Butler's commentary continues to entertain and inform me on my summer mission of re-reading the Wheel of Time series. Through no fault of her own the issue that raises its head more and more is that when she was writing these reviews two of the final three books were being released. Expectations are being expressed about upcoming reunions and solutions that I know in some cases were never resolved, which is frustrating all over again. Again, not her fault, as the re-re-read was cancelled partway through 'The Fires of Heaven'.
Not much to add to my thoughts about the Reread for Books 1-4. Leigh is funny and insightful and I wouldn't have gotten half out of this reread if it wasn't for reading her thoughts. The only quibble I have is that often (this is on tor.com, I didn't read the e-books which may not have this) she refers to old commentary on certain issues such as 'Who killed ---------?' and links to dead pages. If those forums or arguments are mirrored somewhere, I don't know where to find them.
Most people won't be interested in the old arguments now that most questions have been settled so don't let that deter you from checking these out.
I was late in discovering the existence of the vast world of Wheel of Time fandom. Leigh Butler isn't the be-all-end-all authority, she herself would deny that, but I've found her posts and analysis of what's going on in the series invaluable for my latest reread.
Sharp analysis, critiques, quick explanations and timely reminders of which characters and subplots to keep an eye out for make this essential reading for any fan of the series. It does have a lot of spoilers so no reading before you've gotten through 'A Memory of Light'!
5/4 - Another book from my school days that I haven't read since, at least 14 years ago (I'm not sure which year I was in when it was the set reading). Another book where my tolerance for injustice will be tested. I think the only war book that I've read from the German point of view, but except for calling the enemy 'Tommy' and the fact that most of the names aren't what you would expect to hear from a group of Australian, American, or British soldiers, this could have been written by a soldier from any army from either side of the war. This was the book that taught me that the average German soldier had a pretty similar experience to the average Allied soldier - inappropriate clothing for the conditions, not enough food, a lot of hurry up and wait, too many dead friends, men too old to go off to war encouraging the boys to join up and fight for their country - simply put no matter who you fought for it was a horrific experience for any 18-year-old boy that left a generation of men permanently damaged. To be continued...
12/4 - I consider that I have reasonably strong ties to 'the Western Front' (for an Australian of my generation) and a high level of interest thanks to the presence of my two paternal great-grandfathers. One was with the 22nd (I can never remember who was in which battalion or who went through which specific experience, so I won't be able to name them), the other the 24th infantry battalion of the AIF. Their battalions were practically neighbours on the battle field, it's amazing that they both made it back home and ended up brothers-in-law. A kneecap was blown off by the shrapnel of a passing grenade and they were both gassed, and reading the chapters of that were set in the hospital really made me think about what they went through while they recuperated in whatever hospital they were sent to (records do exist, but they're very faint and the handwriting is a nearly illegible scrawl). Were they sent to hospital with friends or did they go alone? How many men did they see being taken away and then never saw again while they lay in their bed, not knowing if it was going to be their turn next? Of course, they lost many friends, in fact one of them was discharged from the AIF a sergeant because all of his commanding officers died in battle and he was the only one left with enough experience to reliably hold the position. I never actually knew either of them, they both died before I was born, but I have heard a lot about them from their children (my grandparents) and my father who was close to both of them. 24 years later my grandfather enlisted in WWII and he went through many of the things his own father and future father-in-law did (although, knowing my grandfather as I did, I doubt they talked about their experiences). He was with the 2/6th Field Ambulance in New Guinea and the surrounding islands and almost never mentioned what he saw or did during the war. All that kept running through my head while I was reading was that the 'others' Paul and his friends were fighting could have been one of my ancestors' battalions and how it was pretty much luck that my great-grandads made it home (and thus, indirectly enabled me to be here) and Paul and his friends didn't.
2016 POPSUGAR Reading Challenge Category: A Banned Book (this was banned by the Nazis after they came into power in 1933, it was in fact one of the first so called 'degenerate books' to be publicly burnt).