Saturday, September 27, 2008

Into the Wild

I just completed reading this book "Into the Wild" from Jon Krakauer (of Everest’s [the book] fame). 

It’s a long time since I’ve almost-totally moved away from fiction. Of late, I’ve been magnetically pulled into two broad topics – adventure, and religion vs. atheism. Both topics have no correlation whatsoever, but are somehow very captivating in their own way. 

Adventure is obviously straight-forward, and when you read real stories of adventure – tries, and ultimately conquests, of the Poles, Mt. Everest etc, you somehow wish you were a part of that hardened troop, your oh-so-comfortable life not withstanding. And the more you read about atheism, the more religion seems pointless. More so, religion somehow feels too narrow-minded, and you really don’t have to be a genius to question both the existence of God(s) and the merits of the very existence religion. It seems a very antiquated idea, but the weave it’s got on masses seems almost magnetic. Of course, the catch really is to ‘ponder’ and ‘question’ religion and Gods, which most people don’t even think about, probably fearing that God might not take the ‘lessened-faith’ or apostasy lightly. Of course, there are some positives with religion – it’s like the ‘Fair and Lovely’ that gives millions of people ‘hope’, if not real substance. [Hope I can copyright this comparison. :)

Whatever the reason, both the subjects - although disconnected - are too captivating to let go, and hope I devour as many books as possible in these subjects.

Coming back after a long digression, ‘Into the wild’ has no surprises. The book is about a very educated and smart boy who relinquishes worldly comfort of all forms – money, people, warts and all – and heads into the Alaskan wild to live as a hunter-gatherer, like men thousands of years ago. The book starts with the story’s end – the boy actually dies in the Alaskan wilderness – and is somehow captivating. Just reading about someone who actually had the guts and motivation to relinquish society in favor of adventure [which is something that you can’t do], something about being non-conformist to the material society at large, something about living like our ancestors thousands of years ago (and the argument that we have actually become inferior as a race since we no longer have the real capability to live out and survive in the open]. 

If you are into adventure reading, I urge you to get hold of the book. I laid my eyes on this book after watching the movie-format of the same story in a flight some 8 months back, and this book has lived up to the expectations.

By the way, wifey says hi to readers of this blog. [On a side note, I hope I can lay my hands on the ‘Thousand Splendid Suns’ she’s reading, simply because it’s from Khaled Hosseini, the author of ‘The Kite Runner’ fame and I can’t wait to read it.]


At Monday, September 29, 2008 9:09:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey there Govar,

Although I haven't actually read "The Kite Runner" (I only saw the movie), I did manage to read "A Thousand Splendid Suns", and thought I d give you a small heads up.

The book is really depressing. It is more graphic in terms of the description of how the Afghan men mistreat their women in general, and it basically chronicles the stories of two women, Laila and Mariam and how their lives get entwined into a single story.

The backdrop is pretty much the same, except maybe for the fact that it somewhat chronicles the rise of the Taliban as the dominant Afghan tribe of the last 2-3 decades in that country.

A good read nevertheless. Maybe I should put up a book review post about it.


At Friday, October 03, 2008 11:12:00 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

Govar, read it, Thousand Splendid Suns will move you like Kite Runner. Religion v/s Atheism?? Are they two sides of the same coin?? I think not. I am a protheist but I dont believe in religion, so what does that make me :-)? An innocent bystander in this debate who does not bother about the outcome :-))

At Saturday, October 04, 2008 1:25:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

@Jam: thanks for the heads-up da.. I still want to read it... out of curiosity on why it was the largest seller in the world last year.. :)

@Prasad: I guess that makes you a convenient. I believe, when you really dig deeper than you have, you are forced to take sides. You can't be on the fence if you dig more. I urge you. :)

At Sunday, October 05, 2008 4:54:00 PM, Blogger i i said...

After reading "Into the Wild" people thronged to visit the place where the boy died (in a truck, if I'm not wrong; havent read the book myself).

Now there are patrols and signs to discourage people from trying to see if they can survive it. Just a related item I thought I'd share with the group

- Arun

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