Monday, July 19, 2010

Summer Reading

I know, I know, I usually only post on Fridays but I wanted to write about what I've been reading. If you read my blog regularly, you'll know my big vacation book was The War of Wars: The Epic Struggle Between Britain and France: 1789-1815 by Robert Harvey. You'll also know that as hectic as my life is these days, I don't read a whole lot beyond a few blogs and online news sites. I just haven't had the brain cells to spare or the ability to focus on written above a 5th grade reading level. Or, I didn't think I could until I started reading Harvey's books. I liked War of Wars so much that before I got home, I ordered A Few Bloody Noses: The Realities and Mythologies of the American Revolution, which arrived on Saturday, which meant I had a go a whole week without a book to read. In order to prevent that from happening again, yesterday I ordered American Shogun: A Tale of Two Cultures, even though I'm only 65 pages into the American Revolution.

(The First thing I checked when Bloody arrived was how many pages it is and was surprised at how disappointed I was that it's only 456 pages; War of Wars was a glorious 923 pages and I enjoyed nearly every page of it. And, by the way, I am ordering these books from Amazon used book sellers so the most I've paid for a book was about $7.00, including shipping. I really miss my ability to use the Inter-Library Loan System at my local, wonderful, Mt. Laurel library. Thank you, Governor Christie. However, that means the books all belong to me and y'all can borrow them.)

Since I am no longer on vacation, I do not expect to speed my way through the books like I did in California, but time watching the children swim or play around the house during the day can now be spent with a book in my hand instead of surfing celebrity news sites.

Robert Harvey writes with such an accessible tone that, even though he assumes all of his readers have detailed maps in front of them as well as an acute knowledge of which person was in charge of which country when and for how long, I find his prose a joy to read. Of course, sometimes he makes passing comments in his tomes that perplex me, especially when he doesn't return to discuss them further, like the fact that the War of 1812 was mentioned in one sentence ONLY in War of Wars. Or how, in the introduction to Bloody, he mentions that if the American ruling classes had not aligned with those at the bottom of the social structure during the process of the American Revolution, the US Revolution would have looked a lot more like the French Terror than the history we currently recognize. I hope he talks more about that in the coming pages.

The other good news is that Harvey has written a pile of books. It might keep me happy until Christmas.

Going back to my book now.

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