Wednesday, September 12, 2018

6 Degree of Separation: From The Origin to….

I have just finished a wonderful book, of which I still need time to digest: Irving Stone's The Origin—a historical account on Charles Darwin. As always with great books, it'd take me much time and efforts to review. On the other hand, my head is full of it and I was eager to write something. Several weeks ago I saw a meme called 6 Degree of Separation (hosted by Kathy), and thought: why not working on one with The Origin? This book has reminded me of many books as I read it, so I think I would work on two different routes of separations, starting both with The Origin. Let's see where it gets! And to make it more interesting, can you guess the relation of each separation only by the title (without reading my explanation)?

From The Origin to The Lord of the Rings

The Origin

Irving Stone has done a tremendous research on the life and work of Charles Darwin, including the reason why he, in the first place, had courageously written and published On The Origin of Species despite his fears of strong rejection and public accusation of blasphemy: it's because he longed to tell the truth!

The truth was also Émile Zola's reason when he heroically published an open letter to the president of France:

The Dreyfus Affair: J'Accuse!

It was Zola's fight against the injustice imposed upon Alfred Dreyfus—a Jewish officer accused of committing treason.

Robert Harris has written a thorough account of the Dreyfus Case in his historical novel:

The book made it clearly understood that the biggest crime behind Dreyfus Case was racism.

The real event of racism in a higher level could also be found in this history book:

The book retells the history of injustice, genocide, and, at the end, massacre of the native Indian in American West. 

The native Indian was also picked by a German writer who has never been to America but could tell the story so vividly: Karl May with his masterpiece: 

Winnetou (series)

One thing I admired from the series is the true friendship between Winnetou and Old Shatterhand, which overcame their differences—in culture, race, beliefs.

The same true friendship over differences I have also encountered in a fellowship from the other "world" in:

One of my favorite things from this least favorite book of mine is the friendship of Legolas, the elf, and Gimly, the dwarf. Theirs is nothing compared to Winnetou-Old Shatterhand's, but still... how they could be brothers in spite of their differences, is what we all must keep in world present world full of hatred; is it not?

And there, the first route of separations must end. What do you think? Which part is your favorite? Or do you need a more encouraging piece? Keep reading, then...

From The Origin to La Bête Humaine

The Origin

The easiest path is, of course, that which lead to Charles Darwin's magnum opus:

On the Origin of Species

Darwin's "evolution" was an unprecedented theory amidst the conventional Christian views (that God created living creatures as a whole and unchanged), thus it triggered more disputes between the Church and Naturalists (scientists).

The similar conflict (albeit only in the person of Abbe Mouret) also appears in a book of a naturalist in literary world: Émile Zola:

The priest was torn between the rigidness of the Church and the fertility of the Nature. These conflicts eventually led him to committing the sin.

Speaking of sin, reminded me of The Sin which is discussed in:

This is also a magnum opus; of a fiction writer. Besides sin, it also talks about good vs evil--our freedom of choice (or Timshel). This led me to think about...

Remember a bunch of teenagers who was stranded on an uninhabited island? Isn't there one boy who was 'forced' to choose the path of good vs evil, finally chose to keep his common sense, while the others succumbed to their "beast" within or....

Zola highlighted the importance of controlling our beast within in this beautiful yet provoking novel.

And so, that's the end of the second route of the separations.

Tell me, which route do you like most?

Monday, September 10, 2018

R.I.P. XIII (Readers.Imbibing.Perils) Reading Challenge

I have never participated in this challenge before. But this year is the thirteenth year of R.I.P. (Readers.Imbibing.Peril), and it does make it appealing… Coincidently, I have several gothic/mystery books on my TBR, so…why not?

This challenge challenges us to read mystery, suspense, horror, thriller, dark fantasy, gothic during September and October. I am starting rather late, as I have just finished Irving Stone’s The Origin—which is great!—today, but I think I’d be able to manage four books until end of October.

My choices:
- The Turn of the Screw and the Aspern Papers by Henry James
- The Innocence of Father Brown by G.K. Chesterton
- The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood
- The Halloween Tree by Ray Bradbury

Interesting choices, eh? Are you joining too?