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text 2017-11-11 10:00
16 Tasks of the Festive Season: Square 3 - Armistice Day / Veterans' Day

Tasks for Veteran’s Day/Armistice Day: Make, or draw a red poppy and show us a pic of your red poppy or other symbol of remembrance –OR– post a quote or a piece of poetry about the ravages of war.

 

 

"A man of importance had been shot at a place I could not pronounce in Swahili or in English, and, because of this shooting, whole countries were at war. It seemed a laborious method of retribution, but that was the way it was being done. ...


A messenger came to the farm with a story to tell. It was not a story that meant much as stories went in those days. It was about how the war progressed in German East Africa and about a tall young man who was killed in it. ... It was an ordinary story, but Kibii and I, who knew him well, thought there was no story like it, or one as sad, and we think so now.


The young man tied his shuka on his shoulder one day and took his shield and his spear and went to war. He thought war was made of spears and shields and courage, and he brought them all.


But they gave him a gun, so he left the spear and the shield behind him and took the courage, and went where they sent him because they said this was his duty and he believed in duty. ...


He took the gun and held it the way they had told him to hold it, and walked where they told him to walk, smiling a little and looking for another man to fight.


He was shot and killed by the other man, who also believed in duty, and he was buried where he fell. It was so simple and so unimportant.


But of course it meant something to Kibii and me, because the tall young man was Kibii's father and my most special friend. Arab Maina died on the field of action in the service of the King. But some said it was because he had forsaken his spear.”
― Beryl Markham, West with the Night

 

 

“The world is full enough of hurts and mischances without wars to multiply them.”

― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King  

 

 

In Flanders Fields

“In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn saw sunset glow
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields

Take up our quarrel with the foe;
To you, from falling hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.”
― John McCrae

 

 

“War is only a cowardly escape from the problems of peace.”
― Thomas Mann, as quoted in This I Believe: The Personal Philosophies of One Hundred Thoughtful Men and Women

 

 

“There's never been a true war that wasn't fought between two sets of people who were certain they were in the right. The really dangerous people believe they are doing whatever they are doing solely and only because it is without question the right thing to do. And that is what makes them dangerous.”
― Neil Gaiman, American Gods

 

 

People who prefer to believe the worst of others will breed war and religious persecutions while the world lasts.”

― Dorothy L. Sayers, The Letters of Dorothy L. Sayers. Vol. 1, 1899-1936

 

Merken

Merken

Merken

Merken

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text 2017-11-11 10:00
The 16 Tasks of the Festive Season: Third Square: St. Martin's Day and Armistice Day / Veterans' Day
St. Martin’s Day

St. Martin's Day, also known as the Feast of Saint Martin, Martinstag or Martinmas, is the feast day of Saint Martin of Tours (Martin le Miséricordieux, a Roman soldier turned monk after his baptism), and it is celebrated on November 11.  This is the time when autumn wheat seeding was completed, and when historically hiring fairs were held where farm laborers would seek new posts. – The best-known legend associated with his life is that he once cut his cloak in half to share with a beggar during a snowstorm, to save the beggar from dying from the cold.  In a dream, St. Martin saw the beggar revealed as Jesus Christ.

 

St. Martin’s Day processions – which typically end up with a bonfire – are held in the evening, with participating children carrying colorful lanterns (often homemade).  The goose became a symbol of St. Martin of Tours, because legend has it that when trying to avoid being ordained bishop he hid in a goose pen, but was betrayed by the cackling of the geese.  (St. Martin's feast day falls in November, when geese are ready for killing.)  He is also credited with helping spread viticulture in the Touraine region.  A pastry associated with St. Martin’s Day in parts of the German-speaking world is the “Weckmann”, a sweet yeast dough figure with raisin eyes clutching a white clay pipe.  (Elsewhere, it’s more commonly eaten on St. Nicholas’ Day.)

 

The Reading Tasks:

Read a book set on a vineyard, or in a rural setting, –OR– a story where the MC searches for/gets a new job. –OR– A book with a lantern on the cover, or books set before the age of electricity. –OR– A story dealing with an act of selfless generosity (like St. Martin sharing his cloak with a beggar).

 

–OR–

 

Other Tasks: Write a Mother Goose-style rhyme or a limerick; the funnier the better. –OR– Take a picture of the book you’re currently reading, next to a glass of wine, or the drink of your choice, with or without a fire in the background. –OR– Bake a Weckmann; if you’re not a dab hand with yeast baking, make a batch of gingerbread men, or something else that’s typical of this time of the year where you live. Post pics of the results and the recipe if you’d like to share it.

 

 

Armistice Day / Veterans’ Day

Armistice Day is commemorated every year on November 11 to mark the armistice signed between the Allies of World War I and Germany at Compiègne, France, for the cessation of hostilities on the Western Front of WW I, which took effect at 11:00 AM – the "eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month" of 1918.  The date was declared a national holiday in many allied nations, and coincides with Remembrance Day in the British Commonwealth and Veterans’ Day in the U.S., both public holidays.  The poppy became the international symbol of the day as a result of its being mentioned in the poem In Flanders Fields by Canadian physician Lieutenant-Colonel John McCrae, which commemorates the fallen soldiers buried under the Flanders poppy fields.

 

The Reading Tasks:

Read a book involving veterans of any war, books about WWI or WWII (fiction or non-fiction). –OR– Read a book with poppies on the cover.

 

–OR–

 

Other Tasks:

Make, or draw a red poppy and show us a pic of your red poppy or other symbol of remembrance –OR– post a quote or a piece of poetry about the ravages of war.

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review 2017-10-12 22:01
The Last Veterans of World War II: Portraits and Memories
The Last Veterans of World War II: Portraits and Memories - Richard Bell
This is an amazing book honoring a few of our heroes from World War ll. The diversity inside these pages speaks volumes as we hear from men and women who fought for America in a variety of positions such as officers, nurses, pilots, engineers, technicians, shipfitters and serviceman (just to name a few). I enjoyed how the novel was laid out. Beginning each veteran’s story is a head-shot photograph which is then followed by a short story about that individual and his experience in the war. On the second page is another photograph, a simple and important photo of the veteran’s hand holding his service photograph from the war. I loved looking at these photographs, what a beautiful way to display the element of time and history. As I examined these photographs, their eyes glaring back at me, I thought about the stories those eyes held inside them. For what these individuals experienced and lived, their eyes knew it all.
 
I could tell you about many of the stories that I read but I will just highlight a few that caught my attention. I read about Harlan whose secret mission was to deliver atomic bomb components. After their successful delivery, his unit was hit by torpedo’s and their ship was going down. For four days, Harlan and over three hundred of his men floated in the water, waiting for assistance. Fighting off sharks and staying together to stay alive, they waited. Not everyone made it back safely. Then, there was the story of George who faced his fears in 2000 when he revisited Germany. Battling PTSD, George revisited the places where he had once stood, fighting in the war. George was looking for closure. The story of Ben hit home with me. Ben had been captured and had been forced to march with other prisoners, abuse and death occurring on their way. The Japanese fighters told their prisoners that they were not Prisoners of War but that they were captives. Treated worse than an animal, Ben was a sole survivor when he returned home. Ben also told the story of “The Hell Ships” which was something I hadn’t read about before. There are a few individuals in the novel who didn’t have much to say about their experience. I appreciate their privacy as this war was an emotional and troubling experience to live through.
 
My father-in-law was a POW during WWll and I have listened to many of his stories about this time in his life. He was there in the Battle of the Bulge, he walked many miles to some undetermined destination only to have to turn around and walk back, he ate out of many frozen gardens and the many incidents of what he saw, smelled and heard, I cannot fathom. He was a survivor just like the individuals in this fantastic novel and I thank each one of them for their service. This novel tells the stories of individuals that should be heard and their stories appreciated. I highly recommend this novel and I can’t wait to obtain my own copy.
 
I received a copy of this novel from NetGalley and Schiffer Publishing, Ltd. in exchange for an honest review. Thank you both for sharing this novel with me and thank you to Richard Bell for bringing these veterans stories to others.
 
https://www.facebook.com/richardbellphoto/?hc_ref=ARTDbk6_WzbMIfNFxq5tV38Vqc0In9-f4iTI2EGMnYvNpSXs4xQ7uWiM0KoU0EcqzX4 https://www.facebook.com/schifferpublishing/

 

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review 2017-08-26 18:48
Accepting the Fall
Accepting the Fall - Meg Harding

This is my first book by this author and it's a good one. It's a nice slow burn as Cole and Zander reunite and get to know each other again after their disastrous first attempt at love as teens. Cole's now a teacher and Zander's a firefighter with a daughter in Cole's class. While there's plenty of focus on their past and current relationship, this doesn't ignore the rest of their lives and I liked having that balance here. I might have found it a little hard to believe they'd still be hung up on each other after 17 years apart, but there was enough time given to them getting reacquainted that it didn't bother me too much.

 

I loved Savannah, and Cole's plethora of pets. Savannah was a realistic five-year old - not sweetly perfect but not out of control disruptive either. She had a lot of issues and I like they were taken seriously, and I really liked seeing Zander overcome his own issues to help  her deal with hers.

 

Aside from the inability to capitalize "Marines" ever, and one very wrong wording choice, there weren't too many editing issues, better than most stories out there today. 

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2017-07-11 05:32
The Unsung Hero (Troubleshooters #1) (Audiobook)
The Unsung Hero - Suzanne Brockmann

This audiobook is brought to you by Patrick Lawlor and Siri. Ok, Melanie Ewbanks reads the female POVs (I googled it - she is not Siri), but true story: I was driving to a meeting at a building I hadn't been to before when I first started listening to this audiobook, so I had my GPS turned on. The first time Ms. Ewbanks took over the narration, I seriously thought that my GPS lady got bored and started to randomly narrate the book. (I googled the GPS lady too - not Ms. Ewbanks.) She improves a little as the story goes on - or I just got used to her - but if you want to know what sex scenes sound like when read to you by a Siri-esque voice, now's your chance! (I didn't, so I skipped over them. Even when Lawlor was reading them. Narrators reading sex scenes are just painful.) Patrick Lawlor did a much better job of getting into the material and bringing life and warmth to the story. Unfortunately - as happens too often with dual narrators - the narrators are clearly not in the studio together when they recorded their parts, so Lawlor still has to do female voices and Siri still has to do male voices and I have no idea why you would pay for two narrators and then split up the reading this way. Stop doing this to your listeners!

 

Sadly, even the best narrators couldn't have saved this book. This has three - count them - one, two, THREE - romances crammed into one long-ass boring romance novel with an attempt at an intriguing suspense subplot to thread it all together. It just doesn't work. Rating them from blandest to most promising, the romances are these:

 

3 - Charles, Cybelle, Joe - Love triangle. Bored now. Love triangle set during WW II? UGHHHH! At least it's not set in Pearl Harbor? Seriously, it's WW II and that's the best the author could think to do with these characters? STAHP. The only good thing about this part of the story is that Charles and Joe stay friends.

 

2 - Kelly and Tom - The old "girl kisses boy, boy freaks out and enlists in the Navy, boy and girl don't see each other for 16 years and in all that time they clearly barely even change since they're right back where they left off as soon as they're in the same room again" story. Yeah, nothing new here either. I did like Tom's struggles with his head injury and wondering if he's still capable of leading. I'm just not sure this story actually answers that question. I also liked Kelly's struggles with understanding her father, Charles, and getting closer to him as his health is failing.

 

1 - Mallory and David - The old "geek boy who's really a nice guy (but not a Nice Guy) stalks beautiful girl and gets her" story. Ok, stalking is a little strong. He just makes himself visible, and he's a lot more confident and self-assured than geek boys tend to be in these stories. Mallory's change of heart toward him is gradual, and while it occasionally threatens to veer into boring romance cliche territory, it mostly avoids it.

 

The terrorist stalker subplot is one I've read before also, so again, nothing new here. This was published pre-9/11, so maybe the regulations were a wee bit more relaxed then, but I doubt it. If a bomb threat gets called in, it has to be investigated. End of story. If a building needs to be evacuated in a hurry, pull the fire alarm. The ending was convoluted and eye roll worthy, and the negligence on display here by literally everyone except our protags defies logic. 

 

This series is not off to a good start, but I've seen other reviews mention the books get better after this one, so I'm going to at least give the next one a try.

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