April 4, 2009 · 12:00 PM
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The book to read for the month of April is a classic-Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe. My dad recently told me that this was one of his favorite books, so I would like to read it. I hope that many of you have also not read it and will enjoy. Lots of interesting things in the book to talk about.
See you there!
All my best
About the Book:
The author of Robinson Crusoe, Daniel Defoe, is generally credited with being one of the first novel writers in the English language. The book is surely an influential one-- spawning countless imitations, derivations, and (in our era) reality-based television shows.
It is billed, quite fairly, as an adventure story. However, it is a very different kind of adventure than the modern action-sequence laden book which readers today may expect. It is an adventure story, but one which centers primarily on mastery and morality.
The morality is placed centrally in the book when Crusoe rejects the advice of his father to accept the happiness of the middle class life to which he was born. Against the wishes of his family, he runs off to sea to find adventure. It is not until Crusoe literally recreates a primitive approximation of that middle class life for himself on his island that he is freed.
Crusoe is also a story about the ability of mankind to master his surroundings through hard work, patience, and Christianity. The combination of these three supports are what allow him to escape captivity in Africa, overcome the deadly obstacles on the island, and finally leave the island itself. His physical prowess and combat skills are significantly less important to his journey than the message of trust and persistance that the decades he spends on the island convey. While this message might need tempering for the modern reader, it is also inspirational and important to read.
If the potential reader is not used to the diction of the time, the book itself may take some patience and persistance. It pays off, in the end, and should be an excellent book for the young teenager (or the not-so-young grown-up) interested in stories of adventure. The child who reads and enjoys My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George would probably be a good potential audience for Robinson Crusoe. For a good life-at-sea duo, you might consider pairing it with Two Years Before the Mast by Richard Henry Dana.