The Sunday Salon: Adventures in Binge Reading

tssbadge1 The Sunday Salon is a group that blogs on Sundays about their reading adventures.

     This weekend, I’ve been binge-reading. I like to read a lot, but for some reason I’m not a fast reader. I like to read slowly and carefully, savoring the written words as if they were the finest delicacy. But this weekend I’ve read almost 300 pages! I finally finished “The Silmarillion”, so I was in need of something different, maybe more light-hearted. So, I tried to pick up, “The Return of Sherlock Holmes” short story collection, but it just wasn’t holding my attention. But that is the joy of reading short stories, you can read one or two, and then put the book down for a few weeks.

Friday, I read 3 chapters from “The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe” to my boys, (age 6 and 4). I was only going to read 1 chapter, but they begged me to read one more chapter so I did. It happened to be the chapter where (SPOILER ALERT for the rest of this paragraph !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) Aslan sacrifices himself to save Edmund. My 6 year old was on the edge of his seat the whole chapter, and we were almost finished with it, he blurted out, “Is Aslan going to die? I don’t want him to die!” I finished the chapter (it ends with his death) and he just sat on the couch, absolutely quiet. You have to understand, my 6 year old is NEVER quiet. I put the book down and started helping my wife fix dinner. We look over on the couch, and he is sitting there, looking very pale and sad, trying not to cry. Then, he said, “I don’t want to read anymore of that book!” and he started crying! My wife comforted him and tried to tell him that he needed to hear more of the story. My wife smiled at me, and quoted the line from Samwise Gamgee in “The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers”  ‘It’s like in the great stories, Mr. Frodo. The ones that really mattered. Full of darkness and danger, they were. And sometimes you didn’t want to know the end. Because how could the end be happy? How could the world go back to the way it was when so much bad had happened? ‘ Anyway, she then told me I had better read just one more chapter before dinner, so I did, and Aslan came back to life, and my boys were happy again.

     That night at work I had to work a four hour shift overnight, so I brought a book along to keep me company (my job is very boring, especially the over night shift. I like it, because that gives me a chance to read!). I decided on starting Elie Wiesel’s “Night” trilogy, 3 short books called, Night, Dawn, and Day. The first one is a memoir of sorts about his experiences in a concentration camp, Auschwitz and Buchenwald. I first read it 2 years ago (I think it was also an Oprah Book of the month). I finished the whole thing in the time I had to read at work. It is hard to read, because of all the tragedy that he writes about, but his writing style is very engaging and easy to zip along. But the themes and statements he makes in the book are profound, and they stick in your head for a long time. Yesterday afternoon I started “Dawn” and just finished that this morning. That story is fiction, though Wiesel said in some sense the main character is him, or what he might have become if circumstances in his life had been different after he was released from the Nazi death camps. The story is about a young man named Elisha who joins a Jewish underground movement and is ordered to execute a British soldier at dawn. The story is brief and poignant, as he struggles with this decision, debates whether he will do it or not. That one question, will he do it or won’t he?, kept me turning the pages to the very end. (It was 87 pages long.) If you want that question answered, you will have to read it for yourself. 🙂 This book wasn’t quite as horrifying as “Night” was, but it was just as well written. Again, it will make you rethink many things, especially as they pertain to war, executions, morality, and God. I hope to start on “Day” this afternoon, and then, I think it’s time I moved on to something more cheerful than Holocaust literature.

     I find myself this weekend enjoying some well-written pieces of literature, as well as enjoying my freedom that so many people suffered and died for, and possibly faced such moral delima’s as Elisha did, all in the name of freedom. We are trully blessed to be living in America in the 21st century. May we never take it for granted!

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2 Comments on “The Sunday Salon: Adventures in Binge Reading”

  1. BooksPlease Says:

    Oh that scene in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe is very strong and scary – no wonder he was upset. I’m so glad you read them the next chapter.

  2. debnance Says:

    I’ve been binge reading myself since we got out for a winter break. I must rejoin the world.

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