Saturday, April 6, 2013

Robinson Crusoe (63rd Book)

I have lost count how many books I read in March, but I think it is the most books I have read in any given month in my entire life! This past weekend I was in Vancouver visiting my boyfriend for the Easter Weekend. He had some work to do for the first few days so while he typed away in coffee shops I had the enjoyable experience of motoring through The Moonstone. God bless Kobo and ereaders, though, because rather than lug around a stack of novels I was just carrying around my  light ereader in my purse. This is also fortuitous because I had started the weekend believing I was going to read Thank You, Jeeves which I purchased for just such an occasion. After the many references to Robinson Crusoe in The Moonstone I felt I HAD to read it. Luckily it was a free novel and I already had it loaded on my ereader. For those who don't know, I originally started the list of 100 greatest novels of all time as an ereader project. I believed that most of the classic novels on the list would be free or low cost. While this hasn't held to be entirely true (some are more expensive, or the older ones are too difficult to find), there are several on both the list of 1001 books and the Novel 100 which will be 100% free thanks to being past the 50 year cut off for copyright enforcement.

I knew a little about Robinson Crusoe but was pleasantly surprised by the actual experience of reading it. I was in a good space to absorb the theme which is predominately one of thankfulness for what you do have, rather than looking at what you don't have. "We may always find in it something to comfort ourselves from, and to set in the description of good an evil, on the credit side of the account". Robinson survived his 28 year solitude on the island by continually  looking at the blessing of having been saved from so many crazy ordeals, and being thankful for the supplies that were saved, rather than the things that he didn't have. ""All our discontents about what we want, appeared to me to spring from the want of thankfulness for what we have" The book does a fantastic job of chronicling the everyday things that we take for granted. Everyday things took him much longer to by simply not having the modern day conveniences that we are used to. Carving a boat, took many days to cut down the tree without the use of a proper axe, hollowing it out took even longer without proper implements.

I started reading the book because of the many references in The Moonstone to this novel. Gabriel Betteredge, the servant in the story, had a habit of finding predictions of the future in the pages of Robinson Crusoe. This made me giggle because I have had this happen with the Bible, and other random songs, books and stories. There have been moments when words leapt off the page at me and I knew they were meant just for me. The fact that Betteredge had found one random book that spoke to him in the same way made me grin. The great thing for me as I read Robinson Crusoe is that he too had the experience of words leaping off the page as he started to turn toward God in his long exile. One of the most poignant ones that starts his whole journey back to faith is "Call on me in the day of trouble, and I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me". Another reference that stuck out to Robinson was the scripture about counting the cost before beginning a work. I was in the right head space when I started this, book because I was touched beyond reason, by the references to faith in the novel. I was so happy that this fictional character was able to find that God was faithful even when He seemed like He wasn't around. I started this novel during Easter Weekend when I too was reflecting on the many things that God had done for me. This novel actually helped to revitalize my faith which had fallen by the wayside in the busyness of life.

I was pleasantly surprised by this side tangent in reading, and glad that I took the detour after all the references in The Moonstone. The next novel I started reading, Thank you Jeeves, also had references to Robinson Crusoe too so I was even more grateful that I had read it.


Mark Noce said...

Robinson Crusoe is a great book! Looks like you're working on quite a few, very cool:)

magicandmystery said...

Thanks! Simultaneously working on two life lists! Challenging, but fun, as I discover books I never would have before. Also, it gives me something to write about which is fun for a hobbyist writer.