Weekly Meeting: Holes


This week I read Holes. This is one of those books I probably should have read as a kid, but I didn’t.


  • Read Harder Challenge
  • Listed in Book Lust 2

What You Should Know:

  • This is a YA book primarily read by boys, but is great for girls too
  • This is the first in a series
  • There is a movie adaptation of the book
  • This book is considered a YA classic
  • It won the Newbury award


I have two questions I want to answer here.

1- In what ways is the saying “You can’t judge a book by its cover” a good one for this story?

I have talked about how I do judge books by their cover.  This is one of those books that I would have ignored based on the cover.  Is it fair?  No, but it never is fair.  The cover of this book does cover part of the story.  You get a sense of what the titles means.  What you don’t see if 2 other stories within this book.  What you are also missing is that I am not the intended audience for this book.  Even when I was younger, this book cover is designed for boys.  There is presumably a boy on the cover.  The holes with the shovel suggest something a younger teenager could be interested in.  Maybe I am not inclined to read this, but this cover is not for me.

There is another cover for this book: the movie inspired cover.  Part of my hates when books do this, but the other part of me sees the logic of it.  How many people discover a book because they saw the movie?  Many!  How many children and teenagers do this?  I suspect most. To connect the potential reader to a medium they recognize is important.  Sometimes it is merely the movie poster, but a smart way to do this is to use the movie in a different way.  The second cover for Holes is one of the movie posters, but it is a good movie poster and accomplishes much of what the original cover does.  You see the boys, you see the hat, and you see them looking down a hole.  This time it was a good choice to use a movie poster and recognizable characters to entice readers.

2- Even though his fate is uncertain, Stanley is suddenly very happy as he lies awake on the top of the mountain, staring at the stars. Why does he feel this way?

I remember somethings about the years between childhood and being a teenager.  I remember everyone being evil.  These were the years I was bullied.  These were the years where I was torn between what my parents wanted me to be and discovering who I was.  For years I remained torn between a desire to control and plan my life and a desire to let life happen as it will.  It would take me into my 20s to realize that I needed to have a bit of both.  It took me that long to realize that working hard at something I enjoy (even if I didn’t ever think I would enjoy it) makes me happy.  As I read the book I realized Stanley was probably lucky to discover there is happiness in this simplicity.  I still look back at the difficult times in my life- except my depression- as moments of happiness.  I have heard this from other people.  There is something about difficult times that makes us more alert and invested in our happiness.  I am not yet sure what that is though.

Media Tie In:

In 2003 Disney adapted the book into a movie with Shia LaBeouf.

Other Books Read This Week:

  • The Witch of Lime Street: Séance, Seduction, and Houdini in the Spirit World – I saw this book when I was in DC and promptly added it to my holds list.  That was October and I just got it about a week ago.
  • The Reader – from Book Lust.  I have been reluctant to read another book about Nazis, Germany, and World War 2.  This one begins in the 1950s, but has to do with a woman who worked in the camps.  It’s was wonderfully written and I enjoyed it.
  • Sword of Honour – Also from Book Lust.  It wasn’t that I read so many books this week, but that I read short books and finished other books.  This is British Napoleonic era naval fiction, but not one of the better series (in my opinion).  More on these another day).
  • Sisters – I covered Smile a few weeks ago and this one is for the Read Harder challenge.  It was a quick and enjoyable read.



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