Friday, December 30, 2016

Reading Challenge Update #5

It's my last update on my classics reading challenge! I've had a lot of fun sharing these with you. Hopefully they weren't too boring(okay, so I know they were). I'm planning on tackling a revised version of this challenge in 2017. 10 specific books made me feel a lot of pressure even though I finished them with time to spare. So next year I'll be choosing 5 classics for my challenge!

Book 9 was Grapes of Wrath. This was my second DNF challenge book and I'd give it 1 star. I tried for days to push through this, but I'd find myself only reading a page or two before giving up and then struggling to return.

For me personally, I found the Grapes of Wrath to be too crass and the writing dry. If you can imagine an old country man sitting on his porch and talking in an emotionless tone at a plodding pace about the most dull things you can imagine, you'll have a good idea of what reading this was like. There were times the content was interesting. I could see what the author was aiming for. In some ways this reminded me of Aesop's Fables where you just read one little story and there's layers of meaning to it.

I got that. I appreciate the attempt. This might be something you have sitting in your bathroom where you read one "chapter" every now and again, but it's not a good BOOK. There'd be an entire chapter dedicated to a tortoise crossing the road. Is their meaning to it? Yes. Is it interesting. No. And is it relevant to the story? No. At least not if you're looking for a plot or character driven story. If you're looking for a story that's like a kid cleaning out his closet and telling you about the random items he's grabbing, then sure.
And there's a chapter to a car salesman selling cars. And a chapter dedicated to a field being plowed. I mean . . . it was so booooring. I got to the point where I couldn't do it anymore and moved on to new things.

The Hobbit was my final book and I was so nervous about it. My mom read me this story when I was little and I loved it. But I also loved just spending time with her and getting to cuddle up at night to listen. So I was worried that maybe the fact that I got to spend one-on-one time every night with my mom had given me a positive perspective on the book.

Did I enjoy it as much? No. I don't think that's possible to replace the first time you hear a story or to replace a special memory. But I did like it and gave it 4 stars.

It's an interesting experience reading a book that you already know the story of. It's hard to fully enjoy an adventure story when you know what happens, so for the reason of simply not being completely engaged at the high points because I knew how it'd work out, I took off a star. I can't know if it'd normally have been completely immersive if I'd experienced it for the first time.

Overall, it's a story that went by surprisingly fast with a lot of world-building and details. There's plenty of action and danger. I loved Bilbo and Gandalf. The plot was fascinating and it's a good thing Bilbo is the central character because the dwarves were unimpressive.

I didn't care if the dwarves succeeded, but I wanted Bilbo to and so overall I was happy when they'd survive something. About half the dwarves have no personality(there is 13, so it makes sense), and of the couple that do, there's not much to go on. But the dwarves are whiny, have zero plan for dealing with the dragon or moving around the wealth. Then they mess up the Lake people's lives and feel no sorrow over it. They stuff themselves in their mountain and get all greedy and nasty, even turning on poor Bilbo after everything he did for them.

That definitely effected how little I cared about how things ended up for the dwarves, but I felt the other races made out pretty well and the world was a safer place after it was all said and done with less evil in the world. And Bilbo had his adventure and found there was more to him than he knew.

So for the lack of being riveted at high moments(as I said, could be because I knew what would happen) and because the story does have a group of dwarves who I thought were not so great people as part of the central focus, that's why the minus 1 star.

But the adventure was fun, the world-building amazing, and I was cheering little Bilbo on the whole way.

Overall, I'm really happy with what I read this year. You can check out the rest of my updates if you're curious about what other books I read and what I though of them!

1 comment:

  1. Congratulations on finishing your classics reading challenge! I look forward to your updates for your next challenge, as this one has given me some insight into which classics I might like...or should avoid completely.