Tuesday, January 24, 2017

BOOK/MOVIE REVIEW: Silence by Shūsaku Endō

Upon finishing Shūsaku Endō’s novel Silence, my World Literature class and professor went to see the movie, just released near the end of 2016. This harrowing tale of two Portuguese priests traveling to Japan to spread Christianity and find out what happened to their teacher played out beautifully on the big screen, and I surprisingly did not find myself bored, especially as the movie was two hours and forty-two minutes. The movie itself was good: I liked how the book played out. The script, casting, drama, and depictions of the events in the novel (particularly the torture scenes) were well-done. I found myself captured and brought into Japan myself, angry for Christians being so unfairly persecuted because the officials saw Christianity as “dangerous.” And why? Why was Buddhism any better?

My main takeaway from this movie and book falls under Jesus’ last words before His ascension: “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:19-20). This past Sunday, our sermon was centered on these verses, as we are commemorating our annual Mission Emphasis Week. I found it incredibly helpful in articulating my thoughts concerning Silence.

Rodrigues, the main character in Silence, is a priest in love with Jesus and who appears to have a very strong faith. In fact, he is willing to trust a drunken Judas-like character (Kichijiro), disobey his companion Garrupe, and go where Christianity is forbidden all for Jesus. When Garrupe hides, fearing a trap to expose them, Rodrigues risks their safety to preach Jesus, baptize, hear confessions, and celebrate Mass. However, as the torture continues and Rodrigues’ psyche begins to break down, he begins feeling angry, demanding to know why God is being so silent. Why has there been no glory in the martyring he has seen? Why has God not given a sign, miracle, or punishment to the torturers? God seems silent in this foreign land, and at the end of the story it appears Rodrigues will follow in his teacher’s (Ferreira) footsteps, apostatize, forget Christianity, and live as a Japanese.

But here is the key: Jesus said “I will be with you always, to the end of the age.” Rodrigues continually struggles with God’s apparent silence throughout the story, begging for Him to reveal Himself in this country. At the end however, though seeming to have given up the faith, he continues to live in such a way that the Japanese officials think it necessary to frequently have him step on the fumie and deny Christ. Denying Christ in front of men seems a sin, as the Bible says “But whoever disowns me before others, I will disown before my Father in heaven” (Matthew 10:33). But in Rodrigues’ case, it almost seems justified, since his first apostatizing saves the lives of some Christian peasants, who also apostatized out of desperation. Though they are denying God in a way, aren’t their hearts still true to Him? I struggle with this since Rodrigues poses himself as more righteous than the Japanese in some ways, from appearance to actions. He hides when Mokichi and Ichizo die by water torture, not confronting the officials or making a brave move for Christ. Isn’t it more noble to die for Christ than to deny and hide one’s faith? The answer seems difficult.

When Rodrigues steps on the fumie, having come this far without denying or apostatizing, he hears Christ saying it is all right for him to do so, knowing he is still faithful. Yet when he does so, a rooster crows, symbolizing when Peter heard a rooster crow the third time he denied Christ. So is Rodrigues a denier or a faithful man? It’s a puzzling paradox Endō is proposing.

Overall, the movie was enjoyable and I would say it stayed true to the book - the ending was only slightly altered, but was still well-done. I find it interesting this movie is receiving so much flack.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Where I've Been and What's Going On

It's that time of year again! It's hot! It's musty! You sweat without trying to! Everyone avoids going outside unless there's water-based entertainment involved!

IT MUST BE SUMMER-ISH! 

Where did u go time


I say 'ish' because, officially, Summer doesn't start for a little under 2 months. But this is California! What's Spring? LET'S ALL MELT IN THE HEAT, GUYS!

But how does that bode for the book-based world of the MechEngie that's writing this post? What does spontaneous combustion upon setting foot outside the threshold of my house mean for BOOKS?

Well, next week is what I'm calling the official start of my Summer. I'm starting then because I have so much happening over the next few days I won't have a chance to sit down and read a lot. 

So what does Summer reading look like for me? The first thing that's going to happen is I'm going to finish the book I've been stuck on for over a month. Blame school for that. 


Once that's done, there's a binge that's just waiting to happen in the form of...


After I finish that, what happens next is more or less up for debate. There's a lot I want to read, and I have no plan on how to go about actually doing it. 

Just to name a few, some of the books that I want to read are (in no particular order)...

Blood of Olympus (lol)
Strike (Sylo 3)
Breaking Sky
Year of the Rat
The Fallen
The Sacrifice
Scarlet
Cress

Those are the ones that are going to be read sooner rather than later, hopefully. At some other point in time, I'm going to re-read Midnight City, Severed Tower, and Valley of Fires. You know, because why not?




Crown of Midnight and Heir of Fire are going to be read. Same with 13 Reasons Why and Since You've Been Gone. 



Oh, and let's not forget that something awesome comes out in the next two weeks. 

So yeah, that's happening.


-MechEngie<3


WHAT. WHAT. WHAT.

OKAY.

SO...

THE SELECTION TRILOGY.



IT'S. NOT. OVER.



YEAH.

THOSE BOOKS THAT ARE SO BAD THEY'RE KIND OF GOOD?

THE ONES I THOUGHT WERE FINALLY OVER?

THE ONES WITH THE GORGEOUS COVERS THAT TORTURE ME?




THERE'S ANOTHER ONE COMING.

AND THE COVER.

I CAN'T.



THE STORY OF PRINCE MAXON'S AND PRINCESS AMERICA'S DAUGHTER.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6LjIjS-Olb4

WELP.

I KNOW ANOTHER BOOK I'M READING.

-Amanda

Amanda's Summer 2015 Reading Goals

These may or may not all be accomplished.

These are not in order.

Read:
1. The rest of The Mortal Instruments series
2. The Lunar Chronicles
3. Blood of Olympus (I KNOW. I STILL HAVEN'T READ IT. I WAS SCARED AND BUSY.)
4. All of the new books on my bookshelf I didn't get chance to read before college struck.
             Some of the books in this stack include:





YUP YUP.

EXCITE MUCH!!!! <3

~Amanda

HELLO!!! AMANDA IS BACK!!!


THAT'S RIGHT!!!

My freshman year of college ends next Friday, May 8th! How the time has flown...I promise to write more on my college adventures soon. For now, this is a brief blurb on my reading!

Thus far, I have read 10 out of 50 books for my Goodreads goal.

The one without a picture is Homeward Bound by Elaine May, which I had to read for my History course.

In fact, all of these except the two on the top to the left were books I had to read for school!

I AM RISING BACK TO BINGE-READING.

I read The Year of the Rat (2nd from the top left) by Clare Furniss within one day (this past Sunday) and I read The Time Keeper by Mitch Albom yesterday. I LOVED both books. They were absolutely fantastic.

Currently, I am reading Scarlet by Marissa Meyer, which is the second book in The Lunar Chronicles. The fourth and final book, Winter, will be released later this year. I just went and bought Cress, the third book, a few days ago along with my very own copy of Rebel Belle by Rachel Hawkins (see my review on this book!).

I am looking forward to a summer of working and reading and vlogging! You are all amazing. Thanks for viewing and boosting my blog. I super appreciate it. I never thought I'd be noticed!

YouTube: Apanda Books
Twitter: @bookishlysweet
Instagram: am_theheck

LOVE YOU ALL!

-Amanda Heck

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Books in 2014 (Part 2)

Hey all you bookish people, MechEngie here with the promised Part-2 to my 2014 adventures! 

With the tree down, the decorations in the attic, large family-based seasonal festivities drawn to a close, and my butt back on Campus, that means it's time to list every single book I've read in 2014!

This includes quite literally everything - novellas, school books, you name it. If it's in book format and I read it cover to cover, it's here. Also, the books are listed in no particular order. I could probably arrange them into the order I read them, but that would take too much time and effort. 

Rereads are marked with a "Re:' before the title. 
If it's a sequel, its series is named after it, as well as which installment it is.

Following the title is my rating of the book, if applicable. Please note that my rating scale is *very* different from what other people do. I don't use a linear 5 or 10-start system thing. Bumping a book from an 8 to a 9 takes much more improvement than bumping from a 7 to 8, and any one mistake is enough to make the book not a perfect score. 

To give you a little key:
6 and under: Varying degrees of awful. 7 is usually my floor rating. 
7: It was meh. 
8: It was good, but not the best. 
9: Will definitely recommend to friends, really freaking good, I loved it. 
10: Perfection in book form. 

Naturally, if something has a .5 after its number it means it's between the two - like a 7.5 means it was between meh and good. 8.5 means it was good, but not REALLY good, and 9.5 is pretty much there was one or two small things keeping it from that illusive 10. 

Some ratings have reasons why after them, too! And stuff!

And now... in no particular order, BOOKS!


BZRK: Reloaded [BZRK #2](8)
Froi of the Exiles [Lumatere #2](9)
STORM [SYLO #2] (9)
The Severed Tower [Conquered Earth #2] (10)
The 5th Wave [5th Wave #1] (8) {Main issue here was the POV-switching. It was confusing for a good half the book}
Re: City of Bones [Mortal Instruments #1] (9)
Re: Darkest Minds [Darkest Minds #1] (10) {increased rating because no confusion this time around!}
City of Fallen Angels [Mortal Instruments #4] (7.5)
Shadow and Bone [Grisha #1] (8)
Damned [Crusade #2] (9)
Re: Dangerous Days of Daniel X [Daniel X #1] (7.5) {Read this because insomnia happened it was there. So camped it in one sitting lol)
If I Stay [If I Stay #1] (8.5)
Quintana of Charyn [Lumatere #3] (10)
Never Fade [Darkest Minds #2] (9.5) {Was confused for the first few chapters - but other than that, it was amazing}
Re: City of Ashes [Mortal Instruments #2] (8.5)
City of Heavenly Fire [Mortal Instruments #6] (9.5)
Into the Still Blue [Never Sky #3] (9)
Vanquished [Crusade #3] (8.5)
Throne of Glass [Throne of Glass #1] (9)
Re: City of Glass [Mortal Instruments #3] (9.5)
Ruins [Partials #3] (9)
Re: Never Fade [Darkest Minds #2] (10) {No more confusion = Happy MechEngie]
BZRK: Apocalypse [BZRK #3] (9)
The Revenge of Seven [Lorien Legacies #5] (9)
The True History of Chocolate [N/A] (N/A) {School}
Resist [Breathe #2] (7.5)
Blood Red Road [Blood Red Road #1] (8)
Russian Roulette: The Story of an Assassin [Alex Rider #10] (9.5) 
Finnikin of the Rock [Lumatere #1] (8.5)
Life Before Legend [Legend #.5] (N/A) {Novella}
Four [Divergent #4] (9) {Honestly a good look at Four's life before Allegiant made him the most annoying thing ever.}
Sword Art Online 1 [SAO #1] (9)
The Enemy [Enemy #1] (9) {What's plot armor}
Re: The Fault in Our Stars (9)
Cinder [Lunar Chronicles #1] (9)
City of Lost Souls [Mortal Instruments #5] (8.5)
Valley of Fires [Conquered Earth #3] (11) {ARC} {BEST THING EVER}
In the Afterlight [Darkest Minds #3] (9)
SYLO [SYLO #1] (9)
The Darkest Minds [Darkest Minds #1] (9.5)
Re: Dualed [Dualed #1] (9) {Because it's short.}
Divided [Dualed #2] (9) 
California Driver's Handbook [N/A] (30 dead pedestrians / 10) {L2Drive me}


SO YEAH. That's the result of me dumping out my book jar, mixing around the papers, then opening them one by one and writing them down! Obviously, that's not in order of how I read them, but that's all the stuff I read this year! Hurray!