It’s been a quiet few days and all things considered, it’s good to take a step back and let your mind cool and relax a bit. This is not the easiest task in the world with a newborn and a destructive 4-year old in the house. But one of my very favorite hobbies just happens to be reading.
I’ve tried not to limit myself in regards to what medium I use when I read. I have an e-reader, my laptop, my smart phone and I share a collection of several hundred books (likely close to a thousand if not more) with my wife. Our books cover just about every genre imaginable to some extent or another.
But the book I want to talk about in this post is James Clavell’s Shogun. Written in 1975, it’s the story of a Dutch ship that gets lost during a sea storm, only to land in feudal Japan. The English pilot, John Blackthorne, ends up befriending many of the samurai and daimyos and becomes a trusted advisor to one of the local Regents who retains him as a trusted advisor.
The book is quite lengthy and I read it for the first time in the mid-90’s. When I eventually made my way to Japan and subsequently Okinawa, I had the opportunity to really appreciate how accurately the book portrayed some of the Japanese culture and how many similarities Clavell included in the novel. The novel is about 1200 pages long, but if you’re looking for a solid read, I would highly recommend it. I’ve read it three times since first picking it up, and the rich story allows for something new to be noticed every time I read it.
The book was made into a television miniseries that was a little over 9 hours long, in 1980. I didn’t discover it until years after the first time I read the book. I’ve always been a touch leery about movies based on books, considering how much they usually shave away from the full story of the book. But the television series covered just about everything as accurately as possible. It was impressive, considering the lack of special effects and such in the early 80’s. They also released a 2-hour feature length movie, but if you’ve seen the mini series, the movie pretty much sucked. They cut out so many important details it no longer resembled the actual book.
I focus on this book because the story covers many aspects of life that I hold dear. This includes aspects of Buddhism, martial arts and Bushido’s code. But whatever genre of book you enjoy, reading helps to reduce stress, has a calming effect and can even lower blood pressure and help you sleep better. Not least of which is the fact that it allows a person to stretch their imagination and explore worlds that would otherwise be impossible. ☯