I ended up skipping this feature again last week because of simply too much going on (it still is but I’m making an attempt anyway). This feature, all about celebrating the books already on your TBR, is one I’ve borrowed from Lisa at Bookshelf Fantasies. All one has to do is to pick one of the books on one’s TBR every Wednesday, and write a post about it (usually what it’s all about, what makes you want to read it, where you got it, and such, but I guess up to you really).
So this time’s pick, is one of the oldest residents on my TBR–
Ben Hur: A Tale of the Christ by Lew Wallace. I’m sure all of you or most of you must have seen one or the other of the film versions of this one. There are six film and TV verions including an animated one, the latest one being the 2016 adaptation starring Jack Huston and Morgan Freeman, and the one most familiar to me, the 1959 version with Charlton Heston that I saw many many times on (though not all of it each time) on TCM.
What it’s all about: This is the story of a fictional Jewish prince Judah Ben-Hur, who is falsely accused of treason when a loose tile from the roof of his house falls on the Roman Governor during a parade. His accused is his own childhood friend Messala, now a commanding officer of the Roman Legions who has very different ambitions and views. Judah is sent to the Roman galleys while his mother and sister are imprisoned. Judah survives this ordeal, and is adopted by the commander of the ship going on to train as a soldier and charioteer to return to Jerusalem to seek his revenge. Alongside Christ’s story proceeds, and intersects with that of Judah every now and then.
When and Where I got it: This is an 1880 publication so now in public domain. I downloaded a copy via Project Gutenberg. This has been on my TBR for over three years now but somehow or other I haven’t gotten down to reading it yet.
A Little about the Author: Lew Wallace was an American Lawyer and Union General, besides being the author of various novels and biographies, the most famous being Ben Hur. He served as Governor of the New Mexico Territory and also US Minister to the Ottoman Empire.
Why I want to read it? Mostly because I watched and enjoyed the movie, which initially I didn’t really know was based on a book, and one that is seen as “the most influential Christian book of the nineteenth century” at that. I want to see what the original story on which it is based is like, how things play out–its historical adventure elements/aspects (the revenge theme is very Count of Monte Cristo and the exciting chariot race is something that remains in my mind from the film version) vis-a-vis the religious and philosophical aspects. This one is also among the 1001 Books You Should Read list (one of the versions anyway).
I’m sure most/many of you have seen one or other of the film versions? Which one or ones and how did you like them? And have any of you read the book? What did you think of it? Looking forward to hearing your thoughts!