Silence by Shusaku Endo

silence

Originally published in 1966, then in translation in 1969, this book has gained recent popularity due to the release of the feature film of the same name.  This fictional account of the life of a Jesuit priest in 1640’s Japan is a story that depicts the battle between religious faith and doubt.  The “silence” of the title refers to God’s presumed silence to the suffering of the protagonist and those that by association are persecuted by Japanese authorities.  The conflict the protagonist faces is both internal and external.  The underlying irony of this story is twofold with the protagonist viewing his mission in Japan at first as truly righteous.  He does this even in the face of his former mentor and the Japanese authorities pointing out that he is an outsider presuming that he knows what is best for the Japanese by preaching about salvation and in doing so leading those that follow to persecution and death.  The other irony which is not overtly mentioned is that although the priest is condemning the Japanese for their persecution of Christians in Japan at the same time in Christian Europe heretics were being persecuted for not adhering to what was thought as the right form of Christianity.  Although this book is set in Medieval Japan it is not an overly historic work.  One learns more about this time period by reading Clavell’s Shogun in comparison; however this is not the point of the novel.  It is instead an internal religious discussion by the writer for readers to understand what it means to worship and have beliefs that are not shared by the majority and considered intrinsically foreign.  Silence by Shusaku Endo forces readers to confront how they may have given up their beliefs or ideals in order to conform and survive and get ahead in society. (Submitted by Shane)

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Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

me-before-youMe Before You has an unusual twist which really saves the novel from being another redundant Jane Eyre-Cinderella type of story.

Louisa Clark is a simple girl with down-to-earth expectations of life. She is from a working class family, living in a little town. At a first glance, she is unremarkable, except for her peculiar tastes in fashion. However, when you get to know Lou, you see that she has such a vibrant personality: her liveliness, optimism, perseverance, and kindness can fuel the universe for years to come!

William Traynor is a handsome, successful, daring, witty, and rich young man.

Lou and Will would have been a cliche-perfect romantic pair. But, here is where the author takes matters into her hands and writes an unexpected destiny for the couple. Will ends up in a road accident that leaves him a quadriplegic. Ironically, that’s when the beauty of the story kicks in.

After you are done with the book, borrow a movie! Still want more? Get the sequel – After You.

Surrey Libraries have them all: the book, the movie, and the sequel. Just drop by your local branch! (Submitted by Mariya)

 

Delicacy by David Foekinos

Delicacy, by David Foenkinos, is one of the loveliest books I have read. It is the story of a woman finding love after the death of her first husband, who she thought was the one love of her life. The characters are brilliant, and the story, very engaging. Throughout the book, the reader keeps being called back to the title, because so much of the story is subtle and gentle. Natalie, the story’s lead character, is very fragile in her mourning. The way Markus approaches Natalie, and the relationship that develops, is a tale of astounding delicacy that infuses every word and every page of the book.

As an additional point of interest, author David Foenkinos, himself, made a movie out of his novel. Directed by David and his brother, Stephane, the film La delicatesse is as wonderful as the book. You can find the book, the eBook and the movie (with Audrey Tautou and Francois Damiens) in Surrey Libraries. (Submitted by Eva).

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Jiro Dreams of Sushi DVD

810Fw8dOh4L._SL1500_In Japan, there are hundreds of sushi restaurants, but among them only one has a world renowned rating of 3 Michelin Stars. Jiro is  well advanced in years, and in his dedication, he is still striving for perfect sushi. In a world where sushi has become common place, discover the lengths that Jiro and his two sons have gone to recreate sushi and stand above all other restaurants. I love sushi and this movie has given me a new appreciation of this food as an art form. One thing is certain, I will now add this place to my bucket list of a ‘once in a life time experience’.  (submitted by Sarah)

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We Need to Talk About Kevin

I hate to say it, but I didn’t read the book.  My friends recommended the book, but I was lazy and watched the movie instead – loved it!  Eva gave up her love for travel when she became pregnant, a decision that made her depressed and unhappy.  A few years later, she continues to blame her son Kevin for her unhappiness.  Kevin grows up expressing no love for his mother and only joy and happiness toward his father. As a teenager, Kevin does something horrifying that affects his family and the whole town – and the town blames Eva. (submitted by MA)

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We Bought a Zoo

I didn’t just check this out because of Matt Damon….ok, I lied.  I did.  How can you say no to Jason Bourne?  Benjamin Mee loses his wife, goes through a ‘mid-life’ crisis, and buys a zoo.  He has no wildlife experience – no animal experience at all, except for their pet dog.  This is a great family film to watch, although I did watch this alone. Because I have a bad habit of not reading the back cover, I found out at the end of the movie that it was inspired by true recent events…and there is a book.  Very enjoyable. (submitted by MA)

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