe "enjoyed" is the wrong word. Let's say I appreciated and valued it. I shuddered, felt sick, and sat on the edge of my seat while reading it, which are probably all the things that the book was meant to do to its readers. It succeeded in giving me a topic to analyze for the first time, which is good. I'd recommend that you read it as it is now a big part of literary culture. A must read.
Last night when I went to see John Green he actually talked about the good and evil parts of people, coincidentally. The two covers of Paper Towns show two misconceptions of the same girl. It says that no one person can be labeled all good or all evil as Margo is shown on the book. We each have a little of both in us. John talked about that in length and, like Lord of the Flies, it made me think. Hearing him talk about a subject like that was really neat as it totally related to what we've been talking about in class lately. It's definitely a topic which requires a lot of thinking and analyzing. 
What are your thoughts?


  1. You saw John Green? I'm insanely jealous. I have to wait just over a month to see him. Sigh.

    I've never read Lord of the Flies. The other English classes at school read it, but I don't have to. I think there's a copy somewhere in my house, so I will have to go look for it and read it.

  2. Wow. Those were some interesting thoughts. I actually have Lord of the Flies on my Books-to-Read list. For pleasure. i am a big fan of reading books that contemplate the true nature of humans to their very core.
    Though, i'm horrible at symbolism and things like that. Like in the Scarlet Letter? ha! good story, but many many symbolistic things.
    For some reason, this review thing (what exactly would you call it?) makes me want to read Lord of the Flies as soon as I can.


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