James Сlavell. «Shogun». Historical novel about the adventures of the English sailor in Japan of the 17th century. This book describes very well the way of life, traditions and peculiarities of the Japanese people, showing how different are the representatives of different nations are — in culture, self-perception and approach to life in general. Opening of the characters is occurs through such moral categories as honor, dignity, dedication, willingness to do their duty, through the desire to know, absorb another culture and, of course, through the desire to survive, establishing relationships with a completely different approach to life than all heroes of the book knew before. The main character has a very difficult but exciting way in the development of his personality: he has to become a part of the samurai culture. And this is not an easy way.
If you like Shogun read James Clavell's other book «Tai-Pan». It is about China of the 19th century: about trade, opium wars, strong characters and, of course, adventures — on ships in the ocean. Both books will be informative from the point of view of studying the features of commercial transactions and their implementation in conditions of heightened competition, where the history is heated through the clash of two very different mentalities — European and Asian. I love the books of Clavell for their volumes (more than a thousand pages), the scope of the described canvas and characters — they know what the real values are.
Gregory David Roberts. «Shantaram». If we talk about the person who finds himself on the other side of the world alone, where he has to learn a different culture, we need to read «Shantaram». This is a very controversial book because to someone who has never been to India, it may seem like a complete heresy. But for someone who was in India or at least communicated with those who visited this country, the motives of all the characters, their reactions and character traits will be clear. «Shantaram» is a book about the heart. It is about friendship, kindness and humanity. It is about love in its brightest manifestation — to people, to the environment, to all who need help. If there is literature that revives faith in bright ideals, then this is «Shantaram» — the story of the adventures of a fugitive criminal in Her Majesty Mother India.
Slava Kurilov. «Alone at Sea». I don’t know if there are translations into English of his book. But, if you are interested in the history of a truly non-trivial person, check out his biography. This is the story about escape. Stanislav Kurilov was a yogi that practicing special exercises and meditating for many years in USSR. The Soviet Union and the Kurilov were not made for each other, so author makes a risky leap into the ocean from a tourist liner in order to subsequently get to the Philippine Islands and never come back. This is a book about the desire for freedom. It is about a strong and unusual person whose story is short (you can read a book in one evening), but very inspiring. Special attention should be paid to the description of the visions that the main character visited during his drift in the open ocean: an amazing, natural psychedelic caused by the body in extreme conditions.
Thor Heyerdahl. «The Kon-Tiki Expedition: By Raft Across the South Seas». If you want a more complete immersion into the oceanic atmosphere, read the work of Thor Heyerdahl. He built a makeshift raft based on ancient manuscripts and drawings, and swam on it with his team cross the Pacific Ocean. The idea of Thor Heyerdahl and its implementation caused a huge resonance, it seemed something insane — not an adventure. Suicide! But this did not prevent the expedition. There was so many dangerous events for stamina that it is impossible to break away from the narration. To be honest, reading «Kon-Tiki», I thought that none of the heroes would survive. But i was wrong and everything was OK.
Yuri Senkevich. «To Ra across the Atlantic». After «Kon-Tiki», Thor Heyerdahl did not calm down and jump again into adventures. He built a new ship, picked up the crew and invited our beloved adventure seeker Yuri Senkevich — as an onboard doctor. Senkevich skillfully describes what is happening, and do it with his inherent soft humor and optimism. Excellent work about the power of human intentions, the ability not to give up even in the most difficult situations and to find ways out of the seemingly dead ends. Yuri Senkevich is a good storyteller, his syllable and manner of the narration is very similar to the ocean waves: soft, with a sparkling sun on the salty splashes of a very successful irony and love for what is happening.
All these books are about strong and good people who find themselves in the raging elements of the external world, in very different, but at the same time, similar situations, in which the strength of the spirit, the inner desire to LIVE, the love of freedom and the power of humanity are the main motives of all their actions.
The author of collage and text — Rukina Olga.