1. Thanksgiving with family
2. Birthday present are right around the corner (more kettlebells)
3. Time to read Watership Down again, hence this Watership Down review
Watership Down is about rabbits, but it is also one of the most moving books I’ve ever read. For sheer haunting, emotional power, it has affected me as much as The Last Lecture and Man’s Search For Meaning.
And again, it’s about rabbits. A group of rabbits living in a happy little warren. Happy, that is, until their weird prophet, a skinny tweaker rabbit named Fiver, starts having visions in which the warren is bulldozed. He sees blood and screaming and all sorts of horrible stuff.
The rabbits–the lucky ones–leave the warren and set out to look for a new home. That search, and the effort to set up camp once they find the right place, comprises the majority of the book.
Trees in November
Early in the book, one of the rabbits, while getting extremely creeped out, says, “I feel like trees in November.” I’ve never forgotten that line. That’s why I read the book every November. That line sums up everything I love about literature. Because I know what that rabbit means, without needing to explain it further.
Trees in November. A gorgeous, melancholy metaphor that can mean so many different things, depending on where you’re standing and who you are with.
I love it. I love it!
The book is worth reading because…
Watership Down is an adventure story that holds up against titans of the genre like the Indiana Jones movies. It is scary. It has one of the most memorable villains of all time, general Woundwort. It has deaths that still raise the hairs on my neck. It is a page-turner that is superior to anything Dan Brown will ever put out. It has characters that live and breathe and break the heart when things go wrong.
And not much goes right in this story.
Jeez. Now that I’m this fired up, I realize that I love this book even more than I thought. I think most books worth reading are worth reading every five to ten years. Watership Down is worth reading every November, for me.
If you’re feeling sassy, you should also check out the animated film. It’s a real freakout. I’m serious. It has scary, dark music by Simon and Garfunkel, and the animation is as eerie as it gets. It doesn’t hold back on the blood and guts, and the fear and panic of the rabbits when the mad dog is loose in the woods is hard to watch.
Please, please, please read this book. It makes me glad to be alive. It’s everything that is right about writing, reading, and literature. It is a book that makes me want to be a better person.
And it’s about rabbits.
Rating: One bajillion wire snares. That’s only slightly higher than The Knot.
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