I can certainly understand why this book is on the Banned Books that Shaped America list—it is quite violent, but at least it’s not completely gratuitous. Though London writes detailed scenes of human and animal brutality, Buck’s is a story of strength, dignity, loyalty, and, above all, survival. Honestly, given the tragedies that were committed and occurring in the early 1900s, I’m surprised it’s not worse.
No. 8 on my challenge.
Fun fact: this is the first audiobook that I have listened to and it took me a very long time to finish it because the narrator’s voice was so soothing that he kept lulling me to sleep.
He liked not so much what he was reading about as the reading itself, or, better, the process of reading, the fact that letters are eternally forming some word, which sometimes even means the devil knows what.
This is generally how I feel about reading.
I’m just going to go ahead and accept that I tend to have lukewarm feelings for classic literature (unless it’s The Great Gatsby, which is truly great). This novel was no exception. Though I did enjoy a great many things uttered by Lord Henry:
“The masses feel that drunkenness, stupidity, and immorality should be their own special property.”
“Sin is the only real colour element left in modern life.”
“I have talked quite enough for today … all I want now is to look at life.”
“One should never do anything that one cannot talk about after dinner.”
“To get back to my youth I would do anything in the world, except take exercise, get up early, or be respectable.”
“As for being poisoned by a book, there is no such thing as that. Art has no influence upon action. It annihilates the desire to act. It is superbly sterile. The books that the world calls immoral are books that show the world its own shame. That is all.”
No. 9 on my challenge.
I had great expectations. They fell flat.