Watership Down is one of the books on the BBC reads list that I've been working through for the past year in an effort to improve my Classics knowledge (literary classics, not Greek and Roman classics). However, I went through the list and marked about 75% of the list as books I actually wanted to read and started with those. Watership Down was not on the list. However, a dear, dear friend recommended it, and thus I begin my adventure. Since I'm a little worried about maintaining my pace (it's a 400 page book), I'm doing simul-blogging as I read.
Ch 1: You know a book will be great when it quotes some of the most depressing lines from a greek tragedy ("The stench is like a breath from the tomb" Aeschylus Agamemnon)
Ch 4: Four chapters in and I'm still getting used to it. Basically we've enter the world of Rabbits at a time when their warren is about to be developed into housing plots. (And I know how much homeowners hate rabbits--ask Grandma!) So a small band is leaving...
Ch. 8: I love that Pipkin the rabbit won't remember how Blackberry saved him because he was scared out of his mind. It's so like rabbits. This human-rabbit anthropomorphic thing is killing!
I think I shall call all motored things hrududu like the rabbits do. "My hrududu is parked over there..."
Obviously the book became more engrossing than would allow my chapter by chapter comments. Okay so it's not Harry Potter, and it's about rabbits. And I probably wouldn't have finished it so fast if not for the book challenge. But it's a classic for good reason. The struggle for a community to make out a life is always entertaining.
For some reason, I associate the American Revolution and Pioneer spirit with much of my childhood (probably b/c of lots of Little House on the Prairie and American Girl books) so I keep trying to figure out when this book would be appropriate to read to child. It has to be a great read-a-long book--short chapters, easy to pick up where you leave off, lots of fun dialect (not the annoying kind--just enough to make you appreciate that he didn't write the whole thing in Lapine language). Some of those fight scenes though were scary. I had no clue rabbits could be so fierce. I guess it is a book that is assigned to Jr High/High schoolers. Though I'm sure that in my 8th grade year I would have dismissed it as a "boy book" (that was our Lord of the Flies, Captain's Courageous year).
...Hmm. So yes, it's a good book, a satisfying book, a book worthy of reading.
Oh and The Thief by Megan Whaelan Turner totally borrows the epic journey action with spurts of historical story-telling plot scheme from Watership Down. I love seeing author legacies like that.