Lafcadio, The Lion Who Shot Back // Book Review

Author: Shel Silverstein
Genre: Children’s Book
Year Published: 1963
Publisher: HarperCollins
Length: 112 pages

Shel Silverstein started my love of reading at the ripe young age of five. I’m not too cool to admit that sometimes when I have a bad day I turn to my good friend Where the Sidewalk Ends. So when my little sister bought me a Shel Silverstein book as a birthday present for my 21st birthday I was incredibly, nerdily excited.

This story follows a brave lion who comes to be known as Lafcadio. After eating a hunter and stealing his gun Lafcadio quickly becomes the sharpest shooter in all of Africa. When he gets recruited to join a circus, Lafcadio becomes wildly famous and rich. And in the process might just forget where he came from.

I absolutely love Lafcadio, The Lion Who Shot Back. This quirky tale of self-discover disguised as a children’s book could teach people of all ages a lesson or two. As someone who is about to enter their (potential) last year of college and is trying to figure out what the heck I’m doing with my life, I found great comfort in Lafcadio’s journey. Here are just a few of the lessons I learned from the lion who shot back.

Use your talents for good! When Lafcadio first starts shooting he uses it to protect his friends and family. But the aspect of endless marshmallow’s leads him down a road of riches. He gets lonely and bored very quickly.

Being rich and famous isn’t nearly as important as the people in your life. Lafcadio had it all. He had so much that he got bored with all his crazy adventures. He kept searching for bigger and better experiences that ultimately still left him feeling lonely. Even an unlimited supply of marshmallows couldn’t keep him happy.

Never forget where you came from. Lafcadio got so caught up with his fancy new life that he completely forgot where he came from. When he returns to Africa on a hunting trip he is struck by just how much he has changed. So much that he doesn’t know who he is anymore.

And most importantly:
It’s ok to not know where you’re going or what will happen: My favorite quote in this whole book was towards the end. “…he didn’t really know where he was going, but he did know he was going somewhere, because you really have to go somewhere, don’t you? And he didn’t really know what was going to happen to him, but he did know that something was going to happen, because something always does, doesn’t it?” This has seriously become my life motto. I don’t know where I am going in life and what I’m doing, but that’s ok because something will happen in my life! Thanks Lafcadio for validating my uncertainty.

Lafcadio, The Lion Who Shot Back was a fantastic, quick read that both transported me back to my childhood and gave me some new perspective about my adult life. I would honestly recommend this book for readers of all ages.

Rating: 5 marshmallows out of 5

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An Atrocious Number

The other day I decided to partake in one of my favorite, nerdy activities. Reorganizing my bookshelf.

Really I was just trying to avoid doing the insurmountable pile of homework I should have been working on.

Anyways, as I was strategically mapping out how I wanted my bookshelf to look I came to realize a tragic thing. The majority of the books that I own I have never even opened! And even more of them I have never read all the way through. Of the 160 books currently living on my shelf I have not read 109 of them. What an atrocious number!

And so I came up with a challenge for myself. I’m pretty sure it is crazy and I don’t how it is going to happen, but it seemed like a fun idea.

Over the next year I want to read every book that currently sits on my shelf. By April 20, 2016 I will be able to boldly proclaim I do not own a book I have not read cover to cover. And I’m taking you along for the ride!

Like I said, this is probably crazy. I am still a full time student with a part time job and somewhat of a social life. But, I’ll never know if I don’t try right? So for the next year. No buying books, unless they’re for school. No going to the library. Just reading what is already in my possession.

It’s going to be a whirlwind of a year people.

Happy Reading,
Sam

I Have a Problem

Hi book lovers,

So, I have this problem. I really like to buy new books. But I also really like going to the library. This results in a dangerous mixture of purchasing books all the time only to have them sit on my shelf unread. I own books that I bought up to five years ago that I still haven’t read. That means I bought them when I was fifteen. Five years is a long time for a teenager! Naturally, the books I check out from the library take precedence because I have to return them whereas the books I own will always be there for me.There is just something so magical about a library full of endless possibilities.

Which is why it pains me to say this. I am banning myself from the library.

GASP! Sam, how could you do that to yourself? This is a truly atrocious crime!

I know, I don’t like it anymore than you do, but it must be done. I currently have a stack of books checked out that I am still working my way through, but once I’m through it is that last I will be seeing of the library for a while. At least until I make my way through my own bookshelf.

Do any of you have this problem? 

Happy Reading,
Sam

My Favorite Love Story

Hey Book Lovers!

What? I have not posted a blog in an entire month? I would say I have been drowning in the never ending ocean of college homework, but my quarter has been fairly mellow so far. I have not been working a bagillion hours. I did not get stranded on a deserted island. A freak storm did not knock out my internet for the last month (although it has been fairly spotty lately). So why have my thoughts strung together on your computer screen been missing for so long?

I think the real reason is I haven’t read any rant worthy books recently. Don’t get me wrong, I am still reading and I still have thoughts on the books that line my shelf. Just not enough to write a bunch of words about. So your regularly scheduled book reviews are disrupted for a prequel of sorts. The story of why I love books.

While at work the other day mindlessly entering data into my computer (yet again) I began to think about my love affair with books. One that started before I can remember and never faded throughout my life.

I don’t have a specific “ah-ha” moment in my life when it comes to books. My grandma taught me to read when I was four. We used to cuddle up on the couch with her old “See Jane Run” books everyday while my mom was at work and my little sister was bouncing around in her babysit. Not that I remember this all that well, but my grandma tells this story pretty much anytime books get brought up in a conversation.

The very first books I can remember getting are Where the Sidewalk Ends, A Light in the Attic, and The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein. My dad’s best friend gave them to me for my fifth birthday. By this point I was already head over heels, but those books are to this day one of my favorite birthday presents. They sit on my bookshelf in all their tattered, well-loved glory. Whenever I have a bad day I know I can open to anyone of those silly poems and it will instantly make me feel better. Well, any poem except for Clarence the Clown, I never did like that one.

So I guess those are some of the starting points in my reading career. As I grew older my love of books never faded, but did secure me the Nerd title amongst my family members. While my little sister was begging me to “please just hang out with her” I brushed her off because “I can’t stop in the middle of the chapter it’s getting good!” While gaming systems and toys donned the Christmas lists of my cousins mine always had a lenghty book section. I was (and still am) the book nerd.

Should we delve into the ever complicated, entirely unanswerable question of my I love books? I think so! Here is the main reason:

The experiences we as humans have the opportunity to go through are limited. That’s the simple, imcredibly sad truth of it. A human cannot experience EVERYTHING in the world. It just does not work that way. However, everytime you open a book you are strapping in for a whole new adventure that you may or may not ever encounter in real life. This goes along with that fact that no two authors have the same ideas or imaginations or point of views. This means that every book written is uniquely different. Which is so freaking cool! With just a few hours and some imagination books can take you anywhere.

Books have been my best friend when I felt like no one was there to listen. Books have shown me to deal with emotions. Books have taught me about why we are here and how we got here. Books have made the most beautiful decoration in my bedroom. Books have lulled me to sleep and kept me up for hours. I pace and I yell and I cry and I laugh right along side the characters. I worry about the lives of fictional characters because can’t everyone just live happily ever after! Books made me who I am today. And although I have gotten countless jokes about the nerdiness of my obsession, I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Sorry, I think I got a little carried away. I just get really giddy and nerdy when I talk about books. But there you have it. My favorite love story. I hope you fall in love too.

Happy Reading,
Sam

Book Tube

Hi book lovers,

In addition to embarking on this book reviewing blog journey I took it a step further. I made a youtube channel!

I have been guilty of spending hours on YouTube watching vloggers and comedians and oh look cats! Amongst all my YouTube watching I have always wanted to make videos of my own but was always WAY to nervous and shy and afraid. But I’ve decided to go for it talking about one of my very favorite things. Books!

So if you feel like giving me a watch I would truly appreciate it. YouTube.com/flaxgoldentales19

Happy reading (and maybe watching?)
-Sam

Hi book lovers!

Welcome to the new found world of my book review blog. This will be a spot where I praise the wonderful books I read and rant about the ones that disappointed me. Where I get to let out the frustration of reading a really stressful book or share the giggles received like a beautifully wrapped present from a happy book.

So if you are a dreamer come in. For we have some flax golden tales to spin.

Love,
Sam