Monday, July 25, 2011
To Read or Not To Read: King Solomon’s Mines
Since I was no longer feeling A Princess of Mars I went ebook browsing on my Sony Reader. Project Gutenberg is a great place to get free digital copies of books that are in the public domain so I have over seventy books saved. As I was browsing I came across Allan Quatermain by H. Rider Haggard and I thought I’d give it a try. Now, if you read something like this what would you do?:
“I have just buried my boy, my poor handsome boy of whom I was so proud, and my heart is broken. It is very hard having only one son to lose him thus, but God’s will be done.”
Right?! I was completely caught off guard and was drawn in thinking, Oh my goodness, this is so horribly sad, what happened? I read a few pages more and was feeling like I can get into this. Then I did some research on the internet and learned that Allan Quatermain was a sequel to King Solomon’s Mines. Never liking to start a series from the middle I began reading King Solomon’s Mines, intending to follow it up with Allan Quatermain. I probably should have stuck with Allan Quatermain. But then, it could turn out to be just like King Solomon’s Mines.
So what’s so wrong with King Solomon’s Mines. Well, I was first insulted by the DEDICATION of all things!:
“This faithful but unpretending record of a remarkable adventure is hereby respectfully dedicated by the narrator, Allan Quatermain, to all the big and little boys who read it.”
Big and little boys?! As if big and little girls would not enjoy this book?! As Stephanie Tanner would say, “How rude!” Then as I read further I began to understand why it was dedicated to “big and little boys”. They’re the only ones who believe themselves superior and like to hunt and kill animals for sport! This is such a product of the late 19th century; a well-to-do Englishman in South Africa who believes himself superior. I’m offended but at the same time think he doesn’t know better. Then I feel like I’m making excuses for the character, and in turn, the author. I don’t know what to think. I’m confused. But can I still enjoy the adventure? And what do I know of the author? Not much. Maybe he didn’t feel the way his character does and the character is based on someone he has met? And if I just stop reading am I the same as those who have tried to ban the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and To Kill a Mockingbird? See? Still confused. But, as I have continued reading King Solomon’s Mines it has amused me immensely to make snarky notations whenever Allan Quatermain insults the intelligence of anyone who is not an Englishman. He calls them a Zulu even if they’re not! Even when he knows they’re not a Zulu!
Well, if King Solomon’s Mines gets to be too much for me I’ve got a backup. I’ve finally given in and picked up a copy of The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. Why did I wait so long? Battle Royale, The Running Man.. yeah, enough said. To be continued...