In another venue, I mentioned that, thanks to Project Gutenberg, I am at the moment reading Treasure Island.
For the first time.
And loving it.
…which is something of a surprise.
See, I downloaded Treasure Island because I figured it would be an easy book to put down. Which is to say, the perfect book to be “reading” while I’m actually supposed to be writing.
I had a reason for this opinion.
Sometime back pre-teen, I was given a copy of Treasure Island in a box-full of books handed down from my cousin, Davey Crockett (Well. From my cousin David. Who dressed like Davey Crockett whenever possible and once even managed to wear a coonskin cap and Indian moccasins into church.). Besides Treasure Island, there was Kim and Kidnapped and Robinson Crusoe and The Prince and the Pauper, Tom Sawyer, Huckleberry Finn, The Last of the Mohicans, and who knows what all else.
I was quite a reader as a kid, and I dove right in. Tom Sawyer was…ok, and I had similar feelings for Huck Finn. The Last of the Mohicans didn’t make much sense, but I read it anyway.
Then, I picked up Treasure Island — and bounced.
I tried to keep going, but my reading soul rebelled. I put Treasure Island aside for later and dove back into the box.
And in quick succession bounced equally hard off of Robinson Crusoe, Kim, and Kidnapped.
Happily for me, The Prince and the Pauper was still in the box waiting to be discovered, like Hope. That book, I read until I could recite whole passages. Until the binding broke and I nagged my grandmother to glue it back together for me. I read it more often than I read Jane Eyre, another favorite of about that time, along with The Three Musketeers and The Count of Monte Cristo.
I did, finally, many, many years later read Robinson Crusoe. If it hadn’t been required for a class, I wouldn’t have finished it that time, either. Silly sort of book. And that experience confirmed me in my opinion of Kim and Kidnapped, by association. And Treasure Island, too.
Reading it now, I can’t spot the reason why I bounced so hard. It gets on its bike from the very first word and just keeps riding. There are some words that I certainly wouldn’t have known, but there were certainly strange and unknown words in The Prince and the Pauper, so that wasn’t the problem. It may simply have been that I found the narrator’s voice dull, or — well, who knows, at this point.
But, I wonder, you know, if I ought to go on over to Project Gutenberg and download, oh — Kim, and maybe Kidnapped, too.