Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Weekend Assignment #252: Book Connections

I just stumbled across this cool blog ~ Outpost Mâvarin ~ courtesy of Florinda (thanks for that!) when I was looking at her blog tonight. Apparently, every week Karen of Outpost Mavarin appoint a "guest professor" to pose a question to her readers. This week, Laura of YBTN, gave the Weekend Assignment. As Florinda said, "[b]oth the main question and the extra credit are hers, as we return to a favorite subject for some of us: books!"

Assignment #252: Where do you get books from?
Extra Credit: What was the last book you read, and why?

I had to respond to this one, because I love talking about books and everything to do with them almost as much as I enjoy reading them! Also, it gives me a chance to give a short, glowing review of the best book I've read so far in 2009.

So, without further ado, here is my response: I get the majority of my books from the library, because I just don't have enough room in my tiny apartment to keep a lot of books. I have over a thousand books in storage as it is, and I just can't bring myself to add more while leaving my old, well-loved books all alone in boxes in a storage unit. It just isn't fair. Still, sometimes I simply MUST have a book, and then I either buy it online from Amazon, go to a used book store, go to a Borders or Barnes & Noble, or go to an indie book store like Metropolis Books in downtown Los Angeles on Main between 4th and 5th Streets. I also like to shop at library sales and thrift shops, although I haven't done that in awhile.

The last book I finished (a couple of nights ago) is my favorite so far in 2009 ~ The Killer Angels by Michael Shaara. It won the Pulitzer, and for good reason! It simply blew me away. I even dreamed about it last night, about being at Gettysburg ~ not during the battle, but at the national monument. Though I have never been there before, in my dream I saw some of the old cannon still there, a few statues, and stood at the top of the ridge looking down the slope up which the Rebel army swarmed (and died) in an attempt to break the Union line.

Now, I'm not really much one for books about battles and war. I did read Caesar's The Civil War and Commentaries on the Gallic Wars, but those were different. However, Shaara did an amazing job of making the characters real (well, most of them actually were real people, though Shaara gave them personalities and dialogue while staying within the bounds of what we know about them historically), of making the battle scenes horribly real and the action completely comprehensible.

If I tell you that, toward the end, I wept, even though I knew how it was going to turn out & even though I seldom cry anymore, perhaps that will give an indication of just how impressive The Killer Angels is. In fact, just remembering that bit at the end ("It may be years, it may be forever...") brings an ache to my heart and a thickness in my throat. I want to read it all over again and plan to buy it so I have it on hand. It was that good!


Karen Funk Blocher said...

Hi, Mary K! Thanks for joining in on this Weekend Assignment! I, too, know the pain of having books in storage, but I've never had the discipline not to buy more books anyway, occasionally including a copy of a book I can't get at. It's good that you live near a decent library, and take advantage of what it has to offer. (Note to self: give Tucson Public Library branches another chance.)

Your review of The Killer Angels is intriguing. I'm not much for historical novels (much less war novels), but I may have to make an exception sometime.

Thanks again for participating. I hope you'll be similarly inspired by future WA topics.

Jennifer Hudson Taylor said...

I've always wanted to visit Gettysburg. I have ancestors who fought there in that battle. I love history and reading. Thanks for sharing.

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