In High School English class a couple of shorter books were very popular for book reports. I remember hearing SOOOO MANY oral book reports on The Old Man and The Sea and The Call of the Wild.

I heard about these books sooo many times, I never needed to read them myself at the time, and I didn’t until years later.

But when Call of the Wild was recently featured as a “literary cameo” in a show I was hooked on, I decided to read this book for myself, finally.

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And I now have to admit that these classmates who were being efficient were still getting quality reading in fewer pages than I might have been!

My first treat from Call of the Wild was actually the introduction.  I had to write a post on this part before I read any further:

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I love the way London writes. The storytelling is quick and easy to digest. There is not a lot of extraneous information, and he is right to the point. He is sharp with his perspectives (in this book from a dog) on human nature and animal nature and nature itself. Though the story seemed simple there is a lot of truth in these few words.

As for the characterization, it made me feel for Buck, a dog, as much as I have for many human characters.

“He was older than the days he had seen and the breaths he had drawn. He linked the past with the present, and the eternity behind him throbbed through him in a mighty rhythm to which he swayed as the tides and seasons swayed.”

It’s surprising to me that I can make any comparisons between this book and the last book I finished. But both of these books deal with inherent instincts calling us, whether human or animal, back to the origins of our ancestors.

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Over the years I have spent time reading books with more pages that didn’t give nearly as much “bang for the page” as this book. So to my former classmates, I now apologize for then judging you for reading the shortest book possible! I would actually recommend that everyone read (and re-read later in life!) both of these short books!

(On a related note Old Man and The Sea actually turned out to be one of my top two Hemingway’s after all. A topic for another post another day.)

What’s your favorite “short book”?

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