Let’s review The Chosen today, shall we?
Have I read this before: I have, but I can’t remember when, exactly. High school, maybe?
Review: This is such a good book. Such an impactful book. I remembered a lot of this book from the first time I’d read it, and that’s saying something, especially considering I read it so long ago that I can’t actually remember when that was. I remember that the ending made me cry last time; it didn’t this time, but it was a very satisfying, complete ending, if that makes any sense. I don’t want to give away too much about this book, but if you’re looking for something thought-provoking that is super well-written and will stick in your brain for a while, read The Chosen.
Favorite part: This quote from Reuven’s father:
“Human beings do not live forever, Reuven. We live less than the time it takes to blink an eye, if we measure our lives against eternity. So it may be asked what value is there to a human life. There is so much pain in the world. What does it mean to have to suffer so much if our lives are nothing more than the blink of an eye? … I learned a long time ago, Reuven, that a blink of an eye in itself is nothing. But the eye that blinks, that is something. A span of life is nothing. But the man who lives that span, he is something. He can fill that tiny span with meaning, so its quality is immeasurable though its quantity may be insignificant.”
Hello ladies and gentlemen. There’s this note that’s been going around on Facebook where people list the top 10 books that have influenced them the most, or will stay with them the most. I decided that instead of posting this on Facebook (which I’m beginning to hate more and more), I’m putting it here.
The books I chose I chose because of their impact on me—be that from their emotional impact, their intellectual impact, the story itself, or the style of the writing. I explain in each case. It was hard to choose books that influenced me rather than choosing my favorite books, but I think I did this as unbiased as possible. Plus, the two overlap quite a bit.
Ranked from most influential to…well, 10th most influential, I guess. Haha.
1. Watchmen – Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons
This might be first because it’s the one I’ve read most recently, but it’s also first because it’s freaking awesome. The story’s intense, it’s very intellectual, and the art is superb. Read it!
2. The Monadology – Gottfried Leibniz
No, I’m not just putting this on here because Leibniz is a smoldering sex pot. Despite the “out-there” factor that is so high with the Monadology, the general idea of determinism that he expresses throughout it (and a lot of his other stuff) actually kind of lines up with how I see things.
3. Candide – Voltaire
I FREAKING ADORE Voltaire. This book is very funny if you know what it’s making fun of (hint: pretty much everything). And even though Voltaire makes fun of Leibniz, I still love this book.
4. The Caine Mutiny – Herman Wouk
YAY! This is my favorite book of all time, but it’s also on here because the story is AMAZING. Wouk is very good at building tension (just wait until you get to the actual mutiny; good luck putting the book down). It’s also freaking hilarious in parts.
5. The Chosen – Chaim Potok
I can’t remember when it was I read this, actually—I only remember the plot and the characters that have stuck with me since. This was one of two books that left me crying at the end. Very emotionally impactful. It’s about two Jewish boys, one of which does not want to follow in his father’s footsteps, if you want to know the very summarized plot.
6. The Great Gatsby – F. Scott Fitzgerald
Beautiful, beautiful writing style. I love Fitzgerald’s way of creating a story, and I love Gatsby.
7. On the Beach – Nevil Shute
The premise of this book is very intriguing: it examines a post nuclear war world from Australia’s point of view as the country sits and waits for all of the fallout from the northern hemisphere to drift through the atmosphere down to them. That’s really all you need to know.
8. Crime and Punishment – Feodor Dostoyevsky
Hooray for deeply psychological books!
9. An American Tragedy – Theodore Dreiser
This is a long book and seems kind of boring at the beginning, but once the “tragedy” happens, it really picks up. You get into Clyde’s head and feel his desperation.
10. Age of Reason – Jean Paul Sartre
I read this awhile ago and for some reason I still really like it. Probably because it’s existential.
So now three books have made me cry upon completing them: Watership Down, The Chosen, and For Whom the Bell Tolls.
I didn’t think Hemingway could ever make me cry, but it did in a totally unexpected fashion.