Wednesday, January 8, 2014

A Tale Of Two Frustrating Books...


 I didn't take a lot of time off for Christmas and/or New Years Day this time around. Instead, I worked. And since a lot of my work involved data entry exercises, I had the opportunity to read--or listen to--a couple of books. I chose Cujo and The Jungle.

Now, these are not your basic "feel good" stories, but they're classics (I consider Cujo a classic...). I read Cujo first.


The book frustrated me for a couple of reasons, the biggest of which is I read the story through the filter of "what would I have done," or "how things would have turned out differently had it happened in 2013 and not the early 1980s. Being stuck in that car for so long, it made me mad at how frustrated I was reading that story. So many chances, so many missed opportunities. Mr. King did a great job because I empathized with those characters.

The second book I read was The Jungle. Most people read this in their teens, not their 40s. This book pretty much lived up to what I was expecting. I've been told you'll never look at processed meat the same way again after reading this, and to a certain extent that's true. I hope things have improved since the days described in this book as far as food preparation are concerned. But I'm sure there are things that would make me sick if I saw the modern version as well.

I read Sinclair's Oil earlier this year so I sort of expected the socialism themes, although they were more overt in The Jungle, than in Oil. The book didn't turn me into a socialist, nor did I expect it to. What frustrated me about this book is the author presents a world that can be saved by communism. With the advantage of history in our favor, we can see, Marxism does not solve all the problems out there. Sinclair couldn't imagine millions of people being killed in Russia and China in the name of communism, as well as the extermination of the Jews by a socialistic government. I kept coming back to that as I read the last third of the book.

A lot of people read Christmas books around the holidays...maybe next year I'll do that, too.

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