Monday, April 8, 2013

26 Books that Changed My Life: #7 The Beach

G: Generation X

I thought I would spend the month of April delving into the literature that has made me the person I am today.

1] In this list you will find some of my favorite books, but you will also find books that I appreciate and books that I would recommend although they may not be my favorite. These are books that changed my way of thinking or my way of looking the world. These are books that helped solidify the core of who I am.
2] These books are in order of the theme that I came away with not alphabetical by title or author.

About this book (from Barnes and Noble):

The Khao San Road, Bangkok—first stop for the hordes of rootless young Westerners traveling in Southeast Asia. On Richard's first night there, in a low-budget guest house, a fellow traveler slashes his wrists, bequeathing to Richard a meticulously drawn map to "the Beach."
The Beach, as Richard has come to learn, is the subject of a legend among young travelers in Asia: a lagoon hidden from the sea, with white sand and coral gardens, freshwater falls surrounded by jungle, plants untouched for a thousand years. There, it is rumored, a carefully selected international few have settled in a communal Eden.
Haunted by the figure of Mr. Duck—the name by which the Thai police have identified the dead man—and his own obsession with Vietnam movies, Richard sets off with a young French couple to an island hidden away in an archipelago forbidden to tourists. They discover the Beach, and it is as beautiful and idyllic as it is reputed to be. Yet over time it becomes clear that Beach culture, as Richard calls it, has troubling, even deadly, undercurrents.
Spellbinding and hallucinogenic, The Beach is a look at a generation in their twenties, who, burdened with the legacy of the preceding generation and saturated by popular culture, long for an unruined landscape, but find it difficult to experience the world firsthand.

Publication Date:  1996

Why this book:
When I read the blurb about this book being The Lord of the Flies for Gen Xers (Nick Hornby) I had to read it. Truly that comparison is apt as both books are beautiful and dark look at the failure of a perfect society. I learned that I prefer to be a traveler over a tourist. I learned this is quite hard to do with a backpack and a months worth of money saved up.

This is the first book that actually spoke to my college self and addressed that part of me that didn't want to become part of the 'machine'. It helped solidify that I was on the right path, inadvertently it helped me realize that becoming a grown-up didn't mean that I had to leave my wunderlust behind. I think this is a hard lesson that Richard learns as well. And, it is the part with Richard alone in the dark on a hill slowly going crazy that truly speaks to the dark in each of us.

Plus I really like this quote. Who wouldn't want to read this book after read it?
The Beach reads like The Lord of the Flies, written by Graham Greene after he spent a long bout reading Joseph Conrad. Yet it carries a voice all its own.

1 comment:

  1. Hm, I enjoyed Lord of the Flies.... I may have to check this one out, too!

    I like you theme!

    Stoppin' by from A-Z.



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