I took this picture yesterday morning. The brightness of the sky reflected in the puddle caught my attention as I turned on to the county road. I don’t believe that the picture does reality justice. Or perhaps it was just my reality at the moment. Perhaps it was similar to a false epiphany; one that seems important at the time, but fades away as time passes.
I’ve finished three more books in my 2015 Reading Challenge. That makes six of the seventeen. Here they are:
Theft of Swords by Michael J. Sullivan is the book I chose for the Science Fiction or Fantasy Novel category. This is Fantasy or Sword and Sorcery. It is the first of three books in a series. Each book contains two full stories. My first reaction, when reading the first few chapters, was that it was going to be a ripoff of Fritz Lieber’s Fafhrd & The Gray Mouser stories, but these characters are just similar on the surface. There appears to be more depth to Sullivan’s characters. But Fafhrd & The Gray Mouser are darned good characters to start with! I’ll be going back for the next book in this series, and probably the third as well since I’m a bit of a completest.
The next book is Band of Brothers: E Company, 506th Regiment, 101st Airborne from Normandy to Hitler’s Eagle’s Nest by Stephen E. Ambrose. Yes, it is the book on a Historical Subject. You may have seen the mini-series based on the book that was on HBO a few years ago. I admit that I only watched the first episode. When I saw this book on sale late last year I bought it, but hadn’t found the time to read it. The Reading Challenge kind of forced me into opening the covers and reading. The book is quite readable, so I finished it in a week, and could probably have cut a couple of days off of that time if I had skipped doing other things. The bravery and tenacity of the soldiers is well documented and is praiseworthy. But I had trouble understanding how widespread looting by our soldiers could be excused as souvenir gathering. Rape, while not condoned, seemed to be treated as fortunes of war. Perhaps I misread those sections, but it bothered me.
The novel, Cry, The Beloved Country by Alan Paton, is the third book in this update. It was first published in 1948, the year after my birth and fills the category of being published in the first decade of my life. I first read this novel in grad school a year or two after I was released from the Army. It was in a class on Twentieth Century Literature. I know we were reading it mainly because of the way it dealt with race relations in South Africa. The events in this novel take place a few years before Nelson Mandela went to prison, so there has been widespread change in that country since the publication.
This novel deals with much more than just race. It also deals with generational differences, differences between city and country, economics, the power of words (spoken and written), the feelings of parents and grandparents, and it is a quest novel. I’ve probably overlooked some other themes. Some of the writing is lyrical; so much so that you can’t break away from those sections even if you want to. When I finished the book I had to ask myself why it had been so long since I last read it. I won’t (read can’t) wait another forty years to read it again.