I read 3 books this week


The first, Disgrace, I mentioned in my last reading post.  I had just started it.  It is written my J.M. Coetzee, a South African writer.  It was excellent.  I’m always pleased when I find good fiction.  I rarely read fiction.  I went to the library and checked out another book by him called Elizabeth Costello, which I will start tonight.  Actually, I checked out 3 books at the library, and started the first few pages of each, which determined the order in which I would read them.

The first book was Facing the Wind by Julie Salamon.  I just finished Shake the Devil Off by Ethan Brown.  Both of these books were about men who became mentally ill and killed their loved one(s).  In the first, it happened in about 1976, and it was an interesting study in the question of sanity, and redemption and remorse for me.  I felt like, deep down, the protagonist was a sociopath, who truly didn’t have remorse for what he did.  Even though he was found not guilty by reason of insanity, he never demonstrated appropriate remorse.  He seemed to think he should go on with his life, and he pressed to get his law license back since he was found not guilty.  He seemed narcissistic.   It was a very sad situation, and the book was pretty good.

Shake the Devil Off was very well done.  I love books that pay a lot of attention to the sociology of crimes.  This was about a gruesome murder perpetrated by a Kosovo & Iraq war vet in post-Katrina New Orleans.  The writer is an excellent journalist also, and it was an excellent book, well researched.  It was also very sad. 

I’ve read several books about people who were either soldiers in the wars in Iraq and/or Afghanistan, or journalists embedded with soldiers.  The interesting dichotomy is how we really don’t act like a country at war.  It’s the longest voluntary (military) war our country has fought, and we civilians act like it isn’t going on.  We are very removed, unless we are the family of a soldier, or a soldier.  It’s so sad to me.  We’ve sent all those young people over there and forgotten them.  It’s hard for them to deal with civilian life, because it is so separate and alien from the life they’ve been living on the front lines.  I so wish we never went there.  I can’t stand how many lives have been destroyed because of it.  I knew we shouldn’t go, to either place.  We could have accomplised so much more from the air.  Of course, then I think about what we did from the air in Japan toward the end of WWII.  I wouldn’t want that, either.

Whatever, once these soldiers have served we need to take care of them in every way possible.  Many of them are really suffering, and not just physically.

I’d say the Coetzee novel moved me because of its prose-just beautiful and artful.  It was an excellent story.  Shake the Devil Off revived a lot of my grief about the wars, and the waste of life, money and potential.  No one should be put in the position these men and women have found themselves in.  It’s very sad.

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