Today's book is a classic that I have wanted to read for quite some time but never got around to...until now. Stephen Crane's The Red Badge of Courage covers the American Civil War from the point of view of a Union soldier. It's the gritty portrayal of life at the front and just what it's like to lay down your life for a cause that you don't fully understand. In fact, our protagonist has almost no clue what it is that he's fighting for or against. He joined up because it was the done thing which seems to be the case for the rest of his regiment as well. There are those that brag about their bravado but when the time comes for the bullets to fly they are the first to turn and run. At first, our soldier is condescending towards these 'cowards' as he sees them but he very quickly sees the futility of their regiment's actions as they seem to be merely feinting and arbitrarily gaining and losing ground. It is a gritty, raw description of battle and defeat which is undercut with confusion and fear. These are children playacting warfare but the injuries and death are very real. Crane's insistence on not holding back lends a realistic, deadening of the senses feel to what it's like on the battlefield when you are surrounded by death and horror at every turn. He was making a commentary on the futility of war and how those who are a part of the 'war machine' are generally lost as to the meaning of why and who they are fighting. I am immensely glad that I finally picked this book up and gave it a read. I encourage ya'll to do the same. It's a slim volume and will take no time at all (though I don't promise you'll want a break every now and again from the bloodshed). 9/10
Here are a few more covers which I thought were worth sharing because they tell slightly different stories (and illustrate the point that covers do matter):
|This one screams patriotism. Source: Goodreads|
|Yes, that is a bald eagle. [Source: Waldina]|
|Just so you get the message. [Source: Goodreads]|
|And my fave because RAINBOW. [Source: Amazon]|
What's Up Next: Science of the Magical: From the Holy Grail to Love Potions to Superpowers by Matt Kaplan
What I'm Currently Reading: Slightly Foxed: Issues 50-53
Much like when I read The Historian, I was unable to decide if what I was reading was fiction or nonfiction. (Of course, there were no vampires in this book so maybe this isn't the best comparison except for the way they both made me feel.) I couldn't put down Do Not Say We Have Nothing by Madeleine Thien despite how much I sometimes wanted to in order to spare myself further heartbreak. This is the story of those who lived through China's Cultural Revolution and their successors a world away in Canada...at least a tiny little slice. Our main characters rotate between Sparrow, Kai, and Zhuli who lived during Mao Zedong's reign of terror, Ai-Ming who took part in the demonstrations of Tiananmen Square, and Marie who wants to piece everything together in present day Canada. This is also about music and its power to lift the soul or to mire it in secrets. A lot of sensitive topics are touched on in this book including but not limited to torture, public humiliation, and sexual assault. This is not just a work of historical fiction but also a mystery about people, events, and a book that keeps resurfacing. Intricately woven with details which seem to make the story come to life in vivid color right before your eyes this book is one that I think everyone should experience. This is the hallmark of excellent historical fiction. 10/10
For a nearly complete list of the classical music mentioned in the book: Spotify.
What's Up Next: Hunger by Roxane Gay
What I'm Currently Reading: Roald Dahl's Book of Ghost Stories
For Love or Until by Anne Garboczi Evans
This story starts out with Ness, a Celt and she's warming the water. Cedric loves her since forever. He wants to set up his farmland before he asks for her hand.
She plans her farmland and wants to raise sheep and weave the wool.
After the dance she's informed he had asked someone else to marry another girl.
The Roman tribune, Aquillus wants to marry her to raise their children as Romans and she accepts in retaliation of not being wed by Cedric.
She thought she'd be closer to her family but is not within days of their location any longer. She tries to befriend women and they just hate her, like she's from the wrong side of the tracks.
She has to go through so much pain and heartbreak and you wonder if the couple will ever be happy at all...
Parts that struck me the most were those of what she has to do to survive for her children and herself as she lends to the fields. She follows her passions and something she always wanted to do.
Like that after the Latin phrases are spoken they are translated in English so you can not left in the dark. Enjoyed listening to their traditions as they are explained.
Love the travel and that she had brought seeds for the land she was moving to. Love that knitting is mentioned and things other make and sell to make money for the family.
Love learning new words as I look them up to find out what they mean.
Excerpt from the second book in this series is included.
Received this review copy from the publisher Olivia Kimbrell Press via Bookfun.org and this is my honest review.