BOOK & BLOG
May 26, 2012
Books of the Week:
I’m continuing to read George R. R. Martin’s epic series that is the basis for HBO’s excellent “Game of Thrones.” Though I have a very high opinion of the television show and wouldn’t miss an episode, the books are richer and have a wealth of characters and details that the show must leave out, for obvious reasons. After the wholesale deaths in the previous book, A Feast of Crows seems much tamer . . . but only in Martin terms. There’s just no flagging in the wonderful characterization and the inevitable destiny of each character.
I’ve always enjoyed Suzanne McLeod’s books, and I’ve had the pleasure of sharing a meal and conversation with her recently. She was kind enough to give me a copy of The Bitter Seed of Magic, the further adventures of Genny, who has no magic herself but can break the spells of others. The plot is complicated and devious, and Genny is in a lot of danger by the end. I’m ready to read the next book in this series, which is both fresh, fun, and consistently good.
Kevin Hearne’s Tricked is the latest Iron Druid book (yes, all series this week). Atticus, an ancient Druid – in fact, the last Druid – is looking for a place to train his assistant Granuaile, since his life as an Arizona store owner is finished. But first he has to fulfill an obligation to Coyote, a disagreeable and tricky god. There are a lot of things I like about these books – one of them is that when Atticus tells Granuaile she’s not ready to fight something, she obeys him. And Oberon, Atticus’s hound, is a wonderful character . . . in smallish doses. I listened to the other books, so this is the first Hearne book I’ve actually read, and I found I missed the voices.
This is Memorial Day weekend in the United States. Memorial Day is the day set aside to remember the men and women who have died while serving their country. For many Americans, it’s simply the kickoff of summer and a chance to go to the lake or have a backyard cookout with family and neighbors. But there’s usually some local observance of the true meaning of the special day. Often, veterans’ organizations put a field of flags in a meadow. It’s an incredibly moving sight.
When I was looking at a nearby field of flags, I thought of the lives they represented. I realized that for every flag symbolizing a life lost, there are a thousand people who were in the armed services and lived. But I know that everyone who serves is affected by the experience, whether or not they fought, whether or not they were wounded, whether or not they patrolled on foreign soil.
My middle son served in the army, and though a knee injury sidelined him before his term was up, he is not the same person he was before he went in. He was scheduled to ship out twice, and both times he remained the States. He was dismayed; his mother was deeply relieved.
Here’s the point; he’s a different man than he would have been, because he went into the army with the intention of putting his life at risk. The fact that he ended up downloading tanks off railroad cars in below-zero weather in Alaska doesn’t change his willingness to walk into danger in the desert.
© 2012 Charlaine Harris