I’ve just finished reading 2 books. I know, you are wondering where I found the time to read one book, let alone 2, with the work and other things I have to do and the fibromyalgia that must be coped with.
The fibromyalgia is exactly that – something to be coped with. It doesn’t keep me from trying to do what I love. I try to ignore it, not always easy. But I won’t let it run my life!
So what were these eclectic books that I read?
The first was Blood and Thunder. It sounds like some “slash” novel, doesn’t it? But nothing could be further from the truth. Blood and Thunder by Hampton Sides is one of the best books I have ever read about the “settling” of the West, particularly the Southwest. The author writes with an excellent style and vocabulary. The book flows like a novel centered around the life and exploits of Kit Carson yet reveals an incredible amount of research by the author.
It tells the story of the settlement of America from Texas to California. Of interest are 2 particular items. First, the storytelling includes the perspective of the native population extremely well. It is not the candy-coated, conqueror’s story only. Secondly, it is one of the best books I have ever read (on any subject) in terms of giving an honest assessment of historical fact. It is written honestly and fairly, even objectively.
I highly recommend this book if you have an interest in the expansion of European/American conquest of the continent as a historical concept. The great thing is that I can also highly recommend it as entertaining reading – well-written, energetic and truly, as it is subtitled, “an epic of the American West.” It would make an epic movie with the right people working on it!
The second book I read for a different reason. Someone had recommended the movie The Bridges of Madison County to me because I had never seen it.
I have a preference, when a book has been made into a movie, to read the book first. I have found that seeing the movie then reading the book can really spoil the book; reading the book first, then seeing the movie has never spoiled the movie, unless you count the fact that the book is almost always better.
So I picked up the paperback version of The Bridges of Madison County just before the holidays. I knew I was going to have some time on my hands, celebrating Christmas in a hotel suite with my husband and stepson. Since the book only runs 201 pages, I figured I could finish it easily in the few days I had.
I read the first half on Christmas day. It is beautifully written, with dialogue and characters that are believable. The scene descriptions don’t make you mentally start telling the author to hurry up and get to the point. Instead they paint vivid pictures that enable you to place yourself in the scene. The plot struck a chord with me for reasons that are best left for another day.
It was day 2 of my reading, when I finished the second half of the book, that really blew me away! I cried as I read at least the last 50 pages, perhaps more. The poignancy and pain author Robert James Waller wrote in those pages were acute and resonated with my life and experiences. I was SO grateful that my husband and stepson had gone off to see a hockey game. I’d have been hard pressed to explain those tears. Heck, I wasn’t sure what they were emanating from myself. Whatever it was, Waller had gently located it and brought it to light.
I may see the movie sometime, I’m not sure. It will never spoil the book.
Two very different books but both highly recommended. I am really grateful for my eclectic life and interests. Without them, I’d perhaps have missed 2 of the best books I’ve read in a long time.