After months and months of dragging my feet, reading other books and just generally whining and stomping my foot for awhile, I finally finished Under the Volcano, by Malcom Lowry.
Since I already detailed my issues with the book in my last post, I thought I should give equal time and say something positive about the book. And that is, the book stretched me further as a reader and a writer, because it compelled me to check Wikipedia as a source, which compelled me to add to the Wikipedia summary. So now I’m a Wikipedian.
The journey began after I had the first couple of chapters of the book under my belt. I decided to consult Sparknotes, to make sure I was on the right track, but Under the Volcano was not there. Et tu, Sparknotes? My next recourse, was, of course, Wikipedia. I sometimes hesitate to read book summaries on Wikipedia, as at least one overview I read went something like this, “Franny met Mike, whom we think she’ll marry, until the end of the book when she marries his cousin Edgar in the last chapter.” Noooo! There’s just no way to unread a synopsis like that.
However, as I mentioned in my previous post, when I consulted Wikipedia, there was a main summary, and then a chapter-by-chapter summary of the first eight chapters. What? This did not compute. Where were 9, 10, 11 and 12? I needed 9, 10, 11 and 12!! Finally, I reminded myself that I was an English major and that I should and could handle this book on my own. Then I challenged myself to read the last four chapters of the book with focus and purpose, and then edit the Wikipedia entry and add a summary of the last four chapters myself.
So I took notes as I read the last four chapters and just completed my first edit on Wikipedia. I took some time to figure out the process, read the guidelines (yep, I do that), signed up with a user ID and jumped in. I logged into the Under the Volcano page and pressed ‘edit’ in the summary – and there it was, the first eight chapters in editing format. Easy! I added my content and then added consistency by looking at previous updates. For instance, three equal signs before and after the chapter designations enlarged the font. My teenage son was impressed that I was able to add in hyperlinks, since I “don’t know code” – I didn’t tell him it was a point and click thing. I was thrilled to add a hyperlink to the Wikipedia article on Ferdinand the Bull by Munro Leaf, which is my favorite childhood book, and which is referenced in Under the Volcano.
Check out my short and sweet summaries of Chapters 9-12 here. Hopefully they will provide some guidance for the reader, or provide a starting point for the next Wikipedian, who will add to the summaries or edit something they didn’t feel I captured properly. I would welcome it – it was a fun process to join the thousands of other Wikipedia authors and add my two cents to that site. And because of that, Under the Volcano will have a happier place in my memory bank!