Sunday, November 25, 2012

Last Minute Read-a-thon

Vonnie of Vonnie's Reading Corner is hosting the Last Minute Read-a-thon, to take place in one month's time. Spend the final days of December reading with us.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Sunday, November 18, 2012

The Hobbit post delayed

The last post for the Hobbit discussion won't go up tomorrow. After the busy that was the start of last week, I've come down with a cold this weekend and haven't been able to do any reading, let alone write the post.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Clear Your Shelves Giveaway Hop- US & US/Can

This giveaway hop is hosted by I Am A Reader, Not A Writer. I have been doing a bit of a purge and reorganization of my books and have a few titles I'd like to send along to new homes. One giveaway is US only, the other is open to US and Canada.

Giveaway 1: The Guenevere Trilogy by Rosalind Miles
US Only

I purchased the first book new (Guenevere, Queen of the Summer Coutnry), and it has been read once. I purchased the other two used. The Child of the Holy Grail is in like new condition. The Knight of the Sacred Lake has some minor water damage on the cover, and about 50 pages. The four small thumbnails show the water damage (click for larger view)- not too bad, as you can see. And it definitely does not impede your reading of the book. And plus, free for you! Due to weight, this is open only to US readers.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Giveaway 2: Arc of The Philosopher's Kiss by Peter Prange
US or Canada

I recieved this through the Goodreads First Reads giveaways. It's been read once. You can read my review here.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Be sure to visit the other blogs participating!

Review: This Republic of Suffering by Drew Gilpin Faust

This Republic of Suffering: Death and the American Civil War by Drew Gilpin Faust
Publisher: In print: Alfred A. Knopf, division of Random House, Inc./ Audio: Blackstone Audio
Narrator: Lorna Raver
346 pages / 10 hours, 55 minutes
Checked out from the library

With its cloud of skirmishers in advance,
With now the sound of a single shot snapping like a whip, and now an irregular volley,
The swarming ranks press on and on, the dense brigades press on,
Glittering dimly, toiling under the sun- the dust-cover'd men,
In columns rise and fall to the undulations of the ground,
With artillery interspers'd the wheels rumble, the horses sweat,
As the army corps advances.

An Army Corps on the March
Walt Whitman
We are currently in the 150th anniversary of the American Civil War (1861-1865), so reading This Republic of Suffering right now is a timely read. I had read her Mothers of Invention: Women of the Slaveholding South in the American Civil War in grad school, which was well written and very informative. So when I noticed the CROAH group on Shelfari had read this, I put it on my tbr. I am also fascinated by the culture of death- mourning traditions, mourning jewelry, cemetery art, etc. So yes, the word death caught my attention.

It is estimated that at least 620,000 soldiers died from battle or disease during the Civil War, which "is approximately equal to the total American fatalities in the Revolution, the War of 1812, the Mexican War, The Spanish American War, World War I, World War II and the Korean War combined" (p.xi). These numbers are staggering, and for a time when people were more used to death than we are today, they weren't ready for this.

Gilpin Faust discusses the notion of dying well, and how soldiers had to justify trying to kill others, even though it was against their beliefs. But then she goes into some subjects that were a bit surprising to me. Today, soldiers killed in combat or on the job, their remains are returned home to their families, and there are numerous National Cemeteries for them to be buried in. But many of these practices grew out of the Civil War. There was no formal method of identifying soldiers, no formal system for burying the fallen, or transporting them back to their families.

Gilpin Faust does a good job presenting the similarities and contrasts to the ordeals of those from the North and those from the South. There are lots of primary source materials, and a great deal of information in the end notes as well. There are a great deal of images in this rather short history book, but some people will likely find some of the photographs disturbing. This was the rise of photography, and people like Mathew Brady served as early photo-journalists, photographing camps, battlefields shortly after battles ended, or even sometime afterwards. So there are photographs of the dead- some lying where they fell, some along the process of burial, and one being embalmed before being sent to his family. These photographs, while squeamish, are necessary to demonstrate the various points she makes throughout the book.

A well written and documented book, I found it fascinating. If you would like to read up on a not often discussed social issues coming out of the Civil War, I highly recommend this book. This fall, the PBS program American Experience aired an episode entitled "Death and the Civil War", which is based on this book, which I would also recommend.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Cat Thursday

Its a day to share your favorite cat pictures! Hosted by The True Book Addict.

I just got my first smart phone, so internet peoples, you will suffer my experimenting with photos! I admit, I'm a crazy cat lady, so odds are they will be of one of my cats. This is Pooh. My phone has nifty filters, some better than Instagram, like this one.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Classics Club List

I've heard mentions of The Classics Club, but seeing Wallace's post about it this morning, I finally I had a look. 50 classics in 5 years, that doesn't seem unreasonable. So I put together a list. There's some plays, novels, and some non-fiction and mythology books. Ones with (r) are rereads.

Now I can't start now, so I am setting my start date as December 1, 2012, making my end date December 1, 2017. I've set up a nifty spreadsheet to make updating the list easy, and I'm going to add it as a page (linked up top).

So, do you participate in Classics Club?

The Hobbit Read-along Chapters 10-12

The land about them grew bleak and barren, though once, as Thorin told them, it had been green and fair. There was little grass, and before long there was neither bush nor tree, and only broken and blackened stumps to speak of ones long vanished. They were come to the Desolation of the Dragon, and they were come at the waning of the year.
Well the troupe has made it to Laketown, and the dwarves are out of the barrels. They are given supplies by the Mayor, who is eager to see the backs of them, and they head into the Desolation of Smaug. Once they find the moon door, its time for Bilbo to earn his keep, and see if the treasure still remains with the dragons. Bilbo just didn't count on Smaug having a sense of smell like a turkey, being able to smell the hobbit and missing gold.

I really liked the chapter with the dragon. Its one I remembered from when I read it before. Between his moon door riddle solving, and his conversation with Smaug, it was a strong part of the story. I may or may not have been imagining how the conversation between Smaug and Bilbo scene may end up very Sherlock-y, especially since it is the same actors playing the characters. The image has gotten rather stuck in my head.

The hunt for the moon door was another of those scenes that are reminiscent of what Tolkien does later in LOTR.

Next week its Chapters 13-15, then one more week after that!