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Author Topic: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)  (Read 748751 times)

Offline Sara B

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Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
« Reply #4035 on: June 14, 2021, 06:28:25 AM »
That’s beautiful.

Offline ingmarnicebbmt

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Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
« Reply #4036 on: June 14, 2021, 07:26:04 AM »

Thanks for the Rilke poem!

Any idea what the German (original) title is? I'd like to look it up.
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And maybe, he thought, they'd never got much farther than that.

Online Lyle (Mooska)

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Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
« Reply #4037 on: June 14, 2021, 01:36:50 PM »

Thanks for sharing that!

Offline rmperalta

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Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
« Reply #4038 on: June 15, 2021, 12:11:24 AM »
Thanks for the Rilke poem!

Any idea what the German (original) title is? I'd like to look it up.

Here's a link I found with the poem in German + English. :)

https://poems.com/poem/you-who-never-arrived/

Online Lyle (Mooska)

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Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
« Reply #4039 on: July 17, 2021, 11:55:57 AM »

--Scrimmage for War

This is a non-fiction book by Bill McWilliams. In late November 1941, two football teams, Oregon's Willamette University and California's San Jose State, along with the coaches and some assorted other people, boarded the Matson Luxury Ocean Liner, the Lurline, in San Francisco and headed to Hawaii where the teams were each to play two games. One team was to play Hawaii University's Rainbow Warriors, the other a charity game and the third game to be between each other. This was part of a tradition that had been going on for twenty years prior with various teams from the mainland visiting Hawaii for a set of games each fall. Or course, what no one knew this year was what was to come on Sunday, December 7th, the day after the first game was played.

After learning so much about WWII in my grade school years of history classes and beyond, I've always been interested in the more personal stories of people caught up in things beyond their control. What it might have been like to be caught up in an unexpected maelstrom from those on the homefront to those in harm's way.

As such, I've always been particularly drawn to Hawaii because most of the attention in mainstream films, documentaries and books has always been about the Pearl Harbor attack itself and the military aspects of it, and not so much on the civilian population and their stories.

This book takes a look at the few dozen 18-21 year olds who were in Hawaii for a once in a lifetime experience, expected to be joyous and happy, and how that went. One of these guys was looking forward to spending his birthday in Hawaii and his birthday was December 7th.

It starts with their journey on the Lurline, arriving in Hawaii, and leading up to and including the first game that was played on December 6th and then the next day, starting in relaxation and comfort and turning to the odd realization of "something" going on and then the fear, terror, confusion and such the rest of the day and then being recruited by local law enforcement and civilian entities to help with tihngs like patrolling streets, searching out possible enemy spies, cleaning up flack and debris and innumerable other things. And then wondering how they were all to get back home and then being taken back on an overcrowded ship, tending to severely burned sailors who were being transferred to the mainland and needed constant attention all the while in a convoy with 4 other ships patrolling and on the lookout for Japanese subs who had been targeting ships up and down the western U.S. coast. And then finally arriving in San Francisco harbor, on Christmas Day no less, and no one knew they were coming.

A few of the players from the San Jose State team did not come back on that boat. In the days following the attack, a large squad of boys from San Jose were asked to join the Honolulu police department to help patrol streets and other sites the days after the attack. They also participated in search and rescue operations and a few were even involved with officers looking for sympathizers to the Japanese and take them in for questioning. When it was known they had secured transportation back to the U.S., the Honolulu Police asked them if they would consider staying with them and become part of their department at $169 a week. Seven of those guys could not resist that offer.  One had been working a job for 35 cents an hour back home. $169 was equivalent to over 480 hours to him and he'd get that working for one week! One of those seven made his home in Hawaii from then on.

It's all very fascinating. The above is 1/3 of the book and the best part.

After the return to the U.S., the story then seems to veer off into tangents both interesting and dull. It details what happened to each of the ships that were involved in their return trip to California. Later on it details many of the people who were on those teams, most of them entered the war and participated in various campaigns all around the world. It concentrates on some of the original football players who experienced the most things during the war, and also because there's the most information and such about them. There's a whole 50 pages of the book about a few of the guys who were involved in a B-17 bomber group, based in Italy and their whole war exploits. Now, I am also a fan of the stories of the 8th Bomb Group based in Britain and their stories, so this reading wasn't unpleasant, but it also was very far afield from the premise of this particular book.

This book isn't an old book, it was recently published, maybe 2019. I got my money's worth out of it!

Online Lyle (Mooska)

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Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
« Reply #4040 on: July 17, 2021, 11:57:06 AM »
There have been a lot of movies about WWII and each particular well known military battle or event and almost all of them have seminal movies about them that are considered standard viewing if one wants to know about them. D-Day has three great ones, The Longest Day and Battleground and Saving Private Ryan, for example. But I don't think the Pearl Harbor attack has a standard great film. Tora! Tora! Tora! is well-known, but that long film is really pretty boring. And it's very antiseptic, meaning the pain and shock of that day is toned down so much that it never seems like anyone got hurt. During the attack, there are also some comical scenes, scenes that actually happened, but they're played for laughs instead of surprise shock or terror. Almost like they want to tell you what happened, but not offend anybody. Then, of course, there's Pearl Harbor, which Michael Bay turned into something resembling a video game, instead of a movie. (And that was 20 years ago now!) Back then I'd ask people "When you think of Pearl Harbor, what is it that comes to mind to you?" (Think what comes to your mind yourself now before you read my next sentence.) Nearly everyone I asked would mention the sailors in Hawaii and how they were caught by surprise that day. So, who are all the main lead characters in the movie? Army Air Corp pilots.


Offline CellarDweller115

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Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
« Reply #4041 on: July 18, 2021, 09:30:13 PM »
Can a Novel Capture the Tensions of Recent Queer History?

By Jake Nevins - July 15, 2021


My last pre-pandemic outing to a Broadway show, in the fall of 2019, was to see Matthew Lopez’s play The Inheritance, a seven-hour spectacle that in its size and scope courted comparison to Angels in America. It was a polarizing play, one of those cultural events by which the queer men in my life felt either “seen” or misrepresented, so imposing was the show’s will to diagnose the particular pleasures and pathologies that constitute what might be called contemporary gay culture—at least as it exists among the dozen or so mostly white, New York City–based men who make up the play’s dramatis personae.

Ultimately The Inheritance, loosely adapted from E.M. Forster’s Howards End, was an exercise in anthropology as much as dramaturgy. At each intermission (six in all), we in the audience discussed its themes: sex, AIDs, friendship, literature, history, and traumas (individual and collective, fresh and inherited). The show was by turns thrilling and enervating, with aims so explicitly representational that the conversations in the audience took on a strange meta quality, much like the intergenerational back-and-forth among the show’s characters. Sitting to my right was a gay man of observable means who was gratified, he told me, that my generation would get the chance to vote for a gay president. He’d come straight to the theater, he added, from a fundraiser, which he himself had hosted, for then–Democratic primary candidate Pete Buttigieg.

I was reminded of the exchange while reading the debut novel Let’s Get Back to the Party, by author Zak Salih, which investigates the supposed ideological discord among contemporary gay men with a similarly broad sweep. Set shortly after the 2015 Supreme Court decision affirming the right of same-sex couples to marry and before the slaughter, the following year, of 49 people at a gay nightclub in Orlando, the book begins at a gay wedding, at which Sebastian, the first of our two narrators, arrives “dressed for a funeral.” There he’ll run into Oscar, the second narrator and Sebastian’s functional foil, for whom marriage equality is a kind of symbolic death, the arc of gay history bending inexorably toward assimilation. The pair are childhood friends, estranged by time, distance, and a clumsy tryst back in college; their chance encounter at the wedding sets the book’s dual narrative in motion. Throughout the work, the point of view alternates between the two of them, illuminating what Salih takes to be some kind of chasmic divide among today’s gay men.

https://www.thenation.com/article/culture/back-to-party-zak-salih-review/

Offline tfferg

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Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
« Reply #4042 on: July 19, 2021, 05:56:23 PM »
Intersting. Thanks,Chuck.