50 Books- Heart of Darkness

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Today almost didn’t have a book post.  As I was reading A Passage to India last night, seeing that I was only 25% through, I had a moment of extreme guilt.  There was no way I was going to finish 75% of the book that night, not while still being a fully functional human being today.  For the first time, I was going to have no book finished when I had a post due.  So far during this challenge, I have managed to always have a book.  I’ve never run out of time, often been very early, but usually at least done the night before and have the post already written.

Suddenly it occurred to me.  I was not planning on writing up A Passage to India today.  Today I was going to write on Heart of Darkness.  I had completely forgotten I had read the book.  This should tell you all you need to know about the impact this book had on me.

50 Books- Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad

Where did I get the book and how many pages?

This book is available on Oyster, with a reported 80 print pages.  Between the books I am reading myself, the books I want to read, and the books my daughters are reading, I am in love with this service.

Have I read this book before?

No.  Never heard of this book before, except the brief reading of the title on the list.

What do I already know?

Nothing.  I picked this book at the time because it was short and I was trying to get a little ahead on my reading to make time for The Lord of the Rings without being late with a post.  The most I learned before reading was from my husband who told me he was pretty sure this book was the basis of the movie Apocalypse Now (according to wikipedia, he is correct).  As I had never seen the movie, that meant nothing to me.

What do I think now?

I don’t think much now.  There was a moment at the beginning of the book where the author is describing four passengers in a boat.  He seemed to go on and on about the people, the ocean, the boat.  It felt to me like he would never shut up, but technically the passage was not very long.  In the end, the description was only to let me know one of them was going to tell the story.  It was a lot of description with very little purpose.  I instantly understood why there is a lot of warning against too much description when you are writing; when the text is not moving the story forward, you make people want to move away.

For me, it didn’t get much better.  There were portions of the book where I felt connected, and I understood what was going on.  Shortly after those points the book would seem to go onto a tangent that made me need to go back, reread, and figure out what was going on again.  At the end of the book, I wasn’t sure I felt like I understood any of it.  I certainly didn’t remember much.

Should you read this book before you die?

I’m beginning to wonder if I should leave this part out.  It seems to come down to two answers; I loved it so you should read it too, or I did not like it, but would love to know what you got out of it.  Either way I am still technically recommending the reading of the book.

Here, quite simply I did not connect to the book.  It could have been the writing style did not match my preferences, or that the story content was not for me.  Whatever the issue, I did not have a moment of enjoyment with this book.  It doesn’t mean I might not like it if I read it again later, or that you won’t love it.  It just means I didn’t see what I was supposed to see.

Perhaps that is the problem I have been having all along.  I’m not sure what I am supposed to see in these books, and therefore what I get out of them is completely up to me.

Come back next week to hear about the next book, A Passage to India.

Happy Reading!

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