Saturday, August 12, 2017

I tried - reading lots of books! [August book review]

With a little extra down time, I was able to finish up July's second book, "Hoot," as well as read Philip K Dick's "The Man in the High Castle." Ambitiously, I plan on reading "Heaven is for Real" by Todd Burpo - but.... with school starting very very soon... we will see how that comes along.

First, a short little write up about Hoot.  My dad gave me this book a long time ago, knowing that it was for young adult readers, or even elementary readers, he thought I would enjoy it to relate to my students.  I found out that the movie is, or was at one point, on Netflix and plan on watching it soon.

The book itself was an easy read.  Had cute relatable characters and a bit of mystery to the entire story (if you are 12).  Was it life changing, no not for a 30 year old.  Was it something I could easily pick up and put down for interruptions, yes.  Recommend this book, yes to the target audience or anyone that wants an easy read.  It was cute.

This book was a bit more difficult for me than Hoot was.   I am not for sure if it's because I tend to be a slow reader or if it was because there was a lot of "difference" to process through. Differences like, German and Japan names that I had to properly pronounce to develop characters.  Differences like, the time frame this took place was a real historical time, but yet futuristic as well.  Differences like, the geography was the same but ruled by other groups.

The differences were good though.  I really liked this book. 

The Man in the High Castle takes place in 1962 with an alternative outcome to the second world war.  Franklin D. Rosevelt was assassinated and therefore the journey for the USA to overcome the depression was never a success; causing Nazis Germany and Japan to win the World War II 15 years later, and take over other countries.

(Having this map might have been helpful, however, I was able to picture this in my head to some accuracy)

The book had several story lines and characters that overlapped one another and was neatly woven together.  The book not only offered an alternative outcome to war, but also within our science, technology, and anything the human race dealt with - the futuristic part - traveling at warped speeds from countries, studying and traveling/living on Mars the book was incredibly well thought out.

Two of the most intriguing parts of the book were:
1) The book did not take place in a Christian world, and because of the outcome of the war Christianity as a religion as well as American culture ceased and was replaced by German or Asian culture.  The historical 'book of changes' - the I Ching - has been China's ancient divination for centuries and it was the center belief for this story. Even though the Bible was only mentioned once, maybe twice, as an old USA artifact, the other cultures had Christian theology.  For example, at the end of the book Mr. Tagomi thinks "When I was a child I thought as a child.  But now I have put away childish things.  Now I must seek in other realms."  Starts off fairly biblical, but changes back to his current beliefs.  It was just interesting to see different religions and cultures mesh together.  It was sad at points, thinking that Nazis could have won the war and our 2017 state of living would be in hate.... but even in current news, we haven't come very far from this. 

2) One of the common trends, for many of the characters, was the book "The Grasshopper Lies Heavy" by the fictional character Hawthorn Abendsen - Ironically (for I just mentioned that TMITHC doesn't discuss much of the Bible or other Christian theology) is based off of the Bible's Ecclesiastes12:5.  Now, this fiction book in TMITHC,  follows what would have happened if Rosevelt escaped the assassination. A BOOK WITHIN A BOOK ABOUT THE BOOK. COOL.

With a quick google search I found out that in 2015 Chandler Duke did write "The Grasshoper Lies Heavy," a story that takes place in 1966 (4 years after TMITHC was written) about if the United States was actually ruled by four countries.  Whether Duke wrote this after reading High Castle, I am not for sure.  On Amazon, Chandler writes that he did have finally have a professional edit and read his book.  So I am not to for sure who much I want to invest in this book.

The book is good.  I would not have finished it if it wasn't.
The book is complicated - you have to not have distractions while reading it, or you'll miss important details.
The book is interesting.  I would have not read the book in a week.  I could not put this down.
The book is a tv show.... wait, what?  Yes - on Amazon Prime there are not one, but two seasons, of the Man in the High Castle.  

I eagerly can't wait to start watching them!  

If you like history, fiction, war, drama, culture, thought provoking outcomes, differences, than read Dick's, "The Man in the High Castle."

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