Wow, Daniel and I are really bad bloggers. We have so many stories backlogged here at Hangul and Seoul it is ridiculous! Anyway, I have been spending a lot of free time reading since my mother-in-law left us not too long ago. She brought with her some books that my mom sent for me. Here’s a quick review of each of the books so I can remember what I read in the past month of whirlwind reading and get me back into writing on the blog.

Life of Pi Yann Martel

“If you stumble at mere believability, what are you living for?…Love is hard to believe, ask any lover. Life is hard to believe, ask any scientist. God is hard to believe, ask any believer. What is your problem with hard to believe?” (p. 297)

It is funny how one of the themes of this book, storytelling, was what drew me to read this book in the first place. I was searching for books to read this summer and the idea of a young boy surviving 227 days out at sea with a tiger in his life boat peaked my interest. There are many themes in this book, fiction and reality and the power of a good story, the will to survive, religious belief, etc… but what I found to be most interesting about this book was the way it supported religious belief. It supports it not by explaining the reasons why God exists but, by telling the reader that it is a better to believe in something then in just mere facts. That a good story makes life easier and more fulfilling to live. In one part of the book, Pi, the main character, talks about how he can understand the atheist. At least they have chosen to not believe in God. However, he can’t support the agnostic because living a life of doubt is a poor way to live. The agnostic doesn’t take a leap of faith in either direction. Anyway, I would definitely recommend this story to anyone. It is a well written story full of colorful descriptive passages, symbolism, and ideas that will leave you thinking about this story even after you finish it.

1984 George Orwell

“Don’t you see that the whole aim of Newspeak is to narrow the range of thought?… Has it ever occurred to you, Winston, that by the year 2050, at the very latest, not a single human being will be alive who could understand such a conversation as we are having now?… The whole climate of thought will be different. In fact, there will be no thought, as we understand it now. Orthodoxy means not thinking—not needing to think. Orthodoxy is unconsciousness.”

This was a very chilling and thought-provoking novel. It was written in 1949 and the story was set in the future, the year 1984. It follows the life of Winston an Ingsoc (English Socialism) Party member whose thoughts of rebellion lead him to act and hope for something better than what the Party has established. The Party, led by Big Brother, has established a society where you are watched at every moment and where even your thoughts (“thoughtcrime”) can kill you. What shocked me about this novel was how twisted this society was and even though it seems like it would be a far-fetched idea, some aspects of it are eerily possible. I would definitely recommend reading this novel.