Friday, June 1, 2012

Farewell Don Quixote

For whatever reason, some years back I determined that it would be a wise course of action for me to pursue reading great works of literary fiction.  I thought reading one "classic" a year would be good for me, and as someone who likes to read, I thought it would be something I'd enjoy.

Well, for the most part this has held true.  I have read a number of "classics" over this period, including:  Catch 22, Slaughterhouse Five, The Count of Monte Cristo, and so on...  I'm not sure if all the "classics" I've read are actually "classics".  For the most part, I have just picked a book that is older than I am and has some acclaim.

And then came Don Quixote.  I'm slightly ashamed to admit that the first two times I tried to read this book, I was unable to do so.  On both occasions I would start it, and then I'd lose motivation, and eventually I just gave up.

However, this time I was confident and motivated.  Last year I had made it through Dumas's "The Count of Monte Cristo" which had also been translated, and was written in another century.  So I figured, "I can read this".

Well, late last night I accomplished my goal.  It took me the better part of 3 months of reading almost every night (it's a terribly long book, 976 pages in Hardcover).  The language is pretty difficult, being that it is translated from a form of Spanish in the early 1600's.  When I was halfway through the book, I became convinced that I would never finish it, and also... that quite possibly it would never end.

However, last night as I finished the final few chapters I found myself sad with the realization that Don Quixote would soon be leaving me.  What  tremendous characters that Cervantes created.  It is sort of sad for me to let "The Knight of the Lions" and his faithful companion Sancho Panza fade away.

If you ever wanted to read Don Quixote, I would recommend it as a great story, with unforgettable characters and adventures.  However, you need to be warned that you need to bring your endurance...your patience will be tested, and ultimately, rewarded.  But it isn't easy reading.

As for me, I'm going to read some lighthearted comedy for a while, probably starting with Michael Ian Black's "You're Not Doing It Right".

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