Monday, October 7, 2013

Best Books You Haven't Read: Freddy's Book

Adam C. Zern shares his thoughts on one of the best books he's ever read but not many others have:

"We love tallying things up—the best films, books, games, whatever, of all time.  I enjoy looking these lists over just as much as the next person.  (I especially love ticking off the ones I have read already).  There are usually a few books—To Kill a Mockingbird or A Tale of Two Cities, for example—that always end up on lists like that.  Most of the time it's justified and sometimes it's not.  I've been pondering as of late the books which are so good, so interesting, or so compelling everyone should give them a read but usually don't end up on the lists we usually come across.

Ever heard of a book called Freddy's Book by John Gardner?  I would be impressed if you had, and I would be even more impressed, shocked even, if you had actually read it.  I came across it completely by accident.  I was stumbling around in my parents' makeshift library when I came across it.  The cover was worn and unattractive and the title—Freddy's Book—wasn't exactly thrilling stuff.  John Gardner wasn't an author I was familiar with, but for some reason I decided to give Freddy's Book some time.

When I read Freddy's Book it was one of the most bizarre books I have ever read.  From its odd beginning right up until its exceptionally fascinating ending, Freddy's Book challenges the reader to think, to ponder, and to speculate.  It is one of the few books I have thought very seriously about re-reading since I'm sure I would perceive the book's philosophical implications differently, perhaps dramatically.  Similar to other books like it, the meanings and messages derived from its story will vary based on the reader's previous knowledge, perceptions, and prejudices.  Personally, I saw it as allegorical tale of the innate evil that resides in human nature and is expressed even without external influence.  But the next reader might conclude it's about . . .  

Freddy's Book is a fascinating book everyone should enjoy at least once.  More than likely it won't appear on too many "Must-Read" lists (aside from The Thousander Club's!), but it's absolutely worth the time—it's relatively short—and intellectual effort it takes to read it."

 Other Topics of Interest:
Thousander Must-Reads
What Every American Should Read
What Every High School Student Should Read but Probably Doesn't

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