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30 May 2016 @ 09:30 pm
Book Review: Animal Farm & The Old Man and The Sea  
What an awesome weekend it was... and I'm not saying that because it was Memorial Day Weekend... I'm not American yet so, I know what it is about and thankyouforyourservice, but I don't actually know how to celebrate this holiday... I'll get there... The American in me will rise in time! It has been a great weekend because of 2 reasons:
1. My Husband is coming back home soon after he's been away for A WHOLE MONTH damn you, you bloody job! And I can't wait to see him... So this was my last weekend alone! YAY!
2. I've spent the past 3 days fully immersed in 2 classics: Animal Farm and The Old Man and the Sea!

I had a nice conversation with orangerful the other day, where we briefly talked about the fact that - at school - teacher rarely suggest/assign modern titles and stick with the classics (because it's easier... because that's what they have to do...), and that made me think about the fact that I wanted to go back and read again some of the books I was "forced" to read at school... I loved reading as a child, but I didn't love write essays, asnwer questions, have to stand in front of the class and talk about the book,... So I said to myself that pick up some of these titles could only do me some good... And it did!




Animal Farm

Originally published: 1945
Author: George Orwell
Genres: Satire / Political Satire (Classic)
(reading time: May 28 - May 29)
★★★★★
The first time I read this book I was very young and it was in Italian... When the teacher put it into my hands he said "there is more to it" and he asked me to read it again, when I was older. Decades later I've found myself holding a copy this book in a bookstore thinking "I should read this again... and in English" so I bought it and I went home. I wasn't able to put it down until I was done with it.

I was glad I read it when I was just a child and I didn't know what it meant, because as soon as I started reading it with the mind of an adult, it blown my mind away and it also blow the mind of my younger self in retrospective. Both of us wanted to yell at the animals to please remember and to open up their eyes. I cried again for Boxer, as I remember doing as a kid who loved horses, but this time I cried for the men and the women who just want to believe, and they work hard, day after day, hoping to reach that point in time where all they've done would be worth it... A time that never comes.

It's so easy to look at these animals and see what they're doing wrong, but why aren't we able to look at ourselves and see that WE ARE THEM and we're just forgetting, pretending, hiding behind excuses as they do. It's so much easier to look away. This book is a powerful tale, and I see why some people would want to see it disappear. And is a painful reminder that no matter what: history repeat itself... Always...

Everyone should go back and read again books like: Animal Farm, 1984, Fahrenheit 451 these are books that shall never be forgotten and read over and over again. Before it's too late...
________

In "Selected Letters" dear old Ernest said: "Then there is the other secret. There isn't any symbolism. The sea is the sea. The old man is an old man. The boy is a boy and the fish is a fish. The shark are all sharks no better and no worse. All the symbolism that people say is shit. What goes beyond is what you see beyond when you know." And that's exactly what it is... No need to analyze what the lions in the dreams mean or what this or that represent.




The Old Man and The Sea

Originally published: 1952
Author: Ernest Hemingway
Genres: Fiction (Classic)
(reading time: May 29 - May 30)
★★★★
This is simply the story of Santiago, a very skilled cuban fisherman, who had a significant run of bad luck fishing until, one day, he catches a huge fish... and that's the story of his agonizing battle against it. The story touches the themes of courage, perseverance and willpower as well as isolation and the relationship between men and nature (and its creatures). Santiago is a simple man but, at the same time, he's extraordinary. It's just a book that makes you think about how you deal with what life throws at you. Do you just suffer or you say no and start fighting back? Do you give up or keep going no matter what?

I still think kids at school should have a bigger range/list from which to pick, and some more recent books should be added to these lists, but reading again these two books made me go with my mind where I usually tend not to go, because, most of the times, it's easier to be one of the animals and forget, or cut the line and go back to shore...
 
 
Current Location: At Sea
Current Mood: contemplativecontemplative
Current Music: Beasts of England
 
 
 

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orangerfulorangerful on May 31st, 2016 03:54 am (UTC)
I definitely feel like I should go back to 'Animal Farm'. I don't know what age I was when it was assigned, but I know it went over my head.

I did the same thing with 'The Giver' a few years back, decided I should re-read it since I was forced to read it in 6th grade. Talk about being blown away. At 12, I was not mature enough to understand that story and as an adult it was making me tear up at the Chick-Fil-A during my lunch hour.

I think this can be the problem with "the classics". Most of them were written for adults, yet we expect kids to "get" the deeper messages. If you have a good teacher, then they can help you understand and get the relevancy of the story, but nothing drives me crazier than schools assigning classics over the summer for independent reading and knowing there is no way the high schoolers forced to read those books will come away with a positive experience.

I've never read any Hemingway, I've heard he is a rough read and I never had him assigned. Though I do usually joke about books like 'Old Man and the Sea' when kids have book lists and see how *short* that book is and think they want to read it I remind that just because a book is short doesn't mean it is an easy read.
Ery-chan: Carachter: Hannah (SDoaCG)erychan86 on May 31st, 2016 03:05 pm (UTC)
I definitely feel like I should go back to 'Animal Farm'. I don't know what age I was when it was assigned, but I know it went over my head.
When I read it I was very young... Like 10-11 and I had NO IDEA... I just knew that that was't fair and it left me to think but it scratched the surface... At that point was just about what's right or wrong and about how people changes into the things they hated when the circumstances change. I think you don't actually need to know who which animal represent in the political world of that time, because it can be applied to every political era. Still, for a child, it's suppose to be a warning I guess...

I think this can be the problem with "the classics". Most of them were written for adults, yet we expect kids to "get" the deeper messages. If you have a good teacher, then they can help you understand and get the relevancy of the story, but nothing drives me crazier than schools assigning classics over the summer for independent reading and knowing there is no way the high schoolers forced to read those books will come away with a positive experience.
I think that every book, if it has to be read for homework purposes, it becomes a chore and not a pleasure, and at that point it would be better read "lighter" books instead, just to have the kids seeing that reading is fun and good for the soul... But if you think about it, if we didn't read these books when we were young in the first place, we would have never go back to them... yes, maybe someone would have suggested these titles to us and maybe we would have ended up reading them, but eventually, books like Animal Farm would get lost in time and that wouldn't be just a pity but a crime!

I've never read any Hemingway, I've heard he is a rough read and I never had him assigned. Though I do usually joke about books like 'Old Man and the Sea' when kids have book lists and see how *short* that book is and think they want to read it I remind that just because a book is short doesn't mean it is an easy read.
It is a simple story. No chapters, probably to make you feel like Santiago, it doesn't give you a break and you keep reading and reading. I don't remember how I read it the first time but I was probably in High School and it came back to me watching Gilmore Girls year ago with Jess talking about it to Rory and now I kind of connect it with the show... I mean, every time they mention Gilmore Girls I think about how much I wanted Jess and Rory to be together and I think about The Old Man and the Sea xD (And now internet is talking about GG because there's going to be a Netflix revival xD)

I think this book thing is tricky...