Wednesday, March 11, 2009

"Call of the Wild" by Jack London

Man, technology is so cool. I just finished reading (well, rereading as I first came across the book probably 25 years ago) "The Call of the Wild" by Jack London on my iPhone.

I'll begin with the technology. I've had the 3G iPhone since last Summer and heard about books being available to read via phone from this BusinessWeek story... which I then linked to in this larger blog post.
After doing a very simple search of the iPhone app store, I found and downloaded the "Classics" application (website of which can be found here).

For what I believe was no greater than $2.99 I received first 12 and now 18 different titles (with the increase coming via software updates at no additional charge). These titles range from "Gulliver's Travels" to "Robinson Crusoe" and "Call of the Wild" among others (listing can also be found at the "Classics" website linked above).

In terms of usability, I have nothing but high marks to give... it's very easy to read the text and the user interface is designed so that you see the page turning every time you glide you finger across the screen to move forward. Super cool stuff and a very nice thing to have available... especially if you're in line somewhere or waiting for any period of time.

To the book itself... it really is a powerful read that I think should be experienced by first and foremost any kid in school, but also by adults. The reason for this is portrays such a different world than most people experience. Told through the experiences of a dog (see, that's different to begin with), the book tells a tale of the Alaska Gold Rush and... a hard life. When I say hard, I don't simply mean difficult, but rather a life requiring resiliency and self-sufficiency to survive.

Interspersed with that, though, is also a story of both love and that of a journey. The love story told in "Call of the Wild" portrays an incredibly powerful bond between dog and owner. At the same time (and running for a longer period throughout the book), there's the tale of the journey that the lead character Buck travels. Through his portrayed experiences, he becomes something new and different that is part of his heritage (an illusion to the whole "call of the wild" idea).

I suppose the story has more meaning for me as a dog owner (particularly as a Husky owner), but it's a very descriptively written story which moves forward briskly (quite a fast read). In terms of "big theme" elements... it has quite a few: high drama, love, coming of age, fighting for survival.

Did I mention I liked it?