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My Life and Life of Pi: a.k.a. that book over there by the drinking fountain with the tiger on it

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March 27, 2013 by Nichole Eck

For the record, there is no good way to phrase that subtitle without a misplaced modifier in it somewhere, so I hope you editorially minded readers got a laugh imagining a tiger perched on top of a drinking fountain.

Anyway, I don’t usually write about the WordPress daily prompts (although I sometimes check out the responses), but today’s was book related and altogether too good to pass up!

If you were to judge your favorite book by its cover, would you still read it?

The simple answer to this is no, but this isn’t just speculation; I have proof!

I saw the cover of my (now) favorite book several times a day, every weekday for about two months during my freshman year of high school in the strangest place: on top of the gymnasium drinking fountain.

Two or three times every afternoon, in the midst of grueling badminton practices (Don’t snort; it’s a serious sport!), I’d head to the drinking fountain and glimpse the cover.

Blue watery background, little white boat, littler brown boy, and a giant orange tiger. I even picked it up and read the back once or twice. I always thought it sounded pretty stupid.

Fast-forward about 4 years: I hear my mother talking about her book club. I decide I want to try this book club thing, and when I hear this month’s book is Life of Pi, I decide it’s a sign from the gods of literature.

I finished the book about two days before the actual book club meeting, at which I’m pretty sure I seriously offended one of the ladies with my unabashed skepticism of the plot and the ending.

The whole next week I hated the book because I (a) couldn’t stop thinking about it and (b) couldn’t figure out what to think about it.

Then, my world changed. Sort of. The way I look at literature was certainly never the same again. I was sitting and thinking (again) about whether or not I should believe the story within the story (just read the book, and it’ll make sense), and I couldn’t decide. I waffled back and forth and back and forth until I realized, That’s the point. Then I realized that this book had somehow gotten me to consider faith and doubt intensely for a week straight and actually taught me something by the end of it. It actually used the characters and the plot to make me think and finally discover something about myself.

It’s the only book I’ve ever read that truly deserves the overused label meta.

So, short answer: judging just by its cover, I wouldn’t have ever read Life of Pi. But boy am I glad the universe had other plans.

How about you? What’s your all-time favorite book? Would you have read it judging only its cover?

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11 thoughts on “My Life and Life of Pi: a.k.a. that book over there by the drinking fountain with the tiger on it

  1. […] My Life and Life of Pi: a.k.a. that book over there by the drinking fountain with the tiger on it | … […]

  2. […] My Life and Life of Pi: a.k.a. that book over there by the drinking fountain with the tiger on it | … […]

  3. […] My Life and Life of Pi: a.k.a. that book over there by the drinking fountain with the tiger on it | … […]

  4. Folio and Ink says:

    My all time favorite book is Jane Eyre. Its had so many covers by now, I’m not sure what the cover was when I first read it. And yes, covers are important. What really bothers me are book covers that are the movie of the book. It is just too cheesy. If the film is adapted from a book, then the book came first and the cover should retain whatever dignity it had before the story became a film. I balk about book covers often.

    • nicholeck says:

      Book covers with pictures from the film drive me nuts, too! It just seems so insincere and misleading somehow. Also, it’s a little prescriptive to tell you exactly what the characters should look like. My one exception is the Lord of the Rings trilogy, but that might just be because I haven’t read them all; I’ve just seen the movies. And it didn’t really have much of a cover to begin with.

  5. Great book! You should see the movie, too, if you haven’t already.

    • nicholeck says:

      Thanks for reminding me! The movie just got to the dollar theater where I live. I’m definitely going to see it in the next few weeks. And it’s good to hear someone who’s read the book also enjoyed the movie. I’m even more excited for it now. =)

  6. claresg says:

    I have also owned this book forever and never read it. But recently I have seen a lot of good reviews about it and definitely have it on my to read list.

    • Nichole Eck says:

      I can’t recommend it highly enough! It isn’t exactly a quick read though. At least, I wanted some time to think about things in the middle of the book. Let me know what you think of it when you read it!

  7. Tuan Ho says:

    I read it a few months ago to prepare for the movie. What a stunningly profound ending!

    Did you like the movie?

    • Nichole Eck says:

      The ending is definitely my favorite part of the novel. I still haven’t seen the movie (been too busy with work!), but I hope to see if before it leaves the dollar theater in my town. Or I’ll just have to Redbox it this summer.

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