Thursday, February 14, 2008

Reading this, reading that

I am finally reading the Everybody Reads book, A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier by Ishmael Beah. How lucky I am, to live where I do and not be touched personally by bloody inhuman war. How horrible that my country's selected President lied us into one. It is difficult to read. Some say it is not accurate, story here. Of course it isn't completely accurate, the boy was a child when he lost his family and had to become a soldier or die.

I cannot read this book for more than 30-50 pages at a time. It is too graphic and bloody. I am about half-way through. My book group will be discussing it on Tuesday. I've no doubt at least a quarter of our regulars will say they couldn't finish it. I am determined. War is irrational; war disturbs me. I profoundly believe that healthy minds and hearts would never choose war. That is why I am a pacifist. I cannot and I will not close my heart to the awful descriptions of attacked villages. That is why I am a pacifist. I will finish the book.

I began reading another book, a light-hearted romantic fantasy to ease my mind. It is perfect for today, Happy Valentine's Day. For a few hours escape, I highly recommend Shannon Hale's Austenland. I have the complete (so far) Austen Masterpiece series airing on PBS on my Tivo, such good timing for me to read this book. A 30-something woman has an obsessive secret: she yearns for her Mr. Darcy, specifically as played by Colin Firth. (One of my co-workers got a pin from Wordstock that says, "Where's my Mr. Darcy?") Jane's elderly rich aunt happens upon her secret, and when the old woman dies, she leaves a fully paid Jane to Austenland, a place for full immersion into Regency England. (I didn't begin to make a connection from Jane Austen to the Harlequin Regency romances of my junior high days until watching these cliff's notes versions of her novels.)

The plan was, read a little Shannon Hale, read a bit more of Ishmael Beah. Pause, rinse, repeat. Unfortunately, I've already finished Austenland. Fortunately, I have five one-foot shelves full of other library books to provide distraction.

Back to Ishmael.

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