Friday, January 29, 2010

The Vietnam War: A graphic history

  1. I read bought this book after my wife mentioned that it existed as I have long wanted to know more about the Vietnam War. I was only 8 years old when Saigon fell and don't remember much about the War other than the aftermath. This book was a nice introduction. I learned much. It is a pretty concise book, only 138 pages, and left me with a strong desire to learn more and read more; it would have been impossible to give a thorough discussion of the war in a short book. One of the things I liked about the book was that it put the war in perspective. It did not simply discuss the tactical details of the war but discussed public sentiment toward the war, the political situation as the war progressed in the U.S. and in Vietnam, etc.
  2. The art is pretty good. I really liked most of the drawings. The battle scenes were the weakest part I thought. The art was in black and white; not that I minded at all, but I thought it was worth mentioning.
  3. A few days after I finished this book, Debi and I were in Barnes and Noble and I bought "The soldiers' story: Vietnam in their own words" by Ron Steinman. I definitely am in the spirit to learn more about this war after reading this graphic novel.
  4. I have no earthly idea why my post has become numbered. I can't get it to stop. Why do older folks like me have problems getting computers and other technological devices to behave? Maybe someone can do a Ph.D. dissertation on that.
  5. I highly recommend this graphic novel, which was written by Dwight Jon Zimmerman and illustrated by Wayne Vansant by the way, especially if you are like me: Highly interested in learning more about the Vietnam War but currently lacking in almost any knowledge about the details.
  6. Have a nice weekend everybody.

Friday, January 08, 2010

Small Gods by Terry Pratchett

Damn, what a great book! I can't believe this book was written in 1992 and I didn't get to it until 2009/2010. This book had all of my favorite things in a novel (all the things I love about my favorite author, Kurt Vonnegut): dark humor, satire, irony, and fun poking at authority.

The authority that gets poked fun at here is organized religion and its hypocrisy. We meet Om, a "small god" in the form of a turtle. He isn't very nice. Omnia is a pretty fundamentalist religious state where there is a sort of "religious police" (sounds like Iran and other fundamentalist states) that basically feel that if you are suspected of something then you must have done it...after all, there must have been some reason you were suspected of evil-doing or evil thinking or unpure thinking, etc. A really not-nice guy named Vorbis runs the "religious police". Finally, we have our hero, Brutha, who shows small gods and religious zealots the error of their ways. Brutha tells his god that "You could have helped people. But all you did was stamp around and roar and try to make people afraid". Om is a fan of smiting...

As a confirmed atheist who can't stand the hypocrisy of organized religion and who despises religious zealotry (and most forms of zealotry for that matter), this book spoke to me. A few of my favorite quotes:

"You should do things because they are right. Not because gods say so" - Brutha

"Don't put your faith in gods. But you can believe in turtles" - Terry Pratchett

Believe me. This is a great book!

Sunday, January 03, 2010

Another Damn Reading Challenge...Not exactly

I'm going to continue my current reign of terror by joining yet another reading challenge...and probably not the last one I'm going to join this month. This one is a bit different than my usual reading challenge and thus, I'm excited about it. It is the GLBT Challenge. I've got a few books in mind and will be relying on my incredibly well read and helpful wife for more. I'd better get a few of the many books I'm currently reading done so I can get on with some of these new challenges. Off I go to read some.

Saturday, January 02, 2010

Graphic Novels Challenge

I'm overjoyed to be joining this challenge. I only began reading graphic novels a few months ago and I love them. I am indebted to my wife for getting me started on these. I'm going to try for the intermediate level. I've got a few in the library already, most notably The Vietnam War: a graphic history by Zimmerman and Vansant and a graphic novelization of Dracula.
Can't wait to begin reading...