Posts Tagged ‘War’

18th May
written by Steph

I am not exactly what you would call a war fiction fan – generally in bookstores while browsing, whenever I pick up books that mention the words “Holocaust” or “WWII” on their back cover, I roll my eyes and put the title swiftly back on the shelf.  It’s not that I don’t think these topics aren’t something that deserve attention in fiction, it’s more that I think they’ve been getting too much attention in fiction. Seriously, the next time you got to a bookstore, keep track of how many books you pick up that somehow involve a character being plagued by some kind of WWII wound of any kind and you’ll see what I mean. Of the various wars, I would definitely say WWII is the one that’s been mined the most by authors in terms of plot devices, but of course there are myriad books on WWI, the Vietnam War, and the American Civil War as well. This saturation of war fiction means that as a reader, I’m extremely selective regarding which titles I will actually pick up and read.  I find that if I look at enough of these books in succession, they all start to sound the same, which is not really what you want as a reader (or a writer, I’m sure), so it takes something special for a book to separate itself from the bunch. (more…)
7th March
written by Steph
Another hiatus - though this time a rather prolonged one.  Apologies, of course.  We make excuses at the start of the podcast, but really the gap between this and the last podcast is simply due to us being hella busy during February with social obligations and also illnesses (seriously, Steph is better now, but she still has a bit of a cough... which makes a few cameos in the podcast) and pretty much we watched very few movies.  I mean, over the course of a month, we only have six films to talk about, which should tell you something! But in the end, we did watch the following six films: Highlights from this long overdue podcast:
  • Find out who Ray D. Tutto is when we discuss The Adventures of Baron Munchausen!
  • We debate the titular appropriateness of Stanley Kubrick's Dr. Strangelove
  • NY I Love You may be all about love, but we think maybe we're better off just as friends... and Steph may or may not make a culturally insensitive joke in this segment (but she promises it was a joke!)
  • When in Rome don't see this movie.  Really, that's a good rule of thumb whichever country you happen to find yourself in.
  • Into the Wild teaches us the important life lesson of not heading into the wilds of Alaska with a 5-lb bag of rice, a 22 shotgun, and a shaky knowledge of edible plants.  There go our one-year wedding anniversary plans...
  • Is The Hurt Locker a worthy Oscar nominee?  Consensus: ????... ????
We won't lie: this is one of our longer podcast, but I guess we were making up for lost time!  And hopefully we're back in the movie-watching groove.  We've already watched two new flicks since recording this, so all signs point to "outlook good".

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30th July
written by Tony

I’ve spent some time thinking about this book. Almost a month now, to be precise. As I sat getting my hair cut one afternoon (the cut I wore to my wedding) by a woman from Mankato, a tiny town about 20 miles away from my hometown, I wondered how she made it all the way down to Nashville. It occurred to me that she probably wonders the same about me. I asked, and she said she wanted a change of scenery. Who knows why anyone ends up where they do sometimes? I feel like that is really the theme of this book, like it’s a couple hundred pages that just really ask “Why am I here? Why me? Why not me?” Thinking about all this makes me think about the stories in this book, and about my father, a veteran of the Viet Nam war and the things he told me about being in the service.

There is a lot to take in through this rather short novel, and the way O’Brien blends truth and “story truth” makes it difficult or impossible to separate the real from the imagined in many cases. That seems about right to me. I’ve asked my dad about what went on overseas and while some of his memories are strikingly vivid and accurate, many things are lost to him. He has spent a lot of time trying to figure out where he served and who he served with. Sometimes, when I thought about it, this search seemed odd, like it shouldn’t be something so easily forgotten, but later, when I come back to what he has told me of his memories, they are so large, so impossible to comprehend, that it seems like he shouldn’t be able to fit anything else in his head, and as I lived more of my life I began to understand how certain things just get lost along the way.