I read by Joseph Conrad was “Heart of Darkness” in my early 20’s because I heard the movie “Apocalypse Now” was based on it and I’ve always wanted to read the books my favorite movies are based on.

I bought it and I read it but was lost. I didn’t see any similarities. I was too young? Ignorant? Not in the right frame of mind, maybe? Now I know I need to re-read it and watch that movie again. It’s a classic.

My next Joseph Conrad book.

When I saw another Joseph Conrad book in the giveaway pile, I snatched it up. I may not have seen the significance in “Heart of Darkness,” but I was sufficiently enamored by his style to want to read another of his books, even twenty-five years later. A paperback version of “Lord Jim,” with an old “$1.00” sticker on the front cover, is what I hold in my hands.

A side note to people selling used books anywhere: please, please, please, stop putting stickers on the front cover or over the old bar code. You’re ruining the artwork of the cover and making it hard for collectors to scan their books into their library apps.

Do you read the introductions to books? I typically don’t, but I fell into this one completely and I think it helped me get the context and historical importance of the book and author. Joseph Conrad wrote his books in his third language, English. Wow.

I started reading it over the weekend, and I’m about one hundred pages in right now. It took me awhile to focus and understand the language, but I’m loving it. It’s stressful, listening to Jim explain why he left a ship full of immigrants that he believed was going to sink. There you are, sure you are all going to die in a horrible way. Would you remain?

This is why we read fiction, to experience someone else’s reality. It helps us empathize and bond with our fellow humans.

And why is the integrity of a ships captain and crew so important, a sacred duty? Because no one would get on board, put their lives in their hands for several months voyage, if they couldn’t trust them. Since we don’t use ships in this way much these days, it never occurred to me. I suppose a pilot would need the same trust, but I never even thought about that either.

Have you read “Lord Jim” or any other Joseph Conrad book? Was it voluntary or was it assigned at school? Did you love it or hate it? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Want to read more of my thoughts about the book, Lord Jim?
Does Our Conscience or Comrades Guide Our Actions?
Peace in The Motion of the Waves
Lord Jim & This ‘Cancel’ Idea