“Dune” Good: The Start Of My 2022 Reading List

As you may remember, the final book of my 2021 reading list was going to have to do double duty as the first book of my 2022 reading list. Simply put, Dune is a beast and there’s no way I was going to finish it in time for the new year based on when I started reading it. And honestly, I didn’t even expect it to take me that long to get through it. Despite years and years of putting it off, I really enjoyed this sci-fi classic. But January was a busy month for me in ways I did not anticipate. I started a new part-time job, and with that came a reshuffling of my daily/weekly schedule. As I figured out what worked best for me, there were a few days where I was just too tired to read for my end-of-day wind-down and went straight to bed. But now, I’ve figured out the ideal schedule, and which days work best for days off and reading marathons.

Additionally, I am reclaiming some reading time that I had to sacrifice because of the pandemic. Back when I was commuting a total of 2+ hours to/from work everyday, I was used to not only riding the bus, but reading during my bus ride. All that changed when the pandemic hit and I lost my job. I’ve noticed that the older I get, the more prone to motion sickness I am, and no longer riding the bus every weekday only added to the problem. When I’ve travelled to things like doctors appointments over the past two years, I have been unable to read without feeling ill. And when I tried listening to a podcast to see if I could give that and audiobooks a try, having to concentrate on the words also made me nauseous. I could only bring myself to listen to the kind of music that would allow me to zone out and disassociate.

But Dune and my new job changed that. As I proudly tell people who ask, the commute to my new job is a joke compared to the kind of commute I used to have to do for work pre-COVID. It’s one bus, not a whole lot of walking, and takes less than 20 minutes altogether. It’s fantastic. So that’s why I thought I’d try an experiment. I really wanted to keep reading Dune, and I also wanted to try to conquer some of my motion sickness, so I tried reading a chapter on the bus to work one morning and it worked. I didn’t feel sick at all! In fact, out of all of the time’s I’ve read on the bus over the past three week’s, I’ve only gotten motion sick once. So, thanks to Dune, I think I will now be able to read on my commute to/from work again.

Thinking back, I don’t know that I’ve ever read something before where the plot is this politically driven. Sure, I’ve watched movies and shows that center around the politics of a specific world or setting, but I can’t say that I reach for that kind of book. I think what sold it for me was the rich world that Frank Herbert created. That level of worldbuilding not only kept me interested in the story, but served as the perfect backdrop for the politics of the novel. In fact, the politics and the world of Dune are so perfectly intertwined that I do not think you could have just one or the other and still end up with the same kind of story. Even the planet of Arrakis itself is so impactful and complex that its very topography influences the action.

But it’s not just the world that stands out in this epic tale. The characters too are interesting, complex, and perfectly flawed. Based on what my friend explained when she was convincing our friend group to read the Dune series, I knew Paul was not going to end up a heroic character by the end of the overarching narrative, so it was interesting to see the beginnings of that in the first book of the series. That also made Paul a much more interesting character because he wasn’t simply some flawless messiah, destined to save the day. Although his actions certainly make him a hero in Dune, even Paul knows that his decisions could have disastrous consequences in the future.

I was delighted that by the final scene in the book I had no problem seeing Paul as more of an anti-hero. I am really looking forward to reading the other books in the series as I look forward to the kind of character development Paul with inevitably go through. Now I have to hurry up and track down the books with covers that match the one I have – I love the way they’re designed and I think they’ll make a fantastic addition to my collection.

Additionally, I’m really looking forward to watching the movies now. I mentioned at the end of my 2021 reading list that I had watched the original film from the 80s and did not enjoy it; after reading the book, however, I’m willing to give it another try. Based on what I remember about that particular film adaptation, I’m sure the ending will be much too positive for my liking, but I’ll brace myself for that disappointment. In terms of the recent film, I have not yet seen it. Mark and I were planning on watching it over the holidays, but it just never happened. Now that I know I’m a fan of the book, you bet I’ll be advocating for a movie night sometime soon.

Although I only read one book for the month of January, I think it’s a very good book to start this year’s reading list with. And now that I know I can read on the bus again, at least for short trips, that’s going to give me back some of my coveted reading time. It’s looking like I’ll have no problem getting through multiple books before the next month comes around. I’ll be doing monthly book reviews this year, instead of one blog post per book, so stay tuned to see what ends up on my reading list for February.

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