This is the ninth installment of my Icebreaker series. Let’s put our thinking caps on.
What’s the last movie/book/thing that made you really think?
I’ll give answers for each category of the question here. Some movies, books, and things are great entertainment because they invite you to turn off your brain for a bit and simply enjoy the ride. Some movies, books, and things are valuable because they do just the opposite. Every now and again, you’ll come across something that you find yourself needing to experience again because it was too rich the first time.
In the realm of books, there have been a number of titles that got my brain juices flowing at one time or another: To Kill a Mockingbird, Slaughterhouse Five, The Master and Margarita, and so on. The last book to do so was Nation by Terry Pratchett.
Nation is one of Pratchett’s limited number of books not set in his famous Discworld (don’t get me wrong, I love all the Discworld novels too!). It centers around a pair of very disparate youths coming to terms with maturity, religion, and death. It struck me as thought-provoking because while reading it, you could tell that Pratchett himself was working through some of these issues in his own life.
In fact, around the time of Nation‘s release in 2008, Pratchett surprised his followers with news of a religious nature. Where previously, his relationship to God was one of being mad at Him for not existing, he now said this:
“It is just possible that once you have got past all the gods that we have created with big beards and many human traits, just beyond all that, on the other side of physics, they just may be the ordered structure from which everything flows.
“That is both a kind of philosophy and totally useless – it doesn’t take you anywhere. But it fills a hole.”
If nothing else, the themes of Nation will get you thinking too.
For movies, I’m going to go with Cloud Atlas. I’m a sucker for Tom Hanks movies, but even I was skeptical after watching the previews.
And yes, it was every bit as strange as I expected it to be, but I found myself thinking about it long after the credits had rolled.
Like Nation, Cloud Atlas was an exploration of theology as much as it was an entertaining story about the interrelated nature of people and story. It was a film that is best watched twice. If for no other reason than to hear an incredibly well imagined version of how language changes over time and what it may sound like many, many years in the future.
How about you? What was the last book, movie, or thing to make you think?