Thursday, April 05, 2007

I am a Philistine

When I go home for Jewish holidays I spend a lot of time reading. My family is not sabbath-observant, so it is impossible for me to attend services (unless I want to walk 12 miles each way), and our den is dominated by a tv and a computer. Which are often both in use. By my baby brother, who, by the way, has an inexplicable love for T.I.

At any rate, this forces me to either sit on the fancy couches in our living room, outside in the hammock, or retreat to "my" room. But once in any of these locations, the list of things that I can do to entertain myself is somewhat slim. Hence the reading. As a result of this I finished three books over chag: Fear of Flying, Sharpe's Company, and War and the American Presidency.

I read Fear of Flying (by Erica Jong) and realized that I feel the same way about Erica Jong as I do about Phillip Roth. They say some really great things, things that I can identify with, and describe my feelings about certain situations, BUT they are both too graphic. I mean, I'm all for trashy sex, but both of them are clinically graphic in a way that seems more icky than sexy. All I could think of when reading about "the zipless f*ck" is that her fantasies and mine are waaaay different. I don't think that I am really made for modern fiction.

As for the latter two? I enjoyed them immensely. I love me some historical fiction, and Bernard Cornwell's battlefield narratives are great. He strikes a balance between the importance of individual actions, and the power of numbers. It shows that individual actions can influence a battle's outcome, but that it must be weighed against the relative strength of numbers and technology. He also does a great job of showing how the British army worked on a day-to-day basis. Arthur Schlessinger, z"t is a great writer, and while the book isn't quite what I expected there is a great break-down of how Bush managed to get us into Iraq, and what that means in terms of political theory, as well as for the presidents who follow.

Moral of the stories? I can read endlessly about battles, not so much great works of fiction. The War Studies Program at King's College keeps looking better and better.

1 comment:

The Pedant said...

I totally support getting a degree in England in War Studies.