A: Yep, that’s the Cliff’s Notes for Lord of the Flies. I just bought it as part of the incredibly sophisticated research for the book I’m writing to follow BLEAK HARBOR.
I remember discovering Cliff’s Notes in high school and thinking, wow, this could be helpful. I used them to supplement to my reading of a few of the novels I was assigned. In retrospect, I can see that they could unduly influence a reader’s perception and blunt the way we use our imagination in good ways to fill in the blanks of our understanding of a book. I used Cliff’s twice in college: once for Faulkner’s The Sound and the Fury, because I had no idea what the hell was going on, and later for Dickens’ Oliver Twist, because it was the end of my senior year and I didn’t give a flying fuck.
I read Lord of the Flies in high school and loved it. It came to mind recently as I was casting about for a detail in the book I’m writing. One character has a relationship with drones so personal that he names them. I wanted a cool antecedent for the names. For some reason I thought of Lord of the Flies, with Ralph, Piggy, Jack, et. al. Perfect, I thought. But I needed to review who these boys were.
I’ll admit to a twinge of guilt that I’m not rereading the book. But at my current book-reading rate, I wouldn’t finish it till 2020, a year later than my deadline. I hope the reading-and-writing gods forgive me.