Recently read this WWI classic for the first time. The review here is not exactly what’s in the video, but it’s very similar.
The subtitle of this could easily be, “A soldier’s experience in the Great War.”
As an American, so much history is told from the perspective of the West. Most notably, major wars of the 20th century. This flips it. It provides the German perspective.
Though published nearly 100 years ago, so many thoughts from this book would still be valid today. Often Paul, the main character, questions the point of the war altogether. At one point during a discussion with his friends it’s asked how wars start. The response is one country offends another. And this simple, yet poignant message bears truth today.
When reading or learning about war we’re told of the harsh conditions. Often those perspectives come from the winning side, but this tells the story of those same, inhumane conditions from the country also losing the war. It’s impossible for nearly all people to comprehend. Nothing in civilian life can come close.
This is an indictment against those who wish to start wars. So often they’re pointless and accomplish little to nothing. But those responsible for starting the war rarely pay the same price as those they send out to fight. History says Germany lost WW1 and we all know what the Nazis did a short while later. But those men were fighting for their country just the same as their American, Russian, French, and English counterparts. The war was not good for any of them. That’s the point of this story and it does a remarkable job of making its case. 4 stars.
In returning to the blog (posted all five days I planned to last week!) it also means a return to my channel. With my first video back I’m starting a new series. Clearly, it’s called Bestsellers and Me. The idea is to follow up with a video whenever I read a bestseller. I can see the gears of your brain turning, “But what qualifies as a bestseller?”. Glad you asked. For my purposes I’m going to consider a book a bestseller if it has more than 100k ratings on Goodreads. Easy enough.
First in the series is Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World. It would be cool if you watch, but no hard feelings if you don’t. You can also just tell me what you thought of the book.
I said in yesterday’s post I wanted to write about some of the books I’ve read so far in 2020, and look at me actually doing it. I’m starting with one I know some of you have read. Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut.
Billy Pilgrim takes us through his life as he time travels through different periods, most notably to when he’s captured by Germans just before the Allied bombing of Dresden at the end of WWII.
What bothered me most about the book is the time travel. It happens from one sentence to the next with no warning and keeps you as the reader jumping around in your head trying to figure out where he’s gone back (or forward) to now. But that may not be the worst part. During the course of his life Billy is taken to an alien planet and put on display in what amounts to a zoo. Just writing it takes me back to the absurdity of it.
It would have been perfectly okay to write the same story minus the alien planet and time travel. The Allies bombed an unguarded city at the end of the war, killing tens of thousands. The story could begin just prior to the bombing and tell of the destruction and death that follows. But it doesn’t.
I rated it between 1-2 stars, erring on the slightly higher end. Thoughts?
This is one of Amazon’s 100 Books Everyone Should Read.
When I started reading The Great Gatsby I fully expected to be blown away nearly a decade after first reading it in high school. I simply wasn’t. If it had pulled me in as I’d expected, then I’d have finished it by now. I think I’ll tackle Thirteen Reasons Why. I see no reason why I wouldn’t enjoy it. And, I’m in a slump. 🙁
Becoming a bestseller is not an exact science. Sometimes Oprah will mention a book and sales skyrocket. Or an adaptation causes a surge. But what about a book published decades before that sells well throughout each and every year? Not bestseller well, but well enough to require reprints fairly often. You know the books I’m talking about. Classics widely read in classrooms all over the country.
It turns out that current events can also cause a book to jump off shelves if people believe it may have some resemblance to what’s going on in the real world. Enter 1984. It’s the top selling book on Amazon right now because many believe we might be entering a world not much different from what Orwell describes in the book.
I’ve read it. But I think a reread may be in order. Perhaps I’ll take a page from Kellyanne Conway and start using alternative facts to describe things.
Have you read Orwell’s 20th century Classic? See any resemblance to what’s happening right now?
My first foray into the world of Toni Morrison is probably her most known work, Beloved.
The book tells the story of the African-American experience both during and immediately after the end of slavery. It’s fictional, but just like in Things Fall Apart this story could have been written about a real family or group of slaves because it describes events and circumstances we are all aware of. So take a few minutes to see what I thought of this timeless classic and let me know what you thought!
Would you look at that?! Look who’s off to a fine start to their 2017 reading! *raises hand*
Okay. I’m going to be completely honest. I read this book because it’s one of Amazon’s 100 books everyone should read, which y’all know by now that I’ve been slowly working my way through the list since it first came out almost three years ago. It was my first foray into the world that is Ernest Hemingway. I was so excited to read the book that I didn’t even bother to read the back of it before I started.
I could not have been more disappointed. I considered splitting my review in half between this post and the video, but I just couldn’t do it. When I went back and edited the video it was so obvious how frustrated and disgusted I became with parts of this book. I didn’t want to fail to convey those feelings through the written word. So, all of my thoughts are in the video.
I imagine many of you have already read this book, so I do want to tell you some of the things I discuss in the video.
The objectification of women in the book
The drinking habits of the characters
The Jewish character
The overall writing style
ALL are discussed. I have extremely strong thoughts about every aspect of this book. As always, I encourage you to take a quick look at my reaction to my first Hemingway read. This book fulfilled the requirement to read a 20th century classic for my 2017 Reading Challenge.
Have you read The Sun Also Rises? What did you think of it?