Animal Farm – Book No. 12

This book review is a part of Reading Week. To read more reviews, click here!

58. Animal Farm by George Orwell (1945)

Dates: 5/9/20 (3.5 hours)

Plot: Animals rebel and take ownership of a farm. They adopt some methods of leadership similar to ones you may know.

Experience Before Reading: It’s funny because I told Abbey that all I knew about the book was that it was an extended metaphor for something and it definitely did not have talking animals. Whoops.

Takeaway: Since this book is an extended metaphor, I can’t fairly review it without talking about it. If you don’t want the book spoiled, stop right here and come back when you’ve read it!

This book is an allegory for the dangers of communism – particularly Joseph Stalin’s rise to power. This isn’t my first politically-charged book of the project, but it is the first one where the only takeaway is political. Typically I’m apprehensive to political commentary, but this one’s just so damn good.

There’s symbolism in almost everything: from the events that happen in the book to which animals do what. I suppose it’s no coincidence that the sheep follow blindly? Orwell adds an additional layer to the animals by making them inherently “unequal.” Some animals are better at reading, others at plowing the fields, and some don’t have any true skills. It’s definitely left me thinking what he meant by delineating between animals. I don’t want to ruin it, but I’d love to have a discussion about it down in the comments – for those of you that have read it, what do you think?

Anyway, I’m always a little uncomfortable with political commentary since it’s very polarizing. However, I didn’t mind it here. I think it’s because Orwell works hard to not explicitly express feelings towards any of the events in the story: he lets you decide how to feel. By using animals instead of people, he kind of – excuse the pun – leads the horse to the water by showing the absurdity of the situation.

After doing more research into the book, I’m shocked at how many of the characters represent real Soviet figures. The story line even correlates to specific events and ideas. This isn’t just an allegory, it verges on a retelling of history that switches out the names and places. That being said, if you do choose to read this book, please follow it up with research. It enriches the story and leaves you awestruck.

Lastly, I’d be mistaken not to mention the ending of this book. Without spoiling it, this is an ending that leaves you in silence. I was stunned by the power of the last few words. Any perfectionist can find instant satisfaction in knowing that every word is deliberately placed in furtherance of the theme. Honestly, I think that alone is a good enough reason to read this book.

As always, I’d love to hear thoughts and opinions on this book, especially since this review is so one-sided.

Would I Recommend It?: Yes. This is a must-read classic.


Abbey’s Review

Dates: 5/9/20 (1.5 hours)

Plot: Mr. Jones’ animals come together in an uprising following the teaching of Animalism by Major the wise old pig. The novella details the inner working of a farm run by Animalism, and shows the successes and failures that come about.

Experience Before Reading: I read Animal Farm once before when I was in 6th or 7th grade. I remember the plot fairly well, but missed on some of the major takeaways. 

Takeaway: Basically this book is a critique on communism in The USSR under Joseph Stalin and its failings. I think one of the major areas of concern is about the importance of having fully realized political opinions. One of the major issues in the book is that some animals are not able to grasp the concepts being taught to them and “agree with whomever is talking at the moment.” Also, I’m glad I read The Art of War before this because you actually can see some of the tactics in the Battle of the Cowshed.

Would I Recommend It?: This is one of those books I think everyone should read. Regardless of your political beliefs this is an interesting commentary on political systems and the greed of man (or animal?).

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The Art of War – Book No. 11

This book review is a part of Reading Week. To read more reviews, click here!

22. The Art of War by Sun Tzu (5th Century BC) (Our version was the one translated by Lionel Giles)

Dates: 5/9/20 (1.25 hour)

Basic Plot: Military strategist Sun Tzu writes about how to win wars.

Experience Before Reading: Not much other than it’s about military strategy.

Takeaway: I found that I enjoyed this book (treatise?) quite a bit. Since reading The Prince by Machiavelli, I came into The Art of War with a little idea of what it would entail. Many of the themes are consistent and they speak of similar ideas. Seeing as The Prince came about one thousand years later, I wonder how much of Machiavelli’s strategies were directly and indirectly influenced by Sun Tzu.

I will be completely honest and say that I enjoyed The Art of War much more. I think it has to do with the styles of the works. The Art of War is much more direct and reads like proverbs and rules whereas The Prince is more prose driven.

However, I do think it’s important to separate the two from one another because they are their own ideas. Some of the ideas and classifications Sun Tzu presents are pretty thought provoking. As I was reading, I made note of one particular passage and turns out it resonated similarly with Abbey. I’ll let her tell you about it.

I will say that I firmly believe you have to read this more than once to absorb it all. Military strategists have been studying this work for centuries and I understand it takes meticulous attention to detail to acquire all of this information.

Would I Recommend It?: Yes, especially if you play strategy games. Go ahead, go and win Risk. Thanks, Sun Tzu.

Abbey’s Review

Dates: 5/9/20 (1 hour)

Plot: Just a list of war tactics.

Experience Before Reading: I had heard of this but it never peaked my interest.

Takeaway: Meh. This book doesn’t have any plot whatsoever and is literally just a list of war tactics. If I had to choose one thing I enjoyed it was just the discussion of how the faults of generals are recklessness, cowardice, a hasty temper, delicacy of honor, and over solicitude for your men. I think this is true not just of generals, but of all people. Even in a work setting these are all things to avoid.

Would I Recommend It?: I know a few people that would enjoy this. If you are interested in military thinking, this is definitely for you. Overall, just not my cup of tea.

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The Time Machine – Book No. 10

This book review is a part of Reading Week. To read more reviews, click here!

64. The Time Machine by H.G. Wells (1895)

Dates: 5/9/20 (4 hours)

Basic Plot: A Victorian scientist discovers a way to travel through time and heads to the year 802,701. He tells his story to his friends.

Experience Before Reading: I knew that this was the book that brought time travel to pop culture. I can’t remember if I had to read it for school. I don’t think so since the story wasn’t overwhelmingly familiar.

Takeaway: This book is a mash-up of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and an episode of The Twilight Zone. Told by a Victorian narrator, the story includes theories on the human condition which were very enjoyable to me. And like The Twilight Zone, the conceptions of the future were a bit absurd.

I’m a little biased because I don’t particularly care for futuristic novels. I typically don’t respond well to any notions of the future because they often age poorly. If there’s even a single element of a futuristic world that’s implausible I instantly get pulled out of the story. Especially when the introduction to the book is so realistic, to dive into a not-so-realistic future isn’t really my cup of tea.

That being said, I can see why people would like this book. It’s fun and has a whole bunch of radical ideas. In terms of pacing though, it seems like some elements of the story were an afterthought and others were so meticulously thought through. I do wonder if pacing were different how I may have responded to the book.

The concept of time travel is a fun one and a lot of our ideas of time travel originate from this book. The machine itself kind of gave me TARDIS vibes – though I never really watched Doctor Who so I’d be curious to hear other people’s opinion who know more than I do!

Would I Recommend It?: All in all, it was fun. If you’re a sci-fi fan or like a bit of adventure, give it a shot. It’s short enough that it’s bearable even for the non-fans.

Abbey’s Review

Dates: 5/9/20 (2 hours)

Plot: Our narrator writes down the story of a time traveler’s escapades into the future. There he encounters the evolutions of humans.

Experience Before Reading: I had literally never heard of this book before.

Takeaway: I loved the writing in this, and the story was incredible. I felt the set up in the beginning was believable enough, and the epilogues lasting picture of the two flowers leftover from the time travelers experiences are very poignant and show that while cultures can have huge barriers, generosity and kindness are a language of themself.

Would I Recommend It?: This was a great book and a very quick read. I think if you are looking for a book that will make you think, you’d probably like this one.

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Announcing Reading Week!

Following on the coattails of yesterday’s good news – I’m now a dot com! – I come with even more announcements!

Next week, 5/11 – 5/15, there will be a new book review every day!

Since I finish school tomorrow, I’ll have plenty of time to sit down and crank some books out.

Reading Week will include book reviews from both myself and Abbey. Her reviews haven’t yet been shared because she hasn’t read any of the same books as I have. I intend to update the posts retroactively to include her opinions. It should be noted that her opinions are often fairly different than mine. I’ve been excited to share them with you all and get a conversation going.

We’ve both agreed to read the same books – many of them on the shorter end of our list. For those of you looking to play along at home, this will include The Time Machine, The Art of War, Animal Farm, All’s Well That Ends Well, and Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. If we finish those, we’ve got more backups to keep Reading Week going.

We look forward to sharing our thoughts and diving deeper into Project 4!

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A Clockwork Orange – Book No. 9

18. A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess (1962)

Dates: 4/20/20 – 4/23/20 (3 days)

Basic Plot: In a futuristic society where young gang members are active at night, the narrator, Alex, finds himself indulging in “ultraviolence” which leads to potential reform.

Experience Before Reading: I was technically assigned this book alongside One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest in high school. I didn’t really read either and just read enough Sparknotes to get by. I think my knowledge on the plot was blended with One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, because there were moments I thought were in the other book and moments I expected to turn out differently. Regardless, the one thing I remembered was a feeling of staunch hate for the book.

Takeaway: I didn’t like it. However, I’m not going to completely bash this book because I can see why others would enjoy it. There are certainly good elements to this story. Anthony Burgess is a talented storywriter and I do feel there is a clear theme that could strike people. (Slight spoiler warning) The message that it is our ability to choose that makes us human is very interesting and I do feel it was unpacked in a way that was different from other philosophy books.

A Clockwork Orange is set in a futuristic society where gangs run rampant at night. Many of these gang members use heavy slang known as nadsat talk. I think this is where the book leaves a bad taste in my mouth (or in nadsat: leaves a baddiwad taste in my rot). The slang is so thick it’s often difficult to tell exactly what’s happening. While I recognize that it’s used to hide the graphic scenes and portray his youth – since not all characters use the slang – it was too much for me. For instance, take this scene where he describes a beautiful woman he sees:

O my brothers, to viddy. That is to say, she had real horrorshow groodies all of which you could like viddy, she having on platties which came down down down off her pletchoes. And her nogas were like Bog in His Heaven, and she walked like to make you groan in your keeshkas, and yet her litso was a sweet smiling young like innocent litso.

p.142

While context clues can give you a sense that he likes what he sees, even after reading the entire book, I’m not sure exactly what he’s saying. Personally, this slang created a massive barrier to relating to the narrator, Alex. I couldn’t find much to his personality besides the fact that he likes “ultra-violence” and classical music. Because his personality was centered around, well, bad, I found him forgettable as a character. Maybe there was more, however, I couldn’t decipher it from the nadsat madness.

The slang itself is massively creative and I do want to applaud that. Much of it is Russian-based but other elements are rhyming slang or other linguistic techniques. Basically, each word really does have a reason that it exists which I very much like. I appreciate the effort that went in to creating a cohesive universe.

Lastly, I do want to call attention to the book’s title. I don’t want to spoil the meaning for someone that intends to read the book, but the title is full of symbolism. It was very creative and well-crafted, so again, props where props are due.

Would I Recommend It?: Unfortunately, I think this is a skippable classic. While you may find it entertaining, I think the message of the book is not strong enough in relation to the amount of work you have to put in to decode it.

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Word Counts of Classics

I’ve got exciting news: I’m about to pass the 1 million words mark! Since starting Project 4 at the end of January, once I finish my next book (A Clockwork Orange), I will have read 1,000,000 words!

Abbey and I have compiled the word counts of our entire list to see just how many words we were reading. And, well. It’s a bit shocking. We are reading:

12,327,956 total words

That’s pretty massive, huh? We compiled this list by simple google searches. When a word count didn’t appear, we took the estimated time to read the book and multiplied it by the words per minute (usually 250). So while this word count estimate isn’t perfect, it’s pretty damn close.

Just to make this project a little crazier, since we have a deadline of the first day of my last year of law school (August 23, 2021), that averages out to 21,255 words per day. While I can’t say I’ve been reading that much, I hope that during the summer I can pull some days that are well over that number. But I am proud that I’m almost at my million mark! Abbey is trudging along, but she reads in chunks so once she starts up again, she’ll blow me out of the water.

I thought I share the list with you all too. For a little bit of context, an average fiction book is about 75,000-100,000 words. Here’s the list of word counts, from lowest to highest for the books in our project.

TitleWord Count
The Art of War11450
The Importance of Being Earnest22000
All’s Well that Ends Well24086
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland26432
Beowulf26548
Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde26601
Canterbury Tales27130
The Old Man and the Sea29160
Of Mice and Men29160
Animal Farm29966
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory30644
The Prince31026
Night31931
The Divine Comedy32000
The Time Machine32059
The Call of the Wild37058
Heart of Darkness38000
The Alchemist38342
The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe38421
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz39295
The Giver43617
Fahrenheit 45146118
Grimms’ Fairy Tales46500
The Outsiders48523
Slaughterhouse Five49459
A Brief History of Time50250
As I Lay Dying56695
Murder on the Orient Express58154
A Clockwork Orange58695
Dracula59000
The Hound of the Baskervilles59392
Lord of the Flies59900
Tales from the Arabian Nights62000
Mrs. Dalloway63422
The Scarlet Letter63604
Swiss Family Robinson63979
Tropic of Cancer64000
Brave New World64531
Around the World in 80 Days66281
The Color Purple66556
Treasure Island66950
To the Lighthouse69264
Little Women70000
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer70570
Catcher in the Rye73404
A Farewell to Arms74250
Frankenstein75380
The Picture of Dorian Gray78462
The Secret Garden80398
Pale Fire81000
Journey to the Center of the Earth85059
Faust88567
Nineteen Eighty-Four88942
The Handmaid’s Tale90240
Paradise Lost93000
The Sound and the Fury96863
Beloved98148
To Kill a Mockingbird99121
The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes105071
Gulliver’s Travels107349
Wuthering Heights107945
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest108000
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn109571
Lolita112473
All the President’s Men112500
Madame Bovary115456
On the Road116277
In Cold Blood121890
Robinson Crusoe121961
Pride and Prejudice122189
Atonement123378
The Odyssey134500
A Tale of Two Cities135420
20,000 Leagues Under the Sea138138
The Iliad140000
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn145092
Dr. Zhivago160250
The Godfather163500
Uncle Tom’s Cabin166622
Oliver Twist167543
Grapes of Wrath169481
Catch-22174269
Invisible Man177000
Great Expectations183349
Jane Eyre183858
The Lord of the Rings187790
Moby Dick209117
Crime and Punishment211591
The Tales of Edgar Allan Poe216000
Three Musketeers228402
The Collected Works of H.P. Lovecraft278000
Middlemarch316453
Don Quixote345390
Anna Karenina349736
The Brothers Karamazov364153
Gone with the Wind418053
The Count of Monte Cristo464234
War and Peace561304
Atlas Shrugged591996
Les Miserables655478

Murder on the Orient Express – Book No. 8

55. Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie (1934)


Dates: 4/18/20 – 4/19/20 (2 days)

Basic Plot: There’s a murder on the orient express. Obviously.

Experience Before Reading: In high school I worked at a bookstore. For some reason, I equated Agatha Christie with Toni Morrison, since books by those two came in so often. I apparently took that observation and conflated it quite a bit into adulthood. But I assure you that those two women wrote very different books.

Takeaway: Allow me to first clarify that this review is entirely spoiler-free. I do think this is something everyone should read and I’d hate to be the one to ruin the fun.

I’ve been in a bit of a train phase lately. This began, no doubt, with Atlas Shrugged. But I also watched a few travel videos on the Trans-Siberian Railroad, played Ticket to Ride for the first time, and recently played a Nancy Drew game with Abbey about a disappearance on a train. (The Last Train to Blue Moon Canyon – I cannot recommend these games enough if you want to solve some really difficult mysteries and puzzles. Abbey and I are suckers for the Nancy Drew games!)

Anyway, my toddler-like obsession with trains is mostly irrelevant – besides the fact that it got me to pick up this book.

I really picked it up alright. I have spent the last 15 hours doing nothing but reading this book and sleeping. I’m serious – the only thing I did during this entire experience was write my post for Arabian Nights. I knew I had to stop to write it or my thoughts on it would be washed away by this mystery.

It was written in an almost formulaic way: the exposition, the crime, the character’s testimonies and alibis, pondering the evidence, following up on their theory, and the reveal. I actually really liked this structure because it allowed you to play along.

To be entire honest, I did figure out who the murderer was. However, I do not think predictability should be a deterrent to read it. First, I didn’t solve it until the back half of the evidence analysis. Second, I don’t think it’s an obvious solution. Third, it’s more fun to hear the howdunnit than the whodunnit which comes right at the end.

Rave-review aside, I do have a little bit of criticism. There were absurd moments and connections of evidence the reader cannot do with what was given to them. Regardless of the nonsense, it comes together to click in a solution that could be reality.* (Or at least, reality-adjacent.)

I realize not everyone is a fan of mystery books like myself. But there is something different about this one. It was a pioneer in the genre and it is a fantastic adventure, both of which lead to my high rating.

And I’ve gotten lucky just like I did with Call of the Wild and a movie remake has just been made. Hello, quarantine movie night!

Would I Recommend It?: Absolutely. Because of its brevity and general amusement, I think there’s something for everyone to enjoy.


Abbey’s Review

Dates: 5/15/20 – 5/31/20 (16 days)

Plot: A man is murdered in the first class carriage of the Orient Express. Poirot, a famous investigator, must solve the case while living among the only suspects – the other first class passengers.

Experience Before Reading: I saw the movie when it came out, but couldn’t remember the ending. I was constantly remembering plot points while I was reading, which was quite an odd experience.

Takeaway: This is a quintessential murder mystery, a genre I hold very dear to my heart. I often find myself reaching for mystery novel whenever I am in the mood for a book, as I usually find them a quick and enjoyable read. This did not disappoint. 

Would I Recommend It?: If you are even a small fan of mystery books, I would definitely recommend reading this. Agatha Christie is a God among mystery writers, and for a good reason. The final reveal, in the last few pages, is a wonderful culmination to this novel.


Who got it right? Have you read Murder on the Orient Express? Share your thoughts with us down in the comments below.

Read our next review: A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess

Click here to see our full list of 100 classic books

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The Arabian Nights – Book No. 7

7. The Arabian Nights (c. 1706-1721 in English) (My version was the one translated by Andrew Lang)


Dates: 3/21/20 – 4/18/20 (28 days)

Basic Plot: A compilation of folk tales with Arabic, Persian, Indian, Greek, Jewish, or Turkish roots.

Experience Before Reading: Just Disney’s Aladdin. Turns out it’s not so accurate.

Takeaway: I’ve got to be honest here: I really thought I was going to enjoy this one much more than I did.

I’m not really sure why I didn’t much care for it either. I’ve come up with some reasons that could contribute to this feeling, but I’m not sure which one is most influential:

  • I was coming down off of Atlas Shrugged, with which I’m still very much mentally pre-occupied.
  • A lack of cultural context: I was constantly googling to learn more. While I very much liked learning about other cultures, I think since I was still learning, I was unable to put these stories in a wider cultural context.
  • The plots of stories that often didn’t finish. Many stories fade from one to the next with a character finding themselves in trouble and offering that if they tell a tale more wild than their own, their lives will be spared. Sometimes it came back and finished the story, but there were a few times where the original story was lost in the Russian-nesting dolls of these tales.

I think the best way to describe my experience with this book was I wouldn’t often want to pick it up on my own volition, but when I did I was entertained and could read for a few hours.

The stories themselves are framed around one major story of King Shahryar and his wife Scheherazade. Shahryar had been scorned by his first wife and after he would marry a woman and kill her the next morning. When he married Scheherazade, she told nighttime stories for 1,001 nights until she ran out; however, by that time the King had fallen in love with her and spared her life. This is why some versions are titled One Thousand and One Nights. In my version, however, the initial story was told, but the book failed to address the ending to that story.

I wonder how my translated version differs from other versions. The translations have a rich history. In fact, three of the most popular stories from The Arabian Nights were added by a Frenchman, Antoine Galland, and it’s unclear whether these were actually Eastern stories. These include “Aladdin’s Wonderful Lamp,” “The Seven Voyages of Sinbad the Sailor,” and “Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves.” The last was not even in my translated version.

To anyone not familiar with The Arabian Nights do note that these stories are not specifically Middle Eastern. The scope of these stories extends far beyond to cultures such as Indian and Chinese. For instance, Aladdin was originally Chinese. To an average reader such as myself, the only way I could differentiate between cultures was from context clues in political rankings or locations themselves. That being said, some of these cultures may have co-existed in the same areas so it’s difficult to distinguish say a Jewish story from a Greek story from a Persian story.

I’d like to make clear that though my experience was not as fantastic as I may have hoped, several of these stories were incredibly interesting to me. I found a few to put on my list of favorite folk tales. I particularly liked “The Story of the Greek King and the Physician Douban,” “The Adventures of Prince Camaralzaman and the Princess Badoura,” and “The Story of Two Sisters Who Were Jealous of Their Younger Sister.” Actually, looking at the table of contents now, I really did enjoy the majority of the stories. I just didn’t crave them like how you expect a good book to be.

I want to revisit this after I read other folk tales on this list. I want to see if my opinion has been shaped by a familiarity of themes and plots.

Would I Recommend It?: To someone that craves adventure, yes.

Click here to see my full list of 100 classic books

Atlas Shrugged – Book No. 6

51. Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand (1957)

Image result for atlas shrugged

Dates: 2/11/20 – 3/20/20 (38 days)

Basic Plot: Some of the biggest industrialists in America disappear leaving their companies to fail.

Experience Before Reading: This is one of the only books on the list I knew nothing about. I had heard the name of the book before, but knew nothing of its plot. I knew Ayn Rand had some crazy philosophical thoughts, but I didn’t know what they were. My boyfriend claims it’s his favorite book and I know a few others who consistently praise it.

Takeaway: You want my honest opinion? Read it just like I did: with no context. Stop reading this post here and come back once you’re done. I won’t put heavy spoilers below, but still, it’s extremely impactful if you don’t know anything.

The 1,000 page book was most definitely a roller coaster. It took me a month to get through the first 30 pages, a week for the next 900, and another 10 days to get through the last 100. It starts so slowly, rapidly speeds up, and while the ending was certainly just as fast-paced there was one part of the book that was absolute torture to read through.

Okay, here comes the one spoiler: There’s a 56 page philosophical speech. It’s entirely abstract, no mention of other characters, not even any mention of the character giving the speech – just speech.

It. Was. Painful.

Remember the part when I said Ayn Rand had some crazy ideas? Here they were. Right there. For. Fifty. Six. Pages. Don’t get me wrong, they were interesting, but it was certainly beating a dead horse.

Pacing aside, the story line of this book was incredibly creative. Being that it’s over 60 years old, it aged actually pretty well – with the one exception being the descriptions of radical technology. What even was that laboratory lock??? Not very accurate, but I digress.

Regardless of your political or philosophical beliefs, these characters are so complex and beautifully written it’s very easy to attach to them. My boyfriend even pointed out one night while I had my nose buried in it that he said that he felt like I was hanging out with his friends without him. I’d particularly like to point out Dagny Taggert, she’s extremely human and quite frankly, badass.

Another character, Francisco d’Anconia, reminded me so much of men I had fallen in love with. From my current boyfriend to my first crush, he had so many qualities of them all that I often found myself subconsciously reading his lines in the voices of these men.

Whether you agree with Rand or not on her take on a better world, some of her words can leave you thinking. Because of that, I did pay attention for lines that stood out to me. This is an excerpt from that speech and is actually a part of the same sentence that was much, much longer than what I transcribed here:

… Your work is yours to choose, and the choice is as wide as your mind, that nothing more is possible to you and nothing less is human – that to cheat your way into a job bigger than your mind can handle is to become a fear-corroded ape on borrowed motions and borrowed time, and to settle down into a job that requires less than your mind’s full capacity is to cut your motor and sentence yourself to another kind of motion: decay …

… Your work is the process of achieving your values, and to lose your ambition for values is to lose your ambition to live …

p.933

All in all, this book jumped quickly up to one of my favorite books of all-time.

Would I Recommend It?: Who is John Galt?

Click here to see my full list of 100 classic books

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde – Book No. 5

98. Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson (1886)


Dates: 3/6/20 (1 day)

Basic Plot: Come on, now. Don’t you know it?

Experience Before Reading: Apparently I’ve read this book before. I was assigned it in high school (which means nothing, by the way – I almost never read my school books). It was filled with red pen markings of my less evolved handwriting. Even with my precarious work, I remembered nothing but the basic plot. I did appreciate my high school literary devices and symbolism notes though, it added some much appreciated context.

Takeaway: For my first day of spring break, this was a good little escape. Nothing too much, but just enough to forget reality. I’ve been trudging through Atlas Shrugged and needed a bit of a break anyway.

The story follows through the perspective of a lawyer who gets curious about Dr. Jekyll’s strange behavior and sets about finding out what’s afoot. This – according to my high school scribbles – juxtaposes the common Victorian theme of silence. It was polite to remain quiet and ambivalent.

However, that’s really the point of this book anyway: duality. Everything foils the next and to be whole, you have to be two. And no, that statement has nothing to do with the entire season of Love is Blind I binged this week. But I guess you could say it shows duality in my daily life though – trashy reality TV mixed with quaint Victorian monster classics.

This was my second Robert Louis Stevenson book and I’ve really taken a liking to his style of writing. He’s constantly progressing the plot but without taking away from the imagery. It’s just that every word has its place. It’s efficiency and I like it.

Would I Recommend It?: On a quiet rainy evening.

Click here to see my full list of 100 classic books