You guys already know about my admitted dislike of the title of the current novel I’m reading, Never Let Me Go. I mentioned that in my preview last week.
And I’ve got to say that for the first 70-80 pages, I wasn’t impressed with this novel. The plot seemed to develop slowly, the young characters didn’t seem that interesting to me. In the back of my mind, I had already decided I probably wouldn’t like this book, even though many of you recommended it.
But, then, I came to this passage on page 81:
On Friday, I was honored to guest post on Michael Hyatt’s blog. If you’ve spent any time in the blogging world or in the Twitter universe, especially in book and publishing circles, you might be familiar with Mr. Hyatt.
He’s the former CEO and current chairman of the board of Thomas Nelson publishers here in Nashville. He currently writes one of the most successful blogs on the planet, speaks all over the place, and generally just helps a lot of people become better leaders, writers, and speakers.
So it was an honor to be able to guest post over at Michael’s blog.
The topic: Five Ways To Make More Time To Read. I’ve learned a thing or two about that in the last 15 months.
Here’s an excerpt:
Several weeks ago, the social media world, or the country, or someone out there, celebrated “Banned Books Week.” Essentially, reading and promoting books that have been banned by schools and libraries in the past.
I’m not into starting political arguments on this blog, so I won’t throw out the censorship card. But I will say I’m all for a parent having the right to determine what his or her child reads. I know when my boy gets a little older, I’ll keep an eye on that.
But if you judge the American Library Association’s list of most challenged books from 2000-2009, it’s easy to see that some parents, school administrators, and librarians have lost their collective mind. Here are just a few books that made the ALA’s top 100 list of most challenged books.
Right away, I’ve got a problem with this novel.
The title. That title sounds like a cheesy lyric from a Britney Spears song. Or maybe Enrique Iglesias. Or maybe the name of a Lifetime movie. Either way, the title doesn’t jump out and say, “Please read me!”
That aside, I don’t have much to say about Never Let Me Go, other than the fact that it’s an extremely popular book that’s received a lot of recognition. You guys also seemed to like it a lot, since it was one of the five novels you voted for me to read next. So I’m taking your word.
Here are a few quick facts:
I could probably have a much more entertaining review if I let my one-year-old son review Animal Farm.
Me: “What’s the cow say?” Him: “Moo!” Me: “What’s the pig say?” Him: “Oink! Oink!” Me: “What’s the doggy say?” Him: “Woof! Woof!”
Outside of animal noises, though, I’m not sure how much insight he could give you. And, really, he’s so fond of pigs right now I don’t want to burst his bubble and reveal Napoleon’s dastardly deeds. That just might break his heart.
I can’t quite remember the first time I read Animal Farm, but I think it was sometime in seventh or eighth grade.
Up to that point in my brief reading history, my exposure to literature was pretty much books like The Hardy Boys, comic books, and the like.
But when I read Animal Farm, I remember thinking, this is different. Yeah, this is a story about animals who get pissed at the way they are being treated and revolt on a farm, but I also realized that the story had another level, that it was talking about more than just animals and farmers.
Few things get me more excited about a novel than a strong opening that presents some type of tension and conflict right away.
With that in mind, one of my favorite parts of Animal Farm is Old Major’s speech in the first chapter. Old Major was obviously the Vince Lombardi, the MLK Jr., the JFK of the pig kingdom. Never has a swine had such a way with words.
Look at the beauty of this. Who knew pigs were so articulate and insightful?
Lord of the Flies was the fourth novel I read after I started this project.
That seems like forever ago, but it was just last October. Since then, I’ve read 25 more books and ranked each one in my highly subjective and totally meaningless rankings.
When I look over those rankings, I’m always surprised at how low I ranked Lord of the Flies. Golding’s classic is currently 26 out of 29 books. And, for awhile, before Margaret and Mrs. Dalloway arrived on the scene, it was actually ranked last.
Animal Farm is one of those novels that has become so integrated into our culture that it’s everywhere. The book is appealing to everyone from history buffs to sixth graders, mostly because the story goes as deep as you want to take it.
I think that’s why it’s so easy to find references to Animal Farm throughout pop culture, whether it’s American, British, or otherwise. After just a few minutes of research, I found several references to this book in music, film and television.
Time for George Orwell, take two.
Earlier this year, I read 1984. Loved it. Fascinating novel. This will be my second read of Animal Farm, though the first time I read this book was probably sometime around seventh grade. It’s been awhile.
So I’m pumped to read this novel. Not only is a great story, it’s a short story, just a little over 100 pages. And the beauty of it is the depth of the novel, masked as a children’s tale.
Here are a few facts about Animal Farm: