While I’ve loved doing this reading challenge, I have to admit I dislike some of these really broad challenges. How much older than ten years? Should I aim for exactly ten? Well, considering probably half of what I’ve read has met this qualification, I just picked a random book and went with that. Which is how I ended up going down my reading list and selecting The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon.
Christopher Boone is an incredibly gifted student. He’s doing his A-levels in maths before any of the other students, and can rattle off incredible facts at the blink of an eye. But the fact remains that Christopher is different. He’s autistic. Unable to eat foods that are yellow or brown, or to discern what emotions his classmates are feeling, or to know what to make of an idiomatic expression. or even to let his own father hug him. But in spite of all of these difficulties, Christopher decides that he wants to write an account of his life in a way that makes sense to him. He begins writing his story after he discovers his neighbor’s dog, Wellington, murdered with a garden fork one night. Unable to give up on finding out what happened, Christopher sets out to find out the truth about the curious incident, resulting in him discovering several secrets he never should have known, all while continuing to explore his own system of understanding a world that doesn’t seem to understand him.
I cannot even begin to describe how much I loved this book. I thought it was incredibly well written. The story was amazing. The characters, especially the protagonist, were inspiring and realistic. The mystery kept me focused on wanting to know what happened in the story, but the details of autistic life allowed me to become better educated on real life matters I’d never explored much before.
I think that’s one of the true beauties of reading, is the ability to put yourself in other people’s shoes. I haven’t really met anyone who’s autistic, though I’ve definitely seen characters portrayed as such in films, or heard of people dealing with these issues, but reading a book through Christopher’s mind allowed me to really start making some connections about a subject I had previously rarely encountered. Needless to say, I’m very glad I picked up this book even if it’s not one of the newest books out there.
Do you prefer reading new or old books? Do you balance it or is it usually one or the other?