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Book 33

  1. Matheson, Richard — I Am Legend (161 pages)
  2. McCarthy, Cormac — No Country for Old Men (307 pages)
  3. Dexter, Gary — Why Not Catch 21?: The Stories Behind the Titles (213 pages)
  4. Ryman, Geoff — 253 (366 pages)
  5. Wyndham, John — The Day of the Triffids (267 pages)
  6. Kurkov, Andrey — Death and the Penguin (228 pages)
  7. Chesterton, G.K. — Orthodoxy (183 pages)
  8. Gibbs, Christopher H., ed. — The Cambridge Companion to Schubert (334 pages)
  9. Sendak, Maurice — Where the Wild Things Are (48 pages — though only 1 page will count towards my tally)
  10. Hurston, Zora Neale — Their Eyes Were Watching God (215 pages)
  11. Clarke, Arthur C. — Rendezvous With Rama (245 pages)
  12. Clarke, Arthur C. — The City and the Stars (246 pages)
  13. Chesterton, G.K. — The Man Who Was Thursday: A Nightmare (205 pages)
  14. Tepper, Sheri S. — Beauty (468 pages)
  15. Slawson, Douglas J. — Ambition and Arrogance: Cardinal William O'Connell of Boston and the American Catholic Church (186 pages)
  16. Belloc, Hilaire — The Great Heresies (166 pages)
  17. Waugh, Evelyn — Brideshead Revisited (326 pages)
  18. Rawicz, Slavomir — The Long Walk: The True Story of a Trek to Freedom (278 pages)
  19. Junger, Sebastian — The Perfect Storm: A True Story of Men Against the Sea (309 pages)
  20. Seth, Vikram — An Equal Music (486 pages)
  21. Dubus III, Andre — House of Sand and Fog (351 pages)
  22. Kurkov, Andrey — Penguin Lost (251 pages)
  23. Bradbury, Ray — Dandelion Wine (247 pages)
  24. Bradbury, Ray — Farewell Summer (209 pages)
  25. Doran, Jamie and Piers Bizony — Starman: The Truth behind the Legend of Yuri Gagarin (241 pages)
  26. Makine, Andreï — A Life's Music (106 pages)
  27. Barnes, Julian — A History of the World in 10½ Chapters (307 pages)
  28. Chaucer, Geoffrey — The Canterbury Tales (623 pages)
  29. Pushkin, Aleksandr — Eugene Onegin (Vladimir Nabokov, transl.) (351 pages)
  30. Lowry, Malcolm — Under the Volcano (387 pages)
  31. Fadiman, Anne — Ex Libris: Confessions of a Common Reader (132 pages)
  32. Grimwood, Ken — Replay (266 pages)
  33. Barrie, J.M. — Peter Pan (246 pages)

Page count: 8712.

I was still in the mood for fantasy, Christmas was rapidly approaching, and the last book had me thinking about themes of renewed youth and eternal life, so Peter Pan practically fell off my bookshelf into my hands.

There's nothing I can say about this story that hasn't been said a million times already and by more capable people. It's a magical children's story.

Surprisingly, though, I was a bit disappointed by the novel. I had never read it before, nor seen the play. I was familiar with the story as part of popular culture and through various movie adaptations. I suppose I lost patience with Peter Pan because it did not live up to my idealized image of it.

When you get down to it, Peter and Tink can be pretty despicable characters. But upon re-examination, that's part of Barrie's genius: his characters aren't merely caricatures of some whimsical ideal. Peter isn't just some idealized legendary figure: he exhibits all the arrogance and thoughtlessness that accompany immaturity, and yet he's brave and honourable and playful. He's a real boy, just one who can fly and never grows up.

I think Peter Pan works best with a buffer or filter. I like it better looking back on it a couple of weeks later than I did while reading it. I like it much better having just watched the original Disney feature or the recent Finding Neverland for the first time, or rewatching Hook. Peter Pan works much better as myth than novel, and evoking eternal truths as it does, myth is just what it has become.

Comments

( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
am0
Dec. 29th, 2008 09:18 pm (UTC)
Pan
Congratulations: you've captured it.
( 1 comment — Leave a comment )

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