Thursday, May 7, 2009

Rachel: Progress report, *Animal Farm, *Lord of the Flies

I'm two down, in my shortened list of 50, and have just started #3.

I began with Orwell's Animal Farm for one slightly shameful reason: It's short. Very little about this book was a surprise to me; the premise and events and characters were so familiar already, just by pop culture reference, that I almost didn't need to read it at all! But I enjoyed it—I like that kind of social-ills fable, like Ionesco's Rhinoceros or Dunn's Ella Minnow Pea.

Then I felt that of the books on my list, the one that seemed the best next read after Animal Farm was Golding's Lord of the Flies, with its similar theme. I also like adventure/survival stories. I knew the fate of one key character already (Piggy, natch), also thanks to pop culture references, but didn't really know how it would all unfold. One thing surprised me: Given his oddly calm, cold, and self-centered actions at the very start of the story—right after a plane crash, hello—I didn't expect Ralph (whose name I figured was probably pronounced like Ralph Fiennes, not Ralph Macchio) to be so thoughtful, sensitive, or emotional. It was interesting to see him change. I didn't realize, before reading, that Ralph was the main protagonist of the story.

For my book group, which met last night, I read Karen Abbott's Sin in the Second City (not on my list). This non-fiction book portrays the brothels in early 20th-century Chicago, most notably the Everleigh Club, and their downfall at the hands of social activists. A point that struck me during the reading of this book was the steps some women took then toward claiming their own sexuality—although it's a gray area, morally speaking, given all the circumstances. But because of that point, I think the next best read from my list is Chopin's The Awakening. I just read the first few pages last night, but am not far enough into it to comment yet...


Jolie said...

I like The Awakening, so you have my encouragement with that one! I find Edna fascinating.