- Explore someplace new
- Be inspired
- Read a classic (book 3 of 4)
- Try a new recipe
- Get selfishly creative
Here is the trouble with reading a classic on your own – sometimes you just don’t get it. I’m not afraid to say it. I didn’t particularly enjoy this book. Despite the constant action and the short chapters, it was repetitive and tiresome. I have a feeling this is for two reasons: 1) I had no historical context, nothing to inform my reading and help me appreciate the satire, and 2) I had no one to discuss the book with, and therefore no one to make me slow down and reflect on my reading. (Already my appreciation is growing for the book as I write this post. Reflection is a big part of that.)
Published in 1759, Candide is a satirical look at philosophy, politics, and religion. It follows the misfortunes of Candide and companions around the world and demonstrates his transition from a young man full of optimism – accepting all as “for the best” – to an experienced man who honors the act of “cultivating your garden,” or (in my interpretation) actively taking control of your world. This, I imagine, is what I will ultimately take away from the reading experience. Not a bad philosophy, really.
If you’re curious about the story yourself and want some familiarity with it, I found Leonard Bernstein’s operetta version (split into 12 separate videos) much more entertaining. As with all adaptations, the operetta is full of changes and exclusions, but it will give you the jist…and a few laughs.