First Impression Friday will be a meme where you talk about a book that you JUST STARTED! Maybe you’re only a chapter or two in, maybe a little farther. Based on this sampling of your current read, give a few impressions and predict what you’ll think by the end.
First published in 1972, Richard Adams’s extraordinary bestseller Watership Down takes us to a world we have never truly seen: to the remarkable life that teems in the fields, forests, and riverbank, far beyond our cities and towns. It is a powerful saga of courage, leadership, and survival; an epic tale of hardy band of Berkshire rabbits forced to flee the destruction of their fragile community and their trials and triumphs in the face of extraordinary adversity as they pursue a glorious dream called “home.”
The weekend is waving as another workweek has finally come to an end. Today also marks the first Friday of the last month of the year. Wow, time does fly fast. The past week has been abuzz with the news of the new COVID19 variant. It is a hard reality check just when things are about to stabilize and normalize. Nevertheless, I am fervently hoping that the new variant of the virus will be contained. I am also praying that the pandemic will come to an end soon. The past two years certainly have been challenging, in all facets. However, I hope that you are all doing well, physically, emotionally, and mentally, despite these challenging times. I hope you are all safe and with the year slowly drawing to a close, I pray that you receive nothing but blessings, miracles, and good news.
Part of my weekly wrap up is a First Impression Friday update. In what has become a yearly tradition (hitting myself), I have been hastily catching up on books that are part of my reading challenges these past few weeks. HAHA. I never learn do I? I have about four active reading challenges and I am nearly done with two – 2021 Goodreads Reading Challenge and 2021 Top 21 Reading List. The latter, as always, is my priority. With all my last minute hustle, I managed to tick off several books from my reading lists. Thankfully, I am now down to the last two books from my 2021 Top 21 Reading List. My current read, Richard Adams’ Watership Down also happens to be my 85th read for the year. Once I am done with the book, I will have completed my 2021 Goodreads Reading Challenge!
In a way, the past month has been a European reading month. It commenced with Polish Nobel Laureate in Literature Olga Tokarczuk’s Flights and culminates with my current read. When I first encountered Watership Down, I thought it was novel dealing with war, in the same mantle as Erich Maria Remarque’s All Quiet on the Western Front. I can’t remember what gave me this idea but somehow the first impression stuck. At least for some time. This was the reason why I was reluctant buying and reading it. Every time I encounter it in online booksellers, I simply swipe next. This repeated encounter made me curious about the book and a simple research yielded that it was a story about rabbits. Wow! That totally caught me off guard. Without more ado, I bought the next available copy back in mid-2020. I then made it part of my 2021 Top 21 Reading List.
It’s nearly a week since I started Watership Down. It was a slow progress because of the flurry of activities, especially this period is usually marked by yearend parties and celebrations. The past week was also a busy one because of month-end closing activities. Nevertheless, I am midway through the book and the experience, so far, was a magical one. I am enjoying the story, which involved a group of rabbits who left their warren because of an impending danger that was foreseen by Fiver, an overseer of some sort. The group, led by Hazel, journeyed across the open fields, encountering challenges along the way. It was until they reach the titular Watership Down, a hill with enough cover and resources, that they ended their search for a new place to call their new home. Establishing a new home, however, does come with challenges and we read as they address each of these concerns.
On the surface, the story sounds like a story for children. The rabbit part of the story belied the deeper subjects the story grappled with. What made an impression was how the story of the rabbits reflected the story of humans. In a way, their story is a reflection of our own experiences. I recognized elements of human history in their journey and their establishment of a new home. In an environment that was fraught with dangers, survival was of utmost concern. The importance of a leader to lead the group was also underlined. But what really reminded me of historical contexts was the conquest to Efrafa in order to gain does for the procreation of the group; they were a group of bucks. The regimented structure of the Efrafa warren was also the reflection of a human societal structure, that of dictatorship and an authoritarian state. The elements of rabbit tales gave the story a more interesting complexion; I really enjoyed these breaks.
I still have about one half of the story to read and I am excited to know how the Efrara expedition will pan out. I am also curious to learn how the relationships of the characters will develop. I think there is something shady about Holly (HAHA). Perhaps. Hazel looms large in the story. He does deserve the leadership role he slowly assumed. He possesses a wisdom and understanding beyond his years that makes him understand what was needed to sustain the group’s needs and, at the same time, ensure their survival and future. He was obviously the brain of the group while Fiver was his reliable adviser. Bigwig was another interesting character. While Hazel was the brain, Bigwig was the brawn. They are an eclectic and interesting set of characters. However, I do wish there were more female voices in the mix. I like the storytelling but I find the voices too masculine, softened only by Hazel and Fiver.
I hope to complete the book over the weekend. I hope I manage to gather enough momentum. How about you fellow reader? What book do you have on your hand right now? How are you enjoying it so far? I hope you could share it in the comment box. For now, have a great weekend ahead! And as always, happy reading!