Monday, March 21, 2011

What I'm Reading

Continuing our World War I Theme this book was written in 1930 (All Quiet on the Western Front came out in 1929). Before the late 20's there were very few books written on the war, but with All Quiet suddenly publishers knew the war would sell. This one is about female volunteer ambulance drivers for the British Army. I'm only about 75 pages into it but so far I love it and had to share.

The main character keeps talking about what a coward she thinks she is as she deals with things you and I will hopefully never even be able to fully imagine. She writes the kinds of letters home she knows they all expect to hear 'It feels wonderful to be doing my bit', etc etc because she knows its what they want to hear. Her main reason for staying is ostensibly fear of shame should she return, but the sense of duty to the wounded soldiers she and all her friends convey is heartwarming at the same time.

 I love books where the characters display that practical 'well, here it is so I might as well put one foot in front of the other and deal with it' attitude.One of the things I am most consistently impressed with as a modern person living in hitherto unimaginable convenience in folks from the past is their ability to suck it up and deal. I think that's something as a society we might want to get back to.

 All sorts of amusing modernity culture shock moments- women cutting their hair to deal with lice, smoking and swearing, etc. Very well worth the read, and another fairly quick one at that.

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